Home > Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5)

Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5)
Rysa Walker

1

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA

September 14, 1984, 2:32 p.m.

“There’s no way Mom will let you out of the house in that,” Deborah says, looking up from her book. “Or with that much makeup. She’s going to march you right back upstairs and—”

“Ah, but Mother isn’t taking me. She’s locked up in the study working on some report. Dad’s driving me.”

Deb nods, because we both know that unless I get into the car in my underwear, Dad won’t have a clue whether what I’m wearing has earned the Katherine Shaw stamp of approval. A skirt this short would be vetoed in a flash. I had to buy the outfit with my own money, sneak it in, and hide it in the very back of the closet, behind that poufy thing I wore to the eighth-grade dance.

It was worth it. The edges of my red bra peek up over the black lace shirt if I move just right. I practiced in front of the mirror, and it looks perfect when I hold the violin up to my shoulder. Jason already seems to have forgotten that I’m fifteen—well, practically fifteen. With any luck, this ensemble will also make him forget I’m his student.

“But what about when you come home?” Deb asks. “You still have to get up the stairs, Pru.”

“Well, that’s where you come in, my dearest darling sister. Could you run interference when you hear the car pull up? Pretty, pretty please? I’ve been waiting three whole weeks for this opportunity, and who knows when I’ll get another one. I’ll return the favor and I’ll even let you wear this. Promise!”

Deb laughs and shakes her head, because we know that both promises are pretty much risk free. The guys Deb likes have parents picking out names for the grandchildren after the first date. And unless Deb has a radical change in style, she wouldn’t be caught dead in this outfit. We’re twins, but we’re most definitely not identical.

“Okay, okay,” she says. “But if Mom catches you, I had no idea what you were wearing. I was taking a nap when you left, capisce?”

“Capisce.”

“It’s capisco, if you’re agreeing.”

“Don’t care, mon frere. Thank you, thank you. I owe you one.”

Deb snorts. “You owe me about a million.”

Which is true, but she’ll never expect me to pay up, and that makes her the perfect sister.

I squeeze her foot and hurry over to the mirror, pulling my dark curls up and off to one side. “More lip gloss, or do I look perfect?”

She tips her head to to the right. “If by perfect, you mean three years older and asking for trouble, then yes. Absolutely perfect.”

Since I’m actually going for four years older, I add one more layer of my aptly named Darkest Berry lip gloss before grabbing the violin case. “Could you tell Dad I’m waiting in the car? And…maybe make sure the witch is still in her study?”

Sighing, Deb closes her book and stashes it under the mattress. Okay, that’s the one area where she matches me in secrets. Mother lets us read any sort of non-fiction, but when it comes to fiction, if she had her way we’d both still be reading Nancy Drew.

“Love you!” I yell as Deb heads downstairs.

“Yeah, yeah, love you, too.”

I reach into the dresser drawer, pull out the medallion, and stash it in the pocket of my skirt. If Deb or Mother saw it we’d just have another fight. I’m starting to think Deb is color-blind, or maybe just plain blind-blind, because she swears it’s plain bronze and I’ve never seen anything more neon green than this baby. I’m pretty sure Mother sees the color, too, because she turned white as a ghost when she caught me with hers, yanking it away like I’d found her diary or a sex toy or something.

She’s not as good a liar as she thinks. Like when we were arguing the other day and I asked if she’d ever dated someone older than her before she met Dad. Mother said yes, and then added that the guy was only two years older. Her eyes got all round and innocent like one of the characters on Astroboy when she said the last part. They always do that when she’s hiding something.

I don’t think this is the medallion that belonged to Mother, because that one was on a silver chain. This one, I found yesterday. It was hard to miss in the dark attic, with the green light seeping through the edges of the box. The same hourglass thing is in the middle, but this medallion hangs from a black leather cord. It doesn’t match my outfit, aside from the cord, but I want to see what Jason says. He’s artistic, like me. I bet he’ll see the light, too.

I wait until I hear Deb give our secret “coast is clear” knock on the stairwell wall and dash down the stairs, through the kitchen door, and into the garage. Dad joins me about half a minute later, patting his pocket for his keys and his glasses. I love him to death, but Jim Pierce’s picture is in the dictionary right next to “absentminded professor.”

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