As I sit here staring out the window of the train, watching the train station drift slowly, and then more quickly away, I wonder why I am not happier. For the next three months I have all the opportunities I've always wished for. One summer where I know no one and no ones knows me. No ones knows what I used to look like or who I used to be, all they'll know is who I am now. I try to crane my neck to see the landing to the train station where my mother, I know, would still be standing, waving, even though the train had left.

When I shut my eyes I still saw the look she had on her face as I boarded the train, she was worried. As I boarded the train I heard my mother call, "Now you be safe," paused and took a deep breath, "Brooke, honey, remember I'll always love you." "Yes mother," I replied and walked onto the train. That's the last time I will see my mother for the next three months, I vaguely thought as I waved to her from my seat. At that moment I was scared. Afraid I wouldn't fit in with any of the local teenagers; afraid I would be so out of it with my friends when I got home in mid- August, afraid I'd drift away and lose the one person I never wanted to let in.

My mind slipped back to that fateful first day of seventh grade, though it was only three years ago it felt like a century. Oh, how I'd grown since then and how naïve I had been. And looking back I remember how much my friends and I had hated Hunter. Okay, so when your ten years old and you get mooned by a boy your going to think he's an idiot and immature. It doesn't matter that you were the ones running away screaming. But Hunter, man how we hated him, it turned out that he wasn't all that bad and behind the jerk he showed the rest of the world there was a caring sensitive person. Some where deep, deep down there and to only certain people would that side of Hunter come out. That Hunter came out to me and he became one of my best guy friends. From the day I had met him I had always known three things about him: He was unpredictable. He was an extremely private person. No matter what at the end of eighth grade he was leaving. But it still came as a shock to me. I remember in eighth grade when Hunter told me he was going to a private school. I was happy for him, yet devastated at the same time, he was my Hunter. I knew I would live, that I had other friends, but for some reason I couldn't picture school with out him. A year had gone by and we both lived. Actually we now hung out more then we did while going to the same school. Weird, huh?

I slip back into reality with a jolting stop to the train. It was stopping in some small coastal town. I wonder how long until we get to Cape May, I asked myself. I wonder how I even got my mother to let me spend the summer with my father's cousin anyhow. My memory wandered back to when I had asked her to spend the summer in Cape May.

"Mom," I began tentatively.

"Yes, Brooke," she responded and waited for me to continue.

"Well, you know how you and Dad always wanted to take that romantic second honeymoon after your 20th wedding anniversary?" I asked.

"Yes, I know," my mother said. She knew something was up, "What about it?"

"I thought that maybe you could do it this summer and I could go spend the summer with Alice," I responded extremely quickly.

"Oh Alice, she lives in Cape May, right?" my mother asked even thought she very well knew where Alice lived.

"Yes mother," I responded. I already didn't like the way this conversation was going. My parents weren't extremely strict but they always kept the upper hand. And, well, some times they could be a little to overprotective. I mean it wasn't horrible or anything but that's why I was very surprised by my mothers answer.

"Well doesn't that sound like a great idea!" she exclaimed. "It would be wonderful for you to spend the summer with Alice, I mean I've heard she doesn't get out much or have much company, and it must get awful lonely living by yourself! Brooke you are just so brilliant!" Man, was I stunned.

That evening my mother called Alice and set up the plans. I was to leave on the train a week after school had ended and spend all my time there until two weeks before summer vacation was over so I could go to field hockey practice for the high school and spend some time with my friends. It was a great plan. But I still couldn't believe that my parents had let me go!

The train came to another jolting stop and one of the attendants announced that we had reached Cape May. I gathered by bags and walked off the train, I was the only one to get off. There was one person standing on the landing and they walked toward her. It was a woman who appeared to be in her late thirties, this must be Alice, I thought. She was wearing a brightly colored, flow-y dress with a long mane of curly reddish- brown hair. " Brooke!" she called walking more quickly toward me. "I haven't seen you in such a log time! My haven't you grown. You look so grown up!"

