Happily Ever Emma

Happily Ever Emma by Sally Warner

Book: Happily Ever Emma by Sally Warner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sally Warner
1
    Extremely Horrible News!
    No matter how bad your school week was, there is always Friday night to look forward to. School can’t follow you home, no matter how hard it tries.
    I am a person who really likes Friday night, because my mom and I usually go out for dinner then—or to the library and out for an ice cream cone, if Mom has run out of money for the week. Once we skipped the ice cream, and we still had fun.
    Which is why I cannot believe what my mom just said.

    “Huh?” I say, goggling at her like a telescope-eyed goldfish.
    I want to be a nature scientist when I grow up, and so I try to be as exact as possible when I talk about nature-y things.
    Mom blushes a little, which she hardly ever does. “I said that I was going to drop you off at the Scarpettos’ house tonight, Emma. For supper and a DVD.”
    The Scarpettos! “Supper and a DVD with Anthony ?” I say, trying not to squawk. “But I wanted to go Christmas shopping tonight!

    And he’s only four years old, Mom. What are we going to eat, anyway, weenies and frozen French fries? And what DVD are we going to watch, that cartoon about robots again?”
    See, I know Anthony Scarpetto. And I actually like him—as much as an eight-year-old girl can like a four-year-old boy who isn’t a relative. Anthony stayed at our house once for a few days, and I even got to babysit him after that, which is how I know about the robot DVD. We watched it twice.
    Of course, Anthony’s mom was at home when I babysat him at his house, since I am still basically a kid. She was cleaning out the garage. But it counts as a real babysitting job, because I got paid.
    I’m saving up to buy a nuclear microscope. They cost millions of dollars, but you have to start someplace.
    “I don’t know what Norah has planned for your supper,” Mom says, sounding a little annoyed. “Probably spaghetti, knowing Anthony.”
    “But Mom,” I say, “it’s Friday! Friday night is our night, yours and mine. And you didn’t even warn me.” My mouth was watering for Chinese food. Slippery shrimp. And now this! “This is extremely horrible news,” I tell her.
    “I’m sorry, sweetie,” Mom says. She finally looks guilty, and she also looks . . .
    I stare at her, and she blushes some more.
    “You’re all dressed up,” I say. It sounds like I am accusing her of something even worse than not taking me out for yummy Chinese food, a meal that I thought about all the way through a not-so-great week at Oak Glen Primary School. The school she made me go to, by the way.
    I used to go to Magdalena School, which was private, girls only. Well, it still is private and girls only, I guess. But I’m not going there now. My mom lost her job in San Diego, and last summer we moved to a condo—which is not as good as a house, I don’t care what anyone says.
    Now my mom looks nervous. She wipes an invisible lipstick smudge from the corner of her mouth and slides her gaze away from mine. Lipstick!
    “Where are you going, anyway?” I ask, scowling.
    “Out for dinner, Emma,” Mom tells me. “With a friend.”
    “What friend?” I ask. “Why can’t I come, too?”
    “Because—”
    “I won’t talk,” I promise. “I’ll just eat, that’s all. Slippery shrimp.” My mouth waters just saying the words.

    “Don’t interrupt me again, young lady,” Mom says, raising her warning finger.
    “Okay,” I mumble. “But why can’t I go out with you guys? How come I have to go over to Anthony’s house?”
    “Because I’m going on a date, that’s why,” my mother blurts out.
    She confesses.
    I am outraged. “A date?” I say. “But—but you’re already married, Mom!”
    “I—am—not,” Mom says, almost biting off the words. “Your father and I have been divorced for more than four years, Emma. And what’s more, you know perfectly well that your father got remarried two years ago. To Annabelle. In England.”
    “I don’t know it perfectly well,” I say, trying to sound calm.

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