Authors: Sarah Mlynowski
As far as Pi could tell, no one else could do what we could do. She had Googled and Googled and Googled some more. She had read studies from medical journals. She had gone to the library.
really were extraordinary.
She’d debated telling other people. Like her dad. The world. Her mom. But if people knew what she could do, they would probably try to stop her from doing it. And they’d assume that her success was because of her telepathy and not because of her hard work. Perhaps it was better to use the ESP to give her a leg up, to help her be exceptional without anyone knowing how she was doing it.
She stared back at her test. She knew most of the answers. Even though she hadn’t prepared, she was still smart. But she needed to get all the answers right.
Too bad she had surrounded herself with idiots. If she had sat closer to Jon, she’d have gotten every answer correct. Talk about giving herself a leg up. She looked around to see where her nemesis was sitting. He was a few rows behind her and diagonal. Maybe if she maneuvered a bit, she could get a straight line to him and there would be less interference?
She fidgeted and wiggled. She heard the girl in red. The guy in black. She never cared enough to remember anyone’s name. She knew Jon’s and her teachers’ and that was enough.
She felt like she was playing with the antennae on a radio, trying to get the signals right.
If she angled her body to the left and tilted her head to the right, she could hear him more clearly. …
It worked! She could hear him!
Hold on—he was already on number fourteen? She was only on number ten! She shouldn’t have wasted so much time.
F(x) = 1/3 X3+7x+3
And then he worked through the problem.
And Pi could hear him working through the problem.
She scribbled as he thought.
She knew he’d done it right. It was so effortless for him.
All she had to do was listen.
Our second meeting took place at lunchtime again, back in the chess room. We pushed desks and pulled out chairs so that we formed a circle. We could all hear each other. No interference.
Everyone in our homeroom who had gotten the vaccine was there. Everyone except Cooper.
“Are you sure he doesn’t have it?” Pi asked Mackenzie.
“I’m sure,” Mackenzie said.
I’d have heard it if he had it. Wouldn’t I have?
“But why is he the only one not to have it?” Tess asked. “It makes no sense.”
“What’s different about Cooper?” Pi asked Mackenzie.
What’s different about Cooper?
He likes to sing. He’s nice to everybody.
“He has a gluten allergy,” Nick said. “Maybe that has something to do with it.”
“Oh,” Mackenzie said. “Right!”
Way to know your own boyfriend,
Way to be bitchy.
That could be it,
Pi thought. “Does anyone else here have a gluten allergy?”
No one did.
“Different allergies could affect the processing time,” Pi reasoned. “Maybe his system is slower to digest the vaccine.”
“Or maybe he’s not getting it at all,” Mackenzie said hopefully.
“You’re going to have to tell him,” Jordana said while filing her nails.
“No one is telling anyone anything,” Pi said forcefully.
“Not about us,” Jordana said. “About you and Bennett. We all know.”
The entire circle stared at Mackenzie
. Is this really happening? Am I really sitting on a desk discussing with practically my entire homeroom whether I should tell my boyfriend that I cheated on him?
Brinn thought while drawing in her notebook. She was wearing her white fencing jacket over jeans.
It’s really happening.
“He’s going to find out eventually,” said BJ. “Wouldn’t you rather he hear it from you?”
Tess put her arm around Mackenzie. “This is really between the two of them. It’s none of anyone else’s business.”
“But now we’re lying too,” Courtney said. “We’re involved. I feel bad even looking at him.”
“Gimme a break,” Mackenzie snapped. “Are you saying I’m the only one here with a secret? You’ve never lied about something? Stolen something? Taken an Addie before a test?”
Courtney turned pink.
How did she know?
Now we were all looking at Courtney.
“Taking an Addie is cheating,” Tess said.
“Exactly,” Mackenzie said. “I’m sure other people have cheated on tests too.”
Pi turned red.
Like last period.
Now we were all looking at her.
“You?” Tess shrieked. “Cheated? Aren’t you like the smartest person in our grade?”
“The second smartest,” Pi said in a small voice. “I didn’t really cheat. I just …” Her voice trailed off.
