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Sweet and Savory
Author's note: I originally wrote this peice for a site called Nanowrimo. Nanowrimo is a website that holds a challenge every Novemeber. The challeng: to write 50,000 words in one month. SO this is what i wrote.
“Sweet or savory?” A flight attendant in a blue uniform and a ridiculously high ponytail asks me.
I glance at the packets she is holding out do I have to choose? “Both please” I smile up at her.
“Definitely the best answer” she laughs handing me the packet of cookies and another of pretzels, “how about to drink, we have sodas, juices, tea or coffee”
“May I have a cranberry and sprite please” I ask her, she nods and hands me a can of sprite a can of cranberry juice and a glass of ice, just how I like it.
“Thank you” I tell her pulling the tab on the mini cranberry can.
“No problem” she turns to the seat on the other side of the aisle and passes those passengers their snacks.
I pour the cranberry juice into my glass and then pull the tab on the sprite can. Opsie-daisies the sprite gushes out and sprays me with sticky fizz. I probably shouldn’t have shaken it I grimace at the mess. The girl next to me hands me her napkin, “looks like you may need this” she smiles.
“Thanks” I reply taking her napkin and my own I attempt to mop up the mess. When I’m finished I turn to the girl and thank her again, I notice she ordered the same drink as me.
I point to her cransprite “definitely the best choice” she laughs.
“I totally agree” I notice she has an American accent like me. “I love your nails by the way” she points to my left hand which is still holding the sprite can.
“Oh thanks” I glance at my nails and notice that they are now pink, hot pink. I know normal girls know what color their nails are but see when I left my house this morning they weren’t pink, I wonder when they changed.
“So are you going to Paris to?” girl next to me asks, well duh I think. Why else would I be on a plane to Paris?
Instead I just smile “yup I’m so excited it’s my first time, have you been before?”.
The girl beside me (who had blue nails in case you were wondering) shook her head “nope never I’m just going to visit some friends but I’m so super excited!!”
I laughed girl-beside-me actually speaks with two exclamation points in her voice despite the fact that we have nearly five hours to go till we arrive in Paris. She also manages to say ‘so super excited’ and not sound weird. I look over at her.
She looks to be around my age maybe a year or two older. She is wearing black jeans with an in love with Paris t-shirt and her blond hair was tied into two pigtails.
“My name is Lucy” she holds out her hand.
“Kaitlin” I tell her shaking her hand “I’m 15 you?”
“16” she says me “yay now I have a friend in Paris!!! So how long will you be in Paris for?”
“A semester” I reply.
Her eyes get really wide and her long lashes seemed to grow longer “really? That’s so amazing, we should hang out I’m going to be in Paris for a semester as well!!”
Oh really? Well this could get interesting. See if Lucy intends to go site seeing with me she may be surprised to find out that most of the girls at my school won’t be taking the metro, or walking, see we tend to do things our own way.
“I thought you were visiting friends” I say cautiously her hoping I have misunderstood.
She nods her head vigorously “I am staying with them for a few days, school doesn’t start till next week for me”
“Ohh” guess I didn’t hear wrong.
“So what school are you going to?” she asks her eyes full of innocence, oh dear now what? I could tell her I was attending the international school of witchcraft, but she might look at me a bit funny.
Ok so I guess I owe you an explanation.
My name is Kaitlin Reisse, I’m 15. I have shoulder length brown hair, green eyes, and I’m medium height. Over all I’m average, average size, average looks, average brains. Except I’m a witch. Not an ugly old lady with a black hat and warts, but a teenage witch, with no spots (well no more than other teens), and I don’t wear black hats (well except for at special witchy ceremonies).
I can zap things, for example I can change the color of my shirt, which is also why my nails change color a lot. It’s a witch thing; my nails change color all the time.
The whole Paris thing is an exchange that I’m doing through school. I go to the international school of witchcraft in Washington DC, so I’m doing a semester abroad in Paris. My mom showed me the brochure for it last summer and I’ve been dyeing to go ever since, the only problem was that I didn’t speak French. Luckily that isn’t actually a requirement I just took the French potion and viola I can now speak French (and for some reason I’ve become fluent in pig Latin).
Lucy is still staring at me so I decide to just make up a school; I mean I can’t just spread my witchy secret now can I?
“I’m going to the Saint. Marie school” I make up on the spot because I’ve forgotten what our cover story is supposed to be, and a magazine called Marie is sitting in my lap. I know that I was sent some booklet by the school with all the information in it. I also know that my mom had handed it to me saying ‘Now don’t lose this Kaitlin! Make sure you remember everything and keep this folder safe.’
Honestly truly I had read it but I only remembered the fun things like what the school play was going to be (Shakespeare A Midsummer’s Nights Dream in case you were wondering.), and how the school was really close to a café and movie theater.
“FUN!!”Lucy shrieks grabbing my arm in a death grip and practically killing me.
“Ya” I gasp prying my arm free of the girl’s talons, “what school are you going to?” I ask making sure my arm is well away from her vicious grip.
“Jennifer Andrews School for brilliant young minds” she squeals punctuating each word with a tap of her long nails on the arm rest between us.
Hmm, I’m relatively certain that my cover was supposed to be Marie something’s school for talented students. Just then a manicured hand shoots over the barrier between our seats and grabs my unsuspecting hand.
“This is so fabulous!!” Lucy shrieks. Yes she actually said fabulous, seriously this girl needs to drink decaffe. I consider telling her that caffeine isn’t good for you, and explaining the merits of water and decaffe coffee. But seriously it’s a tossup between explaining caffeine issues and changing seats.
“We have to be BFFEAEFR” squeals Lucy, not letting go of my hand.
“Uh what?” I ask attempting to dislodge her grip on my poor hand.
“You know Best Friends For Ever and Ever For Real!!”
“Oh of course” I pick up my magazine deciding to try to ignore her and maybe she will fall asleep or something. No luck she spends the rest of the trip shrieking and squealing over the BFFEAEFR possibilities we have. No joke she screams the whole ride, I have to take an aspirin to deal with the hyper-girl-sitting-next-to-me-for-over-five-hours induced head ache, because despite popular belief witches can get major headaches.
When I finally get off the plane I’m practically dyeing to get away from Ms. Hyper. After an hour of French customs I’m through to the baggage claim. I stand with the throngs of people trying to wedge myself between all the impatient travelers. I swear they have at least four elbows each and everyone seems to be wearing pointy heels that kill when they are stabbed into your toe!!
Finally I spot my black suitcase and matching duffle. They may look small for a month away from home, but seriously it isn’t like I actually need anything I can just pop up whatever I want. The bags are more for show, I mean I couldn’t exactly say good bye to all my nitch, that’s non-witch, friends for a whole term without taking anything with me. I manage after some trying to balance my duffle on one shoulder, my hand bag on the other and still be able to pull my suitcase. I look around for a door or exit, and walk over to the group of people pushing through automatic doors. Opps I don’t think those are automatic. Recently I have been having excitement issues meaning that when I get excited my powers tend to, over act a little. For example opening doors without meaning to.
I quickly push on the door before anyone notices that they have self-opened.
Breaking through into the crowded welcome hall I look around for the counselor who is supposed to be picking me and a girl from the international school of vampires up.
Yes there are vampires as well, and no they don’t wonder around sucking random people’s blood. I mean seriously eww! Actually they are totally nice for the most part, I mean sure they are slightly pale and they do drink blood. They have to go to a blood bank and they get blood there, kind of gross but still it’s better than just randomly biting people. Oh the other thing about vampires is that they can like float it’s totally cool. They never really walk around they just sort of float, you should see them dance they look so cool all floating and dancing. Now where was I, oh right teacher person where are you? I stretch on to my tippy toes, which is tricky in my new denim skirt and high heeled boots. There he is, I see a guy waving a blue sign. He emailed me earlier this week to tell me he would have a blue sign so I guess that’s him. I push myself through the crowd over to him.
“Hey” he grins engulfing me in a hug “You must be Kaitlin” when I nod he continues “I’m Jeff, welcome to Paris”
“Thanks…” but I’m interrupted by the arrival of the vamp girl. I turn and come face to face with Lucy, the caffeine girl.
“OMG you’re the wit girl!!” She throws her arms around me. I had thought a death hold was bad, a death hug is way, way worse.
She spins to face Jeff “I’m Lucy, the vamp”
“Great I’m Jeff the were” he gestures to me “I take it you girls have met?”
“Yup” Lucy the vamp or vampire shrieks. “But I didn’t realize she was a wit”
Oh ok so in our terms wit is a witch, vamp is a vampire, and were is a werewolf.
“Great so let’s hit the road girls, it’s about a half hour drive over to the other side of Paris where both campuses are, they are only about five minutes walking apart so you girls can hang out”
“Superness” Lucy grins grabbing her bags, they are all pink by the way and she has a lot of them. “Let’s go”
Super I think another 30 minutes with Lucy and then the rest of the term only five minutes away from her.
“All righty Kaitlin, I’ll drop you off here, you can leave you suitcases if you like they will be brought up later.”
“Thanks Jeff, see ya Lucy” I jump out of the car before she can give me a DH as I have now nicknamed her death hugs.
Swinging my purse over my shoulder I step up to the door and look for a bell.
Ok before you read what comes next I want you to know that I had attended I Wit school but only a day one and only for a year so I was still new to using my powers in everyday circumstances. At home my mother and father had taught me to use my powers only when necessary which is why it took me for-ev-er to persuade them to let me go to a wit boarding school. Anyways my point is that I’m still pretty new to the whole popping, zapping, poofing and zinging idea.
That’s why I stood in front of the door for a good ten seconds after realizing there was no bell, wondering what to do. I attempt to nock but I know that my small fist isn’t going to do much against the huge, smooth, wood door that stands between me and wit school.
That’s it eureka! Witch school, duh I have to use a spell. Wops I place my hand on the door knob and imagine the door knob turning beneath my hands and the door effortlessly opening. I turn the knob and the door swings open. That’s the thing about wit magic, you don’t need a wand, or any complicated spell, well except for, for the complicated things, but you just imagine it how you want it to be and voila!
I step into the dark hall, hmm I wonder if there is a light switch. I laugh aloud at myself, you are a witch Kaitlin remember no switch necessary. I close my eyes and imagine lights turned on. I clap my hands and open my eyes to find the hall lit up by a chandelier and huge glass windows that line the left hand wall.
I gasp at my surroundings, they are beautiful. I am standing in a huge hall with a winding stair case off to one side and giant doors opening to a courtyard on the other. The ceilings were so high up that I can barely make out the painted ceiling.
A book whizs by my left ear and through the courtyard forcing me to duck. Standing up I notice a lady is standing at the bottom of the stairs.
“Welcome to the international school of witchcraft” she smiles and walks towards me, her long green dress shimmering as she walks. I gasp entranced by her dress which appears to be turning red as she walks. “You must be Kaitlin” She holds out her hand and I shake it regaining my sense of speech.
“Yes Kaitlin Reisse, I’m the exchange student from Washington”
“Kaitlin it is a pleasure to meet you, my name is Madame. Kestly” She smiles down at me and although I know she must be at least 55 her smile seems to make her look younger. “You have arrived just in time for our welcome back dinner, it starts in an hour so you will have time to see your room and meet some students before we start.”
She waves to two girls walking in through the courtyard door. “This is Julia and Sofia” she gestured to the tall blond girl named Julia and then to Sofia the shorter brown haired girl sporting a ‘yo dudes I speak Francais’ shirt “they are sophomores like you and I’m sure they will be happy to show you around. “Girls this is Kaitlin from Washington” I smile at the girls, oh dear I hate when teachers tell you that so-and-so will be happy to show you around because chances are they would rather be enjoying their first day back opposed to showing new kids around.
Madame. Kestly turns to go leaving me with the two girls.
“Hey Kaitlin right?” I nod to the brunette who continues, “so should we go to our rooms, I think you have a room just down the hall from ours but we can check.” The girl, Sofia, pulls out a mini compact and flips it open pressing her forefinger to the glass and closing her eyes. A second later a 3d hologram of the room assignments pops up.
“Wow cool I need one of those” I laugh.
“Here” Julia tosses me another compact “this one is for you just press your finger to the glass and you can get schedules, maps, room assignments, they even work as a cell phone between students.”
Sofia had found my room so we set off up the stairs before I can try out my new toy.
“Call me Jewls” the girl smiles back.
“Oh and I’m Soff only my mom and the teachers call me Sofia” I nod trying to keep up with the info overload.
“So are you guys French?”I ask
“Nope I’m actually Italian, but I took this new language potion someone made last year and so now I speak like 15 languages fluently” answers Sofia, I mean Soff
“Same here, although I’m not Italian, I’m German” Jewls tells me.
“I definitely need that potion I just used a spell for French but I’d love to speak Italian, and German” We have arrived at the top of the grand stairs, as I later learn they are called. Not that anyone really uses the stairs but we had decided to take the nitch way. Most kids just fly or appear wherever they want to be. Which is fun except when you are peacefully studying and suddenly someone appears right next to you. Ya that can get freaky. But on that first day I didn’t know any of that so let’s skip back to me being led like a lost puppy to my rooms.
“Here you go” Jewls pushes open a door with a big number 7 on the black door. “Oh you can just decorate as you like and expansions are fine as long as you don’t steal space” Expansions? I wonder space stealing what the hell? It is like a new world. I just nod though making a note to ask my compact later.
I step into a plain medium sized room with two windows and no furniture.
“Here you go” Soff pops up a sofa “you can change it later but I figured we might as well sit while I explain the school to you” I nod and concentrate on poofing up my own couch. It comes out green and purple but whatever I can still sit in it.
Jewls sinks into a comfy looking armchair which appears out of the floor. “So this is going to sound like total overload but we can run you through some basics” Soff says.
“So this is your room, you can transport here and to anywhere on campus, but no transporting in the nitch world. The campus includes the vamp campus as well” Explains Soff at a rate of about 15 words a millisecond. No joke she speaks really, really fast.
“Oh but don’t transport directly into the dining hall, the teachers get so annoyed. I suggest just transporting outside the door then walking into the hall” I nod and she continues, “other than that transporting to classes is fine. Oh and you can fly as well just don’t go through walls they tend to move as girls re arrange their rooms.”
“Oh we should totally put our rooms together” cut in Jewls I just nod wondering how an earth you put rooms together. Last time I checked moving rooms wasn’t really normal, but then again we are witches so we aren’t really normal. Jewls disappears.
“She is going to get our rooms and put them next door” explains Soff as door pops up in the middle of my wall. “Oh that must be her door” Soff says as if appearing doors is totally normal.
She pulls me through the door into a huge suite, with a hot tub and an enormous king bed. Wow I guess this is what they meant by furnishing your rooms I stare around me. My parents have a strict no spells on furniture rule at my house so I have never had a chance to experiment in room designing. Jewls waves us over to her living room. Soff waves back and walks over with me following like a confused… well something confused.
“You changed it again” Soff exclaims “I get so confused” she takes a sip of the coke in her hand which has just appeared out of thin air. COOL I imagine a coke in my own hand and voila there it is I take a sip of its delicious coolness. Hmm lemon coke, yum, not exactly what I imagined but still really yummy.
“You going to sit” asks Jewls from her seat on the coach. Right maybe that would be a good idea. I sink into the pink bean bag and take another sip of my coke. Does coke stain? Hmm I bet it does, oh dear big problem why did I have to chose a dark colored drink, oh right I zapped it so I can just zap the stain.
“So what’s next on the debrief” asks Jewls.
“Umm what’s my schedule, and when are meals”
“Oh of course, just take out your compact and ask for your schedule, it will pop up and you can tap any class to go to it, literally, it’s charged with a transport spell”
“Neat, so you can never get lost?” I ask looking at my compact with a new found respect. I hope I don’t lose it, I had better find a tracking spell.
“Nope, and If somehow you do you can tap the map, because things are always moving around it really helps” I watch the 3D map Soff pops out of her compact. Suddenly I spot a dot labeled Soff, it is sitting in a room labeled Jewls’ room and next door I can see my room.
“Super fun” I laugh watching rooms move, oh dear I was sounding like Lucy, not a good thing trust me.
“Totally, oh and meals are on the schedule just remember not to teleport to the dining hall.” Jewls says the map disappears and a scolding woman who looks a lot like Jewls appears in the air above the open compact.
“Julia, you are going to be late, and you are making Sofia and Kaitlin late as well. Stop playing around and go change into your uniform. NOW!!” The lady twists to face me “hello Kaitlin sorry not to introduce myself my name is Sarah, I’m Julia’s mother.”
“Nice to meet you” I attempt a smile unsure as to whether she can hear me.
“Al right girlies go get ready for the welcome back dinner” She smiles at Soff and I then spins on Jewls with a glare “NOW”.
With that the compact snaps closed and the image disappeares.
“Sorry about that my mom is over intense.” Jewls rolls her eyes and Soff and I laugh.
“Ya my mom had better not figure out how to do that” I grin standing up to go.
“You had better hope so, oh and remember you can just zap whatever you need.” Says Soff Standing up, her clothes morph into the navy blue skirt and white blouse of our school uniform as she stands.
I wave to my new friends and walk through my door.
Once alone I collapse onto the sofa I made earlier. I’m so excited to be here, I love being a witch but it’s just they are so good. I’d heard that Paris was top notch but I hadn’t realized how amazing these girls really are. If I struggle with making a simple coke how am I going to create a whole room, bathroom and my uniform in less than 15 minutes?
Calm down Kaitlin, you can make a simple mirror and the basics you can finish later it will be fine. As for a uniform I can transform some of my clothes which is easier than creating from scratch. I squeeze my eyes closed and imagine a mirror hanging on the wall. I open my eyes and squeal, it even has a little shelf under the mirror to put my things. Next I need to get these sofas to match. I imagine them all white suede. It works, sort of, I managed to make the two sofas white but for some reason the chair has become rainbow colored. Whatever it will do for now. Next things… next? I Shuffle through my duffle till I find a pair of too-tight jeans and a old shirt, if I’m going to bewitch my clothes they may as well be my bad ones right.
I lay them on the couch and close my eyes imagining them with all my might as the blue skirt and the white blouse of our uniform. I open my eyes and stare at what I have done. Well I made a uniform except that it wasn’t the right one. I had made an army uniform in blue and white, except the trousers had a skirt attached over the top. I squeeze my eyes closed and 3 tries later I have the perfect uniform.
Except that the skirt is a bit to small because I forgot to change the size from the too-tight jeans. Oh well it will do, I pull my hair into a pony tail resisting zapping it. The last time I attempted to zap my hair it ended up blue and tied in a huge knot. Definitely not going back there.
Now for dinner I open my compact and a little note pops out.
Please join us for the welcome back dinner at 7:30 this evening.
It’s 7:29 so I’m on time. Pushing my finger against the mirror I manage to open the map and find the hall outside of the dining hall. Touching it I imagine myself there. Don’t ask why but transportation is a lot easier than transformation. I arrive outside the Dining hall in the middle of a throng of chattering girls, many of them are speaking French, but I hear English and some other languages as well.
I follow the stream of girls into the enormous room, where to my utter disbelief the tables appear to be floating, and moving! I stand in the entrance hallway for a full minute staring at the room. Well I didn’t quite stand because the endless tide of pushing girls trying to find their friends pushed me around but I certainly stared.
“Kaitlin over here” I look around trying to locate the voices.
“Hey” Soff appears next to me; she had flown down from her table. “Come-on lets go sit” she grabs my hand and starts to fly to the highest table.
So you know how vamps can float, well witches can fly. It’s easy you just imagine yourself in the air and then guide yourself with your mind. Seriously when I was small my mom used to have to close all the windows and doors otherwise I would just fly out, it’s that easy. However flying around moving tables which have a tendency to split in the middle when girls are arguing and form two separate tables, not to mention the hundreds of girls trying to find their seats, is… alarming. I manage to follow Soff anyways, and I’m soon squeezed between Soff and Jewls.
I listen to the chatter which is for the most part in French because it is the only common language.
“I’m so glad we found you” grins Jewls hugging me, “oh here” she passes me a small bottle, “it’s that language potion just drink it now and it will take about ten minutes to kick in, it only lasts a year but I can give you the recipe to whip up some more”.
“Thanks” I smile at her. A small warmth is spreading through me as I get introduced to girls and find myself a part of their chatter. It is like the feeling you get when you have a slumber party with your best friends and you have managed to get the middle spot for you sleeping bag. You get to be between your best friends in the world, that’s how I felt, I felt happy.
I grab the potion deciding to make the best of this semester. Unscrewing the cap I swallow the contents, which taste surprisingly similar to lemonade.
“Attention girls” The room settles down and all the tables drift down till they stand about ten feet off the ground. Girls turn to face the lone table which has been raised above the others. I recognize Madame. Kestly standing up.
“I would like to welcome every student her to The international School Of Witchcraft, in Paris” polite applause fills the room “To our freshmen, welcome to the only school you will ever attend in which rooms move, and stairs can like to take a break.” Laughter fills the hall as the freshmen tables exchange a few worried glances. “to the sophomores welcome back, and this year I would like to remind you that zapping classrooms to make space for spas is strictly prohibited” My table starts cracking up and I feel on the outside of some hilarious joke. Just then my compact buzzes, so I take it out of my pocket. What are you supposed to do with a buzzing compact, I flip it open to see that I have received a text from Soff.
Last year we decided we wanted a spa party but we didn’t have space so we transformed a bunch of class rooms into a spa, except we jinxed it so that it wouldn’t change back for a month. All the teachers got really mad but it was actually hilarious, and Madame. Kestly only gave us one hour of detention each.
I join in with the rest of the laughter grateful that Soff filled me in. I message her back Thx.
Madame. Kestly has finished welcoming the juniors and is turning to the seniors who swell under her steady gaze. “And to the oldest students here, I congratulate you on finishing your first three years, but I challenge you to impress me in your last one” Her eyes sparkle with laughter and again the girls laugh aloud. “So bon appétit” She raises her arms and the tables begin to disperse, literally one table goes through a wall but then is called back by Madame. Kestly.
I am lying in my new bed savoring my first day when my phone buzzes. I flip open my compact (which is now pink I spiced it up a little) but nothing pops up. That’s weird what buzzed then?
Ohhh my actual phone. I pull it out from my under my jacket on the floor, and flip it open. 1 text hmm I wonder who…
How was ur first day in Paris, Milan is amazing
I drop my phone as if it burns me. I can’t believe it, she wouldn’t have. Except who else would say that, who else is in Milan? I stare at the small black phone lying on my pink bedspread. I stare at my hands, they had held that phone. At my nails which had been pink for happy and content, but have now gone a dark, dark, bluish purple that means… anger, unhappiness. Everything I feel. I feel like a balloon that is blown up to a nice size and then popped.
And if I am the balloon then my sister is the popper.
I guess I didn’t mention that small fact, I have a sister. I like to pretend I’m an only child, but unfortunately I’m not.
My sister is a 17 year old, blond haired, perfect angel. No joke she is perfect. You know how the Paris school is top-notch. Well Milan is THE top-notch school. And she got accepted as a fulltime student, on a semi scholarship.
Oh yes she is an angel, which is why I hate her. She was like a shadow that covered my every single step. Everyone thought she was perfect, they were always saying things like “your sister is so clever, do you follow after her?” or “isn’t your sister beautiful, I bet you want to be just like her”.
I hate her. I hated the way my teachers would tell me how well she had done on a particular essay then hand me back my B. I hated how whenever we were introduced to people their eyes would flit over to me and then go back to her watching her and barely glancing my way. As if they wanted to forget about the less perfect sister.
It isn’t that I am stupid, I’m not I’m just not perfect. It’s not like I’m ugly, I just don’t have my sister’s glow that pulls everyone towards her like bees to honey.
When you have lived in someone’s shadow your whole entire life, and finally you get away from her and you meet people who don’t look at you as if they feel sorry for you because you aren’t her, getting a text from her is the worst possible thing. I grab the phone and am about to through it across the room but stop just in time. Don’t kill your phone just because you’re mad I tell myself. Taking a deep breath I switch off the phone and drop it onto my coat on the floor.
My sister has a name; her name is Liz, short for Elizabeth.
Thanks Liz you have burst my bubble, the bubble which you weren’t in and which was all for me. I glare at the blank wall.
I just want her out of my life.
Sighing I lie down in my new bed and close my eyes switching off the lights with a little magic, does nothing to re-inflate my bubble.
By the time I fall asleep my hair is wet and my pillow has a warm damp patch from my tears. Tears, which have nothing to do with homesickness and everything to do with my sister Liz.
The next day I wake up to the bizarre feeling of having your body pulled out of bed. No joke I’m sleeping peacefully minding my own business when suddenly I find myself floating out of bed.
I float over to my glowing compact which is buzzing and turning red. Rubbing my eyes I stare around the room. Since when did I float out of bed, talking of which where am I and why is my bed pink? My bed has baby blue covers my mother picked for me in seventh grade. My nails were green for confusion but they drift to orange for understanding, as I remember the school and Paris and the events of last night.
My compact is now banging against the wall impatiently. When I fail to open it, it starts to fly around my head in circles until I grab it out of the air, and flip it open.
The first one is from Lucy; I don’t even bother to open it.
The second one is also from Lucy.
The third one is from the dean of studies.
And the fourth is from my compact telling me to get up because breakfast starts at 9 and it is already 8.
I open the third message and a bag of books appears at my feet.
The books that accompany this message are your basic text books you can summon them to class as needed however pleas bring pens pencils and a notebook to every class.
Thank you and enjoy your first day!
Compact mail? Welcome to witch world people! I laugh grabbing the books and dumping them on my bed. The top cover is a math book. Boring, I flip the books on to their side so that I can read their spines. Witchcraft through the ages, Spells and potions, Netter: A guide to English literature and a book simply called Francais.
