Essence

I looked down at the essay that Ms. Gibb placed on my desk. Another A+. I glanced at my long, curly writing -I've always called it chicken scratch- with my named scripted on the top- Kate Wells. In the seat beside me, my best friend Christina Winters, shook her head in wonder at my paper. From my peripheral vision, I saw that she had a B-. I looked up at her, frowning. It was normal for my grades to be perfect, and just as normal for her grades to be right below average. It wasn't that Chris was stupid, it was just that she was too lazy to actually work hard. I've told her that so many times, but she just doesn't get it. I sighed, and placed my essay neatly away in the binder on top of me desk.
She already knew what I was thinking, and smiled wryly. "I just think Ms. Gibb doesn't like me." she said.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "Uh, I don't think so. Try actually paying attention, and maybe your grades will boost up a little."
She snickered. "Trust me, she doesn't like me. You don't see into her thoughts, so you wouldn't know." her voice had lowered to a whisper towards the end of the sentence. There was nobody close enough to hear her, but she was being careful anyways. My thoughts drifted back to Dan. Actually, they had never left him- he was always there in my subconsciousness. But now I was completely aware that I was thinking of him, and therefore, so was Christina.
"Do you have to think about Danny-boo constantly? It makes me sick." she wrinkled her nose in disgust, and I felt my blood rise into my face, and she grinned at my blush.
"Well maybe you shouldn't be invading my mind." I retorted. "You know I hate it when you do that." She just had that smug grin on her face, looking back at me. I knew she didn't try to read my thoughts all the time- just when it was convenient for her. But still, her smirk was getting me very annoyed. "Knock it off, before I throw you across the room." I mumbled, glaring at her.
But she just laughed, happy as ever. She didn't seem at all uneasy about my threat, even though she knew it was very possible for me to lift her and chuck her towards the opposing wall, without even touching her...though I admit it's very difficult. It's always been that way for me; the power of levitation, mind control. I've never not known that feeling, that power, to lift anything I wanted without a breath. Well, not anything, but the power seemed to get stronger as time progressed. It was getting easier to lift small things, and more possible to lift heavy things. Up until 2nd grade, I had thought I was the only person in the world - in the universe - with any special abilities at all. Then I met Christina Winters, who's still my best friend. She has the very irritating power to read people's minds, or to understand their thoughts. After 8 years of being her best friend, and I still don't truly understand how she does it. I guess it just comes natural to her, just like my levitation power comes naturally to me.
I sensed my thoughts lingering back on Dan, and tried to change them angrily. The bell rang, and I stalked out of the room stiffly, embarrassed. I heard her running after me, calling my name, but I ignored her and kept walking. I started turning the lock to my locker before I reached it, so it opened right when I arrived. I sighed, and placed my books in my perfectly organized locker. I stared at the perfect picture of Dan, and sighed. Then, as if he were called, Dan turned around the corner. I quickly grabbed my bag, and slammed my locker shut, relieved that he didn't see the picture of him taped to the inside of my binder. I was aware of Christina, who had appeared by my side again. I decided to talk about something that she wouldn't be able to resist. "So how are things with you and Kyle?" I asked casually.
She giggled, always an addict to gossip. "You should have seen him last night- we went on a date to the zoo, and we almost kissed! He was being so cute, and since his mom owns the place, we got to pet some of the animals! Oh, and..." she continued her babbling I thought about her and Kyle in the first-kiss stage. I knew this would last for about another 3 weeks, maybe 4, then she would move on to someone else, but I was happy for her all the same. Chris wasn't a player or anything like that- she did go out with a different person every other month, she's just looking for the right person. Experimenting. I understood that, but I was still loyal to Dan. She rolled her eyes as this registered in my thoughts, and I blushed again, looking down. I peeked up again, and there he was, his short-yet-shaggy black hair blowing in the gust of wind that blew through the window. I gasped at his sheer perfection, while he came over to my stand by my locker. I waved bye to Christina, still a little tense, and went to walk towards his car, like we did at the end of every day. I felt a surge of pride as his fingers interlocked with mine. I couldn't help but feel glorious as I walked past some popular girls, who were glaring at me, obvious jealous of me and Dan. I recognized one of the girls, what was her name? Stacy? Sally? I didn't remember. Christina was friends with her, but I had no idea who she was. From the greedy way she stared at Dan, I didn't want to. I pulled myself closer to him, leaning into him as we got into his car.
Dan began with the usual. "How was your day?"
I shrugged. "Fine."
He looked concerned. "You looked ticked before. Something wrong?"
I gritted my teeth when I remembered Christina. "It's nothing. Christy's just p***ing me off, a little."
