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Things only get more confusing when she winds up unexpectedly and unavoidably thrown into Saxon Maclean's arms in the City of Lights.
Far away from the comfort and stability she finds at Jake's side, Brenna faces down the feelings that have been swirling through her since the day she laid eyes on Saxon.
Mom was a huge proponent of ‘dating lots of different people,’ ‘keeping your options open,’ and ‘focusing on yourself.’ All sound good in theory. My mother was too brilliant for that kind of novice work.“It’s part of a program with the college, honey.” Mom took out a pamphlet and handed it to me eagerly. We’ll be gone for a full week, just past your winter break. So much.” I modulated my voice carefully to keep it happy, and I hugged her again.
Until you meet someone like Jake Kelly and have to think about living without hearing his sweet laugh or smelling the clean, minty smell of him or feeling his arms tight around you. “They want to give the professors a chance to scout prospective study abroad locations before they choose them, so we’re allowed to bring any family and check out the museums, local universities…oh, sweetie, it’s going to be so incredible.” She hugged me again, and I took a deep breath.“Mom, this sounds so great.” I swallowed hard and prepared for the worst. I’ve already cleared it at your schools if you need some jet-lag recovery time on the way back, so don’t worry about that.” She put an arm around me and squeezed me close.“Mom? ”“Chilly.” The flinty light was gone from her eyes. “This will be amazing.”And I hoped that by saying it, I would force myself to mean it.
She also learns that every single thing she does has rippling repercussions, some that fill her with total regret.
That doesn’t mean that she’s dumb, and it doesn’t mean that she’s nice. I had always wanted to go to Paris, and there was no one in the world I wanted to go with more than Mom. I told Mom and Thorsten about my super sexy, super awesome boyfriend Jake a few months back, and they had handled it really well; no yelling, no threats, no unreasonable restrictions. Jake went out with us for my birthday, they gave him a gift on his, invited him over for Thanksgiving, and he was coming over for Christmas dinner later on this evening.
Is it fair for her to call herself Jake's girlfriend when she has so many unresolved feelings about someone else?
Brenna is determined to figure it all out, even if it means making some of the hardest decisions of her entire life.
I should add that I have no respect for nice mothers, at least not if you use the common teenage definition of “nice.” My mom doesn’t look the other way when I do something she doesn’t like. I didn’t take advantage of their willingness to be nice about Jake.
She doesn’t try to fit in with friends she doesn’t approve of, or with any of my friends at all, for that matter. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” I hugged her tight. I am, after all, my mother’s daughter, and I knew that I had to keep Jake distanced from them or they would start to find things about him that weren’t good enough for me. Because Jake isn’t exactly what she wants for me, and my mother does not even consider second best when it comes to me.
In her mind, she filed any shred of evidence away to digest later.