Unearthly Page 40

“Really? You don’t think I’d look ridiculous?”

“Try it on.”

She snatches it out of my hand and runs into the closet to try it.

“You’re too tall,” she whines through the door.

“That’s what heels are for.”

“You have bigger boobs than I do.”

“Impossible.”

The door swings open. She stands there uncertainly, her long golden brown hair tumbling around her neck and shoulders. The gown sags around her feet, but it’s nothing a hem won’t fix.

“You look amazing.” I rummage around in my jewelry box for the matching sparkly necklace. “We should go into Jackson tomorrow and find you some earrings. Too bad the nearest mall is all the way in Idaho Falls. Claire’s has the best prom stuff. What is that, like two hours away?”

“Two and a half,” she answers. “But I don’t have pierced ears.”

“I think I can find a potato and a sharp needle.”

She gasps and puts her hands up to cover her earlobes.

“What did you ever do for fun before I came along?” I ask.

“Cow tipping.”

There’s a sharp knock on my door and my mom sticks her head in. Wendy instantly flushes to the roots of her hair and starts backing toward the closet door, but Mom charges right in to look at her.

“What? Dress up! How come I wasn’t invited?” she exclaims.

“Prom. Saturday after next. I told you, remember?”

“Oh yes,” she says. “And you’re not going.” She sounds disappointed.

“Did you want something, Mom?”

“Yes, I wanted to remind you that you and I have a date to practice our yoga tonight.”

It takes me a second to catch up. And freak out a little.

“Couldn’t we do it some other time? I’m kind of busy at the—”

“I know you girls are having such fun, but I have to steal you for some mother-daughter time.”

“I need to go, anyway,” mumbles Wendy. “I’ve got to finish this homework.”

“You look lovely, Wendy,” says Mom, beaming at her. “What about shoes?”

“I think my black pumps will work.”

Mom shakes her head. “No black pumps with that dress.”

“We’re going to look for earrings in Jackson tomorrow,” I offer. “We could look for shoes too.”

Wendy starts to squirm unhappily at the suggestion. There aren’t any shoe stores in Jackson that aren’t priced for tourists.

“Or,” Mom says, “we could skip Jackson and bring out the big guns. Road trip to Idaho Falls this weekend?”

I can’t tell if she’s been eavesdropping or if she and I just think on the same wavelength. “Sometimes,” I tell her with a grin, “it’s like you can read my mind.”

“Wendy doesn’t have a lot of money, you know,” I say to Mom when Wendy is safely off the property. The sun’s setting behind the mountains. I’m standing in a tank top and sweatpants in the backyard, shivering, trying to wrap a wool scarf around my neck. “So this thing in Idaho Falls for shoes, don’t go dragging us into some fancy department store. It will embarrass her.”

“I was thinking Payless,” Mom says primly. “I thought it might be nice to have some girl time. You really haven’t had much of that since we moved here.”

“Okay.”

“I also thought you could bring Angela along. Does she have a date for prom?”

I stop fiddling with the scarf and stare at her. “Yeah. She does.”

“So she can come too.”

“Why?”

“I want to know your friends, Clara. You bring Wendy to the house all the time, but you never bring Angela. So I want to meet her. I think it’s time.”

“Yeah, but—”

“I know you’re nervous about it, but you shouldn’t be,” she says. “I’ll behave.”

It’s not really Mom I’m worried about. Or maybe it is. “Okay, I’ll ask her.”

“Wonderful. Lose the scarf,” says Mom.

“It’s freezing!”

“It could snag.”

She has a point. I dump the scarf.

“Do we have to do this now? I’m taking a class in aerodynamics at school, you know. I’m acing it, by the way.”

“That’s about flying a plane. This is about you. You need to train, Clara. I’ve let you have all winter to get adjusted. Now you need to focus on your purpose so you’ll be ready when fire season starts. It’s only a few months away.”

“I know,” I say glumly.

“Now, please.”

“Okay, fine.”

I unfold my wings behind me. It’s been a while since I’ve had them out. At least it’s gotten easier to summon them; I don’t have to say the words in Angelic anymore. I still think my wings are beautiful—soft and white and perfect as an owl’s. But at the moment they seem huge and silly, like a cheesy prop in a bad movie.

“Good, stretch them out,” says Mom.

I extend them as far as I can, until their weight begins to strain my shoulders.

“To get off the ground you must lighten yourself.” She keeps saying this and I have no clue how to do it.

“Next you’re going to sprinkle me with pixie dust and tell me to think happy thoughts,” I grumble.

“Clear your mind.”

“Done.”

“Starting with the attitude.”

I sigh.

“Try to relax.”

I stare at her helplessly.

“Try closing your eyes,” she says. “Take deep breaths in your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine yourself becoming lighter, your bones weighing less.”

I close my eyes.

“This really is like yoga,” I say.

“You’ve got to empty yourself out, let go of all the things that mentally weigh you down.”

I try to clear my mind. Instead I see Christian’s face. Not from the vision, surrounded by fire and smoke, but a breath away like when he leaned over me on the ski slope. His dark, thick eyelashes. His eyes with their spatters of gold. Full of warmth. The way the corners crinkle when he smiles.

My wings don’t feel as heavy then.

“That’s good, Clara,” says Mom. “Now try to lift off.”

“How?”

“Flap your wings.”

I imagine my wings catching the air the way hers did that time at Buzzards Roost. I think about shooting up into the sky like a rocket, streaking past clouds, brushing the treetops. It’d be wonderful, wouldn’t it, to soar like that? To answer the call of the sky?

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