Chapter Twenty

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            “I can’t believe you didn’t mention it to me!”

            Holding the cell away from my ear, I winced as Kim’s loud voice assaulted me from the other end of the line. We’d been on the phone no longer than a minute, and I was already beginning to wish it was over; her way of reprimanding me was truly brutal.

            “Calm down,” I told her, daring to press the phone against my ear again. “I was planning on telling you.”

            “What, when you guys announce your engagement? This is what you neglected to tell George and I at lunch. You didn’t think maybe it was important to mention that you’re now dating Luke Everett, also known as the most popular guy in school?”

            “We’re not dating.”

            She scoffed loudly, clearly not prepared to believe a word of it. “You’re not dating, huh? Care to explain why I saw you guys making out against a locker?”

            I was thankful we were on the phone at that point, since my face took on a definite pink tinge. “You saw that?”

            “It was pretty difficult not to,” she said. “I think most of the school saw you two sucking face.”

            “Why are you so worked up about it, anyway?” I asked, keen to move the conversation past our impromptu PDA. I didn’t even know what Luke and I were, but I was willing to bet Kim wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer. “You’re not going to tell me you have a crush on Luke or something, are you?”

            “Of course not.” Her dismissal was instantaneous, as if the very idea of having a crush was beneath her. “I just thought we were friends. And this is exactly the kind of thing friends tell each other before the rest of the school finds out.”

            “Is this about your president privileges again?”

            “It’s about my friend privileges,” she corrected. “In future, I’d like to be informed of such happenings. Anyway, I feel like I’d be a terrible student body president without up-to-date information on who Luke Everett’s dating.”

            “Not dating, Kim,” I told her again.

            “Well, then,” she said, “enlighten me. What is going on?”

            I leaned back into the frame of the headboard, picking at a nonexistent thread on the hem of my shirt. “I’m not entirely sure,” I confessed. “It was just something that happened on his birthday.”

            She didn’t even have to say anything more; I could feel her insistent curiosity through the phone line, wordlessly pressing me to continue.

            “We ended up going to this traveling fair,” I said, scooting round the details. Half of me felt bad that I still hadn’t told Kim about where I came from. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust her. I just wanted as few people as possible to hold the potential to spread my past around the entire school. With that kind of knowledge came a lot of power, and I’d always been weird about depending on others. “It wasn’t anything crazy. We had a good time. And at the end of the night… well, I don’t really know how it happened. But he kissed me.”

            “And?”

            “Well,” I said, “I didn’t not kiss him back.”

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