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Della smiled in victory. “Listen to the chameleon, she has a point.”
When Miranda didn’t say anything, Della continued. “Not only that, but when he said your name, he started polluting the air with all kinds of pheromones. The guy’s got a hard-on for you.”
“Now I know you’re lying.”
“I swear,” Della said.
Miranda made a face. “How would he even know you knew me? Where did you meet—?”
“He was helping out with Chan’s funeral. And he knew I knew you because everyone’s talking about the arrest and how you turned those five goons into kangaroos. He told me you were friends with his sister and that he’d always known you have more talent than you let people believe.”
Miranda’s eyes sparkled just a bit. “Everyone’s talking? Seriously, he really said that stuff about me being talented?”
Della made a gesture over her heart. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
“And stick a needle in your eye if you’re lying?” Miranda asked.
“Yes, the needle, too,” Della said.
“And the pheromones … He really…?”
“I swear!”
Miranda dropped back into her chair. She sat there thinking for several seconds. Then her eyes lost the twinkle. “I still don’t want Shawn. I want Perry.”
“I know. But you can’t make yourself sick because Perry called it off until he comes back. Look at this time as a chance to make sure this is what you want. It’s hard. But darn it, go kiss a few toads and see if they turn into princes.”
Miranda folded her hands in her lap and then looked up at Della. “Are you going to do it?”
“I don’t know any toads,” Della said.
“No, I mean are you going to open yourself up and see if maybe Chase isn’t really a toad, but a prince?”
“I don’t think the Panty Perv is—”
“Stop right there!” Miranda stood back up and sent Della what some would call the stink eye—an evil glare. “You can’t destroy someone’s break-up ice cream, dish out advice, and then not follow it yourself.”
“The witch has a point,” Kylie said.
“Here’s another point,” Miranda added. “You haven’t called him the Panty Perv in a long time. Why is that?”
Because she’d stopped distrusting him so much, Della thought. And because he hadn’t said anything else about her panties, which was how he got the nickname in the first place. “Fine. I’ll follow my own advice.” In a way, she’d already been doing it. And maybe she should remember how much she’d distrusted Chase in the beginning, too.
“Pinkie promise.” Miranda held out her little finger.
Della locked pinkies with the witch, but she couldn’t help but wonder what the penalty was for breaking a pinkie promise. Yesterday, she’d let herself lean on the guy, today there’d be no leaning. Not until her doubts about the Panty Perv completely vanished.
“Say you promise,” Miranda repeated.
“Promise,” Della said, realizing the promise hadn’t entailed any leaning. All she’d promised was to attempt to decipher if Chase was more toad or prince. And so what if he was a prince? That didn’t make him her prince.
Chapter Twenty-two
Della went to her last class, and right after it was over, she went straight to her cabin, where she called Derek and asked him to meet her. As much as she’d been thinking about Steve and Perry and Miranda, she hadn’t forgotten the vision. And if there was anyone who could help her find answers, it was Derek. He was Kylie’s ex and he’d once worked in a private investigator’s office, so he’d helped Della dig up information about her family in the past. He’d been the one to discover about Bao Yu’s murder.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“Just some questions … about my aunt’s case.”
He paused for a minute. “I don’t really know a lot.”
“I’d like to know all you know,” she said.
“Okay. I’m with Jenny, can she come?”
“Sure,” Della said, realizing she’d been neglectful about initiating any more friendship with Jenny, the new chameleon at camp. But Della had been kind of busy, right? A thread of guilt whispered through her.
Della sat on the porch waiting after they hung up. The fall air felt good, the sky was a perfect blue, and the sun was warm on her face. It seemed too pretty of a day to be thinking about murder. A murder that happened years ago, but the ghost had given her the image, and she could only assume it was important. Or maybe she just needed to prove to herself that it hadn’t been her dad committing the murder.
When she heard two sets of footsteps walking down the path, she glanced up and watched as Derek and Jenny came around the corner. They held hands and chatted quietly, smiles on both their faces.
Della’s heart did a dip, feeling the emotional tug of seeing two people who were so right for each other. She’d always gotten that feeling when she saw Kylie and Lucas together. And maybe even a little with Miranda and Perry—the little twerp.
Jenny saw her, let go of Derek’s hand, and ran up and hugged her. Della allowed it. “I know you’ve been working a case for the FRU, but I’ve missed you. And I’ve been worried about you … with Steve leaving.”
“I’m … okay and I’m sorry,” Della said, her mind still stuck on people being right for each other, and she wondered if others saw her and Steve as “right.”