Page 9


Ha, ha, I’d written back.
And then Finn had typed, If you have any questions about the campus, shoot me a message, followed by a smiley face. That’s an invitation, right?
I tap my bottom lip with my finger and think about what I should type. Hey, Finn, I start. I’m all moved in. I glance over at my mess. My things are in the room, so technically I’m not lying. Do you have time to give me a campus tour? I hit send.
I’m not completely nuts. I’m a freshman. He’s a teacher. This will take some time. My expectations are set accordingly. We’ll start with flirting. He’ll see me as off limits at first. But I’ll wear him down. I have four years. That’s my plan. Freshman and sophomore years we’ll establish a friendship. We’ll date other people. I’ll bide my time. By junior year he’ll be thinking about me when he jerks off. Senior year, I’ll make my move.
The door swings open and Chloe walks in, looking triumphant.
“Everly! The library here is…” She puffs out a breath. “It’s only a seven-minute walk!” I scoot over and she flops down onto the bed beside me. “What are you doing?”
“Waiting for Finn to text me back.”
“Everly.” She groans.
“What? It’s perfectly appropriate for Finn to give me a tour of campus.”
“Nothing in your head is appropriate.”
My phone dings. We both lean over the screen and read it together. Sure thing, he’s replied. Which building are you in?
Stroh Hall, I respond immediately.
I’ll meet you out front tomorrow at 8 am and give you the walking tour. Make sure you know where the library is and where to find decent coffee during a midnight study session.
8 am? Now I’m the one groaning. There’s no chance of stretching an 8 am meeting into a lunch. This guy is clueless.
See you at 8! I reply and roll off the bed. I toss my phone aside and dig into the bag with my sheets so I can get my bed sorted out.
“There are a lot of men in the world, Everly,” Chloe says, watching me working. “Finn Camden is not the only guy out there.”
“Of course he’s not,” I agree while securing the fitted sheet around the bottom corner of the mattress.
“But you’re so convinced he’s the one.”
“The right one, yes.”
“I don’t see it, Everly.” She says this softly, like it pains her to say it out loud. “I don’t see how you two would make a good match, and I don’t want you to miss out on the right guy because you’re so fixated on Finn.”
I finish with the fitted sheet and sit down. “But I’m not, Chloe. I dated Tim for two years and I dated Mark all summer. But they’re just boys, you know? Long term, it’s really important to choose wisely. I don’t want to get it wrong and spend half my life shuttling kids back and forth to their fathers or dealing with my ex’s new wife.”
“Like my family?” Chloe says, and it’s not a question, it’s a statement. Her dad didn’t even show up for graduation, too busy with his new family.
I nod. “Yeah, like that. And like seventy percent of our classmates. So if I choose wisely I can avoid a lot of heartache. I just have to be smart.”
“That’s a lofty goal, Everly Jensen.”
I grin. “You know I love a challenge.”
She nods. “Promise me one thing.”
“Don’t waste too much time chasing the wrong guy or you might miss the right one.”
“Deal. If someone who is better for me than Finn Camden comes along, I’ll give him a fair shot.”