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The Play: Epilogue

DEMI

It’s eleven p.m. on Sunday and we’re on Hunter’s couch watching my favorite show. Tonight’s episode: Magicians Who Kill. Summer is fast asleep on the other end of the couch from us. Brenna’s curled up in one armchair, watching the screen in fascination, while Fitz takes up residence in the other armchair, still on the fence about the episode. We’re only ten minutes in and he’s already said the words “this is fucked up” half a dozen times.

“Swear to God, if her severed head appears in his magician’s hat, I’m getting up and leaving,” Fitz warns.

Hunter leans forward when his phone buzzes on the coffee table. “Hey, it’s Hollis.”

“Answer it,” Brenna orders. “Find out when they’re coming home.”

“But it’s a FaceTime call,” Hunter complains.

“So? What, you need to touch up your makeup?” she mocks.

I giggle.

“Whatever.” He presses a button, and a moment later an explosion of noise rocks the living room.

“AHHHHHHHH! YOU GUYS!”

Summer shoots up into a sitting position, wide awake in a heartbeat. “What the fuck? What’s wrong?” she demands, rubbing her eyes in alarm.

“Guys! Can you hear us?!” It’s Rupi, shrill and worried. “Mike! I don’t know if they can hear us!”

“They can hear us, babe!”

“We can hear you!” Hunter says in exasperation. “What the hell? Where are you? Why is it so bright?”

I peer at his phone, but I can’t figure out where they are either. It’s daylight, that’s for sure. What time zone are they in?

Brenna hops up and settles on the arm of the sofa to get a better look, while Summer peeks over my shoulder. Fitz doesn’t leave his chair, although I can tell his interest is focused solidly on the conversation.

“We’re in Nepal,” Hollis reveals.

We all freeze.

“What do you mean, you’re in Nepal?” Brenna demands.

“I mean we’re in Nepal. Dude, we’re staying in the coolest place ever! It’s like on top of a mountain and there’s a Buddhist monastery right there, and, oh, Davenport! There’s actual monks here, and these dudes don’t have sex at all! A lot of them took a vow of silence, so I can’t really get any deets for you, but—”

“Hollis,” Summer interrupts. “Why are you guys in Nepal?”

Rupi re-enters the frame, her perfect white teeth sparkling in the sunshine of the Nepalese mountains, or wherever the heck they are.

“We’re on our honeymoon!” she shrieks.

Summer gasps. The rest of us gawk at the phone.

“Is this a joke?” Brenna asks, her dark eyes narrowing.

“Nope!” Hollis replies. His and Rupi’s faces fill up the whole screen, and I can’t deny I’ve never seen two people look happier. “We got married on Friday! I’m sorry, I know you guys would’ve wanted to come. And Fitz—I know, I know, you’ve always dreamed of being my best man—”

“Always,” Fitz says dryly.

“I’m sorry, man, I’ll make it up to you. We’re having a real wedding this summer. It’s in India, and you’re all invited.”

“What is happening?” Summer sounds utterly baffled.

“You seriously got married?” Hunter asks incredulously.

“Yeah, we did it in a courthouse in Boston. Our witness was a dude trying to get out of a traffic ticket.”

I tamp down a laugh.

“And now you’re on your honeymoon in Nepal,” Brenna says, each word coming out slowly and lined with bewilderment. “But you’re having an official wedding this summer. In India.”

“Yes!” Rupi say proudly. “Isn’t this amazing?”

Nobody answers.

The brief silence summons a shriek from her throat. “Are none of you going to say congratulations?” she demands, her eyes on fire.

That snaps us into action, and soon we’re all blurting out our congratulations.

“We’re so happy for you! I promise!” Summer assures them, and there’s nothing insincere about it. “We’re just stunned. We didn’t expect you to elope.”

“That’s why people elope, because nobody expects it!” Rupi chirps happily.

“So how long are you in Nepal?” Fitz calls toward the phone. “When are you home?”

“We’ll be back in a year,” Hollis says.

“A year?” Summer echoes in amazement. “But…”

“What about your job?” Hunter asks Hollis.

“Rupi, what about school?” I pipe up.

“I quit.” Hollis.

“I dropped out.” Rupi.

I gape at both of them.

“I haven’t even picked a major,” Rupi says, waving an indifferent hand. “I don’t care about college.”

“And I don’t care about my job,” Hollis chimes in. “Davenport said we should travel, so that’s what we’re doing.”

I glance at Hunter as if to say what the fuck?

“I advised him to take Rupi on a weekend getaway or a summer trip,” Hunter retorts. “Not to elope and run off to India!”

“Nepal,” Hollis corrects. “Jeez, pay attention, dude.”

“Well.” Summer clears her throat. “We’re all thrilled for you. I can’t believe you’re married.”

I can’t either, but Rupi and Hollis seem over the moon about it, and who am I to judge?

“Okay, you guys, it’s like eight in the morning here and we have a big day planned,” Rupi announces in her shrill, bossy voice.

“We’ll call back in a few days,” Hollis assures us. “Or a month. Whatever. Love you guys! Be back in a year!”

The call disconnects.

And we all exchange mystified looks.

“She dropped out of college,” Brenna says, sounding impressed

“They got married,” Fitz says, sounding horrified.

“She’s only nineteen,” I realize.

“Yeah, but in Rupi’s defense, she knew she was going to marry Michael Hollis the second she met him,” Summer points out.

“True,” Brenna agrees.

“They’ll either be divorced in a week, or they’ll be together forever,” Hunter predicts with a sigh. “There’s no in between with those two.”

Summer tucks her golden hair behind her ears. “I’m happy for them, I really am. But holy shit, that came out of left field.”

Hunter shakes his head a few times, as if trying to come out of a daze. “Okay, then. That was…fascinating.” He picks up the remote control. “Should we keep watching? We were about to find out if the dismembered head winds up in the magic guy’s hat.”

“I’m going upstairs to play Fortnite,” Fitz grumbles.

“I’m going to sleep,” Summer says.

Brenna stands up. “I’m going to see if Jake’s still awake so I can tell him about this latest development.”

“Party poopers,” I accuse.

As Hunter’s roommates scatter and disappear, he tugs me closer to his warm, muscular body. “What do you say, babe? Shall we?”

I slant my head and grin up at him. “Yup yup.”


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