On the way to the coffee shop, I realize two very important things. One: Grandam had taken the car to the market. That meant there was no way we would get home before her, she had no qualms about using the EE drive at every chance she could and blocking up the emergency vehicle pathway. Two: if Jestine had a boyfriend now, maybe she could pass as me at the Ghoul Ball and take him as her guest. Then I was free to wallow in unrestricted normalness at home. It wasn't as if anyone would think to question her; I was always the one with problems. Last year, at the dance at school one chaperon became so convinced I was a runaway from the Fairy School of 'Flying, Flipping, and other Faerial Activities' that she called the police, and that lovely bunch took me down to the station before they got my identity straightened out. She still gives me suspicious glances in the hall. I was only a little insulted, worse things had happened before.

There was that one time where someone thought I was an exchange student and kept trying to talk to me in Pixish, I told them I was not a pixie but a witch, and they laughed about the 'crazy pixie' all week, until someone informed them I did actually attend our school. I resented that, but what could I say really? I mean, who could blame them?

"Hey, Tasia, you're awfully quiet. Don't you want to meet Tim?"

"Sure I do, J, it's just I'm thinking about the ball. Would you want to go without me?" I cross my fingers, but the look I receive is enough to answer that question.

"Tasy, how could you even say that?"

I don't know, maybe because the ball haunted me and was in a reoccurring nightmare where I turned into a horseshoe at the end?

"It was only a question."

"Okay." Jestine stops, and pulls me over to a small doorway. This is the coffee shop where nerd/hunky works. Lovely. "Now, Tasy, please don't do anything embarrassing. Remember the zoo?"

Oh, gee, Jestine, thanks for bringing up one of the most humiliating moments of my life. That helps me quite a bit. A llama tried to eat my hair once, and there was a fire, and some caramel and ostrich hunters involved. Don't even ask, it's not worth the pain.

"Okay, come on."

We walk in, and from Jestine's grin and extremely pointed looks, I know immediately who Tim is. Oh my, how he has changed. I have to applaud Jestine's taste, Tim, though still semi-nerd, is a hot nerd, if such a species exists.



Wow. They had such scintillating conversation.

"Hello, Timothy. I'm Tasia, Jestine's cousin. How are you today?" I think it might be funny to imitate Ms. Cleaver. Obviously, Jestine does not, because she kicks me in the shins, hard.

"You're her cousin?" he asks, raising his eyebrows. I don't like him.

"No, actually, I'm a spy from Mars in this stunningly inconspicuous disguise hiding out in the crime capital of Earth to make sure all the mochachinos are made correctly, because of course, that un-exact amount of creamer could land you in the big house, my friend."

"Tasia!" Jestine wails, deciding this meeting isn't exactly to her liking, well, guess what, my little witchy coz, I loathe smug eyebrow raisers!

"We really have to be home now, Timmy, you know how my Grandam gets." Jestine says this in a sweet, syrupy tone and I know what tone I'll be getting on the way home.

Sure enough, as soon as we're out of the shop, Jestine starts berating me.

"Tasia! How can you get so defensive? He hardly said a thing, and you're already acting like he's the biggest idiot on the planet."

"How do you know he isn't?"


This lasts all the way home, and I hope that something normal awaits. However, I should always know that normal is never the case in our family.