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Synopsis

Stephanie is finally a teenager. This is going to be the best summer of her life! Or is it? She is headed out West on a YMCA youth trip. She steals glances at Matthew, a rather goofy, but good looking, boy who sits next to her. By the end of the trip, Matthew is her first boyfriend. The problem is that he lives thousands of miles away from her! As they return to normal lives, only letters, snail mail, keep them connected. Is having a pen-pal, fabulous boyfriend enough, or will Stephanie’s desire to have a boyfriend she can actually see, hear and feel win out? And what happens when Matthew returns for a summer visit?

Chapter 1- Footsie
The theme song from the T.V. show, Happy Days was blaring but Stephanie couldn’t hear it. All of her senses were captivated by watching her neighbor’s dad play footsie with another neighbor’s wife under the family kitchen table.

Her parents had two couples from the neighborhood over to eat dinner -the Deckers and the Anthonys. They had started with refreshing cocktails on the back deck. Now, they were eating cheesy, meaty lasagna that Mrs. Decker prepared. Stephanie had tried it and it was nasty, oozing with ricotta cheese.

It was springtime, Stephanie had just turned thirteen. She was curious, stunned and unsure of the meaning of this under the table foot dancing. It certainly didn’t feel right but her eyes were glued. The two bare feet of Mr. Decker and Mrs. Anthony rubbed against each other with intention -caressing and then purposeful tickling. Everyone else’s feet lay still, wrapped and secured in hard soled shoes.

Just a few minutes before, Stephanie was innocently watching Richie Cunningham try to ask a girl out on a date, when Fonzie interrupted and swept the girl away leaving Richie looking like a fool. Stephanie’s brother, Chris, a year older than her, interrupted her Happy Days and pulled her to the side to tell her about the footsie game underway.

“What the heck are you talking about?” Stephanie had naively rejected the idea of it, not even understanding what playing footsie could even mean, if indeed it was happening.

“Watch! Watch! Just watch!” Chris taunted. She obeyed. It was surreal, like it wasn’t happening. Her gut was letting her know that she shouldn’t be watching this secret revealed but she couldn’t help herself.

Later that night, as she lay in her bed, she tried to make sense of it. What did it mean to rub feet under the table with a man, not your husband, and a woman, not your wife? And why would someone do that?

Suddenly, she was overcome with a sense of guilt. She now had a secret. Should she tell her mom? Or her dad? Would her mom or dad even believe her if she told them? Should she tell her neighbor about what she saw his dad doing? She didn’t know what to do with it. She wasn’t very close to her neighbor and the thought of bringing it up made her uncomfortable. Yet, she was also intrigued by the excitement of this secret relationship. She had noticed how their eyes glowed when they looked at each other across the table. Stephanie asked herself: When will I find that excitement?

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