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Authors: H.B. Gilmour,Randi Reisfeld

T*Witches: Don’t Think Twice

BOOK: T*Witches: Don’t Think Twice
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T*Witches:
Don’t Think Twice

H.B. Gilmour
& Randi Reisfeld

 

 

 

© 2002, 2012 H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld

All rights reserved.

First published by Scholastic in 2002.

CHAPTER ONE

FRIDAY NIGHT

“Strike!”

Camryn Barnes yelped for joy and slapped palms with her bowling partner, Beth Fish. “We rock! We
are
the dream team!” Grinning triumphantly, Cam swiped a lock of chestnut hair off her face.

In the next lane, two cute guys from school — Jason, already crushed on Cam, and his blond-tipped friend Rick — checked her out. Cam returned their smiles. It felt excellent to be out with her buds, bowling, bragging, basking in the boy light.

“We
are
the alpha alley babes.” Beth’s freckled face was flushed with delight as she totaled up the score. To Kristen Hsu, their friend and, tonight, a member of the
opposing team, she singsonged teasingly, “You’ll never catch us!”

“Don’t bet on it,” came Kris’s right-back-atcha response. With a toss of her gleaming black hair, she sent her own ball gliding down the alley. Perfect form, perfect release, perfect strike. “Deal,” Kristen crowed. “We are so gonna pass you.”

Good-naturedly, Cam pointed out, “One problem with your reasoning, Hsu-fly, the word ‘we.’ Your so-called teammate is AWOL.”

Brianna Waxman, petite, blond, and one of their best friends, had wandered away again to take yet another call on her cell phone.

Brianna didn’t seem right. It was as simple as that.

For one thing, Cam’s most fashion-forward-trend friend had taken this giant leap backward — wearing economy-size sweatshirts that billowed nearly to her knees.

“Hey, Bree,” Cam had teased a couple of weeks ago, “the eighties just called — they want their clothes back.” Brianna had smiled weakly, but totally out of character, offered no sharp-tongued comeback.

Now Kristen called over loudly to Bree, “It’s your turn. Come on! We can win this!”

Brianna didn’t even turn around.

“Go fetch,” Beth impishly instructed.

Kristen rolled her eyes and bounded up the steps toward the snack bar … where Bree, still cellularly involved, dismissed her with an impatient wave of her hand.

Kris paused, then Cam heard her say, “I’ll go for you. I’m taking your turn, all right?”

In spite of her nagging feeling about Bree — and the bizarro stares Cam was getting from a pair of snaky-looking strangers, a tall boy and his squat brother, who thought she didn’t notice them — Cam smiled. She was so up for tonight. It had nothing to do with bowling a strike, or even who won. She was having a Friday night out with her friends. Feeling good. Feeling normal.

It was the first time in weeks she’d felt that way.

Camped out on a bench one lane over, Camryn’s sister, Alexandra Fielding, surveyed the scene and rolled her cool gray eyes. She was supposed to be bowling with Dylan, Cam’s brother, except that she wasn’t.

She’d been barred from playing. The bowling alley police had insisted she wear proper shoes — the kind they rented. Alex crossed her legs and smirked subversively. She loved her clunky, scuffed, dull brown combat boots. She wasn’t taking them off.

She didn’t want to be here.

And now that she’d been at this place, what was
it called — Toilet-Bowl-a-Rama? — for two excruciating hours, she hadn’t changed her mind. She didn’t want to be here even more.

But, of course, Cam did.

Make that: really, really did.

And why not? After nagging and ragging on Alex to come, there was her so-called twin — all snug low-rise jeans and too-cute T-shirt, color-coordinated down to her customized bowling shoes — playing princess of Bowl-a-Corn-Flakes. What a Britney!

Cam had tried to coax her into a similar outfit, but Alex had opted for a pair of Dylan’s extreme skateboarding trous, wide in the waist, wider in the leg, hiked up to spotlight her scuffed Docs.

Eyeing her stubborn sister, Cam had declared, “Okay, it’s a look, I’ll give you that. Just top it with a crop that’s circa now. Pick anything you want from my dresser.”

