Laila and Piper were on their way out the door when Luanne stopped them.
"Where are you two going this evening?" The redhead asked with a cheerful smile.
Laila sighed.Luanne had been trying relentlessly to be friendly with her since their argument last weekend.She had even invited Laila to nail salon with her, claiming her mother had sent her a gift card because she was afraid Luanne would be neglecting her feet.Luckily, Laila had a legitimate excuse why she couldn't go and was able to refuse the invitation gracefully.
"We're about to go see Nikki's play," Piper told their roommate with a smile.
"A play?I love the theatre!"Luanne seemed obnoxiously zealous.
"Did you, um, want to go with us?"Piper asked, mostly convinced Luanne would refuse but extending the polite offer nonetheless.
"I would love to!"
Laila sighed again.The night was going to be a long one if she had to put up with Luanne."Are you ready to go or do you need us to wait?"Laila asked, trying not to sound as impatient as she felt.
"No, I'm ready to go," Luanne smiled at her and Laila nodded toward the door.
The three girls walked in an uncomfortable silence for a few moments before Luanne spoke.
"So, what's this play about?"
"It's The Taming of the Shrew," Piper informed her.
"She's been talking about it for weeks now," Laila added her input.
"Of course she has."Luanne tried to pretend as if she knew all along.But the truth was, she hadn't paid one bit of attention to any of her roommates since the beginning of school.It wasn't until just this weekend that she even started to feign interest in Laila."I was only joking."
Neither of her roommates laughed.Luanne wanted to know what role Nikki would be playing but decided it best to keep her mouth shut.They walked the rest of the way in silence but the awkward air surrounding them soon dissipated as the girls reached the theatre.People were everywhere and all three felt a swell of excitement as they purchased their tickets.
"I can't believe this many people are here," Laila stared in wonder."I can't even begin to think how the actors are feeling right now."
"Do you get stage fright as well?"Luanne asked."I can barely stand up in front of a class without sweating bullets."
Laila laughed at the first un-lady like comment she had ever heard Luanne say."I can stomach giving a prepared speech but I can't stand debating."
Luanne laughed as well."I'm the exact opposite.I could argue all day long if I knew what I was arguing about.But trying to memorize something just gives me anxiety."
Piper smiled at her two short roommates, relieved they were finally having a civil conversation.For her part, Piper didn't mind Luanne that much.Sure, she was bossy and completely lacked the social skills known as tact and compromise, but Piper could tell she was just nervous, scared she wouldn't fit in anywhere.Laila, on the other hand, could barely stand the girl which Piper found incredibly amusing.Laila seemed to like everyone, always quick to see the best in people, so her dislike of Luanne was as shocking as it was justified.
Piper had heard the story of last Friday from Laila once she had returned from her date with Alistair.Between the two of them, they still hadn't quite figured out why Luanne had reacted the way she did upon seeing Will.Piper had never met him, but from what Laila had told her, there wasn't much for Luanne to dislike.Will was the Editor of the paper, someone Luanne should be eager to befriend, and they probably had a lot in common.Leave it to Luanne to jump to conclusions and piss off the very person she should be trying to impress.
The three roommates quickly found their seats and made themselves comfortable, waiting for the show to start.
"I'm going to get something to drink," Luanne announced, standing up and moving to the isle."Do you two want anything?"
"I'm good, thanks," Laila smiled and Piper shook her head.Luanne smiled back but quickly turned to leave, digging her phone out of her pocket as she hurried out of the theatre.She stood at the end of the concessions line as she found the desired number in her phone.
"Hello?" Will sounded irritated when he answered.
"Will?It's Luanne."The Editor in Chief had given Luanne his number earlier in the week, claiming the mundane information she had been relaying about Laila wasn't good enough.He wanted her to call him if Laila went to the library or the cafeteria, anywhere alone.
"What do you want, Luanne?"
"Just to tell you that Laila and I are at Yale Repertory about to watch our roommate's play.Her boyfriend isn't here."
"What time does it start?"
"I guess I'll see you soon then."
Luanne could hear his smile on the other end of the line and she grinned in return.On Monday, he had assigned her to write a book review, some overly dramatic novel written by a Yale Alumna, but she had yet to finish it, having rewrote and edited the column more times than she cared to count.But it needed to be perfect for him for he was clearly, up until this point, getting impatient with the way she was holding up her side of their agreement.
"Okay, we're sitting in row F."
Will disconnected the call without saying anything further and Luanne put her phone back into her pocket.Luanne had felt guilty, at first, spying on Laila and relaying all information back to Will.But she was surprised by how quickly the guilt had dissipated.The more Will ignored her at the newspaper, the more she craved his attention and approval, the easier it was to talk about Laila behind her back.
