The ward of castoria, p.30
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       The Ward of Castoria, p.30

           Robin Silverglate

  Chapter 12


  “Don’t stay up too late,” called Bryn’s aunt from the top of the stairs.

  “Okay,” said Bryn politely as she plopped down on the couch next to her cousin. Nick, however, chose not to respond. Instead, he covertly rolled his eyes so that only Bryn could see. Nick and her aunt had arrived earlier in the evening and they were all settling down to bed now. Bryn’s aunt was staying in her room while she and her cousin grabbed some pillows and blankets to use on the couches in the living room.

  “Are you going to sleep already?” asked Nick in disbelief when he saw Bryn lay her head down on the pillow.

  Bryn checked the clock on the cable box. “It’s twelve-thirty.”

  “But it’s only nine-thirty in California time,” he said turning on the television. “I’m not even tired.”

  “Not everyone is on Spring Break like you. I still have school tomorrow.”

  “You can catch up on sleep during your Spring Break in two weeks. Stay up with me a while longer.”

  She sat up and said, “All right. You want to watch a movie or something?”

  Nick was already scrolling through the channels for a show. He found a movie they both liked and they settled in. When the movie ended at two o’clock, they snuck into the kitchen for a late night snack of ice cream and cookies. Their old camaraderie easily returned as they talked about high school and what their plans for college were.

  Bryn rolled her eyes at the clock which brightly shined the offending time. “I can’t believe you made me stay up this late. I have to work tomorrow, too.”

  “Don’t blame me, Wookie Head,” Nick whispered back to her. “I didn’t force you to stay up. You could have said no and I would have watched the movie by myself.”

  “Wookie Head?” she said while quietly laughing. “I’d forgotten about that nickname.” When Bryn was young, she refused to wear her long, brown hair in braids or ponytails. Consequently, her hair was often in a knotted state of disarray. Nick came up with the nickname Wookie Head because he said she reminded him of the large, shaggy Star Wars character.

  “No one else calls you Wookie Head here?” Nick asked in feigned disbelief. “It seems like such an obvious nickname for you.” Bryn grabbed her pillow and smacked him in the head.

  “This is how you treat your long lost cousin?” came the muffled voice under the pillow.

  She took back the pillow and said, “Only when you annoy the crap out of me at three in the morning instead of letting me sleep.”

  “You know you love it,” Nick replied with a lazy smile.

  Bryn stuck out her tongue at him, but she silently admitted that she loved Nick’s teasing. He had always been fun to hang out with. It was like having a brother in her house and she willingly put up with his ribbing.

  “Why don’t you skip school tomorrow and hang out. You could show me all the touristy spots of DC.”

  “I can’t. There’s too much going on.” Bryn was starting to get sleepy again, but she remembered there was a test in calculus and an important lab in chemistry that she couldn’t miss.

  “Come on,” pleaded Nick. “It will be fun. I could probably convince Mom to let us go out on our own.”

  She rested her arm over her eyes and said, “I wish I could. But I really can’t.”

  Nick fluffed his pillow before lying down. “You could sleep in a little longer. We don’t have to leave until ten.”

  After a long sigh, Bryn said, “Tempting, but no.”

  “I bet you’ll regret it,” was the last thing Bryn heard before she fell asleep.

  It seemed like the alarm went off five seconds after she fell asleep. She groaned as she got off of the couch. As she slowly made her way to the bathroom in zombie-like fashion, she heard Nick mumble, “Sucks for you,” and then he rolled over to sleep some more. Bryn somehow got ready without being late, but she made sure to smack her still-sleeping cousin’s shoulder on the way out of the house.

  When he made a grunt of protest, Bryn playfully replied, “Whoops! Sorry.” She closed the door just in time to avoid the flying pillow hurtled across the room.

  The school day dragged by agonizingly slow. Nick’s warning about how she would regret not skipping school often repeated in her head. She nodded off twice during class and even went inside her father’s office during lunch in order to take a quick cat nap. During fifth period, Nick started texting her selfies at all the different monuments he was visiting. She was a little jealous. Not because she wanted to see the Washington and Lincoln monuments. She had actually been there dozens of times. It was just because Nick looked so well-rested and happy. Here at school, she had to deal with a slow moving clock and nasty glances from the Evil Stepsisters.

  She perked up a little after school and when she got to work. Nicole greeted Bryn with her cheery smile. “Do you want to spend the night tonight? My Mom said you could.”

  “Sorry, but I’ve got family in town this weekend.” Her cousin was fun to hang out with and her Aunt brought back pleasant memories for her. Aunt Janet was strikingly similar to her mother. They had the same brown hair and perky nose. Even Aunt Janet’s laugh reminded her of her mother’s throaty chuckle. It felt like having a little piece of her mother around when Aunt Janet was there.

  Nicole, however, was clearly disappointed. “I guess that means you’re busy tomorrow night, too.”

  “Yeah. My aunt and cousin leave Sunday morning. Why? Did you want to do something?”

  “I’m going to a party with Marissa and some other friends from school. There will be a lot of cute guys there. I thought maybe one of them might peak your interest.”

  Bryn raised an eyebrow. “Are you trying set me up with someone?”

  “Both of us actually,” said Nicole mischievously. “We need to start thinking about prom, you know?”

  “Last I heard, you were protesting it on the grounds that it’s just a glorified dance that is pointless in the long run. What made you change your mind?”


  “Who’s Chris?” asked Bryn in an exaggeratedly curious tone.

  “A cute exchange student. Come with me tomorrow night and see for yourself.”

  Bryn thought for a moment and said, “Maybe I could convince Nick to come.”

  Nicole mimicked Bryn’s tone when she asked, “Who’s Nick?”

  “Ewww. Don’t start getting any ideas. Nick is my cousin.” At that exact moment, Bryn heard her phone announce an incoming text. She clicked on the selfie of Nick in front of the Capitol Building. Bryn held up the cell phone and said, “That’s Nick.”

  Nicole took one look at the picture and said, “That’s your cousin? He’s hot.”

  Bryn regarded the picture again. She had never really thought of her cousin as being “hot” before, but upon an impartial inspection, she could see why Nicole thought he was handsome. Nick had golden blonde hair, light blue eyes, and finely chiseled facial features.

  Nicole hadn’t stopped talking. “Now you really have to come.”

  “I don’t know,” said Bryn hesitantly. “He might want to stay home with the family tomorrow night. He’s touring Georgetown during the day.”

  Nicole grabbed her cell phone and speedily texted:

  Do u want to come to a party with me on Sat night?

  “I can’t believe that you did that!” chastised Bryn.

  A ding from her cell phone alerted the girls. Nicole nabbed Bryn’s phone and smiled. Bryn grabbed her phone back and opened Nick’s response:

  Hell yes

  Bryn rolled her eyes and smiled as she said, “You win.”
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