Chapter Twenty – Warning Sign
We open with Jake Thorn. Who is described as having ‘cat-green eyes’ with ‘the hypnotic quality of a snake about to strike’. Also, he’s hitting on their English teacher.
“But what if we’re caught? I’ll lose my job, I’ll never be able to work as a teacher again, I’ll…” I heard her sharp intake of breath as Jake pressed a finger against her lips and then slid it teasingly down till it rested in the hollow of her throat.
“We can be discreet.”
Before anything can happen they are interrupted. Not by Bethany, who has just been standing in the doorway gawking, but by another kid coming in for their lesson. Bethany takes her seat and monologues about how shocked she is.
Jake was eighteen, he was entitled to make a play for whoever he liked. But Miss Castle was a teacher; surely she deserved more respect. I shook my head resolutely; it was absolutely none of my business.
Uh, no, it kind of is, since you’re supposed to be helping people and on the look out for bad things. You might at least want to check on Miss Castle, who seemed upset by Jake’s advances.
Despite Bethany being a poor excuse for an angel, she says that things are looking up at Bryce Hamilton and in Venus Cove as a whole.
Involvement in school activities had never been so popular, and judging by some of the posters that had appeared around the place, there was a new awareness of global issues. I could claim no credit for these improvements; I’d been far too preoccupied with fitting in and getting to know Xavier to have given much thought to anything else. I knew the change was due entirely to the influence of Gabriel and Ivy.
And when she says Gabriel and Ivy, she really means just Ivy, because she then goes on to say how Ivy has been gathering support for various charities, helping around the town and getting people to volunteer to help others, because she’s awesome and the only angel who actually does anything.
But Bethany has better things to worry about than doing her celestially appointed duty, because prom is coming up! And Bethany is now as excited about it as Molly and all the other girls. They agree to go shopping for dresses in a nearby town, Port Circe.
They go by train, and Bethany is frightened when it arrives because of the noise it makes. I guess we haven’t had one of those fish-out-of-water moments for a while.
When they get there she does give some money to a beggar on the street. Yay for actually acting like an angel! Kind of. Then she, Molly, and a girl called Taylah go to a department store and spend several pages trying on dresses. Plot twist: they find some. Or Molly and Taylah do, anyway. No dress in the shop is special enough for our Bethany. She wants to look super special for Xavier.
She complains about it to Ivy when she gets home, and Ivy actually offers to make her the dress. Oh Ivy. You’re too good for this book. (Also, why can’t Bethany make her own dress? With her angel learning powers, she ought to be able to become a good seamstress as quickly as Ivy could.)
Bleh. Time skip, and we’re at the school where Bethany is, as usual, obsessing about Xavier. No, really.
As usual, Xavier occupied my thoughts, even more so when we were physically separated. When I found myself calculating how many more minutes needed to pass before I could see him again, I decided I should be making better use of my time and headed for the library.
And guess who she meets there?
I turned to see Jake Thorn leaning against a brick wall, his arms folded across his chest.
There’s a lot on his clothes: he’s not wearing his blazer or tie and he has unregulation shoes. Also he’s smoking. Bethany tells him to stop it because that’s against school rules. She says he must have had more freedom at his old school. Jake, presumably twirling his moustache, says he’s here to be reformed and then asks her where Xavier is, calling him ‘your smothering Prince Charming.’ and being pleasingly flippant about Bethany’s boasts that ‘he’s good at most things’
His dark eyes burned into mine like lasers. “I suspect we might have a lot more in common than we realize. By the way, what are you doing Sunday morning? I thought we might work on our masterpiece.”
“I have church on Sunday.”
“Of course you do.”
“You’re welcome to come along.”
“Thanks, but I’m allergic to incense.”
Say, does anything seem off about this guy to you? Meh, I’m sure it’s nothing. I mean, an angel would be able to tell if he was, y’know, bad or something.
He gives her a piece of paper with the first line of their poem on it before sauntering off. She reads:
She had the face of an angel.