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From outside the door she heard, “Hey…It’s Arlo, can we talk?”

Ada smoothed a few wispy strands from her face and sat up straight before responding. “Um… sure, come on in. What’s up?”

Arlo peered in. “Hey, so…” When his eyes landed on Ada, he hesitated.

Do I have toothpaste on my face? Did some of my eye cream dry on?

Ada tried to discreetly feel around her face for a possible culprit.Why else would he be staring?He’d obviously never seen her without makeup before, so maybe he was taken aback by her lackluster appearance.

“Do I… have something on my face?”

“Oh, no… no, you look… comfy.”

Comfy!? Ugh… guys. This is why girls are self-conscious.

Ada furrowed her eyebrows.

“I mean… you look nice. I just… Um… anyway…” Arlo cleared his throat, rubbed the scruff emerging on his jawline, and then leaned against the door frame. Staring at the floor, he slowly lifted his eyes to Ada before saying, “I wanted to tell you that it’s super sweet of you to offer, but please don’t feel obligated to come to Brazil. I know Brooklyn can be very persuasive.”

Ada choked on the spit she was trying to swallow. "What?"

“Brooklyn told me you offered to come to Brazil to watch her while I work. She said you wanted to do anything you could to help.”

Ada let out a nervous laugh and rubbed her forehead.

“Oh no… is that not what happened?”

“Um, not exactly. Brooklyn said she felt bad you had to leave Europe to come take care of her. I told her I’m sure you wanted to, but she insisted she didn’t want you to miss out on something else because of her. I said if there was anything I could do to help, I would.”

Arlo’s eyes went wide. He ran his hand through his hair. “Ohhh… gotcha. A nine year old’s interpretation of events…. That makes more sense. I’m sorry you got dragged into all this.”

“It’s fine,” Ada chuckled. “It’s been fun getting to hang out with Brooklyn. She’s really sweet.”

“Yeah, she’s really taken to you…I think she might like you more than me.”

“Nah. It’s just the girl connection,” Ada reassured him.

“Well, thanks for hanging out. I know it’s been hard being away from her parents. Plus, having twin sisters is going to be a big change for her. She’s been an only child for the last nine years. Just a lot happening in her life right now.”

Ada looked down at her hands. “I’m glad she has you.”

“Thanks.” Arlo turned to leave and then paused. “I’ll talk to Brooklyn and tell her that she shouldn’t assume you want to go on an all-expense-paid trip to Brazil.” Then, he stepped out, closing the door behind him.

“Whoa whoa whoa…did you just casually drop in the fact that it would be all expenses paid?”

“Oh, did I?” Arlo smirked, peeking in. “Does that change anything?”

“Have you two been scheming this whole time?”

He opened the door a little wider. “No. It’s scary to admit, but Brooklyn devised this all on her own. But… I think she would have fun with you there and you’d get to see Rio… and I’d get to play a New Year’s Eve party for a very… wealthy client.”

Ada shook her head. “You’re not seriously considering having me fly to Brazil with you guys…”

“Not if you think it's completely crazy.”

“It is crazy! I barely know you. What would her parents think?”

“I’d have to ask, but if they know Brooklyn will have a responsible supervisor the entire time I think they’d go for it. Besides, I know Chase and Maggie well. They can be your references. Would you… maybe think about it? You won’t have to pay for anything…”

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