Category Archives: The Eye-Spy Club

The Eye-Spy Club

Mark Antony Reading and his twin Andrew are finally headed for Hill View High! Their cousins, Stacy Applebee, Angel Schmidt, Caleb and Meredith Morehouse are joining them. With their friends, life is sure to be fun and magical… Will they follow in their step-sister Kelly’s footsteps and become detectives, or will they find their own niche? Either way, their taking Hill View High by storm!

Andrew Reading, President        Mark Antony Reading, Vice-President

Caleb Morehouse, Treasurer        Stacy Applebee, Secretary

Meredith Morehouse, Alt Officer    Angel Hope Schmidt, Alt Officer

Friends:

Mario Fernandez, Mexican

Tina Chong, Chinese

Chad Martin, South African

Kurt Stevenson, (Josh’s kid brother, Knight with Mark Antony)

Sammy Smith, (Adam’s kid sister, Knight with Mark Antony, his girlfriend)

Tomas Whitehorse, Native American (Shamanism)

Kizbet Aligad, Indian girl, from India

Pete Thornapple, deaf boy

Joey Farthay (Krysti’s younger brother, Knight with Mark Antony)

Tracy Collins, Andrew’s girlfriend

Amanda Morehouse (Caleb’s cousin, best girl friend)

Jason Barnheardt (Caleb’s best guy friend)

Jason and Jonas Crawford are in it, too, but they’re already Juniors by that time.

The Eye Spy Club Of Hill View High

#1 Hill View High, Here We Come!

The Reading twins are fourteen, and in the ninth grade. Being Freshman with their friends is fun, until Andrew’s magic takes them on a mystery through the school.

#2 Reading Twins, Ahoy!

Mark Antony doesn’t think it’s fair he’s being left out of the fun. What kind of magic will he get away with to be a part of Hill View High’s elite, and not just Kelly’s brother?

#3 The New Bomb Squad: The Eye Spy Club

Caleb Morehouse is the Reading twins’ triplet cousin. What kind of mystery lies behind his Algebra teacher’s sad eyes?

#4 The Fun D’Mentals of Detecting

Ahead of her class, Meredith Morehouse follows her brother everywhere. Is she popular enough to withstand the pressure of cheerleading?

#5 Twins on Patrol

Anastasia Applebee is only a cousin, but when she noses into the business of the twins’ on a mystery, all goes haywire.

#6 Andrew, King of the Sleuths

Always Adellandra’s favorite, Andrew has to learn how to be just like his father to get him to notice the good points. Will Derrick ever be proud of his elder twin son?

#7 Mark’s Dream Mystery

There’s never a dull moment when Mark Antony’s around! Especially when there are thefts at the new school store. Will he find out whodunit on his own?

#8 The Sights and Sounds of Hill View High

Caleb and his sister Meredith stumble upon a secret that has been hidden from student’s views ever since Kelly started Hill View High. What secret are the teachers hiding?

#9 The Mystery of Hill View High

Meredith loves Hill View High, and being a cheerleader makes her mother proud. She overhears something she didn’t want to, and now she has to keep a secret from her cousins.

10 The Eye Spy Club and the Mystery of the Catz Mansion

Anastasia has always wondered about that weird mansion – now, she must delve deep into the past to find out its mysterious secret.

11 Scared to Death (Almost)

Nothing scares Andrew Reading – until Halloween comes along. Will Mark and the others find a way to frighten Andrew, or is the joke on them?

12 Meredith’s Secret

She’s been hiding a secret from her parents, cousins, and even her brother Caleb. What will she do if someone finds out?

13 Bad Luck for the Twins

Friday, the thirteenth is here, and the twins are superstitious. How will Caleb save the day?

14 The Eye Spy Club to the Rescue

Sam Smith is in trouble. What will the Eye-Spy Club do to help her?

15 Anastasia and the Mystery Tape

Deep in the attic of her sister’s room, she finds a mystery tape. Then, Kelly comes home from College, ultimately depressed. She and Bradley have split up! What’s the secret Kelly’s hiding?

16 Junior Detective Andrew

Andrew goes on a run with his dad, Derrick, and finds out Detective work is in his own blood, too. Will Andrew be able to help solve a thirty-year-old Mystery his own father can’t crack?

17 Meredith and the New Kids

Brandon Bennington and his brother Brian are brand-new to Hill View. They’d been in the Academy growing up, so they don’t know what public school’s all about. What will Meredith teach Brandon that will make him feel welcome in Hill View High?

