“I mean you’ll actually hang out with me with the impression that I’m more than a nice guy.” He looked into my eyes. “A guy who actually likes you…It also means you’ll let me take you out to the city tomorrow.”

“What if I’m busy tomorrow?”

“If implies that you’re not, so I’ll force you.”

“How romantic…” I laughed. “Nonetheless, yes. I’ll go out with you.”

“Good…”he said, standing up and stepping back. “I’ll pick you up at seven tomorrow.”

“Wait,” I called out. “You were kidding about that bedroom comment, weren’t you?”

He looked over his shoulder and smirked. “I wasn’t…”

Blushing, I watched him walk away and sat in the café a little longer, wondering if our day in Paris tomorrow would come with the cliché “falling in love atop the Eiffel Tower” moment. I knew one thing for sure though, I was starting a new compatibility spreadsheet for us; I needed to check off the “intensity of the kisses” category with him ASAP.

When I finally arrived back home, I noticed there was a new letter from Carter on my table.

I stared at it for a while, running my finger along the flap—along the words “URGENT: Please Open Me, Ari,” but I couldn’t bring myself to open it.

Just not right now…

Track 28. How You Get the Girl (4:32)

“Mr. James,” the postal employee sighed. “For the umpteenth time, we can’t track letters, only packages. Would you like me to track your last package to France, maybe?”

“Bullshit. There has to be some way that you can track a goddamn letter…”

He rolled his eyes and motioned for me to step aside. “Next in line, please!”

Annoyed, I put my old receipt into my pocket and left the office. It’d been weeks since I sent Ari my last letter, and I’d sent it in a bright blue envelope with the words “URGENT: Please Open Me, Ari” across the back flap to make sure she’d have no choice but to read it. Yet, she hadn’t sent one word back about it, and the only correspondence on her end had been generic holiday cards. With Valentine’s Day a month and a half away, I wondered if she’d already made plans to send me another one of those.

As usual, when I got home, I checked the mail, not expecting anything from her inside of it. This time—to my surprise, there was. It was dated for two weeks ago, and her curly handwriting was all over the back flap.

I took it inside the house with me and immediately ripped it open:

Dear Carter,

I’m so sorry that it’s taken me so long to write you an actual, personal letter back. Things have become quite hectic now—in both good and bad ways.

My roommate and I are on much better terms now (we’re actually really, really good friends) and I still have the highest marks in my class. I am definitely living my dream—definitely sooo happy that I came here to this school, and I can’t wait to cook you one of my gourmet breakfast dishes. (It’s BETTER THAN GAYLE’S! And if it isn’t, just tell me it is. LOL)

I’m not surprised to know that you’re still number one in your cohort. I’ll have to take you out to celebrate when I get home…

Speaking of which, I was going to surprise you but this letter will probably beat me there…I’m coming home for two whole weeks!!

See you soon.



What the fuck…

I shook the letter, flipped it to the back—reread it a few times, wondering if I’d missed a part. There was no mention of anything I’d sent her in my most recent letter. I was wondering if she’d read it and was simply evading the subject until she got home, or if she still hadn’t read how I felt about the summer we spent together, how I felt about her.

I pulled out my phone to call Josh and tell him that I’d probably be spending the full two weeks with Arizona whenever she got here, but I noticed I had a missed call from Ari’s mom.

Sighing, I called her back.

“Hey, Carter!” she answered on the first ring.

“Hello, Mrs. Turner.”

“Mrs. Turner?” She laughed. “Really? You haven’t called me that since you wrote me an ‘I’m sorry for hurting your daughter’s feelings’ letter. You know better than that…”

I smiled. “Okay…Second Mom.”

“Much better. I was calling to ask if you could do me a huge, huge favor.”


“Ari’s getting back home in about three hours according to the flight information she sent me.”

She didn’t think to tell me when her flight landed?

“Are you there, Carter?” her mom asked.

“I’m here.”

“Well, I was going to ask if she could stay with you for just this weekend. I’m currently staying at a friend’s because two of our water pipes burst and you know I refuse to step foot in there until it’s all taken care of…If it’s a problem, just let me know. I can see if maybe her new friend Nicole—”

“It’s not a problem,” I said, still silently seething at Ari’s inability to tell me anything. “Should I pick her up from the airport, too?”

“Not at all! She’s using my reward points for a free rental. I’ll send her the text about the accommodation change, though. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to see you again.”