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“So did I do a good job?”“You did.” That’s all it takes for him to be happy, me telling him that he did a good job. He’ssmiley all the way home. But I’m still thinking about it.I beg off the lacrosse party I was supposed to go to with Peter tonight. I say it’s because I have toprepare for my meeting with Janette tomorrow, but we both know it’s more than that. He could callme on it, remind me that we promised to always tell the truth to each other, but he doesn’t. He knowsme well enough to know that I just need to burrow in my little hobbit hole for a while, and when I’mready, I’ll come out again and be all right.That night I bake chai sugar cookies with cinnamon-eggnog icing—they’re like a hug in yourmouth. Baking calms me; it’s stabilizing. It’s what I do when I don’t want to think about anything hard.It is an activity that requires very little from you—you just follow the directions, and then at the endyou have created something. From ingredients to an actual dessert. It’s like magic. Poof,deliciousness.After midnight, I’ve set the cookies on the cooling rack and put on my cat pajamas, and I’mclimbing into bed to read when there’s a knock at my window. I think it’s Chris, and I go to thewindow to check and see if I’ve locked it, but it’s not—it’s Peter! I push the window up. “Oh myGod, Peter! What are you doing here?” I whisper, my heart pounding. “My dad’s home!”
Peter climbs in. He’s wearing a navy beanie on his head and a thermal with a puffy vest. Taking offthe hat, he grins and says, “Shh. You’re gonna wake him up.”I run to my door and lock it. “Peter! You can’t be here!” I am equal parts panicky and excited. Idon’t know if a boy has ever been in my room before, not since Josh, and that was ages ago.He’s already taking off his shoes. “Just let me stay for a few minutes.”I cross my arms because I’m not wearing a bra and say, “If it’s only a few minutes, why are youtaking off your shoes?”He dodges this question. Plopping down on my bed, he says, “Hey, why aren’t you wearing yourAmish bikini? It’s so hot.” I move to slap him upside the head, and he grabs my waist and hugs me tohim. He buries his head in my stomach like a little boy. His voice muffled, he says, “I’m sorry all thisis happening because of me.”I touch the top of his head; his hair feels soft and silky against my fingers. “It’s okay, Peter. I knowit’s not your fault.” I glance at my moonbeam alarm clock. “You can stay for fifteen minutes, but thenyou have to go.” Peter nods and releases me. I sink down on the bed next to him and put my head onhis shoulder. I hope the minutes go slow. “How was the party?”“Boring without you.”“Liar.”He laughs an easy kind of laugh. “What did you bake tonight?”“How do you know I baked?”Peter breathes me in. “You smell like sugar and butter.”“Chai sugar cookies with eggnog icing.”“Can I take some with me?”I nod, and we lean our backs against the wall. He slides his arm around me, safe and secure.