Chapter 9

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"So, what's the deal with your car?" I asked Trey the next morning when we met outside my house to walk to school together. "Is insurance going to cover the cost of a new one?"

"Why, are you already in the market to upgrade to a boyfriend who can drive you to school?"

I swatted him. "No! I'm just curious. I know how much you loved that car."

"Don't know. I don't think I'm going to be ready to get behind the wheel again for a long time."

We were in the middle of a long stretch of bad weather, with rain soaking our small town every morning. Trey insisted on holding an umbrella over my head as we walked. It hadn't occurred to me that it might be strange for him to ever drive a car again after the accident. He seemed distant and uninterested in talking about cars, so I quickly changed the subject, not wanting to put him in a bad mood.

"So, did James W. Listerman have anything interesting to say about Violet?" I asked.

"Well, she told you she could hear voices, right? That spirits tell her things? That condition, if she's not lying and she is really able to hear things, is called clairaudience."

"Like clairvoyance, only hearing instead of seeing."

"Exactly," Trey confirmed. "Obviously, not everyone has that kind of ability, so Listerman's writings suggest one of two possibilities. Either Violet first discovered that she had the power to hear communications from spirits because one particular spirit who had known her during their own life reached out to her, or because she's close to someone that another spirit wants to reach, and can't."

A sweeping sensation of coldness filled my body. I wasn't ready to tell Trey that I thought there might be a possibility that Jennie was behind some of this. But what he had said certainly fit with my theory that perhaps Jennie had reached out to Violet in an attempt to get to me.

"So I guess the question is: has anyone very close to Violet died during her own lifetime? Like a parent or a grandparent?" Trey asked.

I had no clue how to go about trying to casually figure that out.

During gym, Coach Stirling did me the disservice of selecting both me and Mischa as volleyball team captains, forcing us to select our classmates one by one until two teams had been formed for a gym class scrimmage. It provided us with an opportunity to suggest our imaginary rivalry. We glared at each other as we made our selections, and I enjoyed the look of pleased surprise that crossed Violet's face when I chose her first for my team. In a surprising twist of events, my team actually won both of the two matches we managed to squeeze into our fifty-minute gym class, which would have probably felt more meaningful if I cared at all about volleyball. The nasty expression on Mischa's face as we all headed back into the locker room made me have to remind myself that we were only pretending to fight.

At lunch time, Violet, Tracy, and I worked on our speeches for the election. We were expected to give one-minute speeches over the high school audio system on Friday during Homeroom after announcements. I had never really given much thought to public speaking, but now that it was suddenly and unavoidably in my future, it was pointless to deny that I was terrified. Violet wrote an outline for herself in her spiral notebook that was so concise and well-crafted that I wondered if she had secretly worked on it all weekend and was only pretending to write down her first draft alongside me and Tracy. Tracy's speech was going to be based on her optimism about event planning. She wanted to promise future dances, a junior class Halloween party, a junior class holiday party, and she seemed insistent on offering the idle promise of a junior class sleep-away ski weekend in Michigan.

"How are we going to have two class trips in one year?" I challenged her.

"Well, your speech could be about extra fundraising activities," Tracy smiled back at me viciously.

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