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VIRTUAL SUNDAY NIGHT DINNER WAS an idea I thought up.
I’ve got my laptop propped up on a stack of books in the center of the table. Daddy and Kitty and I are all sitting in front of it with our slices of pizza. It’s our lunchtime and Margot’s dinnertime. Margot’s sitting at her desk with a salad. She’s already in her flannel pj’s.
“You guys are eating pizza again?” Margot gives me and Daddy a disapproving look. “Kitty’s going to stay tiny if you don’t feed her any green food.”
“Relax, Gogo, there’s peppers on this pizza,” I say, holding up my slice, and everybody laughs.
“There’ll be spinach salad with dinner tonight,” Daddy offers.
“Can you make my spinach portion into a green juice instead?” Kitty asks. “That’s the healthiest way to eat spinach.”
“How do you know that?” Margot asks.
The pizza slice that was halfway to my mouth freezes in midair.
“Lara Jean’s boyfriend.”
“Wait a minute . . . Lara Jean’s dating who?” On the computer screen Margot’s eyes are huge and incredulous.
“Peter Kavinsky,” Kitty chirps.
I whip my head around and give her a dirty look. With my eyes I say, Thanks for spilling the beans, Kitty. With her eyes she says, What? You should have told her yourself ages ago.
Margot looks from Kitty to me. “What in the world? How did that happen?”
Lamely I say, “It just sort of . . . happened.”
“Are you serious? Why would you ever be interested in someone like Peter Kavinsky? He’s such a . . .” Margot shakes her head in disbelief. “I mean, did you know Josh caught him cheating on a test once?”
“Peter cheats at school?” Daddy repeats, alarmed.
I quickly look at him and say, “Once, in seventh grade! Seventh grade doesn’t even count anymore it’s so long ago. And it wasn’t a test, it was a quiz.”
“I definitely don’t think he’s a good guy for you. All of those lacrosse guys are so douchey.”
“Well, Peter’s not like those other guys.” I don’t understand why Margot can’t just be happy for me. I was at least pretend happy for her when she started dating Josh. She could be pretend happy for me too. And it makes me mad, the way she’s saying all of this stuff in front of Daddy and Kitty. “If you talk to him, if you just give him a chance, you’ll see, Margot.” I don’t know why I’m bothering trying to convince her of Peter when it will be over soon anyway. But I want her to know that he is a good guy, because he is.
Margot makes a face like Yeah, okay, sure and I know she doesn’t believe me. “What about Genevieve?”
“They broke up months ago.”
Daddy looks confused and says, “Peter and Genevieve were an item?”
“Never mind, Daddy,” I say.
Margot is quiet, chewing on her salad, so I think she’s done, but then she says, “He’s not very smart, though, is he? I mean, at school?”
“Not everybody can be a National Merit Scholar! And there are different kinds of intelligence, you know. He has a high emotional IQ.” Margot’s disapproval makes me feel prickly all over. More than prickly. Mad. What right does she have to weigh in when she doesn’t even live here anymore? Kitty has more of a right than she does. “Kitty, do you like Peter?” I ask her. I know she’ll say yes.
Kitty perks up, and I can tell she is pleased to be included in the big-girl talk. “Yes.”
Surprised, Margot says, “Kitty, you’ve hung out with him too?”
“Sure. He comes over all the time. He gives us rides.”
“In his two-seater?” Margot shoots a look at me.
Kitty pipes up. “No, in his mom’s van!” With innocent eyes she says, “I want to go for a ride in his convertible. I’ve never been in a convertible.”
“So he doesn’t drive around his Audi anymore?” Margot asks me.
“Not when Kitty’s riding with us,” I say.
“Hmm” is all Margot says, and the skeptical look on her face makes me want to x her right off the screen.