“I’m going on a job.”

Nate’s eyes narrowed. “What kind of job requires a dude makeover?”


“It’s not a makeover. It’s an upgrade. I can’t be a kid forever.” I didn’t want to be. “Professionals don’t wear T-shirts that say, ‘Bazinga.’ ”

The front door burst open. The gust of cold air had me covering my head with my hands. When I saw Emerson, I covered my nipples instead.

Because I was a dork.

“Whoa, Nelly!” Emerson stopped so fast Michael almost ran over her. She dropped the grocery bags she held on the kitchen table and stared at me with a frightening kind of glee on her face. “Dune. You’re scary. And hot. Scary hot. Who knew?”

Michael took a step back and fanned himself. “I have the vapors.”

“I like it.” Em approached me the way a cat might approach a still-wriggling puffer fish, from multiple angles and with a cautious eye. “But where’s your shirt?”

“He got some new ones. Because he’s a grown-up.” Nate’s annoying singsongy tone set my teeth on edge.

“Um. Dune?” Em bit her lower lip. “I know what nipples look like.”

I sighed, lowered my hands, and decided I really needed to get out more.

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Nate threw me one of the button-ups I’d found on sale at the mall, along with a vest I’d snagged at the thrift shop. I caught them right before they hit me in the face.

The door opened again, allowing another blast of cold air. Ava. She stopped and stared at my head. “Where are your dreads?”

I pointed to the trash can.

“I think I like it.” She walked past me with raised eyebrows and tucked herself into a corner, taking on her usual observer role.

“Okay. Try the bowler on first,” Em urged, picking up a hat and shoving it at me. “This is going to be yummy.”

“We need to see the shirts, too,” Michael said, smiling. That was only another example of why he and Emerson fit together the way they did. Even with all the trouble we’d seen lately, he’d never smiled like that before her.

“It must be nice to be so secure in your relationship,” I said to him, smoothing out the now-crumpled bowler hat.

“She loves me,” he answered simply.

“I love him.” Em smiled.

“Listen,” I said, spinning the hat on my finger. “If you people think I’m going to play dress-up—”

“I want a montage.” Em reached in one of the grocery bags and pulled out a bag of clementines. She took a couple out and threw one to Ava, then tossed the rest of the package to Michael, who caught it neatly before stowing it in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

“Montage?” I asked.

“Yeah, like those cheesy eighties movies, where the girl—or guy—tries on all kinds of new clothes and twirls around in front of a full-length mirror and a crowd of friends. To make sure everything works and that her butt doesn’t look too big.”

“Or his butt, right?” I asked. Em was the perfect ray of sarcastic sunshine.

“Right.” She smiled. “So we’ll be right here waiting for you to montage. I’ll try to find some good music. Maybe Pat Benatar or Prince or the Go-Go’s. I think you have the beat, Dune.”

Ava tossed me a plaid ivy cap. “Try that one, too, or I might steal it.”

I caught it easily. “One thing. I’ll try on one thing with one hat, just to make sure—”

“That your butt doesn’t look big. We know.” Em made a shooing motion. “Try to enter at the beginning of the chorus. Bonus if you put a flower between your teeth.”

Michael followed me back to my room with Nate on his heels. “What’s with the wardrobe change?”

“Nothing.” I undid the top three buttons on the white shirt, removed the tags, and pulled it over my head. The sensation of the cloth against my now bare neck gave me the willies.

“How dense do you think I am?” Michael asked. “It’s more than clothes. You cut off your hair.”

Nate dropped into my desk chair. “We’re calling him Bald Chewbacca now.”

“I am not bald.” I threw the crumpled tags at his head. “It’s at least half an inch long.”

“I’m not changing your nickname.” Nate jerked his head in Michael’s direction, and then leaned back on two chair legs. “Either you tell him about the job or I will. But I’m guessing he already knows.”

“Maybe.” Michael watched as I took a pin-striped vest out of my closet. “But I have no problem waiting right here until you give me your take on it, Dune.”

“You want my opinion on things?” I slipped my arms into the vest. “I’ve got time to kill. Maybe you’d like to hear my theories on the existence of the chupacabra instead?”

Neither one of them moved.

“What about my thoughts on the dangers of Warcraft possibly overtaking Star Wars as the franchise gold mine?”

“Lies!” Nate yelled.

I grinned. I knew how to get him distracted.

“Tell us about the job, Dune.” Michael leaned back against my wall and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Fine.” I blew out a sigh. “Liam called me into his office last week. The Infinityglass is a person.”

“What?” Nate sucked wind and almost fell out of his chair. “You knew this for a week and you didn’t tell me?”

“I wanted to, trust me. But Liam wanted it kept quiet.”

Michael didn’t react at all, which confirmed he’d already been privy to the information. Not surprising. Liam had been grooming him to take over the Hourglass for a while, so he usually knew more than the rest of us.

I looked Michael in the eye. “I still don’t understand why Liam wanted me for the job instead of you.”

“You know more about the Infinityglass than anyone, even Liam,” Michael pointed out. “You’re perfect for this.”

“Maybe, but I tend to fly under the radar. This is a little high profile for me.”

“Hello? The Infinityglass is a person? How?” Nate waved his arms over his head. “Can we talk about that part?”

I gave him the short version of Liam’s long explanation. “The Infinityglass has to be activated—”

“Like the Wonder Twins?” Nate mimicked bumping two rings together, making a kapow sound when he pulled his fists away from each other.

His levity disappeared when I stared at him.

“Sorry. Please proceed.”

“We don’t know what causes the activation, but something kicks the gene into gear,” I explained.

Michael spoke up, more confirmation that Liam had completely filled him in. “While we all activated in puberty, it takes more than that to get the Infinityglass going, and the connection doesn’t always happen. That’s why the ‘sightings’ are so limited.”

“But we have Lily,” I said, “and she nailed down a location. The girl lives in New Orleans, and she happens to be Teague’s daughter.”

“Teague’s daughter? The Infinityglass is human, and she’s Teague’s daughter. Poor kid, to have that for a parent.” Nate dropped the chair back to all four legs with a thud. “I need a few years to take this in.”

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