The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

Book: The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katherine Howe
expensive that they give you champagne while you shop. For free.
    Without looking up, he says, “You are not having sex with that goth chick in my dressing room. FYI.”
    â€œDon’t worry,” I reassure him.
    â€œI’m not worried,” he says, eyes still on the iPad. “You and I both know that, if necessary, I could beat you to death with your own arm.
I
have nothing to worry about.”
    He gives me a challenging look and holds it for a long minute. For a split second I can’t tell if he’s kidding.
    Then we both burst out laughing.
    â€œI should start going to the gym,” I muse.
    â€œYou really should,” Eastlin says with pity.
    â€œListen,” I say, leaning my elbows on the counter and craning my neck to look at the iPad. “I’ve got a favor to ask you.”
    â€œOh, goody!” He gives me a wicked look.
    â€œSorry.” I smile and shake my head. “Not that.”
    â€œDon’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it,” he says drily. “So what’s the favor?”
    â€œDo you think you could try looking up that girl I told you about?” I say. “The one who shops here.”
    Eastlin glances at the dressing room across the store.
    â€œThat’s not her?” he asks.
    â€œNo, that’s someone else.”
    â€œI knew that wasn’t her.” He shakes his head. “I’d remember. God, I’m so over that nineties’ torn-fishnets look.” He pauses for a moment to regret the rest of the world’s bad taste. “All right, fine. What’s her name?”
    â€œAnnie,” I say.
    Saying her name out loud makes me light-headed enough that I’m actually glad I’m leaning on the counter.
Annie.
The word feels beautiful in my mouth. As soon as I think that, though, I get embarrassed,like Eastlin might have heard me think it. Is it lame, to look up one girl while waiting for another? It is, isn’t it. But it’s for Tyler’s release, anyway. It’s not like I’m trying to find her because I want to hook up with her or anything.
    Do I?
    â€œAnnie what?” He’s poking at the iPad screen.
    â€œI don’t know.”
    Eastlin sighs heavily and rolls his head back on his shoulders. “Wes. Come on.”
    â€œWhat? I didn’t ask.”
    â€œWhat’s the matter with you?”
    â€œShe had to leave in a hurry. I didn’t have time to ask her last name.”
    â€œWesley Eugene Auckerman—” he starts.
    â€œMy middle name’s not Eugene,” I interrupt.
    â€œâ€”need I point out to you that in a mere five weeks of roommating I have been laid eleven times, and you have been laid exactly zero?” To emphasize the zero, he holds his finger and thumb in an O shape, looking through it at me.
    â€œThank you,” I say with mock earnestness. “Thank you for pointing that out.”
    â€œAnytime.” He turns the iPad to face me. “These are all our Annies and Annes. But none of them is her.”
    â€œHow do you know?” I ask, looking curiously at the list of names and addresses.
    â€œWell, this one’s on the board at MoMA, and this one is a director at Goldman Sachs. This one just landed a walk-on in that new paranormal witch movie, and this one . . .” He ticks them off one at a time.
    â€œAll right, all right. I get it,” I groan. I bring my hands up to my face and rub my eyes with my fingertips.
    He turns the iPad back to face him.
    â€œThe way I see it is, you have two options,” Eastlin tells me. “I suggest the second, which is giving up.”
    â€œI can’t,” I say, and it comes out sounding sort of strangled and desperate, which is not what I intended. “Not possible.”
    â€œAll right,” Eastlin says, eyeing me. “Then we go with option one.”
    â€œWhat’s option one?” I ask.
    He fixes me with an innocent stare, and

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