M aybe it was just the downpour outside. But the gym during lunchtime was noisier than ever; it was only the little group on the corner couch that was quieter than usual. 

“This sandwich is stale,” Sari complained, dropping the bagel disdainfully. It bounced off her plate and hit Leah’s lap, leaving a splash of cream cheese on her skirt. “Oh, sorry.” She rummaged for a tissue. “Here.” 

Leah took the tissue wordlessly and swiped half-heartedly at the stain. 

Sari glanced at her questioningly. “Everything okay?” 


“Yeah, sure.” 

No one responded. “Hellooo, guys? What’s with everyone today?” 

“Nothing,” Leah replied, sounding defensive. 

“Right, you always allow rogue bagels to run wild over your skirt. Spit it out. What’s bothering you?” 

Sari was the last person Leah was in the mood for talking to right now. Unconsciously, she half-glanced at Adina. 

Sari followed her gaze. Adina picked at her own sandwich, looking remote and preoccupied. “Apparently it’s contagious,” Sari remarked. 

Adina shifted restlessly. “Hilarious, Sari.” 

The clap of thunder that echoed throughout the gym was almost comically appropriate. “It was a dark and stormy night,” Gitty quipped. 

Only Sari smiled. 

Lightning cracked and the lights went out. A roar of confusion rose in the gym. A few girls stumbled and shrieked. 

“Oh, please,” Adina muttered. “Stop being so dramatic.” 

“Where did they get candles?” Gitty demanded, looking toward the center of the gym. In the darkness it was hard to tell who was who, but there was a small circle of girls seated on the floor around a few flickering tea lights. One girl leaned forward with a match and lit another candle; by the flickering light Leah could see their classmates gathering in the center of the gym. The beginnings of a song rose from around the candles; harmonies swelled and fell. Almost as one, the girls in the gym rose and drifted toward the center of the room. Within moments, only Adina and Leah were left on the couch in the corner, in total silence. 

“Adina?” Leah said tentatively into the darkness. 

Adina didn’t look at her. “What?” 

“Nothing,” Leah muttered. After a minute she tried again. “Should we go sing?” 

Adina turned toward slowly her, her eyes unblinking. “Do you think I feel like singing?” 

Leah didn’t feel like singing either. “Sorry.” 

Adina shrugged. If Leah thought she was going to hold a DMC right here and now, she was sorely mistaken.