“Okay to what?” He actually looks nervous.
“To all of it.” My heart is in my throat. “Except taking it slow. I don’t want to take it slow.”
“Then let’s not.” He laughs.
So, I think that means I have a boyfriend. I’m Molly with a boyfriend. Reid Jerome Wertheim is my boyfriend.
I don’t even know if my brain can process those two words as a unified phrase. “My” and “boyfriend.”
As in: My boyfriend is an excellent kisser. My boyfriend has five cats. My boyfriend stayed over until four in the morning. My boyfriend is the reason I am very, very tired right now.
But it’s a good kind of tired—a sun-dappled, floating kind of tired. It is the most hazily lit movie dream of my entire dreaming career. I want to put this on pause. I want to stretch out this moment. I want to just exist inside of it.
And now I feel a little bad for Elizabeth, because I totally just stole her boyfriend. And I’m really, really sorry about it, and I know she’s a queen, but the thing is, she’s dead. And I’m alive.
I feel very, very alive.
SO, NOW MY BRAIN IS a two-color pie graph: one part Reid, one part wedding fever. NOT that I’m fevering over the thought of marrying Reid. I am most decidedly not visualizing myself in wedding dresses. I’ve given literally no thought to the viability of covering a wedding cake in Cadbury Mini Eggs. All obsessive wedding fantasies are wholly dedicated to the wedding that’s happening in my backyard. In a week.
I swear to God, it’s like a switch got flipped. Everything had been relatively calm—until it suddenly wasn’t. I’m pretty sure there’s an anxiety lever somewhere, and someone cranked it to UTTER PANIC FREAKOUT MODE.
That someone is Patty.
Patty, who has her laptop at the breakfast table, open to the ten-day forecast. “They’re saying scattered showers. We should get a tent, right? Just in case? Do you think we need one with full siding? It looks like that’s an option, but we’d probably need to rent fans.”
Nadine boops Xavier on the nose and hands him a sippy cup. “You don’t want to just move everything inside if it rains?”
“You think we can fit thirty-five people in this house?”
Cassie and I eat our cereal in silence. This is strangely like watching reality TV. I can almost picture Patty as a talking head, overlaid with an animated wedding veil and sound effects.
“And Cass, you need to get a dress or pants. You can’t wear shorts to this.”
“Who said I was wearing shorts?” Cassie looks confused.
Nadine shakes her head and shoots Cassie a tiny smile.
“Well, good. Don’t do it.” Patty exhales. “Great. Okay. I just need to call the tent company. And Deenie, you talked to the caterers?”
“Yup. We’re scheduled for Thursday.”
“Okay, we’ve got Olivia on photography—and I’d really like to pay her, by the way.”
Cassie shrugs. “Yeah, she’s not gonna let you.”
“Hey,” pipes Nadine, “don’t let her bring that Schulmeister kid. They’re still broken up, right? Because I do not need my doorstep darkened by that little shitwiper on my wedding day. Nope to the nope.”
Cassie covers her mouth, giggling.
“Anyway, maybe just talk to her about payment, if you don’t mind. And Molly, you’ve got all the decorations under control, right?”
She rubs her temple. “I know I’m forgetting something.” She looks at Nadine. “What am I forgetting?” Then she proceeds to sit down where there isn’t a chair.
“Mama,” says Xav. “Uh-oh!”
Cassie and I exchange wide-eyed holy shit expressions.
“Okay. I’m taking over,” Nadine says. “You.” She points to Cassie. “Deal with Olivia. And you.” She turns to me. “Centerpieces. And one of you needs to be ready to wrangle your grandmother. I don’t need Betty stirring shit up.”
“Oh my God,” Cassie says. “Nadine, you’re a stone-cold ’zilla.”
“Oh,” Patty says. “Molly, are you bringing the boy?”
“Wait, what?” Cassie asks. She turns to me, eyes glinting.
“You can bring him,” she says, rubbing her forehead. “That’s totally fine. I just need to know by Friday.”
Cassie jabs me with her elbow. “The boy?”
I bite back a smile.
“The fuck, Molly?”
“I love these heartwarming family moments,” Nadine says. “Anyway.” She turns to Patty. “You’re done. Go take a nap.”
Patty nods dazedly and heads for the stairs.
Nadine and Xavier head out to storytime, leaving Cassie and me alone in the dining room. For a minute, neither of us speaks.
Then Cassie looks at me. “There’s a boy?” she asks. And there’s something in her voice. Maybe wonder, maybe anger. I don’t know.
I shrug. I feel myself blushing.
“How could you not tell me?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know. Jesus. I’m your twin fucking sister.”
I meet her eyes finally. “Well, I didn’t think we were on speaking terms.”
“Well, we weren’t.”
I laugh nervously. “Well, okay.”
“But I’m over it, okay? We’re talking. Tell me about the boy.” She slides her elbows forward, cupping her chin in her hands.
“Um. What do you want to know?”
Cassie smiles and rolls her eyes. “Uh, let’s start with this: Who is he?”
I blush. “Reid.”
“No, it’s just the least surprising thing ever.”
“So what’s the deal? You guys kissed? He’s your boyfriend? What?”
“Yes.” I grin into my sleeve.
“What?” She swipes my arm. “Wait, which one?”
Her mouth falls open.
I swipe her back. “Stop looking so surprised.”
“I’m not. I’m just excited. This is a huge deal, Mo.” She scoots closer to me and hooks an arm around my shoulders. “Holy shit. You have a boyfriend.”