Wow pretty different to my school books at my old school. My old school was a Wit school but it only had one magic class, which was kind of a joke all the other classes were normal. I grab my hand bag and close my eyes imagining it into a slightly bigger bag. Next I poof up some pens and pencils, unfortunately I accidently make it rain pens and pencils.
“Fun” Soff walks in mid pencil shower.
“Sorry I was just playing around” I smile over at her and stop the flow of pencils. I grab a few and stuff them in a pencil case. “What else do we need?”
“Just a notebook and an agenda to write down homework, you can always zap up whatever else you need” Jewls answers walking through the door and ducking a pencil that Soff sends flying at her.
I sense my bag grow heavy and peak inside half expecting some monster to fly out. Instead I see a brand new notebook and agenda have joined my pencil case and compact.
“Did you put these here?” I ask the girls, I hadn’t zapped them up.
“Nope” shruggs Soff
“Me neither” chimes in Jewls.
“Oh woops I must have sometimes I just pop things up without really thinking” I smile to try and cover my confusion, how did that happen? It’s not the first time either, the doors at the airport had opened, and my nails keep changing, most witches gain control of their nails by the time they are 10 but recently I had lost control of them. I shake off my unease and concentrate all my effort on conjuring up a uniform. I can’t mess up in front of these pros but I am so nervous. They can make sofas appear out of thin air and change magically at the same time.
As if to prove my point Soff comes up just then “do you mind if I make your bathroom, I noticed you haven’t yet and I adore bathroom designing, you can always change it later?” Thankful for an opportunity not to have to make a bathroom I nod.
“Go ahead, just make sure it has a big mirror” I adore big mirrors. I love being able to see myself from head to toe all at once.
Soff disappears through a door that has just appeared. So I glance around for Jewls. She is sitting on my now white couch designing a dress that is floating and spinning in front of her.
“Sorry about this, it’s just a hobby of mine. I love designing clothes.” She gestures to her own uniform, which seems to almost sparkle “I made this with a special spell that adds sparkle to the material.”
“Isn’t that against the dress code rules?” I ask thinking that some added sparkle would definitely be a plus.
“Nope as long as you maintain the original uniform you are allowed sparkles, and you can even layer the skirt a little. I’ll show you.” She points at the uniform I have just finished, and it zooms across the room to hover in front of Jewls.
By the time we are ready for breakfast I have a room and a sparkly layered uniform. The girls helped me design and expand my room, giving me some tips on how to make really comfy furniture, and design rooms. We fly down to breakfast and I manage to make it to the highest table with no difficulty. First period is a different matter. I touched my schedule and appeared in Practical magic level 1. The problem is that the whole room has been turned upside down and so it takes me a few minutes to figure out how to turn myself upside down as well. Luckily the teacher walks in through the door and promptly returns the desks to their normal upright position. On the downside apparently she doesn’t mind floating tables but I am getting used to sitting ten feet in the air. It is actually pretty fun.
The other problem is that Soff and Jewls both have Practical magic level 3. When they had found out I was in level 1 they didn’t care. I had been worried they would think I wasn’t cool because I was in the newbie’s class but they just shrugged and said that they had grown up with magic and if you haven’t grown up making sofas it’s hard to suddenly start.
The teacher for practical magic level 1 is a small woman called Madame. Lisa. Like the Mona Lisa, I’m serious. Some girl raised her hand and asked her if her first name was Mona. But Madame Lisa simply laughed and said her name Josephine Lisa, Mona was her sister. She was joking, I think. If not then she must use some pretty magical anti-age cream.
We spend the class attempting to write in our journals without using a pen. We are supposed to simply make the words appear on the page.
“Remember you can write whatever you want but I don’t want to see you move or your pen so much as quiver.” Calls out Madame Lisa as she floats around the tables. She stops by a table where some girl has managed to shred and set fire to her notebook because she had tried to write the alphabet and for some reason as soon as she got to F her notebook went up in flames. I’m not sure how the shredding happened because s comes after F but whatever.
I manage to write in my notebook but every time I think of something other than what I want to write such as, I hate my sister; it appears on the page anyways. Madame Lisa arrives just as I conjure an eraser and am about to erase I hate my sister from my paper.
“Stop, Kaitlin get the eraser to erase your words, but don’t use your hands.” I close my eyes and imagine the words disappearing unfortunately instead of the eraser neatly erasing the sentence the words just disappeare, taking bits of paper with it to.
“Ok, Kaitlin relax, now close your eyes and imagine the words reappearing on the page. Keep your eyes closed keep trying. Ok open up” Madame Lisa directs.
I open my eyes and see the words back on the page, yay I do the happy dance on the inside.
“Ok close your eyes again and this time imagine the eraser erasing the words, don’t just make them disappear, make the eraser erase them” I follow her instructions imagining the eraser jumping up and erasing the sentence “good job Kaitlin, now practice that and practice making decks of cards” She moves on to another table where I heard her telling girls to close their eyes and concentrate.
By the end of the hour I have managed to write and erase multiple sentences, make a pack of cards, and make a cake. Unfortunately the cards keep coming out as all queens, or all sevens. Finally I figure out how to get a perfect pack, and I make ten packs, just to show off. The cake is also tricky because when I imagine a slice cut out and then taste it for some reason it tastes like icing because that was all I had thought of. After 4 tries I make two cupcakes, with Soff written on one in icing and Jewls written on the other. I send them off to find Soff and Jewls.
“Alright class please remember to practice, practice,”
“Practice” we finish Madame Lisa’s catch phrase for her.
“Exactly, and remember when decorating your rooms that you can always team up to figure things out.” With that she disappears and girls begin to open compacts looking for their next classes.
“What do you have next Kaitlin?” asks Marissa the girl next to me, She has little blond curls that are tied back from her face with a thick navy headband. She has a sweet face with blue eyes that look as if they will always be smiling.
“Uhh I don’t know it just says P” I squint at the P wondering what it means.
“I have P to come-on I don’t know what it is though. Let’s go now” I reach out to tap the little P, and feel myself being pulled and stretched and pressed until I think I won’t survive, but then it all stops and I am dropped into a room filled with other girls appearing and disappearing.
“Uhh I hate that feeling don’t you” Gasps Marissa who has just popped up next to me.
“I know it feels like you’re in a washing machine”
“You’ve been in a washing machine” laughs Marissa
“No but I can imagine” we start cracking up just as the teacher walks in.
The rest of the day goes smoothly; well apart from the 5 texts form my mother wondering why I haven’t called yet, a second text from my sister, and at least 15 from Lucy. Turns out P stands for potions. Potions isn’t that different to cooking you just mix and stir and cook and voila you have a sight potion which allows you to have x-ray vision for an hour. Unfortunately it also takes away all depth concept so Marissa and I spent an hour crashing into walls and desks.
That evening after watching three back to back episodes of Glee with Marissa, Sofia I mean Soff, and Jewls ( not Julia), I call my mother.
“Oh darling, I’m so glad you called, better late than never. SO how is Paris” She puts on a fake French accent which makes me cringe inwardly, “have you had some croissants? I bet it’s fabulous.” And just like that she bursts into tears “Oh honey I miss you so much and with your sister gone as well no one is home” I stiffen at the mention of my sister, we have been talking for less than a minute and already this is about her it’s so unfair.
“Its ok mom I’ll be home soon and it’s really fun here I think it’s a great opportunity for me” I try to reassure my mother.
“You are right darling I’m sorry I’m being silly, I want you to know that I’m very proud of you”
We talk for a few more minutes about my classes, the kids, the food, and the building. I don’t mention the extreme magic usage to her because she won’t not approve, and I don’t want to be dragged back from my adventure all ready.
“Al right bye mom”
“Bye sweetie, I love you”
“Love you to mom” I say quietly then hang up. I sit curled up in my super soft white couch staring at my phone for a few seconds, a feeling of melancholia washing over me. I stare at the screen and as I watch a message pops up. It is from my sister, the third one since I arrived. I don’t know why I opened it then but I did.
Hey sis how was your first day of classes?
I can’t wait to hear about school I wonder if it’s like Milan.
Well text me when you get a chance
I stare at the text message, how can she sound so sweet yet get under my skin so much. I click the reply button my fiery red nails hesitating over the keyboard.
Get a life
No I can’t send that I delete the message and stare at my phone. Slowly I close it and drop it into to my bag just as my compact buzzes.
I have a new message from Lucy, but I don’t open it. Instead I send my new friends, Marissa, Soff, and Jewls a message. They all show up in my room a second later.
“I really wanted to try out my new hot tub and since we have the morning off tomorrow because it’s Tuesday I thought we may as well.” I suggest.
Soff had made the hot tub for me when I had explained that I couldn’t get the water to bubble and heat up quite right. She had been more than happy to zap one for me and had even given it built in speakers and little benches.
“Great idea” Soff agrees.
“Ya I love hot tubs they are so chilaxing ya know” agrees Jewls already changing her clothes into a black and orange bikini that look amazing with her tanned skin and blond hair. I hesitate unsure of morphing my clothes in case I end up standing in my birthday suit. Luckily Soff and Jewls seem to understand my hesitation.
“Hey can I design your bikini” asks Jewls, I know she likes to design clothes but I think she is offering to stop me from feeling too self-conscious of my magic.
“Sure thanks” She bites her lip and the next thing I know the sweatpants and sweat shirt I had pulled on for watching TV with the others have morphed into a super cute bikini. The bottom is black with little gold tassels at the hip and the top is also black except for a gold heart in the corner and the braided string which it is tied with.
“Wow thanks I love it” I throw my arms around her on impulse and luckily she hugs back.
Marissa and Soff are watching laughing, Marissa still doesn’t have a bikini on but Jewls just makes one for her as well realizing that she must be as nervous as me.
“Ok lets go girls”, I squeal pulling them towards my hot tub.
Marissa and Jewls jump straight in submerging their bodies so that the only dry part of them is their hair. Soff puts her toe in and shrieks at the heat.
“I cannot go in there” she runs to the other side of my room in exaggerated terror “I’m going to go get some chocolate.”
“Thanks honey but I’ve got some all ready” grins Marissa waving a bar she has just poofed up “you can have some”
“Fine” Soff walks over sighing dramatically, then steps into the tub gasping and holding her heart dramatically.
“You should really try out for the play you drama queen” I tease.
“Oh ya well I don’t see you getting in” she replies laughing
“Fine I will” which is easier said than done.
“Come-on it’s nice” urges Jewls from across the tub.
I step in then submerge myself in one quick move.
“Ahhhhhh, that’s nice” I murmur.
“Told you” Jewls says.
We sit in silence for a bit letting the hot water relax us. After we are well and truly relaxed we move onto chatting but stay in the hot tub any ways.
The European girls have endless questions about my family, Washington and everything.
“Do they really have trees which only flower for a week?” asks Marissa.
I think of the cherry blossom trees that bring flocks of tourists to Washington every year. Every single year I go and sit under those trees and relax enjoying the beauty that surrounds me. When I was little I would go with my parents and my sister but when she turned 12 she started taking me instead, those were the best years we would lie together under the trees. Our hair would mingle in the grass, and delicate pink cherry blossoms would nestle in our intertwined locks. We would chat and watch the clouds. Then she stopped taking me, we stopped acting like sisters, we stopped laughing together. She started to shine and left me alone.
A tear trickles down my cheek leaving a wet path as it journeys to my lip.
An arm pulls me into a soft embrace “what’s wrong Kaitlin” Marissa asks.
I look round and realize that it is Jewls who is holding me and that Marissa and Soff are watching worriedly.
“I’m fine” I whisper, “I was just thinking about how I used to go sit under the cherry blossom trees with my sister.”
They can’t understand but it doesn’t matter all that matters is that they care that I’m sad. Somehow I have managed to make friends with three girls who care when I’m sad and that is enough to make me happy.
I smile and sit up straighter “yes the flowers only last a week but they are the prettiest things in the world” I tell Marissa, she smiles and like that we go back to chatting. Things may not be the same between my sister and I but that doesn’t have to stop me from enjoying myself.
The next day I have Magical culture first period, it’s actualy a prep course for a later course but all sophomores take it so despite the fact I won’t take the later course I’m taking this one.
We spend the first fifteen minutes getting introduced to the class then the teacher starts firing questions.
“Julia, what are the three we follow in magic” asked our teacher whose name escapes me presently.
Now I’m not sure why they are called the three we follow and not just the three rules, or pillars but whatever every witch has to learn them and we are supposed to hold them close.
“Number 1: Witch’s are sisters we help and support each other forever.” Julia says loud and clear.
“That includes those you hate you must be willing to lend a helping hand” our teacher nods for Julia to continue.
“Number two: A witch must follow her mind and heart”
“Sometimes the two may seem to clash and sometimes they may seem interchangeable, but if you stay true to yourself you will always find a way” Our brown haired teacher agrees.
“Number three: you must be honest” Says Julia. My notebook starts to float and the pen I’m using to take notes suddenly becomes a highlighter but nobody notices. I glare at my things and change them back in time to hear our teacher respond.
“Now this one could be the most important” she pauses, “so who must we be honest with?”
A Small black haired girl sitting at an especially high up desk raises her hand.
“Yes, and please come down so we can hear you” our teacher nods to her.
“Our family and friends” she suggests.
“Definitely, it is important to base all relationships on the truth” Our teacher smiles on the black haired girl, “thank you Bethany”” she looked around and points to a tall blond haired girl “yes, who else must we be truthful to Jenny?”
The blond haired Jenny floats down a bit “Our boyfriends” the class bursts out laughing.
“You find it funny but it’s very true” our teacher chides in French but a ghost of a smile touches her soft lips, “anyone else?” she looks around and nods to Soff who is sitting next to me, “yes Sofia, who else must we be truthful to?”
“I think that we have to be truthful to our selves, if not then how can we make the right decisions, how can we expect others to be truthful to us if we won’t be truthful with ourselves.”
“Very true” I see nodding around the room but suddenly I don’t feel like partaking in the nodding.
If you don’t follow the rules, if you don’t stay truthful to everyone, most importantly yourself, you get problems. Magical problems, like doors open without you meaning to open them, books appear in handbags, pens become highlighters, and notebooks float . Things happen when you don’t want them to. Things that shouldn’t happen, they happen when you don’t follow the three we follow in magic. Could that be why I was having magical hiccups?
I think carefully through everything but the only thing which isn’t going glitch free in my life is my relationship with my sister. Except that can’t be it because I’m not lying to her.
No there isn’t anything that could be causing these magical hiccups. I reassure myself that I have everything figured out and I’m following the three like everyone else, maybe I’m just nervous about being in a new place, maybe I just miss my old friends. Sometimes that can cause problems for young witches. I try to shake the feeling that I’m missing something but I can’t quite ignore it, but I can’t quite get rid of that feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is that feeling you get when you know something is wrong but you can’t quite figure it out. For some reason that feeling has been coming back a little too often for comfort. I think back to last night and the text message from Liz my sister, and then the call with my mother. Maybe something is wrong and maybe it isn’t but I am sure it’s nothing. I almost convince myself, which is good enough for now.
I zone back into the class to find that everyone is discussing honesty.
“Being honest to your self is definitely the most important” cries out one girl in German, which thanks to that potion Soff and Jewls gave me, I now understand perfectly.
“But of course you are truthful to yourself, how are you supposed to lie to yourself” Shouts another girl throwing up her hands in frustration. It is either a tribute to my dazedness, or to the potion that it takes me a full minute and a half to figure out that the girl is speaking Greek. A few girls look around in confusion, I’m guessing they don’t understand Greek as well as those with potions. The Greek girl repeats herself in French for the benefit of everyone in the room and then continues her rampage “I mean yes you have to be true to yourself but since you can’t lie to yourself then it is hardly the most important thing. I believe we must be true to our friends. How can you have friendship without truth? You can’t it won’t work” She thumps her desk to emphasize her point glaring at the German girl.
“But what about your family, shouldn’t you be truthful to them?” says another girl timidly.
“Of course” agrees the Greek girl, before she can continue another girl cuts in.
“You say it is impossible to lie to yourself but what about not admitting things to yourself. Often times you don’t completely admit things to yourself, is that not just lying to yourself but on a subconscious level” I see nodding around the room and I find myself nodding as well.
“Girls, girls” cuts in our teacher, “enough, I think that you are all partially right, and you are all partially wrong. Being truthful to yourself is very important” she pauses and I see the German girl who had argued this point earlier glaring at Greek girl who looks frustrated and ready to interrupt our teacher, “and many people will lie to themselves or trick themselves into believing something that is not the truth, however it is extremely important to be truthful to those we love. If you are truthful to yourself automatically, then we must all look to you for advice to accomplish the same in ourselves. However being truthful to yourself isn’t the only important form of truth as you girls all know being truthful to loved ones is good”
“But sometimes being truthful can hurt people” argues one girl, “is it better to tell the truth and hurt people, or lie and keep them safe and happy?”
“Hurting people is never, ever a good thing, however sometimes not telling the truth is worse.” Our teacher looks around at us and seems to consider for a moment “it is at times when you are unsure of what to do that we must remember that there is more than the 3rd rule, we have three rules, and sometimes it is a combination of them that will help us through our lives. But girls always remember that these three rules were written for a reason and you should always, always remember them, and use them.”
The girls all stay quiet thinking about what she told us. Well I was thinking about what she told us, they could have been thinking about what they would get for lunch for all I know. They don’t teach mind reading till next year and I won’t be here then so my guess is as good as yours. I look around the room studying the faces of these girls who I should embrace as sisters, and I realize that if given a choice between hugging my sister and hugging one of these girls I would chose one of these girls any day. I feel pretty shocked at my realization because am I not supposed to love my sister more than anything?
I came here to leave behind my sister related problems but somehow they have followed me. My only option is to slam her shininess away and succeed despite all those looks that seem to say we feel bad for you because you are not nearly as amazing as your brilliant sister. On that thought a gather up my books determined to prove myself to be as good as her despite those looks, there is nothing wrong with me and how well I’m following the rules, it’s her who is my problem. Nothing else.
A voice behind me makes me jump and I spin around to find Jewls standing behind be.
“Sorry you scared me” I laugh then realize I missed what she said “um sorry Jewls what did you say I had completely zoned out just there”
“No worries”, she says, “I was just wondering what you thought of Ms. Amesons” so that’s her name I think to myself, “and what do you have next?”
“Oh I like her I like the class as well actually” I realize that it is the truth despite my miniature trauma earlier, “and I have” I pull out my compact and press my figure to the tiny round mirror. I close my eyes and imagine my schedule in front of me it pops open and I examine it, “I have art next with Ms. Jeans”
“Seriously” squeals Soff joining us with Marissa behind, “me too!”
“Awesome” I hug her then turn to Marissa and Jewls “do you guys have art as well? I hope so it would be awesome if we were all together”
“Sorry but I have music next, I wish we had art together that would be so fun” says Marissa sounding disappointed.
“You have music” asks Jewls, “with Ms. K” when Marissa nods Jewls shrieks “me to awesome we have music together but it would be better if we were all together”
“And even better if we were not all late” says Soff tapping her watch “I’ll see you two at lunch save us seats” we wave to them as they disappear then decide to fly to class, literally.
In art our teacher tells us to let lose what we feel on the inside, she thinks that painting bracelets will help us do this.
“Welcome to my class” She announced as we walked in sweeping a bow so that her purple bonnet falls off, “You have entered the realm of beauty” here she pauses and poofs up a bouquet of flowers “I love flowers with a burning passion, but what you will learn in this class is not only to appreciate the flowers” she waves the sweet scented lilies in our faces covering us in red pollen, “you will learn not only appreciation but you will learn how to tame that appreciation, nay harness it and turn it into something incredible” She practically sings her last word coming out in French opposed to the rest of her speech which had been in Italian “in this school where you hear every language in the world, you will come into this class and forget your words, instead you will remember you emotions!” she leans into us, and I can catch the scent of perfume, and old papers that linger on her, in her clothes, in her very being. Then she spins around too great a new group of petrified sophomores, who shrink from her enthusiasm.
Once we have all found our seats around the randomly spaced tables on low stools that just beg to be tipped backwards, she claps her hands and begins in a singsong voice “I have just had the pleasure of meeting your exteriors” I can see some girls pass bemused, and slightly uncertain glances to their friends, “now I want to meet your interiors. I want to know what makes you, you! I want to know what passion is bubbling inside of you just waiting to be set free”
I lean over to Soff “have you ever had this teacher before?”.
“Nope her name is Ms. Jeans but everyone calls her Madame for some reason, I’ve heard she is kind of strange but really nice” Soff whispers back from her seat on the stool next to me. Luckily the tables are all on the ground in this class but Madame is getting so worked up that she is practically lifting off the floor. She grabs a pencil and begins to draw in the air.
“This is my passion” I see a bracelet on a girls arm, her arm looks as if it is shaking, and her fingers are curling inwards as if trying not to clench into the safety of a fist. The bracelets them self seem to draw attention to the whole arm they are crowding each other and leaning into the girls arm. They seem to be supporting her. I stare at the image entranced by the amazing simplicity that can convey such depth. She looks up and sees me staring eyes wide “this is what bubbles and roars inside of me” she almost whispers, the class sits entranced by her, “now go turn what froths and bubbles inside of each and every one of you into an image, but it must be of bracelets”
She sends paper and charcoal flying to every table landing with neat precision in front of each overwhelmed sophomore. I pick up my pencil and start to draw. When I’m finished with my picture I stare at it “no, no, no, no!” says Madame walking over “you have simply tried to copy mine, and still yours lacks feeling try again, and remember it must be form your heart, not from mine” she points at my paper and it bursts into flame. I stare at my paper in horror but luckily the fire stops and I’ve been left with a new piece of paper. A blank slate. I think about the blank slate and I know then that blank slates are rare I only wish I could have one with my sister.
I pick up my charcoal, and resist glancing at Soff’s paper which has burst into flames 4 times. I set my piece of charcoal to the paper and I begin to draw. What I draw is a bracelet, it’s just lying there alone and it looks worn. I admire the paper and I’m feeling pretty proud when I see Madame walking my way “better but not quite right yet. You haven’t put all your emotions into it. This piece lacks significant feeling. Just let it go” my paper bursts into flame as she begins to dance in the middle of the light art room. I stare at her in wonder, how can she just let go like that?
“she is pretty amazing isn’t she” says Soff from her seat next to me, “this is all I have managed and I’m sure it will soon be turned to a pile of ash as well” she stares at her picture of an arm of bracelets, the arm is weighed down by them and seems to be fighting them.
“It looks kind of like the bracelets are fighting her” I say studying her picture
“I know, i know and that’s the problem, I can’t get them to be friends” she shakes her head as Madame comes over “here it goes” sure enough Madame tells her she is using to much ‘thinking’ and should try to just let her heart do all that thinking not the mind. I stare at my blank piece of paper and begin to draw again.
By the end of class Madame has gotten even happier if that is possible, and despite the fact that she has burned every drawing in this room she seems happy with our work.
“Your homework girls, is to draw a picture, a self portrait, however I don’t want to see a picture of a girl. I want to see your love for your family, your fight for comprehension, I want to see what is inside not what is on the outside.” She smiles at us as if she has just given us the easiest assignment in the world, which she hasn’t. I mean how am I supposed to draw a self portrait without drawing myself. Unfortunately I don’t get a chance to ask her because she disappears mid spin.
“Come on Kat” Soff says tugging on my jacket “why don’t we walk to lunch it’s only down the stairs”
“Ohh I like Kat,” I say standing up, “yup stairs sound good, I have barely had any exercise since I got here”
Soff laughs “well there is a ski trip this weekend, skiing is kind of exercise.”
“Seriously? I want to go, but I am a really, really bad skier.”
“No worries you should come anyways I’m really bad but Jewls is amazing and I always feel bad making her ski with me. We can sign up this evening with our compacts, I think that’s the earliest they let you, but you still need to sign up fast otherwise there are no spots left.”
“Awesome we should get Jewls and Marissa to come as well, do you know where it’s going?”
“I think somewhere in America, Vail I think, it is a ski resort in the Rockies”
“Nice” I don’t tell her that it’s a 7 hour flight to America, because I figure we won’t be flying, a least not in a plane.
As we walk down the old stone stair case I think of all the reasons I should be happy now.
Number one: I am in Paris for god’s sake, I am at the school I have wanted to go to since I first saw the pamphlet on it. And the fact that I am in Paris is huge like huge, huge I have wanted to go to Paris my whole entire life and now I am here.
Number two: I have made three amazing friends who do not care that I am in beginner magic class. They are really, really nice and I feel lucky to have grown so close to people in my first days.
Number 3: I am enjoying my classes, yes even my crazy art class, and I am doing well.
Number 4: I have parents who love me and I have tons of friends who I love
Number 5: I am going skiing with my new best friends (best friends for ever maybe?) and I am going this weekend.
But all those things were not enough to cheer me up when I saw our teacher Ms. Amesons from earlier, they were not enough to stop the mind barrier I had built, to stop me thinking about my magical hiccups and the possibility that I wasn’t following the rules all witches hold sacred to their hearts, they were not enough to stop that barier from breaking.
“Hey Kat are you ok, you seem kind of shocked, and sad” says Soff softly as we pass Ms. Amesons and enter the dining hall where girls are already seated magically making food appear in front of them and chatting to their friends.
“I am ok, it is just I am not really getting along with my sis and things are not going so well.”
“Ouch poor you. I don’t have a sister but I’m here if you need someone to talk to. Are you ok?”
She slips her arm around me and hugs me to her.
“I’m fine thanks” I hug her back and smile a feeling of warmth fills me as we fly up to our table. Jewls and Marissa are already there waiting for us impatiently.
