TITLE: Body and Soul
GENRE: YA Light Science Fiction
Jane is dead, but I don’t know that yet. I don’t remember how the night ended, so I wake up happy.
I don’t realize where I am. I don’t even realize I’m awake yet. Jane is lying dead, and precious time is passing, and my half-awake mind is playing scenes from last night, prom night, just like some cheesy date movie.
I ride my bike to Jane’s house wearing a rented tuxedo, pedaling fast so that I don’t have time to sweat in the heat that radiates from the Phoenix streets. Soon I’m standing in an air-conditioned entryway with Jane’s father and grandmother, and of course I’m sweating anyway as we watch Jane come down the stairs, all blond and pure-looking.
She actually says, “Wow, you look great!” when she reaches the bottom of the steps, and she leans forward, on tiptoes, to kiss my cheek. I inhale sweetness—vanilla and sugar—and feel a strange ache inside my chest, like a tender spot, which seems to appear whenever I’m close to Jane. And then I’m just standing there staring at her. I can never quite figure out why she’s so much more beautiful than any other pretty girl.
“Do you like my dress?” Jane asks, probably because I’m gawking at her like an idiot. “It was my mom’s,” she adds.
The dress is cream-colored lace, old-fashioned—different from the slinky prom dresses most girls wear—and it hugs her body.
“Yes,” I answer stupidly. I can’t think of what else to say.