Home > Everything Leads to You(16)

Everything Leads to You(16)
Author: Nina LaCour

“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on the top bunk,” I say, even though the idea has never occurred to me.

“And?”

“It’s great,” I say. “So cozy. You haven’t been up here?”

“Not since I finished building it.”

“Why don’t you join me?”

She smiles and shakes her head.

“Hey, what are you doing later?” I ask, trying to ignore Charlotte’s inevitable disapproval. I already had to explain myself about Saturday morning’s encounter.

“I have plans,” Morgan says.

“What kind of plans?”

“Mmm,” she says. “I don’t know if you want to hear about them.”

“Oh,” I say, and the glorious world of little boy’s bunk beds and hands smoothing stars and beautiful arms and short skirts disintegrates. I skip the ladder and hop down instead.

“Well, have fun.”

“Em,” she says. “I’m sorry if this is hard.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“No, really.” She sets down her sponge and leans against the bed, looking at me. “I really like you; I just can’t be tied down right now.”

“That’s such a cliché thing to say,” I tell her. “If I saw that in a script I would laugh.”

She shrugs. “It’s how I feel right now. When you’re ready to hang out as friends I would love that.”

My phone buzzes and I check the screen. It’s Charlotte texting, I thought your sofa was green?

“Charlotte’s here,” I say. “I have to go.”

“Okay,” Morgan says. “Thanks for coming by. And my friend Rebecca might want to talk to you. I gave her your number. It’s about good things.”

“Sure,” I mutter, and head to the music room.

I see Charlotte as soon as I round the corner.

“Of course it’s green,” I say. “I’d call it, like, a cross between forest green and kelly green. What would you call it?”

“Um,” she says, “light gray?” And then she turns to look into the room and I turn with her.

My sofa is gone.

I spin away from her and out of the building until I’m in the bright sunshine of the lot with Charlotte behind me saying, “Emi, let’s just talk about this for a second. Let’s just take a moment to calm down.”

But all I can say is “Clyde f**king Jones,” because it’s his sofa in the place of my perfect one.

I storm through groups of smiling people and stern people and people talking on cell phones and carrying Starbucks cups and into Ginger’s building and past her secretary and into her office. She’s on the phone and holds up a finger for me to wait. So I stand there, in her perfectly decorated room, adorned with posters from all the famous movies she’s worked on, until she hangs up and says, “This must be about the music room.”

“What happened to my sofa? Did you see it? Wasn’t it perfect?”

She says, “It was a nice sofa. But we got so many amazing things that day, together, remember? You and me and Charlotte.”

“Of course I remember that day,” I say. “What does it have to do with my music room?”

She sighs as if she’s just so busy and I am so unreasonable.

“Emi, first, it isn’t your music room. You’ve done a really lovely job, but you are an intern and I am the production designer.”

“Yes,” I say. “I’m aware of our respective positions.”

“Okay,” Charlotte says, sweeping into the office, having apparently been hovering right outside the door. “I think it would be a good idea for Emi and me to take the afternoon off if that would be all right with you, Ginger. She’s been working really hard and didn’t get much sleep last night and, you know, things with Morgan are still a little rocky, so—”

“Fine,” Ginger says. “Go. Emi, tomorrow you’ll see that the couch complements your efforts beautifully.” But she says it coldly, with more edge than I’ve ever heard in her voice, and I start to worry about everything, because she’ll be my boss on The Agency, too, and I know that I’m just an intern. I’m easily replaceable. Maybe there are hundreds of geniuses of teenage decor. Maybe my niche isn’t even that special.

I follow Charlotte out of the office and the building and toward her car. She opens the passenger side for me and I tumble in.

“I just have to wrap up a couple things,” she says. “And then I’ll come back. Don’t go anywhere, okay?”

“Okay.”

“I can’t believe you talked to her that way.”

“I know. Me neither.”

She nods, satisfied, and shuts my door.

I get out my phone and try Toby.

A moment later, his voice rises above many other voices and music in the background.

“Hey, little sister.”

“Hey. Where are you?”

His face appears on my screen but the image is dark and grainy and I can barely see the curves of his face.

“Café,” he says. “London.”

“London. That’s far away.”

“Yeah,” he says. He leans closer to the camera; his face gets bigger and I can see him better. “They talk funny here.” He grins, leans back.

“Come back,” I say. “Come closer.”

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