Today's Reading

AUGUST

THINGS I HAVE GOING FOR ME:

* My BFFs, Ruth and Fabián
* Summer vacation at the beach
* Parents who let me order pizza last night
* An awesome aunt who teaches me how to do my makeup over video chat
* Good grades (Decent grades)

BUT MOST IMPORTANT:
A boy who I like . . . and who I think might like me back


Tuesday

THE BEACH
1:00 P.M.

"Wesley!" I ran toward the dunes. The beach was packed with families and rogue sun umbrellas that threatened to hit someone in the wind. Seagulls circled overhead, waiting for someone to drop a stray French fry from their lunch onto the sand. Was it the most romantic spot? Not exactly. But who cared? I'd made friends with a cute boy, and he was waving back at me. "Come on, Wesley—they found it!"

He smiled that shy smile that made his braces sparkle, and I swooned.

"Let's go," he said from across the beach. Wesley was tall and gangly, and he wore cool board shorts with elephants on them. Obviously, I had a massive, massive crush on him.

I ran toward him in my pink bikini. Mom had helped me wax just about every part of my body to be able to wear this thing, and I was abnormally proud of it. If only Wesley knew how much I'd done to look like the rest of the girls here at the beach—the ones who definitely didn't need to worry about shaving their toes. All Iranians came with their own carpets, and half Iranians like me were no exception.

I caught up with him, and we hurried over to one of those guys with a metal detector, the kind they waved around the beach looking for lost wedding rings. He was digging frantically toward something, and more people gathered to see what it was. He kept saying things like "It's a big one!" or "Definitely from a shipwreck!" and swatting away kids who tried to help, saying it was "his discovery."

Too bad he was digging for the fake treasure Wesley had helped me plant last night. The metal he was searching for would barely buy him a soda if he scrapped it for parts, and it was hard to not laugh and potentially spoil the whole thing. Wesley clenched my arm, willing me to be quiet, but I could tell he was struggling to besilent, too. My skin prickled where he touched it.

"I see it," the man cried. "There's gold in there, for sure!" He had on a bucket hat and a big stripe of zinc oxide on his nose. He looked like a demented camp counselor.

Wesley grabbed my hand, his whole body vibrating with quiet chuckles. I'd never held a boy's hand before. It felt nice, though a bit sweaty. Maybe all boys' hands were sweaty?

We watched as the gold digger unearthed a metal box and threw it back up onto the sand. He clambered out of the hole he'd dug. A hush fell over the whole beach, waiting to see what was inside.

The lid creaked open.

"AHHHH!" he screamed. He slammed the lid shut and turned to the huge audience now waiting around the hole. Only, his face was completely blue.

"It sprayed me!" he spluttered. "It's booby-trapped!"

"BA-HA-HA-HA-HA!" I cackled along with the rest of the crowd. I'd rigged the box to squirt ink the second it opened and filled it with rusty tools to set off the metal detector. Wesley and I'd both agreed that since this was our last week at the beach, we had to leave with a spectacular prank. But this was better than anything I could have imagined.

"I can't . . . breathe . . . ," Wesley wheezed next to me, tears streaming down his pale face. His eyelashes were so blond I could barely see them.
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