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To read Excerpt 14, click here.
It’s winter vacation, and Debbie’s family has traveled to visit Mom’s very loud cousin in Upstate New York. A ski trip has been planned. One problem: Debbie can’t ski.
I can’t do it. I just can’t. Even the baby bunny slope looks terrifying.
Fat tears roll down my cheeks. Daddy can see this is more than whining. “We’re supposed to enjoy a fun day, Debbie,” he sighs. “No sense in making you miserable. Go find Mom.”
My relief is so great I cry some more. Phil gives me a look of scathing contempt. I don’t blame him. Who wants a crybaby for an older sister? Wayne pats my back in sympathy, but he’ll go wherever Phil leads no matter how scared he might be. Henry turns toward the slopes, and the Hansen males follow.
I am such a failure.
Mom doesn’t appear surprised when I trudge into the commons room of the lodge, but Cousin Lynne’s eyebrows rise past her auburn bangs. “Debbie!”
Great. Now the entire population of Whiteface Mountain will know what a coward I am.
Mom places a hand on Lynne’s arm and shakes her head, and Lynne says nothing more until I reach their broad wingback chairs in front of the fire. “Are you okay? Did you get hurt?” Her aqua eyes scan me up and down as if she’s checking for blood seeping out from my layers of clothing.
If I talk, I’ll cry again.
Mom sets Krista on Lynne’s lap and motions for me to come closer. “You got scared?”
She pulls me down beside her on the chair and wraps an arm around my waist. “I’ll tell you a secret,” she murmurs into my ear. “I am so glad that I had to take care of Krista for the day. Great excuse not to ski.”
“You would be scared, too?”
“Petrified. I’m a born klutz.”
“No, you’re not. You can skate backwards.”
She cocks her head. “Well, I am a good skater, but that’s about it.”
“I’m a klutz at skating, too.”
“But you’re a good dancer. I was so bad in tap class that when Grandpa saw me in a recital, he refused to pay for any more lessons.”
That gets me laughing. “He did not.”
“He did. My feelings would have been hurt except I hated dance lessons so much, I was more relieved than upset.”
Cousin Lynne shakes her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you’re afraid to ski. On a bunny hill?”
At least she speaks quietly.