Tonight the Streets Are Ours / Page 62

Page 62


But Peter must have realized that he had already told Arden all his secrets. In his year of writing Tonight the Streets Are Ours, he’d laid out everything—maybe not for Arden, but she was the one who’d gotten it. It would be silly to try to keep something from her now.

And isn’t that such a freeing thing, to talk to somebody who already feels like your journal?

Perhaps Lindsey, too, felt that Peter’s openness gave them permission to know everything, because the next thing she said was, “So what happened to your brother?”

Arden kicked her under the table because, rude, Lindsey.

“I don’t know,” Peter said, his voice soft. He stirred the ice in his glass around and around.

“I have a brother, too,” Arden offered, “and I don’t know what I’d do if I lost him. I’d do anything to protect him. So I can imagine how hard it must be.”

Peter nodded, but it seemed like he was trapped inside his own memories, not listening.

“But what happened?” Lindsey pressed on, her blue eyes bright with curiosity, as if she were Nancy Drew in the Case of the Missing Sibling.

“When he disappeared? Well. He’d just started at Cornell.”

“Wow,” Lindsey said. “Your brother must be smart.”

Arden nodded. She knew Cornell was an Ivy League college in upstate New York, but she couldn’t name anyone who’d ever gone there. Even though Allegany was one of the better schools in Maryland, it was not turning out yearly droves of Ivy League–quality students.

But, of course, Peter’s family lived in New York City. They were rich. Their children went to private schools and had an au pair. They probably took them to museums and the opera on weekends, sent them to summer enrichment camps, paid for SAT tutors. If Arden had all of that going for her, there would be no reason she couldn’t go to an Ivy League college, too—no reason other than her record of suspension and drug possession, of course.

“He is smart,” Peter agreed with Lindsey. “And stupid.” Peter stared off at the jukebox in the corner, like he was trying to decide how much to say.

You can tell me anything, Arden willed. I’m here for you.

“He—” Peter began.

His phone rang.

“Hey, man,” he answered it. “Yeah … Yeah … I know, I don’t, either … Sure, yeah, sounds cool. Jigsaw Manor?… Okay, you got it. Later.”

He clicked off his phone and gave Arden and Lindsey a broad grin, all traces of his missing brother gone from his face. Like it had never even happened. “Hey,” he said. “Do you girls want to go to a party?”

An early spring night’s dream

Arden drove to the party, which was in a different part of Brooklyn. She plugged the address into her phone and let the GPS direct her there, because, although the party venue was only a few miles away, Peter had no idea how to get there. Apparently he took the subway or taxis everywhere.

“But I could tell you how to take the G to the L to get there,” he offered from the backseat. She’d been worried that the Heart of Gold wouldn’t live up to whatever rich-person transit he was accustomed to, but instead he just seemed delighted that there was a car for him to ride in at all, no matter how busted it was.

“I’ll G your L,” Arden replied, having no idea what these letters stood for. “Do you even know how to drive?” It was funny, these gaping holes in her understanding of Peter. She knew everything and nothing; she knew his inside jokes and most profound anxieties, but not simple facts like his last name or whether he had a license. Which of those was more important? Which of those did you really need to know a person?

“It’s okay if you can’t drive,” Lindsey said from her customary passenger seat up front. “Say it loud and proud. It’s not really as important a life skill as people make it out to be.”

“Only if you, like Lindsey, have a built-in chauffeur,” Arden said.

“I can drive,” Peter said. “We have a summer place out in the Hamptons—”

“I know you do,” Arden interrupted.

He shook his head and laughed. “Of course you do. I keep forgetting how much you know. It’s hard to believe. Anyway, sometimes I drive my parents’ car when we’re out there. There’s just not much point to driving in the city. The subway runs twenty-four hours, and even if I did have a car here, it’s almost impossible to find legal parking. I’m surprised you have a car, actually.”

“Well, we don’t live here,” Lindsey said. “We’re just in town for tonight.”

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