Tonight the Streets Are Ours / Page 31

Page 31


“Douglas isn’t exactly my boyfriend,” Naomi said. “I mean, we haven’t had the ‘are we boyfriend and girlfriend’ talk or anything.”

“Obviously we should crash the boys’ slumber party,” Lindsey volunteered. Arden threw her a grateful look, while Kirsten and Naomi both frowned. They were not exactly Lindsey Matson fans, since most of the time they wanted to gossip about boys and try on each other’s jewelry, while Lindsey almost never wanted to gossip about boys, and last year she’d sold the small amount of jewelry that she owned in order to purchase absurdly expensive “performance” running shoes. She was here as a package deal with Arden, and all of them knew it—except for maybe Lindsey herself.

“What else is there to do?” Lindsey reasoned.

“We could stay here and watch a movie,” Kirsten suggested.

Arden felt deep in her bones that she was not put on this earth to sit in her pajamas in Kirsten’s finished basement and watch a movie.

By the time she’d convinced her three friends to go to the boys’ sleepover, it was one a.m. “Whose house are they at?” she asked Naomi.

Naomi shook her head. “I don’t know. Not Douglas’s.”

“Will you text him and ask where they are?”

Naomi scrunched up her face. “Um … we don’t totally have that kind of relationship yet?”

They decided to try Alex’s house first. Alex’s house was big, and he didn’t have any younger siblings who might get underfoot, so this seemed like a likely location for a sleepover. Plus he lived only a few blocks away from Kirsten’s house. Kirsten scribbled a note that said, cryptically, We’ll be back, and left it on her kitchen table as they silently snuck out of the house. At the last minute, Arden grabbed one of the helium balloons that Kirsten’s stepmom had festively tied to the fridge. “When we show up, it’ll be like a parade,” she whispered.

But when they got to Alex’s, every window was dark. Either the boys weren’t there, or they were already fast asleep.

“I can’t imagine they’ve gone to bed already,” Naomi said as the girls stood in Alex’s driveway, staring up at the house. “Douglas said that last time they had a sleepover, they stayed up until four in the morning singing the entirety of Les Miz.”

“Are you kidding me?” Arden shrieked.

“You just described Arden’s most dearly held sexual fantasy,” Lindsey explained.

“Maybe they’re at Ellzey’s,” Kirsten suggested.

“Does anybody know where Ellzey lives?” asked Naomi.

Arden raised her hand. “I do.”

“Wait, how?” Naomi asked.

“Because she’s his stalker,” said Lindsey.

“Should we tie the balloon to Alex’s mailbox?” Arden asked before they left. “So they know that we were here?”

“Let’s not,” Naomi said quickly. She looked concerned.

Ellzey’s house was nearly a half-hour walk away, but it was a surprisingly warm night for March, and none of them was tired. When they entered his driveway, they noticed a light still on, on the second floor of the house, and three cars parked outside.

“That’s where they are,” Arden whispered.

They stared reverentially at the lit window. Arden imagined that she could hear Ellzey’s gentle tenor voice floating out and down to her. She felt momentarily like she was in Romeo and Juliet, the balcony scene. Only she would be Romeo, in this situation.

“Now what?” Kirsten asked.

“We have to get their attention,” Arden said.

“Are you sure you can’t just text Douglas?” Lindsey asked Naomi.

Even in the moonlight, it was clear that Naomi was blushing. “No way.”

So they tried throwing rocks at the window. This had no impact. Either because they had no aim and the majority of their rocks missed their mark, or because the boys were singing so loudly they were deaf to the thumping of rocks against their house. Maybe both.

“You’re an athlete,” Arden said to Lindsey as she hurled another pebble from Ellzey’s gravel driveway and it went flying off into the distance. “You’re supposed to be good at this stuff.”

“I’m on the track team,” Lindsey said, her next stone falling ten feet short of its mark. “There’s no throwing in track.”

“Think of this as cross-training,” Arden said.

When their arms grew tired, Lindsey suggested singing. “Like sirens in a Greek myth,” she explained.

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