18 Mark vs. Crazy Queenie’s Sister

He’s heard rumors about the strange girl once named Crazy Queenie. Now, her sister’s in Hill View, and threatening Mark about his own Mystic Secret. How will he handle her?

19 Caleb Strikes Again

20 Anastasia, the Brave

21 Andrew’s Crush

22 Mark and the High School High Jinx

23 Caleb and the Case of Talent Show Terror

24 Meredith’s Boyfriend

25 Anastasia and the Hill View High Scandal

26 Andrew and the Big Bear Bash

27 Seriously Joking

28 The Secret Truth Behind Melody Reading

29 Reading Twins and the Jewel Heist Mystery

30 Meredith’s Gifts

31 Anastasia and the Mystery Photo

32 Legend of Hill View High

33 Eye Spy and the Crooked Miss Crockett

Super Specials:

1) Forgive and Forget

2) Old Friends, New Friends

3) 2 Good 2 B True

4) Once Bitten, Twice Shy

5) Never To Be Underestimated

Twin Thrillers:

1) Bennington Returns

2) Back to Death

3) Murder on the Line

Eye-Spy Club #1: Hill View High, Here We Come!

Andrew James Reading, that’s me. I have the same middle name as my father, Derrick. I’m fourteen, a freshman (finally) at Hill View High School with my twin brother Mark Antony and our triplet cousin, Caleb. Caleb’s sister Meredith was so smart, she’s a freshman, too. She’s only twelve! Stacy Applebee, another cousin that lives with us, is starting HVH, too. Our almost-cousin Angel Schmidt, who lives next door to us with Uncle Aaron and Aunt Aimee, starts HVH the same day the rest of us do.

Anyway, our first day at Hill View High was an emotional one. As we always had, the six of us stuck together. We’d grown up across the street from each other, and are close. Stacy and her older sister Amanda Jo came to stay with us five years ago, when their parents died. Stacy’s the same age as Caleb, Mark Antony, and I are. Angel may have been fourteen, too, but she was the quiet one of our family.

Mom calls me the smart one. Mark’s the adventurous one, and Caleb is the in-between. That basically means he’s like both Mark and I in so many ways. He’s energetic, cool, yet smart and responsible.

I swear our parents choose sides. Mom favors Kelly, Theo and me, while Dad favors Mark and our younger sister Melody. Of course, growing up, this caused some problems. Especially when it came to Kelly.

Kelly graduated from college, and is engaged to be married to none other than our used-to-be-step-brother Bradley Allen Schmidt. He was adopted by Aunt Aimee and Uncle Aaron’s parents when he was just a baby. He didn’t know that until he was a junior in high school. Once he found out, he asked Kelly to be his girlfriend. They may have had their tough times, but they stuck through. Bradley’s real surname is Waters, but he still goes by Bradley Allen.

Kelly is officially Mark’s and my stepsister. Same mother, different father. At first, I didn’t understand the relation, but Mom explained it to me. Uncle Aaron is Kelly’s real dad (which is how we thought of Bradley as our step-brother). Our dad is Kelly’s stepdad, and she calls him Daddy Derrick. At least, she used to in high school.

Our younger sister (Kelly’s step-sister) Melody is eleven, but she’s smart, too. She skipped first grade when she was five and went on to the second grade. She’s in the eighth grade now, and loving Hill View Horizon Woods. She claims it’s a challenge, but fun. Mom’s told us many times both the Readings and her family of the Woods’ are always up for challenges.

The biggest challenges of all come with being Ancient Mystics.

Ancient Mystics. Those words alone bring power to the mind. That’s what my entire family are (except uncle Shane and Dad). That means we have certain ‘abilities’ most kids don’t have. Our basic powers being Telekinesis, Premonition, Clairvoyance, Telepathy and Empathy.

Since taking the Mystic Oath last year, Mark, Stacy, Caleb, and I have grown more powerful. At first, we didn’t have any control over them. As we grew older, we learned to handle what we could do.

Mark never used to take our powers seriously, playing pranks on us and everything. Sure, Caleb and I knew how to handle him; we’d mirror his power back to him, but Mom wasn’t so nice about it. Despite being the smart one, I’d always be to blame for his jokes. Mom would always ground both of us for it, too.

“You should know better, my Andrew James.” Mom would always say. “Don’t encourage his bad behavior.”

Of course, if I did something wrong, heaven forbid, both our parents would punish me. Normal, but we’re definitely not normal.

We’re far from it.

Anyway, on our first day at HVH, we were scared stiff.

