My dad watches us as in hes a guard in the Israeli military.

"Lyla tov, Amy," Avi says, then winks at me.

I guess my night is over, whether I want it to be or not. "Goodnight," I say, then go back to my room and text Jessica.

Me: You there?

Jess: Yep, was waiting 4 u to text me. Hows the hottie?

Me: Kewl

Jess: What, no details?

Me: There are none

Jess: Liar. U kiss him yet?

Me: Yes Jess: And?

Me:

Jess: Whats wrong?

Me: Wasnt the same.

Jess: Can I have him, then?

Me: NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jess: Just kidding. Gee, Amy, no need 2 yell. Didnt know u were so territorial.

Me: Im not. OK I am.

Jess: U confuse me.

Me: I confuse myself. And Im tired.

Jess: Me, 2

Me: Im going to bed. C u tomorrow.

Jess: Bye, chica

Me: Lyla tov

21

***

Oil production of Saudi Arabia: 9. 475 million barrels per day

Oil production of Iran: 3. 979 million barrels per day

Oil production of Iraq: 2. 093 million barrels per day

Oil production of Egypt: 700,000 barrels per day

Oil production of Syria: 403,800 barrels per day

Oil production of Israel: 2,740 barrels per day

Do you think Moses made a wrong turn somewhere?

***

The next day I leave Avi with a map of Chicago and a key to our condo before I catch the bus to school. No amount of begging my dad to stay home and ditch the algebra/trig test today so I can stay home with Avi worked. Nathan isnt at the bus stop, so Im standing alone. On the bus, Jess is eager to grill me.

"So? How was it last night after we texted each other?" she asks before I even sit down.

"Uneventful. I went to bed. " And neglected to do my homework, but Im hoping to ignore that issue until Im forced to deal with it. A person can only handle so much at one time.

"And this morning?"

"I took a shower, ate breakfast with Avi and my dad, and left for school. "

Jess looks disappointed there isnt more to the story. I am, too. I wish I had more exciting news to tell her, but Im not about to make anything up.

"I hear youre going to be a mom," Kyle says from the seat behind us.

"Dont know yet," I say, playing along so no one realizes how freaked out I am about Mutts little escapade yesterday.

Mitch, who has been hiding in the back row of the public CTA bus in an obvious attempt to avoid being confronted by a jilted Jessica, says, "Dude, that dog is an animal. "

Yes, he is. And yes, hes mine. "Wheres Nathan, Amy?" Roxanne asks. "How would I know?"

"Hes your boyfriend, isnt he? Or are you just going to the Valentines Dance with him out of pity?"

Pity? Nathan doesnt need pity from me. Okay, so he needs a new wardrobe. . . but not pity.

"For your information," Jess says, turning around, "Amy has a boyfriend, and hes in town visiting her. Nathan was just a. . . a brain fart. "

Oh, Im sure Nathan will definitely appreciate being described as a fart. Sometimes Jess gets me in more trouble than Im already in and has no clue shes done it.

"You guys should come to my place tonight," Kyle says.

"My ps are out of town. A bunch of us are gonna hang out.

Jessica says, "I cant. "

"What about you, Amy? You can even pick one of the guys in your harem to bring," Kyle says.

It is Friday, and I am committed to showing Avi a great time while hes here. It wouldnt hurt to stop by Kyles and hang out. Avi might actually like it. In the dark recesses of my mind, Im a little excited to show Avi off to Roxanne, wholl inevitably show her face. Shes always hanging on Kyle and his friends like one of those disgusting neck skin tags.

I find myself promising Ill be at the party with Avi. I turn back around and lean in to Jessica. "Where are you going tonight?"

"Youth group meeting. "

Oops. I forgot I was supposed to go with her and Miranda again. "Are you upset if I dont go with you guys? I mean, Avi is here and all. . . "

"Thats cool," she says. "Were supposed to do a scavenger hunt together, but Miranda and I can do it without you. "

I think Avi would think a scavenger hunt with the teen youth group would be lame. Im convinced hell have a better time at a party where everyone is dancing and hanging out. Besides, I think hes had enough organized activities in Israel lately; he doesnt need another one while hes on vacation.

During lunch, Jess is sitting at Mirandas table and not at our usual spot. Nathan is sitting next to Miranda. Theyre all in a deep conversation.

I take my tray of the Chefs Pizza Special and sit next to Jessica. "Whats so interesting?"

Miranda glances up and then back down at the paper she was writing on. She mumbles, "Were figuring out strategy for tonight. "

"For the youth group thing?"

Jess looks up. "Yeah. Were dividing the city up into monuments, parks, and sports arenas. "

I look up at Nathan. "Are you going?"

He puts his arm around Miranda and smiles at her. "Miranda invited me. "

The poor girl looks nervous. "You dont mind, do you, Amy?"

"Why would I mind?"

"Well, you guys seem pretty close and everyone thinks you two have something going on. " She says it as a statement and a question.

"Nathan has a girlfriend," I inform her.

"And Amy has a boyfriend," Nathan blurts out.

"Wait, I dont get it. If you have a boyfriend and he has a girlfriend, why are you going to the Valentines Dance together?"

I open my mouth to say something, but nothing comes out.

