Everyone continued to wish they knew more about Samantha. After the drowned boy surfaced she went into a shell of jaunty but ultimately false happiness, doing it so successfully that she fooled everyone, herself included. The truth is she had a knack for feigning happiness and did it so well that she was mostly happy though most nights she was assailed by strange dreams. For some time she was too silent even for her own tastes, but then she began to smile. After awhile she was able to talk so easily that people around her treated her as if she were someone who had come back from a long journey with stories to tell, which was of course the truth in a way although it was literally true for Javier's daughter, Beth.

They had a brief meeting when her father got back and brought her over with him when he came to see Lisle. Neither girl told the other much, though not really out of any lack of compatibility. Quite the contrary, Samantha thought, it was really a way to make space for each other given how much they each had been told by their parents about the other's adventures. While her mother and Beth's father talked they went to her room and laughed about some stuff and looked at old pictures. Beth played a CD by the Smashing Pumpkins and Samantha played a CD by the Talking Heads. Samantha wore blue cut-off jeans, Beth wore one blue earring and her nose was pierced.

Before she and her father left Samantha told Beth how as a girl she had once resolved to fall in love as often as possible so as to avoid the inevitable distrust which afflicts an orphan or the child of divorced parents.

"I am both, you know," she said, " a divorced child and an orphan." It was the first she had considered the latter possibility.

"I like that term for it," Beth said. "A divorced child."

So you see they got along and liked each other well enough.