The Boyfriend App

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The
BOYFRIEND
App
UNCORRECTED E-PROOF—NOT FOR SALE
HarperCollins Publishers
.....................................................................

The
BOYFRIEND
App

Katie Sise

UNCORRECTED E-PROOF—NOT FOR SALE
HarperCollins Publishers
.....................................................................

Copyright

This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Balzer + Bray is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Boyfriend App
Copyright © 2013 by Katie Sise
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available.
ISBN 978-0-06-219526-5

13  14  15  16  17  XXXXXX  10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1
First Edition

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Dedication
To Luke, for everything
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Part 1.0

UNCORRECTED E-PROOF—NOT FOR SALE
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chapter one

I
t was lunchtime in the social battleground better known as Harrison’s upperclassman cafeteria, and I was staring at Aidan Bailey.

Voices chattered around us and I was distracted—too busy wondering if anyone could see the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I looked into his dark-blue-denim eyes. So my guard was down when my ex–best friend, Blake Dawkins, pushed out her chair and straightened to her full five feet nine inches. (Plus two inches of metallic kitten heels = seventy-one inches of physical perfection.) But then Blake caught my glance and took off across the linoleum. I snapped out of my trance when I realized her kitten heels were
click-click-click
ing in the direction of my lunch table.

I was sitting with my three friends, the ones Blake’s new BFFs, Joanna and Jolene Martin, named
troglodytes
on account of some of us inhabiting the computer lab like a spiritual home. Being that troglodytes are a race of humanoid monsters from Dungeons & Dragons makes me question the Martin sisters’ secret activities. (Takes one to know one, if you catch my drift.)

Nigit Gurung was prattling on about an algorithm he wrote, and then saying he could’ve played Wolverine in
X-Men
. I sensed we were moments away from a conversation about coding, encryption, or video games—any of which Blake could use as ammunition—so in a last-ditch effort to save us, I changed the topic to Homecoming.

Mistake.

“So who are you guys thinking you’ll take?” I asked, my voice raising a notch as Blake stalked closer. “To Homecoming, I mean.”

Nigit scratched the skin beneath the collar of his
THIS SHIRT IS A MUNITION
tee, the navy one with lines and lines of code splashed across the back—the one he wore yesterday, too. “Homecoming?” he asked, the way some people might say,
Plantar wart?
“You mean like the dance?” Nigit had smooth brown skin, thick hair, and wide, dark eyes behind Coke-bottle glasses.

I pretended to study my plate. The potatoes au gratin were my mom’s newest addition to the Harrison menu. And she’d slipped me an extra slice of meatloaf, which was extra nice, considering she’s a vegetarian and Harrison’s lunch meat is disgusting.

Did I mention my mom works at Harrison as the cafeteria supervisor? Yeah. Uncomfortable.

Aidan tapped a binder filled with financial-aid printouts. I liked watching the way his long fingers came to rest on the paper. His cuticles were so . . .
messed up
. Like he’d just destroyed them doing some boy thing.

“Are you going, Audrey?” Aidan’s low voice rasped in the middle of words and curled up at the edges.

“I’m thinking about it,” I said, sipping water and tasting metal. Not technically a lie: I was thinking about
not going
. And right now I just wanted to get going. Out of the cafeteria.

Aidan’s dark blue eyes blinked, lingered on mine. He almost made me forget about Blake. Almost.

“Or maybe we can exploit a flaw in the HTTPD software to alter the web page and mess up the candidates for Court,” he said. He pushed up the sleeves of his gray wool sweater and exposed his muscular forearms. “I nominate you and Mindy for coqueens.”

