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The day before, p.1
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       The Day Before, p.1

           Lisa Schroeder
 
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The Day Before


  The Day Before

  ALSO BY LISA SCHROEDER

  I Heart You, You Haunt Me

  Far from You

  Chasing Brooklyn

  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people,

  or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are

  the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events

  or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  SIMON PULSE

  An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  www.SimonandSchuster.com

  First Simon Pulse hardcover edition June 2011

  Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Schroeder

  All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

  SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more

  information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

  at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com.

  Designed by Mike Rosamilia

  The text of this book was set in Adobe Garamond.

  Manufactured in the United States of America

  2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Schroeder, Lisa.

  The day before / Lisa Schroeder.—1st Simon Pulse hardcover ed.

  p. cm.

  Summary: Sixteen-year-old Amber, hoping to spend one perfect day alone

  at the beach before her world is turned upside down, meets and feels a

  strong connection to Cade, who is looking for his own escape, for a very

  different reason.

  ISBN 978-1-4424-1743-4

  [1. Novels in verse. 2. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 3.

  Beaches—Fiction. 4. Family life—Oregon—Fiction. 5. Oregon—Fiction.]

  I. Title.

  PZ7.5.S37Day 2011

  [Fic]—dc22

  2010034567

  ISBN 978-1-4424-1745-8 (eBook)

  This one is for all of you

  who feel the fear and do it anyway,

  in writing and in life.

  You inspire me!

  The Day Before

  Contents

  Acknowledgments

  A Different Kind of Day

  Ready, Set, go

  Practice Makes Perfect, I Hope

  Good Morning

  Three Years Ago

  Only Good Things

  There is Only One Sky

  My Mom

  Not Today

  Sorry, Mom

  How it Has to Be

  Fill My Soul

  Missing you, Madison

  Morning Waves

  Like a Painful Song

  Two Years, Nine Months Ago

  Treasure Hunt

  Mixed Feelings

  My Heroes

  Beautiful Boy

  Like

  Something Special

  Ah, to Be a Snail

  Secrets

  A Keen Observation

  Two Years, Six Months Ago

  Shocking

  Never Before

  Trapped

  Radio for Help

  What a Feeling

  Hold on

  Ninety-Nine Degrees

  Spread the Luck

  Well … We Both Watch Movies

  Off-Limits

  Observant

  Special

  My Turn

  Two Years, Three Months Ago

  His Turn

  No Place Better

  Gonna Build us Some Fun

  From Nothing Comes Greatness

  Waiting to Be Rescued

  Surprise

  Secret Revealed

  The Story

  One Year, Six Months Ago

  No Choice

  Where’d that Come From?

  Lucky Me

  More than Just Pictures

  Spooked

  Tell Me your Story

  Sinking

  Whatever it Takes

  Yes, it’s Really Me

  Our Next Destination

  One Year Ago

  Not all that Sweet

  Through Death you Appreciate Life

  Don’t Think the Worst

  Relax

  I Heart Ghosts

  Haunted Indeed

  Hold on

  Sorrow in the Air

  Nine Months Ago

  In the Moment

  That’s Better

  Eight Arms and a Hundred Questions

  20/20

  RSVP

  Look Around

  Release me

  Holding the Line

  Please Try

  Worth a Shot

  Soaking Wet

  Nine Months Ago

  Unexpected

  Three’s a Crowd

  Sugar and Spies

  I’m Lucky

  Six Months Ago

  Extraordinary

  Some Friendly Insight

  Me and Him

  Dark Thoughts

  Our Day

  Six Months Ago

  Caught

  A Good Son

  Together Again

  Unnecessary

  That’s More Like It

  Piling it on

  Hints of Truth

  Six Months Ago

  More Surprises

  Where I Belong

  Music is Such an Aphrodisiac

  Take me there

  One Month Ago

  Me and you

  The Feeling’s Mutual

  So Much Goodness

  A Dream Come True

  Kissing

  Wrap me up

  Burning Bright

  Don’t you Know?

  Smoke and Mirrors

  Let Chance Decide

  I Surrender

  Two Weeks Ago

  Two Weeks Ago

  Taking Control

  Going, Going—Where?

