to all the boys i've loved before / до всички момчета, които съм обичала: Петнайста глава

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15

#1

I WAKE UP HAPPY BECAUSE it’s the first day of school. I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings.

#2

While Daddy and Kitty are upstairs washing up, I make whole-wheat pancakes with sliced bananas, Kitty’s favorite. First-day-of-school breakfast was always a big thing with my mom, and then Margot took over, and now I guess it’s my turn. The pancakes are a little dense, not quite as light and fluffy as Margot’s. And the coffee . . . well, is coffee supposed to be light brown like cocoa? When Daddy comes down, he says in a merry voice, “I smell coffee!” And then he drinks it and gives me a thumbs-up, but I notice he only has the one sip. I guess I’m a better baker than I am a cook.

#3

“You look like a farm girl,” Kitty says with a touch of meanness, and I know she’s still at least a little bit mad at me.

#4

“Thank you,” I say. I’m wearing faded shortalls and a scoop-neck floral shirt. It does look farm-girlish, but I think in a nice way. Margot left her brown lace-up combat boots, and they’re only a half size too big. With thick socks, they’re a perfect fit. “Will you braid my hair to the side?” I ask her.

#5

“You don’t deserve a braid from me,” Kitty says, licking her fork. “Besides, a braid would take it too far.”

#6

Kitty is only nine, but she has good fashion sense.

#7

“Agreed,” my dad says, not looking up from his paper.

#8

I put my plate in the sink and then put Kitty’s bag lunch down next to her plate. It’s got all her favorite things: a Brie sandwich, barbecue chips, rainbow cookies, the good kind of apple juice.

#9

“Have a great first day,” my dad chirps. He pops out his cheek for a kiss, and I bend down and give him one. I try to give Kitty one too, but she turns her cheek.

#10

“I got your favorite kind of apple juice and your favorite kind of Brie,” I tell her pleadingly. I really don’t want us to start the school year off on a bad note.

#11

“Thank you,” she sniffs.

#12

Before she can stop me, I throw my arms around her and squeeze her so tight she yelps. Then I get my new floral back-to-school book bag and head out the front door. It’s a new day, a new year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

#13

Josh is already in the car, and I run over and open the door and slide inside.

#14

“You’re on time,” Josh says. He lifts his hand up for a high five, and when I slap it, our hands make a satisfying smack. “That was a good one,” he says.

#15

“An eight at least,” I agree. We whizz past the pool, the sign for our neighborhood, then past the Wendy’s.

#16

“Has Kitty forgiven you yet for the other night?”

#17

“Not quite, but hopefully soon.”

#18

“Nobody can hold a grudge like Kitty,” Josh says, and I nod wholeheartedly. I can never stay mad for long, but Kitty will nurse a grudge like her life depended on it.

#19

“I made her a good first-day-of-school lunch, so I think that’ll help,” I say.

#20

“You’re a good big sister.”

#21

I pipe up with “As good as Margot?” and together we chorus, “Nobody’s as good as Margot.”

#22

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