Chris’s fingers trembled over the email icon on the cracked screen of her Samsung phone.
“It’s from St. Catherine’s. Oh my God, Lesley, I’m going to pee my pants.”
“Spelling Bee, there’s no way they didn’t accept you. Get that tremble outta your pale-ass chin.” Lesley pulled her full lips and dark eyebrows into an assured pout. “You’re the smartest freshman in the history of Bridgeport High School. All that shit about string theory you were spouting off in the hallway last week? I didn’t even know you were speaking English. I thought Mr. Idelson was going to nut himself.”
“Eww.” Chris wrinkled her nose at the thought of her ancient Biology teacher doing anything that resembled nutting himself.
“Eww.” Lesley jutted her chin in agreement. “The point is, you’re a genius. Just open it.”
Chris pushed her brown hair behind her ears and attempted to duplicate Lesley’s self-confident posture. It was true. She was smart. At public school. St. Catherine’s Prep existed in a different universe. It was, without question, the best high school in the area, possibly in the whole state of Connecticut. The campus gleamed like a bastion of perfection, nestled securely into the part of Fairfield County dominated by large, estate-style houses and private waterfront property. The girls wore charcoal grey uniform skirts and the boys wore monogrammed blue blazers. The tuition was $35,000 a year. The thought that they might accept her there on a full scholarship for tenth grade seemed as ludicrous as Hagrid the groundskeeper sweeping into her mother’s postage stamp apartment to let her know she’d been accepted to Hogwarts.
Chris took a breath and clicked on the screen with shaking fingers. She blinked as the words swam into coherent sentences in front of her.
Dear Ms. Miller,
The admissions committee at St. Catherine’s School…outstanding application…meaningful performance…blah, blah, blah… Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you of your acceptance to St. Catherine’s School for the 2020-2021 school year.
“I got in.” Chris almost choked on the words.
“Told you.” Lesley deadpanned for a beat before she let out an excited scream. The noise ricocheted over the cracked cement courtyard of the K Street Housing Project. “Maybe now your mom will get off your case about hanging out with me.”
Chris grimaced. “Maybe.” Maybe not.
Lesley shimmied into a victory dance. “We need to celebrate!” Chris could predict the next words to come out of her mouth as clearly as if Lesley were reading off a script. “Do you have ten dollars?”