Parvana’s song faded out to let the dramatic opening chords of The Phantom of the Opera play through. Ruby rolled her eyes and inhaled sharply at the sound of the ringtone. She reserved that tune for Lorelei.
She paused with her finger over the “Ignore” link
as the Phantom banged the organ keys again. A photo of two girls hugging each
other cheek to cheek lit up her phone screen. Lorelei was the ginger on the
left. She didn’t leave the house without lots of make-up hiding her freckles.
Between the flash and the green lighting in the room at the moment they snapped
the selfie, the girl appeared ill. Ruby’s coffee-and-cream skin fared better.
Green light shifted it toward olive and made her Asian traits stand out more
She smiled a little at the photo, just for a
second. They snapped it at the back-to-school dance, before everything changed.
The Phantom’s chords repeated a third time. She
mulled letting the call go to voice mail. Sighing heavily, Ruby pressed her
thumb down on “Answer”.
“Roo! I’ve been texting you. Why aren’t you
texting means you want something and I’m busy. “My phone’s muted. I’m at
“What! Why? Are you okay? Can you—”
“I’m fine. Thank you for asking. No, it’s Micah.”
“Oh, okay.” Hearing relief in the girl’s voice, Ruby
glared at the phone. “The committee's meeting at 7:45. Usual place. Don’t be late.”
Suddenly, Ruby remembered why she and Lorelei
rarely spoke these days. Micah slept in a hospital bed. His mother blamed her
for his seizure. Her parents had kept quiet so far, but their faces said it all
when they learned the boy collapsed in their kitchen. She broke a rule and they
were not happy about it. On top of that, the Advanced Placement Chemistry test
would hit Ruby’s desk in ten days and she wasn’t remotely ready for it.
friend helped girls get through problems like these, but Lorelei didn’t
know about any of them. A question and a minute would get them caught up, but
no. Prom mattered more.
She supposed she should feel flattered. Lorelei
needed her to help solve a problem. She
knew the girl too well to believe it. There were a dozen people on the
committee, and if the Devil offered his hand, Lorelei would ditch them all and
run off with him.
“I’ll be there.” She wanted to tell Lorelei to
kiss off, but held her tongue. The call terminated on the other end.
Ruby removed the earbud from Micah’s ear, then her
own, and wrapped the thin cables around her fingers before shoving them into
her front pocket. She slipped her phone into a back pocket and then leaned over
to kiss sleeping beauty’s cheek.
“I’ll see you later.”
She grabbed her book bag and swung it over her
shoulder as she spun around toward the door. There she stopped. Looking back at
the last minute, she bit down on her lip and thought, Please wake up.
is the first book of a YA Science Fiction Romance series, set in an
alternate timeline, that meshes the angelic war, high level string
theory, and immigration policy to turn Lucifer's story on it's ear.