20. Immaculate Misconception

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“All those planes, trains, cars…what do you think they accomplish? I mean, in the grand scheme of things?”

Geoff stopped. “They get us around.”

“To where?” I didn’t know why we were arguing. I didn’t believe most of what I said, but Geoff’s complacence was irritating. I was changed somehow, maybe even superior.

“Jesus, man.” Geoff ran a hand through his hair. “From point A to point B.”

“I think they take travel away from us. If you walked, you would go twice as far…”

I stopped in the middle of my sarcastic response: Emily was leaning against the blue aluminum of my car, smoking a cigarette.

“I have to go,” I told Geoff.

“Because of the beautiful woman on your car?” Geoff asked, pointing at her.


“You’re my ride. I can’t get a ride home because of that girl? What kind of friend are you?”

Before I framed a response, she dropped the cigarette onto the ground and rubbed it with the toe of a treacherously high-heeled shoe. “I’m his sister, Moira,” Emily lied. “And you are?”

“I’m Geoff,” he said. “Fan-freaking-tastic to meet you. Jacob never mentioned a sister.”

“Figures,” Emily said. “He’s so shy about his personal life.”

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Our vacation, stupid,” Emily said, grinning behind the giant sunglasses that made her look like a praying mantis.

“Right,” I said quietly. “Vacation. I remember now.”

I had no idea what Emily planned, but I couldn’t refuse.

“Where are you two going?” Geoff asked, sliding over to Emily.

“Point B,” I told him. “And it’s family only, I’m afraid. Em…er, uh…Moira, let’s go.”

“What’s this?” I asked once we’d pulled away from the school parking lot. “He’s going to think we’re actually related, you know. Jesus, Emily, what is it with you?”

Secretly, I was thrilled. I couldn’t let Emily know that, though.

“We are related, at least for the foreseeable future…and you’re not going to call me ‘Emily,’ either.”

“All right. Lay it on me, then—what’s the story?”

“Eureka happened. For now, I’m Moira, and I’m twenty-five. See?” Emily reached into a large black and white polka-dotted purse and pulled out a driver’s license. The girl in the picture was named Moira Blocker and looked vaguely like Emily, save Moira’s sunken eyes and long nose. Behind the sunglasses, they might pass for each other. “I’m your sister,” the disturbed, would-be college freshman went on. “I’m vacationing from England, where I moved when I was eight to study ballet. You and your dad grew up in the trailer because all your money went to funding my classes. Eventually, I was a star all over Europe, until I broke my ankle on the biggest day of my biggest competition, ending my future as an international dance superstar. Now I’m bitter and lost, so I came back to my roots to find myself.”

“You made all that up, right? That’s awful. And where’d you get the ID?”

“Yup, I made it up. And I stole this,” Emily grinned, nodding toward the polka-dot purse.

“Purse snatching?”

“It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing…well, spur of the fifteen minutes, anyway. And if we play Eureka, we can’t have anything, right? So what’s the problem with borrowing what you need? I’m going to give it back…eventually, whenever I’m done with Moira.”

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