Lola and the Boy Next Door

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9780142422014: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

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About the Author:

Stephanie Perkins (www.stephanieperkins.com) lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The boy next door

is back in Lola’s life.

Cricket.

His name explodes inside of me like cannon fire. I move toward our windows. His curtains are open. The bags he brought home are still on his floor, but there’s no sign of him. What am I supposed to say the next time we see each other? Why won’t he stop ruining my life?

Why does he have to ask me out now?

And Max knows about him. It shouldn’t matter, but it does. Max isn’t the type to keep bringing it up, but he is the type to hold on to it. Save it for when he needs it. Did he believe me when I told him that I love him? That I don’t even like Cricket?

Yes, he did.

And I’m in love with Max. So why don’t I know if the other half was a lie?

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Table of Contents

 

The boy next door is back in Lola's life

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Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

 

chapter one

chapter two

chapter three

chapter four

chapter five

chapter six

chapter seven

chapter eight

chapter nine

chapter ten

chapter eleven

chapter twelve

chapter thirteen

chapter fourteen

chapter fifteen

chapter sixteen

chapter seventeen

chapter eighteen

chapter nineteen

chapter twenty

chapter twenty-one

chapter twenty-two

chapter twenty-three

chapter twenty-four

chapter twenty-five

chapter twenty-six

chapter twenty-seven

chapter twenty-eight

chapter twenty-nine

chapter thirty

chapter thirty-one

chapter thirty-two

chapter thirty-three

chapter thirty-four

 

Acknowledgements

An Exciting Preview of ISLA and the Happily Ever After

Dutton Books

A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

Published by the Penguin Group | Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. | Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) | Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England | Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) | Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) | Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India | Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 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

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Stephanie Perkins

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.

 

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility
for author or third-party websites or their content.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in -Publication Data

 

Perkins, Stephanie.

p. cm.

Summary: Budding costume designer Lola lives an extraordinary life in San Francisco with her two dads and beloved dog, dating a punk rocker, but when the Bell twins return to the house next door Lola recalls both the friendship -ending fight with Calliope, a figure skater, and the childhood crush she had on Cricket.

ISBN: 9781101529485

[1. Dating (Social customs)—Fiction. 2. Costume design—Fiction.
3.Fathers and daughters—Fiction. 4. Neighbors—Fiction. 5. Ice
skating—Fiction. 6. San Francisco (Calif.)—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.P4317Lol 2011
[ Fic ]—dc23 2011015533

 

 

For Jarrod, best friend & true love

chapter one

I have three simple wishes. They’re really not too much to ask.

The first is to attend the winter formal dressed like Marie Antoinette. I want a wig so elaborate it could cage a bird and a dress so wide I’ll only be able to enter the dance through a set of double doors. But I’ll hold my skirts high as I arrive to reveal a pair of platform combat boots, so everyone can see that, underneath the frills, I’m punk-rock tough.

The second is for my parents to approve of my boyfriend. They hate him. They hate his bleached hair with its constant dark roots, and they hate his arms, which are tattooed with sleeves of spiderwebs and stars. They say his eyebrows condescend, that his smile is more of a smirk. And they’re sick of hearing his music blasting from my bedroom, and they’re tired of fighting about my curfew whenever I watch his band play in clubs.

And my third wish?

To never ever ever see the Bell twins ever again. Ever.

But I’d much rather discuss my boyfriend. I realize it’s not cool to desire parental approval, but honestly, my life would be so much easier if they accepted that Max is the one. It’d mean the end of embarrassing restrictions, the end of every-hour-on-thehour phone-call check-ins on dates, and—best of all—the end of Sunday brunch.

The end of mornings like this.

“Another waffle, Max?”

My father, Nathan, pushes the golden stack across our antique farmhouse table and toward my boyfriend. This is not a real question. It’s a command, so that my parents can continue their interrogation before we leave. Our reward for dealing with brunch? A more relaxed Sunday-afternoon date with fewer check-ins.

