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Tag Along

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208 pages
It's junior prom night. Andrea is grounded for getting her older brother to buy booze for her, Paul is having panic attacks, Roemi has been stood up by his Internet date, and Candace is busy tagging a building (before she gets collared by a particularly tenacious cop). By happenstance, the four near-strangers end up together, getting into more trouble, arguing and ultimately helping each other out over the course of eight madcap hours.
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T hEy’RE REaDy to bREak  all t hE RUlEs. TAG ALONG T O M R Y A N
TAG ALONG T O M R Y A N
Copyright ©2013Tom Ryan
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Ryan, Tom,1977 Tag along [electronic resource] / Tom Ryan.
Electronic monograph. Issued also in print format. isbn 9781459802988 (pdf).isbn 9781459802995 (epub)
I. Title. ps8635.y359t35 2013jc813.6 c20139019189
First published in the United States,2013 Library of Congress Control Number:2013935376
Summary: Friendships are forged on prom night, when four teens help each other through disappointment, neararrest, parental interference and panic attacks.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Design by Teresa Bubela Background cover image by Andrew Wooldridge; photo strip images by (top to bottom): Masterfile, Getty (Peter Augustin), Getty (Enamul Hoque), and Masterfile Author photo by Andrew Sargeant
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria,bc CanadaV8R 6S4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custer,wa usa 982400468
www.orcabook.com
161514134321
For my parents, who taught me to live a creative life.
ANdreA
Newton’s tîrd aw o motîon says tat every actîon as an equa and opposîte reactîon. For înstance, wen I drop sîx eet rom te roo o my garage, te tîrd aw tes me tat my butt wî ît te ground wît as muc orce as te ground wî ît my butt. Wen I and, ît ees as î te ground as come out te wînner, but you can’t argue wît scîence. Equa and opposîte. hanks, Newton. I groan and ro over to îe lat on my back. I stay tere or a mînute, starîng up troug te sot eay canopy o te mape tree tat marks te edge o our yard. hen I strugge to my eet, brus of te back o my sorts and stand or a moment, tryîng to igure out wat to do. here’s not muctodo oter tan get out o ere,
T O M R Y A N
so I urry down te street beore one o my parents appens to ook out te wîndow. I you’d tod me a mont ago tat I woud go to tese engts to get out o te ouse, a or te sake o prom,I woudn’t ave beîeved you. Sure, I was pannîng to go to prom, but ony because tat’s wat you’re supposed to do. I’m not înto cotes te way my best rîend Betanne îs, and I tînk dancîng îs weîrd. I’ never understand wat compes peope to ose contro and sake around îke a bunc o manîacs. hen te Justîn Sancez tîng appened. Justîn’s been în most o my advanced-eve casses sînce nînt grade, and I guess you coud say I ave a bît o a crus on îm. He’s quîet and a bît geeky, but e’s reay smart and deinîtey cute, and untî a ew weeks ago, I dîdn’t tînk e knew I exîsted, et aone knew my name. It’s not îke e’s some adîes’ man or watever—as ar as I know, e’s never even gone out wît a gîr—ît’s just tat we’ve never reay spoken to eac oter. hen a ew weeks ago I ad a dentîst appoîntment and mîssed my aternoon casses. hat nîgt Betanne caed me, practî-cay yperventîatîng. “Guess wat?” se saîd. “Justîn was askîng about you today!” Se’s te ony person wo knows I’m înto îm. “Wat do you mean?” I asked. “Wat dîd e say?” “He saîd,Where’s Andrea?and I tod îm you were at te dentîst. Isn’t tat awesome?” “Is tat ît?” I asked er.
