“Never thought we’d ever see this place again.” Sophie Newman grinned and looked at her brother.
“Never thought I’d be so happy to see it,” Josh said. “It looks . . . I don’t know. Different.”
“It looks the same,” his twin answered. “We’re the ones who’ve changed.”
Sophie and Josh were walking down Scott Street in Pacific Heights, heading for their aunt Agnes’s house on the corner of Sacramento Street. They had last seen the house six days earlier—Thursday, May 31—when they had left for work, Sophie at the coffee shop, Josh in the bookstore. It had started as just another ordinary day, but it had turned out to be the last ordinary day they would ever experience.
That day their world had changed forever; they too had changed, both physically and mentally. “What do we tell her?” Josh asked nervously. Aunt Agnes was eighty-four, and although they called her aunt, she was not actually related to them by blood. Sophie thought she might have been their grandmother’s sister . . . or cousin, or maybe just a friend, but she had never been quite sure. Aunt Agnes was a sweet but grumpy old lady who fussed and worried if they were even five minutes late. She drove both Sophie and Josh crazy and reported back to their parents about every single thing they did.
“We keep it simple,” Sophie said. “We stick to the story we told Mom and Dad—first the bookshop closed because Perenelle wasn’t feeling well, and then the Flamels . . .”
“The Flemings,” Josh corrected her.
“The Flemings invited us to stay with them in their house in the desert.”
“And why did the bookshop close?”
Josh nodded. “Gas leak. And where’s the house in the desert?”
“OK, I got it.”
“Are you sure? You’re a terrible liar.”
Josh shrugged. “I’ll try. You know we’re going to get grilled.”
“I know. And that’s even before we have to talk to Mom and Dad.”
Josh nodded. He glanced over at Sophie. He’d been mulling something over for the past few days, and figured this would be the perfect time to bring it up. “I’ve been thinking,” he said slowly. “Maybe we should just tell them the truth.”
“The truth?” Sophie’s expression remained unchanged and the twins continued walking, crossing Jackson Street. They could see their aunt’s white wooden Victorian house three blocks away.
“What do you think?” Josh asked, when his sister said nothing more.
The card security code is an added safeguard for your credit/debit card purchases. Depending on the type of card you use, it is either a three- or four-digit number printed on the back or front of your credit/debit card, separate from your credit/debit card number. To make shopping at Children's Book-of-the-Month Club® even more secure, we require that you enter this number each time you make a credit/debit card purchase. Please note that your security code will not be stored with us even if you have saved your credit/debit card information.