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“Napoleon couldn’t pee outdoors!” Li gasps, and collapses into giggles. Connor grabs the bottle and swallows, sloppy. They’re fifteen and not exactly drunk.

Connor shudders and blurts out “Bill Gates does ecstasy on weekends!”

Teena gets it next, as Li collapses again. “The Army tried to invent a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers gay!”

It’s Dave’s turn, but he refuses. “That shit’s dangerous,” he mutters.

Jamie takes it instead. “Connor’s dad masturbates to Li’s yearbook picture!”

She tries to cover her mouth, too late. Connor looks ill. Li gags.

“Told you,” says Dave sourly, snatching the truth and corking it.


He’s thought about her naked before. Hasn’t he? Surely, all the fantasizing, the watching–he must have. But if he did, then how did he imagine she’d look?

He’s on the roof, alienated as usual. Below him, they’re all piling into the pool: drunk, high, naked. It’s very late but still warm. “Skinny dipping”–that makes him think of being seven, his cousins and the pond at the farm. For some reason it’s seemed an innocent term until now.

Holly’s naked, her face flushed with wine. A thousand hours she’s lived in his head: can he really have had no expectations?


“There’s an art to not getting caught staring.” It’s Link’s voice, a memory, two years ago. “You have to learn to anticipate when she’s going to feel it.”

“And then just look innocent?”

“That’s the trick. You have to look bored, not innocent. You have to already be moving your eyes when she notices, and you have to keep them moving, like you’re just sweeping the area. And never jerk your head.”

She’s going to turn. The outline of her flank is vivid in his mind. Link would be proud: when she finds him, he’s already gone, gaze sliding impassively away.