Gemini Night: Chapter 2

Gemini Night is the third book in the Star Crossed series by Bonnie Hearn Hill.  It was released October 18, 2010 by Running Press Kids.  This is the second of three installments that will be posted on the Figment Blog.

Background: Life is very average for Logan McRae, who tries her best to juggle the chaos of friends, guys, parents, and school.  That all changes the day she discovers a long hidden, dust covered book called Fearless Astrology in her attic and learns that the answers are in the stars… all that she has to do is decipher them.  Follow Logan’s STAR CROSSED adventures in ARIES RISING, TAURUS EYES and now GEMINI NIGHT as she uses her newfound knowledge of astrological signs and their influence on personalities and events to help her solve mysteries, bring her closer to her dream of becoming a writer and win at love.


CHAPTER 2

ALTHOUGH AQUARIUS IS USUALLY FOCUSED ON A GOAL, IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO FOCUS ON THOSE AROUND YOU WHO HAVE THE POWER TO HELP YOU MEET THAT GOAL. OR NOT. A FIRE SIGN WOULD CRASH THROUGH THE DOOR, AND AN EARTH SIGN WOULD DIG ITS HEELS IN. A WATER SIGN WOULD REDUCE EVERYTHING TO EMOTION, BE HURT, AND SAY NOTHING. IF YOU’RE AN AIR SIGN, YOUR MIND IS LIKE A COMPLICATED MACHINE TRYING TO GET FROM HERE TO THERE. STOP THINKING AND START TALKING. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

—Fearless Astrology

Fearless Astrology was right again. I needed to stop speculating and start talking. Having Jaffa for my mentor was a huge plus, but he wouldn’t be able to control my internship at the magazine. Stacy Rogers would. Although she had seemed a little cool during our telephone interview, she had given me the job. Now, I just needed to prove to her that I was worthy of it. I would do that, not by crashing my way through the door the way a Fire sign would, but by talking my way through it like a Gemini or the Aquarius that I am.

The CRUSH offices were on the second floor of a building on Powell and Union Street in North Beach. The months of September, October, even November were San Francisco’s real summer. The day was warm enough for short sleeves, but experience had taught me to dress in layers. Even though fall was my favorite time to visit the city, I knew that the weather could do an about-face in an instant. At any moment, the fog could roll in and change everything.

The boots I wore were a gift from Paige, who had insisted they would make me look taller—and, yes, maybe a little older. The vehicle I had driven here was my dad’s ugly Chevy paint van he used to deliver his artwork to galleries and page proofs to his advertising clients. I parked it in a garage about a half-block away where no one could possibly see me. Then I started walking down Powell.

Between two large, bushy trees, I spotted the burgundy-and-gold awning of Washington Square Bar and Grill. Those bay windows, trimmed in white, against a yellow background, looked as if they belonged in a Victorian home. The building where CRUSH was located must be straight ahead.

“Logan. Over here.”

Thank goodness. There was Jaffa wrapped in the same navy scarf he’d lived in during our summer workshop. I was so happy to see him, his frizzy hair even wilder in the warm breeze, I could have hugged him.

Except that Jaffa wasn’t a hugger. He was a focused, kind-of-weird Aquarius. He grinned just then as if he were a mad scientist, and I a bug under his microscope.

“I told you we’d get approval from your school, didn’t I?”

“You did. I’m so happy.” I didn’t mention that my Capricorn journalism teacher wasn’t.

“You’ll like Stacy,” he said. “She’s very ambitious and dedicated, the same as you. If you get along as well as I think you’re going to, perhaps you might try for something more than an internship.”

“Something more?” I asked.

“An astrology column, for instance.” He gave me a pleased-with-himself grin and stopped to examine some flowers from a sidewalk vendor. “I need to send something to my wife.”

I was still thinking astrology column and remembering my no-astrology promise to Snider.

“I don’t think you can ship those,” I told him. “What’s your wife’s Sun sign?”

“Aries.” He continued to eye the flowers. Good combination. The Fire sign wife was running the relationship while he was trying to save the world.

“Maybe you should just call her,” I said. “She’d probably like to know that you’re thinking about her. Aries women often want to be the center of their loved one’s life.”

“Great idea. Actually, she gets upset when I don’t call often enough. Thanks for reminding me.” He turned away from the flowers. “You are going to be a fine astrology writer, and this is where we’re going to try to make it happen.”

My mind exploded with reasons why I couldn’t go after more than I already had. Snider would be angry and end my internship. That was at the top of the list. Right along with how I could possibly write an astrology column for a national magazine.

“Don’t you think I should prove myself as an intern before I ask for a column?”

Jaffa stopped before a building of weathered bricks. “Remember this, Logan. Everything in life is action or distraction.”

“Action or distraction?”

“If it’s not moving you forward, it’s distraction, regardless of how noble or how interesting it appears at the time.”

“But what if CRUSH already has an astrology columnist?”

“Do you know where I would be if I had worried about what if?” He gave me that same weird grin I remembered from class when he was trying to drive a point home.

“Sure,” I said. “But you’re Henry Jaffa.”

“I wasn’t always.”

Good point. I started to say that I appreciated his confidence in me, but just then an elegant girl in a sapphire-blue jacket stepped out of a taxi at the curb in front of us.

“Henry.” She ran to us and took both of Jaffa’s hands in hers.

