Gah! Has your heart stopped pounding yet? You were almost busted by Finn (who snagged Jacob’s notes), Neil might be a stalker, Heather is probably going to stab you with her stiletto heel if she catches you following her, AND Jacob’s here?! Last week, y’all chose to: B.  Go to Jacob, because maybe he’s following Heather, too, and you could probably use some backup. And, um, you’ve got some splainin’ to do about how Finn got those notes.

So get ready, Mr. Hotty McCollegepants — here you come!


“WHAT are you DOING here??!?” you hiss to Jacob, throwing one more look over your shoulder in the direction Heather just took. “She knows something about Kayleigh, and it’s big.”

“I know,” Jacob says, his serious dark eyes boring into yours. “There’s no way you’d forget your homework at school — don’t forget I’ve known you since your sandbox and Barbie days. I had to make sure you didn’t get into any more trouble.”

More trouble? MORE trouble?

“More trouble? What do you mean?” you demand, and hitch up your backpack a little more securely on your shoulder. Why didn’t I put on lip gloss while I was in the bathroom? a little voice wails in your head as Jacob reaches out to help you with your bag.

“Look, Neil’s not who you think he is. No one is — not even I am.”

“I know more about Neil than you think,” you retort, sounding more and more like a whiny little sister and less like a confident high school girl worthy of dating a college boy. “And I know if we don’t follow Heather and find out what’s her damage, we might lose Kayleigh forever. Finn’s been calling me all afternoon, but I overheard him and Heather talking about some mysterious plans they have. I need to get over there.”

Jacob sighs and stuffs his hands in his perfectly well-worn jeans pockets. “Fine. But you’re not going alone. You don’t even have a car — what were you going to do if you had to get out of there fast? Run? I’ve seen you run — remember the time you were being chased by bees?”

Jeez. Now was NOT the time for Jacob to go from sultry to goofy older brother on you. You glare at him and sniff derisively. At least, you try, but it just makes you sneeze. Great.

“C’mon. I’ll carry your bag,” Jacob says.

“NO! I mean, it’s fine. I’ve got it.” He looks at you funny, then shrugs. You hitch your backpack up again, slipping both straps on. That box and book were seriously heavy. Which reminds you … how are you going to tell him about his notes? Maybe now wasn’t the time. But then again, they might be important. You decide to wait until you’re safely in Jacob’s car and he can’t take off and leave you stranded before you tell him.

In the parking lot, you struggle to cram yourself and the backpack into the passenger seat. God, I hope that vial doesn’t break in my pocket. What if it has some sort of acid in it?

“Sure you don’t want to put that in the trunk?” Jacob asks, grinning that adorable crooked grin.

“No, it’s ok. Um, Jacob? You know that vampire textbook you had?”

“Yee-es …” Jacob doesn’t take his eyes off the road, but you still feel like you’re under the spotlight in an illegal overseas CIA interrogation chamber.

“Um, well, I sort of borrowed it just now.”

Silence.

“And those notes you had? I sort of dropped them in the hall. And Finn? He, um, sort of picked them up.”

Jacob stops the car. Oh, jeez, he’s going to throw me out. You start silently freaking, but then you realize you’re parked around the corner from Heather’s house. Oh. We’re there. You struggle out of the car and follow Jacob.

“Do you think my backpack will be ok?”

Jacob just laughs and says it’ll be fine. You’re not so sure, but what else can you do? It’s not like you could drag it with you on a stakeout. Stakeout. WHAT is Neil doing with a stake, especially if he’s telling the truth and he’s a vampire? Has he gone all Angel, or post-chip Spike?

It’s getting dark, so you shake your head quickly and focus on not tripping over any tree roots as you sneak through peoples’ yards to get a look in Heather’s back windows. She and Finn are clearly visible upstairs in Heather’s room, and it looks like they’re…-arguing? Just then, Jacob gasps. You follow his gaze and see Kayleigh lying on the diving board of Heather’s pool, one foot dangling down and her head thrown back over the end, scarf askew. Before you can stop him, Jacob has his cell phone out, speed dialing 911 as he runs across the yard to his sister.

You’re just about to follow him when you hear him speaking rapidly into the phone. Too quietly to hear much, but you do make out the words “Milwaukee”, “vanquishing kit” and “dammit, Neil!” Neil? So he wasn’t dialing 911 — he’d dialed Neil. How did he even have Neil’s number? And what was going on in Milwaukee? Jacob starts to scoop his sister up in his arms when the security light goes on. He makes a dash for the pool house, and you freeze.

Finn storms out the back door, followed quickly by Heather. She has her shoes in one hand, and she’s holding one dangerously like a weapon as she continues to hiss at Finn. He whirls around and grabs her wrists, and Heather’s eyes go wide in shock.

“Look. You read the same notes I read. You know how much Jacob knows. How much is this whole thing worth to you?”

“How much?” Heather’s no longer whispering. “Do you have any idea what kind of power we’d gain if we go through with this? To hell with Jacob and Neil and their whole crazy group of weirdos. They’d never be able to stop us. And all we need for the final step is that elixir. The elixir you promised to get for your ‘special punch.’ The one you swore was in new boy’s locker. The one you don’t have,” she finishes, punctuating each word with a stab of her stiletto.

“It’s that stupid geek bitch’s fault,” Finn growls. “Look, just give me a little more time.”

Before you can get too indignant over Finn’s words, there’s a rustle from the hedges by the back fence. Neil, you think. Heather and Finn stiffen and look toward the noise.

“I’ll take care of it, Heather. You just start getting ready for tomorrow’s party,” Finn says, heading slowly toward the sound. Heather turns to go…not in the house, but the pool house! Just then, Kayleigh’s eyes snap open…and look straight at you, cowering behind a tree. You make a shushing motion, but Kayleigh still starts to move.


Do you:

A.  burst out from behind the tree, armed with nothing but a vaguely stake-ish tree branch, to create a diversion and save Jacob and Neil?

B.  sneak back the way you came, run to the front door and ring the doorbell? If you’re fast enough, maybe that’ll be enough to rescue your friends.

C.  run like hell back to Jacob’s car, break the window, grab your cell phone out of your backpack and call 911 on your way back to your safe, warm house?

Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.