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We went upstairs to Mrs. Carter's bedroom and shut the door behind us. I felt the room grow huge, and us too close together inside it, the way you do when background noise is suddenly stripped away. It was dark, but I could see the bedroom was just as crazy as the rest of the house. There was a furry brown blanket on the bed, grizzly colored. Davis grinned at me. We sat down next to each other and there was a sloshing noise. Tides shifted inside the water bed. If we're talking memories? Every time I hear that sloshing noise I think about that night. Not very romantic, but that's how it goes.
Davis said, "You've got some big, pretty eyes," and I stared at the backs of my hands. The window was cracked open and the air smelled like green shoots. When he kissed me I could feel that he'd tucked his chewing gum between his teeth and cheek. I could tell I was going to get lucky. You can tell those things when someone's got his tongue in your mouth. You can feel what they do and do not want. Davis was a sloppy kisser, and it was all over my mouth, which is sort of disgusting, but at the time I thought of it as emotional spillover. Like, I feel so much I can't just kiss you here but must also kiss you there and there and there.
This was when he took off my clothes. He took them off piece by piece, and not in any rush, either. He started with my shoes. Somewhere near the end was Rosie's bra. How he did it reminded me of the way he drew diagrams on the chalkboard in geometry class: one slow section at a time, with thinking in-between. I have a port-wine stain the size of a runny half dollar on my left ribcage, and I made sure I didn't look at it so he wouldn't look at it.
When he finished I was naked. Well, as Rosie pointed out to me later, I was wearing a necklace, which if I was the sort of girl who wanted to preserve her reputation through technicalities… but I wasn't that girl, and I should tell this like it was.
It was like this: I was naked, except for the necklace, and Davis was wearing pants. I might have gone through with it. And I really did consider doing it, because I didn't want to be alone on the plane, but I knew I could never be lucky like Rosie. I could chimp her motions, but they wouldn't make me feel the way they made her feel. It wouldn't fix our fissured plane.
"Why don't we go get some beers?" I told Davis.
"Now?" he said. He looked confused, like he was resurfacing.
"I could really go for a beer."
"You're funny," he said, but it was clear he didn't think so. When I didn't respond, he said, "We'll get some later."
That's when I heard Rosie shouting from outside.
"You're going to be free now! Go live and be wild!"
"Yeah!" Timmy said. "Wild cats!"
Davis and I leapt up and went to the window. He stood in front of me so no one below could see and I peeked around his side.
Rosie and Timmy had led a gang of partygoers out past the pool to the tree line. Each person had a giant cat in his arms. Rosie cradled hers like an oversized baby, its paws sticking out of her embrace at odd angles. Timmy held his up by the furry armpits, its legs dangling down. There were six more people behind them. Arms all full of cats. The noise was unlike anything I'd ever heard before — it was caterwauling. I'd never understood that word before.