I lagged behind my brother and cousins, grip tight on my book-bag. The stood ahead of me, waiting impatiently.

Mom hugged my shoulders. “You’ve fought Dominionites and Dark Areans, Andrew.” She told me. “Surely you can’t be afraid of high school.”

I looked into my mother’s silver-blue eyes; her youthful smile making me relax.

“Of course not, Mom.” I said, then looked back at the school. “I’m not afraid of high school.”

“What are you afraid of?” Mom asked.

Trust my empathic mother to know my thoughts.

“It’s the subjects I’m afraid of.”

“Bah.” Mom scoffed. “Don’t let anything get to you. Especially this. I have to run and meet Jack Burroughs in the teacher’s lounge. I’ll see you later, honey.”

Mom waved goodbye and was on her way.

I sighed, forgetting my own mother was an English teacher here. She’s worked so hard as we grew up, going to school at night to get her degree. Now, she’s working to achieve another degree; her doctorate in psychology.

“Come on, Andy.” I heard Mark’s voice announce impatiently. He came up to me and grabbed my arm. “We’ve gotta get our schedules from the main office.”

“Sorry, Mark.” I apologized. I looked up to see Stacey, Angel, Meredith, and even Caleb staring at me sympathetically.

The six of us followed the other new students to the main office. Stacy went in first, since her surname was Applebee. She screeched at Meredith when she came out. “Cool! I have Adella for a teacher!”

“Which class?” I asked her, peering over her shoulder at the schedule in her hand.

She shoved me away. “Freshman English, of course. What else?”

I shrugged. “I meant, what hour?”

“Fourth, right after lunch.” Stacey replied.

Next to go in were both Caleb and Meredith. “Looks as if we’ve got her, too.” Caleb announced. He turned to his sister. “You know how Aunt Adella can be.”

Meredith giggled. “Of course. Fun.”

Mark tapped me. “Hey, it’s our turn.”

I sighed as I went through the doors. I went up to the desk, to a girl snapping her gum as she looked through the files.

“Names?”

“Andrew and Mark Antony Reading.” We chorused.

We looked at each other and smiled, knowing how much it bugged people to hear us talking together.

She looked up at us, her brown eyes widened. “Hey, weren’t one of you just in here?” She asked.

I shook my head. “Nope. That was our cousin, Caleb Morehouse.”

She shook her head, sifting through the files and handing us our schedules. “Here ya go. Mark Antony and Andrew Reading.” She stared at my schedule for a second before handing it to me. “Are you related to one of the teachers, Adellandra Dratianos? You kinda look like her.”

“We’re her sons.” Mark announced proudly.

“What about Kelly Reading?” The girl asked. “Is she your sister, or something?”

“Stepsister, actually.” I told her. “Same mother, different fathers.”

“Why the same last name?”

This was getting awkward. I didn’t want to tell our life story to a complete, and pretty, stranger.

“Long story.” Mark announced, noticing my uneasiness. He took off ahead of me and I followed.

I sat at a booth beside Caleb. Meredith, Angel, and Stacy were long gone.

“Where’re the girls?” I asked him.

Caleb shrugged. “You know girls. They found a flock of geese to gaggle with.”

I smiled. ‘Flock of geese’ was our expression for a bunch of girls. To ‘gaggle’ obviously meant to talk to and hang out with.

“Good thing.” Mark announced with a grin. “Who wants them spoiling our fun?”

I laughed, standing up. The three of us started walking to our first class, which I found we each had.

“I hate math.” Mark grumbled as he sat down.

“That’s funny.” I grinned. “You always liked it at Horizon Woods.” I told him.

Caleb stifled a laugh. “What’s wrong with it this time, Mark?”

Mark crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out. “Too many numbers.”

“Hah!” I cried, nearly laughing. “Admit it, Mark Antony, you love math.”

“Yeah, you even helped me at it last year, remember?” Caleb remarked.

Mark shrugged, smiling.

Mr. Crest was the Algebra teacher, but he was a little dense. I knew it was the first day and all, but he kept calling us by each other’s names. Being triplet cousins, we were used to this. He suggested we sit across the room from each other. Mark near the door (how convenient), Caleb in the middle of the room, and myself at the other end.

He still didn’t get it, though.

The other kids, most of them from Bayside Academy, laughed it up. Our friends from Horizon Woods stayed silent, watching and waiting for the teacher’s reactions to our identical answers, or just to the fact we were identical, period.

At lunch, we met up with the girls again. Angel picked at her food, Stacey was wired up, talking a mile a minute, and Meredith looked depressed.

