The Trouble with Secrets

BOOK: The Trouble with Secrets
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B Magical

The Trouble with Secrets

Lexi Connor

To Adam

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Preview

Other Books in the B Magical Series

About the Author

Acknowledgments

Copyright

Chapter 1

B’s alarm clock went off for the third time, croaking like an angry bullfrog in her ear.

“Q-U-I-E-T,” she groaned. The alarm magically stopped, and B was again grateful that she’d finally discovered how her magic worked.

B buried her head under a pillow. She’d stayed up way too late last night reading, and she wasn’t ready to face the sunshine just yet. Besides, it was only 7:10.

7:10!

B sat bolt upright, upsetting Nightshade, her black cat, who’d been snoozing on B’s belly. He landed on the rug and stalked away, his tail twitching.

Getting up at 7:10 was
not
good. She had only ten minutes to catch the bus and she was still in her pajamas!

She skidded into the bathroom, brushed her teeth, and combed her hair. Two minutes.

Back in her bedroom, she yanked open her drawers and tore through the piles of clothes for something to wear. Black Cats sweatshirt? Her favorite band. Always good. Purple jeans? Sure. Socks? She pulled out one pink and one green. No time to dig for mates. “M-A-T-C-H,” she said. They both turned green with pink polka dots. She yanked them on.

She stuck a headband in her hair, fastened her magical charm bracelet — the one she’d received from the Magical Rhyming Society when she discovered her spelling magic — and glanced at the clock. 7:16. Six minutes down, four to go. If only she could slow down time, she might be able to eat and make the bus. But slowing down time was advanced magic, and she hadn’t even had her first magic lesson yet.

If she missed the bus, no magic would avoid Mom and Dad’s irritation. She threw her backpack over one shoulder and laced her sneakers.

Sneakers. Feet. She couldn’t slow time, but she could speed herself up!

“F-A-S-T,” she told her feet. They leaped up and sped down the stairs. Her sneakers were a sparkly blur.

Into the kitchen she zoomed, snagging the warm banana-hazelnut muffin from her mother’s outstretched hand. Her feet dragged her, knees pumping crazily, to the front door. “Bye!” she cried, her feet still churning. By the time she stuffed a bite of muffin in her mouth, B was halfway to the bus stop on the corner.

Dawn, B’s fourteen-year-old sister, was waiting at the stop, her long blond hair shining in the morning sun. The bus was nowhere in sight.

Holy cats, my magic is awesome!
B thought.
I can sleep in every morning from now on.

But between one blink and the next, the bus stop was thirty yards behind her.

“Whoa!” she cried. “Slow! Stop! I mean, S-T-O-P!”

B’s feet planted themselves in the ground like cement posts. But the top half of her didn’t listen. She fell face-first,
ker-splat,
on the Peabodys’ front lawn, within an inch of their prize chrysanthemums, smashing her muffin into smithereens.

The school bus pulled around the corner, its brakes hissing.

“Isn’t that your bus coming, Beatrix?” Mrs. Peabody said, coming out onto the porch in a bathrobe and slippers. “What are you doing way over here?”

“S-sorry, Mrs. Peabody,” B stammered. “I, uh, got, um, carried away! Bye!” And she raced, normalstyle, to the bus stop.

Dawn stood waiting by the open doors, clearly holding the bus for B, but also glaring at her through narrowed eyes. She plucked a clump of dirt from B’s hair, tossed it over her shoulder, and boarded the bus. B sighed. She knew what Dawn’s look meant:
You cut it pretty close, little sis. People could have
seen you. Careless stunts like that put the whole witching world at risk.

B climbed the steps, promising herself she’d be more careful next time. It was so important that witches kept their powers secret from nonwitches. Problem was, Dawn and every other witch in the witching world made spells by composing rhyming couplets, but all B had to do was spell a word. Pretty quick and easy to do — and therefore, easy to get into trouble.

“Morning, Wonder Wasp,” Jason Jameson said, his freckly face sneering at B. She shoved past him down the aisle, and plopped, out of breath, into a seat next to her friend George.

“Morning,” George said, holding out a pouch of Enchanted Chocolate Caramelicious Cremes. George and chocolate were never far apart. He pushed his curly blond hair out of his eyes and did a double take. “What’s with
you
? You’re a mess. There’s dirt on your nose.”

“Is there?” B said as she tried to get it off. “I, um, tripped over my feet on the way to the bus.”

She couldn’t tell George what had really happened. Witches had to keep their powers secret from nonwitches, period, exclamation point. Even though George had been her best friend since preschool, she just couldn’t tell him. She didn’t like it, but there it was.

George wrinkled his nose. “You look like I do after soccer practice. Except, no cleats.”

“Oops,” B said, shrugging. “Hey, you got a new shirt!”

“Yeah, this is Sergio Vavoso’s jersey,” he said, pointing to his red shirt. “He’s a striker for the Wilmington Warlocks, and the best striker in the world. They call him the Italian zebra, because of the white stripe in his dark hair.”

“Va-Va-Vavoso,” B said.

“Hey, what’s black and white and red all over?” B sighed. “A newspaper?”

“La Zebra Italiana!” He pointed to his shirt. “Get it? Red all over, like his jersey?”

B groaned. “You’ll need to try harder next time.”

George grinned. Then his face grew serious. He leaned out into the aisle, and looked left and right,
up and down the bus, several times. Aside from Jason Jameson sticking his tongue out at a pair of girls, B couldn’t see anything that should trouble George.

