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At first, she deflected this with another joke, because she really did have to study, but he said, “No, I’m serious, stop fooling around and come now,” so she put a jacket over her pajamas and met him at the 7-Eleven. He greeted her without ceremony, as though he saw her every day, and took her inside to choose some snacks.

The store didn’t have Red Vines, so he bought her a Cherry Coke Slurpee and a bag of Doritos and a novelty lighter shaped like a frog with a cigarette in its mouth.“Thank you for my presents,” she said, when they were back outside.

At the theatre, he made a joke to the cashier at the concession stand about Red Vines, which fell flat in a way that embarrassed everyone involved, but Margot most of all.

During the movie, he didn’t hold her hand or put his arm around her, so by the time they were back in the parking lot she was pretty sure that he had changed his mind about liking her.

They went to a bar she’d never been to, an underground speakeasy type of place, with no sign announcing its presence. The bouncer hardly even looked at it; he just smirked and said, “Yeah, no,” and waved her to the side, as he gestured toward the next group of people in line. Finally, someone in line who’d been paying attention tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to her, marooned on the sidewalk. “I’m twenty.” And then, absurdly, she started to feel tears stinging her eyes, because somehow everything had been ruined and she couldn’t understand why this was all so hard. Please don’t feel bad.” She let herself be folded against him, and she was flooded with the same feeling she’d had outside the 7-Eleven—that she was a delicate, precious thing he was afraid he might break.

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