Chapter 15

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After I fled the party, I was planning on getting far, far away from home. I needed to clear my head, first of all. Obviously I wasn’t in my right mind (or any mind at all) if I had kissed Alexander. Kissed! And not an innocent peck on the cheek, either!

So I ran down the street, the night air cool and soothing against my skin. The full moon was out, as were the stars. I didn’t often have time to appreciate the world’s beauty. But tonight, my mind was full of ambition.

Then I shivered and realized it was chilly. Very chilly. And there was a giant, nasty mosquito sucking the living daylights out of my shoulder.

So I screamed and ran. Man, I was making up for all those lost trips to the gym in one night. I fled back to my house and hid out behind the bushes until all the guests had left. Right before my parents freaked and called the S.W.A.T. team in to find me, I trudged my sorry self through the door. Mom and Dad were waiting for me right next to the staircase with you’re-doomed looks on their faces.

Here went nothing.

“Nancy!” Mom exclaimed in relief.

“Nancy!” Dad shouted in not-so-relief. He looked angry. Very angry. As in I-Just-Saw-Kevin-Do-Something-Stupid-Again angry. His skinny Asian mustache moved up and down distractedly as he growled in English, “Care to explain what that boy do to you?”

I looked down at my feet. Shame flooded through me, shame because I’d never seen Dad this enraged before—Kevin was usually the one at the receiving end of parental anger. And I could officially say that it was not a good feeling to be the one at the receiving end of parental anger.

“Um…” I said stupidly, stalling for time,  “what you saw earlier with Alexander…and I…it’s a misunderstanding.”

“What I misunderstand? He suck your face off!” Dad yelled.

Mom looked scandalized. “Dear, calm down,” she hissed in Chinese, patting him on the arm and trying to calm him down. “You’re overreacting. Don’t think of it as, uh…sucking face off. Think of this as a great fortune that has fallen upon our family.”

“What?” Dad and I both burst out, staring at Mom in complete shock.

She frowned at our reaction. “What’s wrong?”

“Mom, it’s just—I thought…I thought you were going to skin me alive,” I stammered.

“And why would I do that?”

“Because your daughter suck face with strange boy before marriage,” Dad shouted.

Mom and I rolled our eyes. “Ai-ya, Zhan Ni, lighten up a little,” she coaxed. “We aren’t living in the nineteenth century anymore. Nancy is allowed the freedom to be with any boy she wants to be.”

Dad’s mouth kept opening and closing and opening and closing as he gaped at his wife. I couldn’t blame him, either. In fact, my jaw was doing the slinkie right along with him.

Mom had done a complete one-eighty from her previous boys-are-the-devil attitude. In fourth grade, Andy Wu had kissed me on the hand because we were playing house, and Mom had thrown a spatula at him. At a ten year old! And now it was okay for me to be locking lips with Alexander?

“Mom, there’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?” I said at last, staring my mother down.

She blinked and looked away quickly. “Don’t be silly, Nancy. I don’t have an ulterior motive. I just want you to be happy is all.”

Happy, my butt. Something was definitely wrong here.

I turned back to Dad, but he was already waving me away, dismissing me. It hurt, though. Because he wouldn’t even look at me. I left the room hearing him whisper to Mom, “I can’t believe both our kids turned out this way. Such a disappointment.”

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