Tweet Cute Page 1

Author: Emma Lord

Genres: Romance , Young Adult



To be fair, when the alarm goes off, there’s barely even any smoke rising out of the oven.

“Um, is the apartment on fire?”

I lower the screen of my laptop down, where my older sister Paige’s now scowling face is taking up half the screen on a Skype call from UPenn. The other half of the screen is currently occupied by the Great Expectations essay I have written and rewritten enough times that Charles Dickens is probably rolling in his grave.

“Nope,” I mutter, crossing the kitchen to shut the oven off, “just my life.”

I pull the oven open, and another whoosh of smoke comes out, revealing some seriously blackened Monster Cake.


I grab the stepladder from the pantry to shut off the fire alarm, then open all the windows to our twenty-sixth-floor apartment, where the Upper East Side sprawls out beneath my feet—all the scores of towering buildings with their bright lights burning even long after anyone in their right mind should be asleep. I stare at it for a moment, somehow still not quite used to the staggering view even though we’ve been here nearly four years.


Right. Paige. I pull up the laptop screen.

“Under control,” I say, giving her a thumbs-up.

She raises a disbelieving eyebrow, then mimes sweeping at her bangs. I raise my hand to touch my own, and end up streaking the Monster Cake batter all the way down them as Paige winces.

“Well, if you do end up calling the fire department, prop me up on the taller counter so I can see the hot firefighters bust in.” Her eyes shift on her screen away from me, no doubt to look at the unfinished post on the baking blog we run together. “I take it we’re not getting any pictures for the entry tonight?”

“I have three other pans of it from earlier I can snap once they’re frosted. I’ll send them later.”

“Yeesh. How much Monster Cake did you make? Is Mom even back from her trip yet?”

I avoid her eyes by looking at the stove top, where my pans are all lined up in a neat row. Paige barely ever asks about Mom these days, so I feel like I have to be extra careful with whatever I say next—more careful than, say, the state of academic distraction that led me to nearly burn the kitchen to the ground.

“She should be back in two days.” And then, because I apparently can’t help myself, I add, “You could come up, if you wanted. We don’t have much going on this weekend.”

Paige wrinkles her nose. “Pass.”

I bite the inside of my cheek. Paige is so stubborn that anything I say to try to bridge the gap between her and Mom will usually just make things worse.

“But you could come down to Penn and visit me,” she offers brightly.

The idea would be tempting if I didn’t have this Great Expectations essay and a whole slew of other great expectations to deal with. An AP Stats test, an AP Bio project, debate club prep, and my first official day of being captain of the girls’ swim team, to name a few—and that’s only the tip of my figurative, ridiculously stressful iceberg.

Whatever face I’m making must say it all for me, because Paige holds her hands up in surrender.

“Sorry,” I say reflexively.

“First off, stop saying sorry,” says Paige, who is now waist-deep in a feminist theory class and embracing it with aggressive enthusiasm. “And second off, what is going on with you, anyway?”

I fan the last of the smoke toward the window. “Going on with me?”

“This whole … weird … Valedictorian Barbie thing you’ve got going on,” she says, gesturing at the screen.

“I care about my grades.”

Paige snorts. “Not back home, you didn’t.”

By “home,” she means Nashville, where we grew up.

“It’s different here.” It’s not like she’d know, considering she never actually had to go to Stone Hall Academy, a private school so elite and competitive that even Blair Waldorf would probably burn within two minutes of crossing its threshold. The year Mom moved us here, Paige was a senior and insisted on going to the local public school, and she already had grades from her old school to buoy her applications. “The grading scale is harder. College admissions are more competitive.”

“But you aren’t.”

Ha. Maybe I wasn’t before she ditched me for Philadelphia. Now my peers know me as the Terminator. Or Two-Shoes, or Preppy Pepper, or whatever moniker Jack Campbell, notorious class clown and the metaphorical thorn in my very irritated side, has decided to grace me with that week.

“Besides, didn’t you apply to Columbia early decision? You think they’re gonna care about a lousy B plus?”

I don’t think they will, I know they will. I overheard some girls in homeroom saying a kid at another school down the block from ours had their Columbia acceptance pulled after a bout of senioritis. But before I can justify hinging my paranoia on this extremely unsubstantiated rumor, the front door opens, followed by the click click click of my mom’s heels on the apartment’s hardwood floors.

“Peace,” says Paige.

She ends the call before I even turn back to the screen.