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Authors: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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BOOK: Rebecca's Rashness
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"None of you sees." Rebecca sneered as she sprinted. "Of course none of you sees. But that's because none of you was ready to receive her power. Annie didn't even know she had hers until Georgia pointed it out. Durinda had to be shown a pro-and-con list for hers. Georgia didn't figure out for the longest time what use hers was. Marcia's gave her headaches. And Petal." Rebecca added a snort to go with the sneer and the sprint. "We all know how
that
turned out."

"You didn't mention Jackie," Zinnia pointed out.

"No, I didn't," Rebecca said. And then Rebecca gave Jackie a look of grudging admiration. "That's because you're different somehow. Your power of speed just came on you and you slid right into it as though you were born to it." Rebecca paused, then shrugged off whatever admiration she might have been feeling for another being. "Still, fitting a power like a glove is nothing like what it'll be for me. Because I will be totally prepared, ready to embrace whatever may come."

"Oh, bother." Georgia rolled her eyes.

We couldn't blame her. What Rebecca was saying was very eye-roll-worthy. Why did she have to be so melodramatic about this? In her own way, she was even worse than Petal about this stuff!

Rebecca finally stopped running.

"I think I need a high-protein snack," Rebecca said. "Durinda, make one for me, won't you? There's my good girl."

"I'm not your good girl," Durinda said, clearly highly offended, which proves it never pays to talk down to the household cook. "It's the middle of the night." Durinda shot a look at open-mouthed Marcia. "It's the beginning of the morning. My kitchen is closed."

"Fine." Rebecca shrugged. "I can make something myself."

Rebecca marched into the kitchen, Rambunctious by her side, and we followed behind. We may have been exhausted and exasperated, but we were curious as to what Rebecca would consider a high-protein snack.

Once in the kitchen, Rebecca opened the refrigerator.

"You're not Durinda," Carl the talking refrigerator immediately objected, although he did sound groggy.

"No, I'm not, Carl," Rebecca said, removing a carton of eggs. "I'm prettier and smarter."

"I don't know if I'd say all that," Carl said. "I only have eyes for robot Betty. But you are ruder. Durinda would never wake me in the middle of the night like this." Immediately, Carl added, "Sorry, Marcia, I mean the beginning of the morning."

Marcia closed her mouth as Rebecca closed the refrigerator door and Carl fell silent.

We fell silent too as we watched Rebecca take a glass from the cabinet, remove an egg from the carton, crack the egg on the side of the glass, drop the raw egg into the glass, toss the shell on the counter, remove another egg from the carton—

"What are you planning on doing with that?" Annie demanded.

"That is
not,
" Durinda pointed out, "how you make scrambled eggs. When I scramble eggs I use a bowl, not a glass, to mix the eggs before pouring them into the prepared skillet. You haven't even prepared the skillet!"

We could tell Durinda was really mad at Rebecca, probably because of that crack about being prettier and smarter. Also because Rebecca had presumed to tell Durinda to make her a snack and now she was making a mess of Durinda's kitchen.

"That's because I'm not going to use a skillet," Rebecca said, dropping the contents of yet another cracked egg into the glass. How many eggs did this make? Five? Six? More? We were tempted to ask Marcia, who had superior math skills, but we were too busy wondering what Rebecca was going to do with that tall glass of raw egg.

We didn't have to wait long as Rebecca raised the glass toward her lips and—

"You can't drink that!" Petal said, leaping forward in her granny nightie—Petal would wear a granny nightie, even in summer—and grabbing on to Rebecca's arm. "That's
death!
"

"It's not certain death." Rebecca shrugged. "Only the threat of it." She tried to raise the glass to her lips again but Petal hung on tight.

"Petal's right, you know," Zinnia said.

Petal's right
—those were words heard in our world as rarely as the words
Rebecca's right.
Still...

"It is very dangerous to eat raw eggs," Zinnia went on. "Weren't you paying attention in health class the last few years?"

"So?" was all Rebecca had to say to that.

"I didn't save your life in France," Petal said, still hanging on to Rebecca's raised arm, Petal's feet not even touching the ground now, "only to have you throw it away by raw-egging yourself to death."

"I don't care about any of that," Rebecca said. "I only care about getting my power and being ready for it when it comes."

Then, with Petal still hanging on, Rebecca managed to raise the glass the rest of the way to her lips.

It should have told us something, the way Rebecca was still able to raise her arm with Petal hanging on to it with her full weight, but it didn't in the moment. In the moment, we were too mesmerized by the sight of Rebecca glugging back that entire glass of raw egg without stopping once.

When she was done, she put the glass on the counter. After Petal finally slid off her arm, Rebecca used the back of her hand to wipe the egg mustache from her mouth.

"See?" Rebecca smiled at Petal. "I'm not dead yet."

"Perhaps not, but you could be by morning," Petal said, at once out-darking Rebecca.

"Petal simply means by the time it turns light out," Zinnia informed Marcia, who had to shut her mouth once again.

"I don't think I'll be dead by the time it turns light," Rebecca said. "In fact, between all the exercise and the raw eggs, I'm feeling stronger already."

Then Rebecca cracked her knuckles—what an awful sound!—and tilted her head back and stretched her arms wide to address the heavens, or at least our kitchen ceiling.

"Universe," Rebecca called triumphantly, "I'm ready for my power! You can send it to me anytime now!"

"Oh, bother," Georgia said.

"The rest of us are going back to bed," Annie announced. "Are you coming with us, Rebecca?"

