Tonight the Streets Are Ours / Page 92

Page 92


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And all of this is making her know even more that she really, really needs to find Lindsey, like, right now. She shouldn’t even be wasting her time on this guy, trying to find answers that don’t exist to questions she can’t even express, when she should be out scouring every block and every building for Lindsey.

“You got me,” he says, holding out his hands. “I’m an asshole. I do asshole things. You’re right, Arden. You see right through me. That’s exactly what I am.

“I woke up this morning and I looked over, and you were lying there, and I felt terrible—I mean, stomachache, headache, everything-ache. And I remember a lot about last night, but just the very end of it is fuzzy. I remember visiting that doll store on Fifth Ave. I just don’t remember how we got home from there, or if we … you know, if anything happened after that.”

“You don’t remember if we had sex,” she says flatly.

His cheeks flush a little. “And I know you have a boyfriend, and I opened my eyes and there you were, fast asleep, and I felt so terrible and everything just seemed so terrible, and all I could think was Not this again, I can’t believe you did this again, what is wrong with you, what is wrong with you?”

“So you left,” she supplies.

“So I left. I know I shouldn’t have. But I do a lot of things I shouldn’t do. I don’t know why. I can’t help myself. I just hope I didn’t do anything to mess up things with … What’s his name again?”

“Chris.”

“Right. I don’t want to be the grenade in your relationship.”

You already were, she thinks. Aloud, she says, “Don’t worry about it. You and I didn’t have sex. Nothing happened.”

“Oh.” He clears his throat. “That’s good.” His hands drop by his sides awkwardly, like he’s not sure what to do with them now.

“Are you honestly going to publish Tonight the Streets Are Ours as a memoir?” she asks.

He blinks rapidly a few times. “I’m going to try. If any publisher will have it, then yeah.”

She takes a deep breath. “Don’t do it, Peter. It’s not fair to Leo. It’s not fair to Bianca, or to your parents. It’s not fair to anyone who reads it, who might feel like … like maybe you understand what they’re going through. You’re taking advantage of all of them.”

He turns his face away from her. “Stop. Just stop. Look, I don’t know what your life goals are. But I’m not going to stand here and tell you that you shouldn’t try to make them come true.”

She stares at him. “You’re really going to do this.”

He bends down to fuss with some flowers in a planter. “Some of the greatest art in history is born from tragedy. Literature, music, paintings. If I can create something beautiful and meaningful out of everything rotten that happened with me and Bianca and Leo, then maybe … maybe there’s a point to all of this.”

To Arden this seems like a ridiculous justification. The right answer would have been to leave Bianca alone. Even if Leo had been unhappy with his life anyway, even if he had wound up leaving anyway, at least something else would have been the last straw for him. At least Peter and Bianca would be innocent.

But it’s too late for the right answer now. What’s done is done. And she supposes that Peter is only trying to work with what he’s got.

“Just do one thing for me,” Arden says. “Don’t write about last night. Don’t write about meeting me. Not on your blog, not in a book, not anywhere. I am not your story to tell.”

“Fine,” Peter says. “I can do that.” He rubs his neck and looks at her through lowered lashes. “It’s too bad, though. I would have a lot to say about last night. I would have a lot to say about you.”

And she’s curious to know what he would say about her—of course she is. But she’s not going to ask.

“I need to go home,” she says.

“Now?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you mad at me?”

She thinks about this. Mad isn’t the word. She had just wanted Peter to be someone different from the person he is. But whose fault is that?

She shakes her head. “I feel sorry for you,” she says. “I feel sorry for all of you.”

Peter nods, like this is the best response he could hope to get. “Can I walk you back to your mom’s?”

“No, thanks. I’ve got it covered.”

“Okay, then. I guess … I’ll see you around. Maybe on my first book tour!” He laughs to show that he’s joking, sort of. She pictures Cumberland’s one fading bookstore, with its rack of cigarettes, and she thinks it’s unlikely that Peter will ever have a book tour that brings him anywhere close to her.


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