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"Oh my gosh, honey, what happened?"

My mother dashes towards me as I walk—no, stumble—into the living room with a melting ice pack pressed to my bruising eye. I can see out of a mere quarter of it and almost slam into the wall, saved by Levi running in from the kitchen. He leads me to an armchair as my mother hovers over my head.

"I got hit by a tennis ball," I say, falling into the brown cushion. My funny bone hits the hard armrest, and I suppress yelling out a profanity. Anything else you want to do to me, world?

"It looks terrible!" she cries, crouching down next to me. "How did this happen? You don't even play tennis, Whitney. Wait, this was your friend Mina's idea, right?"

"Maybe you should let her rest for a moment," Levi says warily, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his white shorts. "A hit to the head or eye like this can cause a concussion in some cases. Do you feel dizzy or nauseous, Whitney? Have double vision?"

I shake my head. "No, God, I don't feel that bad. Really, I think I'll be okay with another ice pack."

Levi hurries back to the kitchen to the freezer, clearly preparing for his future medical career. At the same time, my dad walks into the living room clad in a navy suit, tie half undone. I slowly look up. When he zeroes in on my eye, horror overtakes his blank expression.

"Oh, dear God, Whitney, what did you do? Get into a bar fight?"

"Gee thanks," I mumble dryly. "I got hit by a tennis ball, thank you for your concern."

He comes to the side of the armchair and peers at my face. "Sorry, didn't mean it like that. How did this even happen, honey? You're not exactly the sporty type."

Embarrassed, I half explain the story, knowing deep down, he wishes I was more like Poppy. She was always willing to go throw a ball with him because guess what?

She could actually catch it, unlike me.

At the thought of her, Poppy walks in, and I begin to wonder if my mom has planned another family gathering, only I'm the guest of honor this time.

"Oh my gosh, Whitney, what happened?"

I can't take any more questions and announce that I'm going upstairs. I shut my bedroom door behind me, throw myself onto my bed, and stare up at the ceiling.

With one eye, of course.


***


I sigh as I walk out of my front door, overhearing some of Levi and my dad's discussion on the porch. Craning my neck, I try to spot my mom in the yard but remember she's still out on her daily run around the neighborhood, making me the only member of the family who doesn't live outside in the summer. Even my dad, who spends more hours working than sleeping, finds enjoyment in nature whenever he's not in the office.

I simply cannot fathom how you can pick grass and mosquitoes over air conditioning and leather sofas.

"Whitney, good that you're here; you're coming with me!" In a turn of events, my mom is back from her run and standing in the driveway, a walking advertisement for Lululemon.

"Um, why?" I ask, taking a nervous step back on the asphalt.

"We are going shopping."

I nod at the affirmative answer, hoping we're going to the mall and even better, makeup shopping. I've been needing some new eyeliner. I open the door and slide into the passenger seat of her silver Range Rover.

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