When the authorities were finished talking to him, Adam took a seat next to Stacey on the grass, watching as the detective made his way over to Samara and her friends.

"I guess this was a sign," he said. "Maybe John was right. Maybe having sex so soon was a bad idea. Maybe we should hold off."

Stacey stared at him for a moment, then out into the crowd. With a sigh, she shook her head and remarked, "Life's too short."


"So, you were his girlfriend?" Detective Eckhart, a handsome, dark-haired man in a gray suit and red tie, asked Samara, writing her answers in a notepad.

Samara, still laying on the ground and leaning against Claire, nodded. "Ex-girlfriend. We broke up a while back."

"Why did you two break up?"

"I used him," she said.

"Used him for what?"

"What do you think? As my own personal sex buddy."

Eckhart nodded and scribbled down her responses, however irrelevant they might ultimately prove to solving the case. "Do you know anyone that would want to hurt Cameron?"

"No," she continued. "He was a good guy. Too good for a girl like me."

The classmates surrounding her all did a double take upon hearing Samara say this about herself, and soon afterward, Claire added, "I'd just like to point out that she isn't usually this humble."

"Yeah, well, extraordinary circumstances…" Samara began, leaving the others to fill in the second half of that sentence in their heads. "Do we have to talk about this stuff now?"

"No," Eckhart replied, pulling out several business cards from inside his coat pocket. "But it helps." He handed one of the cards to Samara and offered the others to her classmates. "If any of you kids can think of anything that might help us out, don't hesitate to give us a call."

Kent took one of the cards and casually mentioned, "I've actually got a friend in the department."

"Really?" Eckhart said. "Who?"

Despite her petrified state, Samara was still observant enough to watch Kent make fleeting glimpses towards John, doing so immediately before and after name-dropping, "Officer Sam Greene," but keeping his gaze on the one he was speaking to while he spoke it. "I know his daughter, Iris."

"I know Greene. He's a good cop. I could see him making detective in the next few years."

Samara rolled her eyes and quietly sighed, lifting her head off Claire's shoulder but remaining seated on the asphalt. "I'd like to go home now."

"You've got my card?" Eckhart said.

"You only gave it to me a minute ago, detective," she said. "I sincerely doubt that in that time it has somehow been misplaced, taking all of my lingering feelings for my ex along with it."

"It was a rhetorical question, Samara."

"That doesn't make it any less stupid."

"Samara, he's here to help," Holly said. "This is really not the time for your trademark sarcasm."

"No shit. I don't know why you're worried about me; he's the one asking the stupid questions and getting his ass kissed by your ex."

"I'm just doing my job, kid," Eckhart said, shaking his head.

"Fair enough." Turning to the ass-kisser standing beside Terra, Samara then asked him, "What's your excuse, Kent?" She didn't need to hear his answer, but if Kent didn't admit to attempting one-upmanship over John, it was just going to get worse for him down the line, and entertaining though that might be to watch, the last thing anybody in this vicinity needed was worse—more worse.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Kent said.

"Oh, these next couple of weeks are going to be fun," Samara sighed.

"Well, I've got more work to do," Eckhart said, closing his notepad and stuffing it into his pocket. "You kids stay safe."

"Will do, sir," Kent said as the detective began walking in the opposite direction.

"You're doing it again," Samara muttered.

"Not everyone has an agenda, Samara!"

"I thought you wanted to go home," Terra added. "So why don't you? This negative energy you're spreading isn't making things any easier for the rest of us."

"So you're saying I should bring positive energy to a murder scene?" Samara said. "You know, I'd love to, Terra, but given my choices, I'd rather not act like a potential suspect."

"Can we please just go home?" John said. "Terra's right, we don't need any of this negative energy. We should all go home and get some rest."

Samara glanced aside to see Stacey and Adam stepping into a sedan that had just pulled up to the curb, both seemingly bursting with the kind of positive energy Terra had been suggesting, though theirs was of the rather inappropriate type not suitable for a public place. "Maybe the secret to being well-rested lies in being your most alive first."


