‘You really think we can do this?’ Conor asked. ‘Share her?’

‘You think there’s any way wecan’t?’ Finn countered. ‘It’s what we’ve always wanted — what we always planned. We’re not two people, Conor, we’re—’

‘One heart, in two different bodies. I know, I know.’ It’s what they’d always said since they were kids. They were two halves of a whole, and they sharedeverything. Always had done. Food, clothes, everything.

They’d always been so close that it seemed bizarre to them that they had any differences at all. At school, when Conor had shown an aptitude for sports, and Finn had gotten so into books, it had felt like the universe was playing a trick on them. It helped that Finn had come to all Conor’s baseball games and that Conor had read all Finn’s writing.

Still, though, they were like, 80% identical. Maybe 82%.

‘The only obstacle we’re facing is, well,her. She might not be into us anymore,’ said Finn.

‘She might not be into sharing, either,’ said Conor.

‘We just have to convince her that it could work. That there would be no jealousy. No trust issues.’

‘Exactly,’ said Conor. ‘Anyway, I’m sure once we show her what we’ve made for her she’ll be convinced.’

Finn sighed. ‘I came so close to telling her about our plan when she called me in for that appointment. But I could see how much she wanted to show me she was super-professional and smart. I wanted to give her the chance to show off. She’s changed so much.’

‘But she’s just as hot as she always was,’ Conor grinned. ‘No – hotter.’

‘You can say that again.’

It was Conor’s turn to sigh now. He did that sometimes — echoing Finn’s mannerisms a few moments later. ‘We’ve lost ten years. I can’t cope with the thought we might lose any more time.’

‘Don’t worry,’ Finn said, putting his hand on Conor’s shoulder and squeezing. ‘We’re gonna make up for all that lost time, I swear.’

*

‘It’s the party planner in me. I just can’t help myself!’

Tammy watched as Isla lined up the stuffies again. First, Sucker — Billie’s little octopus stuffie — sat in a tiny chair with a plastic cupcake in front of him. Next up was Tweetie — June’s yellow bird stuffie — sitting on a plate (birds don’tdochairs, according to June). After Tweetie was Jaspar — Isla’s beat-up camel, who looked decidedly uninterested. Finally, there was a little space for Goldie.

‘They’re in reverse size order,’ said Tammy, as she helped Goldie to drink a tiny, plastic cup of tea.

‘Exactly,’ Isla said. ‘So if — sorry, I meanwhen— the paparazzi show up to take a photo of this gang of renegade, celebrity stuffies, the photo will come out perfectly.’

The girls laughed.

It all felt so natural. Even though Tammy was up here in a literal treehouse in the middle of nowhere, she couldn’t remember another time when she’d felt so at home.

Home. What did that even mean anymore? It sure as hell didn’t make Tammy think of her father’s house. His rules, his cruelty. Screw that place! She didn’t need it.

Tammy fitted in here, among the trees, more than she ever had done in Colebrook, and she’d only been here a freaking week.

‘So, your Daddies built this place for you?’

‘Uh-huh,’ June said. ‘After my first treehouse kinda had gravity issues.’

‘Gravity issu—?’

‘It fell down.’

Shivering sharks…!

Tammy was suddenly very aware of just how high up they were now. She must have looked worried because June said: ‘Don’t worry, this version is very, very safe, look.’ She stood up, and then, without a word of warning, she started jumping up and down like an elephant.

Billie grinned and joined in. As she bounced around, her vibrant pink pigtails flailed around like whips made of candy-floss.


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