Rashmi taps her pen against her notebook. She’s been working on her essay to Brown for two weeks now. It’s one of the only universities to offer an

Egyptology degree, and the only one she wants to attend. “You don’t understand,” she said, when I’d asked why she hadn’t finished it yet. “Brown turns

away eighty percent of its applicants.”

But I doubt she’l have any problems. She hasn’t received less than an A on anything this year, and the majority were perfect scores. I’ve already mailed in my col ege applications. It’l be a while before I hear back, but I’m not worried. They weren’t Ivy League.

I’m trying to be friendly, but it’s tricky. Last night, while I was petting her rabbit, Isis, Rashmi reminded me twice not to tell anyone about her, because animals are against dorm rules. As if I’d tattle. Besides, it’s not like Isis is a secret. The smel of bunny pee outside her door is unmistakable.

“Nothing, I guess,” she says, in response to my question about her evening.

I take a deep breath to steady my nerves. It’s ridiculous how difficult a question can be when the answer means so much. “Wanna go to the movies?

They’re showing It Happened One Night at Le Champo.” Just because I haven’t gone out doesn’t mean I haven’t pored over the glorious Pariscope.

“They’re showing what? And I’m not gonna tell you how badly you just butchered that theater’s name.”

“It Happened One Night. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Won five Academy Awards. It was a big deal.”


“In what century?”

“Ha ha. Honestly, you’l like it. I hear it’s great.”

Rashmi rubs her temples. “I don’t know. I don’t real y like old movies. The acting is so, ‘Hey buddy, ol’ pal. Let’s go wear our hats and have a big


“Aw, come off it.” St. Clair looks up from a thick book about the American Revolution. He sits on my other side. It’s weird to think he knows more

American history than I do. “Isn’t that the charm? The hats and the misunderstandings?”

“So why don’t you go with her?” Rashmi asks.

“Because he’s going out with El ie,” I say.

“How do you know what I’m doing tonight?” he asks.

“Please?” I beg her. “Pretty please? You’l like it, I swear. So will Josh and Mer.”

Rashmi opens her mouth to protest just as the teacher arrives. Every week it’s someone new—sometimes administration, sometimes a professeur.

This time, I’m surprised to see Nate. I guess all staff members are forced to take a turn. He rubs his shaved head and smiles pleasantly at our class.

“How do you know what I’m doing tonight?” St. Clair repeats.

“Pleeeeease,” I say to her.

She gives a resigned grimace. “Fine. But I’m picking the next movie.”


Nate clears his throat, and Rashmi and St. Clair look up. That’s one thing I like about my new friends. They respect the teachers. It drives me nuts to see students talk back or ignore them, because my mom is a teacher. I wouldn’t want anyone being rude to her. “Al right, people, enough. Amanda, enough.”

In his quiet but firm way, Nate shuts her up. She flips her hair and sighs, with a glance toward St. Clair.

He ignores her. Ha.

“I have a surprise for you,” Nate says. “Since the weather is turning, and there aren’t many warm days left, I’ve arranged for you guys to spend the week outdoors.”

We’re going outside for class credit. I love Paris!

“I’ve organized a scavenger hunt.” Nate holds up a stack of papers. “There are two hundred items on this list.You’l be able to find them all in our

neighborhood, but you may have to ask the locals for help.”

Oh hel no.

“You’l be taking pictures of the items, and you’l be working in two teams.”

Phew! Someone else can talk to the locals.

“The winning team will be determined by the total number of items found, but I’l need to find photos on everyone’s phone or camera, if you expect to earn credit.”


“There’s a prize.” Nate smiles again, now that he final y has everyone’s attention. “The team that finds the most items by the end of Thursday’s class . . .

gets to skip class on Friday.”

Now that might be worth it. The classroom erupts in whistles and clapping. Nate picks captains based on who begs for it the loudest. Steve Carver—

the guy with the faux-surfer hair—and Amanda’s best friend, Nicole, are chosen. Rashmi and I groan in a rare moment of camaraderie. Steve pumps a fist

in the air. What a meathead.

The selecting begins, and Amanda is chosen first. Of course. And then Steve’s best friend. Of course. Rashmi elbows me. “Bet you five euros I’m

picked last.”

“I’l take that bet. Because it’s total y me.”

Amanda turns in her seat toward me and lowers her voice. “That’s a safe bet, Skunk Girl. Who’d want you on their team?”

My jaw unhinges stupidly .

“St. Clair!” Steve’s voice startles me. It figures that St. Clair would be picked early. Everyone looks at him, but he’s staring down Amanda. “Me,” he

says, in answer to her question. “I want Anna on my team, and you’d be lucky to have her.”

She flushes and quickly turns back around, but not before shooting me another dagger. What have I ever done to her?

More names are cal ed. More names that are NOT mine. St. Clair tries to get my attention, but I pretend I don’t notice. I can’t bear to look at him. I’m too humiliated. Soon the selection is down to me, Rashmi, and a skinny dude who, for whatever reason, is cal ed Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger is always

wearing this expression of surprise, like someone’s just cal ed his name, and he can’t figure out where the voice is coming from.

“Rashmi,” Nicole says without hesitation.

My heart sinks. Now it’s between me and someone named Cheeseburger. I focus my attention down on my desk, at the picture of me that Josh drew

earlier today in history. I’m dressed like a medieval peasant (we’re studying the Black Plague), and I have a fierce scowl and a dead rat dangling from

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