Authors: Nikki Jefford
Copyright © 2012 by Nikki Jefford
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
is dedicated in loving memory to Grandma May who died at the start of this project.
To my mother who encouraged me to read and write even when I was behind everyone in class and couldn’t—for the life of me—hold a pencil correctly (and still can’t).
And to Seb for bringing love, trust, and passion into my life.
If Graylee’s sister wanted to be taken seriously, she should have threatened to step in front of a bus rather than off a building. She was a witch. Heights weren’t particularly a problem.
“I’m going to do it, Lee. I mean it.”
Graylee joined Charlene on the roof of McKinley High and peered over the edge at the damp walkway below. It led into the student parking lot. Everyone was in fifth period… everyone except for the identical twins standing over the heads of their oblivious classmates and teachers.
A suicide threat, seriously? This is why Gray was missing English?
They were supposed to be discussing Yeats that afternoon and Gray didn’t appreciate having one of Charlene’s minions stop her on the way to class with a message that her sister planned on plunging to her death before the day was out.
That would teach Blake Foster—or so Charlene thought. The jackass had dumped her sister after first period and, worse, had been seen sucking face with Stacey Morehouse at lunch.
Graylee started shivering the moment she’d stepped onto the roof. It was friggin’ February for crying out loud and she was wearing shorts. Granted, she had thick black tights on underneath, but still—brrr! Couldn’t Charlene have scheduled her dramatic death scene in the warmth of their home over a bottle of pills?
“What about me? You expect me to watch?” Graylee said. “Sure, that won’t haunt me the rest of my days.”
Charlene’s face contorted. “You’re so freaking selfish!”
“Me? What about you? Do you know what this would do to Mom? And what about me? How am I going to get through the rest of the semester when I’m all sad and stuff?”
Charlene snorted. “Like you’d care.” She had to be cold in her skinny jeans, but at least she was wearing a sweater—pink cashmere. As usual, Charlene looked like a damn preppy.
The cold seeped down to Graylee’s bones. The tips of her fingers felt as though they’d been dipped in ice water. She tried to conjure up warmth, but her body didn’t respond, something that happened more often than not lately.
“Of course I care. You’re my sister.” Graylee nodded at the building’s edge. “It’s not like the fall would kill you, anyway.”
“Nah. We’re not high enough. It’d just cripple you.” Graylee bent her neck in, hunched over and held her arms close to her body, and then proceeded to walk around like a gimp. “Hey, Char, here’s you walking down the halls of McKinley.”
Charlene’s lips tightened.
Graylee shuffled around. It helped warm her up. Charlene was fighting back a smile. “Don’t you dare make me laugh!”
“Hey, Char. Here you are at prom.” Graylee moved like a T. rex, flopping her hands back and forth against her chest.
Finally Charlene couldn’t hold it back any longer. Her body shook. It was a good thing she was laughing because Graylee couldn’t contain her mirth any longer. Then Charlene’s laughter turned to tears.
Graylee rushed over, reached out, then stopped herself. Charlene wasn’t the huggy type, not even when her heartthrob dumped her out of the blue.
“I’m not going to prom,” Charlene sobbed. “Not anymore.”
Graylee patted Charlene’s back. “There’s always next year. Anyway, there’s plenty of time to find another date. Heck, it’s only February second.”
Charlene ceased crying abruptly. “I don’t want another date! I want Blake!”
“What’s so special about that slime, anyway?”
“Lee, he’s the love of my life.” Charlene’s voice broke.
“I think we ought to turn him into a toad.”
Charlene pulled back. “Oh, no, don’t do anything to Blake.”
No, good ol’ Blake was beyond reproach in Charlene’s book. They’d gone to Homecoming together and been inseparable ever since… well, till today. Not that Graylee would do anything bad to him anyway. Both she and Charlene had taken the Vow of Honor at age twelve, and that meant absolutely no black magic.
Graylee lifted her hands in surrender. “Fine, I won’t make a Blake Foster voodoo doll when I get home.”
Charlene’s eyes widened.
“But don’t blame me if his car gets keyed.”
“Lee, don’t touch Blake’s truck, either.”