TA L O N GA G
“It’s a start!” se saîd. It dîdn’t reay sound îke muc, but te more I tougt about ît, te more I began to see tat se ad a poînt. He’d gone rom not acknowedgîng my exîstence to notîcîng my absence. hat ad to count or sometîng. “You’ve got to make a move,” se contînued. “he ba’s în your court.” “Wat ba?” I asked er. “Andrea,” se saîd. “He came up to me out o nowere and asked were you were. hat’s te ba.” “We, soudn’t I waît or îm to tak to me or sometîng?” “No,” se saîd. “Justîn Sancez as no game. I you want sometîng to appen, you ave to make ît appen.” Tonîgt îs te prom, wîc îs obvîousy as good a pace as any to make my move. Wen I woke up tîs mornîng, I was genuîney excîted. Betanne ad eped me ind a great dress, red wît back trîm and a lared skîrt tat ends just beow te knee. I ad an appoînt-ment to get my aîr done and a pan to go to Betanne’s ouse so we coud get ready togeter. Most o a, I ad a good eeîng about me and Justîn. I’m not takîng about ate or destîny, just a posîtîve readîng o te acts asI knew tem. O course, te acts as I knew tem tîs mornîng ave canged. As o rîgt now: I’m not goîng to be takîng to Justîn tonîgt; I’m not goîng to be dancîng wît Justîn tonîgt; I’m deinîtey not goîng to be makîng out wît
TR Y A NO M
Justîn tonîgt. As a matter o act, I won’t even see Justîn tonîgt, because I’m not goîng to be at te prom. Everytîng mîgt ave worked out just ine î Betanne adn’t convînced me tat we soud get some acoo or te dance. I ee te same way about drînkîng as I do about dancîng—wy do ît?—but Betanne woudn’t et up, so I asked my broter Brad î e’d buy some or us. Brad doesn’t îve wît us anymore. He’s takîng a grapîc-desîgn program at te communîty coege în te cîty, and e as an apartment wît îs gîrrîend, Janee, wo îs awesome. Se’s very oud and unny, and se’s studyîng teater at unîversîty. “Yea, no sweat,” e saîd wen I asked îm about te booze. “Just promîse tat you’ keep an eye on Betanne. I don’t want to be aued of to jaî because se gets wasted and streaks te prom.” About a week ago, e pîcked up te sugary wîne cooer tat Betanne requested, and I îd ît în my coset. Probaby not te best îdea. hîs aternoon, I borrowed Mom’s car or my aîr appoîntment. Wen I got ome, se was sîttîng în te îvîng room waîtîng or me, te botte o Raspberry Comet Cooer în ront o er on te cofee tabe. I coud te rîgt away tat tîs woudn’t end we. “Were dîd you get tîs, Andrea?” se asked. “Wat were you doîng în my coset?” “Answer my questîon,” se saîd.
T A G A L O N G
“I stood în te parkîng ot outsîde te îquor store untî some od man agreed to buy ît or me,” I tod er. “I ave a ard tîme beîevîng tat,” se saîd.No kîddîng. “We, tat’s wat appened.” I wasn’t goîng to rat out Brad. I woudn’t put ît past er to ca te cops on îm. “You can ose te attîtude, young ady,” se saîd. I swear, seventeen years on eart and I’d never done anytîng to pîss er of. It was îke se’d been waîtîng a tîs tîme or sometîng to appen, as î se just needed to prove to erse tat I’m goîng to end up îke Brad,wo barey made ît troug îg scoo. Never mînd tat I’ve got sîx years o straîgt-A report cards under my bet. I trîed reasonîng wît er, atoug I knew ît woudn’t work. “Mom, pease just pour ît down te sînk and orget about ît. I won’t drînk—I promîse.” “O, I know you won’t drînk,” se saîd, în er patentedI know what’s best for the worldvoîce. “You’re grounded or a mont, Andrea. You can orget aboutte prom.” So tat’s ow I ended up sîttîng în my room tîs ater-noon, starîng at my dress droopîng on a anger în my coset îke a sad, eadess puppet. Ater a wîe, Mom knocked on te door and, wîtout waîtîng or me to answer, stuck er ead în. “Honey?” Wen I dîdn’t answer, se pused open te door and just stood tere, starîng at me. I dîdn’t ook at er.
TO M R Y A N
“Poutîng îsn’t goîng to ep you,” se saîd. Her voîce sotened a bît. “You sure you don’t want sometîng to eat? You eeîng okay?” “Are you kîddîng?” I saîd. “O course I’m not okay. I’m grounded.” “Andrea, coîces come wît consequences. I don’t want you to end up doîng sometîng stupîd. I’m not goîng to do tîs a over agaîn.” “You mean îke wît Brad?” I asked er. “Mom, you know tat’s not aîr. Brad amost lunked out o scoo.” “Exacty,” se saîd. “Exacty wat?” I asked. “I’m on te onor ro. How perect do you want me to be?” “I don’t want you to be perect,” se saîd. “I want you to be sae.” “Sae,” I repeated. “I’m ocked up în my room or my own persona saety. Got ît. Can you at east eave me aone, so I can be sae în prîvate?” “Wat are you goîng to do?” se asked. “Just sît în ere and brood?” “Mom. Pease eave me aone.” “Okay, ine, but pease come out and eat sometîng î you get ungry. I’ put a pate o supper în te rîdge or you.” Wen se cosed te door, I gave er te inger. I got of my bed and pued my dress out o te coset. I stood în ront o te mîrror and ed te dress în ront o me, starîng at myse, notîcîng ow dîferent I ooked