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MARGOT AND I ARE ON the phone; it’s Saturday afternoon here and Saturday night there. “Have you lined up an internship for the spring?”
“Not yet . . .”
Margot lets out a sigh. “I thought you were going to try and do something at Montpelier. I know they need help in the archives. Do you want me to call Donna for you?”
Margot did an internship at Montpelier for two summers and she loved it. She was there for some important dig where they found a shard of Dolley Madison’s china plate, and you’d have thought they found diamonds or a dinosaur bone. Everybody loves Margot over there. When she left, they gave her a plaque for all her hard work. Daddy hung it up in the living room.
“Montpelier’s too far of a drive,” I say.
“What about volunteering at the hospital?” she suggests. “You could get a ride with Daddy on the days you have to go in.”
“You know I don’t like the hospital.”
“Then the library! You like the library.”
“I’ve already filled out an application,” I lie.
“Have you really?”
“Or I was just about to.”
“I shouldn’t have to push you to want things. You should want them for yourself. You need to take the initiative. I’m not always going to be beside you to push you.”
“I know that.”
“I mean, do you realize how important this year is, Lara Jean? It’s kind of everything. You don’t get a do-over: this is junior year.”
I can feel tears and panic building up inside me. If she asks me another question, it will be too much, and I’ll cry.
“I’m still here.” My voice comes out tiny, and I know Margot knows how close I am to crying.
She pauses. “Look, you still have time, okay? I just don’t want you to wait too long and have all the good placements go to other people. I’m just worried about you is all. But everything’s fine; you’re still okay.”
“Okay.” Even just that one little word is an effort.
“How’s everything else?”
I started out this conversation wishing I could tell her about Peter and everything that’s been going on with me, but now I’m just feeling relieved that there are all these miles between us and she can’t see what I’m up to. “Everything’s good,” I say.
“How’s Josh? Have you talked to him lately?”
“Not really,” I say. Which I haven’t. I’ve been so busy with Peter I haven’t really had a chance.