the market a couple of weeks after she and Daddy got engaged. Kristen’s a real estate agent, and she told her that now was the time to sell, because everybody likes to buy in the springtime. It turns out she was right; a couple made an offer on it the very same week—sooner than any of us could have imagined. Daddy and Trina thought the house would sit on the market for at least a month, but now movers are unloading boxes at our house and everything’s careening forward at lightning speed.

There was never any big discussion about who was moving in with who—it was just understood that Trina was coming here. For one, our house is bigger, but also, it’s easier to move one person than four. You would think. For one person, Trina has a lot of stuff. Boxes and boxes of clothes and shoes, her exercise equipment, random pieces of furniture, a huge velvet upholstered headboard that I know my dad is horrified by.

“If it was me, I wouldn’t want to move into another woman’s house,” Chris says. She’s standing at my window, watching Trina direct the movers. She stopped by on her way to work to borrow a pair of my shoes.

“What other woman?” I ask her.

“Your mom!

I would always feel like it was her house. Like, she picked the furniture, the wallpaper.”

“Actually Margot and I picked a lot of it,” I say. “I picked the dining room wallpaper; she picked the upstairs bathroom color.” I remember that Margot and Mommy and I sat down on the living room floor with all the wallpaper books and carpet samples and paint chips spread around us. We spent the whole afternoon going over every book with a fine-tooth comb, with Margot and me battling over which blue was the right blue for the upstairs bathroom we’d share. I thought robin’s-egg blue, and Margot thought sky blue. Mommy finally had us do rock, paper, scissors for it, and Margot won. I sulked over it until I beat her out with my wallpaper choice.

“I’m just saying. I feel like if I was Trina, I would want a fresh start,” Chris says.

“Well, that’s kind of impossible when her husband-to-be already has three kids.”

“You know what I mean. As fresh as possible.”

“They’re getting a new bed, at least. It’s coming tomorrow.”

Chris perks up at this. Flopping on my bed, she says, “Ew, is it weird to think about your dad having sex?”

I slap her on the leg. “I don’t think about that! So please don’t bring it up.”

Picking at the strings on her cutoffs, she says, “Trina does have a great body.”

“I’m not kidding, Chris!”

“I’m just saying, I would kill to have her body at her age.”

“She’s not that old.”

“Still.” Chris preens at me prettily. “If I open the window, can I smoke in here?”

“I think you know the answer to that question, Christina.”

She pouts, but it’s just for show because she knew I wasn’t going to say yes. “Ugh. America is so annoying about smoking. So basic.”

Now that Chris is going to Costa Rica, she relishes looking down on everything American. I still can’t believe she’s leaving. “Are you really not going to prom?” I ask.

“I’m really not.”

“You’re going to regret not going,” I warn her. “When you’re working on the farm in Costa Rica, you’ll suddenly remember how you didn’t go to prom, and you will feel abject regret, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.”

With a laugh, she says, “I highly doubt it!”

After Chris leaves for work, I’m on my computer in the kitchen looking for bridesmaid dresses and/or prom dresses, and Daddy and Trina walk in from being outside with the movers. I try to look busy, like I’m studying, in case they ask for help. Shrewd little Kitty has made herself scarce these past couple of days, and I’m regretting not following her lead.

Daddy pours himself a glass of water, wiping sweat from his brow. “Do you really need to bring that treadmill?” he asks Trina. “It doesn’t even work properly.”

“It works fine.”

Gulping the rest of his water, he says, “I’ve never seen you use it.”

She frowns at him. “That doesn’t mean I don’t use it. It means I don’t use it in front of



“All right. When’s the last time you used it?”

Her eyes narrow. “None of your business.”



This is a new side to Daddy—bickering, losing his patience just barely. Trina brings it out of him, and I know it sounds strange, but I’m glad for it. It’s something I never realized was gone in him. There’s making do, living a pleasant life, no big ups or downs, and there’s all the friction and fire that come with being in love with someone. She takes forever to get ready, which drives him crazy, and she makes fun of his hobbies, like bird-watching and documentaries. But they just fit.