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And now Rebecca was left with only Jenny and Brenda, the least attractive of Rebecca’s cheerleader circle. Jenny and Brenda must have been thrilled to be hanging out with the great Rebecca one-on-one. Jodie watched Rebecca shake her head again, take a big swig from a plastic cup, and repeat: “Looks like I picked the wrong night to get laid.” Jenny and Brenda laughed and agreed. They would have agreed with anything Rebecca said.

Jodie followed Rebecca’s gaze. A group of jock boys sat on the floor cross-legged in a circle. They were playing a game. Jodie didn’t understand it, but it seemed to involve boys punching their neighbor boys in the thigh. The guys were wasted. They hooted and screamed with pain and pleasure, being stupid in only the way teenagers can be.

Jodie turned her head again. She studied Rebecca with a cold eye. Rebecca had been drinking all night—and hitting the hard stuff to boot, going again and again to a small table covered with bottles of spirits. She had finally just stayed there, where she remained now, leaning against the wall with the liquor close at hand. Her boyfriend was not in town. Michael Standish had been a senior last year, when Rebecca and Jodie had been juniors. He was now playing football at some big-name university. He’s probably still there, Jodie thought. She guessed Rebecca was most likely upset that her boyfriend was not at the party. Jodie had never seen Rebecca drink, ever. But tonight, with the stress of graduating high school—a place that was hell to most, but pure heaven to Rebecca Drysdale—and the unknown of college before her, and making new friends, and maybe more separations from her hot-shot boyfriend, Rebecca had turned to the bottle.

Jodie gasped as a thought occurred to her. ”Looks like I picked the wrong night to get laid”—she’s not kidding. She’s drinking because she’s horny. Michael Standish had not visited Rebecca much during the past year, as far as Jodie knew. He no doubt had been busy with his NCAA Division I football program. And, also no doubt, its college coed temptations. Rebecca’s frustration must have been building. Had she actually hoped to cheat on him tonight? She would’ve “shown him,” not to mention she’d have also enjoyed some much-needed sexual release.

But now she was watching her plan swirl down the tubes. No boy had even talked to Rebecca Drysdale all night. In the manner that movie starlets and internationally famous models complained how men never asked them out, Rebecca’s perfect-ten looks intimidated the male species.

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