Look - Zan Romanoff Page 0,1

He likes getting shit-faced so much that he forgets there are other things we could be doing. Like, anything else. I’d play cards right now. Boggle. Anything but sitting around doing shots.”

“This is my first,” the girl says. “Party. Here, I mean. Not, like, my first party ever.”

“Thank god,” Lulu says. “I would hate for this one to ruin your opinion of them.”

The girl laughs. “I’m Cass,” she says. “By the way.”

“Lulu,” Lulu says. She doesn’t offer her hand, and Cass doesn’t either. Lulu can’t decide if Cass recognizes her or not, and it would be way too narcissistic to ask.

It seems like she probably doesn’t; she isn’t watchful around Lulu the way girls who know her from the internet sometimes are. They usually don’t say anything, but their eyes jitter across her body restlessly, trying and failing to look away.

Cass slumps down to sit with her back against the counter, stretching her legs out on the fluffy rug in front of her.

No one cares that much about you, Lulu reminds herself. She’s the one who cares way too much about everyone else.

Speaking of caring, she can’t stop herself from doing her usual assessment: Cass is wearing slightly too much mascara, a thin white T-shirt, and tight black jeans Lulu doesn’t recognize the brand of. The soles of her flats are scuffed with patterns of wear. Lulu can’t decide whether Cass is trying and kind of failing, or if maybe she doesn’t even know she should be trying.

When Cass pulls an iPhone with a cracked screen and no cover out of her pocket, a third possibility occurs to Lulu.

Is it possible that Cass just doesn’t care about trying either way?

“Do you and Patrick go to school together?” Lulu asks, trying to triangulate.

“Yeah,” Cass says. She frowns at something on the phone and swipes it away dismissively. Then she looks up at Lulu, her face glowing faintly blue from its light. “How do you know our host?”

“Elementary,” Lulu says. “JTD.”

So Cass goes to Lowell. She doesn’t look like the Lowell girls Lulu’s met. There’s usually a particular put-together sheen to them, she thinks. Something about Cass strikes her as raw. She’s not undone on purpose, like Lulu’s own carefully careless bun. But there’s something about her that’s just—

“I didn’t grow up here,” Cass says.

—what it is, Lulu thinks. She asks, “When did you move?”

“To LA? When I was twelve. I transferred to Lowell when I was a freshman.”

Lulu gets distracted by her phone, which is lighting up with notifications: people liking her post, and replying to it, and sending her videos of their own. She’s getting to the point, follower-wise, where she’s going to have to turn notifications off soon. Every time she posts anything, there’s a flood of this, just nonsense—girls she doesn’t know asking her where she got her jewelry and makeup and boys sending her snaps of themselves shirtless in their bathrooms, trying to look hard-eyed and distant.

If Naomi were here, she’d be asking Lulu about this too probably: Why do you keep doing it, Lu?

Lulu wouldn’t have a good answer for her.

She puts her phone down. “Do you like it?” she asks Cass. “Los Angeles?”

“Not really.”

Lulu doesn’t catch herself in time to not roll her eyes.

“Oh,” Cass says. She leans forward just slightly. “So it’s like that.”

“It’s not like anything,” Lulu says. She lolls her head against the wall behind her, to make sure they’re both clear on how much space there is between them. “Whatever. Why would I care?”

“Oh.” After a beat, Cass leans back too.

Lulu should leave it at that. She should go downstairs and be social and stop sitting alone like a weirdo. She should go back and pretend everything is normal, so that at some point, everything will be normal again.

Instead, she says, “I think you have to give it a chance.”


“I mean, I don’t know. It’s just such a big city, and it’s so weird. I feel like it takes a while to figure it out. And people always come in with these ideas about what it is, or what it should be. It’s so exhausting. Like, just because you’ve seen it on TV doesn’t mean you know anything about it, I guess. Is all.”

“I guess. Is all,” Cass says, imitating the fall of Lulu’s voice at the end of her monologue. She nudges the toe of her shoe against Lulu’s ankle, to let her know she’s only teasing.

Despite herself, Lulu laughs a little bit. She tries to mask it with a