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“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Peter will probably join a fraternity, though.”

“He hasn’t said anything about it either. . . .” Even though he hasn’t mentioned it, I could easily picture Peter in a fraternity.

“I’ve heard it’s hard if your boyfriend’s in one and you’re not. Something about all the mixers and stuff, like it’s easier if you’re friends with the girls from the sister sorority. I don’t know. The whole thing seems silly to me, but it could be worth it. I hear sorority girls like to craft.” She waggles her eyebrows at me.

“Speaking of which.” I hold up my egg for her. “Ta-da!”

Margot moves closer to the camera to look. “You should go into the egg-decorating business! I want to see the other ones.”

I hold up the egg carton. I’ve got a dozen blown-out eggs, pale pink with neon pink rickrack trim, brilliant blue and lemon yellow, lavender with dried lavender buds. I was glad to have an excuse to use that dried lavender. I bought a sack of it months ago for a lavender crème brûlée, and it’s just been taking up space in our pantry.

“What are you going to do with them?” Margot asks.

“I’m bringing them over to Belleview so they can put them on display in the reception area. It always looks so dreary and hospitaly there.”

Margot leans back against her pillows. “How is everyone at Belleview?”

“Fine. I’ve been so busy with college apps and senior year stuff, I haven’t been able to go by as much as I used to. Now that I don’t officially work there anymore, it’s a lot harder to find the time.” I spin the egg in my hand. “I think I’ll give this one to Stormy. It’s very her.” I set the Marie Antoinette egg down on the rack to dry, and I pick up a lilac egg and begin affixing it with candy-colored gemstones. “I’m going to visit more, from here on out.”

“It’s hard,” Margot agrees. “When I come home for spring break, let’s go over there together. I want to introduce Ravi to Stormy.”

Ravi is Margot’s boyfriend of six months. His parents are from India, but he was born in London, so his accent is as posh as you might imagine. When I met him over Skype, I said, “You sound just like Prince William,” and he laughed and said, “Cheers.” He’s two years older than Margot, and maybe it’s because he’s older, or maybe it’s because he’s English, but he seems very sophisticated and not at all like Josh. Not in a snobby way, but definitely different. More cultured, probably from living in such a grand city, and going to the theater whenever he wants, and meeting dignitaries and the like because his mother is a diplomat. When I told Margot that, she laughed and said it’s just because I haven’t gotten to know him yet, but Ravi’s actually a huge nerd and not at all smooth or Prince Williamish. “Don’t let the accent fool you,” she said. She’s bringing Ravi home with her over spring break, so I suppose I’ll see for myself soon enough. The plan is for Ravi to stay at our house for two nights and then fly to Texas to see relatives. Margot will stay here with us for the rest of the week.

“I can’t wait to meet him in real life,” I say, and she beams.

“You’re going to love him.”

I’m sure I will. I like everyone Margot likes, but the truly lucky thing is that now that Margot’s gotten to know Peter better, she sees how special he is. When Ravi’s here, all four of us will be able to hang out, true double dates.

My sister and I are both in love at the same time, and we have this thing we can share, and how wonderful is that!

 

 

3


THE NEXT MORNING, I PUT on the poppy-colored lipstick Stormy likes me in, gather up my Easter eggs in a white wicker basket, and drive over to Belleview. I stop at the reception desk to drop off the eggs and chat with Shanice for a bit. I ask her what’s new, and she says there are two new volunteers, both UVA students, which makes me feel a lot less guilty about not coming around as much.

I say good-bye to Shanice and then head over to Stormy’s with my Easter egg. She answers the door in a persimmon-colored kimono and lipstick to match and cries out, “Lara Jean!” After she sweeps me into a hug, she frets, “You’re looking at my roots, aren’t you? I know I need to dye my hair.”

“You can barely tell,” I assure her.

She’s very excited about her Marie Antoinette egg; she says she can’t wait to show it off to Alicia Ito, her friend and rival. “Did you bring one for Alicia, too?” she demands.

“Just you,” I tell her, and her pale eyes gleam.

We sit on her couch, and she wags her finger at me and says, “You must be completely moonstruck over your young man since you’ve barely had time to visit with me.”

Contritely I say, “I’m sorry. I’ll come visit more now that college applications are in.”

“Hmph!”

The best way to deal with Stormy when she’s like this is to charm and cajole her. “I’m only doing what you told me, Stormy.”

She cocks her head to the side. “What did I tell you?”

“You said to go on lots of dates and lots of adventures, just like you did.”

She purses her orangey-red lips, trying not to smile. “Well, that was very good advice I gave you. You just keep listening to Stormy, and you’ll be right as rain. Now, tell me something juicy.”

I laugh. “My life isn’t that juicy.”

She tsks me. “Don’t you have any dances coming up? When’s prom?”

“Not till May.”

“Well, do you have a dress?”

“Not yet.”

“You’d better get a move on it. You don’t want some other girl wearing your dress, dear.” She studies my face. “With your complexion, I think you ought to wear pink.” Then her eyes light up and she snaps her fingers. “That reminds me! There’s something I want to give you.” Stormy hops up and goes to her bedroom and she returns with a heavy velvet ring box.

I open the box and let out a gasp. It’s her pink diamond ring! The one from the veteran who lost his leg in the war. “Stormy, I can’t accept this.”

“Oh, but you will. You’re just the girl to wear it.”

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