I just nodded as she rambled on about how old I looked. I'd learned long ago this was the only way to deal with adults when they got like this. Alice picked up the rest of my bags and led me to her car; it was an old beat up Cadillac. The engine stalled but we were finally on our way to her house, which I heard my mother say had its own private beach.

We had to drive nearly half an hour to reach her house from the train station and I stared out the window the whole time inspecting the scenery. When we drove through the town I saw dozens of groups of teenagers, great, I thought, this should be just great. Since most of the kids who went to my school vacationed in LBI not Cape May, I didn't have a high chance of running into any one I knew. That's when I first saw him, just a small glimpse actually, he was standing outside the Wawa with four other guys. I felt a connection. As soon as the feeling had entered my body it left and just like that I was left stunned and searching my memory for his face.

The old car chugged up the steep hill. Chug - a - chug - a chug. Half way up I was afraid the car would start rolling back down the hill. But we finally made it to the top and I first saw the huge, white house that overlooked the ocean. The sand dunes were being swept by the breeze and clouds were starting to roll in, the sea looked vengeful and the waves were churning. It was breathtaking.

As we unpacked the car I noticed another house, except farther down the hill. It was a small yellow house with white shutters and from the distance I could see three girls dancing around the main room. They looked so happy and carefree, for a minute I missed my own friends. But they were all so busy this summer with jobs and camps and vacations that we would have hardly had any time for each other. Even from Alice's house I could vaguely hear the music of the small yellow house, it was the Stones, Satisfaction. The chorus started and I saw bolt of lightning quickly followed by thunder.

About an hour later the rain had stopped but the streaks were still visible on my windows. I was unpacking and settling into my room. Well the room was technically mine, but it was for the next three months. I thought I was done packing but there was a hard square package still in the bottom of my bag and I had no clue what it was. I pulled off the paper wrapping it and read the note attached. It said:

-Bee, I thought you might need this. You know, to make your new room more homely. Love, Your BFF for Life

That is such a Kat thing to do, I thought. I turned the picture frame over and saw what picture she had put in. Well actually it was more then one picture, it was a large collage of pictures from the past three years. The biggest picture in the center was of us and our dates at the home coming dance. My mind drifted back onto all the good times we've had together over the years.

Like the summer between seventh and eighth when she came to Duck, North Carolina with my family and I. We had some funny stories from that vacation. Surprisingly I still had the list of nicknames for all the hot guys we saw on the beach and around the town. It was still on the original paper towel, there hadn't been any paper in the condo.

Then I remembered back to the eighth grade graduation dance. That had been a great night. It was the best dance we had ever gone to. One carefree night of dancing, laughter, and just kicking back with my friends. I also saw a picture from the summer we spent in LBI on the beach every day watching the surfers. Suddenly I began to cry, homesick already, I didn't even make it through the first night. I took a long hot shower drowning away the tears.

"Brooke!" Alice called, "Brooke! Are you out of the shower yet? I need you to go pick us up some dinner!"

"Okay," I shouted back. "I just got out. I'll be downstairs in one sec." I threw on some clothes and began to towel dry my hair clambering down the stairs. "So where do you want me to go?" I asked bursting into the small kitchen.

"Oh its just this small diner called the Road Stop," Alice said. "Get me a cheeseburger and fries, the best burgers in town. But you can order whatever you want," she said handing me a twenty. When I hesitated to take it she stated, "I insist." Then without waiting for my answer she added, "Its right down there at the end of the road. There's a big sign that says "Road Stop" right on top. You can't miss it." With that she literally, shoved me out the door in the direction of the diner.

I walked down the side of the road kicking pebbles and trying to avoid the puddles left by the rain, when I got a closer look at the little yellow house. All the lights were turned off now and there was no sign of a single person or the lively music that had been coming from the house only a few hours earlier. There wasn't sign of a single human being in the house; it was dead silent. After about 15 minutes of walking I reached the diner.

