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It wasn’t fair. The entire reason that Aubrey spied for Nicole was so that Aubrey could be at things like the homecoming dance. That was their deal. Now she was missing that because of one of Nicole’s whims.

And disappearing made Aubrey tired—she could only do it for so long—and she didn’t want to spend the rest of the night dizzy and nauseated.

“This sucks,” Scott said, wiping his mouth and handing the bottle to Thomas. “I knew it would be like this. Dances are always lame.”

“You got here half an hour ago and only spent ten minutes inside,” Lewis said.

“Is it going to get any better?” Scott asked.

“No.” Lewis laughed and hopped up on the wall.

Thomas took a drink. “What’s the deal with Kelly? She’s hot.”

“That’s pretty much the deal with Kelly,” Lewis answered.

“That’s all I need.” Thomas took another drink. “Who’s she with?”

Lewis spread his arms out, walking unsteadily along the wall. “Everyone, at some point. She’ll eventually get around to you.”

The others laughed. Lewis stumbled and then jumped down to the ground.

Aubrey hated this. She wondered how long she’d have to stay and listen to get what Nicole wanted. Her spying didn’t necessarily reveal everyone to be a jerk, but it wasn’t uncommon. Everyone talked about other people behind their backs. Everyone gossiped. Everyone sucked.

Nate motioned for the bottle. “I probably need to get back in there.”

“What’s the deal with your girl?” Thomas said. Aubrey perked up. She had never been as interested in Nate as he was in her, but she couldn’t help wondering what he would say.

“What about her?” Nate said.

“She’s hot.”

Aubrey felt herself blush.

Nate nodded.

“Here’s what I want to know,” Lewis said. “We’ve all been in school together since kindergarten.” He was looking at Thomas but gesturing to the other two boys. “And so has little Aubrey Parsons. And until this year no one would give her a second glance.”

Aubrey’s chest tightened. Nothing they said would be good. But she couldn’t get herself to leave—she needed to hear what Nate would say.

But he didn’t say a word. He just shrugged.

“Why not?” Thomas was asking Lewis, but it was Scott who answered.

“Because she’s trailer trash. Until she started hanging out with Nicole, I think she had like three old shirts that she wore over and over.”

“And her dad’s a drunk,” Lewis added. “Like, slobbering, fall-down, filthy drunk.”

“Just like you,” Aubrey yelled, knowing they couldn’t hear her. She felt tears welling up in her eyes but fought them off.

“So what?” Thomas said. “Like I said, she’s hot. Didn’t you see her tonight?”

Scott shook his head. “Nicole must have bought the dress. I think she buys all of Aubrey’s clothes now.”

That wasn’t true, but Aubrey hated the real answer even more. She didn’t want to think about it.

Nate smiled wryly. “Aubrey may be poor, but she makes up for it in other ways.”

The group burst into laughter, and Aubrey ran forward, right in front of Nate. “I do not!” she screamed. “That’s a lie, you pig!”

Maybe it was stupid and risky, but at that moment she didn’t care: she jumped at Nate, both hands slamming into his chest. Partly from being unprepared and partly because of the alcohol, he tumbled off the low wall and into a patch of flowers. The open bottle lay on his shirt, spilling its contents onto his chest.

The other boys howled in delight as he struggled to get up, and Aubrey took a pleased step back.

Aubrey’s invisibility wasn’t like the movies. She still didn’t understand how any of it worked—or how she’d ended up being able to do it—but from practicing over and over with Nicole, she knew it wasn’t as plain as just disappearing. Instead, people simply didn’t notice her. She could yell, or slap, or punch, and no one would detect it. They’d feel the punch—like Nate had—but they wouldn’t recognize it for what it was. They’d think they’d slipped, or that they’d gotten a sudden muscle spasm, or that a wind (or drunkenness) had knocked them over. But they’d never see her, or hear her. It was like their minds just blocked her out completely.

Nate was looking stupid, awkwardly trying to climb back up off the lawn.

Aubrey checked her dress to make sure she hadn’t been splashed with any of the alcohol. The boys had stopped talking about girls and had switched to football. The North Sanpete Hawks had pummeled the Manti Templars in the homecoming game.

She was tired of spying. Who cared what these boys were saying? She was going back into the dance to tell Nicole that Nate could go to hell.


JACK COOPER SAT A QUARTER mile from the Gunderson Barn, up a hill in his dad’s pickup. His mom had packed him a bologna sandwich for a midnight snack, but he was eating it now, mostly out of boredom.

Below him he could see the kids at the dance and could hear the blare of the music. It was too far to make out any faces, but Jack was fine with that. If he couldn’t see them, then they couldn’t see him. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he was a janitor at his own high school, the school had asked him to clean up after the homecoming dance, too. It was time-and-a-half pay, and he couldn’t say no to that, but he didn’t want to even go down the hill until everyone was gone. He needed the money, but he didn’t need to be seen.

He could easily spot the cops surrounding the barn. The town only had four officers, but in light of recent events they’d asked for volunteers to come and guard the dance. Jack sighed. In light of recent events, no one should be leaving their house.

He’d only been a little kid when 9/11 happened—too young to even know about it, really—but there was a 9/11 every day now. Three straight weeks of terrorist attacks. No rhyme or reason. No arrests had been made, no suspects were being interrogated. Subways, government buildings, national landmarks, power plants, restaurants. Jack wondered how people had the courage to go outside anymore.

They didn’t, he reminded himself. Except for little towns like Mount Pleasant that no terrorist would care about.

He clicked on the radio.

“. . . take twenty to twenty-four hours for the water to travel the three hundred miles to Lake Mead. An unnamed representative of the Bureau of Reclamation said that if Hoover Dam overflows for a sustained period then that dam will likely fail. Hoover Dam officials have fully opened the spillways in an effort to dump as much water as possible before the bulk of Lake Powell arrives.”

Jack sat up a little straighter. Had Lake Powell been attacked? The reporter started talking about evacuations on Lake Mead, and Jack changed to another station.

“—we’re told that the Glen Canyon Bridge is in danger of collapse due to rising water levels below what used to be the dam.”

What used to be the dam?

This was the closest terrorist attack to Mount Pleasant yet—maybe only five hours away. He’d gone to Powell with a scout troop a couple of years ago and had caught the biggest fish of his life—a twelve-pound striped bass.