“What took you girls so long” Marissa asks us sliding over to make space between her and Jewls for us to slide in.
“We walked, and were chatting” covers Soff squeezing my hand under the table.
“Slow pokes” laughs Jewls as a plate of curry appears in front of her.
“Mm I want pizza, do you think I can specify the restaurant I want it from?” I ask the others
“I guess so just be specific in your directions” Marissa shrugs and poofs up a croquet monsieur. Which is basically a French grilled cheese sandwich, except that is on baguette and is open, it also has ham in it. Marissa poofs up a bowl of M&M’s.
“You can’t just eat M&M’s” scolds Jewls. She zaps up a sandwich, “there eat both.”
“Yes mother” Marissa sighs dramatically. She picks up the sandwich with exaggerated disgust and makes a show of taking a miniscule bite, sending us all into fits of laughter.
“Ok you should definitely try out for the play, it’s a midsummer’s night’s dream this year, and the production is in spring” Soff gasps out through her laughter.
“What!!” I stare at Soff “I really wanted to be in the play, I love Shakespeare and acting, are you sure it’s in spring?” if it is in the spring I’ll be long gone, I leave just before Christmas.
“Ya” says Jewls sadly “the auditions are next month and the play is in early spring, around March I think. I can’t get over the fact that you are leaving so soon.”
“You should apply full time” says Marissa grabbing my arm.
“I wish” I sigh running my hand through my shoulder length brown hair, “but I won’t be accepted this late in the year”
“I can’t believe you are leaving so soon” mummers Jewls.
“Hey its ok we still have a couple months so let’s have fun” I poof up a giant sundae and four spoons to emphasize my point.
“You still have to eat your sandwich” Jewls teases Marissa as she makes to grab a spoon.
“Fun remember” I poof up two Amy’s pizza for Marissa and I relishing my new ability to poof up pizza from the very best restaurant in the world. I cut off a piece of my Margareta pizza. The soft base with the lightly crisped crusts, and the tomato sauce so perfect not even a witch could make it better. The pieces of mozzarella cheese are soft and delicious, the pizza is literally heaven in a pizza.
Next to me Marissa smiles blissfully as she takes a bite of the pizza. Jewls and Soff are staring at us, “mmmm looks yummy can I try?” asks Soff.
I poof up a slice for each of them and we settle down to our pizza.
“Time for dessert” smiles Marissa her plate now empty of pizza.
We grab the long spoons and with about half of the sophomore girls at our table we attack the sundae. Surprisingly 20 sophomore girls can’t seem to finish one sundae, although it was the biggest sundae ever made.
The afternoon passes in a blur of magic and math (unfortunately combined). Well that is until 4 pm when our classes finish and guess who just happens to be hanging out in the sophomore lounge, that’s right you guessed it (and if you didn’t guess it then we can pretend you did).
“Oh My God, Kaitlin!!” Lucy throws her arms around me and embraces me, otherwise known as kills me. Her hugs haven’t gotten any gentler in the past few days. I pry myself free of her embrace and try to back away unfortunately she seems to think that we should hang out and is pulling me into the lounge and onto a couch so that we can ‘chat’.
“Did you get my messages I think I may have sent them to the wrong person” she is still smiling that 1000 watt smile of hers.
“Oh I got a couple of them” I answer vaguely “sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply. I have been super busy”
“Me too” she screams in my ear her pigtails swinging from side to side as she bounces around, “I just moved into my room because I was staying with my friends before that.”
“Oh ok” I stutter trying to edge away from her.
“So what do you think of Paris. I loveeee it! It’s so exotic!” she talks as if she only has a minute to tell me her life story. Seriously I am getting a headache just trying to keep up with this girl, “what classes did you have today? I had science of vampires, vampires through the ages, Physical Education, Vampire powers lever 2 but the teacher said she will move me up to level 3 in a few weeks, and I also had French.”
“I had a bunch of interesting classes, like math, and art” I tell her trying to keep the conversation short.
“Cool” she grabs my arm and I swear my wrist turns white from her grasp, “you know what we should hang out some time” she goes all wide eyed as if it is the most amazing idea in the world, which let me tell you it isn’t.
“We are hanging out now, isn’t this fun” I force a smile. Hopefully she will settle for just talking now, the last thing I need is to hang out with miss death grip. I know that seems mean, but it really isn’t, she is just so different and so crazy over the top. Ok so maybe I am being a little mean but I should choose my friends right?
“I know and this is so much fun!” she says, and I breathe a sigh of relief, maybe she will let it go, “but you know what would be even better?” she doesn’t pause for an answer. Which is probably a good thing because I would say something like ‘leaving her’, “we should go to that café, Paul and get something to mange, that means eat in French?”
“Or I could just poof us up whatever you want” I suggest pulling my arm away from her and dropping my bag at my feet.
“No no no no no, you have to go there to get the real feel of Paris” she exclaims looking shocked at my suggestion.
Unfortunately I agree with her, you have to go to a place to really experience it. Plus I really want to see Paris, just not with her.
“Ok sounds great why don’t we meet tomorrow at 4:30 at Paul” I relent, how bad can it be?
The next day at 4:30 I tell my friends I have to go and leave them studying in the library, I pop over to the café. Luckily I remember to pop into the bathroom because popping into the middle of a café could cause some confusion.
I push open the stall door and walk over to the mirror to check my complexion, I had broken out earlier and I want to be sure all the spots are nicely concealed. They are which unfortunately means I don’t have anything else to delay meeting up with Lucy. I take a deep breath, straighten my already straight black t-shirt and head out the door.
“Kaitlin, veins ici! That means come here in French”, she is sitting at a little table by the window sipping a hot chocolate.
I walk over and take a seat across from her “Mm your hot chocolate smells amazing I want one” and it really does smell good but mostly I am making conversation.
“Hang on” she jumps up and runs over to the counter. A lady is standing behind the cash register, she looks up when Lucy walks up. I see Lucy waving her hands around and smiling, she points to our table and then at a couple of pastries in the display. The lady nods and pulls out two delicious looking pastries she then disappears into the kitchen and Lucy returns to the table.
“That is Madame Malafosse she is very nice. I ordered another hot chocolate for myself and one for you. Oh and they have these pastries which are just incredible” she gushes.
“I love French pastries I mean j’adore French pastries” I tell her throwing in a little of my own French.
“Same we should go pastry tasting” she smiles enthusiastically. See the thing is yesterday I would have groaned I would have done anything to change her mind, but today I find myself wondering if Lucy is growing on me just a little. Not a lot, I mean her death grip is still terrifying but she is kind of sweet as well.
“Sounds like fun” I tell her quietly and at that moment I actually meant it.
“Are you ok” Lucy asks she studies my face as if looking for some clue in my expression.
“Ya I’m fine I’m a little down at the moment but I’ll be fine” I tell her, my relationship with my sister is bugging me. Plus the whole wit rules we were talking about has really gotten to me.
Lucy studies my face for a few more seconds then says quietly, “you know sometimes I feel sad as well. My mother died two years ago and I miss her all the time. Most people seem to think that the ache of losing someone fades, but it doesn’t. At least it hasn’t yet. Sometimes I have to smile and laugh to stop myself from crying. You know what the worst thing about it is” she barely pauses, her face is slightly flushed and her sadness is etched into the lines of her face, if anyone had seen her then they would never connect her to the bubbly smiley girl she usually is, “the worst thing is that we never got along. We were always fighting about tiny things and then she died, the crash killed her. I was in the car but she died and I just went to hospital for a few days. Do you know what my last words to her were? I said ‘what’s wrong with you mom you don’t understand I hate you’ and then that car came swerving round the corner and my mother was dead.” A lone tear seeps from the corner of her eye and leaves a trail down her cheek. Somehow that lone tear is worse than if she had been sobbing. My heart snaps in two and I want to reach out and hug her, then the moment has passed and she is wiping at her cheek trying to erase the evidence of her tear. The hot chocolate is brought to our table and Lucy has moved on, locking up her pain inside her chest and covering it with a mask of happiness.
“Isn’t this hot chocolate the best” she says, and I can hear the plea behind her words. She doesn’t want me to hug her, she wants to hide her pain away like she must do every day, every hour, every minute and second of every year.
“It is the best in the world” I tell her, and her smile isn’t forced this time it isn’t her usual beam, it is a thankful smile that comes from friendship. That’s when I realize that Lucy and I are friends.
We walk back from the café together and when we stop outside her school she turns to me.
“You know whenever I feel angry with someone, whenever I feel lonely I remember those words. I think about them and I try to take out my immediate emotions and think through what I really feel. What I really feel is always, love. I was a terrible daughter but I loved her, I didn’t hate her. I couldn’t hate her because I loved her more than the universe, I just wish I could tell her.” She smiles a small sad smile, the smile of a girl who has been stripped bare of the mask she clings to and has revealed her inner self. She turns to go but I pull her into a brief hug whispering thank you in her ear before we both turn to leave.
I think hard about what she said. If I take away my immediate emotions do I still hate my sister? No I love her more than the universe, but I can’t seem to love her with my immediate emotions. I fall asleep that evening trying to figure out the whirlwind that is running riot in my mind, the thoughts that seem to tangle and every time I manage to separate one knot another one appears.
The weekend comes and with it comes the much anticipated ski trip. From my position on the carpet in Marissa’s room I can hear the shrieks of girls getting ready to leave. Bellow us the juniors are preparing for their own trip for a weekend in Italy. In their rooms the seniors are holding parties, and I can hear the freshman getting ready for a movie marathon which is taking place. The four of us are gathered in Marissa’s room trying out ski outfits. Jewls is chief designer and Soff is the co-designer. Marissa is obediently standing in front of Jewls as she zaps out different outfits.
“Hmm maybe you could switch the blue background on the jacket with the white flower, so that it’s all white with just a flower, then you could match it with white trousers.” I suggest.
“Hmm that could be nice” she zaps the outfit and we all stand back to admire it.
“I love it, but maybe we should switch the blue out for green to bring out your eyes, and match the green on the logo” Jewls said, she zaps it and we all clap in admiration.
“It’s perfect” exclaims Soff “Kat your turn then mine”
I stand up and Marissa sits down unzipping her new jacket to cool down.
“All righty we have a new model up here” announces Jewls in a voice that would make any announcer jealous, “so what do you want girly”.
“Anything” I say.
Before the word has completely left my mouth Jewls zaps me into a hot pink outfit with a huge picture of Michael Jackson on the front, “are you sure you want anything?” she asks, before cracking up.
“Not funny” I admonish zapping away the grotesque outfit.
“Fine, any ideas girls”
“How about something simple but stunning” suggests Soff, “I think it would really suit her, even her character, she’s sweet and gentle, but amazing as well”
The others all nodded their agreement and I can feel my cheeks grow warm with pleasure, “thanks Soff, you girls are so sweet, I’m glad I managed to make such good friends”
“Such crazy ones as well” adds Marissa with a smile standing up to hug me.
“Hey” Jewls says pretending to glare at Marissa, and Soff sends a pillow crashing into Marissa’s head.
“That’s it” Marissa grabs a pillow off the couch and starts whacking Soff and Jewls. I laugh at them until Soff sends one whizzing at my own head and then we have a full blown, 3 minute pillow fight.
“Girls” gasps out Jewls between her laughter “we have to finish our outfits, we have to leave in ten minutes”.
“Then get off of me” comes Marissa’s voice from under Jewls. Jewls has managed to trap her and is holding her down while tossing pillows at Soff who is dodging them midair. Jewls stands up and Soff drifts onto the couch.
“all righty back to business” Soff announces smacking her hands together, “so Jewls make something simple and stunning for this young lady” she grabs my arm and spins me around until we collapse in a giggling heap. Drunk on happiness and dizzy from twirling it takes the combined strength of Jewls and Marissa to drag me to my feet to create my outfit.
“Ok so how about a deep blue, fitted jacket, side zip paired with white trousers, fitted as well?” Jewls suggests spinning out my outfit as she talks.
“Can I see?” I ask trying to see my outfit while looking down.
“Here check yourself out in the mirror” Soff says poofing up a full length mirror, “but it isn’t quite right”.
They consider and I twist in front of the mirror trying to see myself in the mirror.
“Hmm I think that it needs something, a little touch, I’m not sure what though…” Marissa trails off.
“Twist” Jewls directs me, “hmm maybe a flower in the corner by the hip” she points at my hip and a white flower grows to about the size of my hand. I stare in amazement, the flower literally grows. It starts as a little bud and then opens out to become a flower.
“Perfect” Jewls smiles happily, “all righty Soff you are up stand up” she drags her to her feet pushing me into my seat.
“Ok I think we should go artistic with this girly” she spins Soff around and Soff nods agreement.
“How about black with like a painting on it” suggests Marissa poofing up some popcorn, that girl’s metabolism is insane, she can eat fifty pounds of sugar and not gain a single pound.
Jewls zaps up a jacket with the Mona Lisa painted on it, “I was thinking more abstract and kind of messy looking” says Marissa laughing at the Mona Lisa jacket.
“Ya I’m not sure old Mona really belongs on a ski jacket” agrees Jewls zapping an abstract painting on instead. The painting is colorful and is more like a splash of lots of colorful paint, it starts dense by on hip and spreads out so that by her neck there are just a couple of dots of paint.
“I like it” Soff agrees nodding to her reflection.
“Oh ya work it babe” I mime a camera. She puts her hands on her hips, pouts, and starts to strut across the room with and exaggerated hip thrust and lots of hair tossing. We all start cracking up as she sticks her hips out and bats her eyelashes.
“You are too funny” I gasp out.
“Ok girls what do you think” Jewls has zapped our model into black ski pants and finished off the jacket adding a side zip.
“I love it” Says Marissa hugging Soff and her new jacket, “but mine is better.”
“No way check me out” I spin in a circle to show off my new outfit.
“You all look amazing” says Jewls settling the fake fight before it can start.
“Your turn” squeals Soff dragging Jewls to the middle of the room.
“Ok ideas” asks Soff taking on Jewls’ role.
“I think it has to be very designer, after all she is our designer” I point out
“How about something with a little extra” offers Marissa
“Oh very helpful girls, something designer with a little extra, you girls are so very specific” Soff rolls her eyes.
“Well I’m not the designer around her” I protest.
“Me neither” agrees Marissa.
We look at Soff, “fine how about pink trousers and a white jacket, so instead of having the color on top it’s on the bottom”.
“Ohh I like it, but hot pink, like hot, hot pink” Says Jewls spinning as her new clothes appear.
“Hey stop it stay still, out models aren’t supposed to move” chides Marissa from her seat on the floor, her popcorn bag has magically refilled itself and she is crunching on buttery goodness.
“And do not make your own clothes” chides Soff waving her finger at Jewls, who has frozen in place.
“And no talking” I continue floating some of Marissa’s popcorn towards me.
“Hey” exclaims Marissa magicing the popcorn back into her popcorn bag, “it’s mine make your own!”
“No”, I magic it back towards myself, “sharing is caring, I will share your things with me”
“Girls stop it what do you think” Soff twirls Jewls around to show us our friend’s new pink and white outfit.
“How about switching out the white for pink as well” suggests Marissa, the contents of her popcorn bag is now hovering between the two of us.
I give a little extra pull on the popcorn before turning to Soff “that might be too pink how about black it will contrast better” Soff considers my suggestion.
“That could work let’s try both out and we can vote” she points to Jewls jacket which changes to pink, “what do you think”
“I like it but let’s try out the black as well to see” Suggests Marissa. I feel her pull on the popcorn intensify and so I pull back, it’s a war of magical strength, unfortunately the popcorn is pretty fragile and so it bursts into flames before either of us can get the popcorn, “oh my god” screams Marissa “did you see that who set it on fire”
Each girl looks shocked and I realize that I had been thinking about Madame and the burning pictures, it must have been me and my messed up magic.
“I think that was me” I admit.
“Really why would you burn perfectly good popcorn?” asks Marissa sounding mildly concerned, in her eyes anyone who willingly burns popcorn is insane.
“I didn’t mean to” I explain, when I am greeted by more blank stares from my friends I explain, “ok so you know how every witch must follow the 3 rules?” they all nod and Jewls and Marissa still look confused, but Soff seems to be understanding where this is going, “well I think I may be having some problems, because I have been doing things like opening doors, burning popcorn and other stuff to, stuff I don’t mean to do. It just happens, and I think that it could be because I have not been following the rules. I have tried to follow them but I cannot figure out how to follow them completely.” I sigh and glance around at my friends, Soff seems to know something and the others seem sympathetic.
“Kat” Soff starts gently, “is it possible that your arguments with your sister could be the cause of your magical problems.” I gulp, that is what I have been thinking, and if she has seen it to then that may well be my problem.
“Wait you have a sister? Since when? Why did no one tell me?” asks Marissa in confusion, I can tell that Jewls is confused as well but she just nods her agreement with Marissa.
When I do not answer straight away Soff explains. She doesn’t tell them everything, just that I have an older sister whom I don’t get along with.
“You know I think that Soff could be right” says Jewls softly when Soff has finished talking, she sits next to me and puts her arm around me, “it can be hard to follow the rules but they are there for a reason. Maybe you should talk to your sister”
I look up at them and to my relief I see worry, for me, and sympathy instead of scorn and boredom. “You are right but, she is my older sister should it not be her looking after me. And it is not that I hate her or that I lie to her. I just do not share every detail of my life with her.”
“Sometimes it is not the specific actions that count but the feelings you have towards someone. If you leave your differences alone and if you just ignore each other nothing will get better.” Soff tells me in a soft voice. I feel a tear trickle down my cheek, I wish I could be my sister’s best friend again but she is the one who left me, she can apologize it is not my job to fix things. She is the one who broke everything she can fix it.
I feel Soff put her arms around me and Marissa come to sit with us, “hey do not worry about it, and take some time to think everything through” says Marissa and the others nod their agreement.
“Thanks girls” I wipe at my tear and stand up, “so should we hit the slopes” the others cheer and we fly down to meet the others.
They have all seemed to cheer up, but I can feel them watching me and making sure I am never alone. I can tell they are worried that I’m upset and they want me to be happy. Just the knowledge that as soon as we go in for hot chocolate one of them will grab a table with me while the others get the chocolate, just the knowledge that they will be besides me helps.
I spend the next few weeks hanging out with my friends and Lucy. Lucy has turned out to be a great friend she seems to know Paris like the back of her hand and so Lucy, Marissa, Soff, Jewls, and I spend our free weekends wandering into little cafes and through museums. We hit all the major tourist places, the Eiffel tower the Louvre, and of course we went to see the Mona Lisa. We all have pictures of us leaning out over the rail of the Eiffel tower, all of Paris stretching behind us.
I have learned to appreciate French pastries and onion soup, I have even learned some none-language-potion French, which basically means we all undid our spells and practiced our practically nonexistent French for a day. The days turn to weeks and as the leaves change color and we start to wear coats I know that half term is nearing. Half term would mean going home for ten days, I would come back but the time after, Christmas break, I will be going home for good.
Time passes, as it usually does, and soon the day comes for me to leave, only for ten days but I know that my time in Paris will end sooner or later.
I called my mother and she told me I can fly to Washington by magic instead of by airplane. I told Lucy that my mother was letting me fly by magic and asked if she wanted to join me, luckily she agreed so I don’t have to say good bye to her yet.
But after breakfast in the dining hall on the 5th of November I am forced to hug my friends goodbye.
“I’m going to miss you like times a bazillion” cries Marissa wiping tears from her eyes.
“Same” I tell her and my voice cracks.
“don’t cry girls” Soff tells us, she is going home to Italy, Jewls is returning to Germany to see her family, and Marissa is going home to England and I am returning to America. We are all parting for a week and a half, how can we not cry?
At that thought I burst into to tears the warm, salty tears making paths down my face. My mascara is a mess and I know for a fact that my eye liner is completely ruined, but I really can’t care less.
I throw my arms around them just as Lucy joins us.
“Come-on” I tell Lucy before I start crying again, “let’s go”
I grab her hand and we lift off the ground waving to our friends. I steer us out the door and we fly over Paris, following the map I memorized this morning.
I create two chairs when we got bored of floating and we sit in them watching the world go by.
We barely speak because we are both thinking about school and everything that has happened in Paris, how much our lives have changed. Well that is what I’m thinking about, I have no idea what Lucy is thinking about she could be thinking about manicures for all I know.
Hmm manicures sound fun, after all flying witch style may be faster than a plane but it will still take 3 hours.
“Hey Lucy do you want a Mani Pedi?” I ask her grinning, my magic has improved so much, and I think that I can handle the flying and some Mani Pedi treatments.
“Are you kidding me?” Lucy asks, her eyes grow wide and I wonder if she hates them she seems so shocked by the idea, but before I can backtrack and suggest something else she says, “I’d love a Mani Pedi, can we do them up here?”
“Bien sur” I wave my hands like a magician and a carpet appears beneath our chairs, I step on to it and settle down in front of a box which has just appeared. I close my eyes and the chairs morph into those chairs you sit in when you are getting a pedicure, a water basin appears by her feet, a table for manicure painting appears, and some nail dryers. I pass a stunned Lucy the box.
“Open it” she opens it and reveals bottles and bottles of polish.
“Oh My Gosh, this is amazing, you are incredible.”
I laugh, “Choose any color, we can do each other’s nails and then I’ll fix them with a little help from my magic”
We spend the rest of the ride nail painting which is why I was in a really good mood when I dropped Lucy off in Pennsylvania.
“I’ll see you next week to pick you up” I tell her hugging her to me.
“I’ll miss you” she smiles and disappears around the corner.
Slowly I raise myself into the air and getting rid of everything I float into DC and to my house. When I set my feet down on our front steps, of our Georgetown town house I am actually pretty excited to see my parents, I missed them more than I realized and it is with excitement that I run up our stairs and ring the doorbell.
I hop from foot to foot but I barely let go of the bell when my mother appears in the doorway. The second she sees me she grabs me into a hug and starts crying.
“Oh darling I have missed you so much” she hugs me to her and I hug her back.
“I missed you to mommy” I whisper pushing away from her to hug my father who has arrived in the doorway.
“your bags just arrived darling they were sent to your room by the school” my mother tells me pulling me into the kitchen, she looks at me for a few minutes, “oh darling we missed you so much” before she has a chance to say another word the door bell rings again, “oh that must be your sister” she smiles and disappears around the corner leaving me with my father in the kitchen.
MY SISTER, I should have realized she would be here as well. She has the same half term as us, half term is a European thing, a European thing that my sister has to. I know what my friends would tell me to do, they would tell me that I should make it up to my sister, that I should tell her how I feel. Before I can decide what I’m going to do my mother appears in the door way holding Liz’s hand.
“Hey Liz” I say softly.
“Oh hey Kaitlin, I’m so glad you are here” well she is smiling, maybe I can tell her how I feel. But then she turns to our mother and smiles that sugary sweet smile of hers, “oh Mom it is so good to see you and dad I have missed you two so much” she says without a single mention of me, sure she is ‘so glad I’m here’ but she doesn’t actually want to see me.
I look down and realize that I have clenched my fist and that I’m holding my breath. I slowly let out my breath and unclench my fist, I try with all my might to relax but I swear I was working hard not to lash out at her. It takes all of my self control, all of that support I can feel radiating from my friends despite the distance, it took everything I had in me to say, “So Liz how is Milan it must be amazing”
Those words made me feel so proud of myself, my friends were right sometimes it’s better to reach out then to push away. I imagine myself as a box and carefully I open each side to my sister, inviting her to become my sister again. I will forgive her for what she did, if only she will have me back.
“Oh Milan is incredible you know it is the best wit school in the world” she smiles at me all sugary sweet, “it’s even better than Paris”
I feel my stomach turn I look to my mother who is smiling, “you are right Liz we are so proud of you” she hugs her eldest daughter and I feel my box close to them. I look to my dad who is smiling at Liz as well. He looks over to me and I catch his eye for a fraction of a second, then he looks away.
I feel the lump in my throat, I can feel my chest tighten and my heart speed up. I can feel the tears of rejection begging to spill over, but I won’t cry, not here, not in front of mom, dad and Liz.
I turn on my heel and dash out of the room, I fling open my door and throw myself on my bed. My door closes automatically but I don’t want to think about my unruly magic, I don’t want to think about the happy family downstairs, I don’t want to think about what my friends would think.
Just know all I want is to disappear. I sit up suddenly, I can hear footsteps on the stairs, I an hear my father’s heavy step and my mother’s light step. I don’t want to stay here and listen to them, but who says I have to. I can just disappear after all I am a witch.
I Close my eyes as the door handle twists, I lock the door magically then concentrate on Lucy’s street, I can go to her house for a bit, she won’t mind. With that thought I disappear, I can hear my mother’s shouts as I leave but I don’t care I need to get away.
Seconds later I arrive outside Lucy’s door. I stand outside hesitating unsure as to whether or not I will be welcomed into her house.
I stand outside staring at the warm glow coming from the window of the small two story house, the curtains are partly drawn on the window and I can see a fire roaring in the grate. The house looks warm and cozy. Outside I shiver in the softly falling rain, rain that won’t settle to snow but that is hardly rain as well. It’s cold out here, despite it being only mid November it is still freezing and I wrap my arms around myself.
