..."Are you okay?" he says, still looking at me, and I feel my smile slip, fade, and the silence that falls over us then is so total I can’t hear anything, not the rush-hiss of my heart pounding in my chest, not the sounds all around us; insects, wind, and the distant clatter of others’ lives in houses built close but not too close because when we look out our windows we all like to pretend that everything we see is ours. But Ryan is not mine.
There are a million rules for being a girl. There are a million things you have to do to get through each day. High school has things that can trip you up, ruin you, people say one thing and mean another, and you have to know all the rules, you have to know what you can and can't do.