Read Holly and Her Naughty eReader Online

Authors: Julianne Spencer

Holly and Her Naughty eReader

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Holly and Her Naughty
eReader

By

Julianne Spencer

Copyright 2012

Chapter 1

 

I’ve decided to blame Max Brody
for what happened to my Kindle. I was supposed to go on a date with him the day
after we graduated from high school. He was going to meet me at the ice skating
rink.

He never showed.

Therefore, ten years later, when
my Kindle Fire fell out of my purse and clattered around on the hard brick
floor of the Albuquerque Airport, jarring something loose inside so it wouldn’t
turn on, it was Max’s fault.

Bear with me now. I know it
doesn’t make a lot of sense to say that because Max stood me up ten years ago
it’s his fault the Kindle fell out of my purse, but that’s how these things
work. The Butterfly Effect or something. When Max stood me up he set in motion
a sequence of events that resulted in a broken Kindle Fire ten years later.
It’s simple. Case closed. Max is guilty.

What? You’re not convinced?
Perhaps you need more details.

You see, I don’t know how to ice
skate, and I told Max as much when he asked me out. Well, not told so much as
texted—that’s how this particular communique happened—here, see for yourself.

Max
:
You wanna hang tomorrow?

That was his first text. You
wanna hang? But what is hang? Does hang mean a date, or does it just mean…hang?
Ugh. Boys.

Holly
:
That would be awesome.
What do you wanna do?

I should note that it took me
five minutes and approximately three-thousand-seventy drafts to compose that
response.

Max
:
Ice Skating.

Holly
:
I don’t know how.

Max
:
I’ll teach you. Meet me
tomorrow at the Outpost on Tramway.

Holly
:
What time?

Max
:
Meet me on the ice at 2:00.

Meet me on the ice. Good Lord.
Not only did we not meet on the ice, but we didn’t meet in the lobby, or the
parking lot, or ever again. He didn’t show, he didn’t answer his phone when I
called, he didn’t respond to my texts, and I spent a lonely afternoon at the
Outpost, sitting outside the rink, skates on my feet, phone in my hand.

That night, feeling angry and
confused, I locked myself in my room and watched
Somewhere in Time
, which was playing on USA Network.

Have you ever seen this movie?
It stars Christopher Reeve (an exceptionally beautiful, 1980 Christopher
Reeve), as a playwright who becomes obsessed with an old picture in a hotel.
With help from a book about how to use hypnosis to travel back in time,
Christopher Reeve goes back to 1912 and falls in love with the woman in the
picture.

So here’s where it gets a bit
stupid. My life, that is, not the movie. I’m sitting on the edge of my bed
after the most miserable day ever, I’m sobbing at the end of this time travel
romance movie (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, watch it and prepare to cry
your eyes out), and I get caught up in a daydream about a meeting with my
future self. In the daydream, a 28-year-old version of me used hypnosis to go
back in time, just like Christopher Reeve, but instead of coming back to find a
lost love, she came back to talk to the teenage version of herself.

She came back to talk to me. I
know. Kind of a weird, pathetic daydream, but I think a little weirdness was
justified. Max stood me up!

Anyway, 28-year-old me showed up
at the front door and rang the bell. I answered it and we talked.

“Hi Holly.”

“Hi Holly.”

“You wanna go for a walk, Holly?”

“What would we talk about, Holly?”

“Our life.”

“Okay.”

 
As we walked around the block, future me gave
teenage me all sorts of advice. She told me to be more patient in life. She
said this Max Brody thing would be a blip on the map and one day I’d laugh
about it. She cautioned me not to spend more time with my books than with my
friends. And she told me to make time for exercise every day.

Had USA Network aired another Christopher
Reeve movie, or another obscure time travel romance (
Dead Again
with Kenneth Branagh would have been a nice follow-up) I
would have stayed in bed and watched TV until I fell asleep. But after
Somewhere in Time
they went straight to
wrestling. I wasn’t in the mood for grown men dancing around a ring in their
underwear, so I turned off the TV and went to my desk. Still enamored with the
vision of my future self, I decided to write a letter.

Dear Future Holly
, the letter began.
I’m writing this letter to you with the intent of sealing it for 10
years and opening it on my 28
th
birthday. Hopefully as you’re
reading this, I’ve kept my promise
.

I went on to tell future me all
the things I wanted her to know, things like:

Don’t be evil
.

Smile more than anyone else you know.

Be the kind of adult that teenage you wants to become.

Be responsible but not boring.

Seek out adventure.

Don’t let fear make your decisions for you.

Don’t settle for a loser boyfriend.

I sealed up the envelope and
wrote REMEMBER MY LAST on the front of it. I’ll now pause so you can think
about what that reference means.
Remember
my last….

Come on now. I bet it’s right on
the tip of your tongue. Where have you heard the phrase, “Remember my last?”

Give up? It’s from
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
.
In the book, REMEMBER MY LAST is a message from Dumbledore to Harry’s Aunt
Petunia reminding her to keep a promise she made a long time ago. Just like
Petunia, I would read that phrase and remember my promise to leave the envelope
closed until my 28
th
birthday.

And yes, I’m a big ol’ Harry
Potter nerd (and a
Twilight
nerd, and
a
Hunger Games
nerd, and a Narnia
nerd. I’m a nerd for
A Wrinkle in Time
and for
The Dark is Rising
. I’m also
a nerd for Victorian romances, most erotica,
Star Wars
novels, good urban fantasy, and
Dune
, and before you judge me on
Dune
, just go read it. It’s not just for boys). This was the summer
of 2003, and Order of the Phoenix had just come out. I was one of 10 million
teenagers who went to a midnight release party and then raced like mad to
finish it so I could go on Livejournal and tell my friends I was done.

