TITLE: TIME PASSAGES
GENRE: YA - Fantasy
At her family’s Italian deli, Gemma is upset by a visit from a strange boy who disappears before she can find out what he wants. She joins her friend, Tess, in the kitchen where her father and long-time employee, Annalisa, are preparing food.
“Hey, Gemmie, tell Tess about that lady who came in the other night.” Dad’s elbow-deep in a big bowl of dough, making a batch of fresh bread for the dinner rush. “You know, the one with the straw hat and the purple hair. Tess, you’ll get a kick out of this.”
Annalisa is bent over the table beside Dad chopping vegetables for the antipasto salad. “Oh, jeez, leave the poor girl alone. She doesn’t have time for a silly story.”
I force a smile. “I’ll tell her later, Dad. We have to go now.”
He peers at me. “You okay? You look tired.”
“I’m fine,” I say. “You know me, any excuse to get out of work.”
“What did that boy want?” Annalisa asks.
I shrug. “He left before I could find out. He was weird.”
That turns on Dad’s Concerned-Father radar. “Wait a second, what boy?”
“Kid in the front, asking for Gemma,” Annalisa says.
“He was nobody. Probably some joker from school who knows my family owns this place.” I turn away before Dad can grill me anymore, and sidle up to Tess who sits on a stool, eating something out of a bowl, sighing contentedly. “Which one?”
“Lavender chocolate chip. It’s so good.” She licks the Easter egg-colored gelato off the spoon, cat-like.
I dip a finger into the bowl. “I like it too. Annalisa thinks it tastes like bath soap.”
“God made lavender to smell. Not to eat,” Annalisa says, wrinkling her nose.