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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1003700-The-Girl-Who-You-Are
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by Seuzz
Rated: GC · Book · Occult · #2183311
A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
#1003700 added February 6, 2021 at 12:01pm
Restrictions: None
The Girl Who You Are
Previously: "The Girl Who Is You

Will's hand grips yours as you run to catch up to Chris and Elle. It's like gravity is pulling you toward him—like you're running downhill—and you can't resist even as you shy from acknowledging what it is that is pulling you.

Leah, if your squirmy guts are any guide, has a crush on Chris.

That shouldn't be a surprise. Chris Love is a soccer player with a slinky build—he has cat-like reflexes on the field, and even on the street he prowls with a panther-like grace. He's a blonde with blue eyes and an even tan, and when he's dressed in a tank-top and shorts (as he is now) he shows off smooth, shapely muscles. His smile is wide and inviting.

"Hey," he calls with cheery warmth as you jog up. He puts out an arm and pulls you into a loose embrace. For a moment you think he's going to smooch you on the hair or forehead—which would be awesome!—but he contents himself with giving you a light squeeze. "Who let you run around loose?" he joshes you.

"No one!" You shove him, and he laughs. You blush, not only from the glinting look Chris is giving you, but from knowing that Leah, through your eyes, is watching you melt into a gooey puddle just like she would if she was in your place. "Who let you loose?" you retort.

"Elle came and let me out. We were just heading over to Balducci's. Come with?"

Will says, "We just got through eating." His tone is very stiff.

"But we could still— Oh, wait, sorry." You step back and trying returning Chris's glinting stare with one of your own. "I don't wanna bust in on your date!"

"So we'll make it a double date." Out of the corner of your eye, you see Elle's normally sweet smile tighten into steel. "I don't think I could finish a full pizza by myself."

"Oh, so it is a date you're on!" you chortle.

"And I guess it's a date you're on." Chris tries tweaking your nose, and you slap his hand away. "Hey man." He finally addresses Will with a chuck of the chin and an upraised palm. "Be careful with this one." He jerks his thumb at you.

"Didn't you say you saw Chris at lunch?" Will asks you.

"Huh? Oh, yeah! Backstage in the theater, at lunch." You turn to Chris. "What were you doing back there? And where was everyone else?"

"We were all camping out in the parking lot. Charles had some idea about— I dunno." Chris waves a dismissive hand. "Some idea for an acting exercise. But when did I see you?" His brow furrows.

"Back stage. In the wings! I came in, I was looking for Mr. Wilkes—or for Christian—and you were—"

Chris shrugs. "I don't remember that."

"'Cos you weren't there," Elle puts in. "You were with us." She grabs his hand and squeezes. "Our pizza's getting cold," she groans.

"We haven't ordered our— Oh!" Chris bites on his grin. "Our pizza's getting cold," he tells you over his shoulder as Elle tugs him down the sidewalk. He puts his arm loosely around her waist. She puts her hand on his butt.

"So what do you think of that?" you ask Will.

"I think if you flirted with him any harder you'd have gone down on him."

"I would not!" You punch him. "Anyway, I was just acting in character. Trying to act in character. As you. Not trying to act in character as you, just letting it come out natural. God! What were you thinking, standing there?"

"I was thinking how freaky it would be if I tried going down on him the way you were— Unh!" He grunts when you punch him again. "Whaddayou mean, you were being in character?"

"I don't know! It just felt like ... that's the way I should talk to him!"

He grunts again. "Yeah, okay. But he says he wasn't backstage at lunch, and I know he was."

"I know it too. So why would he say he wasn't?"

"Because he had something to do with it," Will growls.

You don't have to ask what he means by "it."

But that makes it very hard to voice the next, obvious question. "So do you think he knows that, uh— I mean, do you think he knows ... who we are?"

Will doesn't reply right away, but takes you by the wrist and turns you around to lead you back the way you came.