So, of course, Alex had gone into her own dresser and pulled out a mud-brown turtleneck. Ditto for accessories.

“Well, at least use my old bowling shoes. You don’t want to rent a pair,” Cam urged. “I mean, yuck, who knows who used them last? And we can share my custom bowling ball.”

“So not,” was Alex’s answer.

“But you’ll bowl better with it. Our fingers are exactly the same size.”

Same clothing size, same shoe size, same-size fingers.

Same extraordinary charcoal-rimmed gray eyes, blunt-tipped noses, full lips.

What would have been the same exact thick, wavy auburn hair, except that Alex was constantly changing hers. This morning, she’d dyed her formerly platinum-bleached spikes an extremely hot fire-engine red.

If attitudes came in sizes, those of Camryn Barnes and Alexandra Fielding would be at opposite ends of the rack.

Day and night. Sugar and spice. They were as far apart as the shimmering ocean that bordered Cam’s native Massachusetts and the craggy peaks that soared above Alex’s Montana home.

Separated at birth, they’d grown up apart for fourteen of their fifteen years. They’d not even known of each other’s existence until — Alex calculated — could it really be only ten months ago that they’d met?

And discovered that they were not just twins, but witches. T’Witches — with strange and powerful abilities to do things, see and hear things, that others could not.

For instance, Alex could listen in on thoughts. A fun talent sometimes, embarrassing at others. And occasionally
totally irritating — like tonight. Like right now, hearing the strange bowling brothers discussing her and Cam from behind the lanes.
Think they’re so special, just ’cause they’re twins
, the thickset one was sneering. Giving off nasty stalker vibes, his tall bro was thinking,
So they’re the ones
.

Yeech. Alex’s stomach heaved, as if she’d swallowed sour milk. She looked over at her sister. And caught Cam glancing at her disapprovingly and thinking,
Oh, come on, Als. Let yourself go for one night. Let’s just have
fun.

Let it go? Let the most important thing that had happened since they’d discovered each other go? Take a reality break for a night out bowling? Pretend that they weren’t different from other kids and hadn’t just discovered that the mother they’d never met might actually be alive?! Cam’s timing reeked.

A fact Alex had pointed out to her earlier, in no uncertain terms.

A fact that Camryn had totally twisted, trying to guilt Alex into agreeing.

“After all we’ve been through, we deserve a fun night out with my — I mean, our — friends,” Cam had insisted.

Alex knew exactly what she meant. But chose to zone in on only one part of her sister’s sentence. “Right the first time, dude:
your
friends.”

Now, bored at the bowling alley, she couldn’t decide which one of Cam’s best buds annoyed her more.

Beth, tall, freckled, and kinky-haired, who Alex usually liked, was all her sister’s slavish shadow tonight, the wind beneath Cam-I-Am’s wings.

Then there was Kristen, hypercompetitive and deeply devoted to all things Brianna, no matter that Bree was being incredibly rude to her right now. As usual, Kris had the diminutive trendoid’s back and was covering for her.

And least but not last, Brianna Waxman, the plastic, sarcastic guru of gossip, who’d recently, mysteriously traded in her skintight designer duds for generic XXL cover-ups. In Alex’s not-so-humble opinion, superficial and snotty nailed Bree.

“They’re your friends, too, if you’d let them be,” Cam had whined. “Give me a break. For one night I want to be … just … regular again —”

“Regular, rich, and popular?”

“You know what I mean,” Cam insisted. “Average, ordinary, usual, normal. Come on, Als, let’s just have fun.”

Fun?

All at once, a mischievous smile played across Alex’s lips. Okay, she responded silently to her sister’s plea, let’s have fun.

CHAPTER TWO

A DISTRESS SIGNAL

Kristen had come back to her lane and was about to take Brianna’s turn. She stopped suddenly, narrowing her piercing black eyes at Alex.

Hmmm … the evil twin
, Alex heard Kris muse.
Miss Iodine Head. What makes me think she can really help?

Case in point again, Alex told herself. Reading random minds really was sometimes more a pain than a present. Did she really want to know what was on Kristen’s so-called mind?

