As Jake reached the bus stop, a little winded, four houses before Brien and a block before the bus, he said, “Hey Caitlynn! I got here early to see if you dreamed about that book I lent you.”
Jake ignored Kelly. “So did you?”
“You call this early, Fox?” Kelly challenged, hand on her hip.
Caitlynn laughed at Kelly's challenge. “Hi, Jake.”
Jake ignored Kelly. “So did you?”
“No. I didn't dream about Loki's Wolves.”
Jake was annoyed. “Did you even read it?”
Caitlynn was annoyed back at him. “Yes.” she said with attitude. Then she lightened up. “I couldn't put it down. It's a great book!”
“Did you read it out in the yard?” Jake pressed.
“Yup.” Caitlynn looked for the bus.
“Well, why didn't you dream about it then?” He demanded. Caitlynn shrugged.
“Wait!” Kelly interrupted. “You lent her a book to read and you expected her to dream about it? What kinda weirdo are you?”
Brien reached the bus stop, breathing hard. “So, what did the trees say in your dream?”
“She didn't dream about it.” Jake told him as the bus arrived.
“Why not? Didn't you read it?” Brien asked Caitlynn as they climbed on the bus.
“I read it!” Caitlynn rolled her eyes. “In fact, I even reread a lot of it, because it was so good. I don't usually do that with books.” Her attitude was back. “Thanks for sharing it with me, even if you don't trust me to read it!” She sat in a seat half way to the back. Jake and Brien sat in the seat in front of her. Kelly sat beside Caitlynn. Brien, Jake and Caitlynn all stared at Kelly.
“Do you mind?” Jake said with as much snideness as he could squeeze into the phrase.
“It's a public seat.” Kelly waggled her head at him. “Besides, I want to hear about this book.” Her emphasis on the word 'book' was full of ridicule.
“It's a private conversation.” Brien said as if talking to a five year-old.
“Good! Then nobody should bother us.” Kelly waggled her head at him, too.
Caitlynn ignored her. “Listen, I read the book in the yard, well most of it was in the yard. It was getting dark and I couldn't put it down, so I finished it in my room. Then I reread parts this morning. But I didn't dream about it. But I am dying to talk about the book, so can we just do that?”
“What? Do you only dream about books you pick out, not ones someone recommends to you?” Jake said with irritation. “I need to turn in a book report on that book today.”
“Serves you right, Fox, do you own homework next time!” Kelly smirked. Jake scowled at her.
Caitlynn mused. “Hmm. If I had to guess, I'd say I didn't dream about this one because there wasn't a lot of nature in it.”
“No fairies!” Brien made a face.
“Hello! Wolves! And they fought in the forest!” Jake argued.
“Yeah, but there wasn't anything directly about trees or plants.”
“So you think you only dream about the trees talking if there are plants in the book?” Jake scrunched up his face. He wasn't buying it.
“Wait, you dream about trees talking if you read a book about plants?” Kelly demanded.
“You're fast, Brickstack!” Brien waggled his head at her. “About as fast as a brick.”
“Yeah, Brickface, if you're going to butt into our conversation at least keep up. Seesh!”
“Stop being so rude, you two!” Caitlynn rolled her eyes and shook her head at them. She turned to Kelly. “Yes. I've had three dreams the night after about books I read in the yard. In the dreams, the trees are talking about the book.”
“She dreams her book reports! Isn't that awesome!” Brien put in.
“Well, not...” Caitlynn tried to protest.
“What? Did the trees read the books?” Kelly ridiculed.
“They're dreams, Brickstack!” Brien dripped condescension.
“Don't you know what a dream is? Or are bricks too thick to dream?” Jake laughed at his own joke.
“Stop being so mean already!” Caitlynn sent eye daggers at them, then turned to Kelly. “I read out loud.”
“What? Are you three?” Kelly rolled her eyes.
Caitlynn wasn't bother at all by Kelly's ridicule. “No, I like the sound of the words on my tongue when I read a well written book.”
“McCartle, you're one weird cat.”
Caitlynn smiled at her then turned to the boys, “Can we talk about the book now? I loved the characters! Which one was your favorites?”
“Matt.” Brien said at the same time Jake said, “Fen.”
Caitlynn laughed. “You two are so predictable.”
“Well, obviously your favorite was Laurie.” Brien said with disdain.
“What did you think about...?” Jake started.
“The theme?” Caitlynn cut him off. “It was incredible! Is the next one out yet?” Jake shrugged.
“My favorite part was...” Brien started.
“No spoilers!” Caitlynn cut him off.
“What spoilers! You already read the book!” Jake argued, “How can he spoil it for you?”
“But Kelly hasn't.” Caitlynn gave Kelly a sidelong glance. “Are you going to read it?”
“I'm not going to read some dumb book about wolves!” Kelly piffed.
“Yeah, bricks can't read.” Jake jeered.
“I bet I read better than you, dog breathe!”
“Prove it.” Jake said raising an eyebrow.
Caitlynn interrupted their stare down. “Really, Kelly, it's a good book. Do you know Norse mythology?”
“Do I know what?”
“You're wasting your time, Caitlynn.” Brien turned away.
“Don't forget Loki!” Jake put in. “He's the best!”
“You would like Loki the best. He's a troublemaker like you.” Brien said to Jake with the weariness of an older brother.
“Yeah, I've heard of Thor and Loki.” Kelly admitted, but her guard was up.
“Well in the town of Black Well,” Caitlynn used a storyteller voice, “Where the book is set, almost everyone is a descendant of the Norse gods. Matt is Matt Thorsson and Fen and Laurie are Fen and Laurie Brekke descendents of Loki. They're cousins.”
“Yeah! And Fen has no parents so he has to mooch off his relatives.” Jake added with enthusiasm.
“But trouble starts right away.” Brien puts in turning back to the conversation. “Matt and Fen can't stand each other and they have to work together.”
“Yeah, they're just kids but they have to get through some really tough scrapes. You should read it!” Jake says. “It's so cool!”
“Yeah,” Caitlynn says dreamily. “It's fun to think that the myths are still alive and walking around out there.”
“Alright, already! I'll give it a try.” Kelly rolls her eyes. “But it better be as good as you say it is!” Kelly demands.
“I can't lend it to you,” Caitlynn was apologetic, “I borrowed it from Jake.” She dug the book out her back pack and handed to Jake.
“I got it from Jimmy.” Jake said, “And he asked for it back tonight, when I finish giving the book report. You can ask him if you can borrow it, but he's not here today.”
“Don't worry, Fox breathe. I'll buy it. Some of us can afford to pay for our own books.” She looked down her nose at him.
“I beet your favorite characters will probably be the bad guys.” Jake said.
Kelly made a face at him. Then she turned to Caitlynn, “What's it called again?”
Loki's Wolves. By K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr. (Little, Brown and Company, New York Boston. C 2013) ISBN978-0-316-20496-S.