Do you remember high school, first love, and will-he-ask-me-to-the-dance jitters?
My BFF's dad was supposed to drive us to the high school for our first Halloween dance. But in true fashion, he was running late. (My BFF had four siblings, so in retrospect, I can imagine her parents had their hands full.) My friend was stressed to the max by the time we piled into the car and headed out on a moonless night. About two miles from school, marauding teens hurled pumpkins onto the road behind us. Looking over my shoulder at the orange carnage I thought, this does not bode well.
I didn't find true love (or many dance partners) that night. But I also never forgot the heightened sense of hope, anticipation, and dread. I've inflicted those same emotions on Evie O'Reilly, the protagonist in Spell Check, Book 1: The Teen Wytche Saga.
Jordan used his fork to chase a piece of arugula around his
plate. “Speaking of Halloween dances, either of you planning on
“Not my thing,” Salem proclaimed. Given her earlier
revelation, I wondered what she did do on Halloween. Wasn’t it a
witch’s major holiday?
“Evie?” Jordan drew out my name in a funny way. Before I
could answer, he captured a lock of my hair and twirled it around
his finger. “Think you can avoid further suspensions so you can go
to the dance?”
It almost sounded like Jordan was asking me to the dance. I
couldn’t tell for sure, so I played it cool. “Well, I don’t know, Kent.
It depends on whether or not Tommy Deitch stays clear of me.”
Salem snorted. Jordan blinked at her, as if he’d forgotten she
was there. He released my hair and leaned back in his chair. His
hand dropped to the table, about an inch from mine. If either of us
moved our pinkies, we’d touch.
“I hate to eat and run,” Salem said while carrying her plate
to the sink, “but I better go home and feed Einstein.”
“Einstein?” Jordan asked. I swear his hand slid a heartbeat
closer to mine. “I thought he was, like, way dead.”
“Einstein is her dog.”
“My sister’s dog. Amy is away at college. MIT. So I’m stuck
with dog duty.”
“Wretched,” Jordan said.
I tried to focus on their banter, but it was difficult with my
“I hate to interrupt your mom when she’s working.”
I dragged my attention up to Salem. Little worry lines
creased her forehead. “Better to interrupt her now than later when
she’s immersed. I’ll help you gather up your stuff.” I rose and
reached for my water glass, accidentally on purpose brushing
Jordan’s hand. He was eyeing the last piece of pizza, but his fingers
twitched as if he were trying to catch me.
“Why don’t you polish off the pizza so I won’t have to wrap
“If you insist, Lois.” He reached for the slice. I didn’t know
how he stayed in such great shape. Skateboarding and football
must burn lots of calories.
“We’ll be right back.” Salem linked her arm through mine
and dragged me from the kitchen. When we were halfway down
the hall, she whispered in my ear. “Lois?”
“It’s a Superman joke.”
Salem’s brow furrowed. “Oh, I get it, Lois Lane and Clark
Kent. Jordan Kent. He so digs you.”
A warm flush crept its way up my throat. “He does not.”
“Couldn’t you see he wants to take you to the dance?”
I could. One slight problem—my best friend so digs him.
Copyright 2012 Ariella Moon