Max takes two and helps himself to the homemade raspberry-peach syrup. “Thanks, sir. Incredible, as always.” He pours the syrup carefully, a drop in each square. Despite appearances, Max is careful by nature. This is why he never drinks or smokes pot on Saturday nights. He doesn’t want to come to brunch looking hungover, which is, of course, what my parents are watching for. Evidence of debauchery.

“Thank Andy.” Nathan jerks his head toward my other dad, who runs a pie bakery out of our home. “He made them.”

“Delicious. Thank you, sir.” Max never misses a beat. “Lola, did you get enough?”

I stretch, and the seven inches of Bakelite bracelets on my right arm knock against each other. “Yeah, like, twenty minutes ago. Come on,” I turn and plead to Andy, the candidate most likely to let us leave early. “Can’t we go now?”

He bats his eyes innocently. “More orange juice? Frittata?”

“No.” I fight to keep from slumping. Slumping is unattractive.

Nathan stabs another waffle. “So. Max. How goes the world of meter reading?”

When Max isn’t being an indie punk garage-rock god, he works for the City of San Francisco. It irks Nathan that Max has no interest in college. But what my dad doesn’t grasp is that Max is actually brilliant. He reads complicated philosophy books written by people with names I can’t pronounce and watches tons of angry political documentaries. I certainly wouldn’t debate him.

Max smiles politely, and his dark eyebrows raise a titch. “The same as last week.”

“And the band?” Andy asks. “Wasn’t some record executive supposed to come on Friday?”

My boyfriend frowns. The guy from the label never showed. Max updates Andy about Amphetamine’s forthcoming album instead, while Nathan and I exchange scowls. No doubt my father is disappointed that, once again, he hasn’t found anything to incriminate Max. Apart from the age thing, of course.

Which is the real reason my parents hate my boyfriend.

They hate that I’m seventeen, and Max is twenty-two.

But I’m a firm believer in age-doesn’t-matter. Besides, it’s only five years, way less than the difference between my parents. Though it’s no use pointing this out, or the fact that my boyfriend is the same age Nathan was when my parents started dating. This only gets them worked up. “I may have been his age, but Andy was thirty,” Nathan always says. “Not a teenager. And we’d both had several boyfriends before, plenty of life experience. You can’t jump into these things.You have to be careful.”

But they don’t remember what it’s like to be young and in love. Of course I can jump into these things. When it’s someone like Max, I’d be stupid not to. My best friend thinks it’s hilarious that my parents are so strict. After all, shouldn’t a couple of gay men sympathize with the temptation offered by a sexy, slightly dangerous boyfriend?

This is so far from the truth it’s painful.

It doesn’t matter that I’m a perfect daughter. I don’t drink or do drugs, and I’ve never smoked a cigarette. I haven’t crashed their car—I can’t even drive, so they’re not paying high insurance rates—and I have a decent job. I make good grades. Well, apart from biology, but I refused to dissect that fetal pig on principle. And I only have one hole per ear and no ink. Yet. I’m not even embarrassed to hug my parents in public.

Except when Nathan wears a sweatband when he goes running. Because really.

I clear my dishes from the table, hoping to speed things along. Today Max is taking me to one of my favorite places, the Japanese Tea Garden, and then he’s driving me to work for my evening shift. And hopefully, in between stops, we’ll spend some quality time together in his ’64 Chevy Impala.

I lean against the kitchen countertop, dreaming of Max’s car.

“I’m just shocked she’s not wearing her kimono,” Nathan says.

“What?” I hate it when I space out and realize people have been talking about me.

“Chinese pajamas to the Japanese Tea Garden,” he continues, gesturing at my red silk bottoms. “What will people think?”

I don’t believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be the same person every day. I roll my eyes to show Max that I realize my parents are acting lame.

“Our little drag queen,” Andy says.