  The Reveal

  His Story

  Dangerous

  Taking Chances

  Go Away

  The Truth Hurts

  What if

  One Week Ago

  A Familiar Place

  A Discovery

  Alike More than Different

  Imagine

  An Agreement of Sorts

  Sweet Dreams

  Messy

  Crunch Time

  Three Days Ago

  Stronger than I Thought

  Hearts in the Sand

  Here We Go

  The Road Back

  I Want the Happy Ending

  Getting Closer

  And Closer

  One Day Ago

  Thank you, God

  That’s What it is

  Is that a Promise?

  Parting is Just Plain Sorrow

  He’s a Good Example

  Two Weeks Later

  Acknowledgments

  Annette Pollert, thank you so much for your enthusiasm and all of your work to make this book the best it could be. On every page you pushed me—kindly and gently—but you pushed, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

  Sara Crowe, I cannot express how much I appreciate your rock solid support and belief in me. A million times, thank you.

  Cindy Hanson of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, thank you for your help with my research. Any errors in regards to your fantastic facility are mine, and mine alone.

  Bryan Bliss, thanks for asking around and helping me check very important facts. It’s
true—you’re awesome.

  Finally, I want to thank all of my fans who lift me up with kind words and deeds. People like Maddie, Alex, Kathleen, Sara, Jack, Alyson, Candace, Avonlea, Teresa, Hailee, Skyanne, Anna, Maryanne, Elizabeth, Jessica, Katie, James, Emma, Jasmine, Kristen, Lauren, Delaney, Savannah, and many other wonderful people. Your support means the world to me, really and truly.

  a different kind of day

  Some mornings,

  it’s hard to get

  out of bed.

  Sleep lures you

  like a stranger

  with a piece of candy.

  Follow me.

  It will be okay.

  I promise.

  You know better,

  but still you follow,

  because you really do

  love candy.

  When you finally

  open your eyes,

  late for everything

  and your whole day

  screwed,

  you curse that bastard,

  Mr. Sandman.

  It’s happened to me

  a hundred times.

  But not today.

  Today was different.

  Anticipation is the best

  alarm there is, and it shook

  me awake before

  my phone even had

  the chance.

  As I move around my room

  with my iPod on and earbuds in,

  my girl P!nk sings strong,

  and I feel like I have

  superpowers.

  The power to

  let myself go,

  let myself be,

  let myself live

  the next

  twenty-four hours

  in a way

  I have never lived

  before.

  ready, set, go

  In the bathroom

  I get myself ready,

  quiet as a sunrise.

  I grab my backpack

  containing

  the essentials—

  extra clothes,

  just in case;

  my drumsticks,

  just because;

  my camera,

  just for fun;

  and a box of jelly beans,

  just like always.

  I s l i n k

  into the dark kitchen,

  clutching the note

  I wrote last night.

  I thought of everything.

  The note goes in front

  of the food-splattered

  Betty Crocker Cookbook

  that sits on a stand

  in the middle of the counter,

  like a revered queen on her throne.

  The hardest part

  is unlocking the door,

  walking out,

  and leaving it all behind me.

  There’s a moment

  when the dead bolt clicks

  and I

  freeze,

  waiting to hear

  if footsteps

  will follow.

  The footsteps don’t come,

  so I go.

  practice makes perfect, I hope

  So long.

  Good-bye.

  See ya later.

  Every day

  for the past month,

  when I’ve left the house,

  I’ve tried to pretend

  it was the day.

  So long, Mom.

  I’ll think of you

  when I watch movies,

  see birds in the sky,

  and read all your motherly notes

  that I’ve saved over the years.

  Good-bye, Kelly.

  I’ll think of you

  when I hear a violin’s song,

  see a pile of library books,

  and remember all the secrets we’ve whispered

  since we were small.

  And even though

  he doesn’t live here anymore,

  I still say to him,

  See ya later, Dad.

  I’ll think of you

  when I hear about the latest techie gadget,

  watch a Mariners’ game,

  and bravely confront the spiders

  you used to battle for me.

