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Dad nods, and Katy steps back a few feet again.

  “So why is she crying?”

  Surprisingly, a brief smile crosses his face. “This is right up your alley. She’s scared of the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion.”

  “The ones that get in your car at the end?”

  “Yup. Sound familiar?”

  “Hey, I didn’t cry after the ride!” Just during it, but my friends don’t need to know that.

  “Will you help her?” he pleads.

  “All I have to do is explain the ghosts are just holograms, right? Like you told me when I was little?”

  He shifts his weight from side to side. “Actually, you can’t say that.”

  “Why not?

  “We have to ‘preserve the magical guest experience’ at all times,” he says apologetically. “It’s rule number three in the handbook. You’ll have to figure something else out. Free cotton candy maybe? Hurry.”

  I turn to my friends. Zoey glances meaningfully at her watch. “Go ahead,” Katy says with a light shove. “We’ll wait.”

  It’s not like they have much choice, since I’m the driver.

  With one last glance at the stranger who is my father, I hurry into the bathroom. I’ve never done anything like this before. Why should someone listen to anything I have to say? I know, I’ll pretend I’m acting in a play! When I get inside, I find the girl huddled under the counter, wiping her face with some toilet paper.

  “Hi,” I say to her, cringing a little at how loud it comes across. Megan would love the acoustics in this place! “My name’s Josie,” I say more softly this time. “I used to be scared of those ghosts too. Maybe I can help.”

  The little girl sniffles, and I feel her pain, I really do.

  “Do you want to go back outside, and we can talk there?”

  She shakes her head and doesn’t meet my eyes. Okay, so we’ll just have to do this here. In a bathroom. “Those ghosts looked like they were having fun, right? They seemed happy. So really, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

  The girl keeps crying. The collar of her Hello Kitty t-shirt is getting wet. I grab a paper towel and hand it to her. She takes it and lets her hands fall to her side. I don’t think I’m doing very well here. Heck, just because Dad has to “preserve the magical guest experience” doesn’t mean I have to.

  “You know,” I say, “it’s very possible those ghosts aren’t even real. I’ve heard rumors that they might just be holograms, like in a movie.”

  The girl shakes her head. “They’re real! I know they are!” She swipes at her wet eyes angrily.

  “What makes you say that?” Hey, at least she’s saying something. That’s a good sign.

  She sniffles. “One of them... spoke to me.”

  Huh? I didn’t see that coming. All I can think to ask is, “What did the ghost say?”

  The girl meets my eyes for the first time. For the moment, she has stopped crying. “It was my nana. She said, ‘Don’t worry, Sloane, I’m here. We’ll go home together after the ride.’ But now she’s not here anymore!”

  “So it’s not that you were scared of the ghost, it’s that your nana isn’t around when she said she’d be?”

  Sloane nods her head. She wipes at her eyes again, but less angrily. A thin silver bracelet on her wrist catches the light.

  “That’s a beautiful bracelet.”

  She looks down at it. “My nana gave it to me for my birthday last year.”

  “You must have loved her very much.”

  Sloane nods. “She named me,” she says, sitting up a little straighter.

  “How come she gave you such an unusual name?”

  Sloane thinks for a while and says, “Nana said people with unusual names lead unusual lives.” When she says unusual it comes out like anooshal.

  “She sounds like a smart lady.”

  Sloane doesn’t answer. She just stares down at her bracelet. I don’t want to lose her so I ask, “What kinds of things did you like to do together?”

  Finally she says, “She used to love coming here. She wouldn’t go on any of the rides, though. She’d just watch me.” Sloane’s lips twitch in the first sign of a smile that I’ve seen.

  I move closer to her. “Sloane, do you think it’s possible that your nana was telling you that she’s always with you, whether you’re here in Disney World or at home?”

  Sloane tilts her head slightly, looking up at me.

  “Maybe it was her way of letting you know she’ll always be inside your heart.”

  Sloane thinks for a few seconds and then nods. Her face brightens.

  I smile. “You’re a lucky girl to have a nana who loves you so much.”

  Sloane smiles for real now and reaches for me to help her out from under the counter.

  “There’s someone outside waiting to give all little girls named Sloane some cotton candy.” The words are barely out of my mouth when she runs out of the bathroom. That girl might have a future on the track team.

  When I get back out into the bright sunlight, I see Sloane holding my dad’s hand, dragging him toward the cotton candy stand like nothing was ever wrong. He turns to look at me over his shoulder. He’s beaming. Zoey points frantically at her watch.

  I wave goodbye to my dad and Sloane as Megan grabs onto my t-shirt and yanks. We take off in a run down the center of Main Street.

  “I’m really sorry I made us lose so much time,” I say, huffing.

  “Don’t worry about it,” Katy says. “You were only gone six minutes.”

  “Really? It felt longer.”

  “Whatever you said must have worked.”

  “I guess so. Did my dad say anything to you guys while I was in there?”

  The three of them exchange glances. “Not really,” Megan says. “Just some stuff about working here always being a dream of his.”

  “Really? He never mentioned anything like this before.” As I say it, I remember our talk on the way to my driver’s test. All that stuff about following your dreams. I guess he was just waiting for the right moment to tell me. But the moment found itself, instead.

  We hurry through the exit turnstiles and Katy squeezes my arm. “Helping kids seems like a pretty cool job to me.”

  I smile gratefully. Yeah, it really is a pretty cool job. It feels nice to know that after the first few minutes in there, I hadn’t been acting anymore.

  As we head into the parking lot, four girls I recognize from my gym class run past us. Two of them have big knapsacks on their backs, filled to the brim. Megan says, “What, are they afraid to leave their stuff in the car?”

  I can’t help being a bit jealous. “It looks like they have a lot of things already.”

  “Hey, at least they won’t find any menus at Donald’s Hot Dog Hut,” Zoey says.

  “You think we should warn them?” Katy asks. We all look at her like she has two heads. “Just kidding,” she says. As we approach the car she checks her list. “What are we going to do about the two identical organic things?”

  “How about two rocks?” Zoey suggests. “Or leaves?”

  We look down at the asphalt. Every pebble we pick up is slightly different.

  “I know!” I say loudly, asserting my new feeling of being capable. “We’ll get the Davis twins! They’re identical and organic!”

  “Interesting!” Megan says, her eyes lighting up. “Think of all the bonus points for creativity. I can see us now, introducing videos on MTV, rubbing shoulders with all the famous people...”

  “But we can’t have more people join our team,” Katy points out.

  “They won’t have to join,” I say. “They’ll just be two more items on the list. We’ll make sure they don’t help us.”

  “What if they’re on the scavenger hunt too?”

  “We won’t know unless we try.”

  She agrees, and we hop in the car and head back out to the main part of town. Megan says she knows where the Davis boys live because they are on her bus route. We pull in front of the house an