A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
|Previously: "A Day as Kendra Saunders"
You waver, uncertain what to do. Wait to talk to Marc? Run after Justin?
Then you get a look at Marc's face, and the expression he's wearing. That makes the decision for you. You sweep your bag onto your shoulder, and with a quick, pained smile at Marc and Adrian, you dash off to try intercepting the other guys.
Oh, the look on Marc's face! The anger! The fury! His face was red-turning-purple, and his teeth were like a streak of white lightning between his snarling lips. Adrian also looked pissed off to the extreme.
Is it going to be the same with the others? Justin has his face to the ground, but Perry and Spencer have their heads up, and are walking along with a cocky jaunt.
"Hey!" you call as they reach the doors before you can catch up. "Hey!"
Justin gives you a mulish look as he pulls the door open, and doesn't stop for you. Perry glances back, and his expression is more appreciative, but he follows Justin inside. Only Spencer waits behind for you, an open leer distending his face. "Hey, Kendra!"
"Oh my God, what happened out there?" You are panting as you catch up to him. Must be the excitement, and the fear, you think. I'm not out of shape, not with this body!
Spencer shrugs, but hias grin doesn't flicker.
"Fuckin' Marc, man," he says. "Dude's been smokin' too much of the loco weed. Him and Adrian been hanging out together too much." He leans in and waggles his eyebrows at you. "Think maybe there's somethin' goin' on a'tween them? Adrian, you know, he likes a tight, muscular ass."
You blush despite yourself. "Well, what was it about?" you squeal.
"I 'unno. Just that Marc and Adrian came bustin' in on us. We were just hangin' out, mindin' our own business, and they was all hot under the collar about something when they found us. But say, how're you doing?" He puts a hand on your shoulder, and gives it an appreciative knead. "I don't ever get to see you no more, it seems like."
You fight to keep the smile on your face, even as you twist out of his grip. Never see him no more? Kendra knows who Spencer is, but that's about all!
"I'm fine. But Justin—"
"Whaddayou wanna bother him for?"
"I don't want to bother him! But I've got him sixth period, in English—"
"I know. I got you in there too." Spencer smirks.
You return him a pained smile. "Well, um, Justin wasn't in class today—"
Shit. "Does he have the homework? The reading?"
"No, I guess not. I don't either. You give it to me, though, and I'll pass it along to him." Spencer glances into the school. "I gotta catch up to him, you know. Mr. Barrientos sent us in to— Hey!" His eyes light up. "How about we all get together tonight for a study group! You got the reading, we can all—"
"No, I've got other plans tonight. Or maybe—" You temporize, teetering between the desire to get Justin somewhere you can talk to him alone, and the desire to avoid Spencer. "I'd have to change my plans," you gasp. "But if I could text him or DM him—"
"You can text or DM me," Spencer says. "Here."
He takes a pen from his windbreaker pocket, clicks it, then grabs your wrist and wrenches it toward him. He grins at you as he writes a word on the back of your hand. Loathing crawls all over you, inside your skin and out.
"I'm not gonna let you back out, Kendra," Spencer gloats. "I'll see you t'night. Oh, and bring a friend, okay?" He clucks his tongue at you, and with a trailing backward glance steps into the school.
* * * * *
Chelsea is still moodily slumped in her chair when you return to the library. She doesn't speak, but she does listen with a hooded interest as you tell her what happened out by the portables. You embellish it with as many details as you can, including Spencer's (frankly impossible) speculation that Marc and Adrian might be having "fun" together. But whatever has blackened her mood, your news is not enough to get enough to relieve it.
Still, you can tell that you've erased whatever demerit you earned by running out on her. You also have earned yourself an excused absence for having to dance attendance on her after school, for she nods when you offer to snoop out what happened to the guys after seeing the principal.
But has Mr. Sagansky already dealt with them, and sent them on their way, while you were back in the library? You lurk and linger near the front office without seeing them for nearly fifteen minutes after the final bell has rung, and the crowds have mostly filtered out by the time you risk making a quick circuit of the halls to see if any of the guys are at their lockers. You don't spot them, and when you return to the main office it's with the sinking feeling that one way or another you've managed to miss them.