“How are you holding up, Meredith?” I asked as I sat down across from her.

Meredith shrugged. “As well as to be expected.” She muttered.

“You’re really bummed, Mare, what’s up?” Caleb asked his sister.

“I know it’s the first day and all, but I can’t help feeling I’m gonna fail.”

I nodded lightly. “Ah, the young-genius syndrome.”

Meredith looked at me and nodded. “You guys know you belong. I feel so young and lonely.”

“Stop that, Meredith Jane.” Stacey scolded her. “You may be young, but you’re far from lonely.”

“We’re here, don’t forget that.” I told her.

“Yeah.” Mark replied, thumbing me. “What he said.”

Meredith smiled.

“Besides, the day isn’t over, yet.” I told her. “You still have half of it to go.”

“What’s your next class?” Caleb asked.

She looked at her schedule, which now resembled a paper ball. “Freshman English with Aunt Adella. What about you?”

Angel looked at her schedule and said. “Freshman English with Mrs. Dratianos.”

Caleb nodded. “Same.”

“You got it.” I told her, then turned to Mark.

“Ugh, I’ve got Mom, too.” Mark supplied. “What do you have, Stace?”

At first, when she looked at it, she frowned. After a second, she had a bright smile on her face. “The Mystic Six rides again!” She cried. “I’ve got Adella, too!”

“Cool!” Mark and I cried.

I sensed someone over our shoulder and turned to see her there.

“Hi, Mom.” I said cheerfully.

“Hello to you too, kids.” Mom smiled. “Don’t expect any special treatment from me. It wouldn’t be fair to the other students.”

“Neither would you-know-what, so we don’t use it.” Stacy announced. “I don’t expect you to do anything less than any one of our teachers.”

“I may be your cousin, aunt, and mother, but that doesn’t mean anything here.” Mom supplied. “During school hours, you are all to call me Madame Dratianos. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Madame Dratianos.” We chorused, which made her laugh.

Mom turned to Mark and me. “Don’t play pranks on your teachers, especially Martin Crest.” Mark, Caleb, and I grinned, knowing what she was thinking. “I expect you boys to behave.” When Stacy and Meredith giggled, she stopped them with a playful glare. Angel smiled. “You, too, girls. I don’t want either of the faculty to come crying to me about you guys.”

“They won’t, Mom,” Mark began, but corrected himself. “I mean, Madame Dratianos.”

“We won’t give them a reason to.” Caleb supplied.

“We’ll be perfect angels, right?” I asked.

“Right.” They chorused after me.

“Good.” Mom pecked each of our cheeks before leaving us. “See you in a bit.”

Mark’s face was red, embarrassed.

“What’s the matter, Mark?” Stacy teased with a giggle. “Embarrassed?”

“You do look a little red in the face.” Meredith joked after her.

I looked at my twin. He looked up at me, sending me a telepathic message.

Stop them, will you?

I shrugged, turning to the girls. “Knock it off, you two.” I announced. “Don’t you have any girlfriends to sit with?”

Stacy smiled. “What? And miss Mark’s embarrassing moments?”

Meredith’s eyes sparkled. “Never.”

I stared at my cousin.

Help me get rid of them.

Caleb nodded. “Go away, girls.”

“Why should we?”

“I’ll give you a hurts donut if you don’t.” I announced.

Ah, the Hurts Donut. Mark’s torture device. He’d made it up when we were little, and it consisted of giving someone a mighty thump on the shoulder bone and saying “Hurts, donut?”

The girls looked at each other and fled. They knew how powerful the thump was; we’d had to use it on each of them a number of times.

“Thanks Andy.” Mark replied. He looked at our cousin. “Thanks Caleb.”

“No sweat.” Caleb remarked. “What are cousins for, anyway?”

Mark smiled, opening his mouth to say something, but I caught him before could say it.

“Don’t you dare, Mark Antony.” I teased him.

Mark shrugged innocently. “What? I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“Yeah, right.” Caleb replied skeptically. “And dragons dance the cha-cha under the sun.”

“If you’re in the right place, they do.” Mark announced with a grin. He showed Caleb the ring he’d gotten from Lord Brakkon in the Realm of the Epsilon battle. He was a Mystic Knight, with a few of our friends, Kurt Stevenson, Joey Farthay, and our next-door neighbor Sammy Smith (a girl he has a crush on). The pewter ring had the Greek Epsilon symbol with a sword and a wizard’s wand crossing each other behind it. The amber stone was in the middle of the crest, symbolizing he was a powerful Knight, and he wore the ring on his right index finger.

