I stare at them, thinking of nothing but the insurmountable horror of them telling everyone they know. Because who wouldn’t? “Did you tell the paparazzi?”

Beefcake looks stunned. “Why would we do that?”

“It’d be the story of the week.”

“We’re not like that,” Bran says. “We’ll keep your secret, and I know for a fact that Harper doesn’t know you’re, well, you.”

“But you should tell her,” adds Beefcake.

This can’t be that easy. I look at the two of them, but they seem sincere enough. Could my secret really be safe?

Then Beefcake stretches out his hand and says, “Let’s start over. I’m Milo Lovelace, Monster’s younger brother, and this is my boyfriend, Bran Simons.”

“You are very muscular for a Milo,” I comment, and shake his hand. His grip is strong, like Dare’s.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Milo says with a laugh. “You shouldn’t keep Harper waiting. And, before you worry, the shiner on your face doesn’t look that bad.”


We rejoin the party. Bran offers me a drink in a red Solo cup. This is like a scene straight out of every teen movie I’ve ever seen. “Drink? It’s Kara’s specialty—she’s the one hosting the party. We call it the Oh No.”

“Oh no,” I comment, dreading it more than a little.

Harper laughs. “That’s the point!”

“I’m good,” I say, pushing the cup back toward Bran. “I, um, don’t drink.”

His black eyebrows—dusted with glitter—shoot up. “Seriously?”

“It’s a personal thing,” I amend, because in truth I wouldn’t mind a drink to calm my nerves, but I don’t know any of these people.

Even though my secret is safe with Bran and Milo, my PR senses are tingling. Every one of these people has a phone. With a camera. They can snap a picture and send it to the highest bidder, and then I’ll wake up to the headline JESSICA STONE INTOXICATED BY THE NORMAL LIFE? or some such nonsense.

I’m lucky that the room is dark and no one actually thinks the Jessica Stone would be here. I just look like someone who looks like Princess Amara, too strange to be Imogen but not quite Jessica Stone either.

Somewhere in the middle, that’s where I teeter dangerously. One slip and everyone will find out.

“Well, then you’ll be great company with Harper. She also isn’t drinking tonight. Meanwhile,” Bran says, then downs the drink he offered me and thrusts up his hands. “Whoo! ELSA! YES, YOU!” He turns to the gender-bent Elsa and Captain Marvel as they finish their Pokémon rap and challenges Elsa to “The Story of Tonight” from Hamilton.

Harper shakes her head. “Oh No is way more vodka than common sense.”

“Why aren’t you drinking?”

She gestures to the rest of the party. “I’ve learned my lesson: don’t drink unless you want to wake up with regrets, and I have way too many commissions to do tomorrow. Come on, let me introduce you to some people.”

And she does. I’m used to memorizing faces and names quickly, since most of my social outings involve a lot of meet-and-greets and work-related introductions. Harper’s friends are people who’ll probably never wear Gucci gowns or get endorsements from ridiculously fake diet-pill companies, but their fingers are ink-stained and their smiles are genuine, and I wish they were the kind of people who did get those endorsements instead. They’re people I couldn’t have met if I were Jessica Stone, because they would think they didn’t need to talk with me to know me. They would just assume they know me already. Jessica Stone.

“Are you the one who chased Natalia’s cat earlier?” asks the green-haired fashion designer.

Harper laughs. “Guilty as charged.”

“So it was Stubbles?”

“Sadly,” I mutter into my cup of water and the green-haired girls laughs.

“Oh! I was wondering, Harper. Do you still have that print of Darielle at your booth? I keep meaning to buy it and I swear I will this time.”

“Please don’t call them Darielle, it’s weird,” says her girlfriend, who’s holding the wiener dog. He looks happy in a sparkly pink tutu and spandex leotard, his tongue lolling out as he tries to taste whatever’s in her drink. “Frank, stop. You don’t want Oh No.”

“What’s wrong with Darielle, love?” the green-haired girl asks, sounding wounded.

Her girlfriend pushes her purple glasses up her nose with the hand holding the Oh No. “Stop trying to make fetch happen.”

