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Page 47

“What the heck was all that about?” Rishi asked, staring after Celia.

“I have no idea. . . .” Dimple slid out of the booth after Rishi. “I’ll be right back.” She hurried to the right corner of the restaurant and walked into the tiny bathrooms.

Celia stood watching her in the mirror, her caramel-colored hair all shiny in the recessed lighting. Dark shadows pooled under her eyes. She turned around slowly, her hands in a nervous tangle before her.

“What’s going on?” Dimple asked, hurrying forward to put her hand on Celia’s arm. “Are you okay? Are you hurt? Did Evan do something?”

“AshishandIhookedupdon’thateme.” Celia looked at her, eyes huge, expression tense.

Dimple wondered if she was supposed to understand that. Was it French? And then Celia’s giant nonsense word began to break apart into smaller, more intelligible ones. Ashish and I hooked up. Don’t hate me. Dimple’s hand fell off Celia’s arm. She stared at her friend, who was easily five inches taller in those ridiculous heels. “What?”

“It’s true.” Celia paced the length of the bathroom like an upset hen, her open trench coat flapping behind her like a large wing. “I’m sorry. It just . . . happened.”

“But . . . you don’t even know him.” Already Dimple knew this wasn’t true. How did she know this? Because Celia, a non-Indian, had pronounced his name right. Not Ash-ish like it was written, but Ah-sheesh . Also, and a bigger point, Dimple was fairly sure she hadn’t even told Celia Ashish’s name.

Celia stopped her pacing and looked at Dimple. “Except I do. We’ve met before.”

“What the heck are you talking about?” Rishi said, staring at his brother. His sixteen-year-old brother, who was apparently getting more action than him, with girls he barely knew. Who even was this kid?

Ashish pushed a hand through his floppy hair. When a curl fell into his eye, he didn’t push it away. Rishi wanted to slap it off his head. “Dude, you know I’ve come to the city before for basketball camp. And that girl’s, like, a party animal. She was at every party I went to last summer.”

Rishi threw his hands up. “So, obviously, when you saw her again, the appropriate first response was to hook up with her. In the time it took me to take a shower. ”

Ashish looked up at him defensively. “We didn’t actually do it . There wasn’t time for that. We just did other stuff. You were gone almost forty minutes!”

Rishi groaned and put his head in his hands.

“How fast did that have to happen?” Dimple asked. She was genuinely curious. How did that even work? “Did you just, like, say hi and then latch on to each other’s faces?”

Celia groaned and let her head fall back, curls brushing the back waistband of her skinny jeans. Her trench coat was lying discarded on the counter. “I guess! I mean, we’d had a spark last summer when we met at all those parties, talking and laughing and flirting and texting, but we hadn’t acted on it. I had a girlfriend at the time—not serious, but still. So it just felt like we were picking up where we left off. And we knew you guys were expecting us, so that just added, like, an extra thrill. . . .”

Dimple made a face. “Oh God. Really not interested.”

There was a silence, and Celia sighed. “I’m sorry. I know it’s not cool to hook up with people your friends are related to, even tangentially.”

Dimple shook her head. “I mean, I just feel sorry for you.” She laughed a little. “Ashish is a little . . . moody.”

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