Abi usually declined these persistent, almost forceful, invitations. But Cora was right. She had a reason to celebrate now. She glanced at her friend, who lifted her hands slightly in question.
“Live a little,” Cora mouthed.
The class bell rang, and Cora immediately perched herself atop Abi’s desk in one swift movement, the cheap furniture groaning despite Cora’s light frame.
“Well?” She waited a few breaths, but Abi didn’t know what to say yet. For once, she wanted to say yes, but now that her dreams were coming true, she couldn’t mess that up. Winning this contest was a stepping stone to her leaving Logan’s Bluff behind.
What if they got caught? What if she got arrested? Any hopes of working at a reputable publishing company would vanish before she ever got started.
“I know that look,” Cora warned. “It’s just one party. You don’t even have to drink … that much.”
Abi stood with her bag. Her friend walked backward in front of her down the row of desks.
“I can’t. You know why!” Even as she said this, though, Abi had to bite the inside of her lip to hide her smile. She wasn’t excited about the prospect of a party. She was excited about that email.
“Yeah, because you want to be Miss Goody Two-Shoes and get into all the best colleges and then rule the entire world.” She lifted one hand to make grand gestures, her many rings clinking together, as they entered the noisy hallway. They veered left, toward their lockers.
“Exactly,” Abi said, matter-of-factly.
Cora gave an exaggerated scoff. “You’re too responsible for your own age. This isn’t the end, you know. I still have”—Cora checked the time on her phone—“twelve hours to talk you into it.”
Only when Abi’s locker door covered her face did she let the smile stretch to its full width. She had done it! Months of poring over that piece had paid off, and now she was doing it. She wasn’t just dreaming anymore; it was happening.
“By the way, aren’t you going to say anything?” Cora threw her bright blue hair over her shoulder.
“It looks amazing! I’m sorry, I’m such a terrible friend for not saying anything before.”
And it was. Cora’s long hair was a sapphire blue at the top that faded to a dark navy toward the bottom. There was a part of Abi that had always been jealous of Cora’s devil-may-care attitude.
Cora pushed the limits, but Abi could never seem to let go enough to do that or be bold enough to pull off something like blue hair.
Beaming, Cora jumped into explaining how difficult it was to get her hair just the right shade and how her mom reluctantly had to help her. “It took pretty much all night, and I swear my scalp is still tingling.”
“So if you spent all night doing that …?”
“Yes, Mom, I did my homework!” She hadn’t even finished speaking before cracking a mischievous grin. “Just not the homework we were assigned in class.”
Abi huffed. She knew it didn’t matter. Her best friend passed every class with ease without doing any of the required homework. Cora half-heard something one time and remembered it forever. But since she never did her homework, she hadn’t gotten an A since seventh grade.
“We should plan a big reveal for your publishing news tonight!”
Tonight? At the party? She hadn’t agreed to that yet.
“I’m having dinner at your house, aren’t I?” Cora’s question didn’t exactly sound like a question so much as an annoyed reminder.