When Emelia Behrends is caught in bed with her girlfriend Taylor by her strict Southern Baptist mother, she thinks nothing worse could ever happen. But when she’s sent to a small town in Kentucky to live with her aunt, stranger things do indeed happen. An incident in the gym locker room starts tongues wagging, and soon the popular crowd are spreading rumors.
Thankfully, Emelia meets would-be witch Hillary and the two band together as misfits and friends. Then Mariah enters the picture, and Emelia is instantly attracted. Mariah is entranced with Emelia’s beautiful smile and silky red hair, but she harbors deep secrets that might make all the difference between romance and tragedy.
The mystery begins to unravel when the topic of the Salem witch trials is introduced at school. Who is Mariah, and where did she really come from? And will Mariah’s buried secrets mean another love lost for Emelia?
If you ask me, this is not going well. I did get my Lasa, so I suppose I should be happy. But I have a sinking feeling that we're about to get caught, and now Emelia seems fascinated by this strange girl we met. To me, she looks odd -- she looks like trouble -- and there's a weird smell about her, almost like soil, or even blood. She gives me the creeps! But Em can't shut up about her.
"Come on, Hillary, what do you have against Mariah? All she did was say hello and direct us to the Papa John's." We are now almost back to the conference site. I shake my head at my best friend in frustration.
"One: she talks weird -- like she doesn't know anything about the real world. Two: she has a hair-do like something from an old-fashioned movie. And thre --"
Em interrupts me, "Hey, I thought we were the misfits, remember? Us and Dax -- we should give her a chance."
"What? We will never see this person again - and three: she smells funny."
"Oh, get over yourself, Hill! I didn't smell anything; maybe she has gym first period and they played basketball or something. And ... did you ever hear of the internet? Facebook? How many girls named Mariah can there be living in Jeffersontown?"
We are now back where we started, on the sidewalk in front of the school, ready to sneak back into the conference. If that is possible, and if Em can get her focus back.
"Okay, okay, Mariah is marvelous, and she's going to be the new love of your life." At this, Em gives me a panicked look, as if everyone from Butler, plus her mom, can hear me. "Shut the fuck up, Hillary Calvano!"
I immediately regret going in this direction. "I'm sorry, Em. But I had to say something crazy to get your attention. We have to concentrate and clear our heads if we hope to save ourselves from suspension -- or worse."
I can tell she sees the wisdom in this idea. We turn back to the problem at hand, and decide to go in by separate doors to give us a better chance of at least one of us sneaking back in successfully. Em heads for the side door across from the gym. As I watch her retreating back, suddenly I hear a newly-familiar voice.
"Hello!" It's Mariah, calling from near the entrance to the football field. "Hey, Emelia!"
Em, of course, smiles and waves. Mariah starts toward us, crossing a patch of marshy grass backed against scraggly-looking bushes. When she gets about five feet from us, I can smell again the strange animal odor that Em denies.
"You're trying to get back into the -- conference -- without getting caught. I am right?"
I answer before Em can say something revealing and ridiculous, "Well, Mariah, I think we can figure it out. Em and I are in this together and it might be a bad idea to involve ..." I started to say a stranger, but, even though I don't like this girl, it's not my style to be that rude. White witches are supposed to "do no harm," everyone knows that. So I finish my little speech with, "a third person."
"I didn't mean to intrude, it's just that I'm familiar with the building, and I might be able to help," she says.
Just what we need. Not! And then the thought crosses my mind: does she actually go to school here? If so, why isn't she in class? If she doesn't go to school here, why is she always appearing where we need to be? As if in answer to my question, just at that moment, the bell rings. Students pour out of every building orifice, like so many cows let out of the barn.
I check the time on my phone; we've been gone almost two hours. If we can get back in now, we might have a chance of getting away with our Lasa Escapade. I look over at Em. She's staring at weirdo Mariah, mesmerized. This can't be happening. What we don't need is extra complication. And if I know Emelia, as soon as she gets back to Shively and her aunt's house, with the constant threat of her mother's weird religious interference, her internal homophobia will kick in and she will be horrified at this brush with her lesbian self.
I grab Emelia by the arm and physically drag her away. She resists for only an instant. "Em, we have to get back into our sessions. If we get caught, I'll catch hell from my father, and you'll have, at the very least, a distressing phone call from Florida. Let's go -- now!"
Emelia shakes herself awake as if she's been dreaming. She looks at me and grabs onto my arm. "Yeah, Hill -- thanks -- let's go." Yet she can't seem to totally let go. She turns to look at Mariah one more time. "Bye, Mariah. Thanks for helping. Find me on Facebook: Emelia Behrends. From Daytona."
Mariah stands rooted to the spot, smiling like an idiot. I'd almost think she had never heard of Facebook.