Chapter Thirty

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Five days later, I'm riding the subway to Queens, one of the boroughs I've never visited since living here in New York. I heard it's quieter and less prone to get mugged while taking a picture in the middle of the street. Riley is coming with me and suggested we go to the low-profiled borough to shop and get away from the chaos that is Manhattan. While we ride the train, I listen to my favorite artist at the moment, Bea Miller, and watch light snow fall on the rooftops around us. Thankfully it's not going to be extreme or last all day. The sidewalks are piled high with black ice in the dips and cracks, especially in Manhattan, making it difficult to walk around. I was surprised to see black sludge and ice patches on the ground; I'd always seen beautiful winter wonderlands online, but never anything with dirt and mountain-high piles of snow.

"I hope we're not too late. The sale at Forever 21 started two hours ago. Hopefully there are some cute tops left. Keep your eye out," Riley coaches me as the train stops. I follow her out of the train car and up the stairs, thankful for the fresh air.

"Can we stop by Target after? I'm not buying any clothes," I reply and use the app to arrange an Uber.

"What are you getting at Target?" she asks.

"Just some things for the apartment—" I begin.

Uh-oh. I haven't told her I moved in with Blue yet. When I went to the dorm to get the rest of my things, she stumbled in while I was packing clothes in boxes and asked where I was going. I panicked and told her I got kicked out of the dorm room for a strange reason and was living in a motel until the end of the semester. I've never been great at lying. She was livid and marched all the way down to Mr. Grant's office and demanded he put me back in my room. Of course, he had no idea what she was talking about. Instead of telling her I'd lied, I stayed silent in the corner of the room and desperately begged him using my eyes to not say anything. Luckily, he allowed her to yell at him and pretend he did in fact kick me out of the dorm for no reason. After she left, I thanked him profusely and scurried after his very pissed off girlfriend. She must have been ignoring him promptly this whole time... I feel horrible, but even worse because she still found out.

I planned on telling her sometime after we got settled in, but we're still settling. I'm buying bathmats, a toothbrush holder, upon many other things today. Despite what I first thought when I moved into our dorm room, she is a genuinely funny and kindhearted person I'm lucky to call a close friend. And although her snores woke me in the middle of the nights and she blasted her music the moment she stepped through the door after classes ended, she was a better roommate than I could have asked for. Plus, I haven't told her I got back together with Blue. And telling her I've moved in with him will raise too many questions, the car ride from here all the way to the Bronx wouldn't have enough time for me to answer them all. She's a naturally inquisitive person.

"Hello?" Riley snaps her fingers in my face.

"Huh?" I break out of my thoughts.

"The Uber is here," she says, and I climb inside, cheeks flushed as the driver looks at me pointedly through the sideview mirror. Riley climbs in after me, shutting the door after her, giving the driver the shopping mall's address.

How do I tell her I'm living with Blue without her getting mad at me for not telling her earlier? I've had more than a week to tell her. This entire time I lead her on to believe I'd been staying in a cheap motel to get by, after her boyfriend ruthlessly kicked me out for no reason at all.

"Are you going to tell me when you got an apartment, or will I have to strangle it out of you?" Riley asks, once again pulling me into reality.

I gulp and twiddle my thumbs. "I got it when Blue and I made up and got back together. We signed the lease about a week ago."

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