probably a prank, and if it wasn’t, if somehow a person from zip had actually called me, I must have misunderstood—like maybe there was a fee for getting my picture taken that I hadn’t realized I was supposed to pay or something.
    “Hey,” Roxie said, picking up. “How’s it going, Double Shot?”
    “Um, fine,” I said.
    “You’re not in trouble, are you?”
    “Um, no,” I said equally eloquently. My legs were shaking as I paced fast around the room, waiting for her to shriek that she had just gotten a callback from zip . If she did, should I tell her I had, too?
    “You okay?” she asked. “You sound stressed. Still hyper-caffed?”
    “No, no,” I told her. “Well, maybe. Yeah. But…I was…It’s the weirdest—you didn’t just call me, did you?”
    “No, I was just peeing. Why? Oh! Is your phone freaking out? Maybe it’s the devil!”
    “Probably,” I said. “There wasn’t a…We didn’t…”
    “Spit it out, Double Shot!”
    “I just was thinking,” I said. “When do you think we, or you, might hear from the, you know, people at the magazine?”
    “Within the week,” she said. “They move fast. If we don’t hear anything by Thursday night, we’re out. Hey, wouldn’t it be so awesome if we both got into the running?”
    “Yeah, wow, that would be, but…”
    “I know, I know you’re not into it, but trust me, it’s so fun getting your picture taken for stuff like that. I’ve never done editorial, but even a catalogue—I mean, there’s a lot of boring time, just sitting around, but you have all these people putting on your makeup and doing your hair and dressing you in wacky clothes, and the photographers are all like, ‘Oh, you are so gorgeous’—well, most of them anyway—but trust me, it’s great.”
    “I think I’d throw up,” I said, feeling exactly that way already.
    “Oh, look down your nose at the whole thing, you’re probably right. It’s not curing cancer. But the girl who got the cover in the teen issue last year has her own TV show starting next fall.”
    “Not even kidding. Anyway, the odds are never good on something like this, I know. You almost never get to be moe, right? My mom says all the time you just have to keep a good attitude, but anyway just cross your fingers for me, okay? I could use a win.”
    I crossed my fingers, closed my eyes, and said, “Okay.”
    “You want to come swim or watch a movie or something?”
    “No, I should deal,” I mumbled.
    “Okay. Call me later,” she said, and hung up.
    I stared at my phone for a few minutes, daring the devil to call me to check in. He didn’t, so I called Jade back.
    “Hello, Allison,” she said in her deep, raspy voice.
    “Hello, Jade,” I said.
    Then I waited.
    “You weren’t in school after first today,” Jade said.
    “No,” I said, and nothing more, knowing that if I rushed her, Jade would just hang up on me and the whole episode would be needlessly extended. She was angry—obviously—again.
    “Are you sick?”
    “No,” I said.
    “So you cut?”
    “Yeah,” I said.
    “With Roxanne Green?”
    “Yup,” I said. I was being more of a jerk than usual with her, and I knew it. I wasn’t sure why. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood.
    “What did you and Roxanne Green do?” She kept saying Roxanne Green as if it were the name of a bacterium.
    “We went into the city and became supermodels, and then we took drugs and prostituted ourselves. Then we had a coffee and came home.”
    She didn’t respond.
    “Kidding,” I said. “We didn’t take drugs.”
    “Listen, Allison. You can be sarcastic all you want, but you should know that your friends are worried about you.”
    “Worried?” I sat down on my couch, feeling the energy drain from my legs.
    “It’s just not like you,” Jade said softly, her voice more confidential than condemning. “Cutting school? Assaulting a teacher? Hanging out with Roxanne Green? Acting all slutty?”
    “What are you talking

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