Hehe….Livejournal. Man, that was
a long time ago.

Anyway, that fall I left
Albuquerque and moved to Dallas for college. Four years later I graduated from
SMU with a degree in English and a secondary education license. I took a job as
a 12
th
grade English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School. I got my
masters in a night-school program. I dated a few guys. I got serious with one
of them, he gave me a huge rock of an engagement ring which I later threw back
at him while shouting,
You stupid lying
fuckface

And for all that time I kept the
envelope marked REMEMBER MY LAST safely tucked away in my closet.

I had mixed feelings when my
twenty-eighth birthday arrived. On the one hand, I was excited to finally open
the envelope, secure in the knowledge I had kept the promise I made to myself.
On the other hand, I was afraid that the letter inside would be an epic
disappointment.

How could the letter be anything
else? Over the years, I had given it so much significance, transforming the
simple words of an adolescent girl into wisdom for the ages. It wasn’t like
there were any surprises in there. I knew what the letter said. I wrote it
after all.

I was with my friends Angela and
Natalie when I opened the envelope. We all giggled as I read aloud the advice
from the past.

Be responsible but not boring.

Seek out adventure.

Don’t let fear make your decisions for you.

That night, as I checked my
Facebook feed before bed, I saw an invitation to attend my 10-year reunion. Had
the invite come a day earlier, I’m certain I would have deleted it and moved
on. Remember that part about throwing an engagement ring while shouting,
You stupid lying fuckface
? Yeah, I was
only a few weeks removed from that mess on my 28
th
birthday, and I
was hardly in the mood to fly to Albuquerque in search of a
Gross Point Blank
moment.

But the invite came less than an
hour after I read aloud the words of teenage Holly, who had waited patiently
for ten years to tell me to seek out adventure and not be boring.

Be the kind of adult that teenage you wants to become.

It was that line more than any
other from teenage Holly’s letter that sealed it. I knew with certainty that
teenage Holly would want me to go to the reunion.

I opened the invite on Facebook
and RSVP’d that I would be there. Before I went to bed I bought a plane ticket
to Albuquerque.

And, a few months later, when I
arrived in my hometown, mere hours before my 10-year high school reunion was to
begin, I dropped my Kindle at the baggage claim of the Albuquerque Airport and
broke it.

So, as you can see,
it’s
all Max Brody’s fault.

Had Max showed up for our date,
I wouldn’t have been an emotional train wreck locked in the bedroom watching
Somewhere in Time.
Had I not watched
Somewhere in Time
, I wouldn’t have had
time travel on my mind, and wouldn’t have daydreamed about a visit from future Holly.
If I hadn’t daydreamed about future Holly, I wouldn’t have written a letter to
her to be opened on her 28
th
birthday. If I hadn’t written that
letter, I wouldn’t have read it the same night the invitation to my reunion
arrived. Had I not read the letter, I wouldn’t have gone to my reunion.

If I hadn’t gone to my reunion,
I wouldn’t have dropped my Kindle. Man….just thinking about that Kindle
clattering around on the floor. It gives me the shivers.

The Kindle fell out of my
handbag when I was pulling my suitcase off the luggage carousel. It landed
hard, bounced, and landed hard again. It was a miserable, heartbreaking
sight.When I picked it up, the screen was black and it wouldn’t wake up. No
amount of button pushing, screen swiping, shaking, or swearing at the universe
would bring it to life.

It was the height of carelessness.
My Kindle deserved better. Perhaps a few words are in order:

 

My dear, dear, First Generation Kindle Fire. I pre-ordered you on the
day you were announced. I was slow to hop on the eReader train, to be sure, but
I read a review on CNET that said you were a steal at the price. I bought you
because I saw how much fun my students had playing games on their tablets, and
thought it would be fun to play Plants Versus Zombies during my prep period.

 

I never intended for you to replace my lovely library of physical
books. But I grew fond of the way you organized my books in a spinning carousel.
It was so beautiful to watch the covers swing by as I went shopping for the
next read. I liked swiping the screen rather than turning the page. And I fell
into the habit of reading your glow-in-the-dark screen with the light off,
letting you gently carry me to sleep every night.

 

You were such a natural progression for me, Dear Kindle. From hardback
library editions of Beverly Cleary in first grade to paperback Judy Blooms in
second…From
A Wrinkle in Time
to
The
Dark is Rising
and back again, with
Narnia, Prydain, Sweet Valley High, and Nancy Drew stuffed somewhere in the
middle, I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember, and you were just
waiting to fill me up with the literature I craved. With you, I went from a
novel a week to a novel every few days, sometimes finishing one every night.
You brought me an endless supply of free and cheap books. You let me browse the
entire catalog of the world from the comfort of my bed, and I got to read a
sample of anything that suited my fancy.

 

I came to identify with you so strongly, Dear Kindle, that I put my
brand on your back. The blue flower of the holly bush. My symbol since
elementary school. I found a nice sticker of a blue holly flower and I put it
on your back, and let the world know you were mine.

 

You were more than an eReader tablet to me and you deserved better. I’m
sorry I dropped you.

 

Sniff, sniff.

I went to the rental counter at
the airport, arranged for a car, took the shuttle to the lot, picked up a
nearly new Dodge Intrepid, and drove to the hotel, thinking of what I’d say to
Max if I saw him at the reunion. This was his fault. The blood of my beloved
Kindle was on his hands.

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