The rain seems to become thicker and heavier, I can feel my hair getting wet and I know I can disappear if I choose, yet I stand there, in the rain, soaked to the skin and shivering. I watch a figure move in the lit up window and I think about my house, so cold compared to Lucy’s and then I remember Lucy’s poor mother. I remember the history that Lucy holds buried in her heart, covered up like a mistake with whiteout. It will never completely leave her but she can cover her pain with smiles and laughter. Then I realize something that had been eluding me for the 15 minutes I had stood in that rain staring at Lucy’s house. I realize that Lucy’s family’s happiness is there because they are family, they embrace each other. I can feel the rain droplets pouring down my face, my hair, my skin, can feel droplets trailing down cheeks and onto my lips. I taste them and realize that they aren’t rain droplets, they are my tears. I am crying as I stand there in the rain. Suddenly my chest heaves and I start to sob, I cry for Lucy and her dead mother, I cry for my separation with my friends, I cry for my family and most of all I cry for my sister and I. I stand in the rain my arms wrapped around myself and I cry as the tears intermingle with the rain and I no longer know what is rain and what is tears.
At some point in the night someone comes to me and wraps their arms around me, someone dries my eyes and sits with me in the rain while I sob. Someone picks me up and takes me to my bedroom, someone changes me into pajamas, and someone puts me in my bed and kisses my cheek. Someone did but I don’t know who. I can’t remember what happened that night beyond that presence.
The next morning I spend a full 5 minutes trying to figure out where I am, when I finally remember that I am in Washington not Paris I feel my heart speed up. Suddenly all I want to do is go back to sleep, disappear, go back to school, hit the fast forward button and go forward to next week, next year, anything no to have to face my family downstairs. As my memories of last night start to gush back to me, like a river with a broken dam the water gushing through, I remember the person who helped me, who sat with me, who stroked my hair and wiped my tears, except I can’t remember who it was.
A nock sounds at the door but I don’t answer, it will be my mother scolding me for disappearing, or my father telling me to get up and come have breakfast, the last person I expect and want is my sister.
“Hey you’re awake” she pushes the door all the way open and steps in quietly. She is already dressed in jeans and a v-neck purple shirt. She looks pretty, framed in the doorway of my bedroom, she looks sweet and kind. Then I remember what she did, I used to love her, she used to be my best friend, then she betrayed me, she left me and her position as my best friend and sister. I push the thoughts a way to respond to my sister.
“Ya, I just woke up, what time is it?”
She smiles and walks in to sit on the end of my bed, I can almost forget everything, but then I see the school logo on the sweatshirt swung over her arm, “nearly twelve sleepy head”.
I bristle under her teasing, “ya well I’m all confused by jet lag” I sit up and stretch, “ugh it’s cold” I shiver and hug my shirt to myself, then I notice that it isn’t mine, it’s a new pajama shirt. Huh I think when did I make a new shirt, then I remember last night, whoever put me to bed must have made this.
“I just wanted to say sorry about last night, I know I am not the best sister and I really am sorry Kaitlin” her eyes soften as she watches my face, I swear her eyes are glistening but then she ruins her chance of being forgiven, “but then again you don’t have to deal with me for long I go back to Milan soon”” she smiles and stands up.
“Thanks” I say bitterly, using the bitterness to cover the hitch in my voice, to cover up the fact that I am about to cry, again. I rub my eyes to wipe away my tears, Liz doesn’t notice, she has already walked out of my room.
Luckily by the time I get down stairs my parents seem to have forgotten last night, my mother hugs me, my father ruffles my hair, and Liz ignores me. So much for being sorry, well I can ignore her as well.
“I made waffles darling” smiles my mother handing me a plate of warm chocolate chip waffles.
I sit down next to my father who is sipping a coffee and reading the papers. I look around the table, my mother has just sat down and is pouring orange juice for everyone, my dad is sitting with the papers propped up against the table, his coffee cup balanced on his knee, and my sister is sitting chatting a mile a minute to my mother. Its 12:15 but we are only just starting breakfast, my family has a hard and fast rule for weekends, breakfast we eat together. My mother takes a bite out of her waffles and passes the whipped cream my way and the syrup to my sister. Ever since we were small my sister would have plain waffles with syrup and I would have chocolate chip waffles with whipped cream.
I pick up the cool bottle and tip it upside down, I press the nozzle and the whipped cream spews out, after 10 years of practice (my mother wouldn’t let me put the whipped cream on myself till I was five) I have gotten pretty good at making pretty designs with the cream.
I watch Liz carefully fill each hole in her waffle with maple syrup and I smile. My family may not be perfect but I still love them, even if I fight with my sister I still love her, maybe I can apologize and we can be friends again, maybe I can get my sister back. My heart warms at the idea and breakfast, at least, is enjoyable.
The rest of the day is … bumpy. Actually that is probably the understatement of the year. Let’s just say it involves some very painful bonding time with ‘the girls’, absolutely no magic, and a whole lot of Liz.
And that’s it
Well almost. Ok before you read what comes next I would like you to know that despite everything I say about my sister I don’t enjoy fighting with her. I don’t enjoy being picked on, I don’t enjoy annoying her. And I really don’t enjoy not having her as my sister. So before you judge me remember that I really did want to make it up to her, I had planned on getting my sister back. But sometimes things don’t exactly go as planned…
SO as our mother dragged us from one store to another, from one manicure to another (seriously we had our nails done, then my mother decided she didn’t like the way they had painted our nails so she dragged us to another place and we had our nails re-done, no joke.), my sister and I fought. We didn’t hit each other, we didn’t yell at each other, we didn’t insult each other. No way it was worse. We would get on each other’s nerves.
She would smile at my nails and say something like “oh Kaitlin that’s such a funny color”.
She would talk to my mother as if I wasn’t there, she would brag about her boyfriend named Steve and ask if I had a boyfriend. Which I don’t and then would shake her head and smile at my ‘youth’. Honestly she drove me insane, and sure I may have commented on her big head, and her fake friends, but it was only in self defense.
So we didn’t glare at each other, we didn’t hit each other, but somehow both of those options would have been better to the constant teasing, and the comments that got under my skin and made me want to kill her.
“Oh darling try this one on” my mother passes me yet another ‘adorable’ skirt.
I stare at my reflection in the mirror of the dressing room. I stare at my standard gap underwear and my size A black bra. I stare at my purple nails and my brown hair. I stare at my too long fingers and my too big feet. In that second I wish I could be my sister. My sister who wears a size C, my sister who has delicate hands and small feet. My sister who is in every single sense of the word, perfect. I stare at the skirt in my hands and I feel as if no skirt could ever change how un-perfect I am, no skirt will make me shine beside my beautiful sister.
I pull on my jeans and slip on my shirt and sweatshirt. I grab the navy blue and the purple v-neck shirts my mother tossed me. I scan the rest of the clothes piled in the dressing room and grab a jean skirt, a pair of jeans and a blue belt.
I push open the door and see my sister sitting next to my mother with a pile of clothes in her arms.
“Is that all that fits” asks my mother eyeing the pile in my arms, “I thought I got the right size for you”
“Oh don’t worry mommy, they didn’t fit right but I love these” I lie to my mother, the clothes in my arms are actually pretty nice, and everything else had fit. The only thing is, is that unlike my princess of a sister I don’t really go for pink skirts. I prefer jeans and slightly less showy clothes.
“Ok, well why don’t we go check out and then we can head home to meet up with your father.” My mother takes our clothes and dumps them into a basket by her chair. We set off to the check out, Liz carrying the basket and chatting as usual.
That evening I tell my parents I’m feeling tired and need to get some rest. I kiss them goodnight and climb the stairs.
Once in my room I close the door and sit at my desk, with careful precision I create an easel, some paper and charcoal.
I sit in front of the easel, and I draw a tree.
It isn’t just any tree, it is an old tree, the branches are twisted and thick, the trunk is wider than any tree I have ever seen and the knots in the wood are numerous. The tree seems older than the earth. What I like most about this tree is that it isn’t perfect, it isn’t pretty, it just is.
From one branch of my tree I draw a swing, it hangs close to the ground like the one my dad made for my sister and I years ago. On the swing is a little girl, she is kicking at the ground and watching the sky. I can feel her long to fly, but she just can’t kick herself high enough. I can almost feel the tree willing the girl to fly but at the same time not wanting to lose the young presence that sits on the old swing hanging from its old branches. I get so engrossed in my painting that I don’t notice my dad. He walks in and watches me, after 5 minutes or so when I don’t notice him he sits on my bed. When I finally look up and see him sitting there I smile. My dad and I have always been close which might be why I feel safe telling him.
I look up into his face and say quietly “I’m mad”
He nods his head as if that explains the world, but it doesn’t and I know he wants me to go on. He doesn’t ask questions, he doesn’t say a word, but I can feel that he will listen if I talk.
“I’m mad at the world and myself” I say my voice rising a bit, “it is just that sometimes I want to scream really, really loudly, but drawing is less destructive”
“Why are you mad honey” he asks softly, his words are simple but the answer is something I can’t explain.
I look up into his face and know that I need to tell him, I want to tell him, but I can’t. SO I do the next best thing, I draw.
I flip over my picture and start a new one. This time it is of a living room, in the fireplace a fire is roaring, a Christmas tree stands in the corner of the room, its branches laden down with decorations, and at the foot of the tree stand presents, wrapped up and ready to be opened. I draw two little girls sitting by the tree, they are watching their father who is picking up a present. Their mother sits with two little cards in her lap. One is written in the neat handwriting of the older girl and the other in the messy writing of the younger sister. The girls are holding hands, their eyes shining with happiness. The last thing I draw is two necklaces on the girls, the younger girl wears a K and the elder wears an E.
My father reaches over and picks up the drawing, he studies it with a sad smile on his face. I watch his face until his eyes meet mine and then I look down at my hands. They are covered in charcoal but as I watch them a tear falls on the charcoal turning the black powder grey and wet.
My father places his hand beneath my chin and lifts my head so that he can look into my eyes, “this is your life isn’t it?” he gestures to the drawing that he has set on my bed. I look at the two little girls and know he doesn’t need an answer.
“I suppose that I should say this was your life” he smiles sadly.
But I can’t smile, I can’t look at him instead I burst into tears for what feels like the hundredth time since I arrived in Washington. My dad pulls me onto the bed beside him and I cry on his shoulder.
He doesn’t speak he doesn’t move except to stroke my hair and hug me. I cry tears of sorrow and relief.
When my tears stop I push myself up into a sitting position and wipe my eyes.
“I think you are a brave girl to admit to this” he points to my drawing, “many people don’t realize that admitting to pain, and sadness isn’t a weakness”
“It is hard to admit to pain, but somehow I feel better” I whisper in the voice of someone who thought she was defeated just to realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“It is hard but admitting to pain is the first step to curing it. I can’t bring this back darling, not even an old wizard like myself can do that, but you can” he smiles into my face, “you and your sister can bring this back.” He pauses as if looking for some clue in my face, “I don’t know what happened to you two girls but I know that whatever it is, it can be fixed. Just remember that sometimes being truthful is all that it takes.” He strokes my hair and stands up to go down stairs.
Before he reaches the door way he pauses, “oh and Kaitlin your drawings are very good, good night sweet heart”
“Night dad” I sit on the bed and watch him walk out the door closing it behind him. I sit there for nearly an hour thinking through what he told me, especially his last sentences. Why was it that no matter where I go I can’t escape the word truth. Everywhere I go people tell me to be truthful, except how and who am I supposed to be truthful to.
Eventually I give up on sorting out my life, seriously I need someone else to sort it out for me. I stand up and walk into the bathroom across the hall to brush my teeth and hair before going to bed. When I step into the bathroom the first thing I notice is the size, someone has grown our bathroom, and it is literally bigger than my room.
The second thing I see is my sister styling her hair in front of the mirror.
“hey girly” she calls out, “sorry I just like some space while I’m doing my hair, at school I normally just zap it but it is nicer doing it by hand don’t you think” she smiles at me and picks up another roller. Her hair is all tied up in rollers on one side and the other is still down.
I walk over to the mirror and poof up a comfy chair in orange to match the walls, I can’t help showing off a little and floating over to it. I don’t even float in the chair that is how restrained I am. Ok well I don’t float much, only a foot, ok two, but still I was getting so good.
“You have grown up, and gotten good I see” she smiles at me in the mirror as she ties her hair in a roller with the ease of practice.
“Ya I’ve learned loads at school and from my friends” I twirl my own hair around my finger distractedly as I watch her tie up her hair. I can never, ever curl my hair like that I always manage to tangle my hair in the rollers. Jewls had somehow persuaded me to sit still for 5 hours and between Marissa, Jewls and Soff they had curled my hair, made me up, and dressed me like a doll and a thousand other things that should be illegal. The thing is that I don’t enjoy sitting for five hours but I do actually like feeling pretty.
“Hey want me to put your hair up” asks Liz, she has just tied up her last strand of hair.
“Umm sure” I say before I can think better.
“Awesome” she pops up a swirly chair, “all righty come sit sis” I take a seat and she twirls me around.
“Faster” I shriek laughing suddenly I start to float.
“Did you float the chair” I ask her.
“Uhhh I don’t think so, but recently I have been having some problems with my magic.” She tells me looking worried she grabs at my chair and pulls me to the ground.
“Weird I have to, everyone keeps telling me that I may not be following the wit rules, but I cannot think what I’m doing wrong”
“Same here” she sighs and then gives her hair a flip to keep the last roller in place. Then starts to tie my hair up in rollers. I watch her as she flips the strands of hair back and forth, clipping a curler hear and tucking a strand of hair into place there. When she is finished she smiles happily. She rests her hands on my soft brown hair and our eyes meet in the mirror.
“Why did we end up enemies” I ask softly, the words leave my mouth be for I can stop them, they leave before I get a chance to pull them back in and hide them away inside of me. The words trickle out and I can feel Liz’s hands stiffen on my head I can feel her take a deep breath and if I didn’t know better I would have sworn a tear welled up in her left eye.
“Forget it, I am tired I am going to bed, I’ll see you tomorrow Elizabeth” I stand up and push her hands away I stumble towards the door tears pricking my eyelids.
“Kaitlin wait” I hear Liz’s voice behind me as I push open the door but she doesn’t come after me, when I stumble into my bedroom and close the door loudly she doesn’t come find me. She doesn’t knock on my door, she doesn’t follow me or see if I am ok. She doesn’t say sorry and that is the problem.
I hear her washing her face in the bathroom, I hear her footsteps down the hall. I hear her open the door and close it softly behind her, I hear her walking to her bed and I hear the bed creek as she climbs in. Then I hear something I never, ever want to hear. I hear her sobbing, I hear her as she struggles to cry quietly.
But I did not go to her. I did not do what moments before I had wanted her to do for me. Instead I lay in my bed holding my tears back. Somehow I felt that the world couldn’t hold both sisters crying that night. SO I just lay there in the dark listening to my sister crying.
The rest of the holiday is, boring, nice, tear inducing, and drove me completely insane…
It is a lot of things but I do not think I would have survived if it hadn’t been for my friends. Our compacts work even from different countries and so we spent the whole time texting. We chatted about everything, except my sister, I could not bear the idea of my friends telling me to apologize and make it up to my sister. I didn’t want them to see the worst in me, I wanted them to only see the good in me, which is probably why I didn’t mention her to them.
Sure the day after she curled my hair I had bouncy curls and we giggled and pulled at them, we were almost sisters, but after that everything got worse, we stopped being sisters and we just ignored each other.
The only good thing that came of the holiday came on the second to last day of my holiday.
“Kaitlin darling your father and I received a letter this morning from school. They say your grades are very good. In fact they are very impressed. They want to know if you would like to stay for the rest of the school year.” My mother tells me when I come down for breakfast that morning.
“And they even gave you a half scholarship” says my father passing me a letter.
I open the envelope and slip out the single typed sheet of paper.
‘To the parents or guardians of Kaitlin Reisse,
We are pleased to inform you that Kaitlin’s grades are very good. She has earned 3 As and 2 A-. Due to her superior grades we would like to extend an offer of a half scholarship for Kaitlin to spend the rest of the year at The International School of Magic- Paris. If you wish to accept this Scholarship please send a letter to Madame Jennifer Browns via wit mail, by the end of November 2010.
Thank you and enjoy your Break
Madame Jennifer Browns
“Oh MY God” I scream throwing my arms around my parents.
“I think she would like to” my mother smiles to my father and hugs me back.
“Perhaps but it is tricky to tell” agrees my father stroking my hair and smiling up at me from his seat at the table.
“I would love to! Can we send the reply right now.” I ask bouncing on my toes unable to stand still for a moment longer. I mean hello I am going to spend the rest of sophomore year at The International School of Magic, In Paris.
“Well I thought we could enjoy some crepes first” suggests my mother, a plate appears in her hands piled with crepes.
I stare at my mother. My mother who never uses magic, well hardly ever, it’s not as if she has actually foresworn it or anything and she does not mind if we use magic sometimes but for the most part her nails stay clear. Which means she does not use magic for making crepes. And yet she just poofed some up.
“Uh mom, did you just magically make those” I ask, heavy emphasis on the MAGIC aspect.
“Well you girls are so good at magic, and I felt I ought to keep in practice” she smiles and hands me the plate.
“In which case you won’t mind me flying back to school.” She hesitates for a second so I plead, “please mom I was going to fly back with my friend from Paris”
“Ok fine” she throws up her hands in frustration, “honestly tweens these days” she shakes her head in mock disappointment. I smile and hug her.
I love my mother, I just want to put that out there. I mean sometimes she can be annoying and sure her slang vocab is limited to tweens, which means teenage witches and wit which as I have previously said means witch, and can also mean wizard by the way.
My mom sets the crepes down on the table and yells, “Liz breakfast hurry up darling.”
My sister walks through the door, “good morning everyone, wow mom did you make these” she points to the crepes.
“I did indeed”, she winks at me, “with a little help from my magic”
My sister laughs and sits down at the table. Dad appears at the door holding whipped cream, chocolate, syrup, plain syrup and a bowl of fruit for our crepes.
Ok so maybe what I said about the whole holiday being horrible wasn’t true because we had some pretty yummy times, for example eating five crepes in a row.
Two days later I stood by the front door hugging my mother goodbye.
“Bye sweet heart” she smiles and pulls away from me, “we’ll see you at Christmas”
“Bye mom” I hug her again and then turn to my dad, “bye dad”
“Bye Kaitlin, we will look forward to having you home again but have fun at school, and remember to be truthful” I nod to him and then turn to my sister.
“Bye baby sis” she smiles and honestly I try hard to forgive her but I just can not forget how she had left me.
“Bye” I tell her and I am about to reach out, I am about to let go of the past and grasp the future, and my sister when she takes out her compact and reads a text. She frowns and texts back. I glare at her bent head. I. Am. Leaving. Why doesn’t she understand that I am leaving and she is supposed to say goodbye. So instead of hugging her I pick up my handbag, (everything else I sent ahead) and turn to walk down the stairs. AT the bottom of the stairs I create a couch and sit down. Then turning to wave to my family I fly off towards Lucy’s house.
As I fly out of Washington DC I crane my head to watch my house grow smaller and smaller. I remember when I was little and my mom would take me to the park I thought the climbing frame was the biggest thing in the world. But that day I watched the playground I had known since I was tiny grow smaller and smaller until it was just a red speck amongst many other specks, and then it stopped being a color and was just a part of the blur along the horizon which was DC. Only then did I turn towards the world ahead of me and flew to Lucy’s house.
When I touch down on her lawn she runs outside.
“Ahhhhhhh Kaitlin” she throws her arms around me and I hug her back, “I have missed you so much, how are you” she twirls in the sunshine.
“I’m great I missed you to” I look up at her and notice her hair, “umm Lucy what happened to your hair? It looks really blonde, with red highlights”
“It is. You like?” she spins in the sunshine laughing and twirling.
“I definitely do like, hey you want me to curl your hair a little” I offer thinking her ordinarily straight hair would look gorgeous in curls.
“Really” her eyes go wide like dolls eyes and I can’t help laughing at her awe, “can you make them into little curls like ringlets” she is jumping up and down in excitement
“Of course hold still” she freezes and I close my eyes concentrating on her hair. I open my eyes and smile, “it worked here take a look” I zap up a mirror and Lucy squeals with delight.
“OH MY GOD these are fantastic” just then a man walks out of her front door pulling two suitcases, a duffle bag swung over each of his arms and a backpack on his back.
“Hey darling girl I brought out your stuff for you” he sets everything down and turns to me.
“Oh daddy this is Kaitlin, she is a wit” Lucy introduces me to her father with a smile.
“nice to meet you Kaitlin” says Lucy’s father “my name is Mike, thanks for taking little Lucy here she loved flying with you last time”
“No problem, it was fun” I smile at Lucy’s father and instantly like him.
“All right bye baby girl, I’ll see you at Christmas ok” he picks up his daughter and hugs her to him.
“bye daddy” she says her smile faltering a little, then she turns to hug the little boy standing next to her father, who I only notice when she reaches out to hug him, “Bye Joe, be good, look after daddy for me. If you are extra good I’ll bring you something from Paris” she pulls away and grabs the boy’s hand swinging him around in circles and twists. She pulls him in and out to some imaginary tune that only plays in her mind. When she finally lets go of his hand they both fall down dizzy from spinning and the happiness that only come when you feel truly safe.
“Come on baby girl up you get.” Her dad reaches out and pulls her up from the grass, “you to Joe” he says pulling his son up with his free hand.
“Bye guys” whispers Lucy, the light in her eye has dimed to a soft glow, and I can tell she will miss her family. I step back as she reaches out for her family one last time as if making sure they are still there. The moment seems so personal that I take another step back because I feel like and intruder in their bitter sweet happiness. Lucy pulls away and turns to walk to the couch.
She sits down and then looks up at her smiling family, then she looks up further to wave to the sky. I don’t know how I know this but I can sense her saying goodbye to her mother as well, as if she were alive and there to hug her. Maybe it was the way her eyes glowed brightly maybe it was the way her hands shook slightly as she waved that tiny wave, maybe it was just that as her friend I knew. I walked over to her and sat down beside her on the magical couch.
I put my hand on top of hers willing her to be brave. Our eyes lock and she nods so I lift the couch and together we wave and call goodbye to her family.
“I was saying good bye to my mother, I told her not to worry school would be fun and that I would see her there.” Says Lucy quietly as we watch her home fade behind us. I study my friend’s determined look, she doesn’t look sad she looks as if she would take on any one who suggests that she is being silly.
“I don’t know for sure if she can hear me, but sometimes I just look up and think thoughts to her. I like to think that she is watching me and she knows I am sorry. I like to think that she is happy and that she can tell I am happy. Sometimes I feel so lonely but just knowing that she is here” she taps her heart gently, “even if she isn’t up there, just knowing that helps.”
I squeeze her hand not knowing what to say to this girl who is so raw on the inside and yet so happy as well. I remember what she told me in Café Paul at the beginning of the year, she told me that whenever I feel mad I should take away all my mediate emotions and see what I have left. She told me that for her it is always love she feels. Maybe that is how she can be so sad and yet happy, her emotions in most places is love and so in most cases her love leads to happiness but her love for her mother is so strong that it leaves her raw. I stare at this girl who has so much space for love in her heart and wonder how she can always love so much.
“You know how you told me to get rid of the immediate emotions?” I ask her and she looks at me and nods, “well I didn’t”
She doesn’t say anything she just watches as we start out across the ocean towards Europe, Paris and School. I pause thinking through my words.
“I didn’t get rid of my immediate emotions for my sister, I only thought of them and not of my true feelings, now I have left mad at her” I say the words quickly only realizing my mistakes as I say them.
When she doesn’t say anything, when all she does is squeeze my hand I look into her face as if my answer may be written across her face.
“What should I do Lucy I have no idea what to do” I tell her my voice turns pleading as I beg her, “please tell me what to do Lucy I don’t know”
Now it is her turn to study my face, “I’m so sorry Kaitlin, but I do not think I can tell you what you need to do. Only you can figure out how you feel towards your sister, just be truthful and it will all work out I promise.”
Truthful, why is it that I cannot escape those fateful words.
But instead of pleading for an answer I know I won’t get I do the next best thing. Poof up a flat screen TV.
“It won’t solve my problems but it will help me think clearly”, I tell her holding up my hand before she can protest.
“Well I think a good movie always helps, so what should we watch?” she asks her old bounce returning to her eyes and face as she smile mischievously.
“Well we have five hours at least, we can watch two if you want”
“Awesome, you chose the first one I can choose the second” she bounces in place.
“Ok how about..” I trail off trying to think of something, “Umm let’s watch The Princess Bride”
“awesome my choice was between that and the parent trap now we can watch both” Lucy practically jumps off the couch before remembering we are floating in the sky, over the Atlantic ocean and jumping off the couch would not be a very good idea.
“OK here goes Princess Bride” I pop up the DVD and then send it into the DVD Player before realizing that I didn’t make a remote. No worries I am a witch I think making a remote appear. Unfortunately the remote doesn’t work and so I have to float to the TV and turn it on by hand. Even more unfortunately Lucy decides that she MUST join me in floating hundreds of miles above the ocean. Let us just say that my magic may have improved but keeping the TV, myself, the couch, and Lucy afloat while trying to figure out how to turn on the TV is tricky. So Lucy slipped about a mile or so below me before I managed to get her back to floating. After that I made a carpet that could float and anything on it would float as well.
When the opening credits of one of the world’s best movies rolled on to the screen I was all ready recovering from my minor break down over my feeling towards my sister (not to mention my actions).
Well we had reached the Part where Buttercup is kidnapped by the circus guys (in case you haven’t seen the movie I highly recommend it but just so you aren’t totally confused, Buttercup is the main character, she is gorgeous and the story revolves around her and the stable guy, but I won’t say more, you should watch it). So Buttercup is on the ship and guess who appears.
Yes Soff, Jewls and Marissa just appear in mid air half way between Paris and Washington, needless to say Lucy and I freak.
“Hey girlies, we thought we would join you” smiles Soff plopping down next to Lucy.
“Oh My God is this The Princess Bride” demands Marissa sinking onto a bean bag that has appeared on the carpet.
