The Boy Most Likely To

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9780803741423: The Boy Most Likely To

The romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. 

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

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About the Author:

Huntley Fitzpatrick always wanted to be a writer, ever since growing up in a small coastal Connecticut town much like those in My Life Next Door, What I Thought I Was True, and The Boy Most Likely To. After college she worked in many fields, including academic publishing and as an editor at Harlequin. Huntley is currently a full-time writer and mom to six children. She lives in coastal Massachusetts.

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

Chapter One

TIM

I’ve been summoned to see the Nowhere Man.

He’s at his desk when I step inside the gray cave of his office, his back turned.

“Uh, Pop?”

He holds up his hand, keeps scribbling on a blue-lined pad.

Standard operating procedure.

I flick my eyes around the room: the mantel, the carpet, the bookshelves, the window; try to find a comfortable place to land.

No dice.

Ma’s fond of “cute”—teddy bears in seasonal outfits and pillows with little sayings and shit she gets on QVC. They’re everywhere. Except here, a room spliced out of John Grisham, all leather-bound, only muted light through the shades. August heat outdoors, but no hint of that allowed here. I face the rear of Pop’s neck, hunch further into the gray, granite-hard sofa, rub my eyes, sink back on my elbows.

On his desk, three pictures of Nan, my twin, at various ages—poofy red curls, missing teeth, then baring them in braces. Always worried eyes. Two more of her on the wall, straightened hair, expensive white smile, plus a framed newspaper clipping of her after delivering a speech at this summer’s Stony Bay Fourth of July thing.

No pics of me.

Were there ever? Can’t remember. In the bad old days, I always got high before a father/son office visit.

Clear my throat.

Crack my knuckles.

“Pop? You asked to see me?”

He actually startles. “Tim?”

“Yep.”

Swiveling the chair, he looks at me. His eyes, like Nan’s and my own, are gray. Match his hair. Match his office.

“So,” he says.

I wait. Try not to scope out the bottle of Macallan on the . . . what do you call it. Sidebar? Sideboard? Generally, Ma brings in the ice in the little silver bucket thing ten minutes after he gets home from work, six p.m., synched up like those weird-ass cuckoo clock people who pop out of their tiny wooden doors, dead on schedule when the clock strikes, so Pop can have the first of his two scotches ready to go.

Today must be special. It’s only three o’clock and there’s the bucket, oozing cool sweat like I am. Even when I was little, I knew he’d leave the second drink half-finished. So I could slurp down the last of the scotchy ice water without him knowing while he was washing his hands before dinner. Can’t remember when I started doing that, but it was well before my balls dropped.

“Ma said you wanted to talk.”

He brushes some invisible whatever from his knee, like his attention’s already gone. “Did she say why?”

I clear my throat again. “Because I’m moving out? Planning to do that. Today.” Ten minutes ago, ideally.

His eyes return to mine. “Do you think this is the best choice for you?”

Classic Nowhere Man. Moving out was hardly my choice. His ultimatum, in fact. The only “best choice” I’ve made lately was to stop drinking. Etc.

But Pop likes to tack and turn, and no matter that this was his order, he can shove that rudder over without even looking and make me feel like shit.

“I asked you a question, Tim.”

“It’s fine. It’s a good idea.”

Pop steeples his fingers, sets his chin on them, my chin, cleft and all. “How long has it been since you got kicked out of Ellery Prep?”

“Uh. Eight months.” Early December. Hadn’t even unpacked my suitcase from Thanksgiving break.

“Since then you’ve had how many jobs?”

Maybe he doesn’t remember. I fudge it. “Um. Three.”

“Seven,” Pop corrects.

Damn.

“How many of those were you fired from?”

“I still have the one at—”

He pivots in his chair, halfway back to his desk, frowns down at his cell phone. “How many?”

“Well, I quit the senator’s office, so really only five.”

Pop twists back around, lowers the phone, studies me over his reading glasses. “I’m very clear on the fact that you left that job. You say ‘only’ like it’s something to brag about. Fired from five out of seven jobs since February. Kicked out of three schools . . . Do you know that I’ve never been let go from a job in my life? Never gotten a bad performance review? A grade lower than a B? Neither has your sister.”

Right. Perfect old Nano. “My grades were always good,” I say. My eyes stray again to the Macallan. Need something to do with my hands. Rolling a joint would be good.

“Exactly,” Pop says. He jerks from the chair, nearly as angular and almost as tall as me, drops his glasses on the desk with a clatter, runs his hands quickly through his short hair, then focuses on scooping out ice and measuring scotch.

I catch a musky, iodine-y whiff of it, and man, it smells good.

“You’re not stupid, Tim. But you sure act that way.”

Yo-kay . . . He’s barely spoken to me all summer. Now he’s on my nuts? But I should try. I drag my eyes off the caramel-colored liquid in his glass and back to his face.

“Pop. Dad. I know I’m not the son you would have . . . special-ordered—”

“Would you like a drink?”

