Chapter Twenty-Two

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School is fairly normal the next day, at least as normal as it can be when I'm stuck in junior classes, trapped in my sister's body. Despite Christina's biting words, I'm sure that my spell is what caused us to switch bodies. I want to start working on a spell to get us back where we belong, but without my spell book, I feel totally powerless. I guess I could try to scribe on a loose sheet of paper or something, but considering that I've only just started to feel any confidence in my spells at all, I'm afraid that if I do anything out of the ordinary, whatever I come up with won't work.

Besides, it's really hard to meditate and find my Zen headspace in Christina's classes; it's not like I'm totally comfortable in my own skin, but now I'm hyper-aware of the fact that I'm not who I look like, and I second and third guess every thought that comes into my head, trying to make sure I don't do anything that lets anyone around me realize that I'm an imposter. Christina gave me a better briefing on things like classes and friends and stuff after the first day, so I don't feel quite as lost, but it's still like walking across eggshells.

The worst part of the day has nothing to do with pretending to be Christina. In the halls on the way to the bus after school, I catch a glimpse of Miah, and my heart speeds up. He's leaning against a locker, totally at ease, talking to someone, and at first, I'm sure it's Becca. But then the crowd parts and I realize he's talking to me.

Not me, me. But Christina in my body. And she's batting her eyelashes at him and leaning forward, almost like she's waiting for him to kiss her...and Miah looks like he might be considering it. I freeze, watching them.

Christina twirls a piece of my hair around her finger, a move that looks totally vapid to me, but Miah's eyes follow the movement, and he leans even closer to her. There is no way I'm getting my first kiss when I'm not even in my body! I want to scream, to stomp my feet, anything to break their concentration from each other, but then Becca elbows through the hallway, her backpack swinging deliberately into Christina, and my sister stumbles, breaking eye contact with Jeremiah. Becca doesn't apologize or stop, but I feel like I can breathe again, because in the pause, Miah's taken a step back like he just remembered he's standing in the middle of a crowded school rather than out somewhere in a romantic, moonlit location.

Still, my blood is boiling when I get on the bus, and I'm ready to break all the rules and sit with Christina just so I can find out what, exactly, she was doing talking to the boy I'm obsessed with, but the bus fills and there's no sign of my sister. When we finally pull away from the curb, I feel the sick certainty in my gut that Miah took me driving again...but this time, it's Christina riding shotgun.

Mom takes one look at my face as I stomp through the house and pauses. "Honey, are you okay?"

I freeze, remembering that as far as she's concerned, I'm my sister. Have I ever seen Christina stomp around like that? I can't remember. I try to look unconcerned, but I can still feel the way anger is twisting my features, and Mom takes a long look at me.

"All this studying is getting to be too much," she finally declares, setting down the towel she carried out of the kitchen. She must have been unloading the dishwasher, and the part of me that's still Shelby wants to offer to help, but then I realize that Christina never, ever volunteers to do chores anymore, and I grit my teeth.

"It's not that," I finally say, and Mom quirks an eyebrow at me.

"Whatever it is, you've been wound up lately. I'm declaring this afternoon an official day off.

"Seriously?" But the test is so soon, I want to remind her. Christina wouldn't take a day off; I know that for sure, but Mom's right. I need to get away from everything. "What did you have in mind instead?"

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