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Authors: Marjetta Geerling

Fancy White Trash

BOOK: Fancy White Trash
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Table of Contents
Published by Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
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(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
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Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in 2008 by Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright © Marjetta Geerling, 2008
All rights reserved
Geerling, Marjetta.
Fancy white trash / by Marjetta Geerling.
p. cm.
Summary: Fifteen-year-old Abby Savage hopes that her five rules for falling in love will keep her from making the same mistakes as her mother and two older sisters—all unwed mothers who have slept with the same man, among others—while she also tries to help her best friend Cody admit that he is gay, and decide how she really feels about Cody's older brother, Jackson.
eISBN : 978-1-4406-3154-2

This book is dedicated to my sisters,
Debbie Jones And Joni Combs,
because We know that truth is much
stranger than fiction.
In memory of our mother,
Diana Geerling,
Who was practically perfect in every way.
There are five rules for falling in love. I figured them out from watching my sisters and a lot of daytime television. There's wisdom in soap operas, especially the ones that have been around longer than most of us have been alive. I've paid attention, taken notes, and pooled all this accumulated knowledge into what I like to call my One True Love Plan.
Don't laugh. Believe me, if you'd watched two older, boy-crazy sisters totally bungle their love lives, you'd have a plan, too. If your mom divorced your dad then married him again, then left him again, and then married your sister's guitar instructor, you'd be extra careful about commitments. If your eighteen-year-old sister, only three years older than you, was pregnant with your oldest sister's ex-boyfriend's baby, you'd be saving it for Mr. Right. And you'd know that Mr. Right had not already dated one of your sisters.
That's why Rule #1 is Find Someone New. But at Union High, it is impossible to Find Someone New. We have all been together since our moms gave birth to us at the Cottonwood Medical Center. Because back then, there was only one hospital in Cottonwood, Arizona, like there was only one elementary school, one middle school, one movie theater . . . you get the picture.
By ninth grade, everyone had already dated everyone else— or if they hadn't, there was a real good reason. Like Carolyn Schmitz's weird, drooly laugh or Lucas Fielding's lazy eye. Or like me, who was Not Into Boys after seeing exactly what giving birth looks like, thanks to my oldest sister's insistence that we all be present for the “miracle” of her daughter Hannah's delivery.
My sisters also went to Union High, but although they're both past their eighteenth birthdays now, they did not go to any of the best colleges. Or any college, for that matter. Shelby, the oldest at twenty-one and Hannah's mom, got married the week after graduation and divorced by that Christmas. Super-pregnant Kaitlyn is a senior, again. Me, I'm cruising into sophomore year with my academic butt covered and my One True Love Plan waiting to be deployed.
That's a lot of people in not a lot of living space. Mom keeps saying we're moving to one of those big mansions in Scottsdale, but I'm not too worried about being forced to relocate. Although her new hubby is supposed to help with expenses, she still can barely pay the mortgage on our fake adobe five-girl, one-guy, one-bathroom house.
“Abby, phone!” Kait yells, even though she is in the same room, our room, and can see perfectly well that I'm right here. Eight months of pregnancy have not improved her personality, but she must be in a good mood because usually she hangs up on whoever asks for me.
I dog-ear the page I'm reading in
Soap Digest
and lunge for the phone which is, as always, on Kait's side of the room. Kait's idea of decorating is to bring home old movie posters from Blockbuster, where she works, which wouldn't be so bad if she had decent taste in movies. But no, she's got a thing for romantic comedies, especially old ones, so our room is an homage to Meg Ryan and Drew Barrymore. Hello,
You've Got Mail
Home Fries
. Kindly stay on your side of the room.
I grab the phone from Kait and flop back on my twin bed. The metal frame screeches in protest.
“Abigail Elizabeth Savage, we still on for our back-to-school shopping extravaganza tomorrow?” It's Cody Jennings, my next-door neighbor, who likes to stress the importance of something by using my full name.
Before you get your hopes up, let me tell you that this is not one of those situations where the girl goes out with the empty-headed jock only to realize that her soul mate was living next door to her all along. Cody is gay. He hasn't told me—or anyone—yet, but I know. When you've been best friends with a guy your whole life, it's pretty easy to figure out.
