The Upside of Unrequited Page 19

I don’t think I’m unlovable. But I keep wondering: what is my glitch?

My moms are getting married. My sister might be secretly hooking up with someone. Abby moved to Georgia and got a cute, guitar-playing boyfriend within months. Even Olivia and Evan Schulmeister made it happen. They actually met in the camp infirmary. The girl had pinkeye, and she still had more game than me.

And all these couples wandering through the store right now—the guys holding hands while they flip through cookbooks. The pair of grandparents asking Ari for recommendations in the baby section. It’s not like they’re all epic hotties with six packs. They’re just normal people.

But I can’t seem to get there.

And I can’t shake this thought: I’ve had crushes on twenty-six people, twenty-five of whom are not Lin-Manuel Miranda. Twenty-three of whom are age-appropriate, real-life, viable crush-objects. Eighteen of whom were definitely single and interested in girls at the time of my crush.

And I never even tried. Not even with the ones who talked to me first.

So, maybe I should let my heart break, just to prove that my heart can take it. Or at the very least, I need to stop being so fucking careful.



ALL THE WAY HOME, I’M breathless just thinking about it.

Operation be less careful

Operation stop worrying about rejection

Operation it’s good for me

I can’t decide if I should tell Cassie about my revelation or not. It’s not like it changes anything. She’s still going to try to push me together with Hipster Will. And she’s still going to be mortifyingly unsubtle about it.

I guess the only difference is I’m going along with it.

I hear Nadine and Cassie clanging around the kitchen, laughing and murmuring and opening drawers. I guess Nadine’s pretty serious about tonight being a family dinner. I mean, we usually eat dinner together, but every so often it’s a Family Dinner, which basically means cloth napkins and the meal being planned out ahead of time. Probably most people go to restaurants for this kind of thing, but we haven’t done that much since Xavier was born.

I head down to help. Nadine’s in the kitchen, squirting juice all over a chicken, and Cassie’s stirring a bowl of something. So, I set the table, and we all settle in, and Nadine lifts a glass of champagne. “All right. Here’s a toast: To us. To marriage. To a totally awesome Peskin-Suso wedding in the very near future.”

We all toast. With champagne, because our moms are cool like that. Except for Xavier, because our moms are not that cool. Xavier toasts with milk.

“So, we’re thinking mid-to-late July.”

“Of this year?” I ask.

“Yup.” Patty smiles up at me. She’s cutting chicken into tiny pieces for Xav.

“You can’t plan a wedding that fast.”

They are nuts. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You need to sample cakes and order your dress and plan your décor. Which takes time. I’m serious. And then you have to talk to caterers, photographers, florists, seamstresses, deejays, and a million other people.

I may know a little too much about this. I may be a little more familiar with wedding blogs than your average single seventeen-year-old girl.

“Why not?” Patty asks.

“Because.” I shake my head. “You just can’t. You have a lot to get ready. You need at least a year.”

“Momo, I think you’re thinking of the royal wedding.”

“Okay, first of all, Will and Kate weren’t even engaged that long.”

“Good. There you go,” Nadine says. “Will and Kate. That’s how we roll.”

I start to protest, but Patty smiles up at me. “Sweetie, we’re just doing a backyard wedding. Mostly family.”

“Oh, right.”

“But you guys can bring friends if you want.”

“What about dates?” Cassie asks.

“Ooh—do you have something to tell us, Kitty Cat?” Nadine grins and Patty presses her hand to her heart, and their expressions are just like they were on the night of our barf mitzvah, when Cassie slow-danced with Jenna Schencker.

“Okay, please don’t make that face. You guys are as bad as Molly.”

“We created Molly,” Nadine says. “We made her bad.” She leans forward, brushing my bangs aside.

“So tell us about her,” Patty says.

Cassie bites back a smile.

“What’s her name?”


“What’s she like?” Nadine asks.


“Yeah, I got that. But, okay. If this is your first real girlfriend, Kitty Cat, I’m gonna need details.”

Cassie raises and wrinkles her eyebrows. “I didn’t say she was my girlfriend.”

“She’s not?”

“All I’m saying is that I met her.”

Nadine smiles. “And she’s awesome.”

“And she’s hilarious and cool and pretty and kind of hipster, but not too hipster,” I chime in, “and I like her.”

“Oh, so Molly’s met her.” Nadine turns to me. “Hold up. Now I really want the details.”

“Well, Cass hasn’t told me anything,” I say, and it comes out sharp. I don’t mean for that to happen, but it does.

I feel suddenly off-kilter, like my limbs don’t know how to act. I guess I’m the tiniest bit pissed off. Because it kind of feels like Cassie’s teasing us. She wants us to know something happened with Mina. She just doesn’t want us to know what. It’s like those people who post vague, attention-grabby Facebook statuses.

Whoa—something HUGE is happening this wknd, LOL!

cannot believe u would do something like this. i will never forgive u, God will never forgive u, u will probably burn in hell but no hard feelings!!

Cassie and I live for these statuses. I just never thought she would become one of these statuses.

“You’d like her,” Cassie says finally. “She’s really cool and funny, and she knows a lot about music. And she loves fish. Not like to eat. Like as animals. She’s really into aquariums,” Cassie adds. “She has a French angelfish tattoo. Did you know the French angelfish is monogamous? Oh, and she likes penguins. Mina likes all monogamous animals.”

“Sounds like she’s a romantic,” Patty says.

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