The Swap

Free The Swap by Megan Shull

Book: The Swap by Megan Shull Read Free Book Online
Authors: Megan Shull
soccer,” he repeats. “Stay in your room. Got it.”
    â€œYeah, just, like, stay in my room. Please! Promise me that no matter what my mom says, don’t go anywhere , okay?”
    â€œOkay,” he answers. “Chill!”
    â€œ No soccer,” I repeat.
    â€œOkay, no soccer, I get it, you already said that.”
    â€œAnd whatever you do, no sleepovers! No birthday parties!”
    â€œDude!” he says. “Relax! I’m not going to some chick birthday party, okay?”
    â€œSwear?”
    â€œI swear.”
    Suddenly he looks worried again. “Oh, man . . .”
    â€œWhat?”
    â€œHockey . . .” His voice trails off, and for a second I think he might cry too.
    â€œDo not under any circumstances go to hockey,” he tells me.
    â€œHockey?” I laugh. “I can’t even skate.”
    â€œGood, yeah, well. Just . . . don’t go. Make something up, okay?”
    â€œSure.” I shrug. “No problem.”
    â€œLook, Ellie.” Jack takes a big deep breath. “We have got to make this work, okay? One weekend, that’s two measly days, right? How hard can it be?”
    He almost has me convinced.
    â€œHow hard can it be?” I repeat.
    â€œSo we’ll meet by the main office first thing Monday. Deal?” Jack extends my own arm toward me.
    â€œDeal,” I say, shaking my own hand.
    And, this is embarrassing, but, um, I seriously can’t hold it much longer, so I just blurt it out. “Jack, you, I mean we . . . I mean . . . I have to pee.”
    Jack pushes me toward the small nurse’s room bathroom, opens the door, and points to the toilet.
    â€œWhat do I even do?” I squeal.
    â€œJust go in there and, like . . .” He cringes. “Just, like . . .” He stops and swallows hard. It’s pretty obvious he’s just as embarrassed as I am.
    â€œYeah?”
    â€œGrab on, aim, and shake when you’re done.”

UNCORRECTED E-PROOF—NOT FOR SALE
    HarperCollins Publishers
    ..................................................................

    WHEN THE BELL RINGS, I’M not gonna lie—
    Freckles has to push me.
    â€œIt’s now or never!” she tells me, grabbing my new bony-girl wrist and pulling me out the nurse’s room doorway. Stepping into the jammed hallway is probably the most petrified feeling I have ever had in my life. It’s a madhouse. And it’s loud. So loud. It seems like every single kid at Thatcher is pushing and shoving and shouting. The two of us stand side by side, our arms brushing, our backs to the lockers, sort of frozen, staring out at the scene.
    I grab Ellie’s hand for just a second before I realize what it looks like.
    Like we’re, you know, a couple, holding hands, and I drop it fast.
    â€œJack! What are you doing?”
    â€œI know, it’s just—” I stop. Just the small fact that I’m a friggin’ girl!
    I don’t say that out loud, though, because one glance toward Freckles standing in the Thatcher hallway with my banged-up face—black eye, swollen nose—and I can tell she’s just as overwhelmed as I am.
    â€œHey,” I say, speaking kind of loud so that she can hear me over the crowd. “Let’s move on three, okay?”
    Freckles nods.
    â€œOkay,” I start. “Ready?”
    â€œReady,” she says.
    â€œOne,” we both say. “Two . . .” And—
    Exactly on three, Sammy appears out of nowhere and throws his arm around Freckles’s neck. “’Sup, dude!”
    She catches my eye, like, Could this get any weirder? Then she glares at Sammy like he’s totally crazy.
    Really, we’re the crazy ones!
    I nod at her like, you know, I am you and you are me, remember? And if that’s not enough, I walk behind her and sort of nudge her in the back.
    â€œThat’s my friend Sammy,” I

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