Stacey and Adam lay naked together on his bed. While she was resting her head on the pillow, her left arm wrapped around him, his right hand caressed her, moving in a continual motion up and down her right side, from her breast to her thigh and back. The only sounds were their quiet, relaxed breathing and the brushing of his hand on her skin. After about five minutes, someone finally spoke. "Pretty good for a first-timer," she said, turning to make eye contact with the boy and smiling at him.

"I'm just glad you were sober for this," he said, resting his arm on her thigh and pulling his body closer. "That means you'll remember this tomorrow."

"I'll remember it longer than that," she said. "Sober sex is something of a rarity for me these days." She looked down Adam's body and added, "You up for round two?"

Adam stuttered. "R-round two?" He gulped. "You mean…you want to go again?"

"Did you not catch my 'life's too short' speech earlier?"

"Speech?" he said. "It was three words!"

Stacey glanced down at her body, his again, and then to his face. "Well, it worked, didn't it?"

Adam nodded in silence.

Stacey lifted her other arm and wrapped it around his neck to join the first one, and they shared another kiss while their bodies collided.


Skylar sat on Sloane's bed, wearing only his pants, while on the opposite side, Sloane was still laying down, under the sheets but with her breasts still out in the open for him to ogle, if he so desired. She was playing with her cell phone, which sort of implied that this affair hadn't really meant anything to her, and it was that apathy that was hurting Skylar more than anything else, including the cramp in his leg. He turned around to look at her, and asked, "So, what is this?"

"This is you, as a man," she replied.

"Then why do I feel emasculated?"

Sloane smirked. "Scott was emasculated, Skylar. It took my sister blowing him to fix that. You had no such problems."

"Obviously, I did. And I still do. I always thought I would earn this, by getting to know a girl, and eventually winning her trust to the point where she would let us share our bodies. This is nothing like I imagined. You're acting like this meant nothing to you. That's all there is here, is nothing."

"Emotionally, yeah," Sloane shrugged, closing her phone and setting it down beside her. "But that's how it was supposed to be. Jimmy thought you needed to get down and dirty, and now that you have, we can forget about this."

"I don't want to forget about this!" Skylar said, slapping his hand down on the bed.

Sloane stared back at him. "If you say you love me…"

"I'm…not," he mumbled. "But losing your virginity is a rite of passage, and that should be shared with someone you care about. Now I'll never have that."

"You should be thanking us. Not many guys would let another guy fuck their girlfriend out of the goodness of their hearts. It's very Indecent Proposal."

"Quite indecent."

A minute later, the door swung open, and in walked a very frantic Jimmy. He turned to see Sloane and Skylar in her room and said, "So, were you surprised, Skylar?"

"What's the hurry?" Sloane asked, lifting herself up.

"You're not mad, are you?" Skylar said, grabbing his shirt and shoes off the floor while Jimmy entered her room.

"Was he better than me?" a stern Jimmy asked her.

"Of course not," she said. Skylar rolled his eyes and sighed.

Jimmy turned to Skylar and ordered him, "Get out."

"Wait, can't we talk about this?"

Ignoring him, Jimmy pointed to Sloane and gave her orders as well. "Sloane, you stay there. I'll join you in a minute."

"Little slut," Skylar mumbled to himself.

Suddenly, his arm was violently grabbed by Jimmy. "What did you say?" he snarled. Before a terrified Skylar could answer, Jimmy explained, "Here's the deal, Skylar. You weren't here tonight. Not with her. You never saw me. If anyone asks, you were someplace else."

"Where?"

"Make something up," Jimmy said in disbelief. "Whatever your story is, you fucking stick to it. I hear anything to the contrary, you're dead. Understand?"

Skylar turned to Sloane, who seemed as surprised as he was. "Okay," he said as he threw his shirt back on.

"Now go," Jimmy said, nudging his so-called friend towards the door. As Skylar opened the door to leave, he stopped to listen to whatever the currently undressing Jimmy had to say to Sloane. "Now, Sloane," he said, pulling the sheets up from over her, "I was with you all night."

Sloane glanced at Skylar over Jimmy's back while her boyfriend, her actual boyfriend, climbed on top of her. Jimmy soon noticed this, glaring back at their guest as a final warning to get out, and a frightened Skylar acknowledged the threat and left.