I snickered to myself.

No, he doesn’t.

She whipped herself around to face me and pushed her lips together. “What do you think? This color? Or the red?” She frowned. “I don’t even know why I’m asking. You know nothing about makeup. Maybe you’d know more if your face wasn’t always in a book.” She hurried over to me and sat down on the bed. I held my book closer to my chest, but she snatched it out of my hand and tossed it to the floor.

Oh my gosh. That had to be some form of abuse, didn’t it? She had literally bruised and battered dozens of characters—dozens of my friends. Snatching the book from my grip was rude, but throwing it was reason enough for a termination of our family ties.

“Seriously, Maggie. You’re already weird with your no talking and no leaving the house thing. Do you really want to be known as the girl who only reads? It’s kind of creepy.”

Your face is kind of creepy.

I simply smiled and shrugged.

She flipped her hair. “So, back to the important things. I mean, I’m pretty sure he’s still sad about Lacey breaking up with him before prom. Also, I know how much you care about him, so I offered myself up to be his date, because I knew you wouldn’t want him to miss out on the one thing he was looking forward to. I’m only going for you, Maggie.”

How noble.

It took everything inside me to not roll my eyes in my sister’s face. Sister—I used the term loosely that day.

“Anyway, I told Brooks how supportive you were about the idea of me going with him, so thank you for your support.” She gave me a cheesy smile and flipped her curly hair over her shoulder again. “I think Calvin and Stacey are meeting Brooks and me in our backyard for photographs and stuff in about ten minutes. So yeah, which lipstick?”

I pointed to the purple one because I wanted her to look awful.

She chose the red, which made her look gorgeous.

“Perfect!” She stood up from my bed, smoothed out her stunning gown, and shimmied herself in front of my mirror one last time. “I better get heading outside. Brooks will be waiting for me.” She swayed her hips left and right the whole time she walked out of my room.

The moment she was out of sight, I rushed over to my novel, picked it up, and rubbed the cover. Sorry, friends. The book was tucked tightly in my arms as I hurried over to the set of windows that faced the backyard and stared down at my brother and his girlfriend laughing and cuddling in their fancy prom clothing. Calvin had a way of making Stacey laugh so hard it rocketed into the sky. Her hands always rested against his chest, and his eyes always rested on her. I’d wondered what that would be like: to be seen through a pair of eyes filled with love.

My stare moved to Cheryl, who was taking selfies, while impatiently waiting for Brooks to show up and be her arm candy. He wasn’t one to ever be late to anything, so I was somewhat surprised to not see him yet. My stomach filled with knots as I rushed to my other window to see if he was still across the street at his parents’ house. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen Brooks in a tuxedo, and I would’ve been lying if I’d said I wasn’t interested in the sight. He always looked so handsome—so happy.

My heartbeats rushed through my chest, waiting for him to step out of his house, waiting for him to walk across the street to my backyard, waiting for him to fall in lust with Cheryl.

I shut my eyes and took a deep inhale. A small prayer raced through my head.

Don’t do it, Brooks.

He deserved more than that. He deserved more than Cheryl’s games.

He deserved to be loved by someone who knew how handsome his lopsided smiles were, how brilliant his mind was, and how good he was at communicating with no words falling from his lips.

“You okay today, Magnet?”

It was my favorite set of words. My eyes flew open and I turned to see Brooks standing in my doorway, wearing a navy blue tuxedo, a black and white polka dot tie, and matching polka dots socks. His dark brown hair was slicked back, and his dark brown eyes were smiling all on their own like they always did. In his hand was a clear box holding a wrist corsage, a beautiful array of yellow flowers and pink ribbons.

Wow, Brooks.

He looked better than my mind could’ve imagined and butterflies flew through my stomach as I raked my fingers through my tangled hair. I smiled. He smiled back, always out of the left side of his mouth. I wondered if he knew…? If he knew how dizzy that smile made me?

“Can I come in?” he asked, stuffing his hands into his slacks.

I nodded. Always.

He stepped into my room and walked over to the window to look down at the backyard, where Cheryl was texting someone, her thumbs slamming on the keys. Within seconds, Brooks’ cell phone dinged. “She’s already pissed at me for being late,” he explained, slightly rocking back and forth. His phone dinged two more times. “That’s the seventeenth message from her.”

I stared down at my sister, who was going out with Brooks just to spite me. For some reason it made her feel better about herself to see how bad off I was with my no speaking or leaving the house.

“I didn’t want to go with her,” Brooks explained. He tilted his head toward me and frowned. “After Lacey broke things off with me, I figured I’d just stay home or something. Play some video games. Maybe come over here and play some music with you or something, but Cheryl kept telling me how much it meant to you that I’d go with her.”

I cocked an eyebrow.

He snickered. “Yeah. I should’ve known.” We stood quietly for a few moments, watching Cheryl panic, and watching Calvin and Stacey fall deeper in love. A few birds danced past the window, and Brooks released a low sigh. “You think Calvin and Stacey know how annoyingly perfect they are?”

I nodded, and he snickered. Yeah, they knew.

“Cal and I are performing at the prom tonight. Did he tell you?”

He had. After spending years listening to them practice in my parents’ garage, it would’ve been amazing to see them live that night. A dream come true.

“Stacey’s going to record the performance and send it to you, you know, if you want to see it.”

I took his hand in mine and squeezed it twice. Yes.

He squeezed my hand back.

Yes. Yes.

“You want to dance with me, Maggie May?”

I turned his way and his cheeks reddened. My stare met his lips, almost wondering if I had imagined the words leaving his mouth. He nervously chewed his bottom lip as a small chuckle came out. “I mean…you don’t have to. Sorry. That was stupid. I just… With Lacey breaking up with me, and with Cheryl being…Cheryl, I thought it’d be nice to dance with someone I actually care about on the day of my prom.”