The Upside of Unrequited Page 23

There’s traffic on the way home, but it’s still light out, and there’s this quietness between us. In the supermarket, it was all jokes and teasing and games (which I destroyed, by the way—fifty points to zero). But in the car, I’m suddenly shy. And I think Reid is too.

“So you have a sister?”

“Yup.” I nod. “A twin.”

“Really?” He sounds surprised. Have I never told him about Cassie? But I guess when we’re at work, we talk about random stuff. We talk about the things we like, rather than the things we are.

“We’re fraternal,” I add, because it’s the first thing people ask.

“What’s she like?”

“Cassie?” I pause. “I don’t know. She’s totally fearless.”

“I don’t think anyone’s actually fearless,” Reid says. And then he clicks on his turn signal, even though we’re a block away from the turn. Even though the traffic’s so thick, we’re barely inching forward. It ticks like a metronome.

“Yeah, maybe,” I say, and I smile. Because I remember the look on Cassie’s face when she told me Mina was pansexual. When she knew she had a chance, but wasn’t sure how things would go. Maybe she was a little scared. I guess she didn’t need to be.

Then I remember the Facebook status update, which is starting to feel less like a gut punch and more like a joke. I mean, it’s funny. Reid would probably think it was funny. And I should definitely say something funny right now.

“You want to hear something weird?” I ask.


“Not like Tolkien weird.”

“Okay, Tolkien? Is not weird,” he says. “He’s probably the most basic fantasy author you could have picked.”

The funny thing is how much I want to tell him about Cassie. Not just about the Facebook thing and the funny parts, but about the other stuff too. About this strange, tiny shift between Cassie and me. I just have this feeling he’d understand, even though I have no reason to think that. Even though two minutes ago, Reid didn’t know Cassie existed.

“I mean, if you want weird,” he continues, “let me know, because—”

“Uh, no,” I say, and I smile a little bit. I feel clenched up inside.

“So, Cassie just started dating her first actual girlfriend. And guess how I found out.”

“How?” he asks, and I love that he doesn’t bat an eye at the word girlfriend. Not that I expected less from a Takoma Park boy, especially one related to Deborah and Ari. But still.

“From a Facebook status update.”

His eyebrows knit. “Oh.”


He pauses.

“How was she supposed to tell you?” he asks finally.

“Well, not from a status update.”

I have this immediate sinking feeling. I don’t know how I wanted Reid to react. I don’t know why I even care about Reid’s reaction. But something feels off. I’m not sure why I thought this would seem funny or cute. It’s just awkward, and kind of sad. I turn quickly toward the window.

“Molly?” he says after a moment.


We’re stopped at a light now, and I feel him watching me, trying to decide if he should say something. I stare at my wrists, at my bright rows of friendship bracelets. I taught Abby how to make them in the spring before she left, and we both still wear them, always. But thinking about Abby right now gives me this little prickle of sadness.

Because she’s in Georgia. And Cassie has a girlfriend. And everything and everyone are moving at a million miles an hour.

“You shouldn’t have had to find out on Facebook,” he says finally.

I shrug.

“I’d be sad about that, too,” he adds.

And oh. There’s a lump in my throat. That’s another thing about me. If someone says I’m sad, or asks me what’s wrong, or tells me not to cry, it’s like my body hears: NOW CRY. Like a command, even if I’m not actually sad. But maybe there are always tiny sad pieces inside me, waiting to be recognized and named. Maybe it’s like that for everyone.

“Anyway, it’s fine,” I say quickly, forcing a smile. “Obviously, I’m really happy for her.”

“Oh. Okay.” He looks confused. And I really wish I hadn’t said anything. Now he thinks I’m a shitty sister. And a shitty person. And an all-around asshole.

I don’t know why I’m incapable of shutting up around this boy.



I WAKE UP BEFORE SUNRISE on Wednesday, feeling jittery. My mind will not simmer down. It’s just jumping from one thought to another.

I mean, there’s Reid. And his glowing white sneakers. And his surprisingly low standards for frosting.

And there’s Cassie. And Mina. And the Facebook status update. And the cookie dough. And the fact that Mina’s coming when Grandma’s here. The inevitable shitshow.

I try to hypnotize myself by staring at my ceiling fan, and when that doesn’t work, I scroll through wedding inspiration blogs on my phone. But I can’t focus. Finally, I just take my pill and head down to the kitchen, and I start pulling out my ingredients. You never think you’ll be spooning egg-free cookie dough into tiny mason jars at five in the morning, until you are.

I’ve just gotten them into the fridge when I hear Xav babbling upstairs. I actually love being the one to get Xavier out of bed. I slip into his room, and when he sees me, he pulls up on the crib railing and does this bouncy little dance. Baby twerking.

“Hi, buddy.” I scoop him into my arms, and he cups my cheek, grinning.


“That’s right!”

Let it be known that Xavier is the actual cutest baby in the universe. He has these huge brown eyes and big, mushy cheeks, and the softest brown skin, and a little gap between his front teeth. He’s perfect. I always loved the idea that we share DNA, even if it’s on the donor’s side. Maybe there are a bunch of mutual ancestors drinking ambrosia and spying on us right now.

“Hey, baby,” I whisper into the crook of his neck, and he scrunches up and giggles. I hoist him onto my hip and carry him downstairs. I figure I’ll set him up with his activity center in the living room and let my moms sleep in.

Except Nadine wanders down a few minutes later, yawning and smiling. “Well, look at you two.”

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