V is for...Vampire, page 1
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - SO GOOD, IT’S SICK
Chapter 2 - AN ELECTRIC ANNOUNCEMENT
Chapter 3 - O PINING POETESS
Chapter 4 - BLIX AND MITZI
Chapter 5 - MAGIC RING
Chapter 6 - THE LONELIEST NUMBER
Chapter 7 - A DIRTY TRICK
Chapter 8 - SPOILER
Chapter 9 - SQUAWK!
Chapter 10 - TINGLE IN THE AIR
Chapter 11 - CHARACTER IS DESTINY?
Chapter 12 - BUTTERSCRATCH AMBASSADORS
Chapter 13 - SPEECH, SPEECH!
Chapter 14 - THE DARK SIDE
Chapter 15 - MUCHO HALLOWEENO
Also by ADELE GRIFFIN
The Knaveheart’s Curse
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
A division of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Published by The Penguin Group.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, U.S.A.
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Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.).
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.
Text and illustrations copyright © 2009 by Adele Griffin.
All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced
in any form without permission in writing from the publisher,
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group,
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.
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Text set in Administer.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Griffin, Adele. V is for—vampire : a Vampire Island story / Adele Griffin. p. cm.
Summary: Lexie Livingstone, a vampire-human hybrid living in New York City and trying
to gain mortality, faces typical ninth-grade dramas like boys and school politics, as well
as not-so-typical obstacles like obnoxious pixie houseguests. [1. Vampires—Fiction. 2.
Pixies—Fiction. 3. Elections—Fiction. 4. Politics, Practical—Fiction. 5. Friendship—Fiction.
6. High schools—Fiction. 7. Schools—Fiction. 8. New York (N.Y.)—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.G881325Vaak 2009 [Fic]—dc22 2009007487
eISBN : 978-1-101-13631-7
SO GOOD, IT’S SICK
I’ve got gossip!” announced Lexie Livingstone. She and her best friend, Pete Stubbe, were enjoying lunch—a peanut-butter-and-pickle sandwich for Pete and a four-berry medley for Lexie—in the school’s courtyard. Parrish High School kids were allowed to eat lunch outside until it got too cold. But today, New York City weather was mellow, with just a nip of autumn in the air.
Pete stopped chewing. “Tell me!” His yellow eyes gleamed.
“Mina Pringle called me last night and—” Lexie swallowed back an excitement hiccup. “She wants me to write speeches for her campaign to be ninth-grade class president.”
“Congratulations. You’ve lost your mind,” said Pete. “Why would you want to write speeches for your enemy?”
“Pete!” Lexie reached out to pinch Pete’s arm.
“Don’t you get it? Mina Pringle has finished being suspicious of my hybrid-vampire ways. She wants to be my friend. She’s waving the olive branch. She’s burying the hatchet. She’s—”
“She’s sneakier than a diamond-backed python,” said Pete, “and I haven’t trusted her since fourth-grade show-and-tell, when she told the class she was the heiress to a potato-chip fortune. It’s the only time I can remember when a kid had to apologize for making a false show-and-tell statement.”
He shook his head in disgust as he peeled the crust from his bread in a single curl. Then—making sure nobody was looking—he used his advanced werewolf powers to fling the crust far over the iron gate, all the way across Central Park to FDR Drive, where a skinny stray dog was snuffling for lunch. The dog yipped for joy as he snapped up the snack.
Lexie crunched her lunch bag and popped in her retainer. “Don’t be that way, Pete. Remember, ‘Jealousy is the jaundice of the soul.’ ” While Lexie could always trust herself to find the perfect quote, she also knew that jealousy was part of Pete’s werewolf identity since wolves are territorial and don’t like to share anything.
Especially not friends.
“Working on a campaign is kind of a big deal,” continued Lexie, “especially since Mr. Fellows wants us to learn about politics. There’ll be some major debates and stump speeches and—”
“Yeah, yeah, I know all about it. I’m voting for Neil Needleburger. That phony Mina Pringle would make a human stinkbug of a president. And if you weren’t so blinded by wanting her to like you, you’d see that, too.”
From the look in Pete’s eye, Lexie decided it would be best to drop the whole subject. And Pete wasn’t the only kid in the school who didn’t adore Mina.
Later, walking home from school, Lexie decided that, going forward, she’d keep her Mina friendship separate from her Pete friendship. After all, Pete had every right to be jealous. Lexie and Pete had been BFFs since the Livingstones had arrived in the New World five years ago, ready to trade their old identities as bloodsuckers for the higher hope of turning human. The Stubbes had just moved from the Old World, too, and were trying to rid themselves of their wolfish ways. Lexie was the only hybrid vampire and Pete was the only hybrid werewolf in their whole school, and their unusual powers were their biggest secret from the rest of the class. So they had a lot in common.
R U free? Lexie’s cell phone buzzed the text message. Her heart raced. She knew that number.
YES!! she wrote back.
