“He didn’t cry.”
“Oh, he cried on the inside. Trust me. I know the face a man makes when he’s crying on the inside.”
I can’t help but laugh because it’s true.
“Who?” Paige pushes.
“And who landed one of the best internships in the country?”
“Fuck yeah, you. You’re going to rock that accounting department. You’re going to own those numbers or whatever it is you do with them,” she says, like reading numbers is like reading alien code.
“I love you.” I pull her in for a hug. I know I’m smart and can do anything I put my mind to. It’s easy to be driven when you only have yourself to rely on your whole life. Only you can catch yourself, and that’s how it’s always been, until Paige pushed herself into my life. Sometimes I still need a little shove, and she has enough confidence to easily hand one out.
“I’m hard not to love.” Her freckled nose turns up, and she makes a smug face.
“Except when you’re making men cry on the inside,” I add.
She shrugs before picking up the box, taking it over to the coffee table and ripping off the tape.
“We should have burned all of this stuff instead of taking it with us. I think I can still smell ramen noodles. I swear the whole floor of our dorm smelled like it.”
She waves her hands over the box like she’s trying to air it out.
I come around beside her, dropping down on the couch as I watch her pull random things out of the box. This one is mainly filled with framed pictures. I love taking pictures; capturing our memories. Paige hated having her picture taken, but after four years I’ve worn her down and now she smiles when I tell her to. I never really had much to be happy about, didn’t have anything I wanted to capture before college, so I kind of went nuts at first.
“Which of these are mine?” she asks, going through them.
“Oh, now you want one?” I smile, rolling my eyes.
She pulls one out from our freshman year. I’d dragged her to a football game, saying we had to get all the college experiences we could. I was very eager to soak up everything my first year. As much as I rubbed off on Paige, she’d rubbed off on me, too, because by junior year I was much more blasé about college life.
“God, I must love you. I can’t believe I went to this with you.”
She hands me the picture, and I burst out laughing. I’d taken a picture of us at the same time she was dumping her soda over a guy’s head. He’d been talking about loving new freshman pussy for half the game and Paige finally cracked.
“That one’s mine.” She takes it back from me.
“Oh, I’ve got copies,” I remind her. That was the day I realized Paige wasn’t a normal student at Yale. The boy she’d dumped the soda on tried to get her expelled, but he was the one who ended up waist-deep in trouble.
Paige’s dad had money and power, but it wasn’t something we talked about much. She didn’t offer a lot on the subject, and I didn’t push. I had things of my own I didn’t care to talk about, too.
“I’m over this.” She gets up and plops down on the other sofa, throwing her feet up on the coffee table. I cringe a little. This table is probably worth more than I could make in two months, just like the rest of the furniture in here. Most everything was already here before we moved in. Paige acted like it was no big deal.
“You’ve literally unpacked one frame.”
“You need to feed me, or I’m going on strike.”
“I’m actually pretty hungry, too. You’re from here—what should we order?” I pull my phone from my pocket and look for local delivery places.
“Forget that. We’re going out. It’s Friday night, and it’s our first night in the city.”
“We have a lot to unpack and I need to study more.” I pick up one of the books off the coffee table to remind her. The internship had sent over a stack of books and folders I’ve been combing over. I’ve read them all at least three times but I still want to go over them again. Maybe make some flash cards. I don’t want to be asked a question and not know the answer immediately.
“Nope. We have all weekend. I’ve decided. Dinner and then out for a few drinks. We can unpack Saturday and Sunday, and you can do all your overthinking and analyzing about your new job then. Tonight let’s have some drinks and shake our asses.”
She grabs the book from my hand, tossing it back onto the coffee table and knocking the stack of books over as she hops up from the sofa, then holds on to me and pulls me with her.