“Because that’s a new one.” I snatch his plate and dump the brunch remains into Betsy’s bowl. Her eyes bug, and she inhales the waffle scraps in one big doggie bite.

Betsy’s full name is Heavens to Betsy, and we rescued her from animal control several years ago. She’s a mutt, built like a golden retriever but black in color. I wanted a black dog, because Andy once clipped a magazine article—he’s always clipping articles, usually about teens dying from overdoses or contracting syphilis or getting pregnant and dropping out of school—about how black dogs are always the last to be adopted at shelters and, therefore, more likely to be put down. Which is totally Dog Racism, if you ask me. Betsy is all heart.

“Lola.” Andy is wearing his serious face. “I wasn’t finished.”

“So get a new plate.”

“Lola,” Nathan says, and I give Andy a clean plate. I’m afraid they’re about to turn this into A Thing in front of Max, when they notice Betsy begging for more waffles.

“No,” I tell her.

“Have you walked her today?” Nathan asks me.

“No, Andy did.”

“Before I started cooking,” Andy says. “She’s ready for another.”

“Why don’t you take her for a walk while we finish up with Max?” Nathan asks. Another command, not a question.

I glance at Max, and he closes his eyes like he can’t believe they’re pulling this trick again. “But, Dad—”

“No buts. You wanted the dog, you walk her.”

This is one of Nathan’s most annoying catchphrases. Heavens to Betsy was supposed to be mine, but she had the nerve to fall in love with Nathan instead, which irritates Andy and me to no end. We’re the ones who feed and walk her. I reach for the biodegradable baggies and her leash—the one I’ve embroidered with hearts and Russian nesting dolls—and she’s already going berserk. “Yeah, yeah. Come on.”

I shoot Max another apologetic look, and then Betsy and I are out the door.

There are twenty-one stairs from our porch to the sidewalk. Anywhere you go in San Francisco, you have to deal with steps and hills. It’s unusually warm outside, so along with my pajama bottoms and Bakelite bangles, I’m wearing a tank top. I’ve also got on my giant white Jackie O sunglasses, a long brunette wig with emerald tips, and black ballet slippers. Real ballet slippers, not the flats that only look like ballet slippers.

My New Year’s resolution was to never again wear the same outfit twice.

The sunshine feels good on my shoulders. It doesn’t matter that it’s August; because of the bay, the temperature doesn’t change much throughout the year. It’s always cool. Today I’m grateful for the peculiar weather, because it means I won’t have to bring a sweater on my date.

Betsy pees on the teeny rectangle of grass in front of the lavender Victorian next door—she always pees here, which I totally approve of—and we move on. Despite my annoying parents, I’m happy. I have a romantic date with my boyfriend, a great schedule with my favorite coworkers, and one more week of summer vacation.

We hike up and down the massive hill that separates my street from the park. When we arrive, a Korean gentleman in a velveteen tracksuit greets us. He’s doing tai chi between the palm trees. “Hello, Dolores! How was your birthday?” Mr. Lim is the only person apart from my parents (when they’re mad) who calls me by my real name. His daughter Lindsey is my best friend; they live a few streets over.

“Hi, Mr. Lim. It was divine!” My birthday was last week. Mine is the earliest of anyone in my grade, which I love. It gives me an additional air of maturity. “How’s the restaurant?”

“Very good, thank you. Everyone asking for beef galbi this week. Goodbye, Dolores! Hello to your parents.”

The old lady name is because I was named after one. My great-grandma Dolores Deeks died a few years before I was born. She was Andy’s grandmother, and she was fabulous. The kind of woman who wore feathered hats and marched in civil rights protests. Dolores was the first person Andy came out to. He was thirteen. They were really close, and when she died, she left Andy her house. That’s where we live, in Great-Grandma Dolores’s mint green Victorian in the Castro district.

Which we’d never be able to afford without her generous bequeathal. My parents make a healthy living, but nothing like the neighbors. The well-kept homes on our ...

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