I mean, if we were a normal family I'd be in heaven-- not Israel.

Great. Now I'm lying spoon-style with a guy I'm not even remotely interested in. In fact, I know he likes my cousin.

How do I get myself into these situations in the first place? This sleeping bag is way too small for the two of us. And I'm painfully aware my mongo boobs are pressed against O'dead's back.

Closing my eyes, I pray sleep will come fast. But now that I can't see, my other senses are heightened. Like the sound of the fire crackling, the crickets chirping. Like the masculine, musky scent of Avi lingering on his pillow. Like hoping my nipples aren't poking O'dead's back because it's so damn cold outside. It's all keeping me awake, which gives me a great idea.

I wait five minutes before I start snoring.

Of course I'm up, but I have to make it sound authentic. I make sure my mouth is close to O'dead's ear before I start. First, I make this long, slow snoring sound that doesn't really sound like a snore at all, but loud breathing.

Keeping my eyes closed, I breathe in loudly and exhale with the back of my tongue vibrating against the roof of my mouth.

O'dead shifts, probably attempting to wake me up. Only I'm not really sleeping so it doesn't work.

I snore a little louder, and this time add a little nose and extra back-throat noises with just the right touch.

I continue this for a few minutes, ignoring his fidgeting and restless moving around in the sleeping bag made for one-and-a-half. In fact, I should be up for an academy award for this performance. Some would say it's not nice to trick people. But listen, sleep is more important than anything. And if 1 don't get enough sleep, I'm going to be crabbier than I usually am come morning.

Heavy breath. Exhale loudly. Nose and back-throat combo. Exhale softer. Nose only. Exhale loudly. Heavy breath. Exhale normal.

I'm mixing up the order so it sounds authentic. Genius, right?

The finale is coming. I know it, but nobody else does.

Heavy breath. Exhale softly.

Here it comes ...

Sleep apnea-type choke as loud as possible. Exhale normal. I know how to do this because Marc snores. Mom minks I can't tell when he sleeps over because he leaves at five in the morning or something like that. The guy sounds louder than a train wreck. I wonder how Mom can stand it; it keeps me up half the night and my room is way down the hall.

I do another one of those obnoxious apnea-type snorts and sure enough O'dead starts wiggling out of the sleeping bag.

Mission accomplished.

I hear O'dead walk away and I squeeze one eye open to spy on him. I know he's going to ask Snotty to sleep in her sleeping bag. Ha! I am so sneaky.

But as my one eyeball scans the area inconspicuously, I get a weird feeling someone's watching me. Then I realize why I feel that way. Avis looking straight at me, and he gives me this I-know-you're-a-faker look with those depth-less, brown eyes of his.

He's getting to be a real pain in my ass.

I give him a harrumph, quickly shut my eye and go back to pretending I'm sleeping.


If humans were meant to be in water, we would have been born with fins .

"Amy, wake up."

I squint to the sound of my cousin's voice and the early morning sun.

"I'm sleeping," I say, then shut my eyes and turn over.

"You can sleep later," Snotty says. "We're leaving in five minutes."

I moan, because as I stated earlier I'm not a morning person. Heck, sometimes I'm not even a day person. I turn back around and squint my eyes open again as I look at her.

"I thought this camping thing was supposed to be a vacation."

"Yeah. So?"

"Yeah, so ...why wake up before you have to?" I say.

Snotty crouches down and whips the pillow out from under my head. Which, by the way, slams down on the rock beneath it.

"Ouch!" I yell. "Give that back!"

But she's not listening to me because my dear cousin's back is facing me as she walks away. With, I might add, my pillow under her smelly armpit.

Okay, so it's not exactly my pillow. But it was last night and it was really fluffy and soft and smelled really comforting. I know that's probably not possible. That's just how it felt to me.

Reluctantly, I get up and head over to the Jeep where the rest of the gang is hanging out.

"It's too early," I say in a moaning, groggy voice.

Nobody answers me, they're all packing up their stuff. And they're all dressed. What is it with these people, getting up and dressed at the crack of dawn?

"Ready to go," Avi says to me.

I open my arms wide, showing him my pajamas. "Do I look ready?"

"Maybe there's miscommunication. I didn't ask you if you were ready to go. I'm saying we're going. Now. It's not always about you, Amy."

I give him my famous sneer. "I do not always think it's about me," I say.

I watch as one of his eyebrows rises up in amused contempt. Then he has the audacity to fetch my backpack and shove it at me.

"I'd advise you to wear a bathing suit," he says.

"Why, where are we going?" I ask.

"Kayaking. Down the Jordan River."

When should I break the news to him I'm not going to kayak down the Jordan River, or any other river for that matter? I don't kayak. I don't canoe. I don't even swim well.

But just to show him I don't think it's all about me, I stalk off to change behind some bushes.

When I come back, everything is packed up and in the flatbed truck. O'dead is driving and next to him in the front is O'snot. Of course Ofra is cuddling up next to Doo-Doo. So that means I have to sit next to Avi.

