There is the hum of pleasantries exchanged in the basement.
Leslie, how's the basketball team doing?
Leslie, you gonna pitch again for the Softball team?
But mostly the boys are talking to each other, chattering excitedly, like kids rehearsing a student play.
After a while Leslie hears footsteps on the stairs. She sees the adult she glimpsed when she came into the house, Kyle and Kevin's grandmother. But she will always remember the old woman on the stairs—the presence of an adult makes the party seem normal just before it lurches out of control.
The woman, Leslie notices, has "white hair, sort of going bald." She calls out, "Kevin, you have a phone call." Kevin bounds up the steps and disappears into the kitchen to take his call. This reassures Leslie: The boys wouldn't do something really bad—would they?—knowing that the Scherzer twins' grandmother was in the kitchen right above them.
The kids are talking softly. For so many kids in a small space, it is surprisingly quiet. Phil Grant, a senior baseball player, feels a hushed, expectant weight in the room, like the heavy silence before a storm.
Another boy, a 15-year-old sophomore, watches Chris Archer leaning over and whispering to Leslie. He sees Leslie sitting in the middle of the couch, Bryant on her right. Bryant pulls off his pants and then his underpants. The sophomore can't hear what Chris is saying to Leslie, but he can see what's going on. He looks into Leslie's eyes and sees what the others can't or won't see. He sees puzzlement and confusion.
Now they have all taken their places—13 young men, the pride of Glen Ridge High, and Leslie. Kevin has returned from taking his phone call. Paul Archer doesn't seem to be in any hurry to ask Leslie out. And as Leslie begins to pull up her shirt, the sophomore who has seen the puzzlement and confusion in her eyes turns to another underclassman and says, "Let's get out of here." They leave together.
Six young men have left. Seven young men, six seniors and junior Chris Archer, will remain in the basement until they are done with Leslie.