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

Английски оригинал Перевод на български



I VOLUNTEERED TO BAKE SIX dozen cup cakes for Kitty’s PTA bake sale. I did it because Margot’s done it for the past two years. Margot only ever did it because she didn’t want people to think Kitty’s family wasn’t involved enough in PTA. She did brownies both times, but I signed up for cupcakes because I thought they’d be a bigger hit. I bought a few different kinds of blue sprinkles and I made little toothpick flags that say BLUE MOUNTAIN ACADEMY. I thought Kitty would have fun helping me decorate.


But now I’m realizing Margot’s way was better, because with brownies, you just pour them in the pan, bake, and slice, and there you go. Cupcakes are a lot more work. You have to scoop the perfect amount six dozen times, and then you have to wait for them to cool, and then you’re frosting and sprinkling.


I’m measuring out my eighth cup of flour when the doorbell rings. “Kitty!” I scream. “Get the door!”


It rings again. “Kitty!”


From upstairs she screams back, “I’m running an important experiment!”


I run to the door and fling it open without bothering to check who it is.


Peter. He busts up laughing.


“You have flour all over your face,” he says, dusting off my cheeks with the backs of his hands.


I twist away from him and wipe my face with my apron. “What are you doing here?”


“We’re going to the game. Didn’t you read my note from yesterday?”


“Oh, shoot. I had a test and I forgot.” Peter frowns and I add, “I can’t go anyway because I have to bake seventy-two cupcakes by tomorrow.”


“On a Friday night?”


“Well . . . yeah.”


“Is this for the PTA bake sale?” Peter brushes past me and starts taking off his sneakers. “You guys are a no-shoes house, right?”


“Yeah,” I say, surprised. “Is your mom making something too?”


“Rice Krispie treats.” Another way smarter choice than seventy-two cupcakes.


“Sorry you came over here for nothing. Maybe we can go to the game next Friday,” I say, expecting him to put his shoes back on.


But he doesn’t, he wanders into the kitchen and sits on a stool. Huh? “Your house looks the same as I remembered,” he says, looking around. He points at the framed picture of me and Margot taking a bath when we were babies. “Cute.”


I can feel my cheeks burn. I go and turn the photo over. “When have you ever been to my house?”


“Back in seventh grade. Remember how we’d hang out in your neighbor’s tree house? I had to pee once and you let me use your bathroom.”


“Oh, yeah,” I say.


It’s funny to see a boy other than Josh in our kitchen. I feel nervous for some reason. “How long’s it going to take?” he asks me, his hands in his pockets.


“Hours, probably.” I pick up the measuring cup again. I can’t remember what cup I was on.


Peter groans. “Why can’t we just go to the store and buy some?”


I start measuring the flour that’s in the bowl, separating it into piles. “Because, do you think any of the other moms are buying cupcakes from Food Lion? How would that make Kitty look?”


“Well, if it’s for Kitty, then Kitty should be helping.” Peter hops off the stool and comes up to me and slides his hands around my waist and tries to untie my apron strings. “Where is the kid?”


I stare at him. “What . . . are you doing?”


Peter looks at me like I’m a dummy. “I need an apron too if I’m going to help. I’m not trying to get my clothes all messed up.”


“We’re not going to be done in time for the game,” I tell him.


“Then we’ll just go to the party after.” Peter shoots me an incredulous look. “That was in the note I wrote you today! God, why do I even bother?”


“I was really busy today,” I say meekly. I feel bad. He’s following through on his end of the deal and faithfully writing me a note a day and I can’t even be bothered to read them. “I don’t know if I can go to a party. I don’t know if I’m allowed to go out that late.”


“Is your dad home? I’ll ask him.”


“No, he’s at the hospital. Besides I can’t just leave Kitty here by herself.” I pick up the measuring cup again.


“Well, what time does he get home?”


“I don’t know. Maybe late.” Or maybe like in the next hour. But Peter will be long gone by then. “You should just go. I don’t want to hold you up.”


Peter groans. “Covey. I need you. Gen hasn’t said a word about us yet, which is kind of the whole point of this. And . . . she might bring that dickhole she’s dating.” Peter pushes out his lower lip. “Come on. I came through for you with Josh, didn’t I?”


“Yes,” I admit. “But, Peter, I have to make these cupcakes for the bake sale—”


Peter stretches his arms out. “Then I’ll help you. Just give me an apron.”


I back away from him and start rummaging around for another apron. I find one with a cupcake print and hand it to him.


He makes a face and points at mine. “I want the one you’re wearing.”


“But it’s mine!” It’s red-and-white gingham with little brown bears; my grandma got it for me in Korea. “I always bake in this. Just wear that one.”


Slowly Peter shakes his head and holds out his hand. “Give me yours. You owe me for not reading any of my notes.”


I untie the apron and hand it over. I turn around and go back to my measuring. “You’re a bigger baby than Kitty.”


“Just hurry up and give me a task.”


“Are you qualified, though? Because I only have exactly enough ingredients for six dozen cupcakes. I don’t want to have to start over—”


“I know how to bake!”


“Okay, then. Dump those sticks of butter into the mixing bowl.”


“And then?”


“And then when you’re done, I’ll give you your next task.”


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