As far as theories went, it wasn't a bad one, and I nodded. But Anderson was right: Why Beth now?
"Is there any connection between Beth and Mr. Snyder?" I asked, trying to look innocent. "Any reason the same thing that was after him would go after her?"
Romy sat on a desk, pulling her knees up and staring into space. "Nothing I can think of. Beth didn't even have biology this semester."
Silence fell over the trailer, the only sound Anderson's tapping at his teeth and the occasional car going by. Then Dex dropped his feet to the floor and proclaimed, "Look, I'm just going to say what everyone is thinking. Maybe history is repeating itself here. Maybe Beth and Mr. Snyder had a thing, like Mary and Mr. Gross Teacher."
Romy, Anderson, and I screwed up our faces at that, but I had to admit, it was a solid idea, and it did point even more to Mary Evans's being the actual culprit. And all I needed to know to make this place ghost-free was the "who."
Romy had clicked on something else now, a picture. It showed several people all dressed in clothes from the turn of the twentieth century. They were standing on a big lawn, and a few of the boys were holding tennis rackets. In the back, there was a girl with light hair and big eyes, a red circle drawn around her face. "That's Mary," Romy said, tapping the screen.
Dex leaned over my desk to get a better look, and I caught a whiff of some nice, woodsy scent. "She was pretty," he observed. "If I were her, I'd be chilling out in heaven, hitting on hot dead guys. Not hanging around here accosting chemistry teachers."
"She feels tied to this place," Anderson said, pointing his pencil at the laptop. "Until she gets some kind of justice, she's always going to hang around here."
It was very hard to bite my tongue on that, but I managed. Just like the rumors surrounding vampires, there's all kinds of wrong information about ghosts. If Mary Evans was stuck in this place, all the justice in the world wouldn't make her leave. She'd keep hanging around until someone put her to rest.
Romy shut down the computer. "So I'm thinking seance?"
My head shot up. "Wait, what?"
"We can contact Mary Evans through a seance," Anderson said. He nodded to the corner of the room, where a Ouija board, still in its box, sat on one of the desks. "See if we can talk to her, figure out if she's here. Maybe this weekend?"
Crap. I didn't know who invented Ouija boards, but whoever that guy was, he was a jerk. This place already had one dangerous spirit floating around; it didn't need something else called forth from a Ouija board.
"Are you guys sure that's the best idea? I mean, Ouija boards don't work, right?"
Anderson looked like I'd just insulted his grand-mother. "Of course they work. I mean, we've never tried one before, but on TV-"
"On TV, EMP readers work," Dex threw in. "And in reality, yours just has a lot of blinky lights."
"I've only had it for a few weeks, so we don't really know what the blinky lights do yet," Anderson replied, and Dex raised his hands in surrender.
"Boys." Romy sighed with a weariness that told me this wasn't the first time she'd stopped their squabbling. "Anderson's EMP reader is awesome and a very valuable tool for this club. And so is that Ouija board. So. As soon as I can find a free night when I don't have to babysit my brothers, we are going to get our seance on."
Dex snorted. "So will be doing the seance next summer, then?" To me, he added, "Romy is forever babysitting her little monsters."
He said it so easily, but most Prodigium I knew hate the term "monster." They find it offensive, and would never use it in casual conversation. Once again, I wondered just what the heck Dex was.
Sighing, he sat up and thumped his feet to the ground. "I for one cannot wait to hear the thrilling story behind why Mary Evans decided to upgrade from opening locker doors to attempted murder."
Romy ignored him and held up her hand for a high five. "So, Izzy Brannick, are you ready for your first experience with the paranormal?"
I slapped her palm, not sure whether I should laugh or cry. "As I'll ever be."
"I don't think Everton really loves her."
"Of course he does," I told Torin around a mouthful of SpaghettiOs. "I mean, he gave up his dream of sailing across the world so that he could take her to prom. That has to mean something."
It was Friday night, and Torin and I were sitting in my room-well, I was. He was chilling in the mirror as usual, waiting for Mom to get home. When I'd come in from school, there'd been a note saying she'd be back later and I should fend for myself as far as dinner went. Hence the SpaghettiOs.
"No, I've known rogues like this Everton. He merely wants Leslie because he cannot have her. Once she succumbs to his charms, he'll tire of her."
I pointed my spoon at the screen, where Everton and Leslie were currently locked in a pretty passionate embrace. "Think she's already succumbed."
"Bah," Torin said with a wave of his hand. "Mark my words, he'll discard her before this disk is completed."
I just shrugged, more interested in watching Everton and Leslie kiss than listening to Torin. I wondered if I'd ever have the chance to kiss someone. Didn't seem likely with all the monster hunting and family angst, but still. Kissing looked...nice.
"We could try that, next time I visit your dreams," Torin suddenly said, and my SpaghettiOs sloshed over the side of the bowl.
Torin nodded toward the television. "Kissing. You've never done it, I'm quite good at it...seems like we should at least make an attempt."
