28: Carrying Capacity

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I had been so careful, so precise in everything that I did so not to leave a trail right behind us, and somehow, Darrell still found out? That wasn't possible.

"I didn't—there's nothing—where did you hear that?" I asked.

"You really couldn't have been much more obvious, since he talks really loud, and all you do is talk about your whales with him," Darrell replied, and I shook my head.

Darrell had me all figured out, didn't he?

"Please don't get mad at me. I only wanted someone who was actually interested in what I'm interested in, and I'm sorry," I said.

"He's not interested in whales, Reagan, and he's only interested in what you two are going to be doing for the one night he's here. I hate to be the one that bursts your bubble, but you're clearly too stupid to see this for what it really is."

I let out a breath. He meant Logan Two? I knew that the two Logans would just get confusing for everyone.

"But I already have other plans for tonight," I said. Drinking wine and chatting with Logan seemed better than anything else, especially given the circumstances.

"We're on an island in the middle of the ocean, so what other plans could you possibly have?" Darrell asked.

"Super fun ones," I mumbled.

"You're the least fun person I know." Darrell sighed. "Look, I'm trying everything within my power to not get extremely upset with you right now, since I know that you don't know why I have a strict no-romantic relationships rule here."

"Why is that?" I asked.

"The only reason I'm even here is because of a relationship that went bad. She had a boyfriend off the island that I didn't know about, and when I called her out on it, all of my work for the entire summer just magically appeared outside in the rain."

"That's horrible. Horrible that she did that, and horrible that that's your entire rationale for this rule."

"If it doesn't work, there's no sense in letting mistakes repeat themselves. I told you that I always like the evil ones, and I'm going to be straight with you, Reagan. After meeting the girl that plans on doing her project here next year—"

"Hailey?"

"Yes, her. Ever since I met her, all I can think about is how lucky I am that I didn't get stuck with someone like her. She makes you and Jia about ten thousand times more tolerable. You two aren't nearly as worthless as I originally thought."

"Worthless?" I asked.

"I mean no offense now, but—"

"Wow."

A heat rose up in my stomach. I had to prove myself to myself, my family, the entire state of West Virginia, plus my real Logan and pretty much everyone else who ever wasted a moment to care about me, and Darrell just had to add his name to the list?

The weight of everyone's opinions forced my feet to stay on the ground just like gravity.

"So it'd really be in your best interest to let Logan know that you're not interested, so nothing like my experience of Paradise City romance happens to you," Darrell said.

Even though we were supposed to be talking about Logan Two, my Logan One feelings slipped right out of my mouth. "I appreciate that you're looking out for me, but you don't control everyone here, and what I do doesn't affect you."

"You've known him for a few hours, and in a few more hours, he'll be gone, and you'll just be heartbroken and lonely," Darrell said.

Like there weren't worse things in the world, like ocean acidification and pollution.

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