Pi? Speechless? There’s a first.
“That just proves my point,” Mackenzie said, looking meaningfully around the room. “We all have secrets. And they’re all going to come out. So it’s in all of our best interest to
each other’s secrets.”
“So you’re threatening us?” Courtney asked. “One of us tells Cooper about Bennett, and you tell the principal I’ve taken an occasional Adderall to help me through an exam?”
“She didn’t threaten anything,” Pi said. “She was just informing us that that’s the way it is. So it’s agreed? Our secrets stay secret.”
We all nodded. Some of us less convincingly than others.
Olivia was the least convincing of us all.
This is all getting a little crazy. Maybe it’s time to call the CDC after all.
“What’s the CDC?” Courtney asked her.
Olivia flushed. “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“Why would we call them?” Jordana asked.
Olivia cleared her throat. “They have a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Where people and doctors can call in to report possible side effects to vaccines.”
Rayna nodded. “Then maybe they could make it stop.” She was still shaken from her hallway experience that morning.
She would be even more shaken that night after her discovery at dinner. She would spend the next twenty-four hours wiggling her left hand.
“Why would you want to stop it?” Courtney asked.
“They’d want to stop it if they knew we had it,” Levi said. He took out a paper bag with
stamped across it and started munching on jelly beans. “No one would want us to use it.”
Jordana smoothed the sides of her hair. “No one wants us using it on them.”
“That’s why I want to tell someone,” Rayna said. “So they can make it stop.”
Pi was clearly getting agitated. “Right now it’s in our control. As soon as we tell someone, it’s out of our control.” She glared at Isabelle. “We almost lost control last night.”
“Not my fault,” Isabelle said. “No one told me what was happening until I got to the hospital.”
“I think we should take a vote,” Rayna said. “Who wants to tell and who doesn’t?”
“Tell who?” Nick asked.
“The CDS or whoever,” Rayna said.
“CDC,” Olivia corrected.
Pi gave them both dirty looks.
“Let’s do it,” Mars said. “Who wants to tell?”
twelve of us raised our hands. The twelve included Olivia, Mackenzie, Rayna, and Tess. On
nine of us shot up our arms.
it is,” Levi said.
Pi glared at Tess, Mackenzie, and Olivia. “What happened to you guys? I thought you agreed with me.”
Mackenzie shook her head. “I want this to end. And we’re not going to be able to end it without help.”
She thinks she can end it before Cooper finds out.
Good luck with that!
He’s so finding out.
“Well, I’m finding out all kinds of stuff I don’t want to know,” Tess said, looking sadly at Sadie.
“It’s not my fault,” Sadie whimpered.
What happened with them?
Tess is in love with Teddy, but Teddy’s in love with Sadie.
Isn’t Sadie still dating Keith?
Sadie nodded. “Exactly my point.”
Pi looked at Olivia. “And what about you?”
“It’s too overwhelming,” Olivia said softly. She kept her eyes on the floor. “I can’t handle all my thoughts being so public.”
She’ll have to get over that.
“I understand you’re shy,” Pi said. “But what do you think is going to happen if we go public? We’re all going to be on display. No one will care if you’re shy.”
Jordana shrugged. “Can someone explain why we have to be in agreement? If some of us want to tell, we can tell. It doesn’t hurt the others.”
“Not true,” Pi said. “If Rayna tells the CDC what’s happening—”
“No one would believe her anyway,” Jordana said.
Pi paced around the inside of the circle. “They may not believe her at first. But eventually they would. She could prove it. And they’d figure out how it happened and they’d suspect all of us have it.”
“But Rayna could say it’s just her,” Jordana added.
Pi shook her head.
And then Rayna gets all the glory?
I don’t want the glory,
I want it to stop.
Jordana looked at Pi. “I don’t get it. If fame is the goal, we’re better off telling people. We’d be on the news.”
We’d be on
We’d be on the cover of
We’d definitely be on
Pi looked around the room. “Is that the kind of fame we want? For everyone to think we’re weirdos? For everyone to be afraid of us? No one will want to stand next to us. No one will want to talk to us.”
