As long as I don’t have to tell you anything
Mon Dec 25, 2017 00:29

Holland took the billywig from Marissa, careful not to injure it, and deposited it in the cage that Professor Bennett had set up. They hoped the Magizoobotany professor had set up the cage so that any billywigs that recovered from being stunned wouldn’t be able to just fly out again, but based on what they knew of Bennett, that seemed unlikely. The students would just have to work quickly.

When Holland returned to their position, Marissa leaned in close, the better to be heard over the sound of buzzing that filled the greenhouse. Marissa being physical had never made Holland uncomfortable in the past, but now they felt nervous. “We all really need a group outing.

Holland almost winced. Did they really need that? Another movie or whatever with Holland fifth wheeling a double date? Holland had been feeling their singleness acutely since the beach party. They weren’t sure whether or not they were imagining that Danny was being more physically affectionate with Marissa than before. They were familiar with the effect of bias—that you would see something more if you were looking for it—but at this point they were pretty sure it wasn’t their imagination. It made Holland uncomfortable, like they were complicit in tricking Marissa or hiding something from her. They supposed they technically were doing the latter, but it didn’t feel like something that mattered until Danny initiated what seemed like pointed public displays of affection. It was like he was trying to prove he was as crazy about Marissa as he’d said, even though Holland had never doubted that.

Holland bit back the response that they hadn’t spent all term too busy to hang out. Yes, their schedules were more full now as sixth years than ever before, but that had not stopped them from spending time together. The group had, for the most part, spent all term too awkward to hang out. If it wasn’t Marissa and Danny tiptoeing around each other, it was Rose and Emmett weirdly dating with no foreshadowing, or two couples in a five-person group, or now Holland and Danny.

Now Marissa wanted Holland to help organize something—why? Rose was her typical co-planner, and didn’t take kindly to being replaced with someone else. Armaan had been all but socially blacklisted after the blind date party, regardless of how well it had gone for Holland. “What did you have in mind?” they asked. If Marissa wanted to do something as a group of five, that was fine, but there weren’t a lot of activities that didn’t easily break down into pairs. Movie theaters, restaurant booths, even just walking down Pearl Street—all of those outings left plenty of opportunity for their coupled friends to pair off. Holland wasn’t sure they wanted to sign up for organizing their own discomfort.

Oh. Marissa had noticed that things were weird. That was just great, Holland thought, unenthused. Marissa had also decided that the solution to Danny and Holland being awkward around each other in front of the group was to spend even more time around each other with the rest of the group there. Holland couldn’t tell whether that was twisty Marissa logic or no logic at all, but they doubted it would help either way.

Holland and Danny hadn’t discussed what to do if their friends asked why they weren’t getting along very well right now. Holland obviously wasn’t going to tell anyone—let alone Marissa—about the content of their conversation. Presumably Danny wouldn’t have made a different decision, but he had clearly said something to Marissa. Holland had independently decided they would just say the truth with omissions: they had argued with Danny about him interfering when they tried to talk to Ruben. It was true, and believable, because they had argued with Emmett about the same thing during the fall. And Holland was honestly still annoyed about it, their irritation compounded by Danny’s confession. It was one thing if Danny didn’t like Holland flirting with Ruben because he genuinely believed Holland would be in danger around the Aquila; it was a completely different kettle of shrakes if he didn’t like it because he was—what, jealous? Danny had said he hated the thought of them with Ruben or anyone, but if there was an exception attached to that, he hadn’t verbalized it. Holland assumed one existed.

Regardless, there was nothing to be done about any of this. The problem lay in what Danny had decided to tell Marissa. If their stories were different, Marissa would realize, and then everything would be much worse. “What exactly did Danny tell you?” Holland asked, suspicious emphasis on the second word.

  • I can tell you more things! - Marissa, Sun Dec 24 15:11
    “Thanks,” Marissa cheerfully replied. She definitely wasn’t dressed for this lesson. Holland seemed to have the right idea to cover up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything she could put on to cover... more
    • As long as I don’t have to tell you anything - Holland, Mon Dec 25 00:29
      • Okay, but what if you did? - Marissa, Thu Dec 28 21:37
        Marissa could tell that her suggestion didn’t go over well with Holland. Her friend knew how to hide their feelings from people relatively well, but Marissa wasn’t a People. She knew them. Clearly,... more
        • That sounds like a bad idea - Holland, Fri Dec 29 15:55
          Holland was very tempted to tell Marissa that they didn’t want to talk about this either. This wasn’t true, strictly speaking; they very much wanted to talk to someone about it, but there was no one... more
Click here to receive daily updates