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Authors: Cate Tiernan

Book of Shadows (7 page)

BOOK: Book of Shadows
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Before I got there, Chris walked up and spoke to Bree. Frowning, she headed off with him, talking intently as they walked away.
“Hey, Morgan,” said Tamara, walking up to me. I glanced over at Cal. He was talking to Ethan.
“Hi,” I said. “How was your weekend?”
“Okay. I called you on Sunday, but I guess you were at church. How was the circle? What happened after I left?”
I grinned. “It was really neat,” I said. “We just made a circle and went around the fire. We talked about things we wanted to get rid of.”
“Like . . . pollution or what?” asked Tamara.
“Pollution!” I said. “That would have been a good one. I wish I’d thought of it. No, stuff like anger and fear. Ethan tried to banish his stepmother.”
Tamara laughed, and Janice walked up and joined us.
“Hi,” she said, pushing her glasses up on her delicate nose. “Listen, Tam, I have to go put a proof up on Dr. Gonzalez’s board.Want to come?”
“Sure,” said Tamara. “Coming, Morgan?”
“No, that’s okay,” I said. They walked off, and I headed over to the east-side benches.
“Hey, Morgan,” Jenna said, sounding friendly.
“Hi,” I said.
“We’re talking about our next circle,” Raven said. “That is, if you’ve recovered.” Today Raven was wearing a boned maroon corset, a black skirt, black ankle boots, and a black velvet jacket. Eye-catching.
I felt my cheeks heating up. “I’m recovered,” I said, playing with the zipper of my hooded sweatshirt.
“It’s not unusual for a sensitive person to have some kind of reaction to circles at first,” said Cal in his low voice. The timbre of it fluttered in my chest. “I did myself.”
“Ooh, sensitive Morgan,” said Todd.
“So when’s our next circle?” asked Suzanne, flicking back her surfer-blond hair.
Cal looked at her evenly. “I’m afraid you’re not invited to our next circle,” he said.
Suzanne looked shocked. “What?” she said, forcing a laugh.
“No,” Cal continued.“Not you, nor Todd. Nor Alessandra.”
The three of them stared at him, and I felt fiercely glad. I remembered how snide they had been on Saturday night. They were part of Bree’s clique, and it was unthinkable that someone would stand up to them, would cut them out of something. I was enjoying it.
“What are you talking about?” Todd asked. “Didn’t we do it right?” He sounded belligerent, as if trying to cover up embarrassment.
“No,” Cal said calmly. “You didn’t do it right.” He offered no other explanation, and we all stood there, waiting to see what would happen next.
“I don’t believe this,” said Alessandra.
“I know,” Cal said. He sounded almost sympathetic.
Todd, Alessandra, and Suzanne looked at each other, at Cal, and at the rest of us. No one said anything or asked them to stay. It was very odd.
“Huh,” said Todd.“I guess we know when we’re not wanted. Come on, ladies.” He offered his arms to Alessandra and Suzanne, and they had no choice but to take them.They looked humiliated and angry, but they had brought it on themselves.
Daringly, I gave Cal a look of thanks, and he kept his eyes locked on mine for several beats. I couldn’t look away.
Suddenly Cal pushed himself off the bench he’d been leaning against and came to stand in front of me. “What do I have behind my back?” he asked.
My brow creased for a second, then I said, “An apple. Green and red.” It was as if I had seen it in his hand.
He smiled, and his expressive, gold-colored eyes crinkled at the edges. He brought his hand from around his back and handed me a hard, greenish red apple, with a leaf still attached to its stem.
Feeling awkward and shy, aware of everyone’s eyes on me, I took the apple and bit it, hoping juice wouldn’t run down my chin.
“Good guess,” Raven said, sounding irritated. It occurred to me that she was probably jonesing for Cal big time.
“It wasn’t a guess,” Cal said softly, his eyes on me.
