"This is college," Wren persisted. "The whole point of college is meeting new people."
"The whole point of having a twin sister," Cath said, "is not having to worry about this sort of thing. Freaky strangers who steal your tampons and smell like salad dressing and take cell phone photos of you while you sleep "
Wren sighed. "What are you even talking about? Why would anybody smell like salad dressing?"
"Like vinegar," Cath said. "Remember when we went on the freshman tour, and that one girl's room smelled like Italian dressing?"
"Well, it was gross."
"It's college," Wren said, exasperated, covering her face with her hands. "It's supposed to be an adventure."
"It's already an adventure." Cath crawled up next to her sister and pulled Wren's hands away from her face. "The whole prospect is already terrifying."
"We're supposed to meet new people," Wren repeated.
"I don't need new people."
"That just shows how much you need new people. " Wren squeezed Cath's hands. "Cath, think about it. If we do this together, people will treat us like we're the same person. It'll be four years before anyone can even tell us apart."
"All they have to do is pay attention." Cath touched the scar on Wren's chin, just below her lip. (Sledding accident. They were nine, and Wren was on the front of the sled when it hit the tree. Cath had fallen off the back into the snow.)
"You know I'm right," Wren said.
Cath shook her head. "I don't."
"Please don't make me do this alone."
"You're never alone," Wren said, sighing again. "That's the whole fucking point of having a twin sister."
* * *
"This is really nice," their dad said, looking around Pound 913 and setting a laundry basket full of shoes and books on Cath's mattress.
"It's not nice, Dad," Cath said, standing stiffly by the door. "It's like a hospital room, but smaller. And without a TV."
"You've got a great view of campus," he said.
Wren wandered over to the window. "My room faces a parking lot."
"How do you know?" Cath asked.
Wren couldn't wait for all this college stuff to start. She and her roommateCourtneyhad been talking for weeks. Courtney was from Omaha, too. The two of them had already met and gone shopping for dorm-room stuff together. Cath had tagged along and tried not to pout while they picked out posters and matching desk lamps.
Cath's dad came back from the window and put an arm around her shoulders. "It's gonna be okay," he said.
She nodded. "I know."
"Okay," he said, clapping. "Next stop, Schramm Hall. Second stop, pizza buffet. Third stop, my sad and empty nest."
"No pizza," Wren said. "Sorry, Dad. Courtney and I are going to the freshman barbecue tonight." She shot her eyes at Cath. "Cath should go, too."
"Yes pizza," Cath said defiantly.
Her dad smiled. "Your sister's right, Cath. You should go. Meet new people."
"All I'm going to do for the next nine months is meet new people. Today I choose pizza buffet."
Wren rolled her eyes.
"All right," their dad said, patting Cath on the shoulder. "Next stop, Schramm Hall. Ladies?" He opened the door.
Cath didn't move. "You can come back for me after you drop her off," she said, watching her sister. "I want to start unpacking."
Wren didn't argue, just stepped out into the hall. "I'll talk to you tomorrow," she said, not quite turning to look at Cath.
"Sure," Cath said.
* * *
It did feel good, unpacking. Putting sheets on the bed and setting her new, ridiculously expensive textbooks out on the shelves over her new desk.
Copyright © 2013 by Rainbow Rowell
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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