When Laura thought about boyfriends, they were never her own.

Her mother changed relationships the way most people changed clothes – regularly, but sometimes with more excitement than others. She refused to get to know any of them, knowing they wouldn’t be around for more than a month at most.

She hated them all on principle.

Except for Phil. Phil had been around for a whole year, when they lived in Arizona. Phil worked at the bank. He showered every day. He took Laura to the movies. Phil had been the one to go with her to buy her first bra, because her mom was too busy.

Phil showed her how to poke a hole in a balloon and breathe in the helium so you would sound like Donald Duck, and how to pour a certain kind of mint into diet soda to make a fountain like she’d seen on MythBusters.

Laura had hoped that Phil would stay forever. But when he left, he taught her the most important thing of all – never trust a man.

So when the announcement came on about the dance, she wouldn’t even allow herself to listen.

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