Dan grinned, then. He had always been friends with Chris. "She doesn't mean to be annoying, you know." he said sympathetically, but I could tell he was trying not to smile. I couldn't help but follow his enthusiasm, and smiled to myself as we pulled out of the school parking lot.


I lay on my back, looking up at the Twilight poster tacked to my ceiling. I sat up and glanced to my left, where my calender was hung on the wall. My eyes zoomed absentmindedly on May 16th- me and Dan's 5-month anniversary. Aka, tomorrow...Saturday. I felt a little flutter in my stomach. Dan and I hadn't kissed yet, though we've hugged lots of times...and we're almost always holding hands. But Christina was convinced that when Dan took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, we'd move up to the next level. Honestly, I couldn't wait. And, I couldn't sleep. Christy was going to be p***ed if I had bags under my eyes, and had threatened me beforehand to get sleep - she was convinced that I was her Barbie doll, and she was doing my make-up and picking out my outfit. Honestly? I'm kind of scared.
The little digital clocked beeped. I glanced at the vibrant red numbers reading 5:00 A.M. I sighed, then rolled back over, trying to catch a few more hours of sleep before the big day.


"Oh...my...GOD!" Christina screeched at the top of her lungs as she looked at me again. She had just finished dressing me and applying my make-up. And doing my hair. I had taken special care to direct my gaze from whatever she had dressed me in, but I knew I'd have to look before I left. Just in case.
I groaned. "I know I look filthy but really you don't have to be so-"
She grabbed my elbow and yanked me not at all gingerly towards the full-length mirror hanging on my wall (a present she had given me for my birthday the year before) and twisted my head, being careful of my make-up, towards it.
I gasped. Literally, like those gasps in the movie where the person breathes in quick and their mouth drops slightly.
I didn't know whether I should start yelling at Christina or start groveling at her feet. I mean, I looked goo-ood.
It was a dark, sparkly red dress with a little black sweater that went over it. On someone else, it may have made them look like a major slut, but I wasn't able to look slutty if I tried.
I had refused to let her put any type of heels on me, because I had tiny ankles which would not last with any kind of heel, not matter the height, so she had settled for plain black flats. I looked away from the mirror and to Christy, who had the smuggest look on her face.
"You look hot!" she exclaimed. I regained my composure and rolled my eyes.
"Whatever, I'm changing into some jeans or something. I look like a total skan-" at that moment, I heard tires on gravel, and knew that Dan was here. I looked back to Christina, and narrowed my eyes. "You planned this whole thing, you jerk." she laughed, knowing I was right and that there was nothing I could do about it unless I wanted to be late I sighed, planning on thanking her later. She knew I was grateful, though. I went to grab the little back purse that held my cell phone and wallet, and saw that it had been replaced with a shiny black Coach handbag, my stuff still in it. I smiled to myself...this night would be perfect.
I opened the door, and there was Dan, a massive bouquet of pink, thornless roses in his left hand a package of Airheads in his right. He had once told me that pink roses meant perfect happiness, while thorn-less roses meant love at first sight. And yeah, I know what you're probably thinking, Why Airheads? Why not the traditional box of chocolates? Well, I like Airheads, and so does Dan. So there.
He smiled and kissed my forehead, then handed the roses and candy to me. He slid his arm around my waist and led me to the car, where he held open the door and helped me load in my purse, candy, and flowers.
"You look radiant," he whispered into my ear, then closed the door gently and went around to get into the car. As soon as he had backed out of the driveway, he twined his fingers with mine.
Neither of us said anything on the way there, we just sat and soaked up the happiness. Okay, that sounded kind of corny but hey, it's the truth.
He pulled into a very fancy, very expensive restaurant called the Blue Lake. As he pushed to the front of the waiting area, and past the little podium, he gave his name and sat down in a booth across from me. It was in the shadowy little corner where we'd have privacy.
"I made reservations," he murmured. I laughed and poked him. "You always do."
For the next 40 minutes, we laughed and drank and told jokes and relived our favorite memories. We both had steak, which was the best I've ever tasted, even to this day. Our conversations drifted from serious talks about life to poking fun at our friends.
It was possibly the best night of my life.
Until the second course, that is.
We had been laughing at the memory of Christina getting peed on by a bobcat at the zoo, when I saw Dan's eyes widen at the space to the right of me, near the wall. I screamed in surprise as I suddenly was lurched to my left off of the seat, and was suspended in the air as if there were an invisible chair beneath me. A ghostly force held me there, and it was then that I realized there was a ringing in my ears as the restaurant was silent for a few moments. A horrific uproar arose as each person in the building starting yelling. I was yanked back onto the seat...did nobody even notice that I had been hanging in midair!? I glanced at Dan, his eyes wide with horror. I looked at the glass from the window behind him, where I had been sitting and saw that it had a crack in the middle, a bullet sticking out. I felt a wave of sick fear as I realized that a moment later, that bullet would have gone straight through my head.