The tinkling of bells notified the waitresses and waiters of my presence, it was pretty crowded and the whole staff was working busily. I made my way through the hustle and bustle of people waiting to be seated and found a lone chair at the counter. It was a few minutes before one of the three waitresses came over and told me to "hold an a sec." "A sec" turned out to be more like ten minutes. I watched as the three waitresses moved gracefully, weaving in and out of each other and the customers.

The three waitresses were all very different. The one who spoke to me was very blonde and very petite. I couldn't help but thinking she wasn't a natural blonde, I mean how many Americans naturally have nearly bleached blonde hair and sky blue eyes? Something had to be fake. The second waitress, the one who looked irritated, was of average height and had that teen magazine look to her. She wasn't the stereotypical cheerleader, but you could tell that in high school she was one. With her long straight black hair, framing her heart- shaped face and deep blue eyes; she had a superior look about her. The third waitress, who finally came over and asked for my order, was extremely tall and bony and thin as a rail. She had shoulder length red hair that clashed with her bright yellow t- shirt and a happy smile that looked plastered on her face.

"Hello, how may I help you tonight," the third waitress asked in a too cheerful voice.

"Oh, um, I'd like to see a menu. I am ordering take-out," I replied. When she heard the words "take- out" I think she relaxed a little bit, I could see it in her face.

"Here's a - "

But she was cut off by the blonde waitress who was yelling, "Cass! Table four's food is ready!"

"Okay, Ash-ley," she called back to the blonde, drawling her name out. "Here's your menu," she said quickly to me and then went to the window to get the tray of food for table four. As she reached the window, the black haired waitress strode by and said, "C'mon Cassie, the foods getting cold," and strode away as quickly as she had come.

I then heard one of the waiters yell, "God Janine, don't get your panties in a bunch!" and then crack up hysterically laughing. I skimmed over the menu remembering that Alice had asked for a burger and fries. I decided on a chicken sandwich and then the same waiter who yelled after the black haired waitress, whose name obviously was Janine, came over and said in a cocky voice, "My name is Kyle and I'll be your waiter tonight."

"I am ordering take- out," I deadpanned. This Kyle guy is pretty good looking I thought. Short brownish sun streaked hair, nice eyes, nice smile, he has some serious potential.

"Oh well, whatever," he said seriously hurt from the fact I wasn't staying. "Well then what do you want to order and make it quick were really swamped tonight and short like two or three people."

"I'd like a chicken sandwich and a burger and fries," I quickly replied.

"Is that all for you?" he asked leaning over the counter checking me out.

"No," I said in a bored voice. "Its for my aunt and I."

"Oh," he said to me, Kyle then turned to the kitchen window and screamed, "ORDER UP!" He then slapped the slip of paper on which the order was written on, on the cold, metal frame to the window.

"God Ky!" I heard a voice exclaim from the kitchen. "You don't have to be so freakin' loud!"

"C'mon Todd," Kyle said, well halfway whined. "Don't be a party pooper!"

So his name is Todd I thought.

"I am not," Todd paused to stick his head out the window, "a party pooper." Oh my god, it was the guy I saw standing outside the Wawa! He looked familiar from somewhere else too. I just couldn't pin it. He was extremely good -looking. Todd had short muddy blonde hair and these reflective looking blue eyes with flecks of a light mint-like green in them. He was also tall, about 6 feet from the way he had to bow his head to get it through the window. Todd then noticed me sitting at the counter and said, in an extremely calm and level voice, "Your food should be ready in just one minute."

"You'll probably be waitin' here a while," Kyle said. "Might as well get comfortable."

"Shut up!" Todd yelled from the stove. "You have food to serve. Janine is gonna be pissed if she finds out your behind, so you better get your butt moving. It's the busiest night of the season so far."

"Pick it up over there!" an angry voice yells from across the crowded diner, I was guessing it was Janine. "I am not paying you two to flirt with the customers," she added looking at the two of them and then glancing at me.