“Yup do you love this movie or what” asks Lucy.
“I love it, it is one of my all time favorite movies” She gushes.
“It really is a great movie”, agrees Jewls sinking into an arm chair which I swear appeared in sections, it was so weird.
“I missed you guys” I whisper after a few minutes of silence. Needless to say this is followed by a lot of ‘I missed you too' and ‘I missed you more’, and some crying, and a lot of hugging. In the end we all squash on to the couch. After a few minutes Jewls expands it and adds a foot rest though.
So we sit here the five of us enjoying our last moment before school. Just like every other normal teenager, although normalcy probably ends with that because I’m pretty sure most teenagers don’t tend to watch movies while flying, and I also doubt most teenagers have an endless supply of drinks and popcorn, because well magic tends not to run out.
When the movie ends with the kiss we all sigh dreamily, just like a normal teenager, and then mov on to the parent Trap. A movie that every teenage girl in the world has seen (and if you have not seen it go watch it right now, seriously this story can wait).
Beep Beep Beep. My boot vibrates.
What the? since when did boots vibrate I stare at my leg for a moment, and at my gorgeous new boots courtesy of Jewls. Ooooh my compact I must have put it in my boot. I fish around inside my boot until I find the little blue compact , I colored it earlier with magic. I flip it open and read the message.
‘Welcome back to The International School of Magic – Paris,
We hope you enjoyed your break.
The welcome back dinner will start promptly at 7:30 in the Dinning Halle
Your books are the same so please make sure you have them ready for tomorrow.
Our only change is that the Uniform Committee would like to inform you that due to colder weather a blazer can be worn.
The design is attached as a 3-d hologram. Please remember that any hats, gloves, or scarves must also follow the attached design.
Thank you very much.
We look forward to seeing you at 7:30 tonight’
I check my watch, I have almost half an hour till dinner and so I have time to make hats and coats. I close the message and open the holograms just as Jewls walks through the door.
“Oh hey I was wondering if you want help with those, I can add sparkles for you” she nods to the holograms, “I can also make them the perfect shape for you” she offers.
“Sure” I say relived, I can handle clothes but they always come out better when Jewls makes them.
“No worries, pass me your compact so I can see the design” she says. I hand her my compact and she studies the hologram for a second.
She closes her eyes and the jacket appears in place of my comfy sweater.
“That better reappear” I warn her, “it is my favorite sweater” Jewls smiles and the sweater appears on my bed, “thanks Jewls”
The jacket starts to sparkle a little, the buttons grow slightly larger, the collar flips over, the jacket tightens a little at the waist to fit better and then Jewls opens her eyes.
“What do you think I think it is nice” she surveys the jacket happily.
“I love it, can you make the hat, scarf, and gloves” I ask her holding out my hands for her to magic.
“Of course, do they specify” she asks flipping to the second diagram, “they say the gloves have to be white or navy to match the skirt or blouse, and the hat and scarf can be either as well. I’ll just make one of each color then”
She lets go of the compact which floats in front of her. She closes her eyes again and I wait for the gloves and scarf to appear, then the hat appears as well. She duplicates them and changes one set to white.
“Thanks Jewls you’re so sweet” I hug her.
“No problem anytime” she smiles and checks her watch “oh shoot we have ten minutes, we should hurry, do you have your uniform out” I shake my head
“It’s packed but I can get it out.”
“I can just make you a new one if you want” she suggests, when I nod she pops me into the navy skirt, black tights, white blouse, and changes my boots to black to follow school regulations.
“Thanks Jewls” I sing out.
“No worries Kat” she sings out her tone matching mine.
“What aren’t we worrying about” sings out Marissa walking in through the door between our rooms.
“If it’s whether or not we are going to be late maybe you should worry” sings out Soff coming through the other door., “seriously girls the Welcome Back Dinner starts in two minutes and Jewls You haven’t changed yet” admonishes Soff sounding like my mother.
“Yes mother” Jewls says slipping into her uniform magically.
Marissa and I start laughing until Jewls says, “all right you girls ready for this it is our last welcome back dinner with Kaitlin” she smiles at me and all the girls look sad.
Right about now you are probably thinking ‘hey but isn’t she staying the year?’
Well I had been so happy to see my friends I had totally forgotten to tell them.
“Oh no it is not” I smile and they stare at me, “I got a half way scholarship for the rest of the year” I shout.
Well let’s just say if it hadn’t been for the fact that we had a minute to get to dinner I wouldn’t have survived. They all jump on me screaming and shouting. Marissa has her arms around me, Jewls is hugging me and Soff is hugging us all.
“Uh guys” I gasped, “we have a minute we have to go” unfortunately when you tell normal friends you have to go they normally let go of you and you run to dinner. Wit friends tend to just transport all four of you to dinner and not let go. Which is why I am totally unprepared for the sensation of being pressed in and squashed by a thousand pound truck which always accompanies transportation spells.
“Oww” I cry out when we land by the door, “who did that” I demand.
“Me” says Soff unfazed by my angry face.
“Next time warn us” gasps Marissa.
“Come-on we have to go girls we can yell at Soff later” says Jewls rolling her eyes, she is totally the only one who seems unfazed, and of course Soff but she knew we were going to appear by the dining room door, we didn’t.
Jewls grabs me by the hand and Marissa by the other then drags us through the door and up to our table.
“Wait up” calls out Soff, as if Jewls could fly faster than her while pulling both Marissa and I (which she totally cannot).
We slip onto the bench at our usual table at the top of the hall, literally at the top as in the highest table in the room. About 15 girls are already sitting on the long, but surprisingly comfy, benches that are floating either side of the table.
“Hey girlies”, smiles a red head named Morgan, I spend most of my time with Marissa Jewls and Soff but I know all the girls at our table as well.
“Hey Morgan, doesn’t it feel great to be back” says Marissa smiling.
“Definitely” agrees Morgan and Jessica, Jessica is in my math class and is always late which is probably why she has only just slid onto the bench across from us.
“So how were your breaks” I ask as we wait for Madame Kestley to enter and make her welcome back speech.
“Awesome” says Jessica, “My parents hadn’t really chosen a place for us to go for break so my brother and I chose,” she pauses dramatically waiting for the question she knows that as teenage girls, not to mention witches who know she could have chosen anywhere in the world, we will ask.
“Fine I will bite” says Jewls laughing as the silence stretches on everyone knowing why Jessica is waiting but wanting to see who will cave and ask, “So where did you choose”.
“The statue of liberty” she says smiling.
I somehow manage to choke on the roll I was eating. There is a strict rule of no eating till Madame Kestley says her speech which is why the basket of rolls is hidden under our table. But the roll also led to my choking because unless I have series hearing problems, and I am pretty sure I do not, then I think Jessica just told us she spent her vacation on the Statue of Liberty.
“You mean you spent your break in New York?” says Soff but it comes out more like a question then a statement, which is because as I have already stated, we are witches and we tend to do the, unusual, to put it mildly.
“Nope” Says Jessica smiling now that she knows she has our full attention.
“Manhattan” I try because some people totally make a distinction between just New York and Manhattan.
“Nope” she repeats, she tears a piece out of her roll and puts it in her mouth.
“You seriously spent ten days on the Statue of Liberty” I say incredulously, because a) thousands of people go to see that thing a day so they would probably notice some people sleeping on it, b) It must be pretty uncomfy lying on a statue, and C) it must get pretty cold up there.
“Yup” she says nonchalantly as if she just told us that she had bought a new top, actually come to think of it she would be way more excited over a new top.
“Oh my god that is so cool how did you pull that off” asks Marissa in amazement, and honestly I am glad she asked because if she had not I would have thought I was out of the loop on some hotels on statues witch secret. Or something.
“Simple, we made ourselves invisible to nitches and then built some rooms and things on the statue, it had the very best view. And we also had easy access to New York City and shopping” Explains Jessica giving in to her desire to tell us. Jessica and the others start to discuss the pros and cons of sleeping on top of the statue of liberty. A conversation made much more interesting by the fact that it was taking place in English, Italian, French, German, and for some reason Dutch, unfortunately I don’t speak Dutch so I only understood four fifths of the conversation.
Jessica was explaining the problems of when to turn invisible because evidently turning visible on the statue would cause problems with the nitches and you can’t just become visible in the street. Apparently Marissa and I were the only ones who didn’t find that obvious. Just as she was describing how she had accidently turned visible half way down a street Madame Kestley walks in.
Now that may not seem weird, but it is. When you live in a witch school where people rarely walk, well only when around nitches or playing sports do we walk, when you live in a school where most people fly or float walking into a room full of floating tables is weird. The whole room stops and I can hear whispers as girls realize that our witch teacher was walking.
Here is where things got even stranger, as she walked the tables on either side of her start to sink to the ground, I can see the girls’ faces as they realize they no longer have control of their tables. When she stands parallel to our table I can feel the table move and I can feel the bench literally fall from underneath me. By the time our table touches down and our water glasses have been magically righted our teacher has reached the head table. That table is already resting on the ground and the other teachers have taken their seats.
Madame Kestley walks to the microphone and studies us as if it is any other meal, which it totally isn’t. She watches us for a few seconds waiting for the muttering and whispers to die down.
“Welcome back Girls” she says into the microphone, but silence greats her welcome, all we want to know is why we have been grounded, literally and hope fully not actually, “as you girls may have noticed your tables are no longer floating” a murmur of agreement and in many cases of annoyance greets this but she just holds up her hand and the room falls quiet again, “the reason for this is that we have some very special guests joining us” she smiles but we just stare in confusion, “actually we have three sets of guests” she smiles at us again, no she beams at us as if she has just told us we have no homework for the rest of the year.
She points to the room and the tables suddenly grow longer, the benches stretch, plates appear in front of every girl and extra places are laid for our guests.
“Girls please join me in welcoming our guests” she points to the back of the room and every head swivels in unison as the doors sweep open and a man leading a group of fifty boys walks in. The boys seem to be holding back, overwhelmed by the staring eyes of nearly two hundred girls. Every girl in the room draws a breath and stares in wonder at these boys. I stare at them as they walk in, the only thing I can think is that guys are walking through our doors, guys are walking into an all girls school, there is a reason it’s an all girls school. Well there is a reason that every girl is staring, which is probably because it is an all girl’s school.
Madame Kestley walks down to the short bald man leading the boys.
“Welcome Monsieur Gerald” she says shaking his hand, “Girls please join me in welcoming Monsieur Gerald and the boys from the International school of Magic for boys, the Milan branch”
I hear murmured choruses of “welcome” and “did she say there is a boys school for magic?”
Sure we knew that wizards existed but we had never really realized that they went to a boy school for magic. This could be fun I think watching as the boys sit down at some of the tables that have been magically grown.
That is when I remember that we will be welcoming three groups, that is when I see that another group of students are standing behind the boys, that is when I see a senior girl standing next to another girl, staring right at me.
Well in case you have not already figured this out the girl who is standing there has a name, and you probably already know her name. By some twisted bad luck my sister is standing with about 60 other girls in the dining hall of my school.
Madame Kestley is introducing the girls and their teacher, the girls are still staring at the boys, and my friends are trying to get my attention but all that I can focus on is that girl standing there who just happens to be my sister and whom I just happen to fight with all day every day.
The girls sit down and I see my sister slide in next to a blond haired guy from the other Milan school. I see her slide right next to him and I see him put his arm around her.
OHH great not only do I get my sister and all her issues I also get her ‘perfect’ boyfriend. Her perfect boyfriend who goes perfectly with her perfect image, which is all together a perfect sight. Ugh I hate perfection.
“Kaitlin” snaps Soff clapping her hands in front of my eyes, “what’s up with you” she asks, I look around and realize that my friends are all watching me, “you look like you have seen the devil come to life”
“I would take the devil any day” I say unhappily.
“Umm would you like to fill us in, do you and the devil have a little romantic episode between you or what. Because normal people do not welcome the devil” says Jewls in classic sarcastic Jewls fashion.
“Well normal people can’t fly, normal people can’t make food appear, normal people aren’t witches” I pause for a second and then say quietly, “normal people welcome their sisters” it’s so quiet that I do not think they hear, but they do hear.
Marissa and Jewls still look confused but Soff always figures things out, she has like sixth sense for knowing how people feel.
“I take it your sister goes to school in Milan” says Soff, for the other girls everything falls into place and I can see their eyes light up in understanding.
“Yup unfortunately that is correct” I am talking to them but I know I am not actually with them. My mind is in a different place, well actually it is in a lot of places. For example a part of it is back home saying goodbye to Liz, glad that I will not have to deal with her until Christmas. Another part of me is completely taken up by the image of my sister sitting with her boyfriend. Another part of me has gone to some place where you do not ever want to go. Some place where your mind goes but your body doesn’t follow. It may look like I am over reacting but when you spend your whole life trying to fit in, trying to get people to look at you and see Kaitlin Reisse and not Liz’s less than perfect sister. When you spend your entire life wishing you could have your own world and then suddenly, bam you have a whole new world. Suddenly you go to school in Paris, you speak French, you have great classes, you have a half way scholarship for the rest of the year, and most importantly you have friends who like you for who you are not who your sister is. When you have all that and then suddenly your older sister appears. Well I have been trying to have a life without her, I guess now I will have to have a life despite her. SO ya when you have all of that running through your mind, and what you really want is some privacy, but that isn’t about to happen because your headmistress is giving a speech, and your best friends are holding on to you and putting an anti disappearing spell on you, privacy is rare. So instead of disappearing my mind disappears instead.
“Kat snap out of it, honestly we will totally stick with you” one of them says, and I am pretty sure it is Marissa.
“Kat” says Jewls pulling on my arm, but she fails to pull my mind back to my body.
“Kat” repeats Soff, “Kaitlin, listen to me, this is your school, this is your place, and no matter what your sister can not take that from you” she pauses waiting for me to look up at her. I hesitate then with a monumental strength I drag my mind back and focus on my best friend’s face.
“She can’t take that from you, unless you give it to her” Soff says and I know she is right.
“Your right” I say slowly, “I will be fine, after all she is just my sister right” I smile at them.
There are many reasons I decided I would be ok, first of all she is only my sister, second of all she will travel in her own circle, third of all I have friends who care about me. All of those reasons are good reasons, but the one I choose not to mention, the one I know I will never, ever mention to my friends is that a part of me wants to succeed despite her, a part of wants to show off that I can be happy despite her. I look around at the faces of my friends and then the sight of my sister sitting next to her boyfriend surrounded by friends.
“Sooo” says Jewls slowly, and I have known her long enough to know that she has something sneaky going on in that mind of hers. She doesn’t finish her thought but instead she takes a long sip from her glass of coke. She carefully picks up a wedge of lemon from a plate on the table, she squeezes it with intense focus.
“What” says Marissa exasperatedly, “come on Jewls what? You have to tell us” says Marissa but Jewls just puts the lemon wedge down and stirs her coke.
Well I know for a fact, I asked Soff and she knows facts, I know for a fact that Jewls never starts something that she is not going to finish, she never ever trails off but she sat across from the three of us as if nothing was happening.
“Well” she says slowly, “the Paris boys are cute” she smiles as we stare at her in confusion. I admit it took us a full minute to figure out that she was talking about the Parisian school for boys. Who had just entered the door at the back of our dining room. The boys were freshman through seniors by the looks of it, and one particular boy was standing near the front of the crowd staring straight at me, a boy with green eyes, dark hair, a boy who is tall handsome, and is also my ex.
I spin around and pretend I do not recognize him, but Jewls has it all figured out, in fact she probably knew we knew each other as soon as she saw him staring at me. For the second time in one meal I want to disappear and for the second time in a meal I can feel restraining spells binding me to my seat but this time only Jewls is the one keeping me in place.
“I do believe he knows you” says Jewls smiling wickedly, “and I think that you know him”
“what are you talking about” I say to quickly and I can feel Marissa and Soff are getting curious and have decided that I should stay in my seat so know that there is no chance I can avoid all three spells.
“Possibly a certain guy” says Jewls casually.
“Who” I try hopping she will let it go.
“Oh I don’t know a very hot wizard from the international school of witchcraft in Paris” she rolls her eyes when I stay quiet, “oh come on you know you know him. Who is he?” asks Jewls exasperatedly.
“Ok fine, he used to go to my witch and wizard school in DC, it is co-ed” I explain holding up my hand before my friends can ask for more, “He joined last year, and we both left to go international after that year. He was in a bunch of my classes so I knew him” I hesitate choosing my words carefully “pretty well. I knew he managed to get into a school abroad but I never found out which one.”
“You knew him ‘pretty well’? I do believe you knew him better than pretty well” says Jewls smiling like she knows something.
“Wait, you guys dated” asks Marissa finally figuring out where this is going.
Luckily before I can answer Jewls silences us, “shut up and look cute” she tells me and I stare at her confused but grateful I did not have to confirm Marissa’s comment on dating.
Unfortunately the cause for my being saved was that a certain sophomore guy was walking over to our table.
“Be nice” mouths Jewls.
“Hey Kaitlin” says Mike.
“Hey Mike” I say looking up into the face that I totally fell for last year.
“So I take it we both went Parisian, unless you’re from the Milan school” he smile easily.
Unfortunately I am not the best converser, and I have a few issues when it comes to guys. “Ya, I mean I uhhh I go to the Paris school, this school , you know I go here, well at least I go here for now but you never know do you stuff can change at like the drop of a hat you know” I know I am rambling but I have no idea how to stop myself luckily Jewls saves me.
“Hey, Mike right?” she asks in English holding out her hand, “I’m Jewls Kat’s friend”
“Nice to meet you Jewls, you going to introduce me to all your beautiful friends Kaitlin” he says smiling, I cringe at the beautiful friends part. Why did he have to come over to my table, after all he broke up with me not the other way round, true we were separating for the summer anyways but I would have kept up the relationship.
“Hey Kat” says Jewls
“Uhh sorry, Mike this is Jewls, Soff and Marissa girls this is” I look up at the face I know so well, the face that disappeared last summer leaving me with a broken heart, “Mike?” I say, it is his name but it comes out like a question.
“Nice to meet you” he says the girls smile and Soff says “nice to meet you” but I am not so sure if meeting Mike is ever that nice.
“I’ll see you ‘round” he says flashing us his half smile that I remember all too well, actually he flashes me his smile.
As soon as he leaves Jewls pounces on me “ you two so used to date, what happened” she says her voice way to loud considering we are in a room full of guys and my sister.
“We broke up, it was the end of the year and we were both traveling for the summer, he dumped me” I say simply not wanting to revisit that chapter of my life.
“Oh Kat I am so sorry” says Soff she slips her arm around me and I feel the warmth of a friend.
“Sorry Kat I didn’t know” says Jewls quietly.
“He so does not know what is good for him, how could he not want to be with you” says Marissa slipping her arm around me as well.
“Thanks girls but it is ok I am so over him” I say putting fake pep in my voice. My friends nod as if they believe me but I know they don’t. Well the restraining spells that are holding me in pace do not disappear so I know they do not completely trust me to stay put. Sometimes witch friends can be the worst.
“Welcome ladies and gentlemen” says Madame Kestley, “this year shall mark a few changes, first of all we are welcoming three schools to our own school for the rest of the year.” I hear some cheers from the girls, “therefore we shall be expanding the dorm floors to make space for our guests, do not worry you will still have space for your bedrooms,” she smiles at us as the girls around me cheer again, “due to the addition of Male schools we will be implementing a few new rules. Number one: no boys shall be allowed in girls rooms after 6 pm, or vice versa, all co-ed meetings or parties will take place in the common rooms. Number two: All girls’ rooms shall be moved to the second and third floor, and boys shall have their rooms on the fourth and fifth floor. Other than that please welcome our new students to our school. The last change is that due to the number of students the tables in every room must stay grounded until the meal or class has started, but if teachers prefer to have a grounded classroom then tables will stay on the floor, is that clear.” She looks at us through her wise old eyes and waits for the perfunctory chorus of yes’s and head nodding.
“In that case, Bon Appetite” she waves her hand to the tables and I can feel the grounding spell being released.
“I am starving” I say whishing up a bowl of soup, a plate of mashed potatoes and chicken with gravy.
“Same that speech and the welcoming took forever” says Marissa as a plate of curry appears in front of her.
We start to eat and the usual chatter starts up again as girls talk about their vacations and gossip, but mostly gossip. Let’s face it putting two schools of boys in our dining hall, seating them at our magically elongated tables creates a lot of gossip.
As soon as Madame Kestley takes her place at the podium an hour later the hall grows quiet, “I am so glad to have my girls back, and to welcome new students, I sincerely hope you have enjoyed your brakes and you will enjoy your time in Paris. I am sure you are all tired and have your rooms to prepare so I wish you goodnight.” She steps down and around me girls stand to go, some just disappear some fly off and some walk out the door.
I take a sip of my lemon coke, it is definitely one of the best drinks ever invented, next to me Soff is standing up Marissa is floating by the bench waiting for us, and Jewls is waiting by the door waving for us to hurry up.
“come on Kat” says Soff, “you can’t spend our fist night back being moody we have at least five episodes of Glee to watch,” she tempts me, Glee is probably one of my all time favorite shows but just then it could not tempt me.
“I will be up in a second let me finish my coke” I say holding up my half filled glass of lemon coke.
Marissa nods and floats down to Jewls hugging some friends and chatting to girls who we haven’t seen in over a week.
I don’t notice Soff hesitating behind me until she comes to sit down on the bench again, “I know it does not feel like it, but it could be a good thing” I look up at Soff’s gentle face and I can tell she means it, I also know she is probably at least partly right, “Having them, your sister and your ex boyfriend, it is probably a good thing. That way you can confront them if necessary, but you can talk to them on your terms because you will have your friends for support” she looks into my eyes and I can feel her searching my face as if she can make the answer to all my problems appear. But she can’t, our school teaches us how to make beds appear, how to defend ourselves, our school teaches us history and how to make water from nothing, but nothing in all of our school’s classes could teach Soff to find an answer in my eyes. All she can do is smile gently and squeeze my hand softly before floating down to the floor and the door.
I sit at the table and think about what she said, it is true having them here feels like they are stealing from me. In my sister’s case she is stealing my life and my school, but in Mike’s he is stealing my heart, just now I’m not sure which is worse.
“Hey” a voice from behind me sends my thoughts from my head.
“Hey” I say turning around to stare into his green eyes. Eyes that seem to be greener than I remember, eyes framed on a face that seems to have grown hotter and surrounded by dark hair that has grown out since I last saw him at the end of freshman year.
“You look great Kaitlin” he smiles at me and I can feel my heart melt into a puddle of messy girly feelings.
“Thanks, you to” I say realizing I should probably reply and not just stare at him looking stupid.
“So have we really been going to schools in the same city since September and we haven’t realized it?” he asks, for a second I think he means it as an actual question but then I see his trade mark grin playing at the corners of his mouth and I know that he finds it hilarious.
“Weird right” I say going out on a limb and hopping he will agree that it is weird. Here is the thing most girls do not realize, just because you date a guy for three months in your freshman year of high school does not mean that you will be able to understand him six months later, or ever for that matter.
“Totally” he says, I grin goofily and he sweeps his hair across his forehead, a move that is so extremely stupid that on most guys I would have to stomp on my laughter to stop from bursting out laughing, but on Mike it makes him look sexy.
“Hey want to show me to my room” he says, but I know that what I heard was do you want to live with me in my room?
“Sure” I say aloud, but trust me I meant to his question not to the one in my head.
“Awesome” he says.
I slide off the bench and stand up, our table had risen to be the highest during dinner and so we have to maneuver between multiple tables to reach the ground level. I lead Mike through the dining room doors and I am about to take him to the stairs when I see my sister standing with her boyfriend and a few other seniors. I know I am supposed to confront her and everything but I do not think that this is the right time. Half the school, plus the kids from the other schools, are standing around chatting, my sister is busy and I am supposed to be leading my ex boyfriend to his room.
I promise myself I will confront her later and turn to Mike.
“change of plan we can just appear there, no one really takes the stairs anyways” I say grabbing his hand, before I can freak out over the fact that we are holding hands and that his hand is warm in mine and they fit together perfectly just like they used to, before I can freak I appear with Mike on the fourth floor.
“Wow” says Mike, “I don’t think I will ever get used to that feeling of being put in a washing machine”
“I know it is really disorientating” I agree leading him down a hallway already lined with doors. I place my palm on an empty patch of wall and close my eyes. Breathing in and out deeply I imagine a door, and I imagine opening the door onto a room.
I open my eyes to find a door has appeared.
“Nice” says Mike, “but uhh Kaitlin you forgot a handle” he says.
“Opps” I wince internally I guess my magic is still acting weird because the door is also strangely narrow.
“No worries” he reaches out his hand and a door knob appears in his hand while he turns it and pushes open the door. The room inside is completely plain, apart from two big windows with views of the street bellow and if you squint a little you can even see the Eiffel Tower.
“You can decorate however you like, and expand of course, just make sure you don’t expand into other peoples space” I tell him as he walks over to the window to look at the afore mentioned view.
“Awesome, so I can make anything” he asks his eyes lighting up like a child who has been taken into one of those candy stores where you choose your candy and put it in the bag and then you pay for the bag.
When I nod he makes a popcorn machine right out of an old movie then he creates a TV, he paints the walls bright blue and makes a hammock.
“This is so cool” he says spinning around and making chairs pop up as he spins.
“You sound happy” I laugh aloud, “oh do you already have your compact and stuff” I ask.
“Wait did you just say compact? As in those makeup things” he asks staring at me.
“Well ya, we use them for everything around here, schedules, texting, maps” I tell him defensively.
“Ohh, I think they made them into mini game boys for the guys” he says pulling out what looks like an ordinary game boy, “thank god I thought you were going to make me carry around a makeup thingy” he says.
