Tonight the Streets Are Ours / Page 94

Page 94


“Well, clearly,” Arden said.

“No, the carburetor. I just forgot the word. Anyway, they did some stuff, and it should be fine now.” Lindsey shrugs. “So are we going to drive home?”

Arden’s mother answers for her. “If you’re going to be driving in this contraption, then yes, starting as soon as possible is a good idea. You have a long trip ahead of you, and I do not want you speeding. Keep to the slow lane, and don’t go over sixty miles an hour, Arden, do you hear me? And take a break if you start to feel tired.”

Arden does hear her, and she knows this is all wise advice, so she will follow it—but there’s something sad, too, in hearing these words from her mother, because it’s clear to them both that her mother has given up her right to tell Arden what to do. At least for now. You can leave, of course—you can always leave—but then you have to deal with the consequences.

Arden and her mother exchange a long hug. “I’ll see you soon,” her mother says. “I love you.”

And Arden believes her.

The two girls get in the car, set up the GPS, and drive away. “You will reach your destination in six hours, two minutes,” says the GPS.

“Man, school tomorrow is going to be rough,” Lindsey comments.

“So tell me what happened to you last night!” Arden bursts out. “And why didn’t you respond to any of my texts?”

“My phone died, obviously. Speaking of, do you have a charger in your car? I need to call my parents. I missed church. They’re probably freaking out.”

“They are,” Arden says. “I know they talked to my dad.”

Lindsey shrugs, unperturbed.

“Aren’t you worried?” Arden presses her. “I mean, they could…” They could do anything. Ground Lindsey forever. Put her into some sort of boarding school for juvenile delinquents. Forbid the two girls from ever seeing each other. They were parents; the choice was theirs.

Lindsey sighs. “This is who I am. This is what I did. And, Arden, what you said last night made me think … like, okay, I should take responsibility for the things I do.

“So yeah, I’m sure they’ll be furious. And yeah, I’m worried. But these are the choices I made, and this is where I am now. So whatever the punishment is for that, I’ll take it. Because you know what? I wouldn’t trade in last night for anything.”

“Wow,” Arden says. “Why do you say that?”

“Well. You remember that girl I was talking to? Jamie?”

“The one with the piercing that made her nose look like a door knocker?”

“It’s called a septum piercing. I thought it looked really cool on her. I’m going to get one. She said it didn’t hurt that much.”

“Your parents will love that, too.”

“Who cares? They’re not my owners. Anyway, Jamie turned out to be really cool. She’s a sophomore at Pratt and she actually lives at Jigsaw Manor. She showed me her room—it’s hidden behind a curtain by the room where the band was playing when we came in. You’d never know it was there. And the walls are covered floor to ceiling with her work. She’s good. She does mixed-media collages, like really politicized stuff, about gender and race and…” Lindsey trails off, as she seems to run out of politicized issues to list. “Anyway,” she goes on after a pause, sounding unusually shy now, “she kissed me. I mean, we kissed.”

“Linds! That’s fantastic!” Arden takes her eyes off the road for a moment to look at her friend, who’s blushing but grinning hugely. “And how was it?”

“It was everything I’d hoped it would be,” Lindsey replies simply.

Arden feels a pang. She wants to feel that way about someone.

“She actually apologized for being rude to you,” Lindsey goes on. “She thought we were dating and we were having, like, a lovers’ quarrel. That’s why she was being kind of nasty when you met her. Once she realized you weren’t trying to get inside my pants, she was totally cool.”

Arden snorts a laugh. “Us, a couple?”

“Well, when you take a moment to think about it, you can see exactly why she’d assume that.”

Arden takes a moment to think about it. “Good point,” she agrees.

“But she wants to see me again. She said next time I’m in New York, I should get in touch, and she’ll take me out on a proper date.”

Arden immediately thinks of all the ways this could go wrong, will, most likely, go wrong. This girl could break Lindsey’s heart. She could leave her for someone older, someone who doesn’t live three states away. She could stand in the way of Arden and Lindsey’s friendship. Lindsey could try to go to college in New York City just to be close to Jamie, only to find that she and Jamie don’t even really like each other that much.

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