I don’t want that at all.
“Exactly,” Pi said to her. “You’re not evaluating this situation properly. You have to think about all the advantages we have.”
Like cheating off of Jon Matthews and not getting caught?
Brinn thought, still drawing.
Pi flushed. “Well, yeah. But I’m not talking about cheating on tests. Think beyond that. We can excel in our fields. We can be the best.”
“I don’t want to cheat to get ahead,” Nick said. “My mom would beat me.”
Does Mrs. Gaw really beat him?
She does seem like a really strict teacher.
I wouldn’t be surprised.
She also seems to love her wooden ruler.
Nick slapped his palm against his forehead. “She doesn’t really beat me. It was a figure of speech.”
Pi kept going: “It’s not just about school. Think of the edge you’ll have in everything. In relationships. You’ll always have the upper hand. You’ll always know if someone is about to break up with you. You’ll always know what your parents are really planning. What they’re thinking.”
I had enough of that last night,
Your breasts look good in that position? Seriously?
BJ leaned in. “You and Cooper?”
“No,” Mackenzie muttered. “Forget it.”
Your dad lucked out,
I’ve seen your mom and she’s a MILF.
Mackenzie closed her eyes. “Yes. I heard my parents. Having sex. In their room. Can we move on now?”
“You could hear through a wall?” Pi asked. “I thought we couldn’t do that.”
Mackenzie shrugged. “I did it.”
Pi pursed her lips.
I can’t do that. Why can’t I do that?
Maybe Mackenzie has super ESP or something.
Mackenzie opened her eyes.
Great. Just great. I want this thing gone.
There is no way Mackenzie has more advanced ESP than I do. Maybe she had a hole in her wall or something.
Pi shook her head. “You’re not seeing the big picture. Let’s think of our careers. We’ll be the best at whatever we want to be. Anyone want to be a lawyer?”
Jordana raised her hand. Her nails were bright yellow.
“You will always know if your client did it. You will always know what the jury is thinking. Say you’re a judge. You will always know the truth. Think about any job. This capability will give you an advantage.”
What if I want to be a doctor?
Pi nodded. “You’ll know your patient’s symptoms without him having to say a word.”
“Except if he’s in a coma,” Levi said.
“You can open his eyes,” Pi said. “Check his vitals, read his thoughts.”
“I could be an amazing psychologist,” Courtney said.
Levi snickered again.
You want to be a shrink? Are you going to prescribe all your patients Adderall?
“Does anyone have a pet? Has it worked on them?” Tess wondered.
I got a lot of barking from my dog.
“I do not want to know what my fish are thinking,” Levi said. “I’ve killed five of them.”
He probably fed them gummy bears.
I always knew he had it in him.
Levi looked offended. “Not on purpose! We have floor-to-ceiling windows! Our apartment is too cold!”
“Think about teaching,” Pi continued. “You’d be amazing. You’d always know if your students were getting the lesson. And paying attention. Or cheating.”
We were all quiet for a few minutes as we thought over the options. Even Tess and Olivia were nodding.
Slowly all of us were agreeing with Pi.
“We’re assuming the telepathy isn’t going to disappear,” Jordana said.
“That’s true,” Pi said. “It might. I say we use it while we can.”
Nick sat up straighter. “We could still use it to be awesome if other people know we have it.”
“Not if they’re afraid of us,” Pi said.
“Not if we’re in a rubber room,” Levi added.
“Should we take a revote?” Pi asked. “All in favor of keeping this a secret?”
Almost all of us raised our hands. Even Tess. Even Olivia. Everyone except Mackenzie.
“C’mon, Mackenzie,” Nick said. “We have to all be in this together.”
She doesn’t have much bargaining power at the moment, does she?
You’d think she’d be afraid of pissing us off.
Pi stared Mackenzie down. “Mackenzie, are we a team or aren’t we?”
I don’t have much choice here, do I?
Anyway, even if we get rid of the telepathy, my secret is already out of the bag.
Pi thought back. “One last vote. Are we all in it together?”
And we all raised our hands, Mackenzie included.
We would not tell.