He sloshes more scotch into another glass, uncharacteristically careless, sets it out on the Columbia University coaster on the side table next to the couch, slides it toward me. He tips his own glass to his lips, then places it neatly on his coaster, almost completely chugged.

Well, this is fucked up.

“Uh, look.” My throat’s so tight, my voice comes out weird—husky, then high-pitched. “I haven’t had a drink or anything like that since the end of June, so that’s, uh, fifty-nine days, but who’s counting. I’m doing my best. And I’ll—”

Pop is scrutinizing the fish tank against the wall.

I’m boring him.

“And I’ll keep doin’ it . . .” I trail off.

There’s a long pause. During which I have no idea what he’s thinking. Only that my best friend is on his way over, and my Jetta in the driveway is seeming more and more like a getaway car.

“Four months,” Pop says in this, like, flat voice, like he’s reading it off a piece of paper. Since he’s turned back to look down at his desk, it’s possible.

“Um . . . yes . . . What?”

“I’m giving you four months from today to pull your life together. You’ll be eighteen in December. A man. After that, unless I see you acting like one—in every way—I’m cutting off your allowance, I’ll no longer pay your health and car insurance, and I’ll transfer your college fund into your sister’s.”

Not as though there was ever a welcome mat under me, but whatever the fuck was there has been yanked out and I’m slammed down hard on my ass.

Wait . . . what?

A man by December. Like, poof, snap, shazam. Like there’s some expiration date on . . . where I am now.

“But—” I start.

He checks his Seiko, hitting a button, maybe starting the countdown. “Today is August twenty-fourth. That gives you until just before Christmas.”

“But—”

He holds up his hand, like he’s slapping the off button on my words. It’s ultimatum number two or nothing.

No clue what to say anyway, but it doesn’t matter, because the conversation is over.

We’re done here.

Unfold my legs, yank myself to my feet, and I head for the door on autopilot.

Can’t get out of the room fast enough.

For either of us, apparently.

Ho, ho, ho to you too, Pop.

Chapter Two

TIM

“You’re really doing this?”

I’m shoving the last of my clothes into a cardboard box when my ma comes in, without knocking, because she never does. Risky as hell when you have a horny seventeen-year-old son. She hovers in the doorway, wearing a pink shirt and this denim skirt with—what are those? Crabs?—sewn all over it.

“Just following orders, Ma.” I cram flip-flops into the stuffed box, push down on them hard. “Pop’s wish is my command.”

She takes a step back like I’ve slapped her. I guess it’s my tone. I’ve been sober nearly two months, but I have yet to go cold turkey on assholicism. Ha.

“You had so much I never had, Timothy . . .”

Away we go.

“. . . private school, swimming lessons, tennis camp . . .”

Yep, I’m an alcoholic high school dropout, but check out my backhand!

She shakes out the wrinkles in a blue blazer, one quick motion, flapping it into the air with an abrasive crack. “What are you going to do—keep working at that hardware store? Going to those meetings?”

She says “hardware store” like “strip club” and “going to those meetings” like “making those sex tapes.”

“It’s a good job. And I need those meetings.”

Ma’s hands start smoothing my stack of folded clothes. Blue veins stand out on her freckled, pale arms. “I don’t see what strangers can do for you that your own family can’t.”

I open my mouth to say: “I know you don’t. That’s why I need the strangers.” Or: “Uncle Sean sure could have used those strangers.” But we don’t talk about that, or him.

I shove a pair of possibly too-small loafers in the box and go over to give her a hug.

She pats my back, quick and sharp, and pulls away.

“Cheer up, Ma. Nan’ll definitely get into Columbia. Only one of your children is a fuck-up.”

“Language, Tim.”

“Sorry. My bad. Cock-up.”

“That,” she says, “is even worse.”

Okeydokey. Whatever.

My bedroom door flies open—again no knock.

“Some girl who sounds like she has laryngitis is on the phone for you, Tim,” Nan says, eyeing my packing job. “God, everything’s going to be all wrinkly.”

“I don’t care—” But she’s already dumped the cardboard box onto my bed.

“Where’s your suitcase?” She starts dividing stuff into piles. “The blue plaid one with your monogram?”

“No clue.”

“I’ll check the basement,” Ma says, looking relieved to have a reason to head for the door. “This girl, Timothy? Should I bring you the phone?”

I can’t think of any girl I have a thing to say to. Except Alice Garrett. Who definitely would not be calling me.

“Tell her I’m not home.”

Permanently.

Nan’s folding things rapidly, piling up my shirts in order of style. I reach out to still her hands. “Forget it. Not important.”

She looks up. Shit, she’s crying.

We Masons cry easily. Curse of the Irish (one of ’em). I loop one elbow around her neck, thump her on the back a little too hard. She starts coughing, chokes, gives a weak laugh.

“You can come visit me, Nano. Any time you need to . . . escape . . . or whatever.”

“Please. It won’t be the same,” Nan says, then blows her nose on the hem of my shirt.