The only reason he showed it was to remind Caleb of the battle, and what could happen in the Realm of the Epsilon.

Caleb rolled his eyes.

As I said, we were all a part of the Dream Realm battles, wars, or Crusades in one way or another. Caleb and I were two Mystic Wizards, with each of us wearing a different necklace symbolizing our own battles with Dominionites and Dark Arean creatures. Stacy and Meredith were two of Lord Byron and Queen Challandra’s Squires, with Stacy in charge of Sir Minx, Angel in charge of Sir Raven, and Meredith in charge of Sir Sky. Melody would be a Crusader in time, but right now, she wasn’t powerful enough (or, at least, old enough, or able to control her power). Mom, Dad, Uncle Shane, Aunt Adarra, and Uncle Aaron were all 2nd Generation Crusaders, Aunt Aimee was a powerful Over-Seer with the Unicorn Magic. Uncle Aaron had Unicorn Magic, too, even though both of them weren’t Mystics. Not that I knew of anyway.

Some time ago, long before Mom reunited with aunt Adarra, then named Aluna, her own twin sister, she’d grown up in an orphanage with Aaron and Aimee. They were called the Three Musketeers, shielding each other from pain and harm whenever Mrs. Gertrude, their mistress, would pick on them. (As far as Mom told me, anyway) she was twelve when she ran away to have our step-sister Kelly (Aaron’s daughter). Before she left, she conjured up three bracelets with the little advanced Magic she knew. She didn’t know much about her Magic heritage, but she knew she had to be careful. She gave Aaron and Aimee both bracelets, which had a touch of her power in them. Grandpa David, Mom’s dad, told Aaron this secret, which teased his curiosity. To help in the Crusade, Aaron used the little Magic he had in it to get to her. Ever since, he’s used its powerful green glow of Unicorn Magic to help in any way he can. Lord Guardian told them they were special Mystic Over-Seers.

I sighed, remembering Caleb’s and my own battles with Dark Areans for Lord Maximaniac and Queen Jezebel. They might have been cruel and heartless, but like all Mystics, they were a tempting challenge.

“What are you sighing about?” Caleb asked me.

I snapped out of my daydream to smile at him. “Dark Areans.”

“Ugh, must you remind me, cousin?” Caleb was the one to stick his tongue out this time.

I grinned. “Of course. You know I love to torture you sometimes.” I remarked.

“Of course.” Mark and Caleb chorused.

I loved my brother and cousins.

Across the lunchroom, I saw Angel, Meredith and Stacey sitting together. Stacey was talking with a couple of cheerleaders from the junior-varsity squad. Meredith was writing in her notebook, lunch tossed aside. Then there was Angel.

“What are you staring at, Bro?” Mark asked.

“Look at Angel across the room.”

Both Mark and Caleb looked.

“What’s her problem?” Caleb asked.

I stood. “That’s what I’m about to find out.”

After tossing my lunch tray in the trash, I headed over to the girls.

“Hey, Angel.” I called her name and all three girls looked up.

The cheerleaders blushed away, gawking at Angel before standing.

“We’re, uh, going over there. Coming Stacia? Meredith?” One of them asked, her two consorts behind her.

I gave her the eye. “Stacia?”

Stacey shrugged, turning to her new friends. Meredith was already beside the blonde cheerleader. “Sure, Piper. I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Fine, let’s go Hawkettes. You can come too, Meredith.” The leader flipped her bleach-blonde hair, leaving with my cousin on their heels.

The brunette stopped to look back before the leader called. “Come on, Trace! Let’s go!”

Trace blushed away as she followed her friends.

“What’s with the new nickname?”

“It’s not what you think, Andy. Really.” My cousin tried to explain. “Piper, the blonde, Tracey, the brunette, and Josie, the redhead are Co-Captains of the Cheerleading squad.”

“I gathered that by the uniforms.”

Stacey smacked me. “Stop it. Anyway, they heard about the Dynamic Duo’s reign five years ago and asked us to join.” She hugged me, knocking my glasses out of place. Once she fixed them for me, she whispered. “Isn’t that great?”

“I’ll have to think about that.” I told her. “Meanwhile, isn’t Pepper waiting for you?”

“Yes, and it’s Piper.” She said, patting my back. “See ya in class, cuz!”

I rolled my eyes at our look-alike female cousin, the goof-ball of the family. From the corner of my eye, I saw Angel, staring into space. This time, her lunch was abandoned. The seat next to her was free so I sat down.

