“That’s all right,” I tell her. I know she’s only offering it to feel above me, as is her way.
“I’ll take it,” Kitty says, and Haven’s face pulls into a frown for a second, but Kitty’s already peeling it off the wall. “Thanks, Haven.”
Margot and I look at each other and try not to smile. Haven’s never had much patience for Kitty, and the feeling is infinitely mutual.
“Margot, have you been to any shows since you’ve been in Scotland?” Haven asks. She plops down on her bed and opens up her laptop.
“Not really,” Margot says. “I’ve been so busy with classes.” Margot’s not much of a live-music person anyway. She’s looking at her phone; the skirt of her hanbok is fanned around her. She’s the only one of us Song girls still fully clothed. I’ve taken off my jacket, so I’m just in the slip and skirt, and Kitty’s taken off both the jacket and the skirt and is just wearing an undershirt and bloomers.
I sit down on the bed next to Haven so she can show me pictures from their vacation to Bermuda on Instagram. As she’s scrolling through her feed, a picture from the ski trip pops up. Haven’s in the Charlottesville Youth Orchestra, so she knows people from a lot of different schools, including mine.
I can’t help but sigh a little when I see it—a picture of a bunch of us on the bus the last morning. Peter has his arm around me, he’s whispering something in my ear. I wish I remembered what.
All surprised, Haven looks up and says, “Oh, hey, that’s you, Lara Jean. What’s this from?”
“The school ski trip.”
“Is that your boyfriend?” Haven asks me, and I can tell she’s impressed and trying not to show it.
I wish I could say yes. But—
Kitty scampers over to us and looks over our shoulders. “Yes, and he’s the hottest guy you’ve ever seen in your life, Haven.” She says it like a challenge. Margot, who was scrolling on her phone, looks up and giggles.
“Well, that’s not exactly true,” I hedge. I mean, he’s the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in my life, but I don’t know what kind of people Haven goes to school with.
“No, Kitty’s right, he’s hot,” Haven admits. “Like, how did you get him? No offense. I just thought you were the non-dating type.”
I frown. The non-dating type? What kind of type is that? A little mushroom who sits at home in a semidark room growing moss?
“Lara Jean dates plenty,” Margot says loyally.
I blush. I date never, Peter barely even counts, but I’m glad for the lie.
“What’s his name?” Haven asks me.
“Peter. Peter Kavinsky.” Even saying his name is a remembered pleasure, something to savor, like a piece of chocolate dissolving on my tongue.
“Ohh,” she says. “I thought he dated that pretty blond girl. What’s her name? Jenna? Weren’t you guys best friends when you were little?”
I feel a pang in my heart. “Her name is Genevieve. We used to be friends, not anymore. And she and Peter have been broken up for a while.”
“So then how long have you and Peter been together?” Haven asks me. She has a dubious look in her eye, like she 90 percent believes me but there’s still that niggling 10 percent that has doubt.
“We started hanging out in September.” At least that much is true. “We’re not together right now; we’re kind of on a break. . . . But I’m . . . optimistic.”
Kitty pokes my cheek, makes a dimple with her pinky. “You’re smiling,” she says, and she’s smiling too. She cuddles closer to me. “Make up with him today, okay? I want Peter back.”
“It’s not that simple,” I say, though maybe it could be?
“Sure it’s that simple. He still likes you a lot—just tell him you still like him, too, and boom. You’re back together and it’ll be like you never kicked him out of our house.”
Haven’s eyes go even wider. “Lara Jean, you broke up with him?”
“Geez, is it so hard to believe?” I narrow my eyes at her, and Haven opens and then wisely closes her mouth.
She takes another look at the picture of Peter. Then she gets up to go to the bathroom, and as she closes the door, she says, “All I can say is, if that boy was my boyfriend, I’d never let him go.”
My whole body tingles when she says those words.
I once had that exact same thought about Josh, and look at me now: It’s like a million years have gone by and he’s just a memory to me. I don’t want it to be like that with Peter. The farawayness of old feelings, like even when you try with all your might, you can barely make out his face when you close your eyes. No matter what, I always want to remember his face.
When it’s time to go, I’m putting on my coat and Peter’s letter falls out of my pocket. Margot picks it up. “Another letter?”
I blush. In a rush I say, “I haven’t figured out when I should give it to him, if I should leave it in his mailbox, or if I should actually mail it? Or face to face? Gogo, what do you think?”
“You should just talk to him,” Margot says. “Go right now. Daddy will drop you off. You go to his house, you give him the letter, and then you see what he says.”
My heart pumps wildly at the thought. Right now? Just go over there, without calling first, without a plan? “I don’t know,” I hedge. “I feel like I should think it over more.”
Margot opens her mouth to respond, but then Kitty comes up behind us and says, “Enough with the letters. Just go get him back.”
“Don’t let it be too late,” Margot says, and I know she’s not just talking about me and Peter.
I’ve been tiptoeing around the subject of Josh because of everything that’s happened with us. I mean, Margot’s forgiven me, but there’s no sense in rocking the boat. So these past couple of days I’ve stayed silently supportive and hoped that was enough. But Margot leaves for Scotland again in less than a week. The thought of her leaving without at least talking to Josh doesn’t feel right to me. We’ve all been friends for so long. I know Josh and I will mend things, because we’re neighbors, and that’s how it goes with people you see a lot. They mend, almost on their own. But not so for Margot and Josh, with her so far away. If they don’t talk now, the scar will only harden over time, it will calcify, and then they’ll be like strangers who never loved each other, which is the saddest thought of all.