Someone To Love
“She does,” I say. “She’s on the dance team. She’s got endless dance in her.”
“Do you have endless dance in you? Judging by those legs and that ass, I’d say you probably do your fair share of dancing,” Jackson says.
I don’t like the way he says that. I’m not his sleaze toy.
“Didn’t you come here with someone?” I ask. He shakes his head.
“Naw, I was hoping to hook up,” he says.
“Hook up,” I echo.
“You know, meet someone. Meet you. See if you want to hang out.”
I’m feeling light-headed from the champagne. It’s not helping my stomach, so it’s not the kind of buzz I was hoping for. And now that Jackson is half drooling on my dress, I just want to leave. I could like him. But not like this. Not when I have this tiny chance with Zach. Not when Jackson’s being a creeper. I just can’t. Why are boys so complicated? Why do they all expect so much from you?
“Do you want a ride to my house?” Jackson laughs. “I mean, home?” He slips an arm to the wall behind me, as if I need his hulky body over mine. He really thinks he’s funny. Jackson might have the muscles of a superhero, but he obviously has none of Zach’s gentlemanly charm. “I have to be honest,” he continues. “You look way different from freshman year. You got super hot, Liv. I never would have guessed.”
“Have you thought about mouthwash?” I say and duck under his arm.
“My breath doesn’t stink,” he says.
“Something does,” I say just as Antonia returns.
“What did I miss?” she asks, eyeballing the situation.
We instantly communicate telepathically, and I don’t know whether that’s a good idea or not, because she walks up to Jackson.
“Hey...” Jackson says, trying to remember her name.
“Jackson Conti,” she says. “You don’t remember my name.”
“I do,” he says, thinking.
“I’m taking her home,” she says and grabs my arm. We leave Jackson deep in drunken thought.
“I didn’t even have to say anything to make an ass out of him,” she says. “He just stood there like an idiot.”
As she leads me off the boat, I catch Cristina’s eye. She’s standing close to Zach like a fierce cheetah protecting her young. We each share a secret now.
I just hope she forgets by tomorrow.
s e v e n (#u1995046c-ced6-510f-bc7e-f1466276fb70)
“How hollow to have no secrets left;
you shake yourself and nothing rattles.”
—Andrew Sean Greer
“If people behaved like the particles inside an atom,” Sam says, drawing a picture of an atom on his notebook, “then most of the time you wouldn’t know where they were.” He brushes his wavy blond surfer hair out of his face. It’s still bleached from him spending so much time outside this summer working as a counselor at a surf camp.
Those are the two things Sam talks about all the time. Science, and the water. Sam spends most of his time outside of school either surfing or sailing, though I don’t really go with him anymore. He’s needed more time to himself since James died and I’m so busy between schoolwork and helping my parents that I never seem to have the time. Sam’s a good student too, which frustrates me sometimes because he barely has to study.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Antonia asks. She closes her chemistry book, tosses it in the middle of my kitchen table. We’re at my house studying for our first test of the year. “It didn’t say that anywhere in the chapter. God. Staying in San Domingo for a month put me so far behind.”
I see what he’s doing right away. He’s talking about when I ditched him to hang out with Antonia last week. He wants me to stop being an unpredictable particle, to be a better friend. It’s been a few days since I ditched him to go with Antonia to Zach’s party.
I get the hint, but I don’t want to let him make me feel guilty. I don’t have to tell Sam about everything. He may be one of my best friends, but can’t I have a life outside of my friendship with him? Antonia has other friends besides us. Why not me?
“He’s talking about quantum mechanics.” I give Sam that I-know-what-you’re-talking-about look. He obviously didn’t like my ditching him for the boat party. Sam can be a little overprotective at times. It’s something I like about him—that loyalty and willingness to care. It’s also something that frustrates me. He isn’t my big brother.
“But we’re not learning that stuff,” Antonia says, still confused, getting frustrated. Her telepathy isn’t picking up this hidden conversation between us. “Does that have to do with atomic laws?”
“I’ve been reading this book about quantum entanglement by a Swiss physicist,” he says. “Yeah. Whatever. Call me a nerd, but it’s actually super interesting.”
Antonia thinks that’s hilarious. “Interesting? Sounds pretty worthless.”
“It’s not worthless at all,” Sam says. “It means teleportation could be possible one day. Wouldn’t you want to go to London for lunch just for the hell of it?”
“I would love to go to London,” Antonia says. “Doesn’t mean I want to teleport.”
“There’s already been successful teleportation of entangled atoms.”
“You’re just showing off now.”
I laugh. I love listening to Antonia and Sam debate each other. Sam’s a really philosophical person. He reads a ton and is easy to have deep conversations with, while Antonia’s funny and quick on her feet. It’s great when they get so salty with each other.
“Do you know the creepiest part?” Sam asks. “If you teleport, you die.”
Antonia appears disgusted at the thought. “That’s the dumbest way of traveling I’ve ever heard. How’s that even possible?”
“Because you’re reborn,” Sam says. “Not cloned per se. Just transferred.”
“I don’t want to die, and I definitely don’t want to be a baby if I’m going to London for lunch,” she says. “You going to be there to push me around in a stroller when I’m reborn?”
“The idea has already been tested with photons over dozens of miles,” he says. “The theory is that one day you will step into some kind of particle tube that will scan your trillions of atomic particles and send all the data to another particle chamber in London. It’ll create a new you, as you are now, no different. Same you. Same thoughts. Same everything. Only the old you will disappear into a blur of particles. Poof.”
Antonia leans away from Sam in disbelief. “So you mean that in the movies whenever someone is beamed somewhere they die every single time?”
Sam laughs. “I guess so. Something like that anyway.”
“Whatever,” Antonia says. “I’ll just have lunch here.”
“You can teleport me to New York,” I say.
“Didn’t you hear what he said about teleporting?” Antonia pretends to be serious. “You have to die to do it. Not cool.”