The Smartest Girl in the Room

The Smartest Girl in the Room by Deborah Nam-Krane Read Free Book Online

Book: The Smartest Girl in the Room by Deborah Nam-Krane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Deborah Nam-Krane
Tags: college boston new adult
this
effect?"
    "I don’t know, he’s a little before my
time."
    "Then how do you know about him at all? And
how do you know he’s before your time?"
    They talked about old music, the merits of
classic Doctor Who (he was for, she was against) and the upcoming
election for a while before they realized that they were the only
people left in the place and that the guy behind the counter was
looking at them resentfully.
    "Okay, what’s next?" Mitch opened the door
for her and they stepped out into the brisk fall air. It was just
about midnight.
    "Is anything else open that won’t card
me?"
    "Yes!" Mitch snapped his fingers. "Caffe
Aventura in the North End. They’re open until, I dunno, three in
the morning."
    "Is the T even running this late?"
    He looked at his watch. "Yeah, but we’ve got
to hurry." He grabbed her hand and off they ran until they got to
the ICA stop on the Green Line.
    "Wow!" she shouted over the noise of the
train once it started moving. "I don’t think I’ve ever had a whole
car all to myself!"
    "I once saw a clown on the T late at
night."
    He must be tired , she thought. "Um,
when I was three I beat up a clown. That's what he got for being
scary."
    "This one probably wouldn’t have scared you.
He wasn’t wearing makeup or a costume."
    "Then how did you know he was a clown?"
    "The flips and somersaults gave it away. That
and the balloons."
    "It’s always the balloons. Otherwise they’d
be able to blend in."
    "Are you still afraid of clowns?"
    "No. I actually think some of them are pretty
sexy."
    "Excuse me?"
    "Not the ones that look like Bozo, but the
ones in the well-fitted black and white costumes. Harlequins?
Pierrots?"
    "And... I think we’ve found another
vice."
    When they got to the café, she put her hand
on his arm. "I just realized something. If you get me anymore
caffeine I might throw up."
    "Will you throw up if I drink some, or
eat?"
    "No..."
    "Then let’s go." He led her in the door. It
was surprisingly busy, but they were able to find a free table.
"Ooh, look at that!" Emily said as they passed the dessert counter.
"I might be able to find room for a cannoli."
    "Can you manage that with an espresso?"
    "What did I just say?"
    "You could nurse it..."
    "Is there some reason you want to keep me
jacked up tonight?"
    He leaned forward and put his face in his
hands. "I like talking to you, and I want to do it as much as I
can."
    She held his eyes for a moment. "Alright, but
you can’t expect anything I say in another hour to make any
sense."
    An hour and a half into their conversation,
she indeed lost her train of thought and stared at him. He made a
goofy face and she laughed. "You caught me."
    "What were you thinking?"
    "That I didn't enjoy myself this much the
last time I stayed out this late."
    "The last time? How late did you stay
up?"
    "At least until two."
    "Then we're staying until three, for
sure."
    "Only if you get me another cannoli."
    "Consider it done." He took a deep breath.
"And who were you with?"
    "Another girl." She paused. "Another
heterosexual girl."
    "Hmm. And how old were you?"
    "Fifteen."
    "Really?"
    "What?"
    "I can’t picture you up past your bedtime at
that age."
    "At that age, I could have done anything I
wanted to as long as I didn’t get picked up by the police."
    "Ah, you were one of those lucky kids with
permissive parents."
    "Just one. My parents were divorced by then,
and the psychotically strict one left me with the pathologically
lax one."
    "Sounds like a good deal."
    "I thought so too, for the most part. Of
course, I did question it when there wasn't any food in the
house."
    Mitch laughed, but Emily's expression didn't
change. "I'm sorry," he said, sitting up. "Food was always readily
available in my house."
    "Well, I never starved."
    "That must have been rough."
    Emily shrugged. "Even when there was food, I
tried to avoid being around my Mom that year. That was when she
married my stepfather, and it didn't matter if I was there or not.
I was a

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