I blinked. I was standing in front of the mostly empty candygram table, after school on Valentine’s Day. I should have explained that I knew I wasn’t on the list—that I hadn’t received an over-decorated memo telling me I had hearts to pick up, that I hadn’t even expected to receive such a memo, and that, in fact, I was only hoping I might be able to buy a leftover box for my younger sister. Tammy, at eleven, was just old enough to love Valentine’s Day approximately ten million times more than any other day, but I suspected she hadn’t received anything significant at school, either.
I should have been telling Stephen all of this from the start, before he even asked my name. But I guess I was just too surprised.
Even knowing he was on student council (which in itself was perplexing), Stephen wasn’t the type of person anyone expects to see running a booth for valentines. That said, he was perhaps the only boy in our school who could sit alone behind a table festooned with pink crepe paper and piled with boxes of candy hearts and look neither smug nor uncomfortable. I, meanwhile, was becoming less and less comfortable with every second that passed.
I blinked again. “What?” I said.
Stephen looked up from his second clipboard. “You’re not on the list for a candygram,” he said. “But I made a list of all the girls who weren’t getting one and you’re on there. I bought a couple extra boxes, and I was going to give everybody one heart.”