Nathan takes his arm from Mirandas shoulder. "Now that is a great question. "

"So whats the answer?" Jess asks impatiently.

"Well, since Avi will be back in Israel, and Bicky. . . well, Im not convinced shes real but if shes not a figment of Nathans imagination shes, nonetheless, not in Chicago. So were going together. . . as friends. Right?"

Nathan puts his hands up. "That pretty much sums it up, except for the part about my girlfriend being a figment of my imagination. Shes real. "

"What school does she go to?" Miranda asks.

Instead of answering, Nathan gathers his lunch, shoves it into his bag, and stands up. "I just remembered I forgot to study for my chem exam. Ill catch you guys after school. "

"Sure thing," Jessica says. "Whats his issue?" she asks when hes out of earshot.

Looking at the door Nathan just bolted out of, I say, "No clue. But if you guys find out, you gotta tell me. He lives with his aunt and uncle, he doesnt talk about his past or his parents, and never talks about any brothers or sisters. Somethings off. "

"Maybe hes an undercover police officer investigating something illegal at school. Or maybe hes a reporter doing an expose on private schools. "

I roll my eyes. "Miranda, I think youve been watching too much television. " Nathan is definitely a teenager, as messed up and confused as I am.

I catch up to that messed up kid at his locker after school. "Miranda thinks youre an undercover reporter doing an expose on private schools. . . or a cop. " With those glasses and skinny frame youd think he was Clark Kent. Nah, hes too skinny and wouldnt be able to fill out any Superman outfit.

"Cool. "

"So, whats your deal? Why are you living out of a suitcase? Why do you bring flowers to someone every week? Why do you say you have a girlfriend but shes never around?"

Nathan shoves his books into his backpack. "Why do you care?"

"I dont know. "

He slings the backpack around his back and glares at me. "Well, when you do know maybe then Ill tell you. "

22

***

I was preparing for conversion class today and read the Bible scenario if a man suspects his wife was not a virgin when they got married The woman, if found guilty, gets stoned to death by the men in her village. If the man is found to be proven wrong he gets fined and flogged(Deuteronomy 22:18). I seriously need to have a talk with Rabbi Glassman about this. Because there are just so many things wrong with this scenario.

***

I take Avi to Kyles party in the evening, ready to show my boyfriend off to all my school friends (besides Jessica, Miranda, and Nathan, who are doing the temple youth group scavenger hunt). With a huge smile on my face, I take Avis hand and lead him through Kyles condo. Its bigger than my dads--Kyles dad owns one of the best steak houses in Chicago and likes to show off his wealth with big cars, big condos, and big boats.

In the kitchen, Kyle passes out cans of beer. "Dude, you must be Amys boyfriend," Kyle says with a slurred voice. Hes plastered.

Avi declines the beer and Kyle tosses the can to me.

"Youre not drinking, are you?" Avi asks.

To be honest, I think beer is gross. "Nope," I say, and toss the can back to Kyle, who mumbles something under his breath about sober people being boring.

Leading Avi to the back of the house where most of the crowd has gathered, we find an unoccupied chair. Avi sits on it and I park myself on his lap.

The music is loud in the back room, almost to the point that my ears are pounding to the bass of the song. While everyone else is either drinking or making out or trying to talk above the music, I lean into Avis chest while he holds me close.

When I catch sight of Roxanne arriving, I quickly turn my head toward Avi and start to kiss him. Our lips touch first, then I slide my tongue over his while I slip my arms up his chest and around his neck. As I pull back, I lick my lips and give him a sexy, knowing smile.

He nuzzles his mouth close to my ear and says, "Why the big show?"

I turn my head and try to say to him so only he can hear me above the blaring song, "Dont you want to kiss me?"

"Yeah. But not with a bunch of drunk kids watching us.

"Are you saying Im a kid?"

Before he answers, I hear Roxannes squeaky voice saying, "Hi, Amy. Hi, Nathan. "

I look up. Roxanne is standing next to us, her fingers over her open mouth while she gasps. "Oh, Im sorry. I thought you were Nathan. "

Im in trouble. Avi is expressionless, but his arm loosens from around my waist.

"Why would she think you were kissing Nathan?" he asks me.

I clear my throat. "I can explain. " Roxanne is still standing over us, a wicked smirk painted on her face. "Do you mind?"

Ignoring me, Roxanne holds out her hand. "Im Roxanne. "

"Im Avi," he tells her in his slow, sexy Israeli accent as he shakes her hand. I swear she turns her hand as if she expects him to kiss the back of it. "Im Amys boyfriend from Israel. "

Roxanne bursts out laughing. "Oh, I heard about you. So glad you and Amy decided to see other people. Youre such an understanding guy. "

When he releases her hand, I wave my fingers at her and say, "Shoo, go away. " Shes like an annoying gnat that I wish I could squash.

Roxanne moves away when Kyle walks in the room with a bottle of champagne.

"Did you kiss Nathan?" Avi asks.

Umm. . . "No. Roxanne is the enemy, Avi. Dont listen to her. She just likes spreading lies about me. "

He stands (I have to pretend not to have fallen off his lap) and walks over to Roxanne. She cocks her head to the side and says, "Wanna play Spin the Bottle? You can, you know, switch partners. Amy likes switching partners, right?"

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