You Just Cant Get Enough | Chapter 43 of 43

Author: Cecily von Ziegesar | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2340 Views | Add a Review

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Josephine Milford—Jojo to anyone who wanted to stay on her good side—tossed another Roxy hoodie atop the mountainous pile of clothing in the center of her sustainable bamboo bed. She heaved a sigh, then gathered her thick brown hair into a ponytail at the top of her head. Her room was stuffy, since her parents refused to set the A/C below eighty-four degrees.

Jojo was packing for Greenland, of all places, and she wasn’t having an easy go of it. Her wardrobe go-to’s—-miniskirts, tank tops, lightweight cotton T-shirts, and her most flattering Gap v-neck—didn’t exactly scream “ice-bound continent!” Sure, her parents were on their sabbatical from UC Sacramento, but who takes a sixteen-year-old girl to Greenland for her pivotal junior year?

She turned to her mirrored closet door, wondering how she would look after a semester in the snow. Today she was wearing her Sacramento High soccer shorts and a white boys’ tank top. Her olive skin, a deep brown thanks to a summer of soccer practice, would probably fade to pale and pasty. Her pink lips would become chapped and wintery. Hopefully, her blue-gray eyes wouldn’t freeze shut as she cried away her school year in Greenland’s frigid tundra.

Jojo stuck out her tongue at her reflection as she waited for her best friend, Willa Barnes, to come back to the phone. They were discussing the tragic way Jojo would be spending the next nine months.

“Sorry about that,” Willa finally breathed into the phone. “Damian put his turtle in the toilet bowl.”

Jojo would babysit Willa’s little brother Damian until she turned fifty if it meant she could stay in Sacramento. Not that it was the capital of cool or anything, but it was better than Nuuk. At least she had friends here. Plus, she’d made forward on the soccer team.

“You know that cute miniskirt I bought at Bebe last week?” Jojo looked longingly at her short, red A-line skirt with oversized front pockets. She pulled it on over her soccer shorts and admired her tanned calves in the mirror. “Do you want to adopt it?” she sighed, yanking the skirt off and throwing it into a separate pile on her bed. “I don’t think Greenland is miniskirt territory.”

Willa laughed. “There might be cute Greenlandian guys who need to see a girl wearing something totally inappropriate.”

Jojo flopped onto her bed, picking up the latest Us Weekly. Barbar and their kids were on the cover with three Bangladesh villagers. Their oldest daughter wore a green Versace halter and a pair of True Religion cutoffs. Jojo tossed the magazine on her desk with her iPod and a stack of books she’d probably read within the first week of boring Greenland life.

“Besides, maybe it will get globally warmed by the time you get there,” Willa reasoned.

“Maybe,” Jojo said dubiously. She looked out her window, imagining Justin Klatch, the captain of the boys’ soccer team, pulling his blue Scion up in front of the house to appeal to her parents for mercy. He was in love with Jojo and needed her to stay in Sacramento. If they took her away now, he’d become a recluse, not even leaving his house for soccer games. Maybe hearing his teary plea, her parents would relent. . . .

There was a knock at Jojo’s door.

“Gotta go.” Jojo quickly dropped the phone on her nightstand and picked up a pair of jeans. She was supposed to be packing, not chatting. Pretending to fold them, she yelled, “Come in!” to her dads.

Yes, dads.

Yes, plural.

Frederick and Bradley Milford shuffled into her room, looking like cover models for the Non-Threatening Gay Men Catalog. Even in balmy August, they wore sweater vests. Fred’s was a little snug around his potato-sack upper body. Bradley was carrying a cup of his favorite free-trade coffee in a National Public Radio pledge drive mug.

“Hi,” Jojo said innocently, gesturing to the pile of to-pack items. “Look at all my progress.”

Fred looked at her over the top of his horn-rim glasses. “Jojo, can we have a chat?”

She shoved the pile of clothing from her bed, revealing the organic cotton bedspread. “Go for it.”

Fred and Bradley sat and Jojo pulled out her IKEA desk chair. She plopped onto it backwards, resting her chin on the seat back. “What’s up? Greenland called and canceled? We’re ruining my social life and potential for teenage normalcy in Costa Rica instead?”

“No, this is serious,” Fred said, tugging a loose thread on his sweater and admiring his new wedding ring. “Why don’t you come sit over here?” He patted the bed between him and Bradley. Fred was short and bald with chocolate skin and a soft cuddly look to him. He always wanted to drop ten pounds, though he’d need to lose fifteen to make any difference.