Her thick black hair was pulled straight back, no bangs, just those dark eyes that dominated her face. I tried to guess her age. Late twenties. Jaffa must be right about her ambition and dedication. Her skin was pale as porcelain, her lip gloss muted and natural. With that hair, she had to be a Leo, I thought. She wanted to be on stage, and right now, with Jaffa beaming at her, she was.

“Hey, Stacy.” He turned to me. “This is Logan.”

“Welcome.” She put out her hand with the understated-but-perfect nails that matched her lips.

“It’s so good to meet you in person,” I said.

“You, too. Sorry I’m late. I just got back from an appointment with Arianna Woods and her people. She’s going to be our first cover model for CRUSH, but of course you know that.”

“Arianna Woods?” No, I hadn’t known that, and, apparently, neither had Jaffa.

“Isn’t she having some issues?” he asked.

“Just a little negative press. She’s okay now, better than okay, and she will be a great cover for our debut issue. Don’t you think so, Logan?”

“I’m sure she will,” I said.

“I mean, you’re our target demographic. Wouldn’t you want to read a magazine with Arianna on the cover?”

I tried really hard. “I wouldn’t not want to read it.” Lousy, lousy Aquarius liar.

“Well, then. Is there someone you’d rather see on the cover? Someone who’d make you pick it up or subscribe to it?”

I was starting to feel sweaty and anxious. I knew she wanted me to say no, but I couldn’t. “Girls like guys. So, I don’t know. Maybe Josh Mellick. He and Cory Scott have done pretty well even after Arianna left their group. And Josh was on the cover of People a few months ago.”

“Magazines like ours have girls on the covers,” she said. “We’ll have guys inside, of course. Maybe even Josh or Cory. I really do think Arianna’s perfect, in spite of her . . . alleged problems.”

“If anyone can make it work,” Jaffa said, “I am certain you can. Now, I need to get back to my hotel.”

“I was hoping we could all have lunch.” I could tell that Stacy was disappointed to be stuck with me.

He shook his head in that unaware, onto-his-next-mission Aquarius way. “I’m on deadline, same as you.”

I was reminded that this was the Henry Jaffa and that I was beyond lucky to even know him, not to mention have him on my side.

“Thanks so much for making this happen,” I told him, “and for taking the time to meet me here.”

“You two will work well together,” he said. “My instincts regarding these matters are seldom wrong.”

Stacy smiled at him, and I could see that even though she was a magazine editor now, she was just as in awe as I was. Jaffa-ites. That’s what the writers he mentored called themselves. I hoped to be one of them someday.

“Henry says you’re a hard worker,” she told me. “The intern we tried before you was all about the glamour. I don’t have to explain to you about unrealistic expectations.”

“No, you don’t. I’ll do any job you want me to.” I realized that Jaffa was staring at me. “I’m also . . . I mean, I am kind of into astrology. I’m just putting it out there in case you ever have a need for something like that.”

Although she looked as friendly as ever, I could feel the air freeze between us.

“Henry told me about what happened in Monterey this summer. It’s a little difficult to believe that astrology had much to do with it.”

“If you were there,” Jaffa said, “you wouldn’t question.”

He was trying to help me. So I couldn’t just stand there, too terrified to speak.

“It was a forty-year-old mystery that no one had been able to solve until then,” I told her in a voice that sounded far more confident than I felt. “It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t studied the astrological charts of the people involved.”

“That may or may not be, but I think these magazine astrology columns are clichés. And, yes, we are looking for one, but I’m going to have to find a real astrologer or at least a reasonable astrology service. As much as I like your sincere approach, Logan, you’re still only a high school student.”

“The same as your readers. Why wouldn’t teens want to read an astrology column by a teen?” I asked.

“She’s right,” Jaffa said. “It’s one way you can get past the cliché, Stacy. A teen astrology writer.”

“I don’t know.” She looked from him to me, as if trying to decide how much denying my request would harm her relationship with him. Finally, she said, “Okay, so here’s what’s happening. We’re going to do a Halloween launch party for the magazine, a costume party.”

“That sounds wonderful.” I wasn’t sure what she wanted from me. “Are you saying that I might be able to attend?”

“Of course, but more than that, I am going to give you the birth date of one of the celebs we’ve invited to be there. You then have to do the person’s chart and predict their future.”

“How much of their future?” I asked, and wondered what I’d gotten myself into.

“Just the month ahead,” she told me. “The same way you would do in the magazine. Deadline will be the day of the party. If your predictions come close enough, I’ll consider you for a contract as our teen astrologer.”

“Consider?” I asked.

Henry chuckled, and Stacy laughed too.

“Okay, Logan. Here’s the deal. Figure out this one chart correctly for me, and you have the job for six months at least. We’ll give you a contract.”

“I can do it,” I said. “No problem.”

Yeah, right.

NOTES TO SELF

Thank you, Jaffa. Thank you very much. You’ve given Stacy enough confidence in me that she is actually considering me as a columnist. Even though she doesn’t believe in astrology. Even though she thinks I am too young despite these boots that Paige said made me look sophisticated. So now all I have to do is figure out this chart. Double Gemini with an Aries Moon. That’s a no-brainer. Arianna Woods. Everything she does is Gemini. Now, what do I say to Ms. Snider next week in class? That’s pretty easy for this Aquarius.

Nothing.

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