My mom sat on the chaise handing me a cold cup of iced tea.
"I'm glad you came to see me," she said, "I have something to tell you."
"I... do too. But, you go first, Sandra."
She closed her eyes lightly, a small smile on her lips. She seemed like she was in a good mood. Well, hopefully she'd stay like that after I told her.
"I'm engaged," she said.
"I'm engaged," she repeated, louder.
"I know. I heard that. But to who? And when? And what?!?"
"You remember your pediatrician? Dr. Hugh. Yes, him."
"Mom. You can't be serious?"
"Well, ever since you started boarding school, he's been visiting with past documents and stuff like that. And... we just clicked."
"Holy crap. And you didn't tell me?"
"I... was afraid of what you might think. And I wasn't getting too serious. Until it did. And he proposed. I said yes."
"Did you tell dad?"
"No. Not yet."
"What about Matt? Or Levi?"
Matt, my younger brother. Levi, my older brother. God.
"Yes. They know."
"Where are they?"
"Levi's on a date. Matt's sleeping over at a friend's house."
"Tell him I said hello."
"Now, tell me what you had to tell me?"
"Um... well... you know how I want to be an actress and all..."
"I do. I don't like it. But yes, go on."
"I'm taking a year off to go to an acting school in Australia," I blurted out.
"Australia?!?" my mom shouted.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because... I was afraid of this."
"What about Jacob? Did you tell him?"
"Oh my god. Who are you staying with?"
"Your dad's sister?"
"Yes? Aren't you guys still close?"
"But what? I've planned everything out. I've saved money, got my schedule, etc. etc. I'm prepared, Sandra!"
"I don't want you to do this!"
"It's a risky profession!"
"I know... but..."
"No means no. I'm already letting you go to college for this. You're not wasting a year or money. You can't be that far away. Alone and abroad."
"But I already applied and made plans!"
"I do not want you to be an actress, Haley!"
"But I'm already going to be one!"
"Yes, but you can easily switch into something else. Go to Stanford. Apply again."
She closed her eyes again.
"Let me think."
"You can go to Australia_"
"But, only for the course. No side activities. Meaning no extra plays. When you come back, talk to me. I'll see about the rest of your career."
"Be happy with what you have. I'll be talking to Christie to make sure you're following my orders."
I slammed the iced tea on the table and stormed out of her house. I slid into my car, driving back to school, which now seemed like my safe haven.