“When we get back together I don’t want to see a scratch on Blake or his truck.”
“Oh, so now you’re getting back together?”
“Blake just needs to realize the error of his ways.” Charlene flipped a long strand of blond hair over her shoulder and smiled right before turning away.
“Char…” Graylee said in a warning voice.
Wonder of all wonders, Charlene ignored her. She took one gigantic step off the building.
Graylee hurried to the edge in time to see her sister float gently to the walkway below.
“Brat,” Graylee muttered under her breath. Charlene knew she was buoyantly challenged. Graylee always ended up falling and she was tired of sporting bruises over her fair skin. Not to mention they were at school, for freak’s sake. What if someone was watching them from a parked car?
And way to leave her high and dry—or rather high and chilled to the bone.
Graylee stormed to the door leading back inside McKinley.
Ryan was on the other side. His pear-shaped head craned around her, the corners of his mouth curving down like a weepy clown’s when he didn’t see Charlene. “Oh my god, she jumped.”
Graylee rolled her eyes. “No, she floated.”
Ryan took in a gasping breath. “Thank god.”
Graylee pushed ahead of Ryan and hurried down the stairwell. She paused in front of the door leading into the second floor hallway. Ryan caught up to her and looked at her with big round eyes.
“Now what?” Graylee asked herself. “If I walk into English late Mrs. Pritchett is going to skin me alive. If I’m absent without an excuse…” Graylee tapped her black clogged toe then looked down at Ryan. “Well? What are you waiting for?”
Ryan looked at the door and cleared his throat. “I don’t know. What are you going to do?”
Graylee stopped tapping her foot and smiled suddenly. “I know what I’m going to do.”
She squeezed her eyes closed and disappeared before Ryan’s eyes. The last thing Graylee heard before she pushed the door open into the school was Ryan sucking air.
He would be surprised. As far as Ryan knew she’d lost her ability to perform magic five years ago. Not to mention invisibility was advanced magic. Graylee doubted that even the peer leaders at Gathering could disappear from sight.
Graylee’s clogs clomped across the deserted hallway. Lucky for her Mrs. Pritchett hadn’t closed the door to her classroom yet.
Graylee slipped in and skirted the row of desks nearest the wall. She sidestepped backpacks and heavy textbooks.
“Casey!” Mrs. Pritchett snapped. “If I hear your mouth again I’m sending you straight to Principal Coleman.”
Graylee winced and counted her lucky stars Mrs. Pritchett wasn’t a witch… at least in the magical sense.
Graylee’s classmates weren’t the only ones who couldn’t see her; Graylee couldn’t see herself or her foot when it rolled over a pencil. She sucked in a breath and picked her way to the back of the room.
The use of magic in the presence of normal humans was forbidden by their coven—except in case of emergencies. She highly doubted that getting out of a tardy counted, but Charlene started it, and Graylee had obeyed till now. If anything, she eschewed magic in public. She simply wanted to be a normal high school student. And forget ever dating a magically inclined member of the male species. She wasn’t passing on her wonky witch genes to her children. Not that dating a warlock automatically led to children, but one could never be too careful.
Graylee surveyed the back row. This would be her best bet. Sneaking into English as Invisa-girl was easy. Reappearing without anyone noticing—not so much.
Graylee set her pack onto the floor and slipped sideways into the desk. She looked side to side.
“Turn to page fifty-two. Brian, read the first verse of ‘Leda and the Swan,’” Mrs. Pritchett commanded.
Good, everyone was looking down. Graylee pinched her eyes closed and filled herself in like a line drawing in a coloring book, except at warp speed. It wouldn’t do to appear with half a body or decapitated. She always started from the toes up—backpack last. When she reopened her eyes she saw her arms resting on her desktop. A wry smile formed over her lips. She couldn’t help it. She didn’t know anyone else capable of invisibility.
Graylee reached into her now visible pack and quickly withdrew her poetry book and flipped to page fifty-two.
When the bell rang she stuffed her book back inside. Everyone leapt from their desks to make for sixth period. Sadie Howard glanced back then did a double take when she saw Graylee. They usually sat together. How was Graylee going to explain that one?