Maggie is too practical to believe in ghosts - but that doesn’t stop one from believing in her.
On a trip to New Orleans, a tarot reading reveals that Maggie is on the Crossroads of the spiritual and the physical. Being a grounded individual, she not only doesn’t buy it but won’t have it. Unfortunately, the spiritual realm isn’t obliging. Her unwanted quest forces her to deal with her personal ghost and demons and a few impersonal ones as well.
Maggie and Carmen walked down Pirate Alley between the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral. Maggie was the taller of the two high school seniors with long sandy tresses and round deep brown eyes. She wasn’t the kind of girl that stood out and next to Carmen she felt completely invisible in her turquoise tank top and jean shorts. Looking down she wished she had worn cute sandals to dress up the outfit a bit instead of her sneakers. Then her pragmatic side reminded her if she had, she’d have blisters. Her pragmatic side was annoying but usually right. They had been roaming the French Quarter since before lunch and weren’t going to stop until after dark.
What Carmen lacked in height, she made up for in extra curves. Carmen’s D cups dwarfed Maggie’s barely Bs. Her hair and eyes were a close match to Maggie’s naturally but currently her mane was nearly black and cropped short with long bangs. It was also styled straighter than a ruler. The enhanced darkness was for their trip. “I want people to know I'm emo and not goth.” Carmen confessed before Maggie even had a millisecond to register the entirety of the new look.
Maggie didn't hold to stringent concepts to either emo or goth. She had a few silent reactions to the improved Carmen. First, if anything Carmen was more goth.
Second, Carmen was like a cheerleader despite her efforts. Other than an unhealthy fixation with the occult, she was way too perky. Maggie never told Carmen her thoughts for they would be received as an insult. And third, Carmen could shave her head and still be stunning. Carmen had been the Home Coming Queen last fall and Maggie had been the Home-Coming Queen’s BFF.
Carmen had always been the bold one and cutting off eight inches of hair was just another exhibit in the litany of evidence. It was eye-catching but she wished Carmen had asked her before hand. It didn’t take more than a moment to see why she hadn’t. Maggie would be too chicken to do the same and worse, she would have tried to talk Carmen out of it. They liked to pretend they were sisters and their hair and eyes were the only things they had in common to sell the farce.
As she people watched and window-shopped, Maggie debated getting her hair done. Getting a short cut was an option but she doubted her mother would let her dye it black, at least not professionally. Then her pragmatic mind reminded her that she’d need
to blow dry it straight or it wouldn’t look as cute. That was enough to let Carmen be Carmen and she’d stay Maggie. High maintenance, she wasn’t. She wished she had gotten the opportunity to talk Carmen out of it because it dawned on her that it was going to take Carmen longer than ever to be ready in the morning.
Dressed in all black, Carmen’s top was gauzy and short sleeved. It was over eighty degrees after all. As always, the guys took notice often smiling at Carmen, who returned the favor without delay. Occasionally, they’d deign a cursory glance to Maggie who also smiled back, always growing a bit pink in the process. Every time Carmen pretended she didn’t find this shyness endearing, which she did. More proof she was too happy to be emo.
“That one was cute.” Carmen said when a guy bumped into Maggie and gave her an approving scan as he apologized.
“Makes up for almost knocking me down.” Maggie joked thinking he was only average looking.
“Girl, you hold yourself back. Matthew asked me if you like him.” Apparently Carmen had spoken to Matthew since Friday, or she sat on the news a full weekend, which would be an impossibility for her.
Like was a strong word but he was fetching. Maggie wouldn’t mind spending some time with him. She had never had a heavy steady and he was high on her wish list. “When did Matthew supposedly say this?”
“Sunday and he did say it.” Carmen’s voice always sounded like a little girls, more so when she was irked.
“And you didn’t think to tell me this earlier? Like on the plane or for the last six hours we’ve spent together.”
Maggie tried to imagine how she came up in conversation. Then it the bulb lit up so to speak. Matthew was trying to woo Carmen, who had recently broken it off with Owen after a yearlong romance. Carmen wouldn’t be keen on Matthew because he’s super straight-laced, so she pushed the idea of Maggie on him as a substitute. Too kind to be a jerk, he most likely gave a noncommittal statement of agreement and Carmen read into it.
“He wanted to arrange a double date until I told him about Owen and me.” Carmen continued unaware of Maggie’s personal head game.
“Matthew didn’t hear about that yet?” It was recent news and goodness knows boys are slower when it came to the latest gossip but that debunked her theory that he was only opting for second best. Or he played dumb embarrassed that his endeavors weren’t welcomed. Carmen was right. Maggie did hold herself back.
Carmen shook her head and bit her bottom lip.