Jase kicks at the sand. “Don’t be an ass. I just thought it might help get you out of your head. I run when I’m trying not to think about stuff.”

“No shit?” Tim’s voice is at its most sarcastic. “That works for you? Does running keep your mind off Samantha’s hot body and—”

“If you want me to hit you, man,” Jase interrupts, “you don’t have to be more of a dick than usual. You don’t need to bring Samantha into it.”

Tim drags his arm across his eyes again. I look out at the blue waves. I want to get my suit, but what if Mom’s already there and I get sucked into some political event?

“Alice always keeps suits in the trunk of the car,” Jase tells me, just as my cell phone rings.

“Samantha Reed! Where are you?”

“Um, hi Mom, I—”

Luckily the question is rhetorical because Mom charges ahead. “I looked around at the end of the parade and you were nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I expect this from Tracy, not you—”


“Clay and I are taking the Steamboat train upriver. I’m making a speech in Riverhampton, then we’re taking the riverboat back down to the sound to see the fireworks. I wanted you to come along. Where are you?”

Tim’s methodically taking off his cummerbund and bow tie. Jase leans against the Bug, bending one ankle, then the other, to his thighs, stretching out. I scrunch my eyes shut. “With Nan,” I say, leaping off a precipice of hope that Nan’s not standing right there next to Mom.

Thank God, her voice softens. “She was wonderful today, wasn’t she? A perfect lead-in to my speech. What?” she calls, muffled, to someone in the background. “The train’s leaving, honey. I’ll be home about ten. Check in with Tracy. I’m coming, Clay! Be good, sweetheart. See you later.”

“Everything good?” Jase asks.

“Just Mom,” I tell him, frowning. “I can find a suit where?”

He flips open the front hatch of the Bug. “I don’t know whether they’ll—well, Alice kind of…” He looks chagrined, and I’m wondering why, but then my cell beeps again.

“Samantha! Samantha!” Nan shouts. “Can you hear me?”


She continues yelling, as though that will help. “I’m on my cell, but I have to talk fast. Tim’s used all my minutes again! Daniel’s taking me out on his parents’ boat. Can you hear me? My reception stinks!”

I bellow that I can, hoping it’ll go through.

“TELL MY PARENTS I’M WITH YOU,” she hollers. “OKAY?”


“WHAT?” she shrieks

“WHAT?” I shout back.

“WE MAY STAY ON THE BOAT TONIGHT. SAY IT’S A SLEEPOVER AT YOUR HOUSE!” She’s loud enough to make my cell into a speakerphone. Tim sits up, alert.

“I want to talk to her,” he tells me urgently.

“TIM WANTS TO TALK TO YOU.” He grabs the phone out of my hand.



He hands the phone back to me.

“Is Tim okay?” Nan asks, in a quiet voice.

“I don’t—” I start, then the phone gives that depressed-sounding doo-dle that signals the end of the battery, and shuts down altogether.

“You’re not in trouble, are you, Sam?” Jase asks.

“I note you don’t ask me,” Tim calls, taking off his pants to reveal boxer shorts with little crests on them. He notices me looking.

“Ellery Prep sells boxers. I got these for Christmas from Mom. They don’t confiscate them when you’re kicked out.”

Jase is still looking at me quizzically. I scrounge in the back of the Bug.

“We’ll meet you at the shore after you change,” Jase says. “C’mon Tim.”

Rustling through the available suits in the trunk, buried under lacrosse sticks and soccer balls, Gatorade bottles and sports bar wrappers, I get what Jase means. The only matching pieces are these two tiny bits of black fake leather. Other than that, there’s nothing but a few pairs of Jase’s Stony Bay soccer team shorts and what looks like a one-piece bathing suit for Patsy. That’s probably Alice’s too.

So I put on the black leatherish stuff, grab a towel, and try to march nonchalantly onto the beach.

Not exactly possible.

Jase looks at me, blushes, looks again, and backs into deeper water. Tim looks at me and says, “Holy f**kin’ Catgirl!”

“It’s Alice’s suit,” I say. “Let’s swim.”

The rest of the day is just lazy. Jase, Tim, and I lie on the beach, get hot dogs at the Clam Shack, and lie around some more. Finally, we go back to the Garretts’ and hang out by the pool.

George snuggles up next to me. “I like your bathing suit, Samantha. But you kind of look like a vampire. Have you ever seen a vampire bat? Did you know that they don’t really get tangled in your hair? That’s just a myth. They’re really very nice. They only drink from cows and stuff. But blood, not milk.”

“Nope, I’ve never seen one,” I answer. “I’m in no hurry to, actually, however nice they may be.”

The back door slams and Andy drifts out onto the pool deck, beaming. She collapses against the fence, closing her eyes dramatically. “It finally happened.”

“Kyle Comstock?” I ask.

“Yes! He finally kissed me. And it was”—she pauses—“actually kind of painful? He’s got braces too. But it was still wonderful. He did it right in front of everyone too. After the parade? I’m going to remember it for all eternity. It’ll be my last thought as my eyes close for the final time. Then he kissed me again after we got ice cream and then when—”

“We get the picture,” Jase interrupts. “I’m happy for you, Andy.”

“Now what, though?” she asks, looking anxious. “Do you think he’ll use his tongue next time?”

“He didn’t this time?” Tim’s incredulous. “Christ.”

“Well, no. Was he supposed to? Did we do it wrong?”