"I don't think so," Rebecca said. "I haven't done my deep knee bends yet."

"Suit yourself," Annie said. "But if you're going to be saying 'Hup one!' and 'Hup two!' I think we'd all appreciate it if you'd whisper your
hup
s. Just because you're intent on being crazy, you don't have to drag us down too."

"Fair enough," Rebecca admitted.

As seven of us trooped back upstairs, we could hear a whispered "Hup one! Hup two!" coming from below.

"Rebecca will be fine, right?" Petal said worriedly.

"Probably," Zinnia said.

"Raw eggs might easily kill another girl," Marcia said, "so I hope other kids at home never try that stunt."

"But Rebecca's Rebecca," Georgia said. "A raw egg would be too scared to kill Rebecca. The egg would worry that somehow she could kill it back."

"Rebecca better clean up my kitchen when she's done," Durinda said, "or I'll kill her worse than any egg could."

"Durinda!" Annie admonished. "We never talk about killing one another, not even if we're talking about Rebecca."

"I suppose I'm glad that Rebecca will not be another egg victim," Petal said. "But that wasn't what I meant. When I asked if Rebecca will be fine, I meant when she finally gets her power. She will be, right?"

That's when Jackie put her arm kindly around Petal's shoulders and Annie said, "You're kidding, aren't you? Once Rebecca gets her power, I doubt any of us will ever be fine again."

TWO

In the morning, when it was really morning, meaning actually light outside, seven of us woke up exhausted. What with the interrupted sleep we'd had the night before, it was all we could do to drag our sorry selves downstairs for breakfast.

Rebecca, on the other hand, looked completely fresh when we found her once again hanging from the chandelier. She looked as though she'd slept for a week, even though we were fairly certain she'd never even gone back to bed.

She also looked really impatient.

"I can't believe it's eight hours into July already and still my power hasn't arrived yet," Rebecca said. "What can be taking it so long?"

"Cool your jets," Petal told her.

We suspected Petal had been waiting her whole life to say something so rude to Rebecca.

"It'll get here in its own good time," Annie said.

"Yeah," Georgia said. "Like my gift coming too early and then me sending it back and then having to wait until the end of the month for it to make its way to me again. There's no point in trying to tamper with these things."

"Yeah," Durinda said, "so cool your jets."

We suspected that Durinda had also waited a long time to say something like that to Rebecca.

Durinda stretched, yawned. "Time for me to start breakfast. Jackie?"

Jackie yawned, stretched, and went with Durinda into the kitchen to help. The rest of us followed. We were very hungry, so hungry we might not even wait for Durinda and Jackie to put breakfast on the table but would eat it standing up as soon as it was ready.

"I think we'll have eggs today," Durinda said, "except we'll cook ours."

"Sorry to disappoint you," Carl the talking refrigerator said when Durinda opened the door, "particularly since you are always kind to me, Durinda, not like some rude people whose names I will not name, but there are no eggs left."

"I don't mean to contradict you, Carl," Durinda said, "but how is that possible? There was at least a whole carton here last night."

"That rude person whose name I will not name drank them all," Carl said.

"Rebecca!" We all turned on her.

"Rebecca," Annie said sternly, "I cannot believe you drank a dozen raw eggs."

"You will surely die now," Petal warned Rebecca. "I suppose I shall be very sad, but at least I will not be tempted to eat raw eggs, what with there no longer being any eggs in the house."

"You would never be tempted to eat raw eggs anyway," Marcia pointed out.

"You're much too cautious," Georgia said. "Why, you could never enjoy being caught in an avalanche the way I did."

"True and true," Petal admitted freely. "I'm the biggest scaredy-cat ever and proud of it."

"The cats have informed me," Zinnia said, "that they wish the term
scaredy-cat
to be retired forever. They say it casts aspersions on their character and that anyway, Precious is the only cat it's true of."

We ignored our loony littlest sister, all except for Jackie.

"Did the cats really use the word
aspersions?
" Jackie wanted to know.

Zinnia nodded.

"That's a very good word," Jackie said in a complimentary fashion. "I hope they're impressed with themselves."

"Jackie," Rebecca said, "why must you always insist on hu moring—"

"That's enough out of you," Durinda told Rebecca. "Because of you, I can't make eggs as I had planned. Now, what can I make instead..."

"I'm sorry to inform you," Carl the talking refrigerator said, "but we are currently out of all breakfast items. After that rude person whose name I refuse to name finished with the eggs, she drank all the milk and the calcium-enriched orange juice, and then she broiled a steak."

It was then Durinda noticed the dirty broiler sitting in the sink.

"Couldn't you have cleaned up after yourself?" she asked Rebecca.

"I was too busy getting in shape," Rebecca said. "You know, I need to be prepared for my—"

"Power," Annie finished wearily. "Yes, we all do know."

"We could just have cereal then," Durinda said cheerily, trying to put a bright face on things.

"'Fraid not," Carl said. "Family history teaches that you don't like dry cereal, you all complain if you have to eat it, plus—"

"I know, I know." Durinda sighed. "Rebecca ate all the Razzle Crunchies, right?"

"Um, no," Carl said. "Robot Betty was watching a late-night movie. She didn't like the way the romance was going so she threw cereal at the TV in protest, then she crunched it with her metal feet. I told her she should vacuum up her mess—what would your mother say if she suddenly returned?—but instead robot Betty just went to Winter and took a few runs down the ski slope there."

BOOK: Rebecca's Rashness
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