Prologue

1987

Six-year-old Cadence Carrington had a very wild and active imagination. Nothing in her world was ordinary, nothing in her world was normal. Her best friend, Paris Montgomery, a boy whom she had lived beside since they were babies, was frequently alarmed by her many adventures and schemes, but she was a lot of fun, so he went along with her anyway. In the back of his mind, though, was the clear memory of her convincing him that he had to fly down the big hill on his brother's skateboard to save her from a dragon. He'd made it maybe a yard down the hill before he lost his balance and rolled off of the skateboard onto the street, acquiring many scrapes and bruises in the process. Cadence insisted that the dragon's tail had knocked him off of his "magic carpet" and if Paris had been more "observient," then he wouldn't have gotten hurt. He agreed, to stay out of an argument, but secretly thought his best friend could be a little crazy sometimes. Like today for instance…

Today, Cadence had somehow talked him into sitting as high as they could go in the climbing tree in her backyard to spy on her older sister, Camille, who was eleven. Paris felt uneasy about the whole situation, but even if things with Cadence were dangerous, they were always fun. He turned to Cadence, who was still dressed in her tutu from ballet practice, carrying a fairy wand and a handful of glitter.

"What are we doing up here, again?"

"Perry, I've told you fifty bazillion times already," she sighed exasperatedly. "We're on a stakeout."

"I don't see any food…" he said suspiciously.

"Not that kind of steak, doofus―"

"Hey!"

"Sorry…but we're on the kind of stakeout that Inspector Gadget and Dick Tracy do."

"Oh yeah! We're spying on Camille."

"We're not spying…it's a stakeout."

"Right. Why are we spying…I mean stake-outing Camille?" he asked curiously. Paris thought Camille was rather bossy, but she wasn't a criminal.

"Because she thinks she can boss me around, but I'm gonna tell mommy on her once I see her kissing David."

"Ew!" Paris screwed up his face. "We're sitting up here to watch your sister kiss David? Cady…"

"C'mon, Perry…I don't want to sit up here alone," she pleaded.

"Well, okay then…but I'm not looking."

Cadence gasped. "Sh! Here they come!"

They watched as Camille and David made their way to the climbing tree and stood directly below Cadence and Paris, who were mostly hidden by the thick, green foliage.

"How did you know they were going to be out here anyway?" Paris asked in a whisper.

"Listened in on the phone," Cadence answered, grinning impishly. He shook his head as she watched the scene below, but Camille and David were only talking.

"You ready?" David asked.

"Yeah," Camille smiled.

"Okay…" David began to move in.

"Wait!" Camille screeched; David looked confused. "How many seconds, you think?"

David appeared to think about it "five."

"That sounds good."

"Okay…" he began to move in again.

"Wait!" Camille screeched.

"What now?" David sighed.

"Okay, I'm ready," she smiled. This time David didn't even bother to give an introduction and just mashed his lips against hers. Paris tried, but he couldn't contain himself.

"Eeeeew!"

"What was that?" Camille gasped suddenly, looking up. David had just begun to poke his tongue into her mouth, like he had seen the people on the movies do it, so he was left with his tongue dangling from his mouth stupidly.

"Perry!" Cadence said angrily. "You ruin everything!" And she slapped him on the shoulder, letting the glitter confetti fall from her hand.

"My eyes!" Camille shrieked.

"Uh oh," Cadence muttered. "When I say go, jump from the backside of the tree and run!"

"Wha―"

"One…"

"Cady, I don't think―"

"Two…"

"My EYES!"

"Cady!"

"Three!"

"Hey, what are you….aaaaah!"

Cadence had pushed Paris from the tree and jumped down after him; fortunately he had good reflexes and they weren't that high up, otherwise he'd probably have a broken bone or two.

"You little brats," Camille hissed through her tears. David had long since gone. "You ruin everything!"

"I'm telling mo-om, I'm telling mo-om," Cadence sang, running across the yard waving her fairy wand. Paris took one look at the sisters chasing one another and ran next door to his house. "Cammie's kissing bo-oys!" followed him into the house. He closed the door and rested against it, breathing heavily.

His father took one look at his expression and chuckled. "The girl next door getting you into trouble again?"

"She's crazy!" Paris gasped.

"One day, you're going to love that about her."

Paris stared at his father blankly before stalking up to his room. "Is everyone around here crazy?"

His father's laughter followed him.

"I'm SERIOUS!" Paris hollered.