Great, just what I need first thing in the morning. I park myself next to him and make sure I don't make eye contact. It's starting to get warm outside so I have shorts on and a bikini top.

But as we start moving, I realize my choice in tops is not the best. Damn, I forgot the rocky road we're driving on does not bode well for my boobs.

The bikini top I'm wearing is not a support bra, not even close. And when O'dead starts driving faster, I have no choice but to hold on to the railing. Which means my boobs are bouncing around like buoys on a windy day. Maybe I will have a boob reduction after all, detached pinky parts or not.

I guess Avi realizes I'm uncomfortable because he shifts closer to me and puts his arm around my shoulders. He holds me so strongly I don't have to hold on to anything and my boobs are shmushed so tightly they aren't moving, either.

I should pull away from him. I should slap him for holding me like I'm his. But I feel so ...stable against him. Nothing's bouncing out of control and that's a good thing. So I stay where I am.

Until, minutes later, we finally turn onto a paved road. I yank myself out of his embrace and push my shoulders back in a dignified manner. Or as dignified as I can while wearing a bikini top.

Luckily, as I look at Ofra and Doo-Doo, they're too involved in gazing into each other's eyes to notice what's going on. Good.

Before long, we've turned into a large parking lot. Everyone gets out of the Jeep and heads to the entrance of the place. Except me.

"Come on," Snotty says as she puts on her backpack.

"I'm not going."


"I'll just wait until you get back."

"You'll be waiting a long time, Amy. Moron is meeting us at the end of the river. We're not coming back here for a couple of days."

My heart starts pounding fast.

"Did you say a couple of days?"

"Yeah. Don't be scared. Kayaking is fun."

I give a little huff as I think of white-water rapids and all the different ways I could die in the water.

"I'm not scared. I just...well, I don't like water all that much. Maybe there's a phone around here and I can ..."

She puts her hands on her hips and interrupts me, saying, "You're scared, but you won't admit it. If you're such a baby, I'll ride with you."

I pick up my backpack and jump out of the truck, my feet landing on the gravel parking lot with a loud thud. I put on my sunglasses and look up at her. "You don't know anything."

"I know you think you're tough, but you're really not."

I start walking toward the entrance to the kayak place and say, "And I know O'dead likes you way more than a friend."

She runs to catch up with me. "What did you say?"

"O'dead likes you."

"Only as a friend."

I throw my backpack over my shoulder. "I see the way he looks at you. It's definitely more than friendship."

"Can you find out for sure?" she asks with hope in her voice.

I shrug. "You're Israeli," I say. "Why don't you go straight up to him and ask him? You keep reminding me how Israelis don't bullshit or beat around the bush." I ... 1 cant.

I huff loudly, mocking her like she mocks me all the time. "Okay, I'll ask him for you." We start walking toward the river together. "By the way, I don't think I'm tough," I say. "I am tough."


Being a good kisser has a direct correlation to how much you like the person you're kissing.

Walking with attitude over to the kayak place is hard while I have a sinking feeling in my stomach I'm not going to get out of this situation alive. But at least Snotty will come in my kayak; I see they're only made for two.

Listen, I know if I sink everyone will be happy, including my cousin. Too bad for her if I go down, she goes with me.

I watch carefully as Doo-Doo and Ofra get into the first kayak. It seems unstable, to say the least. The kayak is not one of those hard plastic-made ones, it's a blow-up rubber one. Whoever the hell thought of a blow-up kayak is one dumb sucker. Don't they know one sharp stick poking it or a hungry piranha and the kayak will pop?

"You okay?" Avi asks. I look at him and he's wearing a blue Nike bathing suit with a white stripe down the sides.

I give him a look. "Of course I'm okay," I say. "What would make you think I'm not okay?"

They're all looking at me like I'm a mashed potato.

"Get in," Snotty says as she tosses our backpacks into the kayak.

My eyes dart back and forth between her and the guy who's launching the inflatable kayaks. He looks like he'll push me in if I don't move faster.

"Do you need a life vest?" the guy asks me.

Yes. "No. But this kayak is running out of air," I say as I point to the floating thing. "I think it has a hole in it."

Kayak-Man has the audacity to actually snicker at me until Avi jerks the life vest out of the guy's hand and says to me, "Get in. I'll help you."

"O'snot's going with me," I counter. Then I look at Avi over the top of my sunglasses. "You're going with O'dead."

I say this then push my sunglasses back up.

Before I realize what he's doing, Avi picks me up and throws me like a bale of hay over his shoulder. Then he jumps right into the kayak. It's wobbly and I'm scared and I'm clawing at him and I'm yelling obscenities.

He sets me down on the bottom of the kayak and pushes off with one of the oars.

"Why did you do that?!" I scream, obviously having a very hard time controlling my fear.

He ignores me and keeps paddling our kayak down the river, letting O'dead and O'snot pass us.

"Put on the jacket. It's gonna get rough," he says after he's been paddling for a few minutes.

I thread my arms through the holes, but I can't click the belt shut.