I laugh at him then turn to go, “well I should go my friends are waiting, I’ll see ya round” I say hopping I sound casual but knowing I probably sound stupid.
“See ya round Kaitlin” he says, my name feels funny in his voice but I just smile and turn to leave.
As soon as I step outside I disappear and then reappear in my bedroom, I can hear the opening music of Glee coming from Soff’s room so I quickly change into pjs and a sweatshirt, with some aid form my friend Madame Magic.
I push through the door between mine and Jewls room’s and then walk through to Soff’s.
“Hey girls sorry I am so late” I say sinking onto the sofa next to my three amazing witch friends.
“No worries it is just starting” says Jewls.
Marissa extends the blanket that is covering her legs so that it will cover all four of us and we all get comfortable under the cozy blanket. After a few episodes my eyes begin to get heavy and I stand up to say goodnight.
The next day I wake up to the sound of birds chirping and cars driving, I can smell croissants and bread baking in the café across the street. The light comes in and settles in streaks on my light blue walls. I yawn and stretch in my bed, I love waking up here. I love the sounds and the smells, I love the way the dust dances in the sunlight, as if even the dust is happy and excited for the new day. Lying in that bed watching the dust weave in and out I do not remember everything that happened last night, I can forget it all and just focus on my joy at being back in school, my joy of…
“Morning princess” sings out Marissa walking in through the door, she spins around in a circle, “how arrrre you? Is it not the most beautiful day in the world, although I am sure it is cold out after all it is November!” she is still wearing her ‘I love Paris’ pajamas and her blond curls are messy but her eyes shine bright blue and her mouth is stretched into a smile that makes her look completely adorable.
“Hey Marissa” I sit up and rub the sleep out of my eyes, “what time is it?”
“9:30, and breakfast is at 10 today so we have half an hour, do you want to come help me redecorate my room, I have decided it is totally time for a new do” She is bouncing on the balls of her feet and is way too excited for the morning.
“Uhh sure but first tell me what you think of mine, I was considering just letting Jewls redecorate, my room and make me some new winter clothes, she is definitely the best”
“I totally agree which is why I am going to get her now, but I like designing stuff as well, she just has better ideas, hey we could show her our rooms now and she can think about them than at four, after last period we can all meet back here”
“And…” I say confused, “oh we can meet here and she can help us with decoration, I get it.”
“You can be the slowest girl in the world” says Marissa shaking her head in mock disappointment, “I cannot figure out why we are best friends”
“Because I am so sweet” I say jumping out of bed to hug her. We both start laughing and we are still giggling when Jewls walks in, she is already dressed in the navy skirt and white blouse, with white tights and she is holding two black shoes.
“Good morning girls” she smiles hopping on one foot to put on her shoes.
“Morning” says Marissa she runs at the still hopping Jewls to through her arms around her.
“Gerroff” comes Jewls’ voice from under Marissa’s arm.
“Umm Marissa” I say pulling her off my friend, “may I suggest decaf in future?”
“Hahaha you are just the silliest, I have not had coffee today I promise, I am just happy” she smiles and leaps on Soff who is standing bleary eyed at my door.
“Umm hi Marissa” says Soff pushing away our hyper, or happy as she insists, friend.
“What is up with that girl” asks Soff in a stage whisper pointing at Marissa.
“OK stop looking at me like I am crazy I am just so happy that we are all back together again, and for the rest of the year, well apart from holidays.” Marissa tells us.
“I am happy as well Marissa, you guys are practically my family” I tell them and I can feel my eyes well up, a lump has formed in my throat but the tears that I fight back are not tears of sadness but tears of happiness.
“Group hug!!” screams Jewls before we can have full blown water works party.
We through our arms around each other and Marissa, despite being the smallest of us, manages to send us all tumbling onto my super soft carpet. We lie, half laughing, half crying on the rug until Soff tells us we have 3 minutes till breakfast starts and so we all jump up and fall over each other in an attempt to get ready.
I open my bag in an attempt to find my winter uniform, after throwing half of my bag on the floor I just summon in to me. Beside me Marissa has just made a new uniform and is struggling to make her skirt turn navy instead of black.
Over the past months I have gotten really close to the three of them so I don’t think twice before stripping off my pjs and slipping into my uniform.
“Jewls” Marissa and I scream together. Jewls is our resident fashion designer and so she naturally has to approve our outfits.
“Hey girls” she says appearing in the doorway. She looks fabulous she has layered netting underneath her skirt to give it a slightly punk look, well as punk as you can go with our uniforms, she is also wearing ankle boots with a two inch heel. Her makeup is flawless as usual and I know that her blond hair is naturally beautiful but she has tied it in a messy bun that looks very chic.
“Umm can you fix us” asks Marissa.
“of course girlies come here Marissa” Jewls says, she loves playing designer, and she loves coming up with ways of changing our uniforms so that they still follow the dress code but are also special and unique.
Marissa complies covering the small distance between Jewls and where we were standing in a few steps.
“Well first of all have you ever met a hairbrush” says Jewls tsk-tsking in French.
“No ma-am” says Marissa switching to English.
“well then you will not meet one now” says Jewls hiding her smile while she zaps Marissa’s blonde curls into perfect little ringlets, “Next lets decide on a look, preppy, baby girl, sporty, punk, or oldie” she tics them off on her fingers then looks expectantly at Marissa who shoots me a bewildered look.
I shrug, I have no idea what Jewls is talking about either, so Marissa says, “you chose Jewls I have no idea.”
“honestly Marissa you have no fashion sense” Marissa just shrugs as if to agree with Jewls but before she can reply Jewls is spinning new clothes into the air, “Ok you can have a cute skirt, which is slightly short and the blouse is medium fitted, you could match it with a head band or bow. Or you could have a more punk look with a layered skirt, and ankle boots like me. Otherwise we can go for something slightly French, you know baggier blouse, beret that type of thing.” Jewls pauses and looks up expectantly.
The three outfits are still spinning midair but have slowed down. Jewls sighs at our silence and just zaps Marissa into the cute one as she calls it. It looks fantastic on her especially with the much fitted white jacket and matching hat, scarf, and gloves.
“Your turn, want to match” she turns on me, “oh my god lets all match it would be so cool hang on, SOFF” she creams the last word and Soff appears in the door way.
“We are all going to match apparently” says Marissa sounding completely bored by the fashion talk.
“Sounds cool” says Soff, but I don’t think Jewls needed any agreement because she had already zapped the three of us to match Marissa, and she added a thick navy hair band. We grab our coats and Jewls turns them white as we slide into them.
“Ok, ok Jewls it is perfect” I tell her straightening my skirt, “but we have to go now, we have ten seconds until breakfast starts” I reach out my hands for Marissa and Jewls, they take my hands and then hold onto Soff's as well. We stand in a circle, hands linked, I look around and smile we look really good thanks to Jewls, “ok on the count of three, one , two , three” we all disappear together and reappear a moment later outside the door to the dining room.
I let go of their hands and we link arms.
“Ready?” asks Soff
“OK!” says Marissa. Soff starts laughing but Jewls and I just stare confused.
“Ya see last time I checked when people say ‘Ready’ normal people say yes or no” I say.
“Haha it is a cheerleading thing, the captain yells ‘Ready? OK!’ at the beginning of each routine, I used to cheer at my old school in California.”
“Wow! You cheered” I ask surprised that it had not come up in our conversations earlier.
“Yup” Marissa says.
“You to” asks Jewls turning on Soff.
“Nope, but I have seen like a million movies that have cheer leading so that’s how I knew” explains Soff.
“You guys should start like a cheer squad or something” I say pulling my three best friends through the doors into the room.
We stop in the doorway and stare at the hundred of kids, not girls, kids as in boys and girls. We stare at our table which is no longer floating and just like that we remember that this term is going to be very, very different.
The second we sit down I feel eyes on my back, I see Jewls’ and Soff’s mouths make little O shapes, I hear the uhoh and I know that someone is behind me.
“Hey” comes a voice, a girl’s voice that I know way to well.
I twist in my seat to see my sister standing behind me, she is smiling a wide smile and looks truly happy to see me.
“Hey” I say slowly unsure if she is fake happy or actually happy.
“Oh Kaitlin I am so happy to see you. Are you not super excited, we have the whole year together” she reaches out and hugs me.
“Ya, it will be great” I mutter thinking that it will be anything, and probably everything but great.
“Ok I just wanted to say hi I didn’t get a chance yesterday, I’ll see ya later baby sis” I bristle at being called baby, but I’m glad she isn’t planning on sitting with us.
I turn to face my friends and am met with confused stares, “she seemed…” says Marissa trailing off.
“Really nice” says Jewls, she is being blunt and saying what she thinks as usual but it still stings.
“Maybe she has decided to try and be friends with you. That was probably her peace offering” smiles Soff ever the peace maker.
I nod and try to convince myself she is right but I know that my sister isn’t one for peace, she is one for fake friendship though.
The rest of breakfast passes well, really well. After all when you can have Belgian waffles, thick hot chocolate with whipped cream, and freshly squeezed orange juice, well most things look better after that.
Because it is our first day of classes our teachers spend a lot of time on get to know you type things. Well except for in Practical Magic, we spend that class learning a spell that allows you to transport really easily. Unlike the normal way we transport, in which we basically imagine ourselves where we want to be this type involves a plant.
It is called a hughford plant our teacher tells us, the way it works is that you pick a leaf off the plant and then you hold it between your palms. You close your eyes and say ‘Take me to the place’ except you have to say it in Greek. Our teacher wrote it down for us: Πήγαινέ με τον τόπο but frankly the weird letters don’t help. Instead we just had to practice saying it aloud. While you say it you think hard about the place and you have to be thinking about a moment while you were there. So you have to have been there to charm the Hughford leaf. The cool thing about it though is that after you have charmed it any witch or wizard can use it transport them to the place you charm the leaf with. You don’t ever have to re-charm it unless to change the destination.
I charm my leaf to take me to the dining hall doorway and Marissa charms hers to bring us back. Together we hold on to my leaf and say GO. We say it in Italian but you can use any language.
The leaf pulls us to the Dining hall. I know we disappear and reappear but unlike just transporting normally I don’t feel as if I have been stretched and squashed.
“Awesome” I squeal as soon as we… land.
“I know right this is so much smoother than normal transport” says Marissa once we touchdown.
“shall we” Marissa asks me holding out the Hughford leaf that she charmed to take us back to our practical Magic class, still level one but it is proving pretty entertaining.
“Of course” I reach out and rest my finger on the leaf, “on the count of three?” I ask her.
“One” she says
“Two” I reply
“Three” she says
“GO” we scream together.
AT our command we start rocketing through space swirling and dipping arriving only a millisecond later at the door way to our class room. Riding via hughford plant may be much smoother than normal transport but if you only put one finger on the leaf it is very easy to fall a bit.
When we arrive my hair is a complete mess and I fall over straight away. I am lying on the floor attempting to fix my hair when a hand reaches down to me, the hand is larger than my own and is worryingly manly. I let my eyes lift to the body and the face that are attached to the hand. The boy who owns the hand is smiling at me with that half grin that Mike always flashes me. It is probably the same grin because it is the same boy. Mike is holding out his hand, Mike saw me fall over, Mike is seeing me with my hair in a complete mess and Mike is offering me his hand.
“Trust me” he says when I fail to grasp his hand.
I reach up and grasp his hand, he pulls me smoothly to my feet, “see”, he says, “I told you, you can trust me”.
“Of course I can” I say trying to ignore the fact that he is still holding my hand, trying hard to ignore the fact that when he pulled me to my feet I ended up standing right in front of him.
“I am glad you know Kaitlin” he lets go of my hand and flashes me his signature grin.
“Girls due to the additions to our school we shall be welcoming some special guests”, our teacher pauses and Mike leans into whisper in my ear.
“I’m special Kaitlin” he whispers. Before I can think of something clever to say she continues.
“5 sophomore boys from Paris, 5 from Milan and 3 girls from Milan”
The new students shuffle nervously into the room and sit at the desks which are still on the ground. Well Mike doesn’t shuffle he sits down in a chair that pops up next to me, which is when I realize I am still standing there staring at him.
“You may want to sit Kaitlin” he says.
I blush bright red but manage to make a chair anyways. Mine is Navy blue with a very comfy seat and a drink holder holding a sprite. The last part may have been over kill but I was proving my expertise.
“Nice one” he says taking my sprite and sipping it, “cold as well, you’re good” I blush at his compliment and give him the sprite making another for myself. Unfortunately this one comes out warm, I don’t let him taste it.
“Now I want everyone to partner up with someone from a different school, you will be working on a project which I shall describe once you are sitting with your partners.” Our teacher, Madame Lisa calls out.
A girl from another school asks Mike if he has a partner but he just smiles and looks at me, “sorry I already have a partner”
Wait is he talking about me, is Mike my partner?
“So Partner” he grins at me, I guess he is my partner then.
“You just totally blew that girl off” I tell him. Well I do feel bad for the girl who I see is now partnering up with Maranda from my school, but secretly I’m pleased. Is it mean to be happy when someone else is unhappy? Probably I guess I’m a bit of a bad person then.
“Sorry I can go get her if you like” he offers but I can see the smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
“Nah its ok I’m sure she can deal, besides she has found another partner” I tell him hopping I sound casual and not desperate.
The awkward silence is thankfully broken by Madame Lisa who steps to the front of the class with that smile on her face that teachers always get right before they give some really annoying assignment out.
“Ok class this assignment is simple, you and your partner have to find a way to help. You must use your abilities and your combined strengths to do something good. In some schools the idea of helping out your community is called community service hours, you have to help at a local day care center for poor children, or you help at an elderly home. At this school you have your skills which can help you with this project.”
A hand shoots up from beside me and I see it is Marissa. She is sitting next to a very cute guy from the Milan school I think. I can see her cheeks are red and I know she loves it. I hope they are partners I smile for my friend.
“Yes Marissa” says Madame Lisa.
“Does this project have to be in Paris and do you have any specific guidelines” she asks I can tell she has an idea because she has that look on her face which means she is thinking.
“The project can be anywhere and there are only a few guidelines. Number 1) you must each do something different. Number 2) your project must help people who need help, which means you cannot invent a new shade of lip gloss and say it helps you look pretty.” She eyes the girls who giggle at her mockery, “and lastly it must be a project that both people can contribute to.”
The class begins to break up and I can see people popping up pens and sheets of paper to help brainstorm. I notice Marissa and mysterious hot guy are definitely partners. He has his chair right by hers and she is blushing bright red.
“Oh one last thing you must right a paper on what you did and how it helped. It need not be long and you can have one between you but I expect it to explain your project. You have the rest of the class, which is about 20 minutes to work on this project. We will come back to the hughford leaf method of transportation later.” Madame Lisa calls out over the noise.
When I can no longer use the excuse of listening to keep me from thinking about how I have to do a project with Mike. Mike the heartbreaker, and the handsome. Come to think of it those words are practically interchangeable.
“So… any ideas Kaitlin” he asks turning to me.
“Not really” I admit, “I’m not so good at thinking of ideas, I am way better at letting others think of them”
“Well that could be a problem since I can’t think of anything” he says and he sounds only semi serious. I wonder if he realizes that this is probably going to be a huge grade.
“How about something somewhere fun” he suggests, “we can sight see while saving the world”
“Ya works for me, any idea where you want to go?” I ask him thinking that we should go somewhere sunny that way we can suntan.
“How about we work with education, we could go somewhere fun that has a bad education system and we could totally try to fix it.”
I consider his idea but frankly it is better than anything I have come up with, which is nothing.
“Ok but how exactly do you plan on fixing the education system?” I ask him unsure as to how even witches and wizards could fix a problem that big.
“We could find somewhere that needs help, then look at what the specific problems are I am sure we can find something”
“How about making a scholarship for a couple of students to get degrees and learn to teach, that would help in the long term by introducing more teachers into the area.” I say chewing on the end of my pencil, like I always do when I am trying to think something through.
“We could raise the pay for teachers which would mean that more teachers would work there, and we could ‘suggest’ to some teachers who are graduating from school and looking for jobs that they should go work there” he says.
“Could work but what about the pay for the teachers? You can’t charge the students more because than their parents won’t be able to afford it so they won’t go. And you can’t just make money.” I say just as Madame Lisa walks over.
“So what are you two thinking of” she asks us.
“Education” I say.
“And ways to improve it in poor countries where the education system is sometimes very bad. We thought it would be a good project because as students who attend a very good school we can appreciate a good education.” Says Mike smoothly as if he didn’t just make half of that up. I look up at Madame Lisa to see if she has realized that he just made that all up.
“Great ideas” have you thought of any specific plans?” she asks as if Mike just gave the perfect answer. I think over what he said which is when I realize he totally did give the perfect answer.
“well” I start not wanting to let Mike get all the credit, “we figured we should have a short term plan which can be put into effect immediately and will give instant help, but also a long term plan.” I say trying to sound like I know what I am talking about which for some weird reason I seldom do. I feel my compact buzz in my bra (I don’t have pockets and the Jewls modified it to fit perfectly so you can’t tell, it is totally awesome) I ignore my vibrating boob and continue my I know what I am talking about act. “For short term we would ‘suggest’ using a little magic that some graduating teachers and teachers looking for a new job move to the region and teach in that school.” I pause and Mike continues.
“We thought that for a long term plan we would try to improve conditions at the school and the neighboring areas to encourage teachers coming in, we would also improve the education system itself by introducing better teaching methods and supplies. That way students that graduate are more likely to come back and teach.” Mike finishes for me, something I hate but I pretend not to mind.
“Very good, I’ll put your idea up on the board so no one else can use it. May I suggest you figure out what school or region you intend to work with, you could find that out tonight and I’ll give you the class period tomorrow to visit and talk to leaders there about your project, it would help if they gave you suggestions as well.” She smiles at us and I feel as if she is going to hand us a star or something.
Instead she walks, well actually she floats but she takes steps through the air, to Marissa and mysterious hot guy’s desk. Marissa and Mysterious hot guy jump apart when Madame Lisa walks or floats up to them. They were leaning in close and I am pretty sure his hand was on her knee I wanted to walk over a scream in her ear but I contained my girly giggles and looked up at the board instead. Our names appear on a black board Madame Lisa has never used. Next to our names it says Education Systems- Improvement.
“Looks like our plan is in black and white now” Mike jokes, I laugh even though it isn’t really funny.
Madame Lisa is back at the front of the class room again. She beams at us all and I swear I have never met someone so, sparkly so vibrant and lively. “Oh I am so impressed by all of your fantastic ideas”
She smiles at us and a few people clap, then stop awkwardly, Madame Lisa does not seem to notice though she just keeps smiling and opens her arms as if to hug us and our brilliant ideas.
“I am sure all the communities you have chosen to help will be so very grateful of your hard work. Now I have talked to each group and for the most part your homework is to research. Tomorrow come in to class prepared to go visit your community. If that means using a language spell I expect you to be ready, oh and one last thing please prepare two hughford leaves, one to take you there and one to bring you back.
“You can pick your leaves on the way out, so please have a great afternoon I will see you fourth period tomorrow.”
I stand up to go and beside me Mike stands up as well. I lean down to pick my coat up off the floor but mike is already holding it.
“Allow me” and although I can hear the teasing in his voice I know he is semi serious as well.
“Why thank you” I say slipping one arm then the other into the sleeves of my white coat.
“Of course mademoiselle” I don’t know but I think the teasing is only barely there. He holds out my bag and I swing it onto my shoulder.
“Thanks” I say again, “I’ll see you round” I tell him in English, it’s weird I have stopped really thinking about which language I speak in. Most of the time we speak French because we are in Paris so it is one of the few common languages. But with Mike I always speak English it is our thing you know.
“See ya” he says before disappearing. I look around for Marissa and I spot her saying goodbye to mysterious hot guy. She blushes bright red when he asks her something and she just nods. He takes her hand in a move out of some old romance and kisses it. He turns to go but I catch him looking over his shoulder.
“Marissa” I cry out running to my friend as soon as the guy has left, “who is that guy I have nic-named him mysterious hot guy, he is head over heels for you and you have sooo fallen for him” I say. I bounce on my toes while swinging her around in a circle.
I have P next which stands for potions and Marissa is in my class, no way is she's getting away without telling me what’s going on. I transport us both and when we touchdown I notice that Marissa’s cheeks are still pink from her conversation with Mr. mysterious and hot guy.
“his name is Marco, he is Italian” she practically swoons I don’t tell her that with a name like Marco it is pretty obvious where he is from, because I want to hear the rest, “he was my partner, he asked if I want to hang out with him sometime. And he is so sweet he is so kind and he has amazing ideas for our project.”
“I take it you would love to hang out with him” I laugh at my friend’s love struck speech.
“Yes!! But I told him I would talk to him at lunch, I didn’t want to seem desperate” she explains, “besides I think Jewls would kill me if I didn’t run it by her” says Marissa and I know she is right. With news this big Marissa can’t not run it by Jewls, our resident boy expert.
“Good choice I do believe Jewls would kill you if she didn’t hear about it first. And I am so excited how cool is this!!” I squeeze my friends arm, perhaps a little too hard, as we walk into potions.
“Today girls” says our teacher Professor Prent who in the true fashion of potions teachers always wears a black robe. Although she does pair it with pink accessories so it isn’t completely witchy, “and boys” she says hurriedly turning to the guys who are clustered in the back looking unsure of the little round tables and small stools. “Today we shall have an easy getting back to school class. We shall be making a cake.” Yeah potions really isn’t to different to cooking… except it has an edge, “your cakes shall be squeaky cakes” the girls start to laugh but the boys just stand there looking confused well the girls from Milan look slightly confused as well but the boys look downright worried.
“Squeaky cakes, for those who don’t know are cakes which when eaten will leave you with squeaky voices for roughly an hour.” Although not dangerous you could substitute the squeak for nearly anything, a floating spell, a sleeping spell or another potion.
“All right the Paris girls know where to find things and you will find the recipe on page 23 and a half under the name of voice cakes.”
There is a general noise of bags opening, books being summoned and one or two books just appearing. I notice Marissa is just sitting on her stool staring into space.
“Uhh Marissa darling, I know he is dreamy but we have to make some cakes” I tell her waving my hand in front of her unseeing eyes.
“right I knew that” she blushes, “uh what page is it” she fumbles to summon her book, unfortunately she forgot to open the window so the book crashes through it sending the glass into thousands of little pieces and the girls sitting at the table next to it diving for cover.
“Opsiee daises” Marissa says looking guiltily at the book which has just landed neatly on her desk.
“Marissa Jenks” says Professor Prent, “was that completely necessary” she asks exasperatedly. The window has already been mended, but one girl is crying and another has a cut on her chin.
“Ms. Violetta are you alright” says Professor Prent hurrying over to the girl with a cut on her chin.
“I think she got glass in her chin” says the girl next to her who has stopped sobbing but is still clearly shaken from the window episode.
“Ok will someone get Madame Westin the nurse” cries out Professor Prent kneeling down to examine the girl’s chin.
Marissa pulls out her compact and a second later Madame Westin appears.
“Well really back away from her” she says bustling over to where Professor Prent is still fussing over Violetta and a crowd of girls has gathered around her.
“Thank you Madame Westin, a window broke and I think she may have glass in her chin” Professor Prent stands up and backs away from the girl.
“well that was silly, now let’s see” she bends down and fingers the cut gently, “well she will be fine, but the cut is deep and even magic can’t fix cuts.” she tells us which is pretty silly thing to tell us, if magic could heal people no one would die, you can’t use magic to heal only to make medicines and bandages.
“I’ll take her down to the hospital wing” Madame Westin says to no one in particular.
“Don’t you worry girls she will be fine in a minute or two” she waves to us all then picks up Violetta who has yet to say anything, but her cries have subsided. Then poof they are gone.
“Well if you girls wouldn’t mind we should get to work. In future please don’t send books through windows unless you plan on opening the window.” The girls nod but no one laughs at Marissa. She is a favorite among the girls and nearly everyone has broken a window doing just that.
Marissa opens her book and I can tell she is worried about Violetta, that’s the type of thing a best friend knows.
“Hey no worries, everyone here has broken a window, and Madame Westin is really good Violetta will be fine.” I tell Marissa.
“Thanks, I just feel really bad. But you are right it will be fine.” She smiles, “oh do you remember the page number?”
“yup page twenty three and a half” I tell her, for some reason our books have random pages like page twenty three and a half that don’t really belong with all the normal pages. You will be going along page five, page six, page seven then suddenly page seven and a half.
She flips through her book and then we head over to the cabinets in search of a bowl, 3 tablespoons of earth, a piece of chocolate, two blue flowers, a long spoon, a tin of sea salt and some cheese.
We sit down together at our little table. The tables in this room are low to the ground so we use little tea stools instead of chairs.
I look down at my book then up at Marissa, “do you have your knife and grater? Mine are in my room and I don’t think that a floating knife is a good idea” Marissa laughs and hands me her knife while she grates her chocolate.
I take the flower and cut it into six pieces then put the pieces in the bowl. Next I add a table spoon of earth and some cheese.
The ingredients may seem weird but remember this isn’t cooking class it is potions class so things are slightly different. I glance down at the book and read out the first part of the spell while stirring the mixture clockwise.
Now while I mix please create the voice”
I stir once counter clockwise and the mixture suddenly melts together and becomes a blue liquid which rolls around like it is gooey but gives the appearance of blue water.
Marissa is already adding her grated chocolate so I steal her grater to grate my own chocolate. I grate it gingerly because I have a tendency to grate my fingers when I grate things.
I sprinkle in the chocolate flakes then I add a pinch of salt and the rest of the earth. I look around at Marissa whose bowl is shaking slightly and I can see smoke rising from it.
