I woke up in Beth Lochman’s body.
I know. It sounds crazy. But when I opened my eyes this morning, I was in her room, enveloped in her pukariffic pink gingham comforter.
Knowing I hadn’t spent the night at her house, I got up to see what was going on, and accidentally got a look in her mirror. I had to stifle a scream when I saw her round eyes staring back at me.
Beth Lochman…the meanest girl in school.
Seeing that evil reflecting back almost killed me right then and there. And maybe it would have, if it hadn’t been for her mother pounding furiously on her/my door, yelling for her/me to get dressed.
I ignored her and crawled back into bed. I was in the middle of some nightmare. That was the only explanation.
“Beth!” her mother bellowed again.
Ugh! I had no desire to be Beth, so why was I dreaming I was her? She never let a day pass when she didn’t torture someone. I guess being pretty and popular means you get away with more stuff.
Regardless, I was much happier being me.
And being me meant I got out of bed, determined to make the best of things. It was just a dream, and I was still Jules Camden. I just looked different, that’s all.
I rummaged through Beth’s closet, uncovering a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans that still had the non-designer tags on them. Not her style, but certainly mine.
In the kitchen, I grabbed a powdered donut just in time to hear her mother yell again. “Hurry up! Ben’s here.”
I choked, and powdered sugar sprayed all over my shirt.
Ben? As in Beth’s boyfriend Ben? The same Ben who stops my breath every time he speaks to me? So that’s why I was dreaming I was her!
And because dreams have impeccable timing, Ben appeared at just that moment, laughing as I dusted off my shirt.
Reclaiming my dignity, I proudly said something I would never say to him in real life. “Didn’t you hear? Powdered sugar is the new black.”
He laughed again and slipped his hand into mine. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. Dream or not, he wasn’t actually my boyfriend. But that didn’t stop my insides from turning all warm and squishy.
When we got to school, my happiness completely evaporated. Peering at us from behind a corner, was me. I mean Jules. Who I was sure was actually Beth, due to the cranky look on her face when she saw me with Ben.
I got distracted helping some kid who had dropped his books, and when I stood back up, she was gone. But Ben was there, staring at me with the strangest look on his face.
“What?” I asked suspiciously.
“Nothing. You just seem different today.”
He didn’t know the half of it. “Good different or bad different?”
His face lit up with a smile. “Good different.”
Realizing a little dream flirting wouldn’t hurt, I smiled back.
Ben’s glow continued at lunch when I gave money to some girl who had lost hers. And he looked like he was ready to kiss me when I told off one of Beth’s friends for purposely tripping a trumpet player.
Once or twice, I caught Jules/Beth scowling at me, but I didn’t care. It was about time Beth was nice to someone, even if it was only in a dream.
At the end of the day I was heading toward the parking lot, and my face appeared out of the shadows. “Unfreakinbelievable. I switch bodies with you and Ben still likes you better than me.”
“You know what’s unbelievable?” I shot back. “Even in my dreams you’re a jerk.”
“This ain’t a dream, babe.” She held up an ornate gold box. “You remember yesterday when I bumped into you? The electric shock?”
I did remember. And terror slithered down my spine in response. Sure, part of me wanted to call her crazy, but seeing as I was staring at her from her own body, I had to believe her. Plus, if I were dreaming, wouldn’t I have woken up by now?
“What is that?” I asked.
“A Spirit Shifter. My dad bought it off some voodoo priestess in Brazil.”
“But why would you-”
“Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”
“Noticed what?” Maybe she was crazy after all.
“The way Ben stares at you in the hallways. The way he should be staring at me. I heard he was going to dump me and ask you to the dance. So I thought -”
“That you’d switch places with me, and he’d come running to you? You’re an idiot you know that? Newsflash. He’s probably sick of you being such a-”
“Whatever. Just give me your hand so we can switch back.”
I did, happy to end this waking nightmare. She pressed a button on the device. A shock flew through my body, but I was still looking at myself through Beth’s eyes.
“Who’s the idiot now? We switched when we were asleep remember? It’ll happen tonight.”
And it did.
I went back to myself, and unfortunately, so did Beth, with Ben standing quietly at her side. Then one day, he sat at my lunch table instead of hers.
After school, he offered me a ride home. And in my driveway, he said the most surprising thing. “I’ve had a crush on you for a while.”
“Yeah. There was this day a few weeks ago where Beth did all the stuff you usually do. It’s like she was channeling you.” He looked at me, embarrassed for saying it. “I know. It sounds weird.”
“Actually, it doesn’t.”
“Well anyway, that was the day I realized I wanted someone who was like that all the time. I wanted you.” He laced his fingers with mine, and the warm, squishy feeling returned with fireworks and explosions. And this time, I knew it wasn’t a dream.