The pool was bleeding. Byron noticed, adrift in shade on my shark floater: an acorn hit him on the head and he’d opened his eyes to find it bobbing in the water, ribbons of red uncoiling beneath. Came and got me and I got mom and she got dad.

“It’s not blood,” mom said, squinting. “What is it.”

“Not blood,” dad agreed.

No swimming till our pool guy Darren gave the OK. Byron and Mackenzie fought on the rock waterfall while he worked, Kenz fussing her bikini for tanline checks, Byron plugging the spout with his foot for fields of spray, gagging when he glimpsed the Runt’s flatness. That plus Darren’s screaming equipment plus Berkie pawing the door to go out were fucking up this Mozart piece, and just as I banged the piano shut, Kenzie materialized, dripping on hardwood. She did her who-wouldn’t-love-this smile, ran a tongue over top teeth. The braces were finally gone, but not the nightmares: threaded metal tightening, the crank when gum and bone pulled apart.

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