I’ll be staying in Cassie’s room for a few days until Grandma goes home. We actually used to share this room. Cassie never got rid of her bunk beds, so when we have houseguests, I reclaim my bottom bunk. It’s like stepping back through time.
But, of course I can’t sleep. Again. My mind won’t stop churning. I fluff up my pillow and stare at the underside of Cassie’s bedframe. Which is still lined with glow-in-the-dark animal stickers. And probably decade-old boogers. I wasn’t the classiest child.
I roll over, and the bed creaks, and I hear Cassie sigh.
“Molly, go to sleep.”
For a moment, we’re quiet.
“I know you’re still awake,” she says.
“So are you.”
“But I have an excuse. I’m lovesick.”
I draw up into a sitting position, cross-legged beneath my blanket. “How do you know I’m not lovesick, too?”
“Wait, what?” She swings her torso down over the side of the bed, peering at me, upside down.
“No you’re not. Oh my God. He texted you, didn’t he?”
“Who are we talking about?” I ask, trying to sound nonchalant. But my heart starts fluttering wildly.
I don’t know how she knows Reid texted me. Unless she’s actually talking about the mysterious dancing bee ladies.
“So here’s the thing,” she says. It’s dark, but I can see her twist of a smile. She whips her head back up, but moments later, her feet dangle over the side of the top bunk. She pushes off with her arms and lands neatly on the ground in a crouch.
There’s a ladder. She never uses it.
Another fundamental difference between us.
“Mina and I might have given Hipster Will your number.”
“Oh man. I really thought he was going to text you.” She sinks onto the end of my bed, tugging her pajama shorts down. “He wimped out, huh? What a dipshit.”
“I don’t . . . understand.”
“Molly, this is part of the mission. The boyfriend thing. I told you. We’re making this happen.” She shakes her head. “I can’t believe he didn’t text you.”
I blush. “Um. I think he did.”
I push my bangs out of my face. “I don’t know. I got a text from a random number. But I didn’t know who it was.”
“Holy shit. What an idiot. He didn’t tell you it was him?”
I shake my head.
“What did he say?”
“I don’t even know if it was actually him.” I paw around the floor for my phone and tug it out of the charger. “Here.”
I pull up the text and hand her my phone.
She laughs. “Yeah, that’s Will. He sent you the bee ladies?”
“Oh my God. I’m dying. I have to tell Mina.” She rubs her cheeks. “That’s so fucking great. You should write him back.”
“And say what?”
“Anything. Seriously, it doesn’t matter. You just have to keep it going. She leans back against my pillow and sighs. “I love this. I’m dating Mina, and now you’re going to date her best friend.”
“Um, I don’t think that’s happening.” I feel warm. I must be utterly, inhumanly red right now.
“Look. I’m just saying he’s a good target for our boyfriend mission, okay? I really like him for you. He’s sweet, he’s cool, he’s artsy, and he has great taste in music. And he’s cute, right?”
“Yes,” I say softly.
“And he’s Mina’s best friend.”
“We always said we were going to marry best friends,” Cassie says.
“You and Mina are getting married? Wow.”
“Fuck you. You know what I mean.” But she’s blushing. “I’m just saying. He’s Mina’s friend. That’s very convenient for us. And I really think he likes you, Molly.”
I shake my head. “No he doesn’t.”
“Okay, you know what’s fucked up?” She looks me straight in the eye. “That you don’t even seem to think that’s a possibility.”
Well, I don’t.
But I do.
I mean, I honestly don’t know.
AND NOW CASSIE WON’T STOP talking about it. The Will thing. She’s being a little too hardcore. I know for sure she’s consulted with Abby, Olivia, and Mina. It’s really pretty embarrassing. It would be nice if I were the kind of person who didn’t require a battalion of wingwomen to make this happen.
I just feel like I’m a really defective girl in some ways.
So, now I’m wearing this black top I got a couple of weeks ago, with an empire waist and a black lace overlay. I’ve worn it before, though always with a camisole underneath and a cardigan over. Except Cassie has forbidden both the camisole and the cardigan. And she pulled me into the bathroom for smoky eyeshadow, and then Olivia made my hair wavy, and the attention of them dressing me felt strange. But not bad.
“You look so pretty,” Cassie had said. “Doesn’t she look so pretty?”
And Olivia paused for a moment, before agreeing. “Yeah, you really do.”
I felt this warm, happy flutter when she said that. And when I glance at myself in the window of the Metro, I actually think they’re right. I look okay. I look better than okay. I feel strangely brand-new.
We get off at Woodley Park and cross the bridge to Adams Morgan, and Mina and the boys are already waiting for us in front of the bar. Will is holding a man-purse. But he’s more pissed off than I’ve ever seen him. “Okay. This. This is ridiculous.” He runs a hand through his hair and huffs. “Since when is there an age limit for music?”
“It’s a bar,” says Cassie.
“But it’s not about the booze,” says Will. “It’s about the music.”
“Look, I get it.”
“Why doesn’t he get it?” Will stabs a finger in the general direction of the bouncer and, honestly, growls.
“Whatever. Fuck him. You can still kind of hear it out here,” Cassie says.
“Not the same.”