Study Guide

The Usual Rules Chapter 29

By Joyce Maynard

Chapter 29

  • On Christmas, Wendy and Carolyn wake up early and start setting up the barbecue. Carolyn talks about how it's pretty clear that Nate doesn't want her to be a part of his new family.
  • They exchange gifts and Wendy gets a nice cactus and some cool new clothes. Garrett also calls and says that he's flying back home and will hopefully make it back today.
  • Wendy opens a package from Josh. He bought her lots of cool things, including a beautiful cherry red clarinet. This is touching because Wendy has missed playing music while she's in California.
  • Then Violet calls Wendy and tells her that Christmas at her mom's house isn't going so well. She left with the baby and is now stranded at a 7-11 off the highway. Oh good.
  • Wendy explains everything to Carolyn and they drive over to pick up Violet and Walter Charles so they can join them for dinner.
  • Alan and Tim also show up at the house and they let Tim go down to the basement to do their laundry since he really likes this activity.
  • Carolyn sets up a table outside with some Christmas lights strung about, and everyone admires the set-up and all the good food she's made. Just as she sets the turkey down, she hears the door opening.
  • Garrett appears inside the house, and—surprise—he's accompanied by Todd, the skater kid Wendy met in San Francisco.
  • He tells them that Todd was hitchhiking on the side of the road, and when he pulled over to pick the kid up, the address he was given was his own house. He didn't even know that Todd knew Wendy until that moment.
  • So everyone sits down at the table and digs into the food. Carolyn is totally in love with holding Walter Charles, who takes to her, too.
  • Garrett didn't have time to buy her a Christmas present, but he gives her a cameo pin that was her grandmother's. It had been her great grandmother's before that. Hey there, family heirloom.
  • Wendy gives him a drawing she did of him fishing with Shiva next to him; in it, he's holding up a huge fish. Garrett is pleased with the picture.
  • They eat Alan's Christmas pudding and some pie, and then Violet gives Carolyn the heart pendant that she meant to give to her own mother because Carolyn was kinder to her on Christmas.
  • After all the festivities, Tim finishes up the laundry and he and Alan go home. Violet and Walter Charles also head out, and Garrett and Carolyn take a walk around the neighborhood together.
  • This leaves Wendy alone in the kitchen with Todd. They do dishes together for a while, and he tells her that she's lucky to have such a great family—even if it's not the one she started out with.
  • Then he asks her if she has a boyfriend and says that he wants to write to her while he's on the road searching for his brother.
  • They go outside for a walk and Todd asks Wendy if he can kiss her. She says yes, and then they start making out.
  • The next day, Louie calls and tells her that he and Josh had a sleepover at Kate's house. He also tells her about all the presents he got.
  • When Josh gets on the phone, Wendy lets him know that she is aware that he's seeing Kate… and that she's okay with that.
  • Todd stays the night, but then he decides to catch the train to Colorado so he can go looking for his brother. He was sighted there recently.