shrugged. I knew Eddie was a lawyer, but I didnât know he also translated. âI donât know. I thought he just went to an office and . . . did stuff.â Now I felt kind of silly not asking for help when I had an honest-to-goodness translator living right under the same roof as me.
âThen letâs see if Eddie can help,â Dad said. âBut if not, weâll get you that tutor, okay?â
âOkay,â I said.
âAnd no more secrets,â Mom said sternly. âIn fact, you can live without screens this week while you think about that. No phone, TV, music, or computer. And if you keep any notes from teachers from us in the future, it will be two weeks.â
I saw her look at Dad, and Dad gave a little nod.
I didnât even protest. With a sigh, I handed over my music player and earbuds, and my phone.
Luckily, Dad saw our order appear at the counter right then. âFoodâs ready! Iâll be right back.â
The rest of the lunch was a lot easier. We ate salads with vinegary dressing and these light green peppers that were sweet and hot at the same time. Then we had our usualâpizza with mushrooms and olives. (Iknow it sounds weird, but itâs really good, trust me.)
For a minute, it almost seemed like old times, like nothing had changed. Except really, everything had. Before, Mom and Dad would have been talking and laughing the whole time. Now they couldnât even look at each other. Just like that other day, they both talked to me instead of each other.
And then, instead of all of us going back home, Mom and I got into a cab and headed to the train station. Back to Maple Grove. Back to our new life.
Things were never going to be the way theyâd been before. I knew that. But knowing that didnât make it any easier. Was everyone really happier?
A Cheesy Problem
W hen we got home, Mom and I met Eddie in the kitchen, and she told him the whole story.
âI think I can help you,â Eddie said. âLetâs take a look at your homework together after dinner, okay?â
I nodded, grateful that Eddie didnât give me a hard time about it all. After dinner that night, he and I sat at the kitchen table, and I showed him my worksheet.
âItâs verbs I have trouble with,â I told him. âThereâs, like, a million different ways to say and spell each one, and I canât keep them straight in my head.â
âLet me see,â Eddie said, taking the sheet. He looked it over and then smiled. âI used to havetrouble with this too. But let me show you a trick I figured out.â
So, I wonât bore you with a whole Spanish lesson, but you need to know that by the time Eddie was done helping me, I actually understood what was on the sheet. I answered every question, and Eddie didnât even have to help me with the last two. It was the first time Iâd ever felt good about handing in my Spanish homework.
âThanks, Eddie,â I said when we were done.
Even though the tutoring went well, I was still feeling pretty down that night. Thatâs because I knew that tomorrow Iâd have to tell Sydney about the quiero / queso mistake.
I could keep the Spanish secret for so long because I was only hurting myself. But the queso secret was hurting Jackson, and it would be wrong if I didnât say anything.
But I was dreading it. I saw what Sydney did to Jackson when she was mad at him. She was going to destroy me, I just knew it.
So the next day, Monday, I knew what I had to do. As soon as I got off the bus, I walked up to Sydney. She and Maggie were hanging out by the tree in the front school yard, texting.
âSydney, can I talk to you?â I asked.
âBusy,âshe said, not even looking up from her phone. âLater, okay?â
I tried again in the hallway, when I ran up to Sydney at her locker. She was talking to Eddie Rossi, but I interrupted her.
âCan I please talk to