25. truth and trickery

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We get to the pizza parlor twenty minutes after everybody else

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We get to the pizza parlor twenty minutes after everybody else. It's a Pizza King, which Dad always says is overpriced and overhyped, but everyone in Luna Cove loves. It's the after-game food of all our athletic teams, win or lose.

Our dance group takes up about three booths, and Adam shuffles over to make room. "Saved you a spot." The leatherette squeaks.

"We already ordered," says Amie, sitting opposite, who eyes me and Ian like she has a good idea something has changed between us. "The veggie, the pepperoni, and the sriracha ranch chicken."

"Sounds good," I say, sliding in next to her. Girls on one side, boys on the other.

Ian's knobby knee pushes against mine, and I almost jump.

This boy...

Amie pulls her thick hair into a bumpy bun on top of her head, trying and failing to hold back her smile. "You good?"

Ian's knee moves against mine in slow circles. It's strangely erotic and not completely unpleasant.

"So good," I say hoarsely. "I mean, yeah. He's good."

Fuck.

Adam coughs.

"Uh huh," says Amie, grinning like she just ate a canary.

"Knock it off," I hiss, including both Amie and Ian in my dirty look.

Amie flashes her palms like okay, okay! but Ian's smirk is as unrepentant as ever.

By the time the pizza is served, piping hot from the oven and cheese perfectly gooey, the talk at our table has turned to the dance competition. Ian's confident he and Amie will win, while Adam talks a good game about how he and I are going to be more than a match for them. Amie, meanwhile, tries to mediate by pointing out it's for charity, and could the boys please stop their pissing contest while she's trying to eat?

The togetherness almost makes up for the people who aren't here, my moon girls. I miss Blaire's humor, slightly on the side of mean, just like mine. I miss the way Catey always tries so hard to make sure we're all having a good time. I miss Val and her earnestness, watching her test her wings and go after what—who—she wanted.

I'm nibbling at the crust when Adam says my name. Once, twice. Trying to get my attention.

"I said," he says with the pointedness of impatience, "it's a good thing you asked me to partner with you, otherwise you and Ian wouldn't have anything to bet on."

Amie tilts her head, politely confused. "What?"

Ian wipes his fingers on a paper napkin. Slowly. Deliberately. "I thought you asked her?"

I plead with Adam with my eyes, but he's not looking at me.

"No, she asked me," he says. "Remember—no offense, Kavya—I didn't even know her name? How was I supposed to—hey, wait, what's the problem, man?"

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