THEREâS A LACROSSE GAME TONIGHT,
and Pammy canât go because she has to work, and of course Chris would never deign to go to a lacrosse game, so I bring Kitty with me. She pretends to mull it over, musing aloud that it might be boring, but when I say, âNever mind, then,â she quickly agrees to come.
In the stands we run into Peterâs mom and his younger brother, Owen, so we sit with them. He and Kitty proceed to each pretend the other doesnât existâhe plays games on his phone and she plays games on hers. Owen is tall, but he sits hunched, with his hair in his eyes.
We chat about my dad and Trinaâs engagement for a bit and I tell her some of my ideas for the wedding. Sheâs nodding along and then she suddenly says, âI hear congratulations are in order for you, too.â
Confused, I say, âWhat for?â
âWilliam and Mary!â
âOh! Thank you.â
âI know you were hoping to go to
, but this might be for the best anyway.â She gives me a sympathetic smile.
I smile back, unsure. Unsure of what, exactly, âfor the bestâ means. Is she glad Iâm not going to
with Peter? Does she think this means weâre breaking up now? So all I
say is, âWilliamsburg isnât really that far from Charlottesville anyway.â
Her response is, âHmm, yes, thatâs true.â Then Peter scores a point, and we both stand up and cheer.
When I sit back down again, Kitty asks me, âCan we get popcorn?â
âSure,â I say, glad to have an excuse to get up. To Peterâs mom and brother I ask, âDo you guys want anything?â
Without looking up, Owen says, âPopcorn.â
âYou guys can share,â Peterâs mom says.
I make my way down the bleachers, and Iâm heading for the snack bar when I notice a man, standing off to the side, his arms crossed, watching the game. He is tall; he has nut-brown hair. Handsome. When he turns his head and I see his profile, I know who he is, because I know that face. I know that chin, those eyes. Heâs Peterâs dad. Itâs like seeing the Ghost of Christmas Future, and Iâm frozen in place, transfixed.
He catches me staring at him, and offers a friendly smile. I feel like I have no choice but to take a step forward and ask, âExcuse me . . . but are you Peterâs dad?â
Surprised, he nods. âAre you a friend of his?â
âIâm Lara Jean Covey. His, um, girlfriend.â He looks startled, but then he recovers and extends his hand. I shake it firmly, to give a good impression. âWow, you look just like him.â
He laughs, and Iâm struck anew by how much of him is in Peter. âHe looks just like me, you mean.â
I laugh too. âRight. You were here first.â
There is an awkward silence, and then he clears his throat and asks me, âHow is he?â
âOh, heâs good. Heâs great. Did you hear heâs going to
on a lacrosse scholarship?â
He nods, smiling. âI heard that from his mom. Iâm proud of him. Not that I can take any credit for itâbut still. Iâm really proud of the kid.â His eyes flicker back to the field, to Peter. âI just wanted to see him play again. Iâve missed it.â He hesitates before saying, âPlease donât mention to Peter that I was here.â
Iâm so taken by surprise, all I can say is, âOh . . . okay.â
âThank you, I appreciate it. It was nice to meet you, Lara Jean.â
âIt was nice to meet you, too, Mr. Kavinsky.â
With that, I go back to the bleachers, and only when Iâm halfway up there do I remember I forgot the popcorn, so I have to go back down. When I get back to the snack bar, Peterâs dad is gone.
Our team ends up losing, but Peter scores three points and itâs a good game for him. Iâm glad his dad got to see him play, but I really wish I didnât agree to keeping it a secret from Peter. The thought makes my stomach hurt.
In the car Iâm still thinking about his dad, but then Kitty says, âThat was weird what Peterâs mom said about it being a good thing you werenât going to
âI know, right! You took it that way too?â
âThere really wasnât any other way to take it,â Kitty says.
I check my side-view mirrors before turning left out of the school parking lot. âI donât think she meant it in a
way, exactly. She just doesnât want to see Peter get hurt, thatâs all.â And neither do I, so maybe itâs for the best that I donât say anything to Peter about seeing his dad tonight. What if he gets excited about his dad coming, and then his dad hurts him again? Abruptly I say, âDo you wanna stop and get frozen yogurts?â and of course Kitty says yes.
* * *
Peter comes to the house after he showers up, and as soon as I see how happy he is, my mind is made up not to say anything.
Weâre lying on the living room floor doing face sheet masks. If the kids at school could see him now! Through gritted teeth he asks, âWhatâs this one supposed to do?â
âBrighten dull skin.â
He twists toward me and croaks, âHello, Clarice.â
âWhat are you talking about?â
Silence of the Lambs
âOh, I never saw that. It looked too scary.â
Peter sits upright. Heâs terrible at sitting still. âWe have to watch it right now. This is ridiculous. I canât be with someone whoâs never seen
Silence of the Lambs
âUm, Iâm pretty sure itâs my turn to pick.â
âCovey, come on! Itâs a classic,â Peter says, just as his phone buzzes. He answers it, and I hear his momâs voice on the other line. âHey Mom . . . Iâm at Lara Jeanâs. Iâll be home soon. . . . I love you too.â
When he gets off the phone, I say, âHey, I forgot to tell you this earlier, but at the game tonight, your mom said that maybe it was for the best that I didnât get into
He sits up and pulls off his face mask.
âWell, she didnât say it exactly like that, but I think thatâs how she meant it.â
âWhat were her exact words?â
I peel off my mask too. âShe congratulated me on getting into William and Mary, and then I think she said, âI know you were hoping to go to
, but this might be for the best anyway.âââ
Peter relaxes. âOh, she always talks like that. She looks for the bright side in things. Sheâs like you.â
It didnât seem that way to me, but I donât push it, because Peterâs very protective of his mom. I guess heâs had to be, since itâs just the three of them. But what if it didnât have to be? What if Peter has a real chance of having a relationship with his dad? What if tonight is proof? Casually, I ask him, âHey, how many graduation announcements did you sign up for?â
âTen. My familyâs small. Why?â
âJust wondering. I signed up for fifty, so my grandma could send some to family in Korea.â I hesitate before asking, âDo you think youâll send your dad one?â
He frowns. âNo. Why would I?â He picks up his phone. âLetâs see what movies we have left. If
Silence of the Lambs
is off the table, we could watch
I donât say anything for a moment, and then I snatch his
phone out of his hands. âItâs my turn to pick! And I pick . . .
* * *
For someone who once put up such a fuss about not watching rom coms or foreign films, Peter sure loves
Itâs about a French girl who is afraid to live in the world, so she concocts these whimsical fantasies in her head, with lamps that talk and paintings that move, and crepes that look like records. It makes me want to live in Paris.
âI wonder what youâd look like with bangs,â Peter muses. âCute, I bet.â At the end of the movie, when she bakes a plum cake, he turns to me and says, âDo you know how to bake a plum cake? That sounds delicious.â
âYou know, mini plum cakes could be good for the dessert table.â I start researching recipes on my phone.
âJust make sure you call me when you do your trial run,â Peter says, yawning.