On the wall was a mirror that looked like the portal of a

ship. The bed was big, made of oak, with old-fashioned dol-phins carved into the sides, and the walls were covered with maps. Some were framed, and looked like something a little kid would draw, on construction paper, with x leading to pirate treasure. Some were just on big sheets of white thick paper.

Almost all of them were hand-drawn.

Cass, who’d been silent while I studied my surroundings, finally spoke up. “Just so you know, I had almost nothing to do with this room. My mother hired some decorator while I was away at camp two years ago and he went all ‘carrying the nau-tical theme through the house’ . . . There was also a wooden marlin on the wall and a statue of some guy in a yellow rain-coat with a pipe. I ditched those because it was like sleeping at Red Lobster. I kept expecting to wake up and have some-body ask me whether I wanted tartar sauce with that.” Cass was talking a little fast. He took a deep breath and glanced at me.

“So no crusty old Sailor Man watching over you in your sleep?”

“Buxom mermaid, maybe. Old sea salt, no way.”

I’d come up close to one of the maps now, close enough to see that it was the coastline nearby, the mouth of the river, the bridge to Seashell. In the corner, tiny, were the initials CRS.

“This is all your work? You drew this?’

“Most of them. I like maps.” Cass shrugged. He’d sat down on the bed now, elbows on knees, hands dropped between them. Casual pose, but he kept flexing and unflexing one hand.

I was waiting, at this moment, for The Pass. I wasn’t as expe-rienced as everyone believed, but let’s face it. I was in his room.

He was on the bed. But he was just sitting there, staring at his

hand. Now we were both doing it. See Cass’s hand flex. See Cass’s hand unflex. Maybe I’d totally misread him. Maybe he was gay?

But then I looked over and saw his eyes. Alert, intense, full of something that made my throat catch. Nope. Not gay. Besides, there was that kiss . . .

Another quick look in his eyes, and I had to turn away again, try to get back the thread of what we were talking about . . .

This was ludicrous. I spent most of my time around boys. The island guys. Dad, Nic, Emory, Grandpa. The swim team. The largely male staff at Castle’s during the summer. I wasn’t some convent-educated virgin who fainted at the sight of facial hair.

I cleared my throat, sat down on the bed next to him, tossed my hair back again, this time without endangering anyone.

“So . . . what is it about maps? I mean—why do you like them?”

“Uh. Well, I’m not really good at putting this into words. I guess no one’s ever asked.” He paused, looked up at the ceiling as though the answer might be there. “I like the way you can represent the terrain of something curved or bumpy on a flat surface. I like the way you can chart all these different direc-tions, so you can look at all the possibilities, from every angle.

I like to just get in the car and pick an area, see if I can map it . . .” He shook his head, looked down. “It’s just kind of my weird thing, what I do when I need to think.”

I glanced down at the map on my hand. So did Cass.

“You didn’t wash it off,” he said, smiling.

“It’s been a day and a half. You used a Sharpie. I’m not going to never wash this hand again or anything. Like you were the Pope or something.”

“I’m definitely not the Pope,” Cass said. Now he rested farther back on the bed, on his elbows, and looked up at me through his long lashes, very still. I edged a little closer.

He smelled so good, like beach towels, a pool in the sun.

Sharply clean.

I was smelling him now? Also, I had not tried very hard to get the Sharpie off my hand. What was happening to me?

Before I did something else creepy and random, the door opened abruptly and Trevor Sharpe stuck his head in. We both startled back. “Sundance, where’s the second keg? Please tell me there is one. We’re seriously low on ice. Tell me there’s more of that too. Channing says we really need to change up the lame music. It’s killing the vibe, man.”

Cass shook his head, sighed. “The keg’s in the garage. Ice too.

Tell Spence to do whatever the hell he wants about the music.”

Trevor muttered something I didn’t hear that made Cass say “Shut up, ” in a surprisingly angry voice.

When the door shut, he flopped back on the bed, laced his knuckles behind his head. “I didn’t really think this party through. I wasn’t too keen on multiple kegs, but . . . Do you want the rest of the tour or—do you want to tell me what weird thing you do? After all, I showed you mine.”

His breath caught, as though he hadn’t expected to say that.

He disentangled one hand, pulled at his collar, then jiggled his foot back and forth.

“Well, um, for starters, I have an unnatural attachment to my peacoat. We’re very close.”

“Good to know. So it was a big deal that you allowed me to take it off you.”

“Huge. A milestone.”

“That so?” His voice dropped lower, so I leaned forward to hear him better. I mean, of course that was why I did it. “And besides that?”

A loud chorus of “What shall we do with a drunken sailor?”

erupted from downstairs, then a hammering on the door.

“Sundance! One down already! Mitchell threw up on the rug in that gray room.”

“Clean it up,” he called without looking away from me.

“No way, man. Your house.”

I almost offered to go clean it. Really.

Then Cass’s cell phone rang and he answered it, lowering his voice and turning slightly away from me. “Yeah. Yeah. I’ve got it handled. This is a bad time, but it’s all under control.”

If his buddies were going to use his cell to get his attention, it was only a matter of time until they barged in again. I stood up, twirled my hair into a knot, let it go loose.

“Any more?” Cass pressed. “The peacoat can’t be it.”

Abruptly I pictured the words on the girls’ bathroom wall after Connie Blythe caught her boyfriend pushing me up against the lockers to kiss me freshman year. But Cass wouldn’t have heard of that—this was his first year at SBH. “Oh, I have no secrets. Everyone knows about me.”

That came out in a way I didn’t intend, sadder, more ashamed, and Cass gave me a sharp glance, then stood up quickly. “Hey . . .