“Add these three
And give me something
Quite deadly” I read out. Deadly I think, sure I guess if you mean deadly silly, but I suppose silly doesn’t sound quite as good.
The contents of my bowl suddenly turn white then a puff of smoke steams up from my bowl and a chocolate cake lies in front of me.
Ohh ya I think I am so getting good at this magic stuff.
“Good job Kaitlin” says Professor Prent walking over, “lets test it shall we.” She cuts a piece of my cake and then sprinkles a little liquid on it, “if it turns blue you have done something wrong” she trails off as my cake turns bright, bright blue.
It doesn’t stop there though it swiftly turns red and Professor Prent nearly drops it, “what did you put in this cake” she asks sounding very worried.
“Nothing special” I say wondering what red could mean, “I followed the instructions I swear” she leans down to read my book.
“you are sure you said ‘quite silly’ right and you added two tablespoons of dirt total yes” she asks I look at the book and then blink as if my eyes are broken.
“But-, But Professor it said deadly and 3 tablespoons” I say
“Kaitlin I understand wanting to cover up a mistake but if that is what you did then you made a cake which if eaten will leave the consumer with a very nasty case of chicken pox” she tells me, “and you have made a big mistake” From the hall way I hear giggling and a flash of blond curls disappears around the corner when I look up.
Professor Prent zaps the cupcake and strides away. I know why my book looks strange, someone zapped it, someone changed the words and I think I know who.
The four of us all have a free right before lunch so we meet up in Marissa’s room to discuss Marco. Unfortunately I am too busy thinking about those blond curls and that laugh to think about Marissa and Marc who have been named the M&M’S.
“Kat” Jewls snaps her fingers in front of my eyes, “hello earth to planet Kat, we were trying to discuss what the deal is with you and Mike but you are totally zoning out on us”
I blink my eyes and try to register her words, what is up between Mike and I, I wonder, “Sorry I was thinking about… something” I shake my head as if shaking it will dislodge the image of those blonde curls, “and to tell the truth I have no clue what is going on between Mike and I, he dumped me” I tell them.
Jewls and Marissa sigh at my ability to completely cold shoulder their gossip fest, but Soff ever the all knowing eyes me, “spill” she commands and I know that telling her it’s nothing won’t work.
“I guess my sister being so close is getting on my nerves, and then, well potions didn’t go to well.” I say looking down at my hands.
Surprisingly it is Marissa who speaks up and not Soff, “hang on is this about the cake, you said you were sure that you had read it correctly.” She watches me and I know the involuntary blink of eyes and sharp breath intake confirm her point, “are you sure that the recipe in the book changed” Marissa asks me quietly when I nod Soff speaks up.
“Hang on someone changed a spell in your book so you did it wrong”, when we both nod she stares at us, “who would do that, you don’t argue with anyone here, everyone likes you…” she trails off when she sees me look up and shakes her head, “she wasn’t even in your class, she wouldn’t purposely change your spell and get you in trouble” Soff stares at me and I know that she is trying hard to convince me but it isn’t working.
“Come-on I’m sure it was just some freshman trying to show off… or something” Jewls says trailing off weakly, “she wouldn’t”
“She would” I answer just as the bell goes for the end of third period and the beginning of lunch.
I stand up, pull on my coat, and grab my bag, “I’m going to talk to her, she can’t just push me around I am so tired of this and you guys can’t change my mind” I tell them hotly. I turn on my heels and walk to the door.
“Kat, Kaitlin please look at me” says Soff she has run up behind me and is holding on to my arm, “don’t do this remember try to be friends don’t march into the dining hall and just accuse her you have no proof she changed that spell.”
I pull my arm out of her grasp and walk out the door, in my bedroom I disappear and reappear outside the door to the dining hall. I am about to enter when I see my sister making out with her boyfriend off to the side. I can’t help it how can she be so mean, and yet have a gorgeous boy friend, perfect friends and be all around downright perfect.
I just can’t stand it, “Get a room Liz honestly, normal people are about to eat” I scream at her throwing up my hands. She keeps kissing him for a second and then pulls away to swing around and face me. I see the anger in her eyes and I know that my eyes match hers perfectly our green eyes are both ablaze with fire and I know that this won’t end pretty but just then I couldn’t give a damn. Later on I’ll curse myself for being so stupid but as my sister glared into my eyes and stepped closer so we were only a couple feet apart I couldn’t help it. “Ya well normal people have actually had a first kiss by 15” she smirks at me and I know she thinks she has won. But she doesn’t know about Mike who unfortunately appears next to me just as she is saying this. “Liz I’d like you to meet Mike,” I say to Liz whose face flushes slightly. “Oh Kaitlin is this your boyfriend?” she asks all faux sweetness, “I’m Liz her sister” she smiles at us. “Hey nice to meet you, actually we broke up a couple months ago” says Mike smiling, “because we were going to different countries but you know” he leaves his words hanging in the air and I think Liz drew the conclusion that he meant we were going to be together again!! Yay well I think so I mean I’ve crushed on him for years, “I need to go talk to Jake about my schedule I’ll see you in there” he nods his head at the door and flashes me his half smile before heading into the dining room. “You were saying” I ask smiling at my older sister. “you sl*t” she says angrily, “you two aren’t even together and yet your still spending your time together and acting as if you are together, you know what that is called?” she doesn’t give me a second to answer, “a best friend with bonuses” she drags out the last word. I can’t believe my own sister just called me a sl*t. She is the one making out with her boyfriend in the hall. “I’m a sl*t?” I demand incredulously, “so either I’m a weirdo who has never kissed a guy or I am a sl*t who has friends, wow Liz. Get a life would you” a scream at her. “You get a life Kaitlin, you were always jealous of me and now you’re just mad ‘cause I’m better than you and I’m taking some of your spotlight” She yells back at me. I take a step towards her and notice that we are standing eye to eye, our green eyes are blazing with anger. Around us students have stepped away from us and are watching the sisters fight. “Ya right you have to bewitch my text book so that you can make fun of me. Sure you steal the spot light and make me look stupid but you had to bewitch my potions book all I have to do is point out you and your boyfriend making out and everyone laughs at you” I yell at her in fury, but I know somewhere in my heart that she is right I am jealous of her but I am not about to admit it. “What are you talking about I don’t even know where the Potions room is” she screams at me I can feel eyes on us and I know that there are at least twenty students grouped around us. Normally I would die before making a public scene like this but right now I just don’t care. “Liar I know you bewitched my book you just don’t want to look bad.” I yell at her taking another step towards her. “Liar” she creams back closing the distance between us with another step so that she is now standing right in front of me. She raises her hand and smacks my cheek, I gasp aloud, and I can feel my cheek stinging with pain. Though it is my pride that hurts more than my cheek. Lowering my hand from my still stinging cheek I swallow back tears, replacing tears of shame with tears of anger. I raise my own hand and slap her “Liar” I yell back at her just as the dining room door sweeps open and Madame Lisa marches out. “Girls stop it now” she yells at us, “follow me both of you” she turns without another word, around us the crowds are quickly entering the dining room so as not to get in trouble but Liz and I are left with no choice but to follow. She walks off after our teacher and I follow as well, my heart sinking, they will send me back. They will send us both back and I’ll have to deal with Liz for the rest of the year. I imagine the look on my parents face when they hear, they will be angry, sad, devastated. I have to work hard not to cry but before I have a chance to completely regain my composure Madam Lisa stops at a door. She reaches out and pushes open the door barley hesitating, we are in a room I have never been in before, any other day I would have been surprised to find a part of the building I didn’t know but I am to worried and in too much shock to really take it in. “Stay” Madame Lisa says pointing to two chairs she barely looks at us as if it pains her to acknowledge our existence. We wait in the small room Liz sits in one of the straight back chairs but I cannot even think straight. I pace the room my heart beating and my breaths coming fast. The tears from earlier have dried on my cheeks but I know that there will be more of them before the night is through. As I pace and Liz sits thoughts run through my head. I know that thinking it all through, torturing myself with these thoughts won’t help anyone but I can’t help it. I pace back and forth the clock on the wall ticks and I step in time to it, step, step, step, step, turn, step, step, step, step, turn. I pace back and forth across the old wood floor. The room feels like it is pushing in on me and I want to burst through one of the two doors. I keep pacing and I am about to turn in front of the door which Madame Lisa went through. She only left a few minutes ago but it feels like hours. I have one foot forward ready to pivot when the door swings open. Madame Kestley stands in the doorway her hand resting on the door knob. I look into her eyes which sparkle bright blue. Her gaze is stern but not angry, and her ever color changing robes are dark blue practically grey. Lisa is still sitting in her chair eyes fixed on her hands which lie in her lap. She is crossing and uncrossing her ankles and I can tell she is nervous. I stand still feeling dwarfed by Madame Kestley even though she is only an inch or two taller than me. “Girls please follow me” she says in a dangerously calm voice. She sounds like our mother right before she tells us we are grounded, but worse. It is like the calm before the inevitable storm. She spins on her heel and walks back through the door I follow without a word and I can feel Liz right behind me. The tension in the room is practically visible as we sit in over stuffed arm chairs in Madame Kestley’s office. She settles herself in a brown armchair across from us, “tea? Hot coco?” she asks as she pours herself a cup of piping hot tea. “Yes please, hot coco would be lovely” I hear the voice speaking but it takes me a second to realize that it was I, and not Liz who spoke. “Me too” says Liz faintly, she seems to be trying to figure out why Madame Kestley is being so nice. Madame Kestley passes me a mug of hot coco served with a tower of sweet whipped cream and mini marshmallows. Besides me Liz accepts her own mug full of comfort and it occurs to me that Madame Kestley may be trying to get us to relax a little. My thoughts are soon forgotten because Madame Kestley gives her mug of tea a stir and then begins to talk. It isn’t the tirade about how we are going to be expelled, she is going to write to our parents it isn’t the speech I expected. “Girls” she starts fixing us each with her intense gaze, “Madame Lisa has told me what she saw in the entrance to the dining hall, I understand that you two will probably feel that she is not aware of the full story but I do not wish to hear your stories” she holds up her hand before either of us can protest, “From what I gather there was not a specific reason for your” she seems to be choosing her words carefully and her blue eyes gaze intently at the two of us, she stirs her tea again before continuing, “There was no specific reason for your… dispute. Am I right?” I don’t meet her eyes, not wanting to confirm or deny her statement I study my hands, besides me my sister is for once at a loss of words. At first it was my potions book which set me off, but if not that something else would have casued our fight so I stay quiet. But for Madame Kestley our silence confirms her thoughts. “In that case I believe that your dispute was caused by sisterly revelries. Due to this cause I will not be assigning detentions.” She pauses waiting for us to look up. When we do she smiles gently, “rivalries between sisters can be the hardest of all rivalries.” Her smile leaves though and her eyes become hard and I know that the stern head mistress has returned, “I may be letting you off, but your first warning is your last. I will not put up with these disputes. The next time your disputes get in the way of school, or disrupt this school shall be the last time, if I find that you cannot leave your disputes at home, or settle them than I will be forced to expel you.” I hear my sister take a sharp breath and I know that perfect Elisabeth has never, ever been expelled or even put in detention so the threat of expulsion is scary for her. I on the other hand am thinking about Madame Kestley’s words. Can I find it in myself to leave our disputes at home, could I possibly bring myself to forgive her, and can I settle our disputes? Can we become sisters again? I am startled out of my thoughts by Madame Kestley putting down her mug and standing up. Besides me my sister has handed back her half full mug and is standing as well. I quickly drain the rest of my mug (because let us face facts there is no reason to waste perfectly good hot chocolate) hand it back and stand up. Madame Kestley opens the door in the universal signal for ‘get out’ and my sister and I both leave not wanting to give Madame Kestley a chance to change her mind on detention or expulsion. In the little room we push open the second door and find ourselves in the hallway again. I hesitate and besides me my sister does as well. “Liz…” I say and then trail off, there are a million ways to end that sentence. Liz I’m sorry. Liz do you really think I’m a s**t. Liz I am glad you’re here. Liz… why did you desert me? But I left that sentence unfinished maybe because the only one I didn’t know the answer to, the response to was the one I didn’t want to know the answer to. Maybe I was scared. “Kaitlin I’m sorry” before I can hope she is sorry for what she did two years ago back in Washington she continues, “I’m sorry I called you a s*ut it was wrong. You aren’t a sl*t.” I look up at her, sure she may just be saying that I’m not a sl*t which isn’t much but she is saying she is sorry and I’m willing to take any sisterly communication I can. “Thanks” I tell her, “and sorry about telling you to get a life, you have one. With friends and a boyfriend” I say smiling slightly. We stand awkwardly for a second our hands almost touching but not quite. Our words almost leading us to forgiveness. There is a moment just then when all I had to say was ‘I’m sorry Liz’ and everything would have been fine, but the silence dragged on, the moment passed and I muttered some excuse about having to get to French class and get my books. I turned to go wiping my eyes and trying to convince myself that I, Kaitlin Reisse was not crying, but I was crying, again. I swear my eyes are seriously having their fair share of crying this year. As I reach the end of the hall way my sister calls out. “Kaitlin, you know that Mike kid is pretty cute” I turn to look at my sister but she just waves and turns the corner. So maybe we are friends again I think as I walk down the corridor towards the stair way that leads to my room. Things may not be perfect between us but at least they are a little better. I stop mid stride and flash the image of my sister in my mind again. Then I realize something, Liz hadn’t curled her hair this morning, her blonde hair was pin strait. She didn’t change that spell. I pull my book out of my bag and flip to the spell. I read it through twice before realizing that it says deadly not silly, that the spell I was supposed to be performing was on page 23 and a half, that the spell I had performed was on page 23. Professor Prent must have looked at Marissa’s book and she had the right page. I bite my lip, but maybe our tiny friendship makes up for it. A bell rings and I decide to forget it. I take the stairs at a jog and it isn’t until I arrive in my room panting that I realize I haven’t even had lunch yet. Oh well no time for that I have three minutes to get to French.
In French class I can barley concentrate. Monsieur Fretwit’s lesson is on the many different ways to use a language curse. It would have been an interesting class because I would really like to learn to speak Greek but just now my mind is focusing on very different things. For example the way the whole class went silent when I walked in. The way Mike said “but you know” and what had he meant by that? But most importantly I am trying to figure out what is going on between my sister and I. As I sit in this room surrounded by people who know me, who know the witch me. I realize that I am living in two worlds that are clashing. I am living my school life of friends, magic, a possible not quite boy friend, and a reputation for being friendly and getting along with people. But then there is the world that Liz brought with her when she joined my school and my school life. The world in which I am the lesser sister. The girl who everyone always feels sorry for, who is a wall flower and goes practically unnoticed by the rest of her school, who isn’t noticed by guys like Mike, who don’t go on weekend ski trips, who is bad at magic, and who doesn’t have friends and doesn’t live in Paris. Now my two worlds are colliding and I don’t know how to get them to work together. How am I supposed reconcile two completely different worlds to each other?
I slam my books closed with unnecessary force as Professor Fretwit reminds us to look up Moliere, a French play write of the seventeenth century. I slide all my things into my bag and stand up pushing in my chair I am about to swing my bag over my shoulder when Mike walks up.
“Hey” he says picking up my bag, “What do you have next Kaitlin?”
I remember my two world theory, and how Liz is part of the other world and so is Mike, but maybe I can bring Mike into my world, my school world.
“Call me Kat” I tell him smiling as he shoulders my bag, “and I have a free, you?”
“Potions, it’s my first potions class, but I can walk to your room with you if you want” he offers as we walk through the door.
“Thanks, mine’s on the second floor, and don’t worry about potions it isn’t too bad” I smile up at him as we climb the stairs side by side.
“What type of potions do we learn, I’m hoping for something interesting, a love potion could be useful at the moment” he says lightly
“Oh?” I say airily “I don’t think you need love potions Mike”.
“I’m glad you think so because then maybe I don’t need one”, he stops outside my door and hands me my bag. I accept my bag but don’t go inside, something freezes me in place, something stronger then magic and curses. Mike leans in and kisses me gently on the lips. We have kissed before of course, while we were dating, but this time my heart races a little faster, maybe because this is Mike after all, maybe because it isn’t official which makes it all the more exciting maybe because of the fact that we are in a school for witches and wizards and no one else is here so it feels edgy, well almost.
“See ya Kat” he smiles, but his smile isn’t his usual cocky grin it is an intense smile that leaves my already racing heart racing faster.
“See ya” I say as he turns to go and I push open my door. Jewls has a free as well right now and we had planned on having a room decorating session while we wait for Soff and Marissa to finish their last period drama class and meet us for a trip to café Paul with Lucy. Café Paul has become a favorite or ours especially now that the weather is getting colder and we can stop for pastries, hot chocolate and coffee.
I step in the room to find Jewls sitting on my bed with a stubborn look on her face and her arms crossed. “Spill” she orders, “and don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about, I heard you two, I heard him drop you off and a silence then he said bye” when I fail to answer immediately she glares at me, “where you or where you not standing outside this room less than two minutes ago kissing a certain boy named Mike who is your ex boyfriend and also very hot?”, she demands her eyes narrowed into a face which is frankly frightening.
“Uhh” I stammer, “n-no we were…” I trail off and Jewls raises her eyes.
“Of course not” I brace myself for her accusations and questions but instead she startles me by turning to the room, “so what do you think blue, or pink this semester?”
“uhhh I have no idea you are definitely better at choosing” I say quickly, relieved that she seems to understand that I am too much of an emotional mess to deal with the inquisitions of a best friend and guy expert, namely Jewls.
“Hmm I agree” she laughs, her switch between room decorator and interrogator is effortless, “in that case I think pink, it would bring out the girly side you are significantly lacking in”
“Hey, not fair, I know how to be girly” I say crossing my arms in fake anger.
“Of course you do, and you know your skills with mascara are really unmatched” she says wiping at a smudge on my eyelid.
We spend the next hour decorating our rooms. We don’t talk about Mike, we don’t talk about my sister or our fight in the middle of the entrance way to the dining hall, we don’t discuss all the many things that are going wrong in my life. Instead we go into a detailed discussion over the pros and cons of a two person couch (pro: you can fit them easily in my room and they are really adorable, plus when it is just you, you feel silly sitting on a four person couch. But the con: movie nights with four girls on a two person couch could get uncomfortable). We spend a full ten minutes throwing popcorn at each other which we freshly popped in the popcorn popper that Jewls popped up in hot pink (in line with the pink theme which is supposedly going to bring out my girly side). We lounge on my couches (two two person ones because then you can fit four girls but not feel stupid when there are only two of you) and discuss what we will get at Café Paul, and how we should really go skiing again whenever the next trip is.
That hour was heaven. Not once did I have to think about my two lives, I did not have to think about the kiss or the argument. I could relax and be me, or well part of me. I am still having problems figuring out who me is.
That afternoon we don jackets, scarves, gloves, and hats, we wrap ourselves up and bundle out the door in search of Lucy and the café Paul. When we reach the café the five of us crowd around a table sipping hot chocolate and eating French pastries, filled with cream, and chocolate and topped with icing and powdered sugar.
“I do believe I am in love” Lucy announces giggling, “With Café Paul” we break out into gales of laughter. The hot chocolate and friendship warming our insides the cozy café warming our bodies. It is 5:30 before we finally drag ourselves from our seats and bid ‘au revoir’ to the lady putting loaves of long baguette into a basket to sell to Parisians on their way home from work. She smiles and calls out ‘au revoir’ in return.
We push through the door and make our way through the streets pulling on gloves and hats, our breath comes out in puffs of smoke and in that moment I feel truly happy.
I stare out the window as the snow falls in the dim December light. Nearly two weeks has passed since our trip to Café Paul, and my argument with my sister. Mike and I are unofficially dating, meaning we hang out a lot we flirt, we kiss and the other girls know. But we have yet to actually go on a date. My sister and I, although we don’t exactly avoid each other and we aren’t fighting, we don’t go out of our way to talk, and we don’t exactly have lots of sisterly bonding. My two lives are still separate but they are closer and Mike at least has joined my school life. So for the most part I’m happy.
As I stare out my window, the snow falls softly, quietly and the whole school seems to be under some enchantment of quiet. Next door Marissa and Soff are studying for their science midterm, Jewls is out with Lucy shopping for a dress for Lucy’s school dance. And Marissa has plans to make a dress with Jewls later for our dance. Marco the Italian has asked her and she is so excited. School is going well and I’m happy but as I sit watching the snow fall and listening to the bell sounding to tell the students they have ten minutes till dinner, something nags at the back of my mind.
I know what it is that is bothering me. It is my sister, and Mike but, mostly my sister. It bothers me how we never quite meet each other’s eyes. It bothers me that things aren’t quite right. Just then Marissa and Soff come through the door stretching after a solid three hour study period.
“It’s snowing”, Marissa cries out, “I love the snow, ugh I hate studying though, who is up for a snowball fight after super” she says plopping down beside me on the couch.
“Sure” says Soff stretching, “it’s Friday and the ski trip doesn’t leave until the afternoon tomorrow so I’m up for midnight snow fighting” she agrees.
“Sounds great” I agree quickly banishing my thoughts of my sister from my mind.
“I’m in” says Jewls appearing beside me.
“Jewls” I through my arms around her, “how was the shopping”.
“amazing” says Jewls changing into school uniform of a white blouse and navy skirt, “we should really shop in Paris more often you know, making clothes is fun but shopping in Paris is amazing, I mean Paris is like the capital of fashion” She says enthusiastically.
“Oh fun can we go next weekend?” says Marissa tucking her feet up under herself.
“Sure thing sweetie but don’t get to comfy, dinner starts in five minutes” says Soff pulling us up.
“Let’s walk gilrlies” I say and we link arms to make our way down to the dining hall. It is Friday night and the halls are filled with girls and boys discussing plans for the weekend and making their way to dinner.
