I take my usual seat next to him in the back. "Truth? I was just thinking about how glad I am that I'm no longer the cursed girl. Now I'm just the weirdo everyone thinks sees dead people. Yay, me."
"For Salem you're actually doing some fast social climbing. I'm pretty sure clairvoyant is only a couple of positions below mayor."
I smile. "Oh yeah? Well then, give me a few years and I'll be running this town."
"You're telling me. I've already started making my list of requests for when you take office." He pauses. "Speaking of weirdness, what was that this morning at breakfast, anyway?"
I shrug like it was nothing, trying to convince myself as much as him. "Is it cool if we don't talk about it? People only recently stopped staring at me with that concerned look."
Jaxon hesitates like he wants to say something, then shakes his head and smiles instead. "As long as you don't start flying around on a broom, I'm good."
Mr. Wardwell lays a few papers on my desk. He's sporting one of his usual tweed blazers. "Some of your makeup work. I still have a few items to grade, and then we can decide what to do about those two missed exams."
The bell rings.
Mr. Wardwell makes his way to his desk and turns toward the class. "Monday really is the best day, isn't it? A full week of history to explore before the weekend."
There are a few grumbles. I look at Lizzie's empty seat and sigh. I can't help but feel partly responsible that she's gone. She was the fourth Descendant, and she had a harder time dealing with what happened than any of us did. She left right after the hanging, and I heard she goes to a boarding school in upstate New York now.
"As you all learned in homeroom this morning, we history teachers are making room in our lesson plans to include the Titanic. As head of the history department, I'm also working with the dance committee and the faculty to make the next two weeks immersive and fun. You're all in for a real treat. It's a fascinating moment in history, ladies and gents. One where approximately fifteen hundred women, children, and men died in an avoidable tragedy." He talks about mass death the same way some people say they won the lotto.
"When the Titanic set sail from England on her maiden voyage in April of 1912, she was the biggest and the most opulent passenger steamship in the world. She was eight hundred eighty-three feet long and was described as a floating city of lights. From the first heated swimming pool to the inlaid mother-of-pearl paneling, the Titanic offered passengers every luxury they could dream of...except enough lifeboats to save them."
We All Have Nightmares
I click my locker shut and check my phone. I already have a text from Jaxon.
Jaxon: With Dillon. Be there in a min.
Me: I've actually got some things to take care of. Don't wait for me to drive home.
I shove my phone into my pocket and head down the hall toward the sports fields. I push the back door of the school open and almost walk into Niki.
"Hey, Sam." She readjusts her navy purse on her cashmere-covered shoulder. I stop short. She never talks to me.
"Sorry I almost hit you with the door," I say.
Niki waves off my apology. "Actually, I wanted to ask you something....Do you know if Jaxon is dating anyone?"
I blink at her. " 'Scuse me?"
"It's just you're always with him," she says, like it's a bad thing. "I figured you would know."
I honestly have no idea how to respond to her. Is she asking me to not hang out with my best friend so she can flirt with him or something? I decide to shift the focus back to her. "What about you and Matt?"
"Over it." Niki twirls a gold bracelet around her wrist. "So if you could just—"
"Piss off, Niki," Alice says from behind me. "Sam isn't going to do jack for you."
Niki narrows her eyes.
Alice grabs my arm and pulls me into the field. The chilly breeze carries the scent of freshly cut grass and the promise of spring.
I look at Alice as we walk. "So you and Niki are close, huh?"
Alice shrugs. "Yeah, we have that thing going where we spend so much time together that we've started to look alike."
Susannah and Mary stand behind the bleachers, black gothic silhouettes against the tree line. Susannah smiles, and her delicate face lights up.
"So what's all the mystery about?" I ask as we approach them. My words sound disjointed. The only times we've spoken, we've had the type of conversation where one person starts to talk, then realizes they don't know what to say, and the whole conversation dissolves.
This excerpt ends on page 15 of the hardcover edition.