It’s the first family holiday where they don’t do horrible things like camping in a rainy forest or visting old great-aunts somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
This year they actually go abroad and Juno almost can’t believe it, even as she jumps into the cab that will drive them to the airport.
Martha and Moe have been working so much over the past few years and it has finally begun to show. Juno thinks it’s pretty awesome that they want to take the whole family on a vacation – awesome and long overdue. Most of her classmates go abroad regularly.
August claims he doesn’t want to come with them and even asks if he can’t stay at home with his girlfriend, Jean. Of course he can’t since he’s only 13 but he’s always pretended to be all grown up, comparing himself to Atticus. Which would make a cat seem grown up because Atticus is a spoiled little kid.
Anyway, everyone has to come for the holidays and even if August acts like a lovesick puppy for most of the flight there, he seems to accept his fate.
Juno loves the sun, like Martha. Moe on the other hand loves old things and buildings so she goes on plenty of walks in their surroundings, taking photos and asking people about history.
The rest of them mostly just relax. Hang out by the beach or at the hotel.
It’s a nice thing to do, all of them together. Juno has to admit that she has a good time. Sure, she can get annoyed with her brothers but they’re family and they’re not awful, not really.
Mostly they seem to sunbathe and eat and buy stuff at the small marketplaces along the beach promenade and it’s weird how time can move so quickly when you’re doing fun things.
Juno thinks about what she will be able to tell people back in school when it starts again after summer. She’s always been envious of those who talk about their trips all over the world.
She won’t tell her classmates about the boring trip to some old ruins, at any rate. Moe drags them all with her during their last week, claiming they can’t miss the sight of ancient civilization.
Juno and August beg to differ, but whatever.
At least Martha makes up for it later by taking them to the beach where there’s hot dogs and various activities.
Juno tries to make friends with some other tourists her age but most people aren’t really that into hanging out with strangers. She’s not sure she is either but it had seemed like a more exciting idea than spending the night with her brothers.
August wants to buy gifts for Jean so he keeps hanging out by the marketplace, looking at everything and texting with her at the same time. Juno swears those two are joined at the hip or something.
One of the beach promenade evenings she meets the most amazing guy, though, and can sort of understand why August is so obsessed.
His name is Zus and he’s working as some kind of entertainer/waiter for the summer season to finance his college education. He tells her this when Juno somehow manages to strike up the nerve to talk to him about the music playing and the dancers that are performing.
Zus smiles at her like it’s a perfectly normal thing to say and her head feels like mush when he looks at her the way he does.
“You’re here with your family?” he asks and she wants to say no, but can’t think of any other reason she’d be here so she nods.
And then, for some reason, she tells him she’s almost 18 and will be going to college in a few weeks time. To study drama, which is the only thing she can think of when he asks.
Zus is 19 and she almost can’t breathe when she thinks about that because it’s so cool and very scary at the same time.
Nineteen. That’s so grown up.
They talk for hours, about music and movies and Zus tells her stories about what it’s like to work here during the summer. She sort of wants to, when he’s finished because it seems like a fun job and they all go out together when they’re done with work.
And then, when Juno has to admit that her mothers will wonder where she is unless she gets back to them, Zus asks her if he can kiss her.
Like, for real. Nobody has ever asked her that – she’s kissed guys before but that’s been mostly on a dare or as a joke.
This is real.
They exchange e-mail addresses and Zus promised he’ll keep in touch.
“Maybe we can go to a concert or something, once the term starts again.”
Juno nods, wondering how she’ll confess her real age when she writes to him. It has got to be easier that way.
When they return home to Barchester, August is greeted by Jean and Juno feels a tiny bit jealous because they get to be around each other all the time.
She writes to Zus the moment she gets some peace and quiet that evening and even if she thinks she will tell him she’s actually just 15, the words somehow get left out of this first e-mail.
Later, she tells herself. Later she can tell him. Right now she just wants to bask in the glory of having been kissed by a college boy.
Best. Holiday. Ever.
* Moe just walked away to do her own things all the time, which I
* Forgot to take a decent group photo before Martha got a “tan” so she looks crazy in the family photo this round, LOL.
* Juno was sooooo lovesick around this hula dancer dude that I had to write it into the story, heh. Ah, summer romances.