She stood, and they walked to the front row together, Dimple’s back straight, her shoulders set. Her body conveyed anger like a second language; she must have had a lot of practice. As soon as they sat down, she turned to him, eyes flashing. “You requested me, didn’t you?”
Rishi rubbed the back of his neck, his cheeks warming. “Yeah, but I thought you might request me, too. Look, I’m going to go up there at the end of class and talk to the dude about reassigning us, okay? So just chill.”
“His name is Max. Which you’d know if you’d bothered to be here on time. You even missed the announcement of the grand prize.” She looked at him like she was accusing him of torching the redwood forests.
“Oh yeah? What is it?”
Rishi watched as the corners of her lips tugged upward in spite of herself. Her eyes shone behind her glasses, brilliant, fiery. “The winning partners will have a chance to pitch Jenny Lindt their idea. If she likes it, she’ll partner on marketing and development!”
Dimple’s voice was two octaves higher than usual when she finished, so Rishi knew whatever she said must be a big deal. He racked his brain trying to remember who the heck Jenny Lindt was and came up empty. Okay. He could fake it for now and look her up later.
“Great!” He grinned and tried to mirror her excitement. “That’s so cool!”
Dimple leaned in closer, and Rishi caught a waft of that maddening, amazing shampoo again. “Really? You’re a Jenny Lindt fan too?” Her face was open, her eyes wide and soft in a way Rishi hadn’t seen yet.
“Oh, totally ,” he said, thinking, I will be by the end of today if it makes you look at me like that.
Dimple laughed. “I know, she’s so great! What’s been your favorite part of her success story so far?”
Crap. He kept the smile on his face. Okay, success stories. What did they all have in common? “How she came from nothing and became, you know, Jenny Lindt. ”
Rishi thought he’d done pretty well, but Dimple was frowning. “She didn’t exactly come from ‘nothing.’ Her parents are both lawyers; they gave her the seed money for Meeting Space. It’s in all her interviews.” Rishi felt his cheeks heat. Traitorous body.
Dimple’s brow cleared. “You don’t know a single thing about her, do you?” she asked, leaning back and crossing her arms. “Had you even heard of her before today?”
“You know what? I’m, uh, going to go talk to the instructor guy—Max,” he hurried to add, “about reassigning us.”
“Yeah.” Dimple’s eyes were now flat marbles behind her glasses. She would make a good serial killer. “You go do that.”
He had some nerve, lying to her like that. “The way she came from nothing,” Dimple muttered mockingly. What a jerk. Maybe Max would make an exception this one time and reassign her to Celia. Celia knew how important it was to Dimple to win this thing. She’d work her butt off.
Dimple glanced over her shoulder and saw Celia deep in conversation with one of the hipster-model boys, tossing her curls and laughing throatily at a joke. Huh. Or maybe she wouldn’t want to be partners anymore.
Dimple turned back around to see Rishi taking a seat beside her again, his cheeks still pink. “What happened? Who are we getting reassigned to?”
“Um, well . . . nobody,” he said, wincing a little as he met her gaze. “He said it’s too late now. We’re just going to have to stick together.”
“What? Did you tell him requesting me was a mistake?”