Chapter Eighteen

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“Seriously, Georgie, are you sure this is a good idea?”

            Ava’s electrified voice sounds in my ear as I hold up the cell phone with my shoulder. It’s a tricky task, but I need use of both hands to find a suitable outfit for the carnival tonight, especially when Nathan’s due to pick me up in less than two hour’s time.

            “It’s fine,” I say dismissively, whilst scrutinizing a pair of skinny jeans. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

            “I don’t know, but don’t you think it’s kind of... harsh on Nathan?”

            I pause as her words sink in. True, the thought has crossed my mind once or twice – okay, a lot of times – but it’s always been overpowered by the thought of aggravating Connor. “Not really... I’m not hurting him.”

            “But aren’t you kind of... leading him on? I think he actually likes you.”

            “Look, it’s okay. I mean, Nathan’s a great guy anyway. Just because I don’t like him in that way now... well, who’s to say I won’t in the future? Maybe us going out is the right thing to do. Plus, isn’t it worth it to get back at Connor? I mean, our last plan obviously sucked but... well, this could work.”

            “I’m still not sure.”

            “Connor’s a jerk, Ava. He deserves this.” Screwing my nose up, I toss another shirt onto the “no way” pile. “You’re coming to the carnival too, right?”

            “Yeah. Mom’s forcing me to take Lucy.”

            I grimace at the thought of Ava’s spoiled sibling. Lucy, who’s now ten years old, has been a brat for as long as I can remember. She’s always been the exact opposite of my best friend – rude, demanding and attention-loving – and for some reason seems to get double the affection from their parents. I can imagine my distaste at Lucy being dragged along is matched by Ava’s.

            “Oh, right. Well, I’ll see you there. Right now I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to wear... and it’s not looking good so far.”

            Once we say our goodbyes and hang up, I fling my cell onto my bed and heave a sigh. A twinge of guilt strikes my insides as the content of our conversation begins to sink in. I know that Ava’s got a point... if I really don’t feel anything toward Nathan, it’s probably wrong to lead him on.

            But how can I give up when I’ve already got this far?

            If I’m honest, I thought the whole “getting him to agree to a date” thing would be way harder. Especially since I’ve never dated anyone before.

            Shameful, right? A junior who hasn’t even been on one measly date... still, it’s the sad truth.

            Sighing again, I push the thoughts out of my mind. Dwelling on them isn’t going to make the situation any better, so I might as well put my attention to better use – finding something to wear that’s both pretty and warm. The beginning of December has already reared its head, which means balmy t-shirt weather is nothing more than a distant fantasy.

            Eventually, after much deliberation, I decide layers are the best option. A vest, sweater and thick jacket are going to be topped with my chunkiest scarf, hat and gloves. Whose idea was it to have a carnival in the middle of winter, anyway? Maybe it’s all part of the theme, but surely that doesn’t justify the brutal temperatures we’re forced to brave.

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