But maybe you can partially retrieve the situation when you spot Maria striding down the hallway. You do a double-take at her. Where has she been?
Well, there's one way of finding out. You call her name, and run over to meet her.
She doesn't break stride, but with only a quick glance in your direction hurries on. "Maria!" you squeak. "What happened to you today? Where were you?"
"Medical emergency," she snaps back. "I had to see a doctor."
"Oh! Well, is it serious? We didn't hear from—"
"I texted Chelsea. I think." She stops and stares and blinks. "Fuck." She resumes walking.
"Well, what did you say to her? Because I've never seen Chelsea in the kind of mood she's—"
"I don't know! I just told her I wouldn't be in today. She's not my fucking babysitter, okay? I—" Again, she stops short in mid-stride, and her expression goes blank. "Oh my God, Kendra," she says in a dead-voiced sing-song, "I'm such an airhead, maybe I forgot to text her. Is she really pissed at me?"
You stare at her doubtfully. "Well—"
She lurches back into motion. "Then maybe I better skip talking to her."
"Well, what are you doing back here?"
"Getting books from my locker. I still have schoolwork, you know."
You glance around. "But your locker's back that way." You point the way she came from.
Maria has a great mane of dark hair, and it visibly crawls over the top of her scalp.
"I know where my locker is, Kendra," she says through gritted teeth. "If I needed your help, I'd ask you to come along. Now, would you mind fucking off now?
You fall back, shocked into silence, as she continues stiffly on her way. Maria is a sweet girl—mild-tempered and hardly talkative. She is also, frankly, a ditz and an airhead. You have never heard her talk so brutally before, to anyone, ever. In fact, you're not sure you've ever heard her speak so cogently, either.
* * * * *
So when you catch up to Chelsea in the gym, where she is perched halfway up the bleachers, watching her boyfriend and the other basketball players at practice, you are full of news that you'd rather not share, particularly not in front of Gloria, who is with her. Chelsea forces you to, though, and you confess that you weren't able to catch up directly with Marc or any of the other guys to find out what happened. More tentatively, you tell her that you saw Maria, and that she seems to be "in a bad mood."
But Chelsea doesn't seem to be paying much attention to you. You're not sure what she's paying attention to, because she hasn't got her phone out, and she doesn't react to any of the play down below. After five or ten minutes, though, she does take notice of a text that chimes on her phone. After glancing at it, she gets up and slowly makes her way down to the floor below, and skirts it to duck under the mezzanine, where the coaches have their offices.
"Shit," Gloria says.
"Looks like it's time."
"Time for what?"
Gloria gives you a dirty look. "The fuck do you think I'm talking about?"
"I don't know, Gloria!"
Gloria looks disgusted. "Oh, for fuck's sake." But then she does a double-take at you. "You really don't know?" She laughs.
"Would you like to share?" You feel your hair starting to go up on end.
"No, I don't think so." Gloria gathers up her stuff. "I'll go down and wait for Chelsea. She'll want someone sympathetic—and who knows what's going on—to talk to."
You start to follow, but halfway down you get a text of your own, from Will, wanting to talk to you during the short time she has between exiting detention and going home.
"What happened today?" he breathlessly asks while he changes out books at your old locker. You fill him in about the fight that Justin got into with Marc, and about Chelsea's terrible mood, and how she is now in a meeting with Coach Tesla. That last gets Kendra's attention. "So is it happening?"
"I don't know what 'it' is!" you protest.
"It's Cindy. I heard about it at lunch from your friend James, of all people. I don't know how he found out about it, but Cindy's been talking to Coach Tesla about changing the squad lineup. You know about that girl Sydney McGlynn, right? Please say you do."
You nod impatiently. Sydney McGlynn is new to the school, and she was a cheerleader at a school that went to national championships. Chelsea's been keeping a wary eye on her.
"Well, Cindy's talking to Coach Tesla about getting Sydney onto the squad, and apparently Coach Tesla is listening."
Whoa! you think. That is huge if true!
Then your phone buzzes. The text is from Spencer, and you wonder with irritation how he got your number. Hanging out w justin, he writes. U shld be here.
That's all for now.