Caitlyn and I go directly to seats midway in on the left—for no other reason than that's where we happened to sit day one freshman year, so now that's where we always camp—and slouch back for the presentation. Whatever's coming is bound to be tedious—better be comfortable. "I think I'm going to have to pee," Caitlyn leans over to whisper. "I downed a venti latte after I got the car jumped."
"Caitlyn, it's not a high-powered job on Wall Street, it's AP Bio. Why do you need three shots of espresso?"
"It's good for my metabolism."
I roll my eyes. "I will beat you."
"What? I gave up Parliaments and aspartame, let me have the beans—" She cuts off at the sight of Nico Sargossi, Melanie Dubviek, and Trisha Wright coming down the aisle behind us for the First Day Back Big Christmas Loot Reveal—Nico probably has a Maserati from Santa/Daddy's dealership parked outside. And Melanie and Trisha are both sporting the same fur vest Victoria Beckham wore to the People's Choice Awards. "Do you have any idea how many shifts at Bambette I'd have to work to afford that?" Caitlyn whispers into my shoulder.
"Maybe the Hampton branch of PETA'll hit 'em with spray cans at lunch. I'll put in a call."
The Three Graces take their seats across the aisle from us next to Jase McCaffrey, still flushed from morning basketball practice, his black hair damp to his forehead. Nico reaches across Trisha to squeeze her boyfriend's hand. At least I think it was his hand. Can't see from here.
"Think they applied to the same colleges?" Caitlyn asks, referring to Hampton High's own Brangelina.
"They only overlap at six out of nine." "It's sick that you know that."
"You didn't get the flier?" I surreptitiously fold a piece of gum into my mouth. Also wet-haired from a post-practice shower, Rick Sachs slides into his permanently saved seat on the other side of Jase.
"What if they get to college," Caitlyn asks as Trisha leans forward to talk to Melanie, leaving Nico to kiss Jase over her rounded back, "and there are other couples there that are at least as hot—maybe hotter—and have been together twice as long?"
"Since the womb?"
"Ladies, gentlemen." Our principal walks on stage in front of the slushie-blue velvet curtain, his orthopedic dress shoes squeaking against the polyurethaned wood. "Thank you for joining us this morning." Why is it they always thank us for the mandatory things? "We have a very exciting guest—"
"The president of the New York chapter of Ornithology Today!" Caitlyn whispers with hushed mania.
"Not just to me," he continues into the microphone, his new mustache giving him a certain Dr. Phil je ne sais quoi, "but, I suspect, exciting to you as well." Caitlyn shrugs. It was a good guess.
"Seniors of Long Island's Hampton High School, please give a warm welcome to Fletch Chapman, president of programming for . . . XTV."