Oh. My. Gods. Page 2

“You’re what?” I repeat.

When he sees I’m not about to shake hands, Damian puts his arm around Mom’s shoulder. She practically melts into his side.

“We’re getting married,” she says again, bubbling over with excitement. “The wedding will be in Greece in December, but we’re having a civil ceremony at City Hall next weekend so Aunt Megan and Yia Yia Minta can be there.”

“Next weekend?” I am so shocked I almost don’t realize the bigger implication. “Wait. How can you get married out of the country in December? I’ll be in school.”

Mom slips her arm around Damian’s waist, like she needs to get even closer to him. Next she’ll be sliding her hand into the back pocket of his pants. No girl should have to watch her mother revert to teenage behavior.

“That’s the most exciting part,” Mom says, her voice edging on near-hysteria with excitement. I know instantly that I’m not going to like what she says. “We’re moving to Greece.”

“Be reasonable, Phoebola,” Mom says—like using my nickname will make me suddenly okay with all of this. “This isn’t the end of the world.”

“Isn’t it?” I ask, shoving the contents of my dresser drawer into my duffel bag.

Mom sits on the twin bed in the dorm room that has been my home for the last seven days. Twenty minutes ago my life was perfect. . . . right on track.

Now I’m just supposed to pack up my life and move halfway around the world so Mom can shack up with some guy she’s only known for a week?

Sounds like the end of the world to me.

“I know you were looking forward to spending your senior year at PacificPark,” she says, entering therapist mode. “But I think that the move will be good for you. Broaden your horizons.”

“I don’t need broader horizons,” I say, grabbing the pillow off my bed and tugging at my striped pillowcase.

“Honey, you’ve never lived anywhere but Southern California. You’ve gone to school with the same kids your entire life.” She places her hand on my shoulder when I lean past her to grab my blanket. “I worry that when you go off to USC next year you’ll be in for a shock.”

“I won’t,” I insist. “Nola and Cesca will be there.”

“So will thousands of other students from across the country. From around the world.”

“That doesn’t mean I need to be from around the world, too.”

Turning away from Mom, I quickly fold my blanket and drop it on top of my duffel. All my things are packed, but I’m not ready to go yet. Not when I know he’s out there somewhere. Not when my whole world is being pulled out from under me.

“Come,” she says quietly. “Sit down.”

I look over my shoulder to see her patting the bed.

I tell myself to remain calm. This is still Mom, after all. She’s usually very reasonable. . . . maybe she’ll listen to my argument. Prepared to discuss this like adults, I plop down next to her.

“Mom,” I say, trying to sound as mature as possible, “there has to be some other way. Can’t he move here?”

“No,” she says with a sad laugh, “he definitely cannot.”

“Why not?” I ask. “Is he wanted by the law or something?”

Mom gives me an of-course-not look. “His work demands he remain in Greece.”

Work! There’s something I can use.

“What about your work? Your practice?” I inch closer. “Won’t you miss your daily dose of crazies?” Not a PC term, I know, but I’m operating in desperation mode.

“Yes. I will.”

“Then why are you—”

She looks me straight in the eyes and says, “Because I love him.”

For what feels like forever, we just stare at each other.

“Well I don’t see why I have to go,” I say. “I could stay with Yia Yia Minta and finish off my year—”

“Absolutely not,” Mom interrupts. “I love your grandmother like my own mother, but she is in no position to care for you for an entire year. She’s nearly eighty. Besides,”—she nudges me in the ribs—“you hate goat cheese.”

“I know, but—”

“You’re my baby girl.” Her voice is determined. “I refuse to lose you a year early.”

Great, Mom has separation anxiety, so I have to leave the hemisphere.

“Are you trying to ruin my life?” I demand, jumping up and pacing back and forth on the bare linoleum floor. “What, was everything going too smoothly? Worried that I didn’t have enough teen angst to work with? That I wouldn’t need therapy when I hit thirty?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Me? I’m not the one who flew off to a family reunion and came back with a fiancé—wait, he’s not family is he? That would be beyond ew, Mom.”

“Phoebe.” Her voice is laced with warning, but I’m building up steam.

“I’ve heard about these spur-of-the-moment European marriages. Are you sure he’s not just using you to get his green card?”

“Enough!” she shouts.

I stop cold and stare at her. Therapist Mom does not shout. I’m in serious trouble.

“Damian and I love each other.” She stands up, tucks my blanket under her arm, and hangs the strap on my duffel over my shoulder. “We will be married next weekend. He will return to Greece. At the end of the month you and I will move to Serfopoula.”

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