“So are you coming over tonight?” Hanna switched her BlackBerry to her other ear and waited for Sean’s answer.
It was Thursday after school. She and Mona had just met for a quick cappuccino on campus, but Mona had to leave early to practice her drive for the mother/daughter golf tournament she was competing in this weekend. Now, Hanna sat on her front porch, talking to Sean and watching the six-year-old twins next door draw surprisingly anatomically correct naked boys in chalk all over their driveway.
“I can’t,” Sean answered. “I’m really sorry.”
“But Thursday is
Hanna and Sean were hooked on this reality show
“I…I have a meeting tonight.”
“A meeting for what?”
Hanna’s mouth fell open.
He was quiet for a minute. “I can’t.”
“Well, are you at least coming to Noel’s tomorrow?”
Another pause. “I don’t know.”
“Sean! You have to!” Her voice squeaked.
“All right,” he answered. “I guess Noel would be kinda pissed if I didn’t.”
“I know. See you tomorrow.”
“Sean, wait—” Hanna started. But he’d already hung up.
Hanna unlocked her house. Sean
She stopped at the mirror in the hallway and pulled up her shirt to examine her taut stomach muscles. She swiveled sideways to investigate her small, round butt. Then she bent forward to look at her skin. Yesterday’s blotchiness was gone. She bared her teeth. One bottom front tooth crossed over a canine. Had they always been that way?
She threw her thick-strapped, gold leather handbag onto the kitchen table and opened the freezer. Her mom didn’t buy Ben & Jerry’s, so Tofutti Cutie 50-percent-less sugar faux ice-cream sandwiches would have to do. She took out three and began to greedily unwrap the first one. As she took a bite, she felt that familiar tug to eat more.
“Here, Hanna, have another profiterole,” Ali had whispered to her that day they visited her dad in Annapolis. Then Ali turned to Kate, her dad’s girlfriend’s daughter, and said, “Hanna’s so lucky—she can eat anything and not gain an ounce!”
It wasn’t true, of course. That’s what made it so mean. Hanna was already chubby and seemed to be getting more so. Kate giggled, and Ali—who was supposed to be on Hanna’s side—laughed too.
“I got you something.”
Hanna jumped. Her mom sat at the little telephone table in a hot pink Champion sports bra and black flared-leg yoga pants. “Oh,” Hanna said quietly.
Ms. Marin appraised Hanna, her eyes settling on the ice-cream sandwiches in her hands. “Do you really need
Hanna looked down. She’d chomped through one sandwich in less than ten seconds, hardly even tasting it, and had already unwrapped the next.
She smiled faintly at her mom and quickly stuffed the remaining Cuties back into the freezer. When she turned back around, her mother set a little blue Tiffany bag on the table. Hanna looked at it questioningly.
Inside was a little blue Tiffany box, and inside that was the complete Tiffany toggle set—the charm bracelet, round silver earrings, plus the necklace. The very same kind she’d had to hand over to the Tiffany’s woman at the police station. Hanna held them up, letting them sparkle in the overhead light. “Wow.”
Ms. Marin shrugged. “You’re welcome.” Then, to signify that the conversation was finished, she retreated to the den, unrolled her purple yoga mat, and turned on her Power Yoga DVD.
Hanna slowly slid the earrings back in the bag, confused. Her mom was so
Hanna grabbed the envelope and climbed upstairs to her room. She sat down on her four-poster bed, felt the edges of her billion-thread-count sheets, and smiled at Dot, sleeping peacefully on his doggie bed.
“Come here, Dot,” she whispered. He stretched and sleepily climbed into her arms. Hanna sighed. Maybe she just had PMS, and these jittery, uneasy, the-world-is-caving-in feelings would go away in a few days.
She sliced the envelope open with her fingernail and frowned. It wasn’t an invitation, and the note didn’t really make sense.
What was that supposed to mean? But when she unfolded the accompanying page stuffed inside the envelope, she yelped.
It was a color printout from a private school’s online newsletter. Hanna looked at the familiar people in the photo. The caption said,
Hanna blinked quickly. Her father looked the same as when she’d last seen him. And although her heart stopped when she read the word
Hanna would never forget the moment she first saw Kate. Ali and Hanna had just gotten off Amtrak in Annapolis, and at first Hanna saw only her dad leaning up against the hood of his car. But then the car door opened, and Kate stepped out. Her long chestnut hair was straight and shiny, and she held herself like the kind of girl who’d taken ballet since she was two. Hanna’s first instinct was to crouch behind a pole. She looked at her snug jeans and stretched-out cashmere sweater and tried not to hyperventilate.
“Oh my God,” Hanna whispered, searching the envelope for a return address. Nothing. Something occurred to her. The only person who really knew about Kate was Alison. Her eyes moved to the
The Tofutti Cutie burbled in her stomach. She ran for the bathroom and grabbed the extra toothbrush in the ceramic cup next to the sink. Then she knelt down over the toilet and waited. Tears dotted the corners of her eyes.
Hanna stood up and stared in the mirror. Her face was flushed, her hair was strewn around her face, and her eyes were red and puffy. Slowly, she put the toothbrush back in the cup.
“I’m Hanna and I’m fabulous,” she said to her reflection.
But it didn’t sound convincing. Not at all.