Gansey was untroubled with the story up to this point. This was the Glendower he’d follow anywhere.

Then, the two men spotted a deer. Hywel lifted his bow. But instead of shooting the animal, he let the arrow fly at Glendower . . . who had cleverly worn chain mail beneath his tunic.


Gansey would’ve preferred the story to end here.

But it didn’t. Instead, unharmed by the arrow and enraged by the betrayal, Glendower pursued Hywel, stabbed him, and finally stuffed Hywel’s body inside an oak tree.

All the stabbing and stuffing and utter loss of temper seemed rather ignoble. Gansey wished he hadn’t ever found the story. There was no unreading it. But now, after hearing Kavinsky’s slow laugh on the other end of the line, imagining Ronan drunk in his absence from Henrietta, picturing the Camaro in any state other than how he’d left it, Gansey thought he finally glimpsed understanding.

He was at once closer and farther from Glendower than he’d been before.


Ronan woke up in a movie theater seat.

Of course, it wasn’t really a movie theater; it was just a basement home theater in a big, flimsy suburban mansion. In the light of day, he could see that it was done up with the works. Real movie seats, popcorn machine, ceiling projector, shelf full of action flicks and porn with uninventive titles. He vaguely recalled, with less acuity than a dream, watching an endless video of Saudi Arabian street racing on the big pulldown screen last night. What was he doing? He had no idea what he was doing. He couldn’t focus on anything except one hundred white Mitsubishis in a field.

“You didn’t throw up,” Kavinsky noted, from his perch two seats away. He held Ronan’s phone. “Most people throw up after drinking that much.”

Ronan didn’t say the truth, which was that he was not a stranger to drinking himself senseless. He didn’t say anything at all. He just stared at Kavinsky, doing the math: One hundred white Mitsubishis. Two dozen fake IDs. Five leather bracelets. Two of us.

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“Say something, Rain Man,” said Kavinsky.

“Are there others?”

Kavinsky shrugged. “Hell if I know.”

“Is your father one?”

“Is your father one?”

Ronan got up. Kavinsky watched him try all three of the

insubstantial white doors until he found the bathroom. He shut the door behind himself and peed and splashed water on his face and stared at himself.

One hundred white Mitsubishis.

On the other side of the door, Kavinsky said, “I’m getting bored, man. You want a line?”

Ronan didn’t answer. He dried his trembling hands, got himself together, and stepped out. He sat against the wall and watched Kavinsky do a line off the top of the popcorn machine. Shook his head again when Kavinsky raised an eyebrow, an offering.

“You always this talkative after you drink?” Kavinsky asked.

“What were you doing with my phone?”

“Calling your mother.”

“Say something else about my mother,” Ronan said easily, “and I’ll smash your face in. How do you do it?”

He expected Kavinsky to crack another lewd joke about his mom, but instead, he just fixed a gaze on Ronan, his pupils cocaine-huge.

“So violent. Such a PTSD poster boy. You know how to do it,” Kavinsky said. “I saw you do it.”

Ronan’s heart twitched convulsively. It couldn’t seem to get used to this secret being the opposite of one. “What are you talking about?”

Kavinsky leapt to his feet. “Your ‘suicide attempt,’ man. I saw it happen. The gate’s right by Proko’s window. I saw you wake up and the blood appear. I knew what you were.”

That had been months and months and months ago. Before the street racing had even begun. All this time. Kavinsky had known all this time.

“You don’t know a damn thing about me,” Ronan said.

Kavinsky jumped to stand on one of the theater seats. As the furniture rocked beneath him, it sang a little — just a little scrap of a pop song that had been overplayed two years before — and Ronan realized it must be a dream thing, too. “Come on, man.”

“Tell me how you do it,” Ronan said. “I don’t mean just the dreaming. The cars. The IDs. The —” He lifted his wrist to indicate the bracelets. The list could’ve gone on and on. The fireworks. The drugs.

“You have to go after what you want,” Kavinsky said. “You have to know what you want.”

Ronan said nothing. Under those parameters, it would be impossible for him. What he wanted was to know what he wanted.

Kavinsky’s smile was wide. “I’ll teach you.”


Adam was gone.

At two p.m., Gansey thought he’d waited long enough for Adam. Bracing himself, he knocked on the bedroom door. Then he pushed it open and found the room empty and sterile. Afternoon sun washed over the unfinished silhouettes of old models. He leaned toward the bathroom and called Adam’s name, but it was clear there was no one in either room.

Gansey’s first thought was only mild irritation; he didn’t blame Adam for avoiding everything having to do with the tea party, nor was he surprised he was lying low after last night’s argument. But now he needed him. If he didn’t tell someone about Ronan breaking parts off the car, he was going to self-immolate.

But Adam wasn’t there. It turned out that Adam wasn’t anywhere.

