“And finally, young lady, you’ll not be going to Europe with us this summer,” Emily’s dad said, his face was flushed after the 10-minute telling off he’d just given his daughter. “You’re going to your Uncle Mike’s house where you’ll be staying when we’re in Europe and every day you’ll go to work with him in order to earn back some of the money that we just had to pay for the damage you and your friends caused. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Emily looked down and bit her lip.
“Then go to your room. I don’t want to see you again tonight. You will have your dinner in your room tonight.”
Emily went to her bedroom and slammed the door shut. Damn, damn, damn!!!!! How could it have gone so wrong? And now she wasn’t going to Europe! She’d been looking forward to this trip all year. It was going to be her graduation gift. It had been planned all around her and now her pesky little sisters Sarah and Jennifer were going to get to experience all the things she’d dreamt of for so long while she was stuck working for Uncle Mike all summer.
It was only supposed to be a small prank. Every year the seniors at Preston High decorated the school with colourful flowers a week before graduation. This year Kellie Parker had been in charge and Emily and her friends hated Kellie Parker. She’d bossed them around for 12 years so they decided to send her off with a parting gift worth remembering. To make a long story short, their plan had backfired, the paint they’d got didn’t just wash off with water, and their beautiful white stucco school building now looked like the scene of a frenzied mass stabbing.
They’d all been suspended from their own graduation and it was only because the principal didn’t want any more bad publicity that he hadn’t reported them to the police or notified the colleges they were going to. If they agreed to leave quietly and pay for the damage, their transcripts wouldn’t show any sign of what had happened. To top it all off, Kellie Parker was the big hero of the moment since her quick actions had stopped the plot in time so that the front of the school hadn’t been damaged.
A week later Emily stood in the doorway of her uncle’s photographic studio and glared as her parents’ car drove off to the airport. She’d begged with them all week. She’d been convinced that they would end up letting her off with a less severe punishment like they always did. But this time they hadn’t relented. She kicked the door frame. Damn it! She was 18 years old now. Her dad had reminded her that she wouldn’t be an adult in his eyes until she starting paying her own way, and with 4 years of college ahead of her, that seemed a long way off.
“Come on, Em,” her uncle called. “Life sucks, so get over it. We’ve got some serious food to photograph today.”