 
That afternoon when Mary K. and I got home, we found out that Mr. Herndon from down the street had fallen off a ladder while cleaning his gutters. He had broken his leg. Mary K. started calling me the Amazing Kreskin. I was so freaked out, I called Bree and asked if I could come over after dinner.
8
Cal and Bree
> < “There exist Seven Houses of Witchery. They keep to themselves, marrying within their clans. Their children are most unnatural, with night-seeing eyes and inhuman powers.”
—WITCHES, MAGES, AND WARLOCKS, Altus Polydarmus, 1618 > <
Bree answered the door. The night air was brisk, but I was comfy in my sweater.
“Come on in,” she said. “Want something to drink? I’ve got coffee.”
“Sounds good,” I said, following her to the Warrens’ huge, professional-style kitchen. Bree poured two tall mugs of coffee, then added milk and sugar.
“Your dad here?” I asked.
“Yep.Working,” she said, stirring. “How unusual.”
Mr. Warren is a lawyer. I don’t get exactly what he does, but it’s the kind of thing where he and a bunch of other lawyers defend big corporations from people who sue them. He makes tons of money but is hardly ever around, at least now that Bree’s older.
Five years ago, when Bree was twelve and her brother,Ty, was eighteen, Bree’s mom took off and divorced Bree’s dad. It was a huge scandal here in Widow’s Vale—Mrs. Warren moving to Europe to be with her much younger boyfriend. Bree’s seen her mom only once since then and hardly ever talks about her.
Upstairs, in Bree’s large bedroom, I dove right in. “I think I’m losing my mind. Do you think the circle was dangerous or something?” I sat nervously upright in her tan suede beanbag chair.
“What are you talking about?” Bree asked, leaning back against the pillows of her double bed. “All we did was dance around in a circle. How could it be dangerous?”
So I told Bree about my newly discovered sixth sense and that it had started after Saturday night. In a rush I told her how I had felt sick Sunday and saw animals around Paula. How I knew about Cal’s apple and Mr. Herndon. I reminded her about Mom’s phone call.
Bree waved her hand. “Well, if that stuff was happening to me, I might be a little weirded out, too. But I have to tell you—listening to you talk about it, it seems like you might be kind of overreacting,” she said gently. “I mean, you might have heard your mom mention the hymn numbers. We already talked about that. Then the phone call—Ms. Fiorello calls your mom all the time, right? God, she’s called every time I’ve been at your house! I can’t explain seeing the animals—except maybe your subconscious picked up the scent of all the vet stuff somehow. And the other things—maybe it’s just a bunch of weird coincidences all at the same time, so it adds up and freaks you out. But I don’t think you’re going crazy.” She grinned. “At least, not yet.”
I felt a little reassured.
“It’s just that it’s all at once,” I explained, “and this whole Wicca thing. Have you been reading about it?”
“Uh-huh. So far I like it. It’s all about women,” Bree said, and laughed. “No wonder Cal is into it.”
I smiled wryly. “Too bad for Justin Bartlett.”
“Oh, Justin’s dating someone from Seven Oaks,” Bree said dismissively. “He can’t hog Cal, too. Hey, remember all those Books of Shadows we saw at Practical Magick?”
“Uh-huh,” I said.
“They’re for witches,” Bree said cheerfully. “Witches write down things in their Books of Shadows. Like a diary. They keep notes of spells and stuff they try. Isn’t that cool?”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “Do you think local witches go there to buy them?”
“Sure,” said Bree.
I drank the coffee, hoping it wouldn’t keep me up. “Do you think Cal keeps a Book of Shadows?” I asked. “With notes about our circles?” I was leading up to telling Bree about my feelings for Cal, but I was self-conscious. This was bigger and harder to explain than any shallow crush I’d ever had. And even though Bree had named it so casually in Practical Magick, she didn’t know how much I liked Cal, how deep my feelings were.
“Ooh, I bet he does,” Bree said with interest. “I’d love to see it. I can’t wait for our next circle—I already know what I’m going to wear.”
I laughed. “And how does Chris feel about this?”
