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Dad sure was excited. He’d been looking for an excuse to quit his boring office job and devote all of his time to his writing career. This house—absolutely free— would be just the excuse he needed.




 

这样,一个星期后,也就是今天,我们一家,经过四个小时的车程,来黑瀑布看房子。我们连门都没有进,乔西却要把爸爸拉回车上去。  

“乔西,不要拉我,”爸爸不耐烦地申斥,用力要把手抽开。  

 爸爸无奈地看了看道斯先生。看得出来,乔西耍性子,弄得爸爸很尴尬。我想我该出面了。  

And now, a week later, here we were in Dark Falls, a four-hour drive from our home, seeing our new house for the first time. We hadn’t even gone inside, and Josh was trying to drag Dad back to the car.  

 

“快放手,乔西,”我抓住乔西的肩膀,低声对他说,“我们不是说好要来这看一看的吗?”

“我已经看过了,”乔西哼哼唧唧地说,还是抓住爸爸的手不放,“这房子又旧又难看,我讨厌。”  

 “你都还没有进去呢,”爸爸生气地说。  

 “对呀,我们进去吧,”道斯先生看着乔西,催促道。  

 “我就是不进去,”乔西毫不妥协。  

 

“Josh—stop pulling me,” Dad snapped impatiently, trying to tug his hand out of Josh’s grasp. Dad glanced helplessly at Mr. Dawes. I could see that he was embarrassed by how Josh was carrying on. I decided maybe I could help. “Let go, Josh,” I said quietly, grabbing Josh by the shoulder. “We promised we’d give Dark Falls a chance—remember?”

 “I already gave it a chance,” Josh whined, not letting go of Dad’s hand. “This house is old and ugly and I hate it.”

“You haven’t even gone inside,” Dad said angrily.

“Yes. Let’s go in,” Mr. Dawes urged, staring at Josh.

 “I’m staying outside,” Josh insisted.

 

他有时候就是这么倔。看着这又黑又旧的房子,我跟乔西一样高兴不起来,但是我不会像他那样耍性子。  

“乔西,难道你不想去挑自己的房间?”妈妈问。  

“不想,”乔西咕哝道。  

我和乔西抬头看二楼,上面并排有两个大凸窗,活像两只黑乎乎的眼睛在盯着我们。

He can be really stubborn sometimes. I felt just as unhappy as Josh looking at this dark, old house. But I’d never carry on the way Josh was.

 “Josh, don’t you want to pick out your own room?” Mom asked.

 “No,” Josh muttered.

He and I both glanced up to the second floor. There were two large bay windows side by side up there. They looked like two dark eyes staring back at us.   

 

“现在的房子你们住了多久了?”道斯先生问爸爸。  

 爸爸想了一会儿。“差不多十四年了,”他答道,“孩子们生下来就一直住在那。”

“How long have you lived in your present house?” Mr. Dawes asked Dad.

 Dad had to think for a second. “About fourteen years,” he answered. “The kids have lived there for their whole lives.”

 

“搬一次家不容易,”道斯先生把目光转向我,同情地说,“知道吗?阿曼达,我几个月前刚搬到黑瀑布。一开始,我也不喜欢这儿,但是,现在要我搬哪,我可不干了。”  

“Moving is always hard,” Mr. Dawes said sympathetically, turning his gaze on me.

“You know, Amanda, I moved here to Dark Falls just a few months ago. I didn’t like it much either, at first. But now I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

他朝我眨了眨眼。他一笑,脸上会有一个可爱的酒窝。“我们进去吧,房子挺不错,保证让你惊喜一场。”

除了乔西,我们都跟着道斯先生过去了。“这里有没有其他小孩?”乔西问,口气听上去象在找茬儿。

He winked at me. He had a cute dimple in his chin when he smiled. “Let’s go inside. It’s really quite nice. You’ll be surprised.” All of us followed Mr. Dawes, except Josh. “Are there other kids on this block?” Josh demanded. He made it sound more like a challenge than a question.  

 

道斯先生点点头。“学校离这儿只隔两条街,”他说,往街道上方指了指。  

 “你看!”妈妈很快插进来,“这么近,一走就到。用不着每天一大早坐那么远的巴士。”  

“我就是喜欢坐巴士,”乔西固执己见。  

Mr. Dawes nodded. “The school’s just two blocks away,” he said, pointing up the street.

