|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
A LITTLE WHILE LATER I wake up to kitty standing at the foot of my bed. “You’ve got ice cream on your sheets,” she informs me.
I groan and turn over to my side. “Kitty, that’s the least of my problems today.”
“Daddy wants to know if you want chicken for dinner or hamburgers. My vote is chicken.”
I sit straight up. Daddy’s home! Maybe he knows something. He was on that cleaning binge, throwing things away. Maybe he’s spirited my hatbox away somewhere safe, and the Peter letter was just an unfortunate fluke!
I jump out of bed and run downstairs, my heart thumping hard in my chest. My dad’s in his study, wearing his glasses and reading a thick book on Audubon paintings.
All in one breath I ask, “Daddy-have-you-seen-my-hatbox?”
He looks up; his face is hazy and I can tell he is still with Audubon’s birds and not at all focused on my frenzied state. “What box?”
“My teal hatbox Mommy gave me!”
“Oh, that . . . ,” he says, still looking confused. He takes off his glasses. “I don’t know. It might have gone the way of your roller skates.”
“What does that mean? What are you even saying?”
“Goodwill. There’s a slight possibility I took them to Goodwill.”
When I gasp, my dad says defensively, “Those roller skates don’t even fit you anymore. They were just taking up space!”
I sink to the floor. “They were pink and they were vintage and I was saving them for Kitty . . . and that’s not even the point. I don’t care about the roller skates. I care about my hatbox! Daddy, you don’t even know what you’ve done.” My dad gets up and tries to pull me off the floor. I resist him and flop onto my back like a goldfish.
“Lara Jean, I don’t even know that I got rid of it. Come on, let’s have a look around the house, all right? Don’t let’s panic yet.”
“There’s only one place it could be, and it’s not there. It’s gone.”
“Then I’ll check Goodwill tomorrow on my way to work,” he says, squatting down next to me. He’s giving me that look—sympathetic but also exasperated and mystified, like How is it possible that my sane and reasonable DNA created such a crazy daughter?
“It’s too late. It’s too late. There’s no point.”
“What was in that box that’s so important?”
I can feel my ice cream sundae curdling in my stomach. For the second time today I feel like I’m going to be sick. “Only everything.”
He grimaces. “I really didn’t realize your mother had given it to you or that it was so important.” As he retreats off to the kitchen, he says, “Hey, how about an ice cream sundae before dinner? Will that cheer you up?”
As if dessert before dinner would be the thing that cheers me up, as if I am Kitty’s age and not sixteen going on seventeen. I don’t even bother dignifying it with an answer. I just lie there on the floor, my cheek against the cool hardwood. Besides, there isn’t any ice cream left anyway, but he’ll find that out soon enough.
I don’t even want to think about Josh reading that letter. I don’t even want to think it. It’s too terrible.
* * *
After dinner (chicken, per Kitty’s request), I’m in the kitchen doing dishes when I hear the doorbell ring. Daddy opens the door, and I hear Josh’s voice. “Hey, Dr. Covey. Is Lara Jean around?”
Oh, no. No no no no. I can’t see Josh. I know I have to at some point, but not today. Not right this second. I can’t. I just can’t.
I drop the plate back into the sink and make a run for it, out the back door, down the porch steps, across the backyard to the Pearces’ yard. I scramble up the wooden ladder and into Carolyn Pearce’s old tree house. I haven’t been in this tree house since middle school. We used to hang out up here sometimes, at night—Chris and Genevieve and Allie and me, the boys a couple of times.
I peek through the wooden slats, crouched in a ball, waiting until I see Josh walk back to his house. When I’m sure he’s inside, I climb down the ladder and run back to mine. I sure have been doing a lot of running today. I’m exhausted, now that I think of it.