“I called your name, but I guess you didn’t hear me.” I said.

No response but a lonesome sigh. I tried again.

“Come on, Angie. It can’t be all that bad.” I watched her blank reaction. “It’s only the first day of school. You have an entire four years to build up depression. Why waste it all on the first day?”

That’s when she turned and gave me a look.

“Aha! I knew there was life in there!” I joked.

“Andrew, please stop.” Her voice was quiet, which is unlike her.

“Why are you so down?” I asked. “Fearing not even the snob squad will accept you?”

Angel shook her head. “No, it’s not that.”

I put an arm around her. “Care to talk about it?”

She leaned into my shoulder, sighing. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Andrew. I’m grateful to be a part of the Mystic family, especially since we made the Pact.”

I knew what she was getting at. “You’re wondering about your parents again, aren’t you?”

She nodded.

I hugged her.

“Thank you for understanding, Andrew James.” Angel said softly as the bell bonged. Lunch was over and it was time for Freshman English with my mother.

“I’ll always be here for you, Angie, no matter what.” I told her as I held her hand. “Come on, let’s get to class.”

As usual, the six of us sat together. Angel and I caught bits of a conversation Stacey and Meredith were having. Caleb was already seated, listening with brotherly interest.

“This is too real!” Meredith was saying to her brother. “I’m gonna be a cheerleader!”

“Wait until Mom finds out.” Caleb said. That’s when he noticed us. “Hey, you two. I was wondering when you’d get here.”

“So was I.” Mark was behind me. Fashionably late, as usual. “Normally, you’d be waiting for us.”

“Yeah,” Meredith and Stacey agreed.

I looked to Angel before we both sat down. “We had some things to discuss.”

Angel nodded. “So, how are the Hawkettes so far? Are they nice, or total snobs?”

“Only Piper’s the snob.” Meredith said. “Try-outs for the J.V.’s are after school. You’re free to try-out if you want, Angel.”

Angel shook her head. “Not this time. Sorry.”

“Come on, it’ll be great.” Stacey begged. “You’ll love it.”

“It won’t be the same without you!” Meredith whined.

Angel gave them a look to shut them up.

We heard the door open and turned to see Mark’s and my mother walking into the room, portfolio in hand. She caught our eyes and smiled, nodding.

This had the other students looking in our direction. Caleb made a feeble attempt to wave. All of us were thinking the same thing.

And now, it starts.

“Welcome to Freshman English.” Mother addressed the class. She wrote her name on the board. “My name is Mrs. Adellandra Dratianos, but for the entire school year, you’ll call me Madame Dratianos. To start out, yes, those six individuals trying to hide out in the corner are my family. I’d like to have each of you stand, state your name and tell a little about yourself, so you may become part of my family, too. We’ll start in the front row and go down the aisles.”

The first was a gumpy boy. His face grew scarlet and I could sense his shyness. When he stood up, his books and papers slid off the desk and onto the floor. Embarrassed, he stumbled to pick them up. The class laughed at him, but the six of us didn’t.

He fiddled with his eyeglasses after he set his messy papers back on the desk. “Uh, my name is Brian Anderson.” Was all he said in a soft voice. He sat down, wanting to hide his pudgy face.

Mother wasn’t quick to give up. She’d dealt with shy Dreamers before, and this Brian was no match for the Lady Guardian. “What school did you come from?”

“Bayside Academy.”

Seeing she’d get to him later, Mother nodded to the girl behind him. So it was, each student introducing themselves to the class and my mother. We were last, thank goodness. I was the first of us to speak.

I stood, nervous. “My name is Andrew Reading. I have a twin brother, Mark.” (Who waved with a smile.) “A triplet cousin, Caleb Morehouse.” (Who nodded.) “And cousins Stacey Applebee, Meredith Morehouse and almost-cousin Angel Schmidt, all who are sitting with me.”

“Good introduction, Andrew.” Mom said, and motioned for me to sit down.

I heard a guy cough from the other side of the room. It was one of those dummy-coughs, where you could hear something. It sounded like, “Teacher’s Pet.” I turned around to see who it was.

Great. The bully of Hill View Horizon Woods, Barry “Butch” Martins, was in class with us. Would we ever rid ourselves of him? I wondered, thinking to my brother and cousins.

Mother noticed our reactions to him, so she silenced him with a stare.

After introductions, it was time to get down to business.

After all, this was still Hill View High, she was still a teacher, and we were still being taught Freshman English. I could tell it was going to be an eventful year.