“What’s the matter?” B asked, poking him.

“Got a secret to tell you,” George said in a low voice. “Nobody else can know, got it?” He grinned. “Only you. You know all my secrets.”

But you don’t know all of mine.
B swallowed the guilty thought. “Okay,” B said. “Promise.

What’s up?”

“I’m starting dance lessons,” George said, his cheeks turning a little pink.

“Excellent!” B cried.

“Ssh,”
George said, looking side to side once more. “You can’t tell anyone. People wouldn’t get it, you know?”

B thought about it. There was nothing wrong with dancing. She caught a glimpse of Jason Jameson. No doubt, he’d tease George to death if he found out about the lessons.

“What is it that made you want to … y’know?” B dropped her voice.

“A lot of professional athletes study dance to improve their foot speed and coordination,” George explained. “Besides, it just looks fun. The dance studio is half an hour away, and Dad and I are going on Wednesday nights, so no one needs to know, you know?”

Just then a word seemed to ring out above the normal bus chatter. “Witch.”

B listened harder. The word was probably “which” or even “wish.”

“Really. A witch.” There it was again. B turned around in her seat.

“A witch! A genuine, bona fide witch. Right here!” an older girl a couple of seats back said in a loud voice.

B’s skin went cold and prickly. People knew! She’d only had her magic for a week, and she’d blown it already, breaking the cardinal rule that even the toddlers in witching families knew — you don’t let nonwitches find out about magic.

Was it her speedy feet at the bus stop?

What else could it be?

Had she given the secret away before she’d even been a true witch for a month?

And if she had, what would happen when her school, her town, her family, and most importantly, her best friend found out?

Chapter 2

“There’s hip-hop, jazz, tap. The studio has ballet, too, but I’m not wearing a leotard. No way. No how.”

“I’m serious. A witch. W-I-T-C-H, witch.”

With each word from the girl in the back, B’s panic rose. Why, why did the girl have to spell it? B shuddered.

Then she realized George was watching her, a puzzled look on his face.

Focus, B.

What had he said? Something about dancing and leotards. “Um, that’s a great idea!” she said.

“Huh?”

B realized she’d goofed. “Huh, what?”

George sighed and laughed. “You spaced, didn’t you?”

B made an apologetic face, then laughed, too. “Sorry.”

The bus squealed to a stop. George rose, shouldered his bag, and headed down the aisle. B followed, her mind spinning. What would happen to her now? Would she lose her membership in the Magical Rhyming Society? Would she have to give back the silver charm bracelet she’d just earned for discovering her spelling magic powers? Would they —
could
they take away her magic altogether? And what about her parents — would they get into trouble, too?

B worried all the way to first period art class, and while she sketched the moon in charcoal, she racked her brain to think of a word she could spell to repair the damage she’d done. “Forget"? She could try to make the girls on the bus forget what they’d seen. But what if they forgot their mothers’ birthdays, too, or even their own names? Too risky. Besides, there was no telling who else on the bus might have seen her. “Reverse"? B didn’t want to be
responsible for turning back time, maybe even altering the earth’s rotation. Definitely not the best way to start your morning. She sighed. Magic was so complicated.

When the bell rang for second period history, B’s stomach started rumbling. She thought of her mom’s amazing banana-hazelnut muffin, smashed into the grass on Mrs. Peabody’s front lawn, and wondered how on earth she’d make it to lunch without any breakfast. Her belly growled so loud that Jenny Springbranch, at the next desk, looked over and made a face. B decided to sneak a snack, for survival’s sake.

“M-U-F-F-I-N,” she whispered into her backpack, imagining a fresh muffin appearing there. And it did! When she peeked inside, there was a small, warm, crumbly muffin. A rich banana fragrance came from the bag. She reached in and broke off chunks all through class, popping them in her mouth when no one was looking.

But at the end of class, when Miss Taykin, the history teacher, asked everyone to pass up their reports, B got a shock. Her paper was gone! She had
taken extra care to put a fancy report cover on it, with colored illustrations, too. And she had double-checked that she had all her homework during homeroom. How could it have disappeared?

The muffin! She must have turned her report into the muffin.

The bell rang for third period, and the class shuffled out.

“Did you turn in your paper, Beatrix?” Miss Taykin asked her as B rose, heavyhearted.

“ ’Fraid not,” B said, shaking her head. “I accidentally ate it.”

Jenny Springbranch giggled, and Miss Taykin tutted. “There’s no need for silly excuses, Beatrix. If you turn it in tomorrow I’ll only deduct ten points.”

“Thank you, Miss Taykin.” B would have to print it out again tonight.

Out in the hall B shook her fists at the ceiling. Why hadn’t she thought more carefully? Thinking with your stomach was dangerous … and spelling with your stomach, even more so.

“No, I’m serious, she’s actually a witch! She can …” A voice rose above the hallway chaos. A
voice that sounded a lot like Jenny’s. Had she seen the muffin? Heard? Smelled? Guessed?

B felt queasy. She leaned against a pair of lockers and watched kids hurrying by through unfocused eyes. She even thought about visiting the nurse to lie down. Were people looking at her funny?

B decided to skip the nurse and head for class. At least Mr. Bishop would be there. He was not only her new English teacher, he was also her secret tutor on all things witchy.

BOOK: The Trouble with Secrets
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