The Upside of Unrequited Page 49

I don’t want that. I don’t want to break hearts. I just want Reid.

It’s scary to even think that.

I want Reid. And maybe I’m crazy, but I was sure he liked me, too. The way he looked at me in that rainstorm. The way he sits a little closer these days. The way he looked at me when I was talking to Will.

I was so sure.

I was so not careful.

And now I know what rejection feels like. It’s a whirlpool of suck.



“HEY! YOU’RE NOT GROUNDED,” REID says when I walk into work.

“Not yet. I don’t know.” I settle down next to him on the floor of the baby section. There are baby shoes everywhere. “What happened here?”

“Toddler rampage.”


“This place is literally birth control,” he says.

I smile faintly, settling in beside him to stack a few shoe boxes.

“Seriously,” he says, after a moment. “Is everything okay? Mina told Olivia you seemed upset.”

“You talked to Olivia?”

“She texted me.”

My stomach drops. “Right.”

There are approximately fifty billion things I want to ask him right now, like: When did you and Olivia exchange numbers? Do you like her? And especially this: Do you like her better than me?

“Hey, guys.” I look up, and it’s Deborah. “Is my muscle team available? We just sold the barnwood bookcase.” She pumps her fist.

“We’re on it.” Reid jumps up and extends his hand to me.

I take it.

He squeezes my hand softly before letting go. And Olivia doesn’t exist right now.

Until I see her by the checkout, her blue-streaked hair perfectly tousled. She’s wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and carrying what looks like a camera case.

“You bought a bookcase?” I ask.

She laughs. “Uh, no. I’m looking for a picture frame. And saying hi.”

“Hi,” Reid says, smiling.

“The woman’s just pulling her car around.” Deborah rests her hand for a moment on Reid’s shoulder.

We carry the bookcase in silence, and I sense Reid looking at me quizzically. But I don’t want to speak. I don’t trust my voice right now. I can’t believe Olivia’s here. She’s here. And I don’t think it’s because of me.

“Did you find your frame?” Reid asks her when we step back inside.

“I did! What do you think?”

Of course she picked my favorite frame in the entire store. I mean, she’s Olivia. It’s wood, painted pale blue, with clusters of tiny hand-painted flowers.

“It’s for your moms,” she says. “Did you hear I’m taking pictures at the wedding? Actually, I’m heading over there in a sec to take some test shots. I’ve got my Canon.” She pats the case at her hip.

“Your cannon?” Reid asks. He pantomimes an explosion.

“My camera.”

“Oh, right,” he says. “So, hey, I was just thinking. My friend Douglas is kind of a techie, and he’s starting to get interested in cameras and photography. I was wondering if maybe you could talk to him?”


“Totally,” Olivia says.

“Actually, Will also does photography, and Mina’s learning, too.” I smile tightly. “So Douglas has a lot of options.”

“Oh, cool,” Reid says. “But if you’re up for it, Olivia, maybe the four of us could find a time to get together or something.” He glances at me. “I think Molly suspects Douglas doesn’t actually exist.”

“That is true.” I can’t help but smile a little.

“Well, I’m definitely up for it.”

“Oh, great! Let me text him.” He looks up at Olivia. “And hey, my shift’s ending in a minute. Do you want me to walk you to Molly’s house?”

“Aww, that would be great.”

Oh my fucking goodness. So, this is happening. Right before my eyes.

I mean, that’s how it’s going to be. It’s that easy for Olivia. Maybe this is what life is like for most girls.

I should smile. I should act normal. I should melt into the floor and disappear.

I pull out my phone as soon as they leave. I never did write back to Will’s dancing bee ladies. I’ve never even considered texting him. But I will literally-not-literally-almost-literally explode if I have to sit around tonight imagining Reid with Olivia.

Kissing. Holding hands. Making out. Discovering orgasms.

What are you up to? I write, and then immediately delete it. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to make this not sound like a booty call.

I swear this isn’t a booty call.

Hey, Will? It’s Molly. I tap send.

Here’s what I know: I shouldn’t wait for a response. I should close the app, lock my phone, bury it in the zipper pouch of my bag, forget about it forever. I think messages from boys are like Santa Claus or Buzz Lightyear. They won’t happen if you’re watching them. But I can’t help but watch. I have such perfect laser focus, you’d almost expect the screen to crack.

A moment later, the screen refreshes, and a new message appears. A tiny miracle. Right as I’m staring at my in-box.

Oh hey what’s up?

A million competing thoughts: He wrote back. Right away. And he asked what was up. Like he’s wondering what I’m up to. But not in a booty call way. Or maybe this is a booty call. Maybe this is exactly how booty calls work.

At work, but—I take a deep breath—I was wondering what you’re up to later?

Three dots.

But then the dots disappear. I think he’s ignoring my question.

Oh God.

But. This is fine. Mortifying. But fine. I’m breathing. I’m okay.

God, he’s probably sitting with Max right now. No question. And Max is reading over Will’s shoulder and laughing and giving Will shit about the fact that I’m obsessed with him. Like, I’m 100 percent positive Will thinks I’m obsessed with him. And now he’s so freaked out, he doesn’t know how to respond.


Three dots.

Not much, want to hang out? When do you get off?


Oh shit.

My brain goes foggy. Sure! Off at 4:30

That works, he writes. Want to meet at the takoma metro? I have an idea . . . And then he throws down the big cheesy smiley emoji.

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