Today's Reading

They stared at each other, at one of their many, many impasses. Finally, her mother exhaled, broke eye contact, and unbuttoned her suit jacket. Taking it off, she hung it carefully over one arm.

"One day, Pinky." She shook her head, beginning to turn away. "One day you'll understand that I'm not your enemy. And one day you'll see why it hurts my heart when you insist on making these weak choices."

Pinky threw her hands up in the air, her ankh pendant swinging with the force of her movement. "I didn't make a weak choice! I'm helping charity! Name one weak choice I've made lately!"

"Aside from this one? All right," her mother said, turning slowly to face her again. "Preston."

Pinky felt her face close off. Crap. She'd completely forgotten about freaking Preston, her last boyfriend.

"Yeah?" she said, as if she didn't know where her mom was going with this. As if it wasn't the exact same place she'd gone with it ever since Pinky had brought Preston home (well, not exactly "brought him home" in the traditional sense. She'd sneaked him in her window and her parents had caught them).

Her mom gave her a you know exactly what I'm talking about look. "He got mandatory community service for something you still haven't disclosed to us."

Pinky groaned. "What's your point, Mom?"

"My point is that maybe this summer, if you happen to get a new boyfriend, as you usually do every month or so, you could find a real boyfriend. Someone who isn't prone to finding themselves on the wrong side of a jail cell."

As her mom walked off to the kitchen, Pinky narrowed her eyes. A "real" boyfriend? What'd her mom think Preston was, a ghoul? Besides, Pinky thought, slipping her phone out of her pocket to post her pictures to the Super Metal Death GoFundMe page, "real" boyfriends didn't exist in her world. Though, thanks to the little conversation they'd just had, that wouldn't stop her mom from micromanaging every cute guy Pinky hung out with this summer at their lake house. It would probably become her summer project or something.

One thing was certain: This summer vacation was going to majorly, definitely, monumentally suck.


One thing was certain: This summer vacation was going to be the most epic summer vacation in the historical record of summer vacations.

The smell of freedom invigorated every fiber of Samir's being. Here he was vital; he was unstoppable. He paused to admire the skyscrapers towering over him, steel and glass glinting in the bright sunlight, the bright blue cloudless sky, the people in business suits rushing past, typing on their phones, cars honking their impatient horns. A giant truck drove by, belching exhaust right into his face, and Samir launched into a volley of red-faced coughing.

Okay, so maybe that truck wasn't part of the perfect picture. But still, the point stood: Washington, DC, was his fresh start. This was where he could stretch his wings—damp and weak and slightly damaged from all his years at home—and let them grow thick and strong in the sun. Samir was trying really hard not to skip along the sidewalk. First, he didn't think these high-powered DC types would look too kindly on that. And second, this suit was his only business-appropriate suit—staying home day in and day out didn't really require much beyond polo shirts and shorts—and he didn't want to accidentally rip it or something. He adjusted his tie (freshly ironed this morning by laying a damp white cloth over it to protect the fragile silk fibers) and walked on.

Thinking of home made him think about his mom, and Samir felt a familiar shot of guilt. Should he call her? No, come on. It was fine; she was fine; he was fine. She'd call him tonight and he'd tell her about the first day of his internship.

He grinned, squinting up at the glass and steel building that loomed before him now. This miraculous structure housed the offices of Iyer & Whitman, attorneys-at-law, easily in the top five most prestigious corporate law firms and nearly impossible to get an internship with. Yet he'd done it. It had been a complete fluke, too, Samir thought as he walked up the broad concrete steps to the revolving-doors-and-stone-lions-adorned entrance, his messenger bag bouncing against his hip.

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