Art by Allyson Kotarsky.
I want to talk to Catherine, but Bryce threw this party to film his music video, so he has me with Gabby by the pool. I don’t not like Gabby, she’s okay, but I really like Catherine, and I think she likes me back. She’s sitting with Christian and Belle. I’m with Gabby. Gabby talks about her trip to California. I can’t hear what Catherine is saying.
There are a couple of cameras around, though we’re not supposed to look at them. No one’s controlling the cameras because it’s meant to all be natural. Bryce is good with video, good with singing, good looking, too. Better than me. I think Gabby is here for Bryce, or maybe Christian or the other guy, who are also in Bryce’s band. They’re called Gender. They’re great.
Gabby says she met a famous actor while she was hiking in California. She says his name twice, but I miss it both times. She tries again, but I swear I don’t know him. She says he was in that one movie. I still don’t know him. She frowns. Bryce from across the pool tells Gabby not to frown. She laughs instead.
Catherine wades through the water to get to me. I like her eyes best. She takes my hands and pulls me in. It’s cold, but she’s inviting, so I shake it off. She gestures with her head to Bryce, who sits in a longue chair and mouths the lyrics to his song for one of the cameras. She turns back to me and then goes under. I follow.
I open my eyes and see her reaching between my legs. I feel her grip, and I tense up. She smiles, and tiny bubbles escape from her nose. She resurfaces, and so do I.
Bryce is saying he thinks he got enough footage and everyone can go take a fifteen-minute break. Catherine pulls herself out of the pool, readjusts her swimsuit, and then joins the others inside. I wait a while in the water. It’s chilly for August, but that’s okay. We leave for college in a month.
I get out, and Bryce pulls me aside. He says he’s got some people, some business people, who think he can get twenty thousand views on this music video in the first week. He wants to use this to convince Christian and the other guy to stay in town to work on Gender. I say I wish them luck. He says he doesn’t need luck but views. I suggest a crappy filter over the video to make it look like it’s being played from a VHS tape. He says he likes the way I think.
Inside, Catherine is chatting with Gabby and Belle. The girls laugh, and then Catherine notices me. She smiles first with her eyes and then her lips. She walks down the hall, and I follow.
We’re in the bathroom. She kisses me hard, and it’s less sexy than it is painful against my teeth, but I pull her closer anyway, and we push against the counter. She coughs on my neck, and I grab her lower back. Someone outside tries the door handle, but it’s locked, so we continue.
A minute later, I’m holding on to the shower rod while Catherine is on her knees. I’m trying to remember that famous guy’s name, the one from the movie, but I can’t. I don’t know if I should know him or if he’s only been in indie films, and so then it’s okay if I haven’t seen him, but not really. Bryce would know, probably, or those business people. It’s not even that good of a song.
Catherine uses some toilet paper to clean up, and then we leave the bathroom. Bryce, Christian, and the other guy are looking over one of the cameras. Bryce says it was pointed the wrong way, and so we’ll have to go back out and do it again. Christian scratches his head, then says that’s fine, and he goes outside with Catherine and Belle.
Gabby joins me by the pool. I ask her the name of that famous guy from the movie, but she wants to tell me about this short story she’s been reading instead. Bryce says something about losing daylight. I can’t hear what Catherine is saying.