  Today I think the words.

  Tomorrow they’ll expect me to say them.

  I hope I can say them.

  good morning

  The chilly air

  slides its arms around

  my warm, anxious body,

  and as I breathe in

  its faint floral scent,

  I feel myself begin

  to relax.

  While Mom watched

  the news last night,

  I stayed and watched too,

  instead of retreating

  to my drum set.

  The weatherman said

  it’s supposed to be nice today.

  A sunny day in March,

  a rare treat for Oregon.

  Next week is spring break.

  It’ll be raining by then.

  Sure as Mom will be

  curled up on the sofa

  with her afghan,

  drinking tea by the gallon,

  watching movie after movie,

  and hoping,

  wishing,

  praying for an escape

  from the heartbreak,

  it will

  r

  a

  i

  n

  I walk down the sidewalk

  of Englewood Avenue.

  Ten years of memories

  line the street

  and wave.

  Images

  of riding bikes,

  jumping rope,

  playing hide-and-seek

  swarm my brain

  like bees.

  I shake my head and walk faster.

  When I turn the corner,

  the limousine is waiting.

  The driver says, “Good morning.”

  My response to him

  is quick and awkward,

  the way it is

  when I have to say

  those words to someone

  I don’t know.

  And then I tell myself,

  You better get used to it.

  Three years ago

  Dear Amber,

  It breaks our hearts that you don’t want to meet us. We are hurt, but we also understand that it is a bigshock. Perhaps you just need more time to get used to the idea.

  We think about you every day, and have so manyquestions for you. What do you look like? What activities do you enjoy? What foods are your favorite?

  I will tell you a little bit about us, and maybe as we move toward meeting one another, it will help you to not be so afraid.

  The most important thing to know about me is that I love children. I have been a child-care provider for over twenty years. I get notes from parents telling me those first children I cared for years ago are now doing well in college!

  Allen also loves children, and has spent his life working in the educational system, as a teacher, a vice principal, and now, for the past few years, a principal. He is the kindest man you’ll ever meet. He has a big heart with a huge capacity to love.

  We’d love to hear from you. Please write back? I’ve enclosed our contact information along with our picture. I thought you might be curious about us the way we are curious about you.

  We really hope to hear from you.

  Love,

  Jeanie and Allen

  only good things

  I don’t have to tell the driver

  where we’re going.

  He knows.

  I arranged this weeks ago.

  Since there’s no bus

  that goes to the beach,

  my choices were

  a taxi or a limo.

  I chose the limo

  because the next

  twenty-four hours

  are not about

  holding back,


  being cheap,

  thinking hard,

  taking crap,

  feeling bad.

  They’re about

  being me,

  loving life,

  finding joy,

  playing hard,

  taking risks,

  and who knows what else.

  To plan it all

  would take away from

  the fun and excitement

  of what’s to come.

  Let the day

  reveal itself to me

  in its own time,

  in its own way.

  I am yours, Today.

  I am yours.

  there is only one sky

  As we head west,

  the sun begins to rise

  behind us,

  turning the sky

  sweet shades

  of pink and orange.

  The sky makes me think

  of my mother.

  When, as a curious five-year-old, I asked her

  why she chose my name,

  she explained

  Amber means “sky”

  in another language.

  “You, sweetheart,”

  she told me,

  “you are my sky.”

  I remember her answer

  because I didn’t know

  what it meant

  to be someone’s sky.

  As I stare out at

  the body of blueness

  splashed with orange,

  pink, and white streaks,

  so magnificent

  I want to tuck the entire

  masterpiece into my bag

  and keep it forever,

  I finally understand.

  my mom

  If I am her sky,

  she is my sun.

  Warm,

  bright,

  and

  ever present.

  Even in the darkness,

  I am comforted knowing

  she is there,

  always there,

  even if I can’t see her

  or feel her.

  While I play

  loud and strong

  on my drums,

  she walks

  quiet and soft

  in the woods.

  She looks for birds,

  marks them in her book,

  and finds joy in

  discovering the new.

  Peace and quiet,

 
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