While I sat at the 50s style diner counter waiting for my dinner, the customers just kept pouring in. As each new family of four walked into the diner I could hear the waiters and waitresses moaning and groaning. Once while I was nonchalantly trying to get a better look at Todd, I noticed that there was only one other chef back there with him. Then, as if some high-pitch whistle only waiters and waitresses could hear was blown, the three waitresses and three waiters each walked swiftly behind the counter forming a single file line. One at a time they slapped the little slip of paper with the order on it down on the metal sill.

"Uhh," Todd groaned loudly. "This is gonna be one heck of a long night," he said to the metal cabinets. Crash, crash, crash! Alarmed I stood up abruptly and peered into the kitchen. And there I saw Kyle who had just walked into the kitchen, bashing his head against the metal cabinets, making a slight sighing noise each time his head was smacked against the metal.

It was pitiful, I mean this 16 or 17 year-old guy hitting his head repeatedly against the metal cabinets in a 50s style diner's kitchen. Not laughing at this was the hardest thing I had ever had to do in my life, and well basically I failed. My body was convulsing I was laughing so hard and I guess I was making enough noise because Kyle looked up. Todd was having the hardest time not laughing too.

"What's so funny?" he asked disdainfully.

Between fits of laughter I was able to say coherently, "You know every time you do that," I pointed to the cabinet, "you loose more brain cells."

"And now what's so funny about that?" he asked again. He was clearly mad, I could tell it from his expression and the tone of his voice. "Huh?"

"It's just," I paused to laugh, "that you look so funny. You know, hitting your head against the metal cabinet like that."

He scoffed. "Well you would be to if you knew the stress I was under," Kyle said this more to the cabinet, he then turned to me. "I know your type, so conceited and flippant and air-headed. I bet your name is Miffy or Buffy or something!"

"And now why would you say that?" I was really getting steamed now. What nerve this guy had!

"Because you seem like the little Princeton girl who gets by on having money. You probably go to some fancy private school because your parents paid your way in, you didn't make in it on natural talent. And you think you should be in the Hamptons, not Cape May, New Jersey," he replied indignantly. Kyle turned away and got back to work. I was shocked.

"Well I don't live in Princeton, I don't go to a private school, and I don't think I should be in the Hamptons. I chose to spend my summer in Cape May," I turned to walk back to my stool but something made me go back and say, "By the way, the names not Miffy or Buffy or Muffy, its Brooke, Brooke Weston." Now I was satisfied enough to walk away. It's always best to get in the last word.

Kyle just huffed and Todd gave me a surprised look, like he didn't think I was self-righteous enough to stand up for myself, before becoming exceedingly interested in cooking to perfection. Well good riddance to him, I thought, and if Todd doesn't think I'll stand up for myself he's got another thing coming. Cassie then came over, dragging her feet and grimacing. "God! Some people ya know! They don't even know how to tip decently!" she was talking more to the ceiling then to us.

"What happened?" I asked interested.

"Well," Cassie began as Ashley walked behind the counter too. "This one table, over there," she jabbed her thumb to a table where the family was leaving, "they had a $46.20 bill and they gave me a $3.80 tip!"

"That's not even 10%!" Ashley shrieked outraged.

"I know!" Cassie replied. "I was very nice to them too. Smiling and everything!"

"That's really isn't fair," I said. "Do all the customer's tip like that?"

"No not all of them," Cassie said loudly. "Some customers know how to tip!" Then in a normal speaking manner she added, "And tonight of all nights. We're short a waiter and a cook."

"Actually," Ashley said. "We're short two waiters. Maurice is in Spain until half way through August and his replacement didn't show. Then our fourth waiter called in sick tonight so Brad, " she said jerking her head at one of the male waiters whose name I didn't know, "filled in, but he's supposed to be our third cook. So we've been busting our butts all night."

"That really sucks," I said meaning it. Those poor teens! "Is it always this busy though?"

"Only usually on Friday nights and Saturday's at lunch," Cassie said still grimacing. She was obviously still mad, her cheeks were almost as red as her hair and she had her arms folded tightly across her chest.

"Well if you guys ever need any help I am gonna be here until August," I offered.

"Really!" Cassie screeched.

