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didn t know what she d planned to do, reprimand him for kissing her
&
or kiss him back.
And maybe it was better if she didn t answer her own question, too.
* * *
Friday morning, Kylie, Miranda, and Della, each carting suitcases,
walked
the trail to meet up with their parents. They walked slowly, like
condemned
prisoners moving to their executions.
 I m going to be peeing on a drug test stick every hour, Della
muttered.
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Miranda sighed.  I m going to screw up at my competition and my
mom is going to give me up for adoption.
 I m going to a ghost hunt, Kylie added. Both girls looked at her.
 Don t ask.
Holiday met them at the end of the trail, channeling her normal,
peppy self.  Smile, guys. It s only for a few days.
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They all turned and looked at each other again. Kylie dropped her
suitcase and hugged them both.  I expect a phone call from each of
you
twice a day.
 Twice a day, Della said.  I hope you don t mind if I call when I m
peeing on a drug test stick, because that s what I m gonna be doing the
whole time.
 Just don t flush, Miranda said.  I hate it when people flush when
they re talking to me.
Five minutes later, over in the dining hall, Kylie gave Holiday a big
hug.  Take care of Socks, she told her.
 I m planning on bringing him over to my place, Holiday said.
When Kylie and her mom started out of the dining hall, Perry came
over and gave her a nudge with his elbow. For Perry, that was
equivalent
to a hug. Kylie gave him a warm smile.
 It seems like you ve made good friends here, her mom said.
 Yeah, I have, Mom. They re special.
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Kylie almost ran out the door when Lucas stepped in front of her.
 Hello, Mrs. Galen, he said.  My name is Lucas. I just wanted to say
good-bye to your daughter.
Kylie s heart raced as she worried her mom might recognize him.
 Nice to meet you, Lucas, her mom said, and stepped away to give
them some privacy.
He smiled.  Take care.
 I will.
He leaned in.  Dream of me, he whispered.
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She rolled her eyes, but he just grinned and walked off. Kylie headed
over to her mom.
 He s kind of cute, her mom said, but she had that tone the tone she
got before she started handing out the sex pamphlets. They walked out
of
the dining hall and headed for the car.
 Yeah, Kylie agreed, and for the umpteenth time, she hoped that the
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weekend went okay. No unexpected surprises, no long, uncomfortable
silences
with her and her mom.
When her mom started the car, the cold that filled the interior was
more powerful than any car air-conditioning.
 Wow. I ve never had this car get cool so fast. When her mom pulled
out, Kylie glanced in the backseat to stare at the ghost in her bloody
nightgown. Suddenly the ghost lurched forward and threw up all over
Kylie s shoulder. The stench was awful.
Kylie fought to keep her gag reflex from bouncing up and down her
throat.
 So, her mom said, oblivious to it all.  Where would you like to go for
an early lunch? I m starving.
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Chapter Thirty-one
Kylie wasn t sure who it was who said you couldn t go home again. But
he
had it partly right. Oh, you could go home. It was just going to be
awkward
as hell. Amazingly, it didn t stem from her mom. They d actually
had a good three-hour drive home, phantom puke aside. The problem
was the house. It felt cold, not just because the ghost had decided to
tag
along, but because of her dad. Or lack of dad. There was nothing, not
one
thing here that reminded Kylie that he d ever lived here. Even the
pictures
of their father-daughter trips were gone, replaced now with pictures
of just Kylie.
She couldn t blame her mom, but damn. For the first time since it all
happened, Kylie worried about how her mom might really feel with
her
going away to boarding school. And maybe she even understood her
mom
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wanting to sell the house.
 Doesn t it feel so good to be back? Her mom hugged her.
Being back? Not so good. The hug felt nice, though. So nice it even
made the house feel less awkward.
When Kylie went into her room, she couldn t help but laugh. On her
nightstand was a whole set of pamphlets on all the sex-related topics
Kylie had missed while away. The one on top, obviously the one Kylie s
mom thought most important, covered info on safe oral sex. Oh yeah,
crucial need-to-know information. Kylie was planning on running out
tonight
and having oral sex.
Her mom had the entire weekend scheduled with items from her We
Gotta List. We gotta bake your favorite cookies. We gotta go eat at a
new
pizza place. We gotta be at the haunted house at six.
When, Kylie wondered, was she going to have time to run out and
have  safe oral sex?
Kylie added a big Gotta to the list. Gotta convince Mom to sign me up
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for boarding school. Even with her reservations about leaving her
mom,
Kylie was a supernatural and felt like a fish out of water back at home.
At six that evening, after baking cookies and enjoying some together
time with her mom, Kylie crawled her fish-out-of-water butt into the
car
to go to the ghost hunt. And she seriously hoped that the B&B owner
didn t mind if she brought a visitor along because sitting in the
backseat
still bloody, still puking was Kylie s ghost, who wasn t any more
communicative here than she d been back at Shadow Falls.
And to prove the point, the ghost disappeared before they arrived at
the B&B.
Once they d all gathered in the lobby of the B&B, the owner, a tall,
heavyset woman in her late fifties, with dyed red hair, waved them into
a
semicircle.  Welcome. Welcome to Anderson s B&B. My name is
Celeste
Bell. Some of you may remember me from my many television
appearances.
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Kylie didn t but several of the other guests nodded their heads. Celeste
was a professed ghost whisperer who had appeared on some cable
show
as an expert on haunting. She wore a long white gown, as if dressing
spooky would help intensify the experience.
 The house was built in the late eighteen hundreds by Joshua
Anderson,
but tragedy struck before he ever moved in when his young bride
was killed on their wedding day in a carriage accident. Joshua took his
own life in the master bedroom. The place was subsequently sold and
reopened
as a saloon. More tragedy soon followed. Now, before we get started,
let s talk about the rules.
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The rules were simple. Stay together. No unnecessary chitchat. Celeste
also insisted they turn off their cell phones because that kind of energy
could chase away ghosts.
Funny, Kylie thought, her experience said ghosts really liked tinkering
with her cell.
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Kylie actually checked Celeste s brain pattern to see if maybe she was
supernatural, but nope. The ten attendees, with the exception of Kylie
and her mom, were all card-carrying senior citizens who no longer had
to
show their IDs to get their free coffees at their neighborhood Chick-fil-
A.
Moving slowly as a group, half of them using walkers, they followed
the
woman through the first floor of the house. In each room, Celeste
stopped [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]