The same question has crossed my mind many times, though. If he doesn’t see Honor as more than a friend, why did he kiss me at this fountain when he thought I was Honor? Because he definitely thought I was Honor. Not even the best actor in the world could have faked the confusion and shock when she called him on his cell phone.
I would get an A-plus in AP bio. I didn’t think Luke could.But he pulled a rabbit out of a hat...or a human, more accurately. Xiaowen Liu was a Chinese girl whose family had just moved to Maine from Boston and lived in a big house on the cliff. On the first day of school, Luke asked her to be his lab partner.
Hey, Nora, he said with a grin. Guess who got a perfect score on her biology SATs? He gave Xiaowen a one-armed hug, making her blush. I didn’t blame her. I understood. She had an accent; the Cheetos had immediately pretended not to understand her and didn’t even try to pronounce her name—She-ao-wen, not terribly hard. But they insisted on calling her Ex-Ee-Oh-whatever, the feral, skinny bitches.I said hi to Xiaowen on her first day, and she said hi back, but that was it for the Outsiders Bonding moment. I lacked the confidence to ask if she wanted to hang out sometime, and besides, her mother chauffeured her to and from school in a new Mercedes. The money thing, you see. I was an islander; she was a rich person from away. She had what I wanted to pull off and failed—quiet confidence.All three of us got an A-plus on the first big bio test.
There went my edge in science.Then came the English class speeches.
Luke knew he’d ace his. I was the Troll, after all; he was Apollo.
Public speaking was my greatest dread—standing in front of my peers, their judgment and disdain enveloping me like a poison gas. I’d have to suck in my stomach. I’d break out in hives on top of acne. I’d sweat. My scalp would ooze oil. Seriously, I was cursed.How many tickets do we have now? I asked.
She glanced in her bucket. I’d say about five hundred.And what would that get us? I asked.
A consolation prize, she said with a decisive shake of her head. We didn’t come for that. We came for victory.I grinned, rolling my eyes at her. Fine, what do we do next? I’d never been so fucking out of my element, and if Emma weren’t so damn cute, I’d have called this entire thing off.