Chapter 10

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Vanessa glanced back and forth between Kayla and me. "Who's Jack?"

"Um, just some boy Mazie knew from back in Spokane." She kicked me under the table. "Right, Mazie?"

My mouth gaped open and I realized I was still facing Jack's double. Twins. That was it. Blake had an identical twin who died. But that didn't make sense. Kayla would have known about him if that were the case.

Darren brushed his hand over mine. It touched me briefly and then he pulled back. "If you stare at him too long, you'll turn into a pillar of salt."

I blinked hard and swiveled so I was facing Kayla again. "Sorry..." This was not the time to explain to new people about my ghost situation. "Blake just reminds me of someone I know. He looks so much like him, it's crazy." I emphasized this last line for Kayla's benefit.

"Well, I hope their looks are the only thing they have in common." Vanessa scowled in Blake's direction. "Blake Sumner is not nice. He told the whole school last year that Lydia Niece had chlamydia."

My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. I didn't know how to make sense of all this. "That's awful. I can't believe someone would lie like that just to hurt another person."

"Oh, it wasn't a lie. She did have chlamydia. But still. You don't go telling everyone. It was personal information. That's what she gets for trying to be a Popular, I guess."

The three friends talked about video games and the teachers they either loved or hated for the rest of lunch. I barely joined in. Usually my lack of conversational participation would have been rooted in the fact that I most likely had never played the video game or seen the show or taken a class with the teacher. In this case, though, all social anxiety had been replaced with total confusion. I didn't have a chance to talk to Kayla alone until after lunch on our way to sixth period.

"What the hell was going on back there, Mazie? I think your brain short circuited because I could have sworn you said Blake was your little ghost friend."

I stopped walking and pulled her over to the wall. "He is, Kayla. I'm not making this up. I don't understand it, but Jack looks exactly like Blake."

Kayla crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. "I don't know what kind of game you're playing, but that's not possible. For better or for worse, Blake is still on this side of the dirt heap."

I flinched. I wasn't good at arguing with friends and this felt very much like the beginning of an argument. "I don't know what to say. I wouldn't believe me if I were you either, but it's the truth." If only she could see Jack, then this misunderstanding would be over and done with.

She sighed. "My class is at the end of the hallway. Yours is right there." She pointed to a room across from us. "I don't know what to say either but we're still on for driving around town, right?"

Relief hit me so hard, I practically toppled over. "You still want to do that, even though you probably think I'm out of my mind?"

"I haven't made a final decision on your capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality, but yeah, we're still on." She uncrossed her arms. "Bell's about to ring. Gotta go. Meet me in the parking lot after school!"

After school. Such a sweet phrase. I entered my next class, Communications, and scanned the room for the spot least likely to draw attention to myself. No sooner had I sunk into the chair than I realized I was being stared at. Not new. People had been staring all day. But this felt particularly intense, so intense that I whipped my head around, ready to fumble my way through a bit of awkward small talk that would indicate to the staring person that I wasn't someone they really wanted to get to know.

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