“True,” she says, and my teeth clench.

John says to Peter, “Remember that one time I had you, and I was hiding behind your dad’s car before school, but it was your dad that came out, not you? And I scared him, and he and I both screamed?”

“Then we had to quit altogether when Trevor came to my mom’s store in his ski mask,” Peter guffaws.

Everyone laughs, except for me. I’m still smarting from Genevieve’s “killer instinct” dig.

Trevor’s laughing so hard he can barely speak. “She almost called the cops!” he manages to sputter.

Peter nudges my sneaker toe with his. “We should play again.”


He’s trying to get back in my good graces, but I’m not ready to let him, so I just shrug a chilly little shrug. I wish I weren’t mad at him, because I really do want to play again. I want to prove I’ve got the killer instinct too, that I’m not some Assassins loser.

“We should do it,” John says. “For old times’ sake.” He catches my eye. “One last shot, Lara Jean.”

I smile.

Chris raises an eyebrow. “What does the winner get?”

“Well . . . nothing,” I say. “It would just be for fun.” Trevor makes a face at this.

“There should be a prize,” Genevieve says. “Otherwise what’s the point?”

I think fast. What would be a good prize? “Movie tickets? A baked good of the winner’s choice?” I blurt out. No one says a word.

“We could all put in a twenty,” John offers. I throw him a grateful look and he smiles.

“Money’s boring,” Genevieve says, stretching like a cat.

I roll my eyes. Who asked for her two cents? I didn’t even ask for her to be here.

Trevor says, “Um, how about the winner gets breakfast in bed every day for a week? It could be pancakes on Monday, omelet on Tuesday, waffle on Wednesday, and so forth. There are six of us, so—”

Shuddering, Genevieve says, “I don’t eat breakfast.” Everyone groans.

“Why don’t you suggest something instead of shooting everybody down,” Peter says, and I hide my face behind my braid so no one sees me smile.

“Okay.” Genevieve thinks for a minute, and then a smile spreads across her face. It’s her Big Idea look, and it makes me nervous. Slowly, deliberately, she says, “The winner gets a wish.”

“From who?” Trevor asks. “Everybody?”

“From any one of us who are playing.”

“Wait a minute,” Peter interjects. “What are we signing on for here?”

Genevieve looks very pleased with herself. “One wish, and you have to grant it.” She looks like an evil queen.

Chris’s eyes gleam as she says, “Anything?”

“Within reason,” I quickly say. This isn’t at all what I had in mind, but at least people are willing to play.

“Reason is subjective,” John points out.

“Basically, Gen can’t force Peter to have sex with her one last time,” Chris says. “That’s what everyone’s thinking, right?”

I stiffen. That wasn’t what I was thinking, like at all. But now I am.

Trevor busts up laughing and Peter shoves him. Genevieve shakes her head. “You’re disgusting, Chrissy.”

“I only said what everyone was thinking!”

I’m barely even listening at this point. All I can think is, I want to play this game and I want to win. Just once I want to beat Genevieve at something.

I only have one pen and no paper, so John tears up the ice cream sandwich box and we take turns writing our names down on our cardboard scraps. Then everybody puts their names in the empty time capsule, and I shake it up. We pass it around and I go last. I pull out the piece of cardboard, hold it close to my chest, and open it.

JOHN.

Well, that complicates things. I sneak a peek at him. He’s carefully tucking his piece of cardboard in his jeans pocket. Sorry, (pen) pal, but you’re going down. I take a quick look around the room for clues to who might have my name, but everyone’s got their poker faces on.

36

THE RULES ARE: YOUR HOUSE is a safe zone. School is a safe zone, but not the parking lot. Once you step out the door, it’s all fair game. You’re out if you get hit with a two-hand touch.

And if you renege on your wish, your life is forfeit. Genevieve comes up with that last part and it gives me shivers. Trevor Pike shudders and says, “Girls are scary.”

“No, girls in their family are scary,” Peter says, gesturing at Chris and Genevieve. They both smile, and in those smiles I see the family resemblance. Casting a sidelong glance at me, Peter says hopefully, “You’re not scary, though. You’re sweet, right?” Suddenly I remember something Stormy said to me. Don’t ever let him get too sure of you. Peter is very sure of me. As sure as a person could be.

“I can be scary too,” I quietly say back, and he blanches. Then, to everyone else, I say, “Let’s just have fun with it.”

“Oh, it’ll be fun,” John assures me. He puts his Orioles cap on his head and pulls the brim down. “Game on.” He catches my eye. “If you thought I was good at Model UN, wait till you see my Zero Dark Thirty skills.”

I walk with everyone out front to their cars, and I hear Peter tell Genevieve to get a ride with Chris, which they both balk at. “Figure it out amongst yourselves,” Peter says. “I’m hanging out with my girlfriend.”

Genevieve rolls her eyes and Chris groans. “Ugh. Fine.” To Genevieve she says, “Get in.”

Chris’s car is backing out of the driveway when John says to Peter, “Who’s your girlfriend?” My stomach does a dip.

“Covey.” Peter gives him a funny look. “You didn’t know? That’s weird.”

Now they’re both looking at me. Peter’s confused, but John gets it, whatever “it” is.

I should have told him. Why didn’t I tell him?

Everyone leaves soon after, except for Peter.

“So are we going to talk about this?” he asks, trailing after me into the kitchen. I’ve got the trash bag with all the ice cream wrappers and Capri Suns, and I refused his help carrying it down. Almost tripped going down the ladder with it, but I don’t care.

“Sure, let’s talk.” I spin around and advance toward him, trash bag swinging in my hand. He lifts his hands up in alarm. “Why did you bring Genevieve here?”

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