Bree looked solemn for a moment. “It doesn’t really matter. I’m going to break up with him.”
“Really? That’s too bad. You guys had so much fun over the summer.” I felt a nervous flutter in my stomach and shifted back in the beanbag chair.
“Yeah, but number one, he’s started being a jerk, bossing me around. I mean, screw that.”
I nodded in agreement. “Number two?”
“He hates all this Wicca stuff, and I think it’s cool. If he isn’t going to be supportive of my interests, then who needs him?”
“Too true,” I said, looking forward to having her around to hang out with more often, at least until she found his replacement.
“And number three . . . ,” she said, twining her short hair around one finger.
“What?” I smiled and drained the last of my coffee.
“I’m totally and completely crazy about Cal Blaire,” Bree announced.
For several long moments I sat there, encased by the beanbag. My face was frozen, and so was the breath in my lungs. So much for being the Amazing Kreskin. Why hadn’t I seen this coming?
Slowly, slowly, I released my breath. Slowly I drew it in again. “Cal?” I asked, trying to sound calm. “Is that why you want to break up with Chris?”
“No, I told you—Chris is being an ass. I’d break up with him anyway,” Bree said, her dark eyes shining in her beautiful face.
Inside my brain, nerve impulses were misfiring frantically, but a new thought managed to formulate. “Is that why
you
like Wicca?” I asked. “Because of Cal?”
“No, not really,” Bree said thoughtfully, looking up at the paisley fabric on her bed’s canopy. “I think I’d like Wicca even without Cal. But I’m just—falling for him in a big way. I want to be with him. And if we have this huge thing in common . . .” She shrugged.“Maybe it’ll help us get together.”
I opened my mouth, fearing that a thousand mean, angry, jealous, awful words were about to fly out. I shut it with a snap. So many pained thoughts were swirling in my head that I didn’t know where to start. Was I hurt? Angry? Spiteful? This was
Bree
. My best friend for practically my whole life. We had both hated boys in fourth grade. We had both gotten our periods in sixth grade. We’d both had crushes on Hanson in eighth grade. We’d both sworn those crushes to eternal secrecy in ninth.
And now Bree was telling me she was crazy about the only guy I’d ever felt serious about. The only guy I’d ever wanted, even if I knew I couldn’t have him.
I should have predicted it. My own feelings had blinded me. Cal is unmistakably gorgeous, and Bree falls in love easily. Obviously Bree would be attracted to him. Obviously Chris would be no competition for a guy like Cal.
Bree was so perfect. So was Cal. They would be awesome together. I felt like I was going to throw up.
“Hmmm,” I murmured, my mind racing hysterically. I tried to take a sip from my empty mug. Cal and Bree. Cal and
Bree
.
“You don’t approve?” she asked with raised eyebrows.
“Approve, disapprove, what does it matter?” I said, trying to hold my face in some normal position. “It just seems like he’s gone out with a couple of different people already.And I think Raven’s trying to get her claws into him, too. I don’t want you to get hurt,” I heard myself babbling.
Bree smiled at me. “Don’t worry about me. I think I can handle him. In fact, I
want
to handle him,” she joked.“All over.”
The forced smile froze on my face. “Well, good luck.”
“Thanks,” Bree said. “I’ll let you know what happens.”
“Uh-huh. Um, thanks for listening to me,” I said, getting to my feet. “I better get home. See you tomorrow.”
I walked out of Bree’s room, her house, stiffly and carefully, as if I were trying not to jostle a wound.
I started Das Boot’s engine, then realized that chilly tears were sliding down my cheeks. Bree and Cal! Oh God. I would never, ever be with him, and she
would
. It was a physical pain inside my chest, and I cried all the way home.
9
Thirsty
> <“Each of the Seven Houses has a name and a craft. An ordinary man has no hope against these witches: better to commend yourself to God than to engage in battle with the Seven Clans.”
—THE SEVEN GREAT CLANS, Thomas Mack, 1845 > <
BOOK: Book of Shadows
11.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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