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The Impossible Vastness Of Us


As the streets of Boston passed us by I let my thoughts drift away from Eloise and Finn. Instead I thought of all the homework I had to do, all the work I had ahead of me to get involved in my new school and how miserable it was that I hadn’t made one single friend. I’d decided Gabe didn’t count. I knew when a boy had sex on his mind and Gabe was definitely flirting with me.

“Tomorrow is a new day.”

I was startled from my forlorn musing by the sound of Gil’s voice.

He was smiling sympathetically at me in the rearview mirror. “The first day is always the worst.”

Grateful for his insight and kindness, I gave him a small smile. “It can only get better, right?”

“Definitely.” And it sounded like a promise.

I hoped it was a promise. A solid one. Because I’d worked too hard to get out of my previous miserable existence for my mother’s new romance to take that all away from me.

Upon arriving home, I had to remind myself to let Gil get the door for me. When I stepped out I thanked him and hoped he knew I meant it sincerely. So far he was the only person from the house, other than Theo, who had been warm to me. I appreciated it.

Thinking of the staff, I decided to brave the kitchen despite Gretchen’s grouchiness that morning because I really wanted a soda. Entering the vast space, I found it full of hustle and bustle as Gretchen and one of Theo’s maids prepared for dinner.

I gave them an unsure smile and headed toward the huge refrigerator.

“May I help?” Gretchen called over.

“I’m just getting a soda.”

“I’ll get it for you, miss,” she said gruffly, stepping away from the vegetables she was cutting.

“It’s fine. I can get my own soda,” I assured her with more than a hint of amusement in my voice.

Gretchen frowned but nodded.

“Do you know if Hayley is home?”

The maid was the one that answered me. “Ms. Maxwell is out. Wedding plans. She said she would return in time for dinner.”

Wedding plans. Of course. “Thanks,” I muttered, and strolled out of the kitchen with my can of soda. I headed straight for my room.

Hayley had broken it to me last night that she’d quit her job. I’d tried not to get really angry at her for giving up her own means of independence, because I knew her well enough to know that this wasn’t a decision she was going back on.

As I’d gotten older and started to question why Hayley made the choices that she made, I started to form the theory that my inept mother had always wanted to be a princess. She didn’t want reality. She wanted fantasy.

Theodore Fairweather was finally giving her that.

She could live a life of leisure as the wife of a wealthy, influential blue blood.

Never, I decided, never would I put my entire financial and emotional well-being in the hands of someone else. Never!

Nope. I was going to metaphorically kick ass at my new school and forge a new path to total independence. On that thought I got on my laptop, found some editions of my old school paper and sent them to Franklin to look over.

I studied a little, impatiently waiting for time to pass. Anna was going to FaceTime me but since there was a three-hour time difference between us, I had to wait for her to get out of school. When my laptop started ringing like a phone, I thought I hadn’t heard such a nice sound in a long time.

“Oh my God, come home!” Anna yelled.

“Believe me, I would if I could. How was the first day of school without me?”

Anna rolled her eyes. “Um...what do you think? Siobhan is totally acting like Winter Snow Queen already.”

“Yeah, like we didn’t know that was going to happen. As long as she’s not being mean?”

“So far not a lot of meanness, just a lot of ‘fall at my feet and kiss my toes.’”

“Literally?”

“Thankfully, no. I don’t care how many pedicures that girl can afford, I am not getting near her feet.”

I laughed and then immediately sobered. “I miss you guys.”

“We miss you, too. You know who else misses you?”

“Who?”

“Jay.”

“Jay? He said that?” Somehow I couldn’t picture the too-cool Jay actually uttering those words to Anna. I realized by Anna’s giddy tone that I should probably feel excited that Jay missed me. But I just...didn’t.

“No, but he asked if we’d heard from you. Of course Siobhan tried to use his attention to flirt with him but he was really only interested in talking about you.” She sighed heavily. “Oh, to be India Maxwell, breaking the hearts of bad boys everywhere.”

I snorted. “Yeah, because my life is so charmed right now.”

She clapped her hands together and stuck her face closer to the screen. “Tell me how your day went.”

And so I proceeded to fill my best friend in on the grim start to my new life in Boston.

“India Maxwell does not sit alone at lunch!” Anna was gratifyingly indignant on my behalf. “I’m sorry you had such a shitty day. But trust me, they will realize how epic you are soon enough.” Her sympathy and reassurances were soothing, and after we signed off, I did actually feel a little better for connecting with her.

I wandered around my room, trailing my fingers over all my new things and wondering if material possessions ever made anyone truly happy, and was stopped in my tracks at the French doors. Outside I watched as a light blue convertible pulled up in front of the house.

Sitting in the driver’s seat was Charlotte and getting out of the car was Eloise. Eloise blew her friend a kiss and sashayed into the house, disappearing from sight.

A smiling Charlotte pulled away from the house.

Hmm. I thought Gil had said Eloise was with Finn.

“There you are.”

I spun around to find Hayley standing in my doorway. “When did you get home?”

“About thirty minutes ago.” She wore this goofy grin on her face as she sank down onto my bed. “How was school?”

“Fine, I guess.”
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