Flat-Out Love, стр. 56

“I’m furious with both of you. But mostly with you, Matt.” Celeste jabbed her fork in his direction. “I have never known you to be so malicious. Julie has been nothing but a saint, so don’t you ever scream at her like that again. And, Julie, you were frankly not all that nice either. Matt is doing the best that he can with me, and I have not made things easy for him. I love you both, but there will be no more disputes regarding me and Flat Finn. While I am infinitely grateful for all that you have done for me, I’m going to take a more active role in managing myself. It’s time. Understand? There will be no more talking behind my back. I may be in junior high school. You two aren’t. Act like it.” Celeste looked back and forth between them and raised her eyebrows. “Are you still mad at each other? Do you need to kiss and make up?”

Julie shook her head violently. “No. I don’t think that’s necessary. Matt and I are fine.” She looked across the table, finally looking Matt in the eyes. “Right, Matt?”

“Yes. We are.” He looked truthful enough.

“Don’t ever fight like that again. Ever,” Celeste instructed. “The unexpected good news is that I had a remarkably good time at Rachel’s. Well, until the end, of course.”

“You… You did?” Matt asked.

“Yes. I really did.” She helped herself to more pancakes. “Rachel is a very nice girl. She and I actually have some things in common. It’s true that she is not the most popular girl at school, and I guess I like that about her. She’s in almost all of my classes and scored better on our last history exam than I did. I think I did a nice job of blending in last night. I was even asked to recap one of the first episodes of Pretty Little Liars, which I did to perfection, I might add. Anyway, the night was quite enjoyable until it was time to sleep. The dark does funny things to me, and my head gets besieged with unsettled thoughts. Rachel’s mother found me in the bathroom crying, and she was nice enough to offer to tell the other girls that I’d come down with a stomach bug and that’s why I left. Anyhow, I have a few things to tell you.”

“Go ahead,” a stunned Matt said.

 “First of all, I would like to start walking to and from school by myself. So Julie, that means that you won’t need to drive me. I’m ready. Flat Finn won’t need to come with me. I still need him, just not all the time.”

“Oh. Sure.” Julie did her best to look supportive, despite being unnerved somehow.

“The second piece of news is not necessarily information one would typically present at the breakfast table, but now is as good a time as any to say that I got my period yesterday morning.”

Matt groaned loudly and covered his ears. “Celeste! Really? You need to tell me about this… development?”

Celeste shot him an annoyed look. “Matthew, it’s not a big deal. I simply thought I should let everyone know. And, no, I do not need any information on what it means to be a woman. It’s a biological change that has occurred, and I thought it important to inform you.”

“Do you, er, think that’s why you were so, you know…?” Matt fumbled for words pathetically.

“No,” Celeste said. “Nobody gets their period for the first time and has a nervous breakdown next to a Kohler toilet. Men have such stupid ideas about menstruation, don’t they, Julie? But it is an indicator that I am maturing, and it brought up other issues for me. Thus the dramatic crying and Flat Finn freak-out. Also, speaking of growing up, I really need a bra. Even though I am not exactly billowing out of my clothes, there is finally something happening there. The silly sports bras Mom bought for me are ugly. Unless you feel like taking me shopping, Matt, I would like to go to the mall with another girl.”

“Um… Absolutely. Yes. I mean, if that’s what you think should… er, happen. If there is a rush on this… purchase necessity.” Poor Matt was really struggling with what to say. “Julie could, I assume, assist in the buying of…”

“We can go to the mall. Sure.” Julie tried to shake herself out of her state of shock following Celeste’s slew of revelations. She looked cautiously at Matt. “You don’t mind my taking her?” Considering that last night she had promised to stay out of things, she was hesitant to help Celeste in any new endeavors.

He averted his gaze, but shook his head. “Of course not. You should.”

“Or maybe your mother would prefer to take you when she gets home?” Julie offered.

“I suppose I could ask her. I’ll try, although she’s not terribly interested in me. And,” Celeste continued, “I would like to have Rachel come to the house some day. She wears unattractive wire glasses, and her hair is a frightful mess. I might be able to help her. Plus, she knows nothing about the Phanerozoic eon, and I know quite a bit because Finn was a dinosaur nut when he was younger.”

It was hard to know what to say following this unexpected outpouring. So much had changed in the past twelve hours with Celeste. And between her and Matt. Everything felt different.

“Maybe this summer we could all go to the beach together? Plum Island is lovely as long as it’s not horsefly season. And I’d like to paint my room. Yellow. Or fern green. That would be a nice summer project. Julie, I could use your assistance in choosing the right color.”

Before she could answer, Matt jumped in. “I’m sure Julie will be busy this summer, Celeste. She’ll probably have her own place by then, right?”

Julie startled. Getting her own place would make sense. It just hadn’t occurred to her. Of course she’d have to move out. Roger and Erin had generously put her up for the year, but what was she going to do? Stay here until she graduated? That was ridiculous, and they were too polite to ask her directly to move out. Besides, she was taking up Finn’s room, and he would be home soon enough. “Yes, I assume so.”

Celeste frowned. “Will we still see each other?”

“Absolutely. We can make a weekly girls’ date.”

“It won’t be the same, will it?”

“No. It won’t. But it will still be special.”

“There’s probably a bunch of apartments opening up for July first. Or June, even,” Matt said.

“Great. Thanks,” Julie said weakly.

An unpleasant feeling in her chest grew as she started to absorb the idea of not living at the Watkins house. This had become her home.

Except it felt less like home if Matt didn’t want her here.

Stupid kissing. Stupid roaming hands. Stupid boys.

“I’ll start looking for an apartment today. I could probably be out of here just after classes end. I’ll try for June first.”

“Julie, I didn’t mean—”

“Obviously, I’m moving out, Matt,” she said sneering. “Obviously.”

Matt looked everywhere but at the two girls, while Julie urgently checked on those garage sale details again in the paper.

Celeste maintained a rather bemused look on her face. “This is an unusual morning we’re all having, isn’t it?”

Julie stood up and took her plate to the sink. “Were you thinking more Lady Grace or more Victoria’s Secret?”

Matt nearly fainted.

Chapter 28

Matthew Watkins I need an afternoon pick-me-up. I accept cash and/or prizes that can be exchanged for cash. Also, hobbits.

Finn is God If you get off your high horse, you’ll notice that it, too, poops.

Julie Seagle Mixed emotions regarding Twitter continue. Am again facing warnings about unprotected Tweets, but it’s not my fault the condom won’t fit over the laptop. “A” for effort and whatnot, I think.



I hope you’re sitting down for this: Your mom, Celeste, Celeste’s FRIEND Rachel, and I are all going to some ritzy spa to get our nails done. It was Celeste’s idea to do something with Rachel, and I thought we should start out of the house first. Less FF temptation that way. When I asked Erin about taking the girls, I suggested maybe she’d like to come along, and after a bit of prodding, I got her to agree! I feel weird driving them around in the car like I’m some sort of chauffeur, but at least we’re going somewhere. And lest you start moaning (like Matt) that I’ve turned Celeste into a shallow teen, you should know that our post-manicure events include a trip to the Institute of Contemporary Arts and dinner at some Mongolian restaurant.