Dan grabbed my hand and left a hundred dollar bill on the table, then half-dragged me out of the restaurant and into his car. As soon as we had out seat belts off he sped away, both hands clenched tightly on the wheel.
"Dan, what happened back there!? Why did some just try to shoot me, and how did-" I stopped myself, not knowing if I should mention the whole suspension in air thing. Had I lifted myself in panic? If I did, I didn't even know that I could do that...but it couldn't have been me. I hadn't had any idea that I was in danger.
Dan just kept muttering, "Damnit, damnit, damnit..."
I stared at him, not understanding anything. Everything had happened so fast, the adrenaline was just beginning to pulse through me. "What's going on Dan!?"
He looked at me with conflict in his eyes as we pulled into the driveway. We sat in the car for a few minutes, waiting tensely for him to do something
"Christina is here, but your parents aren't?"
I nodded.
"Okay, then let's go upstairs...I need to explain a few things." he winced. "A lot of things, actually...do you think you'll be able to get Chris to leave?" I bit my lip and murmured, "I'll try, but you never know with her...she's stubborn and unpredictable."
He nodded and muttered something unintelligible, then took the roses while I grabbed the candy and my purse. We walked briskly through the front door, then upstairs into my room, where we discovered Christina checking her Facebook on my laptop. She glanced at me and Dan, exed out of the Internet, and walked smoothly over to us. "What's going on?" she asked, as she looked at us standing there rather rigidly. Though I tried to keep my thoughts under control, I knew Christina saw some of the things that went on. Like the whole sitting-on-air thing...that was a perfect mental picture in my head.
Her expression grew very serious. "Kate, tell me what's wrong. Now." she said, looking directly at me, piercing me with her probing gaze.
Dan's face also turned very serious, with a hint of frustration lingering there. "Christy, please let me explain things to Kate privately...this is a matter that concerns just the two of us-"
Christina's eyes narrowed dangerously. She whispered, her voice a dead calm. "Anything you tell her, I will know. Whether I am here or not makes no difference."
Dan sighed, and nodded. I released the breath that I hadn't realized I'd been holding. He took my hand and led me to the bed, where we sat down quietly. Christina resumed the computer chair which she had been sitting at before.
"I...I'm not sure how to explain this. It's something that can be fatal for both of you, should anybody else ever know," he paused to look at us. Christina's gaze had turned rather skeptical, but I said nothing.
Dan turned to face my bedside table, and lit a pale blue candle. He looked back to me and said, "Please don't be frightened by what I'm about to show you." I nodded again, not trusting my voice.
He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, then opened them again. He glanced at the dark bedside table again, where I followed his gaze, and saw that the candle had been...blow out? That's when I saw it.
The flame.
A flicker, really. It wasn't some in-depth bonfire, it was truly a tiny flame, the same size as the one that had been lit over the candle a moment ago.
Floating.
Honestly, I don't know how else to describe what it was doing. It was floating right in front of me. Levitating. A feeling of panic overtook me for a moment as I thought that maybe I was causing it to do so. Christina had an identical show of horror on her face, and though I couldn't read her mind, I knew what she was thinking - You're doing it in front of Dan!?
But Dan's face was serene and calm, almost...anxious?
"It's real." he said quietly. "I'm making it do that. It's called levitation. It was something I was born with, some sort of talent I have always possessed. I know it may seem impossible, and I know you may not believe me, but I swear to you-"
He paused, seeing my expression, which I assumed must have been one of mixed horror and puzzlement. I looked at Christina, whose facial features were carefully composed and blank, with a hint of surprise. Oh. She had read his mind...she knew something I didn't.
"Please, Kate, listen to me! I'm not a freak, there are others who can do it too-"
"Others?" I whispered.
"Yes. Yes there are many others!" he said eagerly, glad to have finally gotten something out of me. "Of course, not all of them can make things levitate, but there are other talents like the one I have..."
I was surprised to hear Christina's quiet voice this time. "Katie, show him."
"Show me what?" Dan's eyebrows pulled together in confusion.
"Exactly what you showed me," I said quietly. I didn't know if I was doing the right thing by showing him my identical skill, but he had showed me...if he was able to trust me, then I could trust him.
Before he had the chance to say anything, I lifted a picture off of my desk into the air. I smiled faintly at the picture of Christina and I years ago, playing on the old swing set behind my house. A sense of sadness shook me for a moment, as I looked at our young smiling faces, her blond hair whipping out behind her, while my own brown shrouded most of my face. I opened my hands, and let the picture bob upward to rest in front of Dan's face, my invisible force containing it in air.
Dan's eyes widened. Suddenly, I was desperate to know what he was thinking.





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