IâM ON PINS AND NEEDLES
all day, waiting to hear the news from William and Mary. My entire focus is on my phone, waiting for it to buzz, waiting for that e-mail. In
English class, Mr. OâBryan has to ask me three times about the slave narrative tradition in
When it does buzz, itâs just Margot asking me if Iâve heard anything yet, and then it buzzes again, and itâs Peter asking me if Iâve heard anything yet. But nothing from William and Mary.
Then, when Iâm in the girlsâ room in between classes, it finally does buzz, and I scramble to zip up my jeans so I can check my phone. Itâs an e-mail from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, telling me my application has been updated. I stand there in the bathroom stall, and even though I truly donât expect to get in, my heart is pounding like crazy as I click on the link and wait.
I should be happy about it, because
is so competitive and the wait list is better than nothing, and I would be happy . . . if I had already gotten into
. Instead itâs like another punch in the stomach. What if I donât get in anywhere? What will I do then? I can see my Aunt Carrie and Uncle Victor now:
Poor Lara Jean, she didnât get into
so different from her sister; Margotâs such a go-getter.
When I get to the lunch table, Peter is waiting for me with an eager look on his face. âDid you hear anything?â
I sit down in the seat next to him. âI got wait-listed at
âAw, shit. Well, itâs impossible to get in there out of state unless youâre a basketball player. Honestly, even getting on the wait list is impressive.â
âI guess so,â I say.
âScrew them,â he says. âWho wants to go there anyway?â
âA lot of people.â I unwrap my sandwich, but I canât bear to take a bite, because my stomachâs tied up in knots.
Peter gives a begrudging shrug. I know heâs just trying to make me feel better, but
is a great school and he knows it and I know it, and thereâs no use pretending itâs not.
All through lunch Iâm listlessly sipping on my Cherry Coke and listening to the guys go on about the game theyâve got coming up in a few days. Peter looks over at me at one point and squeezes my thigh in a reassuring way, but I canât even muster up a smile in return.
When the guys get up to go to the weight room, itâs just Peter and me left at the table, and he asks me worriedly, âArenât you going to eat something?â
âIâm not hungry,â I say.
Then he sighs and says, âIt should be you going to
and not me,â and just like that, poof, the traitorous little thought I had last night about me deserving it more than him disappears like perfume mist into the air. I know how hard
Peter worked at lacrosse. He earned his spot. He shouldnât be thinking those kinds of thoughts. Itâs not right.
âDonât ever say that. You earned it. You deserve to go to
His head down, he says, âSo do you, though.â Then his head snaps up, his eyes alight. âDo you remember Toney Lewis?â I shake my head. âHe was a senior when we were freshmen. He went to
for two years and then he transferred to
his junior year! I bet you could do that too, but youâd be able to do it even sooner, since youâre going to a regular four-year college. Getting in as a transfer is a million times easier!â
âI guess thatâs true. . . .â Transferring hadnât occurred to me. Iâm still getting used to the idea that I wonât be going to
âRight? Okay, so this fall youâll go to William and Mary or U of R or wherever you get in, and weâll visit each other all the time, and youâll apply to transfer for next year, and then youâll be with me at
! Where you belong!â
Hope flares inside of me. âDo you really think itâll be that easy for me to get in?â
âYeah! You shouldâve gotten in in the first place! Trust me, Covey.â
Slowly, I nod. âYeah! Okay. Okay.â
Peter breathes a sigh of relief. âGood. So we have a plan.â
I steal a french fry off his plate. I can already feel my appetite coming back to me. Iâm stealing another fry when my phone vibrates. I snatch it up and checkâitâs an e-mail from
the office of admissions at William and Mary. Peter looks over my shoulder and back at me, his eyes wide. His leg bounces up and down against mine as we wait for the page to load.
It is with great pleasure that I offer you admission to the College of William and Mary . . .
Relief floods over me. Thank God.
Peter jumps out of his seat and picks me up and swings me around. âLara Jean just got into William and Mary!â he shouts to the table and anyone who is listening. Everyone at our table cheers.
âSee?â Peter crows, hugging me. âI told you everything would work out.â
I hug him back tightly. More than anything else, I feel relieved. Relieved to be in, relieved to have a plan.
âWeâll make it work until youâre here,â he says in a soft voice, burrowing his face in my neck. âItâs two hours awayâthatâs nothing. I bet your dad would let you take the car. Itâs not like Kitty needs it yet. And Iâll do the trip with you a few times to get you comfortable with it. Itâs gonna be all good, Covey.â
When I sit back down, I send a group text to Margot, Kitty, Ms. Rothschild, and my dad.
I got into W&M!!!
I throw in those exclamation marks for good measure, to show how excited I am, to make sure they know they shouldnât feel sorry for me anymore, that everything is great now.
My dad sends back a string of emojis. Ms. Rothschild writes,
You go girl!!!!!
YAYYYYYYY! We will celebrate IRL next week!
After lunch, I stop by Mrs. Duvallâs office to tell her the good news, and she is thrilled. âI know itâs your second choice, but in some ways it might be an even better fit than
was. Itâs smaller. I think a girl like you could really shine there, Lara Jean.â
I smile at her, receive her hug, but inside Iâm thinking,
I guess she didnât think a girl like me could really shine at
* * *
By the end of the week, I get into James Madison and University of Richmond, too, which Iâm happy about, but Iâm still set on William and Mary. Iâve been to Williamsburg plenty of times with my family, and I can picture myself there. Itâs a small campus, a pretty one. And it really isnât far from home. Itâs less than two hours away. So Iâll go, Iâll study hard, and then after a year Iâll transfer to
, and everything will be exactly the way we planned.