The Upside of Unrequited Page 31

“I don’t care. I’d rather walk around with you. Really.”

Oh. My heart is pounding. Why is my heart pounding?

We walk up Maple, and I feel tongue-tied. Not even tongue-tied. I mean, my tongue isn’t the problem. It’s my brain. It’s like this:

Me: Hey, brain. Let’s think of something cool to say!

Brain: UHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Me: Okay, it doesn’t have to be cool. Just something semi-coherent . . .

Brain: UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Me: COME ON, BRAIN, GIVE ME SOMETHING.

Brain: *white noise*

Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Hey, how’d the cookie dough turn out?” Reid asks finally.

“Oh!” I laugh. “I actually did save you some.”

“Really?” His eyes light up behind his glasses.

“Really! And it came out awesome.” Finally, finally—something unlocks in my brain, and I’m me again. “I think it tastes better than regular cookie dough. The consistency’s slightly different. But in a good way. You’ll like it.”

“I know I will.”

“We can grab it right now, if you want. It’s just at my house.”

Which is two blocks away. I live two blocks from Reid.

I have to admit, there’s something quietly thrilling about this. I’m bringing a boy to my house. For cookie dough purposes. Totally platonic. But still. A boy. My house.

“You know, I didn’t put this together before,” Reid says, following me through the back door, “but I actually walk by your house sometimes with my cat.”

I smile up at him. “With your cat? Like on a leash?”

“Yeah, it has a little harness thing on it. But just the gray cat. Elefante.” He shrugs. “The other ones aren’t into it.”

“I can’t believe I’ve never noticed you walking a cat in front of my house.”

“Maybe I should stop wearing my invisibility cloak.”

I laugh and head toward the kitchen. “So, the cookie dough is in the fridge. Do you want vanilla ice cream on top?”

He tilts his head. “Do I?”

“I think you do.” I open the fridge and dig it out from behind Patty’s extensive Greek yogurt collection.

He beams when he sees it. “You put my name on it?”

I did. Which, of course, necessitated a very brief trip to Facebook. Not to stalk. Just to confirm the spelling: Reid, as opposed to Reed. But yes, Reid Wertheim has a Facebook profile. And yes, Reid Wertheim is Single. Not that it matters. I just happened to notice.

“Oh, right—you need ice cream,” I say quickly.

“I’m pretty sure I’m about to be ruined for all other food, Molly.”

And I’m about to make a wiseass comment about Mini Eggs, but there’s a sudden burst of laughter from upstairs. I’m so startled, I almost jump. I definitely thought Reid and I were the only ones home.

But then I hear Cassie’s voice, and Mina’s low, husky laugh, and oh.

OH.

And all I can think is this: DEAR GOD. PLEASE LET THIS NOT BE SEX. Is that even a thing? Daytime Fourth of July sex? Because I’m pretty sure I won’t survive overhearing sex in the presence of Middle Earth Reid.

I look at him. He looks at me. And then I hear the familiar creaking thud of Cassie’s footsteps on the stairs. She and Mina appear in the kitchen doorway moments later.

Fully clothed. Holding hands.

“Whoa. I didn’t know you were home,” Cassie says.

“We just got here.”

“Aww, Molly, you look so cute and patriotic,” says Mina. And then she looks up at Reid. “Oh hey!”

Reid looks startled. “Hey, Mina.”

I look back and forth between them. “Wait, you know each other?”

Reid nods. “We go to school together.”

Cassie peers up at him. “But I don’t know you.”

“Oh. This is Reid,” I say, trying to sound casual. Which shouldn’t be this difficult. This should be an effortlessly casual situation. “And this is my sister, Cassie.”

“Ohhhh. You’re the guy from work,” Cassie says.

There’s this hanging pause, during which Reid nods, and I blush, and Mina looks at Cassie, and then the freezer starts beeping. So, I shut it quickly, and pass the ice cream to Reid.

Super casual.

Though now Reid knows I’ve mentioned him to Cassie. Which is pretty great. Let’s just add him to the list of guys who now think I’m obsessed with them.

“Anyway, Olivia’s meeting us at the cheesecake place,” Cassie says. “Come with us.”

“Right now?”

She nods. “Put some ice cream in there, and let’s go.”

Reid has to go back to work, but he walks with us up Tulip Avenue, hugging the jar of cookie dough to his chest. He and Mina end up talking about this teacher from their school, and I’m still kind of thrown by the fact that they know each other. It’s not like I mind. But it’s this little shift in my head.

And I guess it kind of sucks that he seems to have forgotten about me. I mean, maybe this teacher they’re talking about is a really interesting person. None of my teachers are that interesting, to be honest.

But when we get to the cheesecake bakery, Reid turns to me suddenly. “Okay, well,” he says, and his hand hovers close to me, like he’s about to rest it on my shoulder. Or maybe he’s about to hug me.

Maybe.

It would definitely be cool if my brain could keep functioning right now.

But there must be a force field around me, because Reid whips his hand back and wraps his hands around the mason jar like a baseball bat.

“Cool. Well. I guess I’ll see you at work,” he says, waving briefly. Then he grips the mason jar even tighter and starts walking toward town.

“I can’t believe you work with Reid Wertheim,” Mina says, pushing through the door of the bakery. She holds the door for Cassie and me. “I’ve known him since first grade. He’s so sweet.”

“Just like someone else I know,” Cassie says, grinning and elbowing me. Because that’s the word I get, too. Sweet. I’m pretty famous for it, actually. Every yearbook I own is filled with: Ur the sweetest. Stay sweet. Sometimes spelled like “sweat.”

“He’s kind of cute,” Cassie adds. “What’s his deal?”

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