By Julie Anne Peters
Little, Brown Childrens Copyright © 2004 Julie Anne Peters
All right reserved. ISBN: 0-316-73369-5
It was the feel of her presence in my room that woke me - again. I rolled over in bed and squinted at the clock on my nightstand. "What time is it?" My voice slurred. The blurry numbers came into focus. Two thirty-three. "Two thirty-three? Don't you ever sleep?"
She didn't respond.
I scooted my pillow against the headboard to sit up, see what she was doing. "What is that?" I asked.
"Like it?" She shimmied in front of the mirror. The layered fringe on the dress she was wearing swayed in waves. "It's an old flapper dress I found at Goodwill," she said. In her stockinged feet, she performed a little Charleston for me. "It's vintage. Totally retro. Don't you think? I'm wearing this baby to prom."
I snorted. Her eyes met mine in the mirror and sobered me fast. She couldn't be serious.
Examining the length of herself, she hooked her long hair over her ears and wiggled her hips again. She'd chosen the blonde wig tonight. It wasn't her favorite, since she thought it made her look cheap. Like a slut. It did go well with the red dress, though. She caught me looking at her and smiled. "I'm going to run for prom queen, too."
I burst into laughter, then clapped a hand over my mouth to smother the sound. Wouldn't want to wake the parental units upstairs.
She was joking. Wasn't she? "Lia -"
"Luna," she said. "I've taken the name Luna." Her eyes fixed on mine. To gauge my reaction, I guess. Or seek my approval. What did it matter what I thought?
"Why change?" I yawned. "You've always been -"
"Lia's too close. Lia Marie. It's just too close." She crossed my bedroom, blazing a trail through the layer of clothes and other crap on my floor. As she passed under the window, she stopped and pivoted. The moon cast an eerie glow through my basement window. A spotlight. A spray of luminescent beams.
"Luna," she repeated softly, more to herself than me. "Appropriate, wouldn't you say? A girl who can only be seen by moonlight?"
Exhaustion overwhelmed me suddenly. Or my weariness of it all. "Go to bed, Luna." I snuggled down into my comforter and punched my pillow, willing myself back to sleep. It'd take me hours to drift off again, especially if she stayed to do her makeup. And she would.
I studied her through a slit eye. Something was different. A change had come over her. Nothing physical. More a shift in her cosmos - or maybe a crack.
"I can see your bra straps," I told her. "You need to buy a strapless."
"Really?" She twisted her head to peer over her shoulder. "Do you have one?"
"Get real. Even if I did, you're not wearing my underwear."
"It wouldn't fit anyway. I'm at least a C cup."
I blew out a puff of air. "You wish." Rolling over, I muttered, "You're such a freakshow."
Her hair splayed across my pillow, tickling my face. "I know," she murmured in my ear. "But you love me, don't you?" Her lips grazed my cheek.
I swatted her away.
As I heard her slog across the floor toward my desk - where she'd unveiled her makeup caddy in all its glory - a sigh of resignation escaped my lips. Yeah, I loved her. I couldn't help it. She was my brother.
Excerpted from Luna by Julie Anne Peters Copyright © 2004 by Julie Anne Peters. Excerpted by permission.
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