What makes me think she can help?
Where was Kristen-the-cutthroat going with that? Did she think she could get Alex to change her shoes and play for Bree?

Whatever her plan, Kristen canceled it abruptly and returned to the game. As she’d done before, she released her personal pink-and-gray bowling ball expertly and sent it rumbling down the center of the lacquered wooden lane.

Evil twin? Iodine Head?

Maybe I
can
get in this game, Alex thought, her lips twisting into a playful smile. She glanced at the one person in the room who could read
her
mind and stop her from what she was about to do. But Cam was flirting outrageously with Jason and his friend Captain Peroxide. Not paying any attention to her. Which left the coast clear for …

Alex called up a “fun” image in her mind, then focused on Kristen’s ball, which was halfway down the lane.

Exactly as she’d pictured it, the pink-and-gray globe stopped dead — and, as if someone had put an awesome spin on it, reversed its direction. Gathering speed, it rolled backward, aiming straight at Kris!

Kristen’s jaw dropped as she scrambled out of the way. “What the …”

“That’s how you take my turn for me?” Brianna, the sweatshirt-draped diva, scolded as she bounced over to the lane. “At least when I bowl, the ball doesn’t boomerang!”

“I didn’t do that!” Kristen, aghast, managed to sputter, bending down to catch and examine the wayward ball. “I don’t know how that happened.”

Cam’s attention was finally caught by the commotion.
All I asked for was one night off, one normal night of bowling with my buds
, she grumbled telepathically at her twin, who was staring innocently at the ceiling.
Too much to ask? I don’t think so
.

“Let’s see,” Beth teased, pretending to write on the score sheet. “By my calculations, that counts for a minus ten.”

“Do over!” Kris pronounced, hands on her hips. “Anyway, now that Bree’s here, she can bowl for herself.”

Bree went to pick up the ball. For a moment, her hand shook. As if the ball were too heavy for her.

Just then, her phone rang again. She checked the caller ID. “Gotta take this one. It’s my dad again, so it’s about the party.”

The party. Right. Another scene Alex was eager to skip. Another fun fete Cam was trying to guilt her into.

Brianna’s dad, long divorced from her mom, lived in California, where he was a hotshot movie producer. The main thing he produced for Bree was disappointment. He was constantly making and breaking promises to her. Even this “birthday” party was to make up for one he’d bailed out on the week Bree actually turned fifteen.

Alex got up, stretched, and mindlessly glanced over at the snack bar where Bree was taking her father’s call. At first, all Alex heard were balls rumbling, pins falling, kids screaming, bad music blaring. Then, above the bowling alley din, a conversation.

“I’m sorry, Miss Waxman,” a clipped male voice said. “He didn’t say why.”

Alex’s forehead furrowed as she wondered who was speaking. Suddenly, her gray eyes widened. It was Brianna’s phone convo she’d tuned in to! By accident. Haphazardly. Totally by chance.

Or was it?

She definitely hadn’t tried to listen in. Anything Brianna Waxman had to say was of less than zero interest. Plus, even with the hyperhearing that was one of Alex’s witchy “gifts,” she might have been able to catch Bree’s half of the call, but not what some snotty guy on the other end of the phone had to say.

Did that mean her picking up on it wasn’t entirely random?

Working their gifts was still kind of new to her and Cam.

They’d learned that their strange talents — Alex’s superhearing and her recently demonstrated ability to move things — like bowling balls — just by thinking about them; and Cam’s premonitions, visions, ability to
see things at great distances in microscopic detail — became especially strong when they were needed to help someone out of a jam.

Which was not what was happening here. Was it?

“Again?” Bree’s voice sounded way more helpless than Alex had ever heard it before. “Why can’t he come to the phone this time? We have to make plans. It’s tomorrow night — I’ve already invited everyone.”

The merciless response on the other end was all business, making no attempt to hide a lack of interest. “Your father said he’d call you later. There’s really nothing more I can say or do. It is three hours earlier here and he is still working.”

It was, Alex realized, Bree’s fickle father’s personal assistant on the phone from California.

No, no, not again, please not this time
, Alex heard Bree’s inner plea.
He promised
.

“He’ll call you later,” the assistant repeated.

