This blog hop comes just in time to tease my soon-to-be-released sequel to The Smartest Girl in the Room, The Family You Choose.
Zainab Oginabe-Kensit thinks she's avoiding an uncomfortable reminder from her past, but really she's about to get a preview of what Miranda's going to discover about her own past.
Zainab avoided the Quad the first week of classes. The first year she'd been there it had been exciting to see all of the extracurricular options in front of her: The Silver Masque, the Key Club, the International Student Organization and, of course, Student Government Council. She sighed. Emily had made sure Joe Welles was gone and not coming back, but everyone else was still there. She didn't want to look at them and remind herself of what had happened last Spring. Everything was better now, but there was no reason to linger over when it hadn't been.
She ducked into the Kay Center, but there was a table set up there too with flyers, chocolates and balloons. "Ugh," she said, then slipped down the stairs. She'd use the shortcut through the café and into the bookstore.
"Hello." Zainab jumped as she was halfway through the dimly lit, empty café. She turned around and saw the red haired woman sitting at the table, a small cup of coffee at one side and a deck of cards on another. "I didn't think anyone was coming down until later tonight."
The woman raised an eyebrow, then smiled. "Oh, let me guess: shortcut?"
Zainab nodded. "How did you guess?"
The woman laughed. "It's sort of what I do." She gestured at her cards. "I'm the fortune teller tonight. You know, 'The Future Is At Your Feet'?"
Zainab groaned and the woman laughed. "Wow, whose the PR genius who came up with that?"
"I couldn't say, but whomever it was they're above my pay-grade."
Zainab took a step closer. "What time do you start?"
"Oh," she sighed. "I have plans."
"Dinner with the boyfriend?"
"You know, you're pretty good at this stuff."
The woman chuckled. "That, or it was obvious." They both laughed. The woman picked up her cards. "Want to see how I do with something a little more difficult?"
Zainab heard the crowd moving upstairs and looked up. She didn't have to be anywhere for half an hour. "Sure, why not?"
She sat across from the woman as she shuffled her cards. "Start thinking of a question. You don't have to tell me what it is, and it doesn't necessarily need words, but think about something you want the cards to help you with."
Zainab flashed to Miranda at her house a few weeks ago. She'd worked so hard to make Mitch and Emily's reception a beautiful affair, but everything had been so tense. When would things start working out for her?
"You have your question?"
Zainab nodded. "I think so."
The woman shuffled one last time, then asked Zainab to cut the deck. She picked up the cards and started dealing them, placing them into a cross formation. She studied them then looked up at Zainab.
"What do you see?"
The woman shrugged after a moment. "You know, I'm glad you're here, because I obviously need the practice." She bit her bottom lip. "I see a young, blonde woman."
Zainab smiled. "Jessie," she said, thinking of Richard's cousin.
"I don't know," the woman said. "That's someone you know now?"
"Then I don't think so. This is…the past."
What did that have to with Miranda's future? "What else do you see?"
The woman put her hand on the card and closed her eyes. "I see a beach, and the girl is crying. A very pretty girl, with very pretty green eyes. But she's crying as if she's never going to smile again." She opened her eyes. "And she didn't."
Zainab swallowed. "What do you mean, she didn’t?"
The woman looked away. "She never smiled again."
Zainab picked up her bag. "I think I should go," she said apologetically.
The woman nodded and quickly moved to pick up her cards. "Yeah, of course. Thanks for letting me practice." She stopped and looked at Zainab. "But…"
Zainab was standing up and couldn't wait to leave. "Yes?"
"Good luck to your friend," she said quietly.
Zainab nodded. "Yeah, thanks," she said right before she ran out of the café.
She practically ran to the bookstore. She walked over to cold drink section and picked one up, hoping that might make her hands stop sweating.
Who was blonde with green eyes? Her lip trembled. And who never smiled again? She thought of Richard's mother Lucy, but her eyes were as grey as Jessie's. But…what did that have to do with Miranda?
Miranda Harel was lying in bed that night, staring at the ceiling. Why had Michael come back? What would it take to make him go away and never come back? She thought of how Mitch had glared at her at the party, and it still made her cheeks burn. Worse still, she couldn't blame him.
Miranda closed her eyes to stop crying, then kept them closed. She wanted to remember right before she went to sleep. Tonight it wasn't enough to dream.
She was a little girl again, at her old house. The room was pink. She was five years old and lying in her bed when her beautiful, blonde mother came to tuck her in. She told her a story and kissed her goodnight right before she turned out the light and closed the door.
Miranda sighed contentedly. One of her only memories of her mother. I wish my eyes were green, she thought to herself right before she drifted off to sleep.Participants:
~~~Want to read more great fortune teller stories? Please visit these blogs.
Kayla Curry (Host)
S. M. Boyce
A. F. Stewart
Tami Von Zalez
Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba