“Love?” Jessica said with meaning, reading over Kelsey’s shoulder.
“No,” Kelsey said, putting the note on her desk. “Friends only. So where do you want to go?”
“Definitely the market,” Jessica said. “I was reading about it on my iPad when Dean Wilson was boring all of us to death today. How about you?”
“Actually,” Kelsey grinned, “I need to go to Target. I need underwear.”
“Underwear? Target? What about Victoria’s Secret?”
“For working out. Who’s going to see it?” Kelsey asked.
“You never know,” Jessica said, as there was a knock on the door. Jessica opened it to Ashley.
“Hi, girls!” Ashley said brightly. She walked in wearing a bright yellow gingham dress.
“Aren’t you freezing to death?” Jessica asked her.
“Mama said that you have to suffer for fashion,” Ashley replied. “Are you girls heading to the cookout?”
“Of course,” Jessica said. “I’m not going to miss a minute of fun before classes start.”
“What are you doing this weekend?” Kelsey asked Ashley. “Dylan suggested that we get Mexican food downtown.”
“That sounds great!” Ashley enthused. “Can we go on Saturday? I have a hair appointment on Sunday.”
“Already?” Jessica said.
“Once a week,” Ashley replied. “Never miss it.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Jessica asked as she looked at Ashley’s perfect hair. “What time is it now?”
“5:25,” Ashley replied.
“We were gone that long? Madison Street is only a few blocks long,” Jessica said in surprise.
“You went to Madison Street?” Ashley asked.
“Jessica required a cupcake,” Kelsey grinned.
“Did you find a good place?”
“Chocolate caramel at Cupcake Heaven. To die for,” Jessica said.
“I’ll have to remember that,” Ashley said.
“I just need to freshen up,” Jessica said, sitting at her desk and pulling out a mirror.
“No hurry,” Ashley said. “We want to be fashionably late.”
“We do?” Kelsey asked.
“Of course. We don’t want the boys thinking that we don’t have anything better to do.”
“I’m starting to think that you came here for something other than your law degree,” Jessica said.
Ashley laughed. “I like to think of it as killing two birds with one stone,” she replied. “Why not leave married to a handsome lawyer?”
“Why not indeed?” Jessica replied, brushing on lip gloss.
A little later, at a time that Ashley deemed late enough to make their entrance, the three girls walked onto the quad. Kelsey and Jessica wore their fleece jackets, while Ashley wore a soft yellow cardigan over her shoulders.
There were about 50 students lining up at the grills, drinking out of plastic cups or just milling around. As usual, the Irritating Five were together, talking. Ashley took note of them, while Jessica and Kelsey looked away.
“Where’s Dylan?” Jessica said. “I want the scoop.”
“Let’s go get food, girls,” Ashley said abruptly. Kelsey knew immediately why. The five boys had started in the direction of the plates.
“In a minute,” Jessica said. “You go without us.” Ashley smiled and sauntered over.
“She’s going to have a ring in no time,” Jessica said, as they watched Ashley position herself directly behind the five boys.
“Who?” asked Dylan, walking up to them.
“Ashley,” Kelsey said. “She wanted to know if Saturday was okay with you?”
“It’s fine. Do you want Ian to bring anything up?”
“I can’t think of anything,” Kelsey said.
“You know she’s in love with your roommate,” Jessica mused.
“Kelsey?” Dylan asked in shock.
“Ashley,” Kelsey corrected him.
“That moron? If this wasn’t Darrow, I would have guessed that his Daddy paid his way in.”
“So tell us. What’s up with those five?”
“Come on,” Dylan