He was not in the onion-scented kitchen or the brick-floored library or the small, moldy mudroom. Not stretched on the stiff sofas in the formal living room, nor the voluminous corner couches in the casual family room. He was not holed up in the basement bar nor wandering in the humid garden outside.

Gansey replayed the argument from the night before. It felt worse this time around.

“I can’t find Adam,” Gansey told Helen. She’d been dozing in an armchair in the upstairs study, but when she saw his face, she sat up without complaint.

“Does he have a cell phone?” Helen asked.

Gansey shook his head and said, in a smaller voice, “We fought.” He didn’t want to have to explain further.

Helen nodded. He didn’t say anything else.

She helped him look in the trickier places: the cars in the garage, the attic crawlspace, the rooftop patio on the east wing.

There was no place for him to have gone. This wasn’t a walking neighborhood; the closest coffee shop or retail area or congregation of women in yoga pants was three miles away, accessed by busy four- and six-lane Northern Virginia streets. They were two hours from Henrietta by car.

He had to be here, but he wasn’t.

The entire day felt imaginary: the Camaro news this morning, Adam lost this afternoon. This wasn’t happening.

“Dick,” Helen said, “do you have any ideas?”

“He doesn’t disappear,” Gansey replied.

“Don’t panic.”

“I’m not panicking.”

Helen looked at her brother. “Yes, you are.”

He called Ronan (Pick up, pick up, for once pick up) and he called 300 Fox Way (Is Blue there? No? Has Adam — Coca-Cola T-shirt — called?)

After that, it was no longer only Gansey and Helen. It was Gansey and Helen, Mr. Gansey and Mrs. Gansey, Margo the housekeeper and Delano the neighborhood gateman. It was a discreet call placed to Richard Gansey II’s friend at the police department. It was evening plans silently shunted aside. It was a small force of private vehicles canvassing the nearby shaded streets and crowded shopping districts.

His father drove a ’59 Tatra, a Czech specimen rumored to have once belonged to Fidel Castro, while Gansey cradled his phone in the passenger seat. Despite the air-conditioning, his palms sweated. The true Gansey huddled deep inside his body so that he could keep his face composed.

He left. He left. He left.

At seven p.m., as the thunderheads began to build over the suburbs and as Richard Gansey II once more circled the beautiful, green streets of Georgetown, Gansey’s phone rang — an unfamiliar Northern Virginia number.

He snatched it up. “Hello?”


And with that, relief melted through him, liquefying his joints. “Jesus, Adam.”

Gansey’s father was looking at him, so he nodded, once. Immediately, his father started looking for a place to pull over.

“I couldn’t remember your number,” Adam said miserably. He was trying so hard to make his voice sound ordinary that it sounded dreadful. He either didn’t or couldn’t suppress his Henrietta accent.

It’s going to be all right.

“Where are you?”

“I don’t know.” Then, a little quieter, to someone else, “Where am I?”

The phone was passed to the other person; Gansey heard the sound of cars rushing by in the background. A woman’s voice asked, “Hello? Are you a friend of this kid?”


The woman on the other end of the phone explained how she and her husband had stopped by the side of the interstate. “It looked like there was a body. No one else was stopping. Are you close by? Can you come get him? We’re near exit seven on 395 south.”

Gansey’s mind shifted abruptly to adjust his image of Adam’s surroundings. They had been nowhere close. It hadn’t even occurred to him to look that far away.

Richard Gansey II had overheard. “That’s south of the Pentagon! That’s got to be fifteen miles from here.”

Gansey pointed to the road, but his father was already checking the traffic to make a U-turn. When he turned, the evening sun suddenly came full in the windshield, blinding both of them momentarily. As one, they both threw up a hand to block the light.

“We’re coming,” Gansey told the phone.

It’s going to be all right.

“He might need a doctor.”

“Is he hurt?”

The woman paused. “I don’t know.”

But it wasn’t all right. Adam said absolutely nothing to Gansey. Not while curled in the backseat of the car. Not while sitting at the kitchen table as Margo brought him coffee. Not after standing by the sofa with the phone clutched to his ear, talking to a doctor, one of the Ganseys’ old family friends.


He’d always been able to fight for so much longer than anyone else.

Finally, he stood in front of Gansey’s parents, chin lifted but eyes faraway, and said, “I’m very sorry for all the trouble.”

Later, he fell asleep sitting up on the end of that same sofa. Without any particular discussion, the Gansey family in its entirety moved the conversation to the upstairs study, out of earshot. Although several engagements had been canceled and Helen had missed a flight to Colorado that evening, no one had mentioned the inconvenience. And they never would. It was the Gansey way.

“What did the doctor call it?” Mrs. Gansey asked, sitting in the armchair Helen had slept in earlier. In the green light through the verdant lampshade beside her, she looked like Helen, which was to say she looked like Gansey, and also to say she looked a little bit like her husband. All of the Ganseys sort of looked like one another, like a dog that begins to look like its owner, or vice versa.

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