The Upside of Unrequited Page 62

“Agreed.” Cassie grins.

“I just didn’t think it would ever happen.” I blush. “I guess I’m just a late bloomer.”

Nadine bursts out laughing. I feel the corners of my mouth twisting upward. “What?”

“Late bloomer? Mo, you’re seventeen.”

“Exactly.”

“In what universe does that make you a late bloomer?” She squeezes my shoulder. “There’s no schedule for this stuff. I didn’t have a girlfriend until the end of senior year. And your mom never dated in high school.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

I pause. “I don’t know. Yeah. It just felt like I was waiting forever.”

“Oh, I know, baby. I don’t mean to discount your feelings here.” She disentangles her arms and clasps them in her lap. “Yeah, the waiting sucks. Especially when you start feeling like it’s never going to happen.”

“Exactly!”

She smiles. “Have I ever talked to y’all about when I was trying to get pregnant?”

“I don’t think so,” Cassie says.

I shake my head.

“Yeah. It was a long-ass journey. I mean, we tried on and off for ten years. All kinds of doctors. Nobody knew what was up.”

“Are you serious?” Cassie asks.

And I’m stunned. Maybe I shouldn’t be. I don’t know. I guess it makes sense that my moms didn’t randomly decide to have another baby sixteen years after the first two. But I never realized Nadine was actively trying. For ten years. I can’t wrap my head around it.

“And then it just worked, you know? And I was forty-two. Nobody thought there was a chance in hell at this point, but there you go.”

“Wow. I did not know that,” I say.

Nadine smiles. “I know. I guess it’s weird to talk about, because I never want you guys to feel like you belong to me any less than your brother. You know that’s not the case, right?”

“I know,” I say quickly.

“But your mom and I always wanted three kids. That was our plan. And we thought we were so ahead of the game popping two out at once. Little did we know . . .”

“Xav was fashionably late,” Cassie says.

“Something like that. But you know, there’s an upside here. Because when you spend so much time just intensely wanting something, and then you actually get the thing? It’s magic.”

All of a sudden, I feel like crying. In a good way. In the best way. Because I know exactly what she means. It’s butterflies and haziness and heart eyes, but underneath all that, there’s this bass line of I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this is me.

I can’t quite articulate the sweetness of that feeling.

It’s finding out the door you were banging on is finally unlocked. Maybe it was unlocked the whole time.

 

 

THERE’S NO REHEARSAL DINNER. THERE’S no rehearsal anything. But all the out-of-town people get here on Saturday night, and it’s actually starting to feel real.

Grandma Betty is at the Marriott, and my Suso grandparents are staying at the bed and breakfast up the road. I think my moms’ college friends are getting in tomorrow morning.

But Abby’s coming tonight. With Nick. And she’s staying at our house.

I set up the air mattress in my room, and Cassie moves her stuff in. I don’t even care that we’ll basically have to sleep on top of each other. It’s the first Suso slumber party in over a year.

The doorbell rings just as we’re putting dinner dishes away, and I catapult into the foyer. I move so quickly, I actually skid across the hardwood.

“Oh my God.” Abby’s in the doorway, jumping up and down.

“You’re here!”

“I’m here! You’re here!” She inhales deeply. “Ahh! You smell like Molly.”

“Wait, is that—”

“It’s a good thing!”

Which makes me think of Reid. And his deodorant. I shouldn’t blush.

“I can’t believe you’re actually here.”

“I’m here. And look who I brought!” She beams, stepping back. “Molly, this is Nick. Nick, Molly.”

It’s funny the way some people look just like their pictures. Like Simon. But Nick is actually cuter in person. Way, way cuter. He has these magnetic brown eyes that don’t entirely translate in photos.

“Hey.” He stands awkwardly in the foyer with a big canvas duffel bag. “Thanks for letting me come to this.”

“Are you kidding? Of course!”

Outside, I hear the beep of the car locking. Moments later, Isaac appears, dragging two suitcases. “Hey, Mo,” he says, practically kneeling to hug me. Isaac is six foot four. No joke. He makes Reid look short.

It occurs to me that he’s a nice height for Olivia.

But no. Nope. She doesn’t want that. Banish the thought.

Nick and Isaac take the bunk beds in Cassie’s room. It’s actually funny, having Abby and Isaac here without their parents. Uncle Albert and Aunt Wanda are staying in Isaac’s studio apartment on U Street—which is honestly a half step up from a frat house.

“What’d your mom think of your flip cup table?” Cassie asks him.

Isaac grins. “Tablecloth and vase of flowers.”

“Genius.”

As soon as Abby shuts my bedroom door, Cassie bursts out with it. “Molly has a—drumroll please—boyfriend.”

“What?” Abby gasps. “Oh my God. You kissed him. Really? Oh my God!”

“I KNOW,” Cassie says. “And she didn’t even tell me.” She flops backward on the air mattress.

“I didn’t tell anyone,” I say.

“Except our moms.”

“I didn’t tell them! They found out.”

“Oh, I’d like to know this story,” Abby says.

“There’s not really a story. Patty heard us.”

Abby and Cassie burst out laughing.

“What?” I ask. I feel myself smiling.

“Heard you doing what?” Abby asks.

THIS AGAIN.

“Not that. God. Talking. Just talking.”

“Sure.”

“Maybe kissing.”

“There you go,” Cassie says. She picks up a pillow, throws it at me, misses, picks it up again, and smacks me.

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