Glaring at him, I scrubbed at the spot on my T-shirt. "I don't want to kiss you."
Raising his eyebrows, Torin leaned forward. "Do you not? Why?"
I sat my bowl on the desk, no longer interested in eating. "First of all, you're an evil warlock trapped in a mirror, and secondly, it would be...weird."
He shrugged. "Not unless you wanted it to be."
I had no idea what that even meant, so I just turned back to the TV. "I've known you my whole life," I told him, keeping my eyes on Everton and Leslie. "You basically used to babysit me when Mom and Finn were out on missions. So kissage is out of the question."
I expected him to tease me about that, but instead he waved it away. "Very well. Just thought I'd offer."
"Thanks but no thanks," I muttered, my face flaming. Now Everton and Leslie were arguing, but I'd missed what they were fighting about, and truth be told, I couldn't pay much attention anyway. I'd meant what I'd said about kissing Torin being weird. But then wouldn't it be weird with any boy I kissed?
I snuck a look at Torin out of the corner of my eye. Practice kissing in a dream wouldn't be like real kissing, after all. And-
No. No, no, no. That was a stupendously dumb idea. Torin was four hundred years older than me, and dangerous and trapped in a freaking mirror. My life had always been odd, but I wasn't about to let it get that odd.
I reached up and hit stop on the DVD player. "Okay, that's enough Ivy Springs for today."
Torin made a sound of protest. "But Leslie was just accusing him of fancying that other girl, Lila! And I was so sure Everton was moments away from throwing her over at last!"
"We'll watch more tomorrow," I promised him. "Now, you-"
I was interrupted by an insistent buzzing coming from somewhere in my backpack.
"What on earth is that?" Torin asked, and suddenly I remembered: my cell phone.
I scrambled to get it out of my bag. "Mom?"
There was a pause and then, "Um, no? Is this...is this Izzy?"
It was a boy. What boy would be-and then I remembered my second day of school, giving Adam this number. "Adam! Uh. Hi."
"Oh, this is scintillating," Torin muttered, and I threw him a look over my shoulder.
"So," Adam said, "I was calling because there's a basketball game tonight, and I thought you might want to, uh, come with me."
When I didn't say anything immediately, he rushed on. "I know it's really last minute, but it starts in like an hour, and we can just meet there if you want, or I can pick you up, or...whatever."
I glanced down at my SpaghettiO-stained T-shirt, my mind racing. A boy, coming to my house. To pick me up and take me somewhere. That was totally a date.
And I wasn't sure I was ready for that yet.
"I'll meet you there," I told him. Hopefully Mom would be home soon, and if not, well, I could walk. After I changed into something not smeared with tomato sauce, obviously.
"Great!" he said, a little too loud.
"Yeah!" I exclaimed back, trying to match his enthusiasm. In the mirror, Torin didn't roll his eyes so much as his whole body.
"So an hour, at the school. I'll meet you there."
"Right," I agreed, hoping we could be done with this soon. My hands were starting to sweat. How come no one on Ivy Springs ever had these awkward phone moments? Leslie had probably never had sweaty palms in her life, not even when Everton called to tell her he was breaking up with her so that she could go to art school in Italy.
Finally Adam said, "See you then," and I breathed a silent sigh of relief. "Okay. Um...bye."
That done, I tossed my phone on the bed and turned my attention to my closet.
"Whatever shall you wear?" Torin observed, propping his chin in his hand. "Let's see, there's the black T-shirt with black jeans. Or perhaps, if you're going for elegance over function, you could wear the black T-shirt with black jeans. Ooh!" He sat up, widening his eyes. "Do you know what would be particularly fetching? The black-"
"T-shirt with black jeans," I finished for him. "Hilarious."
But looking at my closet, he did have a point. Other than that pink hoodie, my closet was a sea of sameness. A sea of black. And I didn't have the faintest idea what girls wore to basketball games.
Gripping the closet door with one hand, I leaned in and fished out a T-shirt. "You are being stupid," I muttered under my breath. "You have a ghost to hunt, and you are panicking over clothes."
Even though I hadn't been talking to Torin-and he knew it-he acted as though I had been. "But these things are all related, yes? The ghost and fitting in with these pathetic children. You are not fretting about clothing. You're merely trying to best maintain your cover."
Torin could be hugely annoying and a major pain in the butt, but every once and a while he said things I really needed to hear. So I threw him a very small smile before tossing a towel over my mirror.
"You know I wouldn't look," he said. "I am quite offended right now!"
Once I was in a clean shirt, I reached up to touch my hair. It was still back in the tight braid I wore every day, and for a second I thought about leaving it like that. But no, I needed to look a little different than I did at school, right?
So I unraveled the braid, combing it out with my fingers, until my hair fell in waves around my shoulders. That fixed, I grabbed a tube of lip balm out of my bag and coated my lips. I didn't own any makeup, and I knew Mom didn't have any either, so it was the best I could do.