Melinda “Mindy” Morales, my third friend at the table, smiled in silence.
In silence
is the way Mindy does everything. She has a speech sound disorder, which means she can’t make certain language sounds the right way.
Fish
sounds like “Fis,” and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Mindy’s speech wasn’t really a big deal in elementary school, but by the time we got to junior high, it was like a ticking time bomb. She just couldn’t get rid of it. She does better in Spanish because it’s her native language, but hardly anyone speaks Spanish at Harrison, so that’s no help. And it doesn’t matter that she’s super pretty: There are some things most people can’t—or won’t—get past. She flew under the radar until freshman year, when she caught Blake’s attention as my new best friend. Blake termed her
es-st-st-stupida
, and it stuck. (It’s a sound disorder, not a stutter, but whatever, Blake.) Now Mindy’s making straight
C
s because she won’t speak in class.

“Over here, Blake!” yelled Annborg Alsvik, the exchange student who got caught having sex with herself in the drama department’s costume closet while wearing nothing but the curly red wig from
Annie
. Annborg whipped out her hot-pink buyPhone and snapped a photo of Blake on her linoleum catwalk. Annborg was obsessed with Blake. She started a fan website called OMGluvUBlakeGodBlessBlakeandAmerica.com, where she posted photos. She captioned the photos with things like:
Thirsty Blake drink water from fountain.
Or,
Blake wear shiny shoe with pointy toe.

Blake stopped to pose for Annborg and my sweat turned ice cold.

“Don’t you need a date to go to Homecoming, Audrey?” Nigit was asking as Blake tucked her chin and pouted at Annborg.

Aidan fidgeted with his binder. A flush crept over the skin near his inky hair.

Blake gave Annborg one more pose (draping her arm over her head and partly shading her eyes—straight out of
America’s Next Top Model
) and then told Annborg to get a freaking life before starting toward our table again.

Nine feet. Eight feet. Seven feet away . . .

“I could get a date if I wanted to,” I told Nigit. Total lie. I hadn’t had a date since freshman year. I’d kissed a few guys, but not anybody worth talking about, especially not with Blake six feet away. I’d never actually even had a boyfriend. (Maybe I needed new clothes. Or maybe I shouldn’t have cut my almost-black hair into a pixie cut, even if the lady at the Clinique counter said it made me look gamine. She also said my green eyes were to die for! But then, she tried to sell me a fifty-dollar moisturizer, so who knows.)

Blake had enough boyfriend-getting power for both of us. A few tables away, her BF (lacrosse king Xander Knight) was busy being hot and stoic while the rest of her pack laughed and pointed at my lunch table.

“Real-live video, like the YouTube!” Annborg shouted as she ran alongside Blake, catching it all on her phone. Blake’s sequined miniskirt went
swish, swish, swish
, like a soundtrack for her strut. I flashed back to the afternoons Blake and I used to spend in my mom’s closet, trying on heels and skirts that were too big for us. We used to stage fashion shows in my parents’ bedroom, and my mom would pretend to judge the looks, like on
Project Runway
.

Xander turned to watch Blake. Mindy’s and my shared Xander Knight Obsession meant we’d memorized the golden flecks that sparkled in his hazel irises. I felt my stomach twist for the split second he caught my glance before looking away. Like I didn’t exist.

In junior high, Xander was that kid who wore the same clothes three days in a row, clammed up when a teacher called on him, and played by himself at recess. I was always super nice to him because the other kids weren’t, but then he outgrew me (literally) by sprouting seven inches and growing muscles and chiseled features. He still wore the same clothes too often (a variation on broken-in corduroys and a vintage T-shirt) but he wore them so well no one gave a crap.

And now the tables have turned, and I’m the freak.

Xander settled his glance on Annborg, who was yelling, “Every person check out OMGluvUBlakeGodBlessBlakeandAmerica.com for real-time video!” as she jumped over books and bags to get her footage. Within seconds, there were dozens of eyeballs darting between Blake and me from all across the cafeteria.

Someone help me.

The clicking noise from Blake’s kitten heels stopped. She flicked a lock of jet-black hair over her shoulder. Then she jutted out her hip and leaned forward with both hands against the table. Every part of Blake was tanned and toned—even her boobs. Like Jennifer Aniston. Or Jessica Rabbit.

The heady, floral scent of her tuberose perfume wafted in the air between us.

We stared at each other.

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