It's almost Halloween and since Skeptics' Guide is set during the weeks leading up to Halloween in the French Quarter, I thought I'd share a bit of Julie and Griffin with you all. This is from chapter three. After a collision near Saint Louis Cathedral, the two find that they've accidentally exchanged copies of a rare book.
Julie let the cool lemonade slide down her throat and tried to focus on Mulder and Scully to take her mind off her sour mood. Maybe their unorthodox methods would spark an idea that could jump-start her project again.
Just as her shoulders started to relax, her phone chimed. She plodded over to silence it for the duration of her pity party, but a text lit up the screen.
Hey, it’s Griffin. Remember me?
The sight of his name gave Julie’s heart a little jolt, but she shoved the phone back into her purse. No more curveballs from the universe tonight.
She flopped on her couch/bed but couldn’t settle. Maybe it was 1997 TV, or maybe curiosity just got the best of her. Or maybe she had a craving for chaos after all.
She swiped to access the message.
I think we switched books.
Nerves trilled in her chest. She’d written all over that thing. Research notes, random free associations, and some stuff that was pretty personal.
Can we meet tonight to switch back? she typed furiously.
Sorry, can’t tonight. I have a dinner thing with my family.
Julie paced, phone in hand. The vise squeezing her insides constricted further. If this kept up, her insides were going to look like they’d been through a blender.
Maybe he hadn’t read any of it.
Rather enjoying your commentary, he texted.
You’re reading my notes?! That’s a violation of privacy.
Griffin replied, Sorry, couldn’t be helped. You’ve bewitched me with your words. This is like getting the Half-Blood Prince version of a potions book.
Let’s just obliviate all that chicken scratch of mine you just read, mmkay?
Did you really get to see the diary entries from the escaped LaLaurie slave? he asked.
I thought I said obliviate.
I believe it’s obliviATE.
Okay, so we’ve established I suck at spells.
But not at history, he replied. Good catch on the date mix up on the dueling oaks thing. I thought that sounded wrong.
I have a freakish memory for dates. But seriously, could you cease and desist with the reading of the margin notes, please? Some of that is personal.
Like your crush on Jean Lafitte?
I get it. The dude was a pirate. A privateer. Saved our city from the British in the Battle of New Orleans.
Ok, maybe a little.
Meh. I’m better looking, plus still alive. So I’ve got that going for me.
Julie smiled. Valid points.
Plus I have insider knowledge about where to find the best chocolate pralines in the Quarter.
Can’t pass up a chocolate praline.
Still want me to stop?
Julie stirred the ice cubes in her lemonade. Against all logic, she wasn’t sure she did want him to stop.
He texted, You can read my notes if it makes you feel better. Even the stuff in the woo woo section.
By “woo woo” do you mean the ghostly stuff or the existential stuff?
The big mysteries of life. Why are we here? Why do we believe? Why has no one figured out how to make creme brûlée Oreos?
Someone needs to get on that, Julie answered.
Right? Anyway, it’s not the sort of thing I usually share before a first date, but it’s only fair since I’ve seen yours and all that.
I suppose it is only fair. I doubt your comments are as verbose and embarrassing as mine are.
You haven’t opened the book yet, have you?
She rummaged through her purse until she found it and flipped through the pages. Instead of her looping introspective scrawl, the margins of his book were crowded with neat block letters in various shades of blue. Coffee stains and doodles marked other pages. Question marks and intersecting lines. Julie ran a finger across his drawing of a stick figure sword fight. This felt more like an artifact, a conversation that stretched out across the years between writer and reader than a story between the covers.
We may have more in common than we originally thought, she wrote.
Listen, I’ve got to meet my brother, but speaking of first dates (see what I did there?), want to grab dinner later this week?
Julie bit her lip. That may depend on your reaction to the “woo woo” stuff. ;)
I like those odds. Mysteries of the universe first, dinner second. Why don’t you do some reading and we’ll make plans soon?
Good thing you don’t lack any of Jean Lafitte’s confidence.
Julie finished the conversation grinning like an idiot.
So much for steering her own ship.
If you want to read more you can find The Skeptics' Guide to the Mysteries of the Universe here.