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Suddenly Supernatural 4: Crossing Over
By Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody
Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersCopyright © 2010 Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody
All right reserved.
So the good news was my best friend Jac and I were both on the school French class trip to Montreal.
The bad news was so were Shoshanna Longbarrow and the super-popular Satellite Girls that orbit her—including Brooklyn Bigelow.
The good news was my mom had come along as a chaperone.
The bad news was my mom had come along as a chaperone.
And the worst news was Jac’s mother had also come along as a chaperone.
In the seven or so months since random ghosts and haunters and formerly alive people started materializing in front of me, I’d seen a lot of strange stuff. But I’m not sure any of it could hold a candle to the sight of my mother and Jac’s mother together.
My mom favored old hippie clothes and hand-me-downs, would not eat meat or kill an insect no matter how hideous or bitey it was, and helped the dead communicate with the living—an ability she had passed on to me. Jac’s mom dressed like she was having lunch at the White House (today she was wearing a pressed pantsuit, a neck scarf, and her ever-present string of pearls), she was tightly wound, and she spent most of her energy trying to redirect her musically gifted daughter back to her cello practicing. In short, our mothers had about as much in common as Justin Timberlake and the Pope.
So far, they were kind of ignoring one another.
“The bathroom smells,” Jac said, her face turned toward the window as northern New York went by in a blur.
“Do you think they’re ever going to speak to each other?” I asked, staring at the back of my mother’s head.
My mother was up front, in the third row of the bus, on the right-hand side. Jac’s mom was in the first row on the left-hand side, right behind the bus driver, Tim. Actually, Tim was not a bus driver. He announced before we even got under way that we could call him Tim and that he was a motor coach operator. It did have a nice ring to it.
Our French teacher, Mrs. Redd, was in the second row, like a carefully placed ambassador stationed between my mother and Jac’s mother. There were two empty rows after that, then me and Jac, in the no-man’s land of Middle Bus. Then came a cluster of boys and non-Satellite people. Shoshanna and her worshipful Satellite Girls, none more of a suck-up than Brooklyn Bigelow, had absorbed the back four rows into their personal sparkly orbit.
“I think they kind of have to,” Jac said. “They’ll need to exchange some sort of chaperone-type information eventually.”
“Can you picture it?” I asked, glumly. “Your mom will be all, ‘So, what do you do?’ even though you know she totally knows, and my mom will be all, ‘I facilitate communication between the living and the recently departed,’ and your mom will be all, ‘You mean people who are relocating to a new area?’ and my mom will be all, ‘I mean people who are relocating to being dead.’ And then your mom will turn white as a sheet and press her lips together the way she does…”
Jac immediately did a perfect imitation of the face.
“Yep, that’s it exactly, and then she’ll make the bus driver pull over. And she’ll get off and stand at the side of the interstate and wait for help to come.”
Jac tucked a strand of red hair, which was growing out from a short cut and had entered an awkward stage, behind her tiny ear.
“Or,” she said very quietly, “Your mom could go, ‘Hey, I’m Jane, Kat Roberts’s mom,’ and my mom could pretend she has no idea you even have a mom, even though you came to the Mountain House with us over spring break. Then, she’ll go, ‘I am pleased to meet you, Mrs. Roberts, I am Mrs. Gray,’ but she won’t look pleased at all.
“Your mom will go, ‘There are two spirits following you that wish to communicate,’ and my mom will go, ‘Excuse me?’ Then, your mom will go, ‘Do you know a rather squat man with a thick black mustache and a very strong chin, because I see him at your left elbow,’ and my mom will go, ‘I’m sorry, I think there’s been some sort of confusion,’ and she’ll turn and face the other direction and never look at or speak to your mom again. At the next rest stop she’ll accost me in the bathroom and tell me that I am never, never to associate with you again.”
“Nice, Jac,” I said. “I think I like my version better.”
“I don’t like either version,” Jac said. “At least you get along with your mom.”
“I know,” I said. “But Brooklyn Bigelow still thinks my mother is some kind of devil worshipper. Did you see the way she checked out Mom’s outfit when we met outside the bus this morning? She totally mouthed the word puhlease and made a big show of trying not to laugh.”
“I like the way your mom dresses,” Jac said. “She looks cute in tie-dye and jeans. My mother looks like she’s about to go on Good Morning America to discuss manners. I mean, whose mother seriously wears a gingham suit on a school trip?”
“Yours,” I said gently.
“Aren’t we the dynamic duo of Medford, New York,” Jac said. “Jac Gray, on-again off-again cellist, and Kat Roberts, eighth-grade radio to the dead.”
“And our mothers, the headmistress and the hippie.”
“Oh, snap,” Jac declared.
We settled back into our seats, and I felt a wave of contentment. I was with Jac, and I was traveling out of the country for the first time; we were going to visit museums and restaurants and historic sites all over Montreal. Why shouldn’t we have fun? The new school year had barely started, and anything seemed possible. So what if our mothers needed to be kept away from each other and all of the Satellite Girls?
So what if Ben Greenblott was sitting three rows in back of me?
I guess I forgot to mention it. I liked a boy. That boy.
It was weird, because I had known Ben Greenblott, at least as a “hi” friend, for two years. We had been lab partners a couple of times in bio and always seemed to end up in most of the same classes. And for the first year and forty-nine weeks of that time, I’m sorry to say I barely noticed him at all. He just registered as regular and unremarkable in every conceivable way. Your basic nice guy whom everyone likes but who keeps a low profile.
Then out of the blue, about three weeks ago, just after school opened, I dropped my music in chorus, and Ben Greenblott picked it up for me. And as he handed it back, his regular brown eyes suddenly became hypnotic, velvety chocolate orbs. In about four seconds, the rest of him transformed from unmemorable to cupcake. I took in his jet-black hair, his caramel-colored skin, and his strong hands holding my copy of “Kumbaya.” The place behind my kneecaps went all squeaky. And I’ve been thinking about him, like constantly, every single day since.
So yeah. School trip. Best friend. Mothers who must not come into close contact with each other. Satellite Girls.
And the love of my eighth-grade life, who had no idea that I worshipped and adored him on a daily basis, or that I saw dead people almost as often.
Somebody really ought to be writing all of this down.
Excerpted from Suddenly Supernatural 4: Crossing Over by Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody Copyright © 2010 by Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Excerpted by permission.
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