We both get an allowance—Kitty gets five dollars a week and I get twenty, but Kitty always has more money than me. She saves everything like a wily squirrel. I don’t know where she keeps it, because she locks the door whenever she goes to take any out of her stash. And she’ll lend it, but she charges interest. Margot has a credit card that she’s allowed to use for groceries and gas, but she took that with her. I should probably ask Daddy about getting me one too, now that I’m the oldest sister.
“Why do you need money?”
“Because I want to order a pizza for dinner.” Kitty opens her mouth to negotiate, but before she can get a word in, I say, “Daddy will pay you back when he gets home, so don’t even think about charging me interest. The pizza’s for you, too, you know. A twenty ought to do it.”
Kitty crosses her arms. “I’ll give you the money, but first you have to tell me about that boy from this morning. Your boyfriend.”
I groan. “What do you want to know?”
“I want to know how you got together.”
“We used to be friends back in middle school, remember? We’d all hang out in the Pearces’ tree house sometimes.” Kitty gives me a blank shrug. “Well, remember that day I got in a car accident?” Kitty nods. “Well, Peter was driving by, and he stopped and helped me. And we just . . . reconnected. It was fate.” Actually, this is good practice, telling Kitty this story. I’ll tell Chris the same story tonight.
“That’s it? That’s the whole story?”
“Hey, that’s a pretty good story,” I say. “I mean, a car accident is very dramatic, plus our history together.”
Kitty just says, “Hmm,” and she leaves it at that.
We have sausage and mushroom pizza for dinner, and when I broach the idea of Pizza Mondays, Daddy is quick to agree. I think he’s remembering my bo ssam mac and cheese.
It’s a relief that Kitty spends most of dinner talking about her field trip and all I have to do is chew on my pizza. I’m still thinking about what Manda said and wondering if maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
When Kitty pauses to inhale her slice, Daddy turns to me and says, “Did anything interesting happen to you today?”
I swallow my mouthful of pizza. “Um . . . not really.”
Later that night I fix myself a bubble bath and soak in the tub for so long Kitty bangs on the door twice to check if I’ve fallen asleep. Once I almost do.
I’ve just drifted off when my phone buzzes. It’s Chris. I hit ignore, but then it keeps buzzing, and buzzing, and buzzing. I finally just pick up.
“Is it true?” she screams.
I hold the phone away from my ear. “Yes.”
“Oh my gawd. Tell me everything.”
“Tomorrow, Chris. I’ll tell you everything tomorrow. Good night.”
THAT FRIDAY I GO TO my first ever football game. I’ve never had even the tiniest bit of interest in it before, and I still don’t. I’m sitting high in the stands with Peter and his friends, and as far as I can tell, there’s not a lot to see. It just seems like a lot of waiting and huddling and not a lot of action. Nothing at all like football games in the movies and on TV shows.
By nine thirty the game’s almost over, I hope, and I’m yawning into my coat when Peter suddenly throws his arm around me. I nearly choke on my yawn.
Down below, Genevieve is cheering with the rest of the squad. She is shimmying and shaking her pom-poms. She looks up in the stands, and when she sees us, she stops for just a half second before launching into a new cheer, eyes blazing.
I glance at Peter, who has a satisfied smirk on. When Genevieve’s back on the sidelines, he drops his arm and suddenly seems to remember I’m there. He says, “Eli’s having people over tonight. Wanna go?”
I don’t even know who Eli is. I yawn again, a big one for show. “Um . . . I’m really tired. So . . . no. No, thank you. Can you just drop me off on the way there?”
Peter gives me a look, but he doesn’t argue.
On the way home, we pass by the diner and Peter suddenly says, “I’m hungry. Do you want to stop and get something?” Pointedly he adds, “Or are you too tired?”
I ignore the dig and say, “Sure, I can eat.”
So Peter turns the car around and we go to the diner. We get a booth up front. Whenever I used to come here with Margot and Josh, we would always sit in the back near the jukebox so we could put coins in. Half the time the jukebox was broken, but we still liked sitting near it. It’s weird to be here without them. We have so many traditions here. The three of us would get two grilled-cheese sandwiches and cut them up into squares, and we’d order a bowl of tomato soup to dip the squares in, and then Josh and I would share a waffle with extra whipped cream for dessert and Margot would have a bowl of tapioca pudding. Gross, I know. I’m pretty sure only grandmas like tapioca pudding.
Our waitress is Kelly, who’s a student at the college. She was gone all summer, and I guess now she’s back. She eyes Peter as she sets down our waters. “Where are your friends tonight?” she asks me.
I say, “Margot’s left for Scotland, and Josh . . . isn’t here.” Which Peter rolls his eyes at.
Then Peter orders blueberry pancakes and bacon and scrambled eggs. I get a grilled cheese with fries on the side and a black-cherry soda.
When Kelly leaves to put in our orders, I ask him, “Why do you hate Josh so much?”
“I don’t hate him,” Peter scoffs. “I barely know the guy.”
“Well, you certainly don’t like him.”
Peter scowls at me. “What’s to like? That kid turned me in once for cheating in seventh grade.”
Peter cheated? My stomach twists a little. “What kind of cheating was it? Like, homework?”
“No, a Spanish test. I wrote down the answers in my calculator, and Josh freaking told on me. Who does that?”
I search his face for some sign of embarrassment or shame at having cheated, but I don’t see even an iota. “What are you so high and mighty for? You’re the one who cheated!”
“It was seventh grade!”
“Well, do you still cheat?”
“No. Hardly ever. I mean, I have.” He frowns at me. “Would you quit looking at me like that?”
“With judgey eyes. Look, I’m going to school on a lacrosse scholarship anyway, so what does it matter?”