“What time?” Bree asked.

“He didn’t tell me. I’m sorry.” The jerk didn’t sound the least bit sorry, Alex thought.

He doesn’t care about me, even on my birthday. What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he love me? It’s because I’m fat, ugly, stupid
… If she hadn’t heard Bree’s despair, Alex would have laughed.

Brianna Waxman, the flawless makeup artist, blond-on-blond
girl, thin as a dime, actually thought she was ugly? Wake up and smell the mirror. But Bree, who could shrivel a loudmouth with a look, said pathetically, “Well, do you know if he’s flying to Marble Bay tonight? For my birthday party?”

“Miss Waxman, really, I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

Alex felt a stab of pain for Bree. Was her dad really going to blow off the party that was to make up for the party he’d canceled last time?

Brianna came back to the alley, a smile pasted on her wan face. Loud enough for everyone to hear, she announced, “That was my dad. Again! This is like the fifth time he’s called tonight. This party is going to rock!”

Alex looked down at her skuzzy combat boots, afraid to catch Bree’s eye. Did Cam, she wondered, have a clue about what was going on?

“Excellent,” Kris said. “Come over, Jason and Rick are joining us —” Cam, Beth, and Kris, too, it seemed, had given up bowling for boyage. Alex looked up and saw that they were all in one lane now, with the high-school hotties who’d been flirting with Cam.

With that bogus smile masking her disappointment, Brianna headed their way … until a gel-haired guy in a bicep-baring shirt and skintight jeans came up behind her and tapped her shoulder.

Alex knew who he was: Marco Paulsen, Bree’s crush. He was in the drama club at Marble Bay High, their star actor. Cam and company suspected that he was only into Bree because of her dad’s Hollywood connections. Privately, they called him Marco Polo, an adventurer exploring ways to use people. But Marco was dimpled and ripped, an eye candy arm-piece, and Bree’s date for the party.

Well, maybe something’ll go right for her tonight, Alex found herself hoping.

Bree whirled around and lit up. “Marco!” she purred. “Just the guy I was looking for.”

Marco cocked his head. “You were?”

“Of course.” Bree smiled. “I want to tell you about tomorrow night.”

“Uh, yeah, about that …” Marco said, sheepishly looking away — toward a redhead a few feet from them. “I can’t make it.”

“You’re kidding.” When Bree saw he wasn’t, she fought to keep her voice light. “Why not?”

Marco sighed dramatically. “Something’s come up.”

Over Marco’s shoulder, Bree saw the tall redhead eyeing him. “That girl over there? Is that what came up?” she blurted.

Marco grinned, shrugged. “She’s got tickets to the Bruins game. What can I say?”

“But I was … it’s going to be, like … the best party.” Bree’s eyes were filling with tears.

Marco put on his Mr. Sensitivity face and chucked Bree under the chin as if she were a dog. “Hey, hey, don’t take it so hard,” he said, using his soap opera voice. “What can I do? It’s the biggest game of the year.”

“Sure,” Bree managed to whisper. Inside, she was frantic.
What am I going to say? What am I going to tell everyone? This is so awful, so … humiliating
.

Alex was ballistic.

She wished Bree could read
her
mind:
Say he couldn’t come, ’cause he accidentally died — of humiliation!

Inspiration rocked her! Alex gazed at Marco’s oh-so-cool undone high-tops and pictured the funniest thing happening. What if, while he was busy brushing Brianna off, his shoelaces started squirming? And while he was breaking Bree’s already fragile heart, the laces from his left shoe got tangled up with the long laces of his right? Got sort of twisted into a knot — like the knot he was making in Bree’s gut — so that as soon as he started to walk away …

“Aarrghh!” Marco screamed as he went down. Hard.

Alex had totally counted on his pants splitting — which they did with a gratifying rip. She hadn’t counted on them exposing the dorkiest Captain America underpants
anyone had ever seen. The whole bowling alley — gawking and laughing at him. That was a very cool surprise.

And when Marco tried to get up, only to slip on his butt again and crack his coccyx?

An unexpected bonus.

BOOK: T*Witches: Don’t Think Twice
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