"Hey, Skye?" I approached her. Fortunately, Skye was an extrovert who knew all the people that didn't know her.

"Minnie! Hi! How's life?"

"Fine. Um, I had a question… this morning, in the office, when you were reading the announcements…" what did I want to ask? "Who all was there?"

She looked puzzled. "Well, Damien and I were there, of course,"

(It couldn't be Damien, because he had been part of the clue)

"and there was, let's see: Silas Byrne, the swimming captain, announcing about the meet next Saturday,"

(No way could it be Silas! Or could it?)

"and Matilda Hernandez, the student council president; she said something about Red Ribbon Week, and a couple teachers, making announcements about clubs,"

(No. Just no.)

"Oh, and this guy whose name I didn't catch. He just tacked something on the bulletin board and left."


"What did he look like?" (Please be hot, please be hot, please be hot!)

"I don't remember," she shrugged. "Sort of tall and tannish, with a buzz cut?"

I dashed off to the office. Sure enough, the note was there—fortunately, no school official had discovered its hiding place.

"Seek me after classes in the room with a view."

Here is what I came up with from that clue:

The roof.

The A/V room

The freshman English room with the view of the lake.

The computer labs had Windows Vista…

"Hi, Minnie Mouse."

It was that Dan fellow. "Hey yourself."

"What have you got there?"

I considered telling him. I considered telling him in a downplaying, casual way, telling him in a Hulky-denigrating way, or telling him the truth, feelings and all. I considered a lot in those seconds and settled on a half-truth.

"My friend is leaving me clues for a scavenger hunt."

"Wicked! Can I help? What's the hint?" I told him. "I would go with the English room, or maybe the roof."

I smiled at our shared brain pattern. "See, I would, too, except the one this morning was a trick. That was why I was in the library, because I thought 'where the sky meets the green' was the mural, but it really meant the morning announcements people."

"Skye and Green. Ooooh, that's tricky. Say, what if I take the English room and you take someplace else and we meet at a third place…"

"Sure. We'll meet back at the roof."

He smiled. "See you there, cutie."

What the hell was I doing? What if Hulky himself actually materialized during this game and this turned really awkward? On the one hand, I never committed myself to Hulky—that would have been stupid. In agreeing to play his game, however, I had committed myself to something. Something that precluded bringing a new guy friend along for the ride. Had I jumped at the first internet bucket of emo to compliment me, exactly like a ninny?

Yes. Indeed I had. What had I said? "Let's go out for coffee"? Dang, this was difficult. (There was nothing in the computer lab; I headed for the roof). Hulky himself was desperate as well—if we ended up going out, it would be two pathetic teenagers squinting for chemistry and forcing connections. On the rare chance that it wasn't, we would still worry that it was.

I didn't know if Dan was desperate. He certainly was assertive. He was what a self-proclaimed "nice guy" would proclaim an "asshole". That was what it came down to. Hulky ficced after me and Dan practically grabbed me. Hulky's way was more considerate—I could have just not contacted him. But had he been counting on my physical attraction to angst? That was kind of passive-aggressive. The door-opening, coat-offering, 'I don't really know how to dance, either, but can we anyway?' old fashioned ways of romance were tricks more than they were treats, and unrequited love 'accidentally' discovered was one of the worst. Dan's way was more honest. I could have said "no" to him just as easily, but he made an assumption that I wouldn't. On the one hand, it showed he knew how hot he was, and that was annoying. On the other hand, false groveling sucked. Especially in guys.

I got to the roof, and Dan was waiting for me. "Found it," he said. Apparently Hulky was trying to mess with me, being obtuse one clue and obvious the next. It said

"My dear, this time I will be waiting. Possibly with flowers. Look for me 'where the cool kids go', the one on nineteenth street."

"The coffee shop!" I realized.

Dan stared me down. It was more confused than accusatory.

"Okay, there's a little more to this story than I had previously indicated," I told him.