We'll Always Have Summer Page 1

Author: Jenny Han

Series: Summer #3

Genres: Romance , Young Adult

Chapter One

When it’s finals week and you’ve been studying for five hours straight, you need three things to get you through the night. The biggest Slurpee you can find, half cherry, half Coke. Pajama pants, the kind that have been washed so many times, they are tissue-paper thin. And finally, dance breaks. Lots of dance breaks. When your eyes start to close and all you want is your bed, dance breaks will get you through.

It was four in the morning, and I was studying for the last final of my freshman year at Finch University. I was camped out in my dorm library with my new best friend, Anika Johnson, and my old best friend, Taylor Jewel.

Summer vacation was so close, I could almost taste it. Just five more days. I’d been counting down since April.

“Quiz me,” Taylor commanded, her voice scratchy.

I opened my notebook to a random page. “Define anima versus animus.”

Taylor chewed on her lower lip. “Give me a hint.”

“Umm … think Latin,” I said.

“I didn’t take Latin! Is there going to be Latin on this exam?”

“No, I was just trying to give you a hint. Because in Latin boys names end in -us and girls names end in -a, and anima is feminine archetype and animus is masculine archetype. Get it?”

She let out a big sigh. “No. I’m probably going to fail.”

Looking up from her notebook, Anika said, “Maybe if you stopped texting and started studying, you wouldn’t.”

Taylor glared at her. “I’m helping my big sister plan our end-of-year breakfast, so I have to be on call tonight.”

“On call?” Anika looked amused. “Like a doctor?”

“Yes, just like a doctor,” Taylor snapped.

“So, will it be pancakes or waffles?”

“French toast, thank you very much.”

The three of us were all taking the same freshman psych class, and Taylor’s and my exam was tomorrow, Anika’s was the day after. Anika was my closest friend at school besides Taylor. Seeing as how Taylor was competitive by nature, it was a friendship that she was more than a little jealous of, not that she’d ever in a million years admit it.

My friendship with Anika was different from my friendship with Taylor. Anika was laid-back and easy to be with. More than that, though, she gave me the space to be different. She hadn’t known me my whole life, so she had no expectations or preconceptions. There was freedom in that. And she wasn’t like any of my friends back home.

She was from New York, and her father was a jazz musician and her mother was a writer.

A couple of hours later, the sun was rising and casting the room in a bluish light, and Taylor’s head was down, while Anika was staring off into space like a zombie.

I rolled up two paper balls in my lap and threw them at my two friends. “Dance break,” I sang out. I did a little shimmy in my chair.

Anika glared at me. “Why are you so chipper?”

“Because,” I said, clapping my hands together. “In just a few hours, it will all be over.” My exam wasn’t until one in the afternoon, so my plan was to go back to my dorm and sleep for a couple of hours, then wake up with time to spare and study some more.

I overslept, but I still managed to get another hour of studying in. I didn’t have time to go to the dining hall for breakfast, so I just drank a Cherry Coke from the vend-ing machine.

The test was as hard as we had expected, but I was pretty sure I would get at least a B. Taylor was pretty sure she hadn’t failed, which was good. Both of us were too we’ll always have summer · 3

tired to celebrate after, so we just high-fived and went our separate ways.

I headed back to my dorm room, ready to pass out until at least dinnertime, and when I opened the door, there was Jeremiah, asleep in my bed. He looked like a little boy when he slept, even with the stubble. He was stretched out on top of my comforter, his feet hanging over the edge of the bed, my stuffed polar bear hugged to his chest.

I took off my shoes and crawled into my twin, extra-long bed next to him. He stirred, opened his eyes, and said, “Hi.”

“Hi,” I said.

“How’d it go?”

“Pretty good.”

“Good.” He let go of Junior Mint and hugged me to him. “I brought you the other half of my sub from lunch.”

“You’re sweet,” I said, burrowing my head in his shoulder.

He kissed my hair. “I can’t have my girl skipping meals left and right.”

“It was just breakfast,” I said. As an afterthought, I added, “And lunch.”

“Do you want my sub now? It’s in my book bag.”

