After Tiffany left, Vanessa was silent. She rifled through her own things without paying attention and reflected on Tiffany’s cryptic statement about saying hi to Chad. Tiffany was in boarding school when she was dating him, so she never really saw him. Why would she say bring him up?
There was no telling when she’d come back. Brad lay back on the pillow, holding his foot over his head and playing with his toe. “So, when do I get to move in?”
“Um—” she said, opening and shutting the drawers of her jewelry box, “—I don’t know. What did you want to eat?” What did Tiffany mean by her statement about Chad?
“Ya really want to know?” Brad asked. “Well—”
Vanessa spun around. “You know what? I think she stole some of my jewelry. My ring. I can’t find my ring. I have to go check her stuff now—”
Brad dropped his foot and sat up. “What ring? I never gave you a ring. Hey, wait a minute!” He started to get up but Vanessa pushed him back down.
“You stay here. I’ll be right back.” Brad laughed and gave a thumbs-up.
She looked back and forth in the hallway before darting into Tiffany’s bedroom. Tiffany’s bedroom was an homage to every phase she ever went through in her life, from boy bands to goth to Grace Kelly. Clothes fell out of half-open dresser drawers or dangled off the bed posts. Stuffed bears sat alongside skulls. The walls were covered with posters of singers and movies, though not of anything popular during the middle school years when she was away at boarding school.
Vanessa didn’t know where to begin. She picked a coat up off the floor and felt in the pockets. She looked under the bed and pulled out a cardboard box. It contained rocks, scrunchies, and newspaper clippings about certain actors and actresses, drownings, abductions, and advertisements for erectile dysfunction medication. She replaced the lid on the box and slid it back under the bed.
She wrapped one arm around herself and pushed her bangs back with her other hand. If she didn’t find her witchcraft stuff soon, there was no telling what would happen to her and Tiffany. Vanessa well remembered how she herself couldn’t do anything without the spirit telling her what to do.
She opened the desk drawer and rifled through the contents. Underneath some coloring book pages, Vanessa found three photographs cut from a yearbook. They were of her three—well, let’s not call them victims—her three—persons of interest that were the subject of her dabbling with the spirits. She couldn’t remember the names of two of them. One photo was of an emo girl with too much black eye makeup, badly-dyed green hair, and a big lopsided smile. The second one was of a male with a pale face, dirty black hair, and squinting eyes. No smile. The one who screwed everything up for her.
Bad, Vanessa, bad.
The third picture she easily recognized, a football player with chiseled jaw, blond hair, and overhanging brow. Her boyfriend at the time. Chad. She forgot how good he looked. Brad’s muscles were better, of course, but—
Okay, maybe Vanessa wasn’t fair to the three of them at the time. But Chad really should have just called her the next morning. Was that too much to ask for? Okay, and maybe the others didn’t deserve to have a spell cast on them, either. But the spirit wanted three souls. Well, that creepy guy ended the spell anyway, so no harm, no foul.
She continued her search. There was another photograph, this time of her and Chad in the school newspaper after his team won the big game. God, her hairstyle looked dated. But she looked so slim in that slinky dress that it didn’t really matter what her hair looked like. Vanessa glanced up in the mirror and turned sideways. Maybe once she was settled in the new place, she could try the juice and laxatives diet again.
Back to the desk. There was something keeping her from shutting the drawer completely. She pulled the entire drawer out and felt around in the back. There were other items—more photos, clumps of hair, and some of her own personal things. She jammed the drawer back onto the track and shoved it in. There were no traces of the stuff she was looking for, but she did learn one thing—she needed to get the hell away from Tiffany.