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“What were you looking at on your phone?” Alana asked after the bell rang and we were walking down the hall to our next classes. “You were staring at it dreamily for like ten minutes straight.”

“I was not. I was just looking at everyone’s first-day-of-school posts.”

“Yeah right,” she said. She probably wouldn’t have let the subject drop so easily if something at the end of the hall hadn’t captured her attention. She gasped.

“What?”

She pulled me to the side, out of the flow of traffic. “Do you know Diego?” she whispered.

“Who?”

“Diego Martinez. From last year?”

“No, I don’t remember him.”

“Really? I could’ve sworn I mentioned him once … or five hundred times. Remember when I had to do a stint in Math lab last May? He was the tutor. He was dating that Pam girl so I couldn’t pursue him but … No?” Alana asked when I was clearly still searching my brain. “He snuck his puppy into school once because his mom had gone out of town and couldn’t watch her. And he got away with it.”

“Are you making this stuff up?” I asked. “Because I don’t remember any of these things.”

“It’s because he’s not lake stock, isn’t it?” Alana asked, putting her hands on her hips. “You don’t even try to know the city kids.”

We called them “city kids” even though Oak Court didn’t really qualify as a city. It boasted only fifteen thousand people. But that was thirteen thousand more than Lakesprings.

“So not true!” I argued. “I don’t try to know any kids. You know I hate people.”

Alana laughed because she knew it was at least partially a joke.

“I remember the guy with the nose ring you talked about—Duncan,” I said, tilting my head to one side. “And there was someone else named Mac …”

“Okay, I get it. You proved my ‘lake’ theory wrong.”

Her theory was kind of right. I didn’t spend a lot of time in Oak Court. I preferred the lake over all else. “It’s not city versus lake,” I said. “It’s the fact that you talk about a lot of different guys.”

“I appreciate them. Is there anything wrong with that?”

“No. I was just explaining to you why I might not remember this one.”

“Even though I talked about him five hundred times?”

“You didn’t. That was Brady, the guy who lit a sparkler in the cafeteria for you on your birthday and got detention for a week.”

Alana was the kind of girl who guys did things like that for. She was tall and curvy with dark hair and nearly black eyes. She was Polynesian and had stories about growing up in Hawaii that everyone loved to listen to, like Hawaii was some alternate universe. I loved her stories, too, so I didn’t blame them.

She waved her hand in the air. “Brady is so last year.” She took me by the shoulders and pointed me toward the end of the hall. A guy with shaggy dark hair stood in front of a locker. “He is so this year,” she said.

“This is the bring-a-puppy-to-school guy?”

“Yes. Diego.”

“I thought you said he was dating that Pam girl.” I had no idea who Pam was, either. I was just repeating information.

“Apparently they broke up over the summer.”

“Okay, I have made a note. Can we go now?”

“First, you have to tell me what you think.”

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