GENRE: MG - CONTEMPORARY FICTION
"Neelie, we need to talk."
That was my dad, and I knew this was going to suck. I mean, I get home Friday afternoon after another fun-filled week of eighth grade to find not one but both parents waiting for me, all serious and frowny and intense? They were supposed to still be at work, not ushering me to a seat at the kitchen table, and I was supposed to be enjoying my precious alone time.
I had fought long and hard to get to stay home alone for that measly hour. I had been the totally perfect child for, like, forever, until they finally decided I was mature enough.
"Cornelia, honey... please, sit."
That was Mom, with her eyes all squinted up in a fretful I've-got-bad-news way.
I eased into my chair, my butt propped on the very edge of it.
They sat, too, and both of them rested their folded hands on the table and leaned forward. I wondered if they had rehearsed. I wondered if they were getting a divorce.
Dad cleared his throat. "Neelie, I know we promised."
Uh oh. Nobody ever said that about promises unless they were about to break one. I stared at his hands and felt my lips pressing together.
He kept going, in his special reasonable-adult voice. "I know we told you we wouldn't take in any foster children older than you."
Say what? I looked up at him then, and opened my mouth.