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Chapter One

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I shifted my butt, trying to unglue the backs of my sweaty thighs from the vinyl seat. The cheap chair made a squelching noise. One of the moms sitting across from me looked up from her iPhone.

“Pardon me,” I said. She smoothed out her flower-print sundress then went back to her texting.

Holy geez, I thought, why anyone would want to dress like a tea cozy is beyond me. I bet she was posting all kinds of flowery dresses on Pinterest.

Pace yourself, busy lady!

I scooted forward, perching my jean cut-offs on the edge of the chair. It was harder to write sitting this way, but Chet was almost done. The librarian’s voice drifted down the hallway, soft and lilting, as she encouraged the class to sing the goodbye song. Chet’s voice was one of the loudest. I chuckled. That kid cracked me up.

I turned my attention to the last question of my quiz: “True Love or True Dud?”

How do you know you’re in love with the right guy?

A. You talk about him constantly and mention him in every conversation you have with your family and friends.

B. When you reminisce about your dates together, you heart beats faster and you smile automatically.

C. No matter how awful you feel, seeing you guy always makes you feel better.

I circled C, and with the lightning speed of someone who does a quiz each week, I had my score tallied faster than you can say, “sweaty palms.” It was moot, actually. I was in love with the right guy—he just didn’t know it yet.

When I daydreamed of Blaine Mulder, the first things I pictured were his perfect shoulders. He’s not so much a muscle dude like the rest of the jocks he hangs out with, but more like a chiselled model. His T-shirts always fit the same way, with the seams lining up with the tip of his shoulder joint. Blaine is one hot, walking mannequin of perfect proportion.

And I should know, I’ve spent hours of grade ten math class staring at the back of those magnificent shoulders, hence the C I got on my final exam. I’d nibble the eraser end of my pencil, daring myself to tap his above-mentioned perfect shoulders and whisper, “Hey, what question are we supposed to be on?”

Or how about this icebreaker: “Did Mr. Miller say 5.6 or 6.5?”

Yes, I am lame—even in my fantasies.

Francine was more upset about my math mark than my academic parents were. My best friend is an organization fiend—she’d made a study timetable up for me and everything. But on the day of the exam, Blaine’s girlfriend, the equally beautiful and perfectly proportionate Regan Baxter, broke the news she was moving halfway across the country. Yup, the M-word.

Don’t get me wrong—seeing Regan in tears wasn’t a wish come true. But the timing of Blaine’s sudden singleness was a sign. How on earth could a girl think of quadratic equations knowing the shoulders in front of her were potentially touchable?

That night Francine and I lounged in my pale blue bedroom, sitting on my twin beds with the matching Holly Hobbie bedspreads. She blew a red curl off her forehead while I lamented over Blaine with my usual agonized, “It’s never going to happen,” followed by the predictable, “I might as well call up Glen Fairweather.”

Francine looked up from her laptop and eyed me without sympathy, “Why do you think hooking up with Mr. Gummy Worm is going to help?”

Glen was the only guy I’d ever kissed in the swapping mouth-fluids kind of way. If you could call it kissing. His fat lips had moved against mine like a fish dying in the air. And don’t even get me started on the tongue action. I had no experience, but I’m pretty sure no girl ever felt her heart skip a beat in Glen Fairweather’s arms.

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