Chapter Three: Counseling

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Freddie was defeated. Destroyed. Devastated.

The entire ride to school had been a melancholic affair of soaking clothes and soaking biscuits. No one had said anything. All the fun from before had vanished, and as far as Freddie was concerned, the keychain's magic must have ended.

Justin Timberlake and his ramen noodle hair had betrayed her. Theo Porter was the actual devil. A pox on him and a pox on Roberta Hughes Preparatory School.

At least she hadn't been wearing Buffy today—her Nikon F100 that she'd saved up all year to buy. Usually Buffy lived around her neck, but Freddie had loaned it to her mom the day before, and fussy, obsessive Mom had yet to return it.

Freddie stared dejectedly into her locker. Her wool sweater and scarf stank in that manure way that only wool could, and she didn't have anything else to wear.

She moaned and banged her head against the metal frame. "Where's a samurai sword to fall on when you need it?"

The gentle beeps emanating from behind her door told her Divya wasn't listening. She was playing Snake again. Damned video game would be the death of society.

She slammed the door shut. Only to find it wasn't Divya standing there. It was Kyle, and in his right hand was a letterman jacket. In his left was a Nokia, which he was now looking up from.

"Hello," Freddie said cleverly.

"Hello," he responded with a smile. "I brought you this to wear, since I think your sweater might be..." His nose curled ever so slightly.

She flushed.

"You don't have to wear it, though," he added quickly, a blush coloring his cheeks. "I just thought you might—"

"Yes." Freddie snatched it from him with far too much enthusiasm. Then laughed, high-pitched and panicky. "Thank you. I...I'll return it after school."

"Sounds good." He shifted his weight. Tapped his Nokia. Then blurted, "What are you doing this afternoon?"

Freddie's breath caught. "Uh...nothing. Homework, I guess."

"On a Friday?" His green eyes widened.

"Er..." Freddie wasn't about to admit that she and Divya usually played Witchlands or Magic: The Gathering on Friday nights

Kyle angled in closer, and Freddie prayed her breath didn't stink of biscuits. He was so close—close enough that she could smell him. A soft, manly soap smell that made her want to produce strange, guttural noises in the back of her throat.

"Wanna hang out?" he asked.

She nodded slowly. "Wh-where?"

The bell rang, a blaring sound that pierced her skull. She jumped. Kyle jumped. Then he laughed and drew back. "I'll come find you after school." He flashed another flawless smile, and she couldn't help but notice as he sauntered down the hall, that his white shirt was still damp from the water balloons—and therefore deliciously clingy.

She watched until he was long gone. Until every person in the hall had filed out and Principal Tamura snapped at her get to class. Then she frantically peeled off her sweater and slipped into Kyle's jacket.

It smelled divine.

She raced down the mustard halls, carried on a cloud of wonderment. Kyle Friedman had asked her out. He had asked her to meet at a place, for some time.

As she coasted blissfuly through trig, then English, then history, she had once again decided Fridays were the most perfect day of the week. Theo Porter hadn't ruined it—he'd made it amazing. Theo Porter and a Justin Timberlake keychain.

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