Bradley, on the other hand, was pale and reedy, with pointy features and a wild tuft of blond hair that couldn’t be controlled by even hair gel. Jojo knew this because she had tried.

She rolled her desk chair to the bed and, playing along, smushed herself between her dads. “Really, guys, is this going to be another you’re-a-woman-now talk? ‘Cause I’m totally cool on the tampon thing.”

“We’ll just say it, Josephine,” he began, running his long fingers along his corduroy shorts. She sat up a little straighter at the use of her full name. Had she gone over her cell phone minutes again?

Bradley took a deep breath, like he was about to run a marathon. “Yourbirthparentsfoundus,” he quickly said.

Fred placed his pudgy hand on Jojo’s knee. “They’ve been looking for you for years,” he explained. “They were really young when they had you and felt forced to give you up.”

Her birth parents? Really young? Looking for her for years? The air around Jojo felt heavy. She stared at Bradley, then turned to face Fred.

“They found us through the adoption agency. We met with them last weekend,” Fred went on.

Jojo looked from Fred to Bradley and back again, feeling a mixture of elation and fear. “You guys were at that conference about the future of organic fruit,” she told them earnestly. “The one about the bees. You said it was fascinating…” she said, leadingly.

Fred’s eyes shifted to the ground guiltily.

“You lied?” Jojo asked, her finger gripping her soccer shorts. It was easier to focus on her dads’ alibi than the fact that her birth parents had come looking for her. “Wait a second… Is this some weird surprise going-away party thing? You’ll tell me we’re going to meet them and then we’ll get over to Sadie’s Pizza and all my friends will be there?”

Fred gave Bradley a “This isn’t in the Gay Dad’s Guide” look.

“You guys are serious,” she said slowly. She felt as though there were a strange hole somewhere between her chest and her stomach. “It’s for real,” she breathed. She tried to picture a different family than her, Fred, and Bradley. Getting a hug from an actual mom.

Jojo looked at her dads, who were studying her more closely than their pet avocado tree after a storm. “So what do they want from me?” she asked hesitantly.

“Well, they can’t wait to meet you,” Bradley said, playing with the corners of Jojo’s Us Weekly. “And they’re really great.”

Jojo reached for her beaten up, stuffed Fozzie Bear. She held it to her chest, squeezing. Parents. Her real parents. The little voice she never listened to got louder. She loved Fred and Bradley more than anything but—a mom? She’d always been a little envious of Willa. Willa’s mom baked with her, made her Halloween costumes, took her shopping, and had totally helped Jojo with the whole tampon thing, truth be told.

Now she had her own mom. True, she could be some trash-tastic witch. Maybe she was a reality show contestant who just wanted to meet Jojo for added drama in the season finale. But maybe she was… normal?

“What are they like?” She grabbed Fred’s pudgy arm, then withdrew it, worried her excitement would hurt her dads’ feelings.

Bradley pushed his shock of blond hair down, wearing the same serious expression he wore when he came to Jojo’s biology class to talk about deforestation.

Neither spoke, and Jojo couldn’t take it. “Are they messed up? Are they in a cult or something? Are they deformed?”

“Actually, they’re famous,” Fred said carefully, his dark eyes showing no hint of this being a joke.

Jojo squeezed Fozzie. “Like they grew the world’s biggest watermelon or something?”

“No, famous like…” Bradley pointed to the cover of Jojo’s Us Weekly. Lailah Barton and Barkley Everheart held hands, fingers intertwined, as they gazed lovingly at poverty-stricken Bangladesh. “Like Barbar famous.”

Jojo sprang from the bed, dropping Fozzie Bear and grabbing the magazine. She stared at the impossibly attractive people on the cover.

“No one is Barbar famous,” Jojo said, incredulously. “Except Barbar.”

“Well that’s the thing…” Fred grabbed her in a half hug. “That’s them.”

“Lailah and Barkley are your biological parents.” Bradley hugged Jojo’s other side, squishing her like a panini. “They thought maybe you could come meet them over the weekend, before we leave. It’s a short flight.” He pulled an envelope from his back pocket.

Jojo snatched it from Bradley’s long fingers. She tore it open, her hands shaking. Inside was a plane ticket, leaving tomorrow to LAX.

First class.

She took one more look at her glamorous family on the cover of Us—Barkley, Lailah, and her… hmm… sister, Myla. It was for real, then. The world’s most famous couple were her mom and dad.

She grabbed her red miniskirt for the Willa adoption pile. It was all wrong for Greenland, but it would be perfect for Hollywood.

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Available everywhere January 2009

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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