She looked around, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath of fresh air as it breezed past her.
“I’m free!” she squealed.
“Well then, why are we standing around and wasting time? Let’s get the hell out of here!” I laughed, grabbing her hand and tugging her in the direction of my car.
“I’m sorry it’s not that great-looking, but it runs,” I said, regarding the less than stellar state of my car, which had probably seen more birthdays than she had.
“It’s green!” she exclaimed.
I threw her bags into the trunk. “Yep, split-pea, baby-shit green.”
“Eww…gross. Why did you have to ruin split-pea soup for me?” She laughed as we got in.
“Well, that is a color!”
“I think we should name it,” she declared.
I turned the key. “The color? I thought I just did.” I pulled out of the parking spot and drove the short distance out of the hospital.
We were officially free.
“No.” She laughed. “The car. Cars that are baby-shit green need to have a name.”
I turned my head with a look of mock surprise and shock. “Did I just hear you curse? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad word leave those pretty little lips of yours before in my life. Two seconds out of the hospital, and you’re already swearing like a sailor! I think I’m having a bad effect on you.”
She stuck out her tongue and laughed. “I’ve cursed before—in my head and maybe once or twice out loud,” she said, grinning. “You’re changing the subject. From this day forward, I hereby do so-eth—”
“Do so-eth?” I couldn’t help but ask.
She was literally vibrating with excitement. Being out of the hospital had awoken her spirit and had breathed fresh new life into her lungs.
“Shut up! It’s my fancy car dubbing speech. I’m supposed to sound like Shakespeare.”
“Oh, sorry,” I faked a cough as we turned west. “Go on. You do so-eth?”
“I hereby name this car, um…” She looked around, searching, and finally her eyes grew wide. “Yertle the Turtle!”
She was so proud of herself that she didn’t even notice where we were when I pulled the car to a stop.
“Very clever, Sam I Am.” I laughed. “But Yertle the Turtle was blue.”
“He was not!”
“He was,” I urged. “In the book illustrations, he’s blue.”
She looked over at me with her arms folded over her chest. “How the heck do you even know that?”
“My mom used to read to us a lot when I was little.” I shrugged. “And I’m smart,” I added with a grin, tapping on my temple.
“Well, whatever. We’re calling it Yertle, even if it isn’t blue. Now, where are we? And what are we doing?” she asked, looking up. She gasped when her eyes took in the panoramic view of the ocean.
“We’re going to put your toes in the ocean.”
A portion of the sales during the first week of release will go to a children’s heart charity.
About J.L. Berg
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.