"I guess he'd have to," he says, then falls silent.

You don't say anything either. You're too freaked out by the implication.

If he knows who I am, then he knows who he was flirting so hard with.

* * * * *

The run-in with Chris has made things awkward between you and Leah. You know that you want to be alone with your thoughts, and it feels like she does too. After a little desultory talk, you decide to part for the evening. You do ask Leah if she thinks she'll be okay at your house; she shrugs and says that she has to head over there sometime, and she might as well do it now.

Leah lives in the same general area as your friend Keith, in the same kind of small, weathered, but comfortable ranch house. Leah's father is considerably older than her mother—he's in his early fifties, she is in her late thirties—and both of them trust their daughter enough that you don't get questioned when you come home. (Or maybe it's because they're absorbed in one of their British murder mysteries on Netflix.) After a quick greeting to them, you bound into Leah's room to do the homework that you'll need to turn in tomorrow. Even though you know what to expect, you are still brought up short by how pink and frilly the decor is for a girl who seems as tomboyish as Leah is. There's even a Raggedy Ann doll perched on the dresser, and you can't resist the impulse to cuddle it in your lap as you peck away at the laptop.

You also have texts and social media to keep up with, though you grit your teeth in frustration at it. It's not very interesting—just memes shared by girls (and guys) looking for distractions from their homework—but you find it impossible to leave them alone, even after you growl and turn your phone off and hide it under your pillow. (You can leave it there for only fifteen minutes before the urge to pull it back out and refresh Snapchat overwhelms you.) You hesitate long and hard before sending a text to your old phone—would that be weird? should you wait for Leah to text you first?—but finally break down, and the stream of nothings between you and Leah becomes another strand in a thick, knotted rope of distractions, even though nothing much gets said between you.

Worse is to come when it's time to get ready for bed. You brush and floss and gargle and change into a flannel nightgown, the last of which is weird enough all by itself, but then comes the moment you have to give in and squat on the toilet to pee. You pat yourself dry and try not to think of what Leah must have thought when she had to take a piss through your penis.

And then, having touched yourself there, you have to climb into bed and figure out if you're going to keep in character—even alone, even in the dark. You're on the verge of giving in—who would know? Leah wouldn't ask—when a vivid image of Alec "Brownie" Brown pops into your head. He's one of the wrestlers—a brawny guy with a butterscotch tan—and he's a common fantasy for Leah. But though the muscles and nerves down low lunge toward the image, the rest of you recoils.

It is some time before you fall into an exhausted sleep.

* * * * *

You're just returning to your bedroom from the shower—where you kept your mind on business while still giving every spot a hard, pleasant scrub—when your phone chimes. It's the first text of the morning and it's from Will, asking to meet you at the McDonald's on the way in to school as soon as you can.

You figure it's so you can prep him with your class schedule and some pro tips, and you expect to meet the same glum, freaked-out guy you hung out with yesterday. But the guy who meets you has a bright, relaxed smile on his face, and he dances lightly back and forth in front of the restaurant as you approach.

"So how was your night?" he asks.

There's a knowing tone in his voice that makes you wary. "Why?"

He laughs. "Well, mine was good."

Again, the knowing tone. "Why?"

"I had a good dream. Wow. It made a huge mess and woke me up."

You gawp at him. "You—? What?"

He chortles. "Yeah. Freaked me the hell out until I realized what it was, and then I got up and cleaned myself up. I guess I should'a cleared the tubes out before going to sleep."

"Jesus!"

"Oh!" He puts a finger to his temple. "I got your shit up here. Woke up with it. All of it. Shit about your dad and mom and Robert, and Caleb and Keith and all them." His grin turns nasty but playful. "It's how come I'm trying to freak the hell out of you now, the way you freaked the hell out of me yesterday." He bounces on the balls of his feet. "We're gonna find out how much you like it, motherfucker."

Next: "Worlds Turned Upside Down

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