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Home > Crushed (Pretty Little Liars #13)(5)

Crushed (Pretty Little Liars #13)(5)
Author: Sara Shepard

“It should be fun,” she said nonchalantly, even though her stomach started to flip.

“Are you going to ask him to prom?” Amelia asked.

“Oh, Spence, you should!” Melissa cried. “You can’t go stag in that gorgeous Zac Posen gown!”

Spencer bit her lip. She did plan on asking Reefer to prom, which was in two weeks. She’d been staring at the Zac Posen dress she’d bought on a trip to New York City with her mom all morning, dreaming about how she’d look in it on Reefer’s arm.

Prom was never something Spencer had daydreamed about as a little girl—her fantasies centered more on getting elected class president and giving the valedictorian speech at graduation. But this year, prom sounded like a refreshingly normal activity in her totally abnormal life, and she didn’t want to miss it. She already knew Reefer would say yes. She got romantic texts from him every day. He’d sent flowers to her house and her homeroom. They talked on the phone for hours every night, Reefer telling her about a new strain of pot he’d created and Spencer filling him in on the grueling after-school suspension hours she had to attend, the school’s punishment for stealing that lifeboat.

Everyone cleared the breakfast dishes, and within ten minutes, they were all gone, leaving Spencer alone. She tapped her fingernails on the countertop and idly watched the news, but the weather report did nothing to calm her nerves.

The doorbell rang, and she shot up and checked her reflection in the toaster to make sure her blond hair was pulled into a neat ponytail and her pink lipstick wasn’t smudged. Then she ran to the front door and flung it open. Reefer was standing on the porch, a sheepish grin on his face.

“Hey, stranger,” Spencer said.

“Hey yourself.” Reefer looked gorgeous as usual, a navy T-shirt pulling tight against his well-defined shoulders, his face clean-shaven, his dreadlocks pulled back to show off his high cheekbones and clear green eyes. Spencer tilted her chin up and kissed him, playfully squeezing his butt. Reefer flinched, surprised.

“Don’t worry,” Spencer murmured into his neck. “My mom’s gone. We’re alone.”

“Oh, okay.” Reefer pulled back. “Um, Spence, wait. I have to tell you something.”

“I have stuff to tell you, too!” Spencer grabbed his hands. “So, I think I mentioned that our prom is in two weeks, and—”

“Actually,” Reefer cut her off, “do you mind if I go first? I sort of need to get it out.”

There was a strange look on his face that Spencer couldn’t decipher. She led him into the kitchen and turned off the TV on the counter. When she gestured for him to sit down at the table, he smoothed the tablecloth again and again with his fingers, trying to get all the creases out. Spencer had to smile: Reefer probably hated the wrinkled tablecloth as much as she did. That was just one reason they went so well together.

“I got this internship I’ve really wanted,” he announced.

Spencer smiled. She wasn’t surprised. Reefer was a genius. He’d probably been offered hundreds of internships. “Congratulations! Where?”

“Colombia.”

“University? In New York?” Spencer clasped her hands together. “That is going to be so much fun! We can try out new restaurants, go to Central Park, check out a Yankees game. . . .”

“No, Spencer, not Columbia University. Colombia, the country.”

Spencer blinked. “In South America?” Reefer nodded. “Well, that’s cool, too. I mean, not as close, but it won’t be that long before you come back for school.” Then she noticed the stiff expression on Reefer’s face. “Are you coming back for school?”

Reefer took a deep breath. “Maybe not. It’s an amazing opportunity with this botanist, Dr. Diaz. He’s, like, a rock star in his field. I’ve always wanted to work with him—everyone does—but once he takes you on, you kind of can’t leave. I didn’t even mention it to you, because it was such a long shot. But I got the letter two days ago offering me a position. It’s for two years. I’m going to defer Princeton until I get back.” He brushed a dreadlock over his shoulder. “Honestly, I was thinking about deferring Princeton anyway—I felt like I needed a few years to just, you know, be. But then I met you, and . . .”

A zillion thoughts zoomed through Spencer’s brain. He’d heard about this two days ago? They’d talked on the phone a lot in the last two days. He hadn’t said a word.

And two years . . . wow. That was kind of forever.

She sat back. “Okay. That’s still amazing. So when are you leaving? We still have some time together, right?”

Reefer picked at his thumb. “Dr. Diaz needs someone ASAP, so I’m leaving tonight.”

“Tonight?” She blinked hard. “Can you postpone it a little while, maybe? I was kind of hoping you could come to my prom with me.” She hated the wheedling tone in her voice.

By the look on Reefer’s face, she could tell he was going to say no. “They really need me there now. And, Spencer, I’m not really sure we should . . . you know . . . wait for each other.”

Spencer felt like he’d just dumped a bucket of ice over her head. “Wait a minute. What?”

“I’m into you.” Reefer wouldn’t meet her eye. “But, I mean, it’s two years. I’m not very good at the long-distance thing. We could be different people after it’s all over. I don’t want you to be tied down, you know?”

“You mean you don’t want to be tied down,” Spencer blurted out angrily.

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