فصل 01

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فصل 01

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CHAPTER ONE

A Summer Job

Summer vacation had just started for Bill and Michelle Martin, who lived in Portola Point, California. Bill was a tall, handsome eighteen - year - old boy with brown hair and blue eyes, and basketball was his sport. This was going to be a special summer for Bill because he had just graduated with honors from Portola Point High School and planned to attend the University of Southern California in Los Angeles - UCLA - in September. He had always wanted to be a biologist and UCLA had one of the best biology programs in the United States.

Michelle Martin, his sister, was a cute girl of seventeen, with red hair and blue eyes. She was in her senior year at high school and wanted to become a journalist. She loved reading and solving mysteries.

Nick Chan, their good friend from Montego Bay, Florida, had just graduated from high school too. He was a Chinese - American boy of eighteen and he was a basketball player too. Nick was an excellent student and had won a scholarship to study veterinary medicine at Columbia University in New York City. He was excited about the scholarship and about moving to New York City.

Our story starts on a hot summer morning in late June.

“Have you checked your email yet?” asked Michelle, turning on the radio. “There could be a message from Nick.”

“I’m not even awake yet,” said Bill sleepily. “You do it, Michelle, and please turn down the radio.”

“Wow, I was right!” said Michelle. “There’s a message from Nick.”

“What does he say?” asked Bill, trying to wake up.

“You’ll never believe it! He’s leaving for New York City in two days…” said Michelle.

“Did he find an apartment yet?” asked Bill.

“No, listen, he’s going to stay with his aunt and uncle who live there until he finds an apartment. He says they have a Chinese grocery store in New York’s Chinatown.”

“That’s great!” said Bill, who was finally awake.

“And there’s more!” said Michelle. “Come and read…”

Michelle and Bill stood in front of the computer screen and read the whole message.

…and now the great news! The Columbia University Student Job Program has two summer jobs at the International Art and History Museum. There’s going to be a big show that lasts one month - from July 10 to August 10 - and the museum needs two attendants. Most students are away on vacation so I accepted the job and thought of you, Bill. Why don’t you come to New York and work at the museum with me? You can stay at my aunt and uncle’s; they have a big house with three guest rooms and they would love to have you and Michelle here. This is a great opportunity to spend some time together and see the Big Apple. I need your answer by tomorrow morning. I hope it’s YES! You can fly to New York City anytime after the Fourth of July celebrations.

Michelle and Bill stared at the screen. They couldn’t believe their eyes - Nick had just invited them to The Big Apple.

“Breakfast’s ready!” said a voice downstairs.

“Let’s go and have breakfast… and give mom the news,” said Bill excitedly.

They went downstairs to the kitchen where Mrs Martin, a friendly woman of about forty - five, was reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee. Bill and Michelle looked at each other nervously and told her all about Nick’s email and invitation.

“What! New York City! Both of you!” Mrs Martin exclaimed, dropping the newspaper. “Is this a joke?”

“No, it’s not a joke,” said Bill, trying to be calm. “Mom, it’s the chance of a lifetime. Jobs aren’t easy to find; I can work and make some money before I start UCLA. I’ll need the extra money when I start buying books. And I can see New York City.”

“And what will Michelle do all day?” asked their mother, confused. “Well, Nick invited me too,” said Michelle, smiling. “I can be a tourist and maybe I can help in his aunt and uncle’s grocery store.”

“Just a minute, guys, we have to talk to your father this evening.”

“But mom, I’m eighteen years old and…,” said Bill nervously.

“I know how old you are, Bill, but we’re your parents and we care about you,” said Mrs Martin. Michelle, who was only seventeen, did not say a word. “I’m going to phone Nick’s mother in Montego Bay and see what she says.”

“Nick said he needs an answer by tomorrow,” said Bill.

“I know this is exciting and you kids want to go, but New York is not around the corner. When dad gets home we’ll all discuss it during dinner. You’ll have an answer by tomorrow morning,” said Mrs Martin, picking up the phone.

The next morning Michelle and Bill were awake at dawn and decided to prepare breakfast for the family.

“Do you think mom and dad will let us go?” asked Michelle, putting the butter and jam on the breakfast table.

“Well, they didn’t say ‘no’ last night at dinner; they said they would think about it,” said Bill, looking at his watch.

“Yeah,” said Michelle, “and mom talked to Nick’s mother on the phone for over an hour!”

At about eight o’clock the kitchen door opened and Mr and Mrs Martin walked in.

“Good morning, kids,” they said.

“Now let’s sit down and talk,” said Mr Martin, sitting down at the table. “Your mother and I have thought about Nick’s invitation all night long and we’ve decided that we trust you. You can go to New York City for a month. We think this will be a great opportunity for both of you.”

“Oh, dad, thanks!” cried Bill and Michelle, hugging him.

“But, wait a moment,” said Mr Martin, looking at his son and daughter kindly, “if there are any problems when you’re there, we want to know about them. Is that clear?”

“We promise!” they said laughing.

“We’ll call every day… well, almost every day!” said Michelle.

“You kids are lucky because your dad works for an airline and you can fly almost free,” said Mrs Martin. “Dad will book seats for you today.”

Michelle and Bill jumped up from their chairs saying, “We’re going to email Nick with the great news!”

“I’m going to call Pam and we can go shopping together,” said Michelle. “I need some new clothes for the trip.”

“You don’t need new clothes to go to New York,” said Bill. “The people in New York have never seen your old clothes! Besides, there are shops in the Big Apple too, you know.”

“Silly!” said Michelle. “Boys will never understand.”

Mrs Martin looked at her husband and said, “We’ll miss them, won’t we?”

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