1057 CPW / 15D
K! Lexie texted, turning a sharp V as she switched direction, heading for Central Park West. Quickly, she wrote her parents to tell them that she was dropping by Mina’s apartment for a school project.
Crossing Central Park, her large, black-booted feet kicking up piles of wet yellow leaves, Lexie turned up her face to the sun. This was the first fall that she’d been able to bask in sunshine. No more cringing from the light of day. No more reaching for the XPF, prescription-strength sun-block. Yes, those old vampire traits were dying of
My mortality, Lexie mused poetically, is like a fresh coat of paint over my cracked and peeling vampire soul.
Unlike her little sister, Maddy, or her kid brother, Hudson, careful Lexie always had focused intently on her human studies. She hardly ever used any of the vamp tricks that the Argos frowned upon. By next summer, she might just be ready to wear that sequin-trim bikini she’d bought two years ago as inspiration. Which would be right on time for Mina Pringle’s annual Fourth of July roof-deck party, which Lexie had never been invited to.
In fact, for the past five years, Lexie had overheard the supercool girls talk way too much about Mina’s swanky get-togethers, posh birthday bashes, and exclusive slumber parties. Now here I am, thought Lexie as leaves fluttered up in front of her like startled butterflies. In with the in crowd! I’m Mina Pringle’s speechwriter!
Seriously, this was a big deal.
Of course, Mina is lucky to have me, too, Lexie reminded herself as she rode the fancy elevator in Mina’s building to the fifteenth floor. My health essay on dark leafy greens was nothing short of magnificent. My biology report on the dating habits of snails versus slugs could only be termed thrilling. And who will forget my extra-credit, after-school presentation on the short life of doomed urban vampire poet Fun K. Blood?
Though the only person who would never forget it was Pete, since he was the only one who’d shown up to hear it.
The little kid who opened 15D’s door looked like Mina but younger. Same ballerina legs, same yellow curls, same pout. “Meeen-a!” she yelled. “There’s a super-skinny, scary-pale girlie out here. Is she your friend?”
“That’s my speechwriter,” called Mina, amid a babble of other chatting voices, most of whom Lexie recognized from school. “Let her in, Nina.”
Nina allowed the door to swing open, and Lexie followed Nina’s lemony-curly head through the apartment. Such a contrast to the Livingstones’ spooky townhouse, which her family had inherited after her sister, Maddy, had sent the previous, evil vampire owners crumbling to their deaths.
The Livingstone house was dark and mildewy and smelled like feet. The Pringle home was airy and fragrant and smelled like peaches.
My vampire heritage can be a real drag, grumped Lexie. There’s nothing chic about my creepy house, my fangs, my ew-normous, double-jointed hands and feet, and having people like Nina Pringle look at me like I’m a three-headed spider.
At least the rest of her classmates didn’t act so horrified to see her.
“Hi, Lexie,” they chorused once Lexie was deposited in a chair in the middle of the Pringles’ plushy, peachy velvet den, where all Mina’s friends, including her best friend, Lucy “Loo” Susskind, were creating poster boards for Mina’s campaign.
“Hey, not so fast.” Mina spun Lexie’s wheeled chair around and pushed her toward a desk in the darkest corner of the den, far from the others. “You’re my speechwriter. You need peace and quiet. I want you to have the best, peacefulest spot in the room.”
“Thanks.” And then, because she couldn’t resist, Lexie quoted, “‘The art of being kind / Is all the sad world needs.’” Though she couldn’t help a longing look at the other girls or reaching out to snatch a crumb-top peach bar from a tray as she wheeled past. The world was certainly less sad if you were eating a peach bar.
The old Mina would have squawked in disgust at Lexie’s split-second, peach-reaching reflexes. This Mina just smiled. “My speech really needs some tweaks,” she confessed. “It’s not flowery enough. That’s where you come in. You’re so good at frilly writing, it’s sick.”
Lexie blushed at the compliment. To be sick at something was Mina’s highest praise.
“I’ll try,” she said modestly. She peered at the computer monitor. On the screen were the words:
What I Can Do for Parrish High School!
By Mina Pringle
If Elected to Ninth-Grade Class President, I, Wilhelmina Arabella Pringle, Do Solemnly Swear
The rest of the page was blank.
“How cute is my choice of font?” asked Mina. “It’s called Lucida Calligraphy. Isn’t it sooo sweet?”
“Sooo sweet!” hollered Loo from the other side of the room.
“Where’s the rest of your speech?” asked Lexie.
Mina tapped her temple. “Up here. I was thinking that I could just hit you with some of my fantastical ideas, and then, presto, you make them into sentences.”
“Sure. Ready when you are.” Lexie’s long fingers hovered on the keyboard. She wondered if Neil Needleburger had his own speechwriter. The vote would be the populars against the nerds. Lexie would never admit it, but she felt torn. She was in honor society, took karate class, and was on the debate team with Neil. He was a nice, nerdy guy. More importantly, he loved government and would make a smart and careful class president.
