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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/998121-A-New-Leaf
by Seuzz
Rated: GC · Book · Occult · #2193834
A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
#998121 added November 12, 2020 at 11:54am
Restrictions: None
A New Leaf
Your talk with Kelsey has given you a lot to think about.

For a start, maybe you should stop thinking of that person you were talking to as "Kelsey Blankenship" and start thinking of them as "Will Prescott," and of yourself as Kelsey. Because what if they're right, and this body swap is a permanent thing? Do you want to go through your life feeling like you're in the wrong skin?

It's Friday, and nearly a full school week has passed since the change. You've slid through it without much difficulty, but without paying much attention either. Instinct—Kelsey's instincts—have got you through her classes, and as you look back you can see that you've done a pretty good job of channeling her personality. (Maybe too good of a job at times; you wouldn't have had that nasty fight with, er, Will in the parking lot yesterday if you had done a better job of being yourself and not the girl whose body you're trapped in.) But you've been on automatic pilot, letting Kelsey's body and brain slide along the usual grooves while you've kept your hand off the controls.

But if you're going to be "Kelsey Blankenship" from now on, maybe you should start being your kind of "Kelsey Blankenship."

Even then, though, the love life of the new you is not something you want to prioritize. Not now, at any rate, and maybe not later, either.

* * * * *

So you've got a fresh and tingly feeling all over as you pull ... your ... BMW into the student parking lot at Westside on Friday morning. Kelsey's instinct is to fume and roll her eyes at the clotted traffic worming its way through the lot, but you force yourself to relax. You turn on the satellite radio, and switch from the light pop that Kelsey favors to something more metal.

That "fresh and tingly feeling" intensifies as you get out and stride off toward the school with your chin up. You dressed conservatively again today (as you've dressed all week) in jeans and boots and a dark blouse, but you let yourself enjoy the feeling of your body more, because it's going to be your body. That means you're going to have to start exercising again tomorrow morning—you've let Kelsey's workouts slide—and it also means you're going to start enjoying the dresses with the short hemlines again.

And as long as you're enjoying your new body, you might as well let others enjoy it too. When you catch some boys—juniors, by the look of them—turning to stare at you, you favor them with a small smile.

In fact, you're all smiles when you breeze into Mr. Walberg's class and drop your pack on your desk. Amanda looks up from her phone. "Didn't you get my texts?" she asks, a little peevishly.

"I had my phone off," you tell her very shortly. "The planet doesn't start and stop on your schedule."

Wow, that felt good, you think. Amanda has always intimidated you, but she also makes Kelsey very tired, for it's stressful trying to stay one step ahead of her. Maybe you should find some other friends. People not as snobby and competitive.

And when Will Prescott comes sauntering in, you decide that's a place to start.

There's a coltish lurch to his gait, as though he's still finding his legs, but it's not a graceless, ugly walk, and his shoulders are back and his chin is up as he crosses the room. (In your mind's eye, he ought to be hunched over.) You smile to yourself as he swings his pack onto the back of his chair and slides into the seat. Caleb is giving him a hooded and speculative look. (How much teasing has the new Will taken from his friends? you wonder.) That you'd get to talk to Will in front of Caleb only makes you more determined to say the thing in public.

You walk over to where he is seated, a wide smile on your face. He is fussing his books, and he starts a little when he looks up to see you looming over him.

"Hey, Will," you tell him. "I just wanted to tell you, I really like your new look. It really suits you."

He stares back, wide-eyed, and his mouth falls open a little. Then a slight blush comes into his cheeks, and he smiles back. "Thanks."

"Yeah." You touch the hollow just below your throat. "You should find yourself a kind of choker, something leather. It would look good on you. You've got the neck for it, and it would match your new gear."

"I'll think about it," he says.

You deepen your dimples at him, then turn and walk back to your seat. You can feel Mansfield's eyes on you, and Amanda stares at you from under her brows. "Meow," she says as you settle back into your desk. "That was catty even for you."