It won’t. No more staying up till nearly dawn, watching old Steve McQueen movies because I think he’s badass and Nan thinks he’s hot. No Twizzlers and Twix and shit appearing in my room like magic because Nan knows massive sugar infusions are the only sure cure for drug addiction.

“Lucky for you. No more covering my lame ass when I stay out all night, no more getting creative with excuses when I don’t show for something, no more me bumming money off you constantly.”

Now she’s wiping her eyes with my shirt. I haul it off, hand it to her. “Something to remember me by.”

She actually folds that, then stares at the neat little square, all sad-faced. “Sometimes it’s like I’m missing everyone I ever met. I actually even miss Daniel. I miss Samantha.”

“Daniel was a pompous prickface and a crap boyfriend. Samantha, your actual best friend, is ten blocks and ten minutes away—shorter if you text her.”

She blows that off, hunkers down, pulling knobbly knees to her chest and lowering her forehead so her hair sweeps forward to cover her blotchy face. Nan and I are both ginger, but she got all the freckles, everywhere, while mine are only across my nose. She looks up at me with that face she does, all pathetic and quivery. I hate that face. It always wins.

“You’ll be fine, Nan.” I tap my temple. “You’re just as smart as me. Much less messed up. At least as far as most people know.”

Nan twitches back. We lock eyes. The elephant in the room lies bleeding out on the floor between us. Then she looks away, gets busy picking up another T-shirt to fold expertly, like the only thing that matters in the world is for the sleeves to align.

“Not really,” she says in a subdued voice. Not taking the bait there either, I guess.

I grope around the quilt on my bed, locate my cigs, light one, and take a deep drag. I know it’s all kinds of bad for me, but God, how does anyone get through the day without smoking? Setting the smoldering butt down in the ashtray, I tap her on the back again, gently this time.

“Hey now. Don’t stress. You know Pop. He wants to add it up and get a positive bottom line. Job. High school diploma. College-bound. Check, check, check. It only has to look good. I can pull that off.”

Don’t know if this is cheering my sister up, but as I talk, the squirming fireball in my stomach cools and settles. Fake it. That I can do.

Mom pops her head into the room. “That Garrett boy’s here. Heavens, put on a shirt, Tim.” She digs in a bureau drawer and thrusts a Camp Wyoda T-shirt I thought I’d ditched years ago at me. Nan leaps up, knuckling away her tears, pulling at her own shirt, wiping her palms on her shorts. She has a zillion twitchy habits—biting her nails, twisting her hair, tapping her pencils. I could always get by on a fake ID, a calm face, and a smile. My sister could look guilty saying her prayers. Feet on the stairs, staccato knock on the door—the one person who knocks!—and Jase comes in, swipes back his damp hair with the heel of one hand.

“Shit, man. We haven’t even started loading and you’re already sweating?”

“Ran here,” he says, hands planted hard on his kneecaps. He glances up. “Hey, Nan.”

Nan, who has turned her back, gives a quick, jerky nod. When she twists around to tumble more neatly balled socks into my cardboard box, her eyes stray to Jase, up, slowly down. He’s the guy girls always look at twice.

“You ran here? It’s like five miles from your house! Are you nuts?”

“Three, and nah.” Jase braces his forearm against the wall, bending his leg, holding his ankle, stretching out. “Seriously out of shape after sitting around the store all summer. Even after three weeks of training camp, I’m nowhere near up to speed.”

“You don’t seem out of shape,” Nan says, then shakes her head so her hair slips forward over her face. “Don’t leave without telling me, Tim.” She scoots out the door.

“You set?” Jase looks around the room, oblivious to my sister’s hormone spike.

“Uh . . . I guess.” I look around too, frickin’ blank. All I can think to take is my clamshell ashtray. “The clothes, anyway. I suck at packing.”

“Toothbrush?” Jase suggests mildly. “Razor. Books, maybe? Sports stuff.”

“My lacrosse stick from Ellery Prep? Don’t think I’ll need it.” I tap out another cigarette.

“Bike? Skateboard? Swim gear?” Jase glances over at me, smile flashing in the flare of my lighter.

Mom barges back in so fast, the door knocks against the wall. An umbrella and a huge yellow slicker are draped over one arm, an iron in one hand. “You’ll want these. Should I pack you blankets? What happened to that...

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Descripción Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny HanTim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a houseAlice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the "smart" choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.And Alice is caught in the middle.Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now,Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns. Nº de ref. de la librería 114966451

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Descripción Dial Books, United States, 2015. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The romantic companion to My Life Next Door great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely Tofind the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, anddrive his car into a house Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . .well, not date her little brother s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters. For Tim, it wouldn t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the smart choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. Told in Tim s and Alice s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780803741423

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Descripción Dial Books, United States, 2015. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The romantic companion to My Life Next Door great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely Tofind the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, anddrive his car into a house Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . .well, not date her little brother s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters. For Tim, it wouldn t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the smart choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. Told in Tim s and Alice s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780803741423

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