The Alchemy of Forever

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

Book: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams Read Free Book Online
Authors: Avery Williams
Tags: General, Juvenile Fiction
clears her throat. “I thought we were forbidden to talk to your brother?” A rosy flush appears under her freckles and a defiant glint flashes in her eyes. She tucks a loose lock of hair behind an ear.
    A look passes between Leyla and Nicole that I don’t understand, and Madison seamlessly changes the subject.
    While the girls prattle on about what to wear to the party, I look around at Kailey’s friends, bonded by years of history and inside jokes. I think of how well I knew Charlotte—that she snorted when she was embarrassed, that she could only memorize things if she made up a song for it—and how well she knew me. My decision to leave the coven was the only secret I had ever kept from her.
    I have been so distracted by waking up as Kailey and by looking for Cyrus’s book that I am only realizing just now how utterly alone I am. No one knows my real name or what I really am. And the thought makes me want to burst into tears.
    But then my phone buzzes and I look down. It’s from Noah; he’s played another word: “friend.” And I wonder if I am not quite as alone as I think.

sixteen
     
    My second day at school is a little easier. I know where I’m going and where to sit. I speak up in my English class, offering my thoughts on Hamlet and impressing the teacher. I eat lunch with Kailey’s friends, still feeling slightly shy, but not like a cannon about to go off. It helps that Nicole has a doctor’s appointment—“Isn’t that, like, her fifth appointment this month?” Chantal asks suspiciously—and isn’t there. Fake it till you make it, Charlotte and I would joke every time we were disoriented after a switch or had to move to a new house we didn’t like, and I repeat the mantra to myself on a continuous loop.
    I have to stay late to make up a French test Kailey had missed when I ditched, but I breeze through it, finishing in a half hour, and dash out the front door with other detention-goers. Bryan’s at practice and Noah’s long gone, so I have to walk. I’ve only gone a few steps when I stop, noticing a pay phone just outside the school.
    All day I’ve been mulling over how to find Taryn. I keep circling back to one idea: calling my car in as stolen. It’s risky, I know—it could raise a lot of questions—but I decide it’s worth it if it means I get Cyrus’s book back. I won’t be able to give them Kailey’s cell, so I quickly download Google Voice and create a second line on her phone with a different number. Then I drop a few quarters in the pay phone and dial the police.
    It rings three times before a perky woman picks up.
    I cross my fingers behind my back, hoping I am doing the right thing, and lower Kailey’s voice to make it sound older. “Hi, I’d like to report a stolen car.”
    I give her the details—the license plate, the fake name I bought the car under, the location where it was stolen, and the new number I just programmed into Kailey’s phone. I hear the woman typing loudly as I speak.
    “I wouldn’t get your hopes up,” she warns. “Stolen cars rarely turn up. The thieves usually change the plates or get it to a chop shop within hours. But we’ll call you if we find anything.”
    I thank her and hang up, then set off toward Kailey’s home, my mind working overtime. I don’t need the car back, I just need to smoke out Taryn. I feel badly possibly getting her arrested, but she really shouldn’t have taken my bag and my car.
    I’m a few blocks away from the Morgans’ house when I hear someone shout Kailey’s name. I turn around and spot a familiar silhouette behind me: Noah is out walking his dog. As they approach, Harker growls at me again, but this time I kneel in front of him and rub his ears.
    “It’s okay, Harker,” I murmur, feeling the silky fur. After a minute the dog calms down. It appears we have a temporary truce.
    “I don’t know why he keeps doing that,” says Noah. I catch his gaze, his eyes as blue as the Caribbean Sea.
    “He’s just

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