 “See?” Mom quickly cut in. “A short walk to school. No more long bus rides every morning.”

 “I liked the bus,” Josh insisted.

 

乔西认定了死理,是不会让爸爸妈妈舒心的,尽管此前我们俩都说过对这次搬家要坦然处之。我不明白乔西如此犯别扭能得到什么。我的意思是,爸爸的烦心事已经够多了。至少,我们的老房子现在还没有找到买主。  

His mind was made up. He wasn’t going to give my parents a break, even though we’d both promised to be open-minded about this move. I don’t know what Josh thought he had to gain by being such a pain. I mean, Dad already had plenty to worry about. For one thing, he hadn’t been able to sell our old house yet.

 

我也不喜欢搬家,但是,我知道,继承这座大房子对我们一家来说是一个大好的机会。我们现在住的地方拥挤不堪,一旦爸爸把它卖掉,我们就再也不必为钱操心了。  

我认为,乔西至少应该试一下。  

突然,从停在车道的汽车上传来了皮皮的狂吠吵闹声。  

 

I didn’t like the idea of moving. But I knew that inheriting this big house was a great opportunity for us. We were so cramped in our little house. And once Dad managed to sell the old place, we wouldn’t have to worry at all about money anymore. Josh should at least give it a chance. That’s what I thought. Suddenly, from our car at the foot of the driveway, we heard Petey barking and howling and making a fuss.

 

皮皮是我们的狗,一只白色的卷毛小猎犬,长得小巧玲珑,平时也很听话。通常,把它留在车上都没什么事。但是,现在它又叫又嚎,不停地抓车窗,拼命要出来。  

“皮皮,别叫!别叫!”我大声喊。皮皮平时都很听我的。  

 但是,这次它不听。  

“我去把它放出来,”乔西说着就朝车跑去。  

“别,等等……”爸爸喊。  

Petey is our dog, a white, curly-haired terrier, cute as a button, and usually wellbehaved. He never minded being left in the car. But now he was yowling and yapping at full volume and scratching at the car window, desperate to get out.

 “Petey—quiet! Quiet!” I shouted. Petey usually listened to me.

 But not this time.

 “I’m going to let him out!” Josh declared, and took off down the driveway toward the car.

“No. Wait—” Dad called.

 

不过,我想皮皮叫得那么大声,乔西肯定没听见爸爸的话。  

“不妨让狗也来看看房子,”道斯先生说。“毕竟这以后也是它的家。”  

 But I don’t think Josh could hear him over Petey’s wails.

“Might as well let the dog explore,” Mr. Dawes said. “It’s going to be his house, too.”

不一会儿,皮皮从草坪那边朝我们奔了过来,兴奋得汪汪直叫,只见它所经过之处,落叶飞扬。来到跟前,它在每个人脚下扑来扑去,仿佛跟我们分开了几个星期。让我们不解的是,它冲着道斯先生发出威胁的嚎叫。  

A few seconds later, Petey came charging across the lawn, kicking up brown leaves, yipping excitedly as he ran up to us. He jumped on all of us as if he hadn’t seen us in weeks and then, to our surprise, he started growling menacingly and barking at Mr. Dawes.  

 

“皮皮,别叫!”妈妈呵斥道。  

“以前它从来不会这样,”爸爸抱歉地说,“真的,它平时都很友善的。”  

“也许它在我身上嗅到了什么,以为我也是只狗吧,”道斯先生说着,松了松条纹领带,小心翼翼地看着皮皮。  

“Petey—stop!” Mom yelled.

 “He’s never done this,” Dad said apologetically. “Really. He’s usually very friendly.”

“He probably smells something on me. Another dog, maybe,” Mr. Dawes said, loosening his striped tie, looking warily at our growling dog.

 

这时,乔西过来,一把抓住皮皮,把它从道斯先生那儿拿开。

“别叫了,皮皮,”乔西一边骂一边把狗凑近自己的脸,鼻子对着鼻子,“道斯先生是我们的朋友。”  





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