“Ahem. My ideas.” Mina cleared her throat. “The big four.” She counted on her fingers. “One, I want the vending machine to sell Fizzle Nuts. Two, I want a splashing fountain in front of the school. Three, I want baby ducks in that fountain. Four, I want Principal Oliphant to fire our crabby crossing guard, Mrs. Yoder.”
“Mrs. Yoder can’t be fired,” said Lexie. “She’s a volunteer.”
“She was the bus driver for forty years. Now she’s too old to drive, but she likes to stay part of the school.”
“Well, maybe the school doesn’t want her part of it.” But then Mina waved away the argument. “Whatever, work with my top three. Until I think up another one. Put it into some paragraphs, and I’ll check your copy, honey.”
Lexie loved writing, and she really loved how Mina called her “honey.” Eventually Lexie forgot about everything else—such as the fact that she was sitting all by herself. How could she crack this speech? Mina’s ideas were odd . . . but maybe if she focused on why Parrish High School should have a fountain with baby ducks . . .
“What is this, anyway?”
Lexie looked up, blinking. Mina was sitting there reading Lexie’s private PHOLD book. (PHOLD stood for poems, hopes, opinions, lyrics, and dreams—and Lexie had a lot of all of these. In fact, this was her thirteenth PHOLD edition.) Lexie couldn’t believe it—Mina must have gone through her backpack.
“Just my notebook,” Lexie said. Her fingers itched to snatch back the book. But in the spirit of her new friendship with Mina, she didn’t want to seem uptight.
“It’s filled with slurpy goop,” said Mina, as if Lexie didn’t know.
Lexie tried to look casual as she reached for the book. “Okay, I’ll take it now—oh, no, please, please don’t keep reading it.”
But Mina gripped tight. “Concentrate on your speech, dear. Don’t mind me.” Smilingly, with one hand, she offered Lexie a second peach bar while the other hand kept hold of the PHOLD.
“Um, okay.” Lexie dropped the argument, and the PHOLD, to bite into baked fruit sweetness. She had wanted another peach bar—it was like Mina could read her thoughts. It was sick what good friends they were already.
Besides, there was nothing especially secret in her PHOLD book, Lexie concluded as she watched Mina sink back into a chair, reading intently. Mostly eighth-grade-y stuff, plus a few song lyrics from this past summer, when Lexie had taken up the guitar. Maybe it was time to share her notebook.
And if Mina was impressed by the PHOLD, that would be a bonus. She’d give anything to make Mina forget about that shameful moment, back in fourth grade, when she’d picked her nose with her tongue. Such a silly, kiddie vamp trick. Thankfully, tongue-to-nose picking was years behind her, and the future looked as bright as some of her notebook’s dreams.
Especially if the future meant hanging out with the marvelously popular, most perfect of the perf crowd Mina Pringle. In fact, a friendship with Mina seemed like just about the least vampire-ish thing that Lexie could gain. It was hard not to want it as much as humanly possible.
Okay, Maddy. I give up. What the holy hopscotch are you doing in that outfit?” Lexie’s mother had spoken first, but really everyone wanted to know.
Four sets of brown eyes—Lexie’s, her mother’s, her father’s, and her younger brother Hudson’s—were all trained on Lexie’s little sister.
Maddy was dressed in a white nurse’s uniform that had been spattered from head to toe with blobs of crusting ketchup.
“I’m Nurse Hatchet,” announced Maddy. “And here’s my winning costume catchphrase. Ready?” She picked up her rubber-tipped hatchet, which was from Hudson’s Viking costume from last Halloween. “When Nurse Hatchet works the night shift, it’s a bloody emergency!” Then she reached forward and chop-chop-chopped the leftover vegetable quiche from dinner. Spinach went flying. A blob smacked Lexie between the eyes. “Dudes, isn’t this an excellent Halloween costume?”
“More than half of us are not ‘dudes,’” corrected Maddy’s mother.
“Also, mind your manners.” Lexie wiped her face. How could she ever invite Mina Pringle over to her house when Maddy would ruin it? A bratty little sister was one thing. A bratty little half-vampire sister who wielded a rubber hatchet was a whole different bag of blood.
“Maddy, it’s only the first week of October,” said Hudson. “You’re almost thirty days ahead of Halloween.”
“Yeah, but Halloween is such a freaking incredible holiday that I decided to make October an entire Hallo-month,” Maddy declared. “And every day of Hallo-month, I’m gonna be wearing a different costume. Now aren’t you grateful to be related to the brilliant Madison Livingstone? You’re welcome.” Her eyes twinkled.
“Your teachers will let you be in costume all month?” asked Lexie’s father.
“Not exactly,” said Maddy. “But I’ve got it worked out. I’ll wear my costume on the bus to school, then change out of it for class, then change back into it for recess till I get caught—which I won’t—then change into my uniform for sports, then change back in after—”
Other author's books:
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