I looked elsewhere. The floor, the walls—these were all super-interesting things greatly deserving of my immediate attention.
“Beside your locker this afternoon,” said Hang. “After all that shit she said to Edie. How could you?”
Anders whistled, leaning against the wall, getting comfortable.
“She was so upset, she ditched school for the first time ever,” Hang continued, standing tall. “Her education is ruined. Because of you.”
Smite me now please, baby Jesus.
John bent over, getting into my line of sight. “Edie, she came up to me and I told her to get lost. Is that what you need to know?”
“I . . . You did?” I asked. “But you let her grope you first?”
“Christ. I told her to get lost, okay? She just took a while to get the message.” He straightened, pulling the usual rubber band out of his pocket and tying back his hair. “Plenty of girls out there. Why would I mess around with one who insults my friends?”
I didn’t get to grope him, so why should she? Still, in the end he’d done the right thing. I sighed in relief, ignoring the quick jab of jealousy. “Oh.”
“Well, this is awkward,” whispered Hang.
John stood in front of me, waiting.
“Sorry,” I said, grimacing. “But you have to admit, it looked really bad.”
“We dating? We together or something and I didn’t notice?”
Arms crossed, he said nothing.
“Okay, so the insult texting . . . we got a bit carried away. I, um, I promise in the future I’ll only use your number for good instead of evil.”
“I’d appreciate it.” His eyes, they still weren’t happy. Couldn’t really blame him, either.
“Okay kids.” Anders clapped his hands together, rubbing them. “We’re here now. What entertainment can you offer?”
“Want to watch a movie?” asked Hang, closing the front door.
Together, they wandered off toward the family room, discussing which film to pick. John and I, however, stayed put.
Fingers twined together, I offered him a small repentant smile. “Sorry for being a rampaging bitch.”
“Next time you got a problem with me, Edie, come to me directly,” he said. “You’re right, I probably should have cut Erika off sooner. But how was I supposed to get her hands off me, hmm? Pushing a girl back in front of school cameras doesn’t look good.”
He might have had a point.
“I’m used to people thinking I’m shit, but I expected better from you,” he said, eyes wounded.
“I don’t think that.”
“So why didn’t you trust me?”
My alcohol-soaked brain had nothing.
He looked away, shoulders still stiff. “Only reason I talked to her in the first place is ’cause she had a message from my brother. She still buys from him.”
For a long time he said nothing. “Tell Anders I’ll see him later.”
When he left, he didn’t slam the door or anything. The quiet dismissal was almost worse.
“What about this one?” Mom asked, holding up another top. “It’s cute.”
I squinted at the item over the edge of my sunglasses. “Notice the part where it’s not black?”
“Everything you wear has to be black?”
“Yes. Pretty much.”
“Okey-dokey.” With a heavy sigh, she returned the top to its rack.
We were in the approximately two square feet of space the department store had designated as being “Plus Size.” Whatever. Usually, the internet had some goodies for me to wear. Like hiding those sizes away in cyberspace made the bigger, more fashionable brands remain cool and distanced somehow. Jerks.
“Can we go look at makeup now?” I asked. Sephora being the main reason I’d suggested driving down to Roseville to hit the Galleria. At least there, I didn’t have to worry about squeezing into things.
“Sure,” said Mom. “You do know you’re not fooling anyone with those sunglasses, right?”
“I’m cool and mysterious.”
“No, honey. You’re hung over,” she corrected. “I’d tell you off, only I did the same thing a time or two at your age and I prefer not to be a hypocrite whenever possible.”
“And I love you for it.”
“Hmm. Doesn’t change the fact that I worry about you,” she said. “I hope you were reasonably sensible and in a safe environment. You were at Hang’s the whole night, yes?”
“I was.” I pushed my glasses up on top of my head, rubbed at my weary eyes. “Bad things happen, I know. Promise we weren’t doing anything dangerous.”
Her frown continued. “And you know you can call me anytime, no questions asked, if you need a lift home.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
A strand of gray hair had escaped mom’s neat blond bob. It glinted bright beneath the harsh store lights. Grandma had gone gray in her thirties too, as she loved to point out to me with creepy glee. Yet Mom had always seemed indestructible, tough and ready to take on the world for me. I resented that gray hair mightily.
“You’re growing up way too fast lately. I can’t keep up.” She cupped my cheek with a cool hand. “Did you have a good time with your new friend?”
“Yeah, I did.” I smiled, covering her hand with my own. “Hang’s nice. I think she might even be trustworthy—shock, horror.”
“You’re really not going to forgive Georgia, are you?”
I turned away, our hands falling from my face. “No. I just . . . I can’t.”
“Edie.” Mom frowned. “You two have been friends since you were tiny.”
“Sure.” Nausea twisted my stomach. Hangover or Georgia, I couldn’t tell. “And then she completely sold me out, insulting the person who saved my life in the process.”
“People make mistakes.”
I shook my head. “I know. Believe me I know. Her talking to one journalist about me, I could forgive. Going on every show and speaking to anyone who’d give her the time of day? Not so much.”