"I'll make sure to get you good directions," I offer. "Here." I give her my phone. "Put in your number and I'll text you." If Normani were here, she'd probably smack me upside the head, while Taylor would laugh at me for being so obvious, but, well, they can suck it.

"Oh, well, even better." She types in her digits as I watch, admiring her long, thin fingers tipped with short pink nails. "Looking forward to it."

The way she says it, it almost sounds like a date. This conversation is so many mixed messages, I'm not sure if I'm dealing with a closet case or just a sweet straight girl who's so clueless she has no idea when a girl's flirting with her. There's certainly no question of my being a rainbow poster child, and she's clearly okay with it, but anything beyond that is a total mystery to me. I take my phone back and send her a quick text. "There, now you have me," I say when her phone beeps with my message, which is just a shameless winking emoji. "Hope I live up to expectations."

Is that a blush? I'm pretty sure that's a blush. "I'm sure you will," she says, a little mumbly. "I have to run to my next class. I'll see you...Wednesday at nine, I guess."

I steal her line. "Looking forward to it." And so help me God, I really am.

• • •

Rainbow House is brimming over with people by the time I show up that night. Everyone who enters gets one of those "Hello, My Name Is" stickers, only these say, "Hello, My Pronouns Are." I grab one and a purple Sharpie, scrawl on "She/Her," and search my shirt for a stretch of fabric large enough to hold it. I end up sticking it just above the hem of my glittery halter, then go off in search of familiar faces. I don't spot Troye or Krys right away, but I do accept an excited hug from Emily Strother, who's wearing an "I Heart My Gonads" pin affixed to her sweater.

"Solid accessory choice," I say, flicking it with a grin.

"Oh, I went all out tonight," she says, holding up a hand so I can see her nails, neatly painted yellow with open purple circles in the centers. "Intersex flag, bitchez."


"I like showing off my pride where it's appreciated." She blows on her nails and brushes them along her pin, then flips her long brown hair over her shoulder so that her hot-pink streaks catch the light. "I think I'm gonna skip out on XO, though. Too depressingly low on guys who like girls."

This is where I'd normally talk her into going anyway, but the truth is, I'm not as psyched at the idea of it tonight as I usually am. Introducing a job into my schedule has me more tired than I anticipated. Hopefully, a couple of hours surrounded by My People rather than Psych students will pick me up. Because right now, I just feel like I'm a billion years old and need a nap.

"Did I just hear correctly?" Troye swoops in and wraps an arm around each of us, smacking a kiss on each of our cheeks. "Skipping XO?"

"Unless you've changed your mind and suddenly like boobs," Emily says pointedly.

"You'd probably have better luck if you did that," I remind her.

She grins. "Touché."

We continue to chat over our soda cups, occasionally pausing in our conversation to greet obvious newbies. A cute but definitely freshman guy comments on Emily's pin, and while she gives the quick-fire explanation of Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome I've heard from her a few times before, and Troye taps out texts on his phone, I let my gaze travel the room.

It lands on a gorgeous androgynous redhead with alabaster skin, legs up to the ceiling, and a sticker reading "They/Them" in a firm, slanted hand. They're working both of my biggest weaknesses at once—red hair and suspenders—but I just can't seem to get it up. My brain is too occupied by wondering what Lauren would've made of Rainbow House if she'd actually come.

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