The Upside of Unrequited Page 3

Which is kind of tragic, if you really think about it.

There’s a little computer sign that says how long you have until each train gets in. Red Line to Glenmont arrives in ten minutes. That’s us. But the Red Line train to Shady Grove is basically pulling in now. Will and Max and Mina leap up the escalator to catch it.

By the time we reach our platform, their train has already left the station.

So, that’s it.

EXCEPT CASSIE HAS MINA’S NUMBER. It shouldn’t surprise me, since Cassie’s great at getting girls’ numbers. Sometimes she gets a number and immediately forgets about it. Or she hooks up with a girl once and then loses the number on purpose. Cassie can be kind of ruthless.

Olivia nudges me. “That Will guy likes you.”

“What?”

“That’s a thing. You pretend to recognize someone as an excuse to talk to them.”

“According to who?”

“The internet.” She gives a very serious nod. Olivia is a very serious person in general. I honestly think there are two kinds of quiet people. There’s the kind like me, who are secretly full of storms and spinning gears. And then there’s the kind like Olivia, who is the actual personification of an ocean on a sunny day. I don’t mean that she’s simple. There’s just something peaceful about her. There always has been. She likes dragons and stargazing and those calendars with paintings of faeries on them. And she’s been dating the same guy since we were thirteen. Evan Schulmeister. She met him at summer camp.

“Hey, guess what.” Cassie pops up over the back of the seat in front of me. “Your boy is single.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your ginger. Mr. Peach Butt Hipster Pants. He’s single and ready to mingle.” She waves her phone at me. “Mina confirmed it.”

“Cassie!”

She grins. “You’re welcome. Mina’s going to get the ball rolling.”

I freeze. “What?”

“You think he’s cute, right?”

I don’t respond. I just gape at her, and Olivia giggles.

“Because you looked pretty happy to be talking to him.” Cassie pokes my arm. “Look. I know your crush face.”

“I don’t have a crush face!”

Holy shit. Do I have a crush face? Does the entire world know every time I think a guy is cute?

My phone buzzes in my pocket, startling me. A text from Abby. Molly!!! Tell me about the hot redhead guy!

“Are you kidding me?” I show Cassie the phone. “You told Abby?”

“Possibly.”

I feel sick. I might actually throw up. Preferably all over Cassie, who’s now texting again. Probably about me. And my supposed giant crush on some guy I talked to for five minutes. Cassie always thinks she knows me better than I know myself.

I mean, yes. Will is pretty fucking cute.

Olivia gives me this tiny smile. “You look so horrified right now, Molly.”

I shrug wordlessly.

“I thought you wanted a boyfriend.”

“Exactly,” Cassie interjects, turning back to us suddenly. “Like, this whole Molly thing with the secret crushes that go nowhere. I’m over it.”

“Oh, you’re over it?” My throat tightens. “Uh, I’m sorry boys don’t like me.”

“That is such bullshit, Molly. You don’t even talk to them.”

Here we go.

Cassie’s soapbox: the fact that I’ve had twenty-six crushes and exactly zero kisses. Apparently, it’s because I need to woman up. If I like a guy, I’m supposed to tell him. Maybe in Cassie’s world, you can do that and have it end in making out. But I’m not so sure it works that way for fat girls.

I don’t know. I just like to be careful about this stuff.

Cassie leans over the seat, toward me, and her expression softens. “Look. I’m not going to embarrass you. You trust me, right?”

I shrug.

“Then let’s do this. I’m going to get you a boyfriend.”

I push my bangs out of my face. “Um. I don’t think it’s that easy.” I hit her with this particular facial expression of mine, known to my moms as the Molly Face. It involves eyebrows and a certain twist of the mouth, and it conveys infinite, everlasting skepticism.

“I’m telling you. It is.”

But it’s not. I don’t think she gets it. There’s a reason I’ve had twenty-six crushes and no boyfriends. I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.

I don’t know why my heart is beating so quickly.

The train pulls into Takoma, and Cassie stands abruptly. “And I need to know if Mina’s queer.”

“Aww,” I say. “Look who has a crush face now.”

“Why don’t you just ask her?” Olivia says.

“Yeah, no.” Cassie shakes her head. “Okay, let’s see if she’s on Facebook.” She types while she walks. “How do you even search for someone?”

“Are you kidding?” I ask.

This is a fundamental difference between us. I was basically born knowing how to casually stalk people on social media. But I guess Cassie’s more the kind of person who gets casually stalked.

“Want me to ask Will, since he’s apparently my future boyfriend?”

“Hush.” She’s still staring at her phone.

I mean, I’m sure it’s a total coincidence that Cassie wants to turn this particular boy into my boyfriend. I bet it has nothing to do with him being friends with the dream girl.

Cassie gets off the escalator with a little hop, and Olivia and I follow her through the turnstiles. There’s a couple making out against a SmarTrip machine. Which is definitely not how you’re supposed to use SmarTrip machines. I look away quickly.

“Are you still texting Mina?” I ask.

She smiles. “I’m not telling you.”

But she will. No question. Because once you’ve shared a uterus, there’s no such thing as a secret.

Of course, I sleep terribly. I’m up for hours, staring at the ceiling.

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