“Yep.” He was cute, but nowhere near Dastien’s level of hotness. Perfect. I was obsessing over a boy I didn’t even really know. That made me officially ridiculous.

Fancy Braid Girl grabbed the corner of my T-shirt. “Who’s this? I’m Lindsay, by the way.” She cocked her head, waiting for me to answer.


It took me a second to realize she was talking about my shirt. “Um…The Orb is one of my favorite groups.”

“It’s really soft. Has to be printed on something better than American Apparel for sure. Lemme check.” She reached toward me, but I leaned away. “Don’t freak. I’m just checking the label.”

Her fingers brushed against the back of my neck.

“Oh, Lindsay. You’re so soft,” Dimple Boy said. His voice was muffled as his lips moved along her neck.

Ew, gross!

The seatbelt dug into Lindsay’s back. She was giddy as his wet lips pressed against hers.

I banged my elbow on the table, jolting me back to the lunchroom.

“Yup. Printed on Splendid,” Lindsay said.

I looked around as I rubbed my elbow, but no one seemed to notice anything weird. At least I hadn’t said anything to give away the vision.

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“Her jeans are J Brand,” Rosalyn said. “I bet she has good stuff stashed in her closet. She’ll be a good addition.”

I slowly inhaled and exhaled to let the aftershocks of the vision fade from my body, before trying to speak. They were going to be sorely disappointed if they thought they were going to raid my clothes. I’d never be able to wear anything they borrowed again, and shopping really wasn’t my thing. “I don’t really pay much attention to brands, but I like to do screen printing. Splendid’s shirts are my favorite to work with.”

Lindsay made a face at that, but then Dimple Boy asked a question. From then on it was a solid twenty-five minutes of being barraged with a million and one questions about LA. By the time the bell rang, my palms were sweating. I itched to take off my gloves and let my skin breathe, but that was so not an option.

Rosalyn and I left the cafeteria together since it turned out we had almost the exact same schedule. We’d better end up being actual friends, or else this school year would be really painful. Someone shouted my name. Dimple Boy was chasing after us.

“I wanted to let you know we’re having a party on Saturday night. You know, to celebrate the start of a new year. You should come.” He winked at Rosalyn. “She knows where I live.”

Rosalyn took a step forward and linked her arm in mine. We were both wearing short-sleeved T-shirts. Our skin touched.

Rosalyn’s face was red. “I can’t believe you’d do this. You know Lindsay is coming over later, and look at this place!”

An older woman was laying half-on, half-off a couch. Beer cans littered the floor. A grease covered pizza box was on a coffee table in front of her. Cigarette butts covered the rest of the table. “I’ll clean up. Don’t you worry, baby.” Her words were slurred.

The stench of alcohol filled the air, stinging my nostrils. Rosalyn’s anger and frustration consumed me.

I stumbled, and my arm pulled free from hers.

Rosalyn stared at me. “You okay?”

“Yeah. Just a little clumsy. Sorry,” I managed to say. Rosalyn might seem normal, but from what I just saw, her home life was a hot mess. I was starting to feel bad for her.

“Carlos’ parties are always crazy.”

Wait. Did I get invited to a party? Nice.

“Just so you know, Carlos and I are together. He’s probably only inviting you because you’re new. No offense.”

…and not feeling bad for her anymore.

I barely contained my eye roll. I hated when people said “no offense” or “I don’t mean to be rude.” If someone is going to say something rude or offensive, they should just say it or not. Trying to pawn it off as something not rude or offensive when it clearly was, was beyond insulting.

She might have thought she was doing herself a favor by warning me off her manwhore of a boyfriend, but she really should’ve been more concerned about what her “friends” were doing behind her back. When I thought about it, the whole thing was kind of sad. And damn it. Now I was feeling bad for her again.

“Anyway. I’m sure we can find something to make you look presentable for the party.”

Every time I started to feel a little bit of sympathy for the girl, she hit me with a backhanded comment. I officially decided to cut off my feelings for her. She was clearly using me to feel more “LA,” whatever that meant, and I was using her to get to the party. With any luck, I’d make some actual friends there.