"You thought I wasn't being serious, Mandy?" you retort, using a grade-school name that Amanda hates. "It's about time he stopped dressing like he was still in middle school." You glance back over your shoulder at Will, who has turned and is in conference with Caleb. "Besides, he really does look good."

Amanda's jaw falls open, but she says nothing further.

* * * * *

It's not exactly a new leaf for the new Kelsey that you turn over that day. Even if you wanted to change everything about your new situation, it would be a bad idea to turn the box over and shake it good But you do spend the day keeping alert to your surroundings and to your feelings about them.

In second-period's Classical Literature class (one of Kelsey's few non-AP classes; she couldn't fit AP English into her schedule), you look past Brooke Galloway and Ricky Golia, the two sad-sack friends Kelsey has in there, toward Anita Nuevo and Julia Paez and their friends. Kelsey has typically held aloof from the girls' sports teams as a lot of thundering loudmouths. But although Anita (like her friend Stephanie Wyatt) is both a boor and and a bore, Julia and her friend Haley Flanagan from the basketball squad have bright personalities, and it seems to you that it would be nice to have some friends who were competitive only on the basketball court, and not in the lunchroom. You mark them down, along with some of the soccer-playing girls that Kelsey also, vaguely, knows as possible friends to cultivate.

In third-period AP World History you look past Brooke again, and Lisa Yarborough, to take in Parker Stott and Jack Li. Parker is cut from the same cloth as Geoff Mansfield—tall and dark-haired and well-groomed—but he's not a snot, even though Parker's family are also members at the country club. He's also good friends with Kristina Townes and Wendy Terrill, who are the kind of sweet girls that Kelsey usually disdains, but in whose company you feel like you could relax while still dominating them. As for Jack Li: It's a very Kelsey-like thought (which you don't reject on that account) that a smart, good-looking guy who is openly gay would look good in your company, and that Jack would suit you a lot better than Charles Hartlein or any of his friends.

You're going to have to find a new study circle, though. Neither you nor Kelsey can stand the repulsive Ryan Ness. He dresses too nice and is too much of a burning hunk for his own good, and has already turned into the kind of douchebag who will wind up running a fraternity. You'll take Lisa with you, though, when you find a new place for your study hall. Just the thought "I am Kelsey Blankenship" is enough to sever the last of your feelings for her, and you can see her now as someone who wasn't suited for you even as she wasn't worth your time. But she is a sweet girl, and maybe you can use your influence to get her away from Mansfield and pair her with a guy who would be better for her.

And lunchtime with Mansfield and Amanda and Martin Gardinhire and Anthony Kirk and all the rest of that rotten crew only strengthens your urge to dump all of Kelsey's old friends and to find new ones. You find your eye wandering across the cafeteria, looking for other people to hang out with. Catherine Muskov has too big of a social circle to be worth cultivating, but in sixth-period AP French you find yourself giving Hannah Westrick a second look. Kelsey hated her the moment she showed up at Westside. The girl has the personality of an avalanche, and Kelsey's qualms only intensified when Marc Garner brought her to one of Kelsey's regular Saturday night parties, and Hannah got passing-out drunk. But Hannah's found lots of friends; and Kelsey likes Marc, so it might be a good idea to give Hannah a second chance.

* * * * *

It's Friday, and all day long people have been buzzing about how to spend the evening. There's not a lot going on, aside from the after-school socializing that will be happening at Catherine Muskov's, and which will probably intensify into something resembling a party. You've no interest in seeing Howling Skies, a new movie that's opened, and which Anthony has suggested (with dripping irony) that you and everyone go out to see. You're a little more alert, though, when you get a text from Alyssa Randal, one of your contacts at Eastman High, that there will be a party at Joshua Cheswick's place. Kelsey has been out to Joshua's before, but it was in the company of Hennepin and his friends, and they are likely to be out there, and you're pretty sure you're not ready to deal with that situation yet.

But the only alternatives are to stay in, or to go with your parents to the country club.

Unless you decided to be really adventurous, and take Kelsey to the Warehouse.

Next: "No Strings

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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/998121-A-New-Leaf