Now that I thought about it, I was hungry, but I was also sleepy. “Maybe a little later,” I said, closing my eyes.

Then he fell back to sleep, and I fell asleep too. When I woke up, it was dark out, Junior Mint was on the floor, and Jeremiah’s arms were around me. He was still asleep.

We had started dating right before I began senior year of high school. “Dating” didn’t feel like the right word for it. We were just together. It all happened so easily and so quickly that it felt like it had always been that way.

One minute we were friends, then we were kissing, and then the next thing I knew, I was applying to the same college as him. I told myself and everyone else (including him, including my mother especially) that it was a good school, that it was only a few hours from home and it made sense to apply there, that I was keeping my options open. All of those things were true. But truest of all was that I just wanted to be near him. I wanted him for all seasons, not just summer.

Now here we were, lying next to each other in my dorm-room bed. He was a sophomore, and I was finishing up my freshman year. It was crazy how far we had come. We’d known each other our whole lives, and in some ways, it felt like a big surprise—in other ways it felt inevitable.

Chapter Two

Jeremiah’s fraternity was throwing an end-of-year party.

In less than a week we would all go home for the summer, and we wouldn’t be back at Finch until the end of August. I had always loved summertime best of all, but now that I was finally going home, somehow it felt a little bittersweet. I was used to meeting Jeremiah in the dining hall for breakfast every morning and doing my laundry with him at his frat house late at night. He was good at folding my T-shirts.

This summer, he would be interning at his dad’s company again, and I was going to waitress at a family restaurant called Behrs, the same as I did last summer. Our plan was to meet at the summer house in Cousins as often as we could.

There were a few lightning bugs out. It was just getting dark, and it wasn’t too hot of a night. I was wearing heels, which was stupid, since on a last-minute impulse I’d walked instead of taking the bus. I just figured it was the last time for a long time I’d walk across campus on a nice night like this.

I’d invited Anika and our friend Shay to come with me, but Anika had a party with her dance team, and Shay was already done with finals and had flown home to Texas. Taylor’s sorority was having a mixer, so she wasn’t coming either. It was just me and my sore feet.

I had texted Jeremiah to tell him I was on my way and that I was walking, so it would take me a little while.

I had to keep stopping to adjust my shoes because they were cutting into the backs of my feet. Heels were dumb, I decided.

Halfway there, I saw him sitting on my favorite bench.

He stood up when he saw me. “Surprise!”

“You didn’t have to meet me,” I said, feeling very happy he had. I sat down on the bench.

“You look hot,” he said.

Even now, after being boyfriend and girlfriend for a whole two years, I still blushed a little when he said things like that. “Thanks,” I said. I was wearing a sundress that I had borrowed from Anika. It was white with little blue flowers and ruffly straps.

“That dress reminds me of The Sound of Music, but in a hot way.”

“Thanks,” I said again. Did the dress make me look like Fräulein Maria, I wondered? That didn’t sound like a good thing. I smoothed down the straps a little.

A couple of guys I didn’t recognize stopped and said hi to Jeremiah, but I stayed put on the bench so I could rest my feet.

When they were gone, he said, “Ready?”

I groaned. “My feet are killing me. Heels are dumb.”

Jeremiah stooped down low and said, “Hop on, girl.”

Giggling, I climbed on his back. I always giggled when he called me “girl.” I couldn’t help it. It was funny.

He hoisted me up and I put my arms around his neck.

“Is your dad coming on Monday?” Jeremiah asked as we crossed the main lawn.

“Yeah. You’re gonna help, right?”

“Come on, now. I’m carrying you across campus. I have to help you move, too?”

I swatted him on the head and he ducked. “Okay, okay,” he said.

Then I blew a raspberry on his neck, and he yelped like a little girl. I laughed the whole way there.

Chapter Three

At Jeremiah’s fraternity house, the doors were wide open and people were hanging out on the front lawn.

Multicolored Christmas lights were haphazardly strung all over the place—on the mailbox, the front porch, even along the edgy of the walkway. They had three inflatable kiddie pools set up that people were lounging in like they were in hot tubs. Guys were running around with Super Soakers and spraying beer into each other’s mouths. Some of the girls were in their bikinis.

