December 21, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Character Bliss: Day 8 Cylin Busby + GIVEAWAY!

Home For The Holidays” by Cylin Busby from the collection THREE WISE GIRLS
synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Nanci is thrilled to be back in Los Angeles for Christmas—sun, beaches and shopping—but will her new stepmother dash her holiday dreams?

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Home for the Holidays
By Cylin Busby

I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love to spend Christmas in Colorado—the tall evergreens powdered with snow, sipping hot cocoa by the fire. But I am not one of those people. For me, Christmas was usually about 75 degrees, a cloudless blue sky, a trip to Disneyland, maybe shopping on Robertson in Beverly Hills. Yet here I was, in Colorado in December, where it was cold. Really cold. The kind of weather where your hair turns into a halo of static electricity the second you take your hat off.

“You’ll get used to it,” Mom told me. She had grown up here, but I was born in Los Angeles, and I didn’t see myself getting used to anything else.
When Mom and Dad got divorced, I never considered staying with Dad in L.A. He had his new girlfriend, Kathy, living with him, and then they got married and had baby Avery super fast because Kathy was 32 and she said she didn’t want to be an “old mom.” When I did go over to stay with them, Kathy had a list of rules I had to follow. No towels left on the floor. Half an hour of TV time a day. No computer access unless for schoolwork. And I had to do chores, even though they had a housekeeper. Like washing my own clothes and sheets and taking out the garbage. Eventually I hated going over there, which I guess was Kathy’s master plan, so I just stopped going. Sometimes I would just see Dad for lunch. He always tried to get me to like Kathy—he explained that it was hard for her being the second wife, the second family. I wanted to remind him it was hard to be the first family, too, but I never did. Then Mom wanted to go back to Colorado to take care of Grammie, and even though I didn’t really want to go, I wasn’t about to live with Dad and Kathy. That’s how I ended up here, freezing my butt off.
“I can’t wait to get back to L.A.” I told Mom as she drove me to school one freezing morning.
I saw her make a tense face. “I don’t love the idea of you flying alone, I still think I should drive you,” she said for about the tenth time.
“Mom, I’m fifteen, I’ll be okay. I’m practically old enough to drive myself.”
Mom just stared out the front of the car and pretended not to hear me. She did that sometimes when I said something she didn’t want to deal with—she’d just pretend she didn’t hear it.
“Have a great day,” she kissed my cheek as I opened the door to a blast of arctic air. One more week, then I was L.A. bound. I couldn’t wait to see my best friend, and to feel the sun on my skin. I could hang up my towel and take out the trash if it meant escaping this weather for a week.
    But before I even left for the airport, the dreamy bubble about my trip to L.A. burst. First, my best friend, Jess, called to say she was going on a ski trip with her family. For the whole week I would be in L.A. So instead of staying with her for a few nights, I would be stuck at Dad’s the whole time. And I wouldn’t see Jess at all.

Then, the night before I was supposed to leave, Dad called. He made chit chat about how excited he was for me to come out to L.A. and then dropped the bomb. “So I have this business trip, just two days. The problem is, I uh, I won’t exactly be here when you arrive.”
Exactly? Great. Now my trip to L.A. was shaping up to be just me, my step-monster and her six-month-old baby. The next day, I was on a short plane ride to sunny Los Angeles, regretting that I had ever left frigid Colorado. Kathy was of course too busy with the baby to come get me, even though she had a full time nanny. I stepped out of the airport, dying to feel my long-awaited California sunshine, only to be met with the infamous “marine layer”—otherwise known as fog so thick, you couldn’t see the Hollywood sign if you were standing right under it. So much for welcome home and happy holidays.
Three Wise Girls
Cylin Busby
 Cylin Busby Ross likes to say that she is from Maine, but really she has lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Maine, New York and California.

Since both of her parents were born in Maine, and she went to high school there, she thinks of it as her home state. She can also do a mean Downeast accent.

Cylin has worked at Random House, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster as a children's book editor. She was also Senior Editor at Teen Magazine.

She is the author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, numerous magazine articles and short stories. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. 

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