Josh absorbs this. Chewing on his bottom lip he says, “Maybe she’ll change her mind. That’s possible, right?”
I don’t know if it’s more heartless for me to say yes or no, because he’ll be hurt either way. Because while I’m 99.99999 percent sure that she will get back together with him, there’s that tiny chance she won’t, and I don’t want to get his hopes up. So I don’t say anything.
He swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. “No, you’re right. When Margot makes up her mind, she doesn’t go back on it.”
Please please please don’t cry.
I rest my head on his shoulder and say, “You never know, Joshy.”
Josh stares straight ahead. A squirrel is darting up the big oak tree in the yard. Up and down and back up again. We both watch. “What time does she land?”
“Not for hours.”
“Is . . . is she coming home for Thanksgiving?”
“No. They don’t get off for Thanksgiving. It’s Scotland, Josh. They don’t celebrate American holidays, hello!” I’m teasing again, but my heart’s not in it.
“That’s right,” he says.
I say, “She’ll be home for Christmas, though,” and we both sigh.
“Can I still hang out with you guys?” Josh asks me.
“Me and Kitty?”
“Your dad, too.”
“We’re not going anywhere,” I assure him.
Josh looks relieved. “Good. I’d hate to lose you, too.”
As soon as he says it, my heart does this pause, and I forget to breathe, and just for that one second I’m dizzy. And then, just as quickly as it came, the feeling, the strange flutter in my chest, is gone, and the tow truck arrives.
When we pull into my driveway, he says, “Do you want me to be there when you tell your dad?”
I brighten up and then I remember how Margot said I’m in charge now. I’m pretty sure taking responsibility for one’s mistakes is part of being in charge.
DADDY ISN’T SO MAD AFTER all. I go through my whole good news–bad news spiel and he just sighs and says, “As long as you’re all right.”
The car needs a special part that has to be flown in from Indiana or Idaho, I can’t remember which. In the meantime I’ll have to share the car with Daddy and take the bus to school or ask Josh for rides, which was already my plan.
Margot calls later that night. Kitty and I are watching TV and I scream for Daddy to come quick. We sit on the couch and pass the phone around and take turns talking to her.
“Margot, guess what happened today!” Kitty shouts.
Frantically, I shake my head at her. Don’t tell her about the car, I mouth. I give her warning eyes.
“Lara Jean got into . . .” Kitty pauses tantalizingly. “A fight with Daddy. Yeah, she was mean to me and Daddy told her to be nice, so they had a fight.”
I grab the phone out of her hand. “We didn’t have a fight, Gogo. Kitty’s just being annoying.”
“What did you guys have for dinner? Did you cook the chicken I defrosted last night?” Margot asks. Her voice sounds so far away.
I push the volume up on the phone. “Yes, but never mind about that. Are you settled into your room? Is it big? What’s your roommate like?”
“She’s nice. She’s from London and she has a really fancy accent. Her name is Penelope St. George-Dixon.”
“Gosh, even her name sounds fancy,” I say. “What about your room?”
“The room is about the same as that dorm we saw at UVA; it’s just older.”
“What time is it over there?”
“It’s almost midnight. We’re five hours ahead, remember?”
We’re five hours ahead, like she’s already considering Scotland her home, and she’s only been gone a day, not even! “We miss you already,” I tell her.
“Miss you too.”
After dinner I text Chris to see if she wants to come over, but she doesn’t text back. She’s probably out with one of the guys she hooks up with. Which is fine. I should catch up on my scrapbooking.
I was hoping to be done with Margot’s scrapbook before she left for college, but as anyone who’s ever scrapbooked knows, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You could spend a year or more working on one scrapbook.
I’ve got Motown girl-group music playing, and my supplies are laid out all around me in a semicircle. My heart hole punch, pages and pages of scrapbook paper, pictures I’ve cut out of magazines, glue gun, my tape dispenser with all my different colored washi tapes. Souvenirs like the playbill from when we saw Wicked in New York, receipts, pictures. Ribbon, buttons, stickers, charms. A good scrapbook has texture. It’s thick and chunky and doesn’t close all the way.
I’m working on a Josh-and-Margot page. I don’t care what Margot says. They’re getting back together, I know it. And even if they aren’t, not right away, it’s not like Margot can just erase him from her history. He was such a big part of her senior year. And, like, her life. The only compromise I’m willing to make is I was saving my heart washi tape for this page, but I can just do a regular plaid tape instead. But then I put the plaid tape up against the pictures and the colors don’t look as good.
So I go ahead and use the heart tape. And then, swaying to the music, I use my heart template to cut out a picture of the two of them at prom. Margot’s going to love this.
I’m carefully gluing a dried rose petal from Margot’s corsage when my dad raps on the door. “What are you up to tonight?” he asks me.
“This,” I say, gluing another petal. “If I keep at it, it’ll probably be done by Christmas.”
“Ah.” My dad doesn’t move. He just hovers there in the doorway, watching me work. “Well, I’m going to watch that new Ken Burns documentary in a bit, if you want to join me.”
“Maybe,” I say, just to be nice. It’ll be too much of a pain to bring all my supplies downstairs and get set up again. I’m in a good rhythm right now. “Why don’t you get it started without me?”
“All righty. I’ll leave you to it, then.” Daddy shuffles down the stairs.
It takes me most of the night, but I finish the Josh-and-Margot page, and it comes out really nice. Next is a sister page. For this one I use flowered paper for the background, and I glue in a picture of the three of us from a long time ago. Mommy took it. We’re standing in front of the oak tree in front of our house in our church clothes. We’re all wearing white dresses, and we have matching pink ribbons in our hair. The best thing about the picture is Margot and I are smiling sweetly and Kitty is picking her nose.