“Of course we're still on. Did you think I'd forget in the less than”—I check my
Little Mermaid
alarm clock for the time—“two hours since we talked about it? It's not like I have amnesia.” Amnesia is a popular disease on daytime television. Everyone gets it at least once in their lives.
“First thing in the morning, right? Because you know I like to be there when the stores open.”
“A.M. is no problem for me. The baby starts screaming early.”
“Do not bring the baby,” Cody says.
He isn't being paranoid. Shelby has dumped the baby on us many times. That is why Rule #2 is No Baggage from Past Relationships Allowed, and that definitely includes kids. It also includes psycho exes (Shelby has two) and pets. Kait's first boy-friend's snake is still living in our house—literally. Sometimes I think I hear it in the walls.
“Don't worry. I'm not babysitting tomorrow.” The baby, three-year-old Hannah, is really not so bad, but she's not my kid—a concept Shelby has difficulty grasping.
“You're so good with her,” Shelby always cajoles, which is actually her way of saying that she has a date that night. Shelby takes after our mom, who is, if not movie-star gorgeous, more beautiful than most women, with her shiny black hair and unusually light blue eyes. I have the same coloring but whack my hair off in uneven layers so I won't be mistaken for one of “those Savage girls.”
“Hello?” Cody is impatient, which means I have spaced out. Thinking about my slutty sisters always sidetracks me. “I asked who's driving us.”
This part he will not like. “My mom.”
I can actually hear his teeth grinding through the phone. “You can't get anyone else?”
“What do you think? If you would hurry up and turn sixteen, we wouldn't have to risk our lives this way.” Cody is three months older than I am, so he'll get his license before me, and also a car. I will not be getting a car.
“I'm working on it. You think I'm not dreaming about the day we can hop in my convertible and hit the mall whenever we want?” Cody has been lobbying hard for the new Sebring but will be happy if he scores a used one. If not that, I'm pretty sure anything with wheels will do.
“What should I wear?” I ask him, not because he's gay, but because he's obsessive. Anal. Practically OCD. Which means he has strong opinions about how
should be just
, especially when it comes to appearance. Nothing upsets him more than an outfit gone wrong. That's why it's easier for me to ask his opinion beforehand than to have to change everything once he sees me.
“You should wear the red tank so the bloodstains won't be as noticeable when the paramedics pry our dead bodies out of the remains of your mom's latest traffic accident.” Car accidents are very popular on soap operas. They're also quite common in my family, at least when my mom is driving.
I think she has some kind of spatial-distortion/color-blindness learning disability, but she won't admit it. The whole town knows my mom's red “vintage” Mercedes sedan with the duct-taped plastic passenger-side window. No one parks next to her in the parking lots; no one demands right-of-way at four-way stops.
I hear the Mercedes pull into the drive. It's not sounding too good, like maybe it has pneumonia.
Hhhfft, hhhftt
. Doesn't bode well for our shopping trip tomorrow. Every part on that car costs $500 to replace, so a lot of repairs get postponed. Or overlooked altogether. When the rear bumper fell off, Mom said, “I think the car looks better without that thing anyway.” It's got to be the white-trashiest Mercedes-Benz in the world.
“Bad news,” I say into the phone, about to warn Cody that our trip may be off due to chronic car disease, but I'm interrupted when the front door slams against the wall. Uh-oh, dramatic entrance. Something's definitely up.
“Everyone!” my mom shrills at the top of her lungs. The Guitar Player comes running. Kait lurches to her feet, easily distracted from painting her fingernails Totally Tangerine, a completely hideous color if you ask me—which no one has, so I don't point out how it makes her fingers look stubby. I stay stretched out on my bed and contemplate the many hairstyles of Meg and Drew.
I hear whooping and what sounds like the Guitar Player jumping up and down on the wood floors in his motorcycle boots. He has a name, but to me he'll always be the Guitar Player, just like Dad will always be Dad.
“Pregnant?” Shelby shrieks. She's been living with us since the divorce. Which was three years ago. Some people should get their own lives, not hang around hogging all the bathroom time.
“Pregnant?” Cody echoes on the phone. “Who, Shelby?” Whether he's heard it through the phone or through the window, it's hard to tell.
“Gotta go.” I hoist myself upright. “I'll call you back with the pedigree, but I think it's my mom.”
“Your mom? I can't—” I hang up on him. I can't believe it, either. Didn't she get her tubes tied? Who has four kids nowadays? Who has their fourth kid fifteen years after the third?
BOOK: Fancy White Trash
10.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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