At the same time Ashley screamed, "Oh my God! That would be so great!"

Kyle then jumped in (literally) and added, "It would be cool to work with you Brooke." He then whispered in my ear, "I've never had a girl stand up to me before." In the kitchen I could see Todd rolling his eyes.

Then Janine came over livid because they weren't working, "C'mon guys! Get back to work!"

"Brooke over here," Kyle said pointing to me, "just offered to help out and waitress."

"Please, Janine," Ashley begged. "She seems really cool!"

"Well I guess we could use the extra help," Janine said thinking it over. "One more night like this," she gestured to the crowd, "and we could be in some serious trouble. I can only start you on minimum wage plus tips though."

"Oh, that's fine with me. I just need something to do so I won't lose my mind," I said. They all laughed at this, including Janine.

"Could you start tonight?" Janine asked.

"I have to get dinner home first, "I said motioning towards the bag of take out.

"Hmm," Janine thought. "Todd you have your Cinderella's license right?"

"No only my permit," he called from the kitchen. "If the house is close I can take her though, the cops don't care. Where's the house?"

"Um, I'm staying with my aunt, Alice Weston," I replied.

"Oh, that's close," Ashley said. "Its right past our house," she said gesturing to Cassie and Janine too.

"C'mon," Todd said taking his apron off and getting his car keys. The car ride to my aunt's house was completely silent. I could even hear the crickets chirping on the side of the road. He took a wide turn into Alice's driveway and skidded to a stop inches in front of her front porch. I ran inside and gave Alice the dinners and explained what had happened that night at the diner. She said it was okay and I rushed back outside where Steven was casually leaning against his car. He was really good looking. I stood there for a second suddenly feeling extremely self- conscious. Suddenly my disheveled half ponytail and barely- there make-up wasn't enough for this guy. I felt naked.

"Are we going to be going anytime soon?" Todd asked with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

"Yes," I replied stiffly. I wonder how long I was standing there staring like a moron?

"Then I suggest that you get into the car," I sensed a hint of anger in his voice.

"Okay," I said drawing out my syllables and sauntering slowly towards the car. Todd gave an aggravated sigh. "What? Am I not moving fast enough for you?" I asked coyly.

"No your not," he said bluntly opening the door. Todd took a step towards her and lunged, side tackling her into the car. "Ugh," he groaned.

"Get off me! Get off me!" I said writhing underneath his body. But for some reason I couldn't keep myself from smiling.

Todd looked right at her and for some reason he was smiling too. He felt like a freshman again. For the first time in a very long time he felt care free and without worries. He'd only known her about an hour and a half and suddenly he was acting like a love struck teen? She had changed everything he ever stood for or done. And all she ever had to do was smile.

"What took you two so long?" Janine practically screamed as they walked into the diner. It was just as crowded as it had been when they left. "Get to work! Now!"

"Wow, she's in a mood," Kyle stage whispered to us as we walked in.

"Kyle, I heard that!" she yelled back. Kyle winced and walked to his table.

The rest of the night flew by in a whirlwind blur. I began to become more at ease with the customers and my co-workers. Some of these older hot preppy- types even flirted with me and as I walked to give Todd the order, smiling, and Todd just glared at me. Well maybe it wasn't a glare and it wasn't at me, it was a look, a look of jealously and he was looking at the guys who flirted with me. Before I knew it the night was over and Janine was telling me what time to come back tomorrow. "Okay," I said nodding numbly.

"I can give you're a ride home, " Kyle offered.

"Or I could," Todd quickly put in.

"Or maybe we could," Ashley said gesturing to herself and Cassie. "I mean we only live on the same street."

"Oh," the two guys replied in unison.

"We're gonna go," Cassie called to Janine as she herded Ashley and me out the diner and into her car.

"Okay, I'll be home in a little while," Janine called back. With that the three girls piled into the car and left. As Cassie was pulling out of the small parking lot she broke into a fit of giggles and said, "I think Todd and Kyle might have a thing for you already Brooke."

This was gonna be a good summer.