Greetings Monster Hunters — how about a little “Teaser Tuesday?” MA3 is coming to an eBookstore near you this summer, but I thought I’d drop a little sneak peek on the old blog today! Will finally meets his match (only very mild spoilers if you haven’t finished Blade’s Edge):
On Monday morning, I stared glumly into my locker, looking for the motivation to go to English. We were studying The Scarlet Letter and I couldn’t think of anything less interesting than a bunch of colonists blathering about a woman who got knocked up. My bad mood was intensified by Mamie’s departure back to Helena. Already feeling hollow and discouraged at facing another week at school, I packed my books into my backpack without enthusiasm and closed my locker door.
Will met me, wearing the predatory smile I’d come to recognize as “that’s my next girlfriend, bro.” He pointed down the hall. “Who’s the new girl?”
I turned to catch a glimpse of a tiny girl with curly golden-brown hair and the most gorgeous brown eyes I’d ever seen. Seriously, her eyes rivaled Ella’s and I couldn’t give higher praise than that. Except where Ella was tall, slim, and strong, this girl looked like a living, breathing china doll.
I turned to Will, frowning. “Dude, really? She’s barely five feet tall, and if she weighs more than ninety pounds soaking wet, I’d be shocked. You’d break her inside of two minutes.”
“Maybe she needs a big, strong guy to protect her,” he said, standing taller. “Watch and learn.”
I dropped my face into my hands, but couldn’t make myself look away, so I peeked between my fingers to see how this went down.
Will sauntered up to the girl. “Hey. I’m Will, head of the new student welcome association. Need some help finding your next class?”
The girl craned her neck to look up at him. “Good Lord, they make ‘em big in Billings.”
My best friend, being a jackass of the first order, flexed his biceps by crossing his arms across his wide chest. “In more ways than one.”
Pixie-girl rolled her eyes skyward. “Well, that’s good to know.” She started to walk away, but Will trailed along behind, which elicited a very annoyed sigh. “Look, big guy, I don’t take in strays, so stop trying to follow me home.”
That did it; I cracked up. If I had any cash on me, I’d lay twenty that Will was about to crash and burn for the very first time.
She stopped right in front of me. “You got a problem, too?”
I choked back another laugh. “No…I’m just enjoying watching my best friend make a fool of himself.”
“You belong with this one?”
I glanced at Will, who looked pretty shocked by her reaction to his charms. “Unfortunately.”
She nodded. “Figures…you’re ginormous, too. Well, y’all can move along. I’m competent enough to find my class without a guard dog.”
“Wait,” Will said as she made her way down the hall. “I didn’t get your name.”
Without glancing back, she said, “Just so long as you promise not to follow me…it’s Penn. Penn Stoyer.”
Will followed her a few steps. “Penn? That’s unusual.”
“It’s short for Penelope.” Penn paused and turned to point a finger at him. “But if you ever call me Penelope, you’re dead to me.”
She started down the hall again and made it about ten yards before Will called, “At least tell me where you’re from? I can’t place that accent.”
Penn threw her hands up. “Oklahoma. Now, Giant-Will-from-Billings, please excuse me. I’d hate to be late on my first day.”
Then she disappeared into the crowd.
Will stood stunned, his jaw slack, and I grinned. “Dude, that was awesome. I’ve never seen a girl shoot you down like that.”
“Listen close,” he said, his voice reverent. “I’m swearing off all other girls until Penn agrees to go out with me. As Tom Brady is my witness, that girl is my Everest.”
“I know you like a challenge, but you might be getting ahead of yourself. People die trying to climb Everest,” I said. “Besides, you don’t even know her. What if she’s not actually worth the effort?”
“Oh, she’s worth it. I can just tell.” He grinned at me. “How long do you think it’ll take for me to convince her to say yes?”
“Last time I checked, a woman has to like you enough to talk to you as a pre-requisite to scoring a date. Come on, we need to go,” I said. When he didn’t move, I punched his arm. “You’re going to be late, Mr. Romance.”
I steered him toward his chemistry class, then I went on to English thinking Penn Stoyer might be the very best thing ever to happen to Will.
Super-power failures were character building.