“I’m going to make it happen.”

I agree with the girlfriend. Darielle is very weird. Almost as weird as Carminara. Why do people smoosh couples’ names together, anyway?

Harper laughs. “I think I have a few prints left—stop by tomorrow? I’ll reserve one for you. What do you want that print for anyway?”

“Because their anniversary is tomorrow,” the green-haired girl says, “and you really did my costume design justice. You have no idea how many times I pricked my finger sewing that dress together on the way here last year. Elle might be a lot of things, but a good driver she is not.”

The girl holding the dog agrees. “Elle failed her driver’s test twice.”

“How do you know Elle?” I ask.

“Oh! Sorry,” Harper says. “I forgot to introduce you.” She points to the green-haired girl. “This is Sage. She sells custom nerdy T-shirts.”

“We are right beside the huge Nox King statue this year,” Sage says, grinning. “Imogen, your parents are so cool.”

“They’re pretty rad,” Harper agrees. I just nod because I guess they are. Next, Harper stretches her hand to the blond-haired girl holding the dog. “And this is Sage’s girlfriend, Calliope. Cal is Elle’s stepsister, right?”

“Yeah, married in. I’m a twin, so I’m not the one from all the Geekerella drama last year.” She pushes her purple glasses up again, adding, “I’m the good stepsister.”

“I wouldn’t want to meet the bad one,” I say with a laugh because I’ve heard the stories from Dare.

Apparently she’s a monster—and not in the Imogen sort of way.

“Trust me, she’s sworn off cons for the rest of her life after what happened last year,” Cal assures. She lifts the fat wiener dog just enough for him to look at me with his pitiful beady black eyes. “And this sir here is Mr. Frank. He’s our model.”

Frank shakes his head, ears slapping the sides of his face, and sticks out a pink tongue. He tries to nose into Cal’s drink again, so she sighs and excuses herself, saying that he must be thirsty. “It was nice to meet you, Imogen.”

I smile and reply, “You, too.”

“Swing by our booth and we’ll give you a shirt. Oh, and honey?” She gently touches Sage on the shoulder. “Stay as long as you want, but I’m going to take this boy and retire to our room. This music’s too loud for both of us, I think.” Cal stretches up on her tiptoes and plants a kiss on Sage’s mouth.

I don’t mean to stare but their kiss is so simple and easy, like saying see you later, that I don’t think any thought was put into it.

I wish I knew what that was like.

We spend a few more minutes talking with Sage about her first year in college and her big plan for a clothing line—geeky with a dash of the eccentric. I’ve heard Dare talk about her a few times, but I never paid attention. Maybe I should have.

I never paid attention to a lot of things. It wasn’t part of Jessica Stone’s image.

I try to picture Harper in one of my settings, gilded parties and stuffy cocktails, but the image is blurry, like a camera lens that doesn’t want to focus. Meanwhile, I feel like a weed in a flowerbed, somewhere I don’t belong, afraid I’ll be found out and plucked away. Harper…she looks happy.


I look away, remembering Ethan’s question.

Sage and Harper are gossiping about some YouTuber they both know, someone who is bad news, but I can’t get a read on why before Bran calls Harper’s name over the karaoke speaker. The entire room quiets, and she turns expectantly toward the stage.

Bran jabs his finger at her. “I challenge you!”

Harper puts her hands on her hips. “To what?”

He extends the mic and wiggles his eyebrows. “To a duet-off.”

She rolls her eyes. “You can’t handle my talent, Bran.”


“You know that’s a lie. I’ve already beaten you three times.”

Bran gives an aggravated sigh. “Then duet-off with your friend!”

This time Harper barks a laugh. “No way, she wouldn’t—”

“I’ll do it.”

Her eyebrows shoot up.

I’m not this bold, am I? No—yes. Maybe. Once upon a time. Before I had to fold myself into Jessica Stone. And now that I’m not, my bent edges are beginning to unfurl as slow and steady as a butterfly’s wings.

The view seen through the lens of Elle’s camera haunts me.

Are you happy? Ethan’s question reverberates in my head.