But as Luanne returned to her seat, she felt a pang of regret as Laila lifted her purse from the chair next to her.The girl really was nice and based on the few times she had actually met Sterling, she seemed to love her boyfriend very much.She could see why Will liked this girl and she could also see why Laila would never fall for him.Going on the mere hope that her roommate's relationship with her boyfriend was strong enough to survive Will's attempts, Luanne made up her mind to play both sides of the field, only giving Will half-hearted information.
As the lights dimmed, Luanne looked around, having yet to see Will.However, the seats around them were filled and he wouldn't be able to get close even if he wanted to.But by the end of the first half, Luanne had completely forgotten about Will and was laughing hysterically with her two roommates.It wasn't until they had all gotten up from their seats and were mingling in the lobby that she remembered she had even called him.
"Hey girls," Will's voice came from behind Luanne and she turned her head to see him.
"Oh!Hey, Will," Laila said quietly, glancing nervously between her friend and her roommate."What are you doing here?"
"My sister painted some of the backdrops," Will said with a dismissive nod toward the stage."She begged me to show up tonight."
"Our roommate is one of the makeup artists," Laila told him and Luanne finally realized why she hadn't seen Nikki on stage.
"Do you three have good seats?I got here too late and mine's all the way in the back row," Will smiled at Laila and then glanced at Luanne.
"They're all right," Luanne muttered, glancing at Laila to see how she was reacting.She watched as Piper stood awkwardly off to the side.Will must have noticed it as well.
"Hi.I don't think we've met.I'm William."
"Piper."She gave him a half wave and glanced at Laila who looked rather apologetic.
"So, what are you girls doing after the play?"Will broke the silence.
"We were just going to grab something to eat around the corner," Laila said, wondering if he was trying to garner an invitation.
There was an awkward silence which was suddenly broken by Luanne's squeal."Ooh!You should go with us!"The girl was nodding eagerly at her roommates and her future editor.
"I don't want to impose," Will said with a smile.
But Laila, who was still surprised by Luanne's outburst, found a smile of her own coming to her lips."Of course you should come with us."
"You really should," Luanne agreed, beaming enthusiastically at William.
He smiled back at Luanne and Laila saw something pass between them.She couldn't be sure what it was, but guessing from Luanne's invitation she was able to quickly reason that her roommate had a crush.Is that why Luanne had acted so strangely with William just the other day?It all started to make sense and a plan quickly formed inside her head and she grinned at the two people standing in front of her.
"We'll see you after the show then?"She asked as the lights started flashing a three minute warning.
"Sure," Will finally agreed with a nod in Laila's direction.She grinned as she noticed him glancing at Luanne one last time before leaving to take his seat.
But her smile quickly faded as she looked up at Piper.Her friend was looking at her apprehensively, as if she thought Laila had done something terrible.
"Well, this should be fun!"They both heard Luanne say as she linked arms with each of the girls and walked them both back to their seats.Laila knew what Piper must be thinking: why would she knowingly encourage the boy who caused a fight between her and Sterling to spend time with her?But Will was her friend, someone who, she was convinced, Sterling would one day grow to like.If he started dating Luanne, then her boyfriend would no longer see him as a threat to their relationship.
When the play ended, Laila allowed Luanne to pass her in the isle on their way to meet Will.She knew Piper would want to talk.
"Laila, are you sure this is a good idea?"
Laila smiled at Piper's concern."I'm absolutely sure.Did you see the way they were looking at each other?"
"Well, look closer next time!" Laila laughed."It's completely obvious that Luanne has a crush on Will."
Piper stared down at her roommate.The blonde clearly believed what she had said and she could see the wheels of Laila's mind starting to turn.But Piper hadn't witnessed the same thing Laila had.What Piper had seen was closer to the story Sterling still held on to: that Will was after Laila.It was almost creepy the way he looked at her, as if he was always picturing her naked or as if he couldn't wait to get her alone.
"Look, I don't want to interfere, but if Sterling doesn't want you to hang out with him…"
"Piper, I get it and I appreciate what you're saying.But Sterling won't care if you are there with me.Come on, just help me get Will to see what a great girl Luanne is."
Piper shot her an incredulous glance and both girls started laughing."She has been trying awfully hard lately," Piper conceded.
"I know," Laila said, still laughing."Do you think she's being nice just because I'm Will's friend?"
"Possibly." Piper thought about it for a minute.It did make sense, Luanne's sudden change of spirit coinciding with her run-in with Will.If she knew Will was Laila's friend, then perhaps she was using Laila to get to him.Either way, all of the roommates were benefiting from her change in attitude.
"You know what?Let's do this," Piper said, smiling down at her roommate."Let's get these two together.Maybe Luanne will be a little more interesting if she gets laid."
Laila burst into laughter again, thrilled that she had Piper on her team, excited that Will would soon no longer be a sore spot between her and Sterling.