I hopped off Jeremiah’s back and took my shoes off in the grass.

“The pledges did a nice job with this,” Jeremiah said, nodding appreciatively at the kiddie pools. “Did you bring your suit?”

I shook my head.

“Want me to see if one of the girls has an extra?” he offered.

Quickly, I said, “No thanks.”

I knew Jeremiah’s fraternity brothers from hanging out at the house, but I didn’t know the girls very well.

Most of them were from Zeta Phi, Jeremiah’s fraternity’s sister sorority. That meant they had mixers and parties together, that kind of thing. Jeremiah had wanted me to rush Zeta Phi, but I’d said no. I told him it was because I couldn’t afford the fees and paying extra to live in a sorority house, but it was really more that I was hoping to be friends with all kinds of girls, not just the ones I’d meet in a sorority. I wanted a broader college experience, like my mother was always saying. According to Taylor, Zeta Phi was for party girls and sluts, as opposed to her sorority, which was allegedly classier and more exclusive. And way more focused on community service, she’d added as an afterthought.

Girls kept coming up and hugging Jeremiah. They said hi to me, and I said hi back, then I went upstairs to put my bag in Jeremiah’s room. On my way downstairs, I saw her.

Lacie Barone, wearing skinny jeans and a silky tank top and patent leather red heels that probably brought her up to five-four at most, talking to Jeremiah. Lacie was the social chair of Zeta Phi, and she was a junior—a year older than Jere, two years older than me. Her hair was 10 · jenny han

dark brown, cut in a swishy bob, and she was petite. She was, by anybody’s standards, hot. According to Taylor, she had a thing for Jeremiah. I told Taylor it didn’t bother me one bit, and I meant it. Why should I care?

Of course girls would like Jeremiah. He was the kind of boy girls liked. But even a girl as pretty as Lacie didn’t have anything on us. We were a couple years and years in the making. I knew him better than anyone, the same as he knew me, and I knew Jere would never look at another girl.

Jeremiah saw me then, and he waved at me to come over. I walked up to them and said, “Hey, Lacie.”

“Hey,” she said.

Pulling me toward him, Jeremiah said, “Lacie is gonna study abroad in Paris this fall.” To Lacie, he said, “We want to go backpacking in Europe next summer.”

Sipping her beer, she said, “That’s cool. Which countries?”

“We’re definitely going to France,” Jeremiah said.

“Belly speaks really fluent French.”

“I really don’t,” I told her, embarrassed. “I just took it in high school.”

Lacie said, “Oh, I’m horrible too. I really just want to go and eat lots of cheese and chocolate.”

She had a voice that was surprisingly husky for someone so small. I wondered if she smoked. She smiled at me, and I thought, Taylor was wrong about her, she was a nice girl.

When she left a few minutes later to get a drink, I said,

“She’s nice.”

Jeremiah shrugged and said, “Yeah, she’s cool. Want me to get you a drink?”

“Sure,” I said.

He led me by the shoulders and planted me on the couch. “You sit right here. Don’t move a muscle. I’ll be right back.”

I watched him make his way through the crowd, feeling proud I could call him mine. My boyfriend, my Jeremiah. The first boy I had ever fallen asleep next to.

The first boy I ever told about the time I accidentally I walked in on my parents doing it when I was eight. The first boy to go out and buy me Midol because my cramps were so bad, the first boy to paint my toenails, to hold my hair back when I threw up that time I got really drunk in front of all his friends, the first boy to write me a love note on the whiteboard hanging outside my dorm room.

YOU ARE THE MILK TO MY SHAKE, forever

and ever. Love, J.

He was the first boy I ever kissed. He was my best friend. More and more, I understood. This was the way it was supposed to be. He was the one. My one.

Chapter Four

We were dancing. I had my arms around Jeremiah’s neck, and the music was pulsing around us. I felt flushed and abuzz, from the dancing and from the alcohol. The room was packed with people, but when Jere looked at me, there was no one else. Just me and him.

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