They tried to contact Aggie’s grandpa for a while, and then Poppy went to change into PJs, but when she got back, Aggie was asking the Ouija board if Oscar O’Mally liked someone, and the Ouija board said yes, but when they asked who, it didn’t say. Then Natalie asked if Mattie Underpants liked someone—his name was Underman, which would actually prove worse for him in the years to come, but they’d called him Underpants since his family moved to Seattle like Poppy’s had in first grade—and it pointed to the number seven, which who even knew what that meant. Then Natalie asked if Kim liked someone, and Kim threw a balled-up pair of socks at her, and then they had a sock fight.

Poppy thought Aggie was the lucky one because she liked Oscar all alone, and who even cared whether he liked her back because that was not the point, whereas Natalie and Kim both liked Mattie, even though neither wanted to say so, and so who he liked back did matter a lot, and whereas Poppy didn’t really like anybody which probably meant she was a baby. It was weird because she’d known Oscar and Mattie since they were all, like, six which was basically forever, and she remembered when they did embarrassing things like when Mattie threw up on the floor in second grade and when Oscar was dressed as a cowboy and slipped on a Milky Way during the Halloween parade and cried and cried all the way back to school, holding his butt in both hands. So she liked them well enough, but she couldn’t really like them like them. A new boy, Chester, had moved in in the middle of last year, but Chester was the name of Orion’s guinea pig so she didn’t like him, and Richard had come at the beginning of third grade, but he smelled like hot dogs, so she didn’t like him either. There was Jake Irving, who used to be really nice, but lately he’d been hanging out with Marnie Alison, and her mean was rubbing off on him.

Not liking anyone was worse than liking the same boy one of your three best friends liked because at least Natalie and Kim had something to talk about, but when they talked about boys, Poppy had nothing to talk about. And then it got worse because Kim asked the Ouija board when will Poppy grow boobs, and everyone giggled. Poppy blushed even through the blush they’d put on when they were doing makeovers, but Aggie rolled her eyes and said, “You’re so lucky you don’t have any yet. You should hope you never get any. They’re so”—she looked down at her overfull pajama top as if she’d find an appropriate adjective inside—“floppy.”

“Aren’t they supposed to be floppy?” Natalie wore one of her older sister’s bras sometimes and stuffed it with underpants, which were smoother and softer than socks.

“I guess,” Aggie said. “But it’s going to be really weird in gym. Everyone will be staring at me.”

“Yeah, with envy.” Kim giggled and added, “Or lust.” She had a tiny bra that was really more like a strappy undershirt and nothing much to fill it, but it was still more than Poppy had.

“I’ll probably get my period first too,” said Aggie. “It’s not fair.”

“Maybe you won’t be first,” said Natalie. “My sister got hers in fifth grade, so maybe I’ll be first.”

“I hope so,” said Aggie. “It’s going to be so gross and embarrassing.”

“Maybe they’ll let us out of gym,” said Natalie.

“At least the shower part,” said Kim.

“Who will get it first?” Aggie asked the Ouija board, and they waited, genuinely worried, until it pointed to the moon, which Poppy had to admit was kind of appropriate but not really helpful, so they finally blew out the candle and worried in the dark in their own separate sleeping bags.

Sex ed in fourth grade had had nothing really to do with sex. It was about hair and breasts and blood instead. It was about how your body was going to get gross and need modification—hair needed removal, breasts needed corralling, smells had to be prevented or masked, and then all sorts of things were going to leak out. It was truly horrifying. Right after lunch for that unit of health, the boys went in one classroom and the girls went in another. Then they all came back into their regular room for the rest of the day—math and science—looking alarmed, ashen, and shy of one another. They knew from older kids and older siblings that this year, fifth grade, sex ed would truly be about sex, which horrified them even more, and there was a dance for Valentine’s Day, which just seemed like a cruel confluence. And they also knew from the same older kids and older siblings that this was their last year of shower-free gym, and starting in middle school, they’d have to get actually naked and shower together after PE. And they all wanted to die.

It was nearly one when they finally went to bed, but they woke up early anyway. Poppy’s dad made them the same pancakes he’d been making them since first grade: vaguely Mickey Mouse–shaped, but not really, with chocolate-chip eyes and nose and banana mouths even though they were too old for Mickey Mouse and chocolate-chip pancakes. They all but split a bottle of syrup between them, so when Orion and Rigel finally wandered down, stinky and spiky haired and sleepy-looking, even though it was practically lunchtime, they had to have their vaguely Mickey Mouse pancakes with excess syrup dribbled off the girls’ plates. Orion, who was wearing a green felt fedora, held his pancake in his right hand and Poppy’s plate in his left, took a bite of Mickey Mouse ear then ran his tongue over the plate like Jupiter, bite, lick, bite, lick until he was done.