My happiness is short lived though, my sister joins us for the ski trip and so does her boyfriend and Mike. On the way out they sit together on the bus (naturally it was an invisible flying bus that would take us into the Swiss Alps) I’m sitting three rows behind with my friends and I nearly through up after the mass make out sessions they keep having. “Come-on Kat, relax it is her boyfriend, and it isn’t as if you and Mike haven’t been seen kissing before.” Says Soff gently. “I know, I know” I hold up my hands to stop their protests, “it is stupid and all, I just hate having to watch them sticking their tongues in each other’s mouths” I shudder and turn to face my friends instead of watching my sister and her boyfriend. We spend the rest of the drive, which all though sped up by magic and flying is still a good hour and a bit, playing word games. We are playing the country game, one person says a country the next has to name one that starts with the same letter the other one ended on. “Antarctica” says Marissa. “Alabama” says Jewls. “Australia” says Soff. It is my turn but we have been on the letter A for nearly eight turns so it takes me awhile to think of, “Albania” “Ugh I hate you, I can’t think of one, I’m out” says Marissa. “All right everyone please get your stuff together we are landing in five minutes, please remember we are staying at Wengenalp, a hotel just outside of Wengen, the hostess is a witch but the rest of the guests aren’t which means no magic unless you are in your rooms, and turn everything back to its original state before leaving your rooms.” Calls out Madame Lisa our teacher for this trip. Since my sister’s and my fight she has forgiven us and she is now one of my favorite teachers, her practical magic class is definitely one of the most interesting. Although art class taught by Mrs. Jeans, the eccentric art teacher is pretty fun as well. The bus lands with a smooth bump in a small village in the Swiss Alps called Wengen, we all grab our backpacks, skis, and snowboards, and it is a rustle of activity as everyone fights to find their gloves and get off the bus. Finally everyone is standing at the station in the little village which belongs on a postcard. We hold our bags and ski things shivering in the cold as we wait for Madame Lisa to buy our passes, which will work for the trains and ski lifts. Of course we could just make some but that would have some seriously bad effects on the ski economy so we buy them like normal people. We also don’t want to let any of the people waiting at the station realize that the group of twenty students standing at the station are anything but normal. Hence the ski bags, we could have just made them appear but it is safer to bring them with us. Madame Lisa approaches as I huddle in a group with Soff, Marissa, and Jewls. “Here you go everyone” she says holding out cards with a picture of a mountain on them and Wengen written in curly letters across the top, “slip these into pockets on your jackets, preferably on your right hand sleeve” she tells us in French, because tourists might get a little suspicious if they hears us speaking Italian, French and Greek. We all grab cards and slide them in to pockets on our jackets, Jewls, Soff, Marissa and I are wearing white jackets, white ski trousers, white helmets and our snow boards are all white, as are our boots. The only difference between us is the color of the flower on the corner of our jacket, the flower on our boards, and our goggles. I’m pink, Jewls is blue, Marissa is purple, and Soff is red. As we wait on the platform for the little train that will take us up to our hotel it starts to snow gently, I tip back my head and stick out my tongue to catch snowflakes on my tongue like I used to do when I was little. The sound of a horn and the sight of a tiny train chugging into the station is all it takes to send the image of my sister from my mind. We grab our bags and skis, let passengers out and then pile onto the train. Inside the two person benches are just too cute. “They look like they should be on a postcard” says Marissa sinking into one of the wood benches lined with red cushions. The benches are arranged facing each other, so that four people can sit together, two on each bench. As I sink in to a seat across from Marissa and Jewls with Soff besides me, the beautiful snowy Alps framed against the stunning royal blue sky, I can’t help agreeing. “I can’t wait to hit the slopes in the morning, shame we are only here for 3 days of skiing but we have to be back for Wednesday when school starts up again” says Jewls watching the scenery as it passes our frosty window. The view outside is stunning. The snow covered peaks, Wenegn nestled in the mountain below us and ahead a little hotel comes into view on the edge of the mountain that the train is winding it’s way up. “All right girls and boys, grab your things and let’s go, because we have the whole top flour, which is the third floor, I suggest you dump your skis in the boot room along with your boots then break into groups of two for room assignments and wait for me up stairs, I’ll check us in and bring up the keys.” Says Madame Lisa as the train stops. We climb outside laden down with our bags and skis. We are greeted by a small slope of tightly packed snow leading up to an adorable hotel. It is pretty small but has two buildings situated around a courtyard. The only problem is that we have to get up to it. The path that leads between two tall snow banks on either side helps but it is still difficult to walk through the snow which is now falling heavily. “Let’s get two rooms beside each other” suggests Marissa as we hike up to the hotel. “Definitely, how should we split?” Soff puffs as she lugs her snowboard up the hill. “How about Jewls and Kat, then Soff and I” says Marissa “Yay I get Kat, you guys must be so jealous” says Jewls as we reach the top and pause to catch our breath. Around us the other boys and girls puff to a stop as well. “Nah they are dying of jealousy ‘cause they don’t have you” I say smiling at Jewls through my scarf that is wrapped tightly around my neck to keep me warm. “OK everyone boot room is in there, drop of your stuff and meet me in that building third floor” says Madame Lisa pointing to the smaller building then the bigger. There is a buzz of noise as twenty kid wits, or witches and wizards, ages 14 to 18 grab their bags and push through the door into a boot room filled with ski racks and cubbies. I dig through my duffle to fish out my white boots with pink straps, I love these boots mostly because they are snowboarding boots and snowboarding boots are way more comfortable than ski boots. I stuff them in an empty cubby then add my helmet and goggles, besides me Marissa is doing the same. My sister is giggling as her boyfriend carries both their skis to a rack, then walks over to smooch her. Ugh I roll my eyes and turn to unzip my snowboard bag and put my board on a rack. At least I won’t have to deal with her tomorrow, I’ll snowboard with Marissa, Soff, and Jewls. Once our things are all stowed I zip my clothes bag closed and I’m about to swing it over my shoulder when Mike reaches down to pick it up. “Hey” he smiles at me and I smile back studying his green eyes. “Hey” I reply we turn to the door and head back into the snow to the other building. As we walk in silence I think about how the last few weeks Mike and I haven’t gone on a date but just being with him is fun. He is so sweet and gentle, I really do like him. When we broke up at the end of the school year it was because we were parting but now that we are together what stops us from being together? We reach the stairs, which are carpeted and wide, side by side we climb the stairs to the third floor, we are surrounded by kids from our school but just then I feel alone. “Hey Mike, when we get back we have another two weeks before school is over, we should go out one weekend” I say amazed by my audacity, did I just ask a guy out? “Like a date?” he asks I just nod, “I’d love to, how about this Friday?” “Perfect” I tell him taking my bag back I hide a smile of excitement and, turn to listen to Madame Lisa who is handing out room keys. “Here you go” says Jewls handing me a key to room number 35, “the others are in room 36, come on let’s go dump our bags, apparently this place is pretty fancy for meals and we have half an hour before dinner, it starts at eight, so let’s go get ready. Oh and Madame Lisa said that the ten sophomores could sit together and she will put the 5 juniors together and then the 5 seniors at another table for dinner.” Jewls says talking quickly while dragging me to our room. I wave to Mike who is getting his own key and then follow Jewls through the door. Our room has an amazing view of the mountains and I can see skiers riding the chair lifts for a last run before they close down. Off to the right I can see a train winding its way slowly up the mountain, its light just visible through the heavily falling snow. I think I may be in love with Switzerland. “Ok so the other girls are wearing dresses, not to fancy but you have to wear tights and shoes or boots because it’s pretty cold” says Jewls. “Let’s just make clothes for tonight, I only brought the basics and my ski clothes.” I say plopping down on one of the twin beds next to Jewls. “Ok but I get to design, stand up” she orders I sigh in mock annoyance but truth be told Jewls is amazing with clothes so I know she will design way nicer things than I could even think of. I stand up slowly and sigh again dramatically but Jewls just rolls her eyes. She pops me into a simple black dress with a scoped neck, short slightly puffed sleeves, and a medium skirt. Then she adds light black tights and blue flats, she gives me a thick head band then spends ten minutes brushing my hair to fall perfectly around the head band. “There you look very pretty” she says, “now all you need is a wide shall” she poofs up a beautiful green shall that is delicate and warm, “there it will make your eyes pop, hmm let’s see. Yes I think a deep green color for the shoes and green eye shadow will make the whole look complete” she hurries me into the bathroom and passes me green eye shadow, a tube of black mascara, and a clear lip-gloss, with instructions to ‘be careful’. When I appear in the bathroom door Jewls spins in her stunning red gown, it falls to her knees and has a light skirt with a tight waist and a v-neck. “What do you think” she asks as she adds a long black coat and a pair of small black heels. “Gorgeous darling” I tell her. “I know right, and you didn’t do to horribly with your make-up you know” she says linking her arm through mine we step into the hall way where other girls and some boys are already standing. The boys are wearing dinner jackets with ties and tucked in shirts, which are a lot more flattering then the school uniform. I can’t help noticing that Mike looks extremely hot with his hair messed up in all the right places. “Someone looks hot” says Soff coming up and hugging me, she is dressed in a blue skirt, with a white v-neck shirt and a long black cardigan, she also has on these incredible black boots, they have a small heel and reach to her knees. “Really who” I say looking around for someone who is looking especially good, well other than Mike of course. “Oh silly I mean you” says Soff laughing. Marissa walks up before I can get too embarrassed. “Ooh you look nice girls” she says. “You too” I say hugging her, being careful not to rumple her light purple dress. “Oh guess what” she demands and before anyone can answer she rushes on, “after dinner a bunch of people, well everyone, are going to go bob sledding, the hotel has sleds you can borrow and there is a run that goes down to Wengen, we can take the train up but we have to hurry because the last one is at 10:30, normally they close at 8 but today they run until 10:30, only we must make sure we reach it in time.” “Sounds fun we should definitely go” I say Everyone agrees and so we set off down the stairs to dinner. After dinner we all rush up to our rooms to change into ski clothes and to wrap ourselves in gloves, hats, scarves, and anything warm we can find. Then all twenty of us set off down the stairs, Madame Lisa isn’t coming but she said we would find sledges outside. Sure enough twenty sledges, or toboggans as they are called here are waiting outside. They are wood with tracks that run underneath and a string you can hold onto. We grab sleds and set off down the hill at alarming speed. The ride is incredible, the toboggans go really fast but when it gets flat you have to pull them. We race down the hill, flying over bumps and digging our heels in to turn when we get to the alarmingly common hair pin bends. We arrive at the station panting, cold, and happy. “Sh*t” says Marissa. “What” I ask her tugging my toboggan onto the platform. “It’s 10:35, we missed the train” Sh*t indeed I think. Around us others seem to realize the problem. “Let’s just appear at the hotel” suggests a junior from the Milan school. “We can’t” says a tall senior with long blond hair, “Remember the magic issue everyone would wonder how we just appeared” “We could call Madame Lisa and ask her for permission” suggests another senior. Talking breaks out and after a few minutes of confusion (which was very much improved by the sight of Mike walking over with two mugs of hot chocolate) we decide to call Madame Lisa. She tells us that we can use magic to take us to the hotel, but we should appear at the bottom of the hill so no one from the hotel will notice, we should also appear in twos so as to attract less attention, and we should make sure the train doesn’t arrive while we do. A senior girl tells us to pair up and then she will tell us when to go. Mike takes my hand, “partner” he asks. “Of course” I smile. The senior girl comes up to us. “You two ready?” she asks, we nod, “ok then you guys can go first”. “One” “Two” I reply “Three” he says We disappear and arrive seconds later holding our toboggans and each other’s hands at the bottom of the hill leading up to the hotel. But we don’t head up the hill we just stand under the falling snow facing each other. He leans in and then we are kissing. After what feels like an hour but is really only a few second I pull back. “Come on” he says gently, taking my hand again and leading me up the hill to the hotel.
The next day we wake up early and hit the slopes as the chair lifts open. We snowboard all day only pausing for hot chocolate and lunch.
In the evening we get dressed up again and head down for super. Tonight Madame Lisa has told us that because we are having Racklette, a special Swiss dish of melted cheese and potato, we will be eating all together in a different room. I walk down the stairs with my friends and into the room where about 14 students have already gathered.
“All right everyone come have a seat” says Madame Lisa sitting down next to a high school French teacher I had forgotten is with us.
We sit down at the long table and I look around, after a moment I notice that Liz isn’t here. Her boyfriend is sitting looking annoyed but Liz isn’t here.
I ask Madame Lisa and she says not to worry Liz said she was tired and went to bed early.
After that I forget about her and go back to enjoying my dinner.
After dinner I’m walking to my room when I hear the crying. It’s coming from room 317 which means that it is someone from our school. Except everyone is still downstairs eating, I just came up because I’m so tired and decided to go up early. Then I remember my sister. I bite my lip hesitating outside the door. Will she want me to come see her? Do I actually want to go in and see her?
It is probably her I think reaching out to knock on the door, and if she needs me then I’m here.
“Go away” comes a teary voice I recognize immediately as Liz’s.
“No, Liz it’s me Kaitlin, let me in. What is wrong” I say quietly.
I hear some shuffling and then the door opens a crack.
“What do you want” she asks not letting me in. But I can see her eyes are red and puffy and her cheeks are wet from tears.
“Liz let me in I want to know what’s wrong.” When she doesn’t open the door I push it open and close it swiftly behind me.
Once she realizes I’m in she bursts into tears and collapses onto her bed again. I stand there for a moment wondering what to do. If this had happened three years ago, when we were still close I would have sat down immediately and tried to understand what was wrong. But now I’m not sure.
Then I remember what Lucy told me in café Paul at the beginning of this year. Get rid of the immediate emotions and what are you left with?
I sit down, because what I am left with is worry about my sister and love for her.
“Lizy,” I say quietly moving her head into my lap I stroke her damp hair, “Lizy what’s wrong” she doesn’t answer but her tears seem to slow.
After thirty minutes she falls asleep tired out by her crying. I don’t know what was wrong but she didn’t want to tell me and that’s ok I guess. I gently slide her head onto her pillow and cover her with a blanket.
“Sleep well Liz” I whisper tip toeing to the door.
The next day is Monday and we only have today and tomorrow left so the others are keen to hit the slopes. I want to snow board as well but I am still worried about my sister and itching to ask her about it. Instead I just smile at her and say ‘see ya at lunch’ somehow I doubt she wants to be reminded of last night.
The rest of the ski trip goes really well, Liz seems a little tired maybe, and sometimes she looks sad but her eyes have been normal and not puffy or red and I haven’t seen her crying. The bus ride back is strangely quiet because no one is looking forward to going back to school and leaving Switzerland.
The next few days are so busy that I nearly forget (but not completely, I could never forget completely) about my date with Mike.
“Hmm I think she should take the black bag” says Marissa from the bean bag. Its 4:30 and I have exactly half an hour before Mike is coming to pick me up. We are going to see the new Harry Potter movie, (number 7 part 1) at the movie theater around the corner.
“But the green goes with her eyes” argues Soff, I just stay quiet, because a) I have no fashion sense, and b) I’m a little busy freaking out over the fact that I am going on a date with the hottest guy in the world.
“Black” says Jewls, popping my white bag black, “that way it doesn’t detract from the shirt” she explains.
“Ok fine but her eyes at least should be green” says Soff.
“You can handle make up Sofie you know I am no good with it” says Jewls to Soff who eagerly jumps up and rushes to my side.
“Ok sit still and close your eyes” says Soff pushing me into a chair that appears as I sit, she sinks onto a stool and I close my eyes obediently.
“Ok we shall start with a base” says Soff.
“What about hair” asks Marissa.
“I’m not sure, are you any good at hair? I think it should be cute but casual” says Jewls.
“Hmm, how about a messy bun, but not actually messy just made to look messy” suggests Marissa and if I wasn’t too busy having my eyes lined, shadowed, and mascar-ed I would have protested. I mean aren’t messy and not actually messy sort of um, opposites?
I feel someone brushing my brown hair which now hangs to my mid back and I know that arguing really isn’t worth my time. When Jewls has deemed my outfit good, Soff has finished my makeup and Marissa has finished teasing my hair out of the perfect bun she made I am finally ready to go.
Someone knocks on the door and I jump up excitement pulsing through my body. Because hello!! This is Mike. I push my friends out of my room but leave the door a jar so that they can still hear. Then smoothing my already smooth shirt I walk to the door and try to make my face into to something that resembles a casual look.
I pull open the door and am instantly engulfed in a hug, tears that aren’t mine stream onto my shoulder. For a moment I freeze while my sister sobs onto my shoulder then I pull her into my room.
I wrap my arms around my sister wondering what’s wrong with her.
“Oh K-Kaitlin I am s-so sorry” she gasps out. I hold her in my arms and lead her to my bed.
“Liz, shhh calm down. What is wrong?” I ask her gently stroking her hair. But she doesn’t answer sobs send her body into violent shivers and her tears have soaked my shirt. I glance at the clock. It is nearly 5 and Mike will be here any minute now, but as I hold my sister in my arms I wonder how I could leave her. She needs me now, and yet how can I stand Mike up? I stroke her hair and her cries quiet.
From Marissa’s room I can hear the others talking, they have switched on the TV so I guess they haven’t realized the knock wasn’t Mike, I don’t know why but I put a sound proof barrier between them and us. I don’t want them to interfere right now.
“Oh K-K-Kaitlin I-I-I-I’m so sor-ry, I” but her words are drowned out by her tears. I stroke her hair and she goes back to crying quietly.
There is a knock on my door, I bet it is Mike. I bite my lip, what can I do? I haven’t managed to come up with an idea but he knocks again, so I slide my sister’s head onto a pillow and stand up. This time when I open the door I don’t smile sweetly, instead I am busy trying to figure out what to do.
“Hey Kat, you look amazing” says Mike. He looks pretty amazing as well in dark jeans and a white button shirt. He hands me a box of chocolates, “It was a tossup between chocolate and flowers but I thought chocolates might be better.”
“Thanks, I love chocolate” I tell him grinning stupidly. For a moment I almost decide to leave my sister lying on my bed. I could get the girls to look after her, she would be fine. But then I think of how she left me when I needed her, and how I could never forgive myself if I left her. That decides me.
“Mike” I say slowly.
“Are you ok, you look upset by something” he says his eyes searching mine, he reaches out and touches my cheek, “why are you crying Kaitlin” he asks quietly.
“I, I didn’t even realize I was” I smile and wipe my eyes, “Mi- Mike I am so sorry but I am going to have to cancel” I say not meeting his eyes, “my sister just showed up and she is crying, I don’t know why but it is the second time this week she has been really upset. I can’t leave her I am so- so sorry. But I have to make sure she is ok” I don’t dare to look up expecting him to be angry, hurt, disappointed.
“Hey Kat, you should definitely stay” I look up surprised and I see worry in his eyes, not anger, “She is your sister and if she needs you, well we can go out tomorrow. Do you want me to stay with you now”
I smile, “no, but thank you so much, I would love to go out tomorrow. I think it is best if it just us right now” then I do something that amazes even me, I stand on tip toes and kiss him.
When I pull back he hugs me then smiles, “Well I’ll bring flowers tomorrow, that way you get both”
I laugh, “Thanks Mike”
He turns to go, but he will be back tomorrow and that’s ok with me. I need to be with my sister tonight and he will be there tomorrow.
I turn to face my bed. Liz is sitting watching me, “did you just turn down a date to stay with me?” she whispers. I nod and walk over.
“You’re my sister Liz, and he can wait. If he couldn’t then he wouldn’t be worth it.” I shrug and sit down next to her.
To my surprise she bursts into tears again, “Oh Kat, it’s over we are going to break up. And I wish I could be as smart as you and know he isn’t good for me but I just can’t” I stare at her bewildered.
“Uhh Liz what’s going on” I ask her.
“It’s him, he wanted to - and I didn’t - and so we - and then I and well” she blubbers snot pouring from her nose and tears seeping from her eyes.
“Liz you have to calm down, I can’t understand you” I beg her stroking her long blonde curls. I stare at her in alarm. Her tears scare me and I don’t understand her either.
“It’s Steve” she finally moans, then buries her head in my lap, soaking my jeans as well as my shirt with her tears.
“Steve?” I ask.
“M-M-My boyfriend” she explains bursting into a fret set of tears.
“Ok ok calm down Lizy, how about this when you feel like it you can explain but for now just cry” I say worried. What has happened between her and Steve, did they break up? Or is it worse?
I shrug away my worries and then hug my sister closer.
The door creeks open and Soff steps in.
“Hey” she whispers, “are you two ok?”
“Ya, she needs me though but Mike said we can go out tomorrow” I whisper back.
“Don’t worry about that, I was just checking to make sure your ok” she smiles gently and strokes my hair, “we are so proud of you. You two will be sisters again I am sure.” She smiles again and tip toes back to the door.
“Thanks Soff” I whisper, tears dripping from my own eyes.
The door clicks shut behind her and I turn to stroke my sister’s damp blonde hair.
“Kat” she whispers, “I love you” my sister whispers, her tears having finally dried up, her voice is still hoarse though.
Tears stream down my cheeks, I know my makeup must be a complete mess but I don’t care.
“I love you too” I whisper back, my voice catching on ‘love’.
Liz sits up slowly and we slide back to lean against my head board.
“Lizy what’s wrong?” I ask her leaning on her shoulder.
“Oh Kat, it’s my fault I should have realized at first but well we fought the other night remember when you held me the other night in Switzerland” she asks.
“Yes” I say wanting her to continue.
“Well we fought again before I came here” she takes a moment to control herself then continues, “and well we broke up. It’s the end. I should be happy he was all wrong and I broke up with him but well I thought I loved him”
I expect more tears but Liz just takes a deep breath and then looks down.
“Liz why did you fight” I ask her, I really don’t want to pry but I do believe I will die of curiosity if I don’t find out.
“H-he wanted, oh innocent Kat I don’t know if you will understand” she says, I lean into her and feel her hand gently stroking my hair.
“I’ve grown up Liz, I’ve grown since you left” I tell her.
“I know, ok well then I’ll tell you and take it as a warning yourself. Steve has wanted to have sex with me for ages, but I-I-I I thought I was ready, but I’m not. He kept urging me and then we fought a few times and then tonight he got mad, really mad” Suddenly I realize where this is going.
“Liz he didn’t, he didn’t…”
“No little sis he didn’t but I’ve lost my boyfriend. But I-I can’t help being upset”
“Oh Liz its ok don’t worry I’m, well um I uh” I cough awkwardly before continue, “Oh Liz, I’m just glad that you can confide in me and I want to be your little sis” I say, my last words come out in a whisper. I don’t know if she heard my chocked words, but I feel her arms tighten around me.
“Kaitlin you will always be my little sister, I love you so much.”
“Then why…” I can’t continue. In my mind it is easy to say the words. Then why did you tell me you were glad to go to Milan? Why did you push me away when I needed you most? Why did you push me away when I tried to explain Jen’s betrayal and then later on when I broke up with Mike?. Jen had been my best friend but then at the end of 6th grade, the summer Liz left for Milan Jen betrayed me. She went out with Mike, it was only for two weeks but she knew how I felt about him even then and yet she dated him, and then she dropped me. She acted as if she didn’t know me. AS if we hadn’t been best friends for over three years. And the worst part was that Liz had left by then as well.
At the time I had been mad at her, and maybe I still am a little bit.
But as I sit with my head against my sister’s shoulder and her arms around me I realize something.
“It wasn’t your fault” I whisper, more to myself than to the girl holding me. I can’t believe it has taken me three and a half years to realize that sure my sister could have supported me more but it isn’t her fault that she left or that Jen dumped me or that I broke up with Mike. None of it is her fault.
“It wasn’t your fault” I whisper again, but then I realize that it wasn’t me who whispered it was my sister who whispered the second time.
“What” I ask turning to my sister.
“I just realized that the reason we don’t talk” Suddenly she grabs my hand, “It was all my fault” I start to protest and tell her that it wasn’t her fault but she just keeps talking, “All along I thought it was your fault. You were never excited over my scholarship. You always had to point out my flaws. You were always so you that I would fault you for making me look bad. But I just realized that I should not have blamed you for being so you. For being so honest, it was my fault all along I was jealous.”
I stare at my sister, she had been jealous of me? How was that possible?
“Liz, stop your wrong, it was my fault for blaming you. I always blamed you because you didn’t stay home with me. You had your perfect…” I stop myself from mentioning her boyfriend, “life. And now I know that it was my jealousy that made me want to succeed in spite of you.” I sigh relieved to have finally got that burden off of my back. It has been weighing me down for so long.
“So we haven’t spoken in nearly three years, because we were jealous.” Asks Liz, then she seems to realize something, “you were jealous of me how? You were the perfect one”
“Oh no you were the pretty one, the smart one the sweet one-“
“I think you are smart, and pretty and sweet” Liz cuts in quietly.
I wipe tears from my eyes, tears of happiness.
“I love you” I tell her simply leaning in to hug my sister to me.
“I love you more” she tells me. A ghost of a smile plays at her lips.
“I love you most” I say finishing the game my sister and I have played since we were little. It was always those same words and yet somehow those three sentences seem to be so much more important to me now.
“Oh dear I have a feeling that a major pity fest shall follow” says my sister crying softly.
“Well between your breakup, my reaction to your breakup, the discovery of a sister and your discovery of a sister we have a lot on our hands” I say half-laughing half-crying.
I am ashamed to admit that we ended up watching the Parent Trap, My Sisters Keeper, and A Walk to Remember. The ultimate cry movies, and boy did we cry, even in the parent trap which isn’t even sad. Liz decided to crash in my room because it was nearly 2 am when we finally collapsed on my bed.
We crawl under the covers of my bed and lie side by side. I can hear my sisters breathing and my own, in the faint light from the window I can see her chest rising and falling, but best of all I can feel her hand in mine, I can feel her blonde hair mixing with my brown hair on the pillow beneath my head. I can feel my sister with me.
“Liz” I whisper quietly.
“Ya?” she asks her voice soft and sweet.
“Are you glad your school came to Paris?” I ask quietly.
She lies still for a moment and I wonder if she didn’t hear, but then she says, “At first I was happy, because I wanted to show you how good at magic I was and I wanted to show off my boyfriend and friends. I was eager to prove to my perfect sis how good I was. But then we started to fight and we had a sort of fake friendship. That is when I started to wish I hadn’t come, I was worried we would break any fragile peace that had happened when I held you out side of your friend’s house and curled your hair”
“It was you who held me in the rain” I ask her amazed, “you took me home and put me to bed?”
She nods silently.
“I never knew, I thought maybe it was mom or Lucy” I pause thinking everything through how could I have not realized, “I am so sorry Liz I didn’t know.” I lie there for a moment thinking then I realize that she left something out, “Liz, you said how you felt at the beginning and middle, but how do you feel now” I ask her turning on my side to face her.
She turns on her side as well and her pretty green eyes crinkle into a smile, “I am the happiest girl in the world. It must have been fate you know. How else could my school have some here. I am so glad that I have a little sister again. It was tough, sure it was hard, the break up the fights, it was all hard but I am glad all the same”
I smile at her, “I feel the same, and I think that the tough parts made the ending that much sweeter. Mom always said that the ups of life are only up because of the downs”
“She did. Do you remember how we had to get her to draw at least 3 pictures of hills before we could understand it. I couldn’t understand how it is impossible to have the ups without the downs.”
I laugh aloud remembering a time when we were little and carefree.
We lie back on our backs again and a smile crawls over my mouth, it tugs at the corner of my lips persuading me to smile a sweet little smile.
The next morning it is nearly 11:30 before Liz and I are up.
“Morning Lizy” I say stretching my arms and yawning.
“Morning sleepy head” she pokes my stomach and I bend over laughing.
“No poking, it is too early” I tell her standing up slowly.
I stand in the middle of my room for a moment watching my sister brushing her hair in front of my mirror.
“I am also too tired to decide what to wear” I tell her. Our school has a no uniforms on the weekend policy but because I don’t have a full wardrobe here I normally jest let Jewls make something for me.
“I’m wearing sweats” says Liz poofing up a pair of blue sweats with WIT written on the side. Wit is our term for witch or wizard.
“Nice, but I am slightly surprised, I mean you aren’t really the sweat pants type are you?” I say zapping up a pair of pink sweats with WIT written on the side.
“And you don’t normally wear pink” she points out gesturing to my sweats, “people change” she winks at me, then pulls on a t-shirt.
I finish getting ready and we are about to head downstairs when a nock sounds at my door.
“Come in” I yell.
To my surprise the person who opens the door is Mike. He is holding a tray of waffles and a jug of orange juice.
“Hey girls, I thought you may be sleeping in this morning, and since the dining hall is pretty boring with no one in it I brought you breakfast in bed.” He smiles sheepishly as if he doesn’t realize he just did the sweetest thing ever.
“Hey Mike, thanks” Liz says smiling brightly. She flashes me a sly smile and I wonder what it is she has up her sleeve, “But I really have to go. I haven’t even told my friends I was sleeping over with Kaitlin today. I would not want them to worry and so I’m going to go meet up with them.” Now I know the reason for her sly smile.
I highly doubt she ‘really has to go’ but I do not doubt that she wants to leave Mike and I alone.
I flash her an evil look to tell her I don’t appreciate her prying into my life, although having breakfast with Mike doesn’t look to bad. I lighten my evil look a little bit, but not much.
“Alright. I’ll see ya ‘round then Elizabeth” says Mike putting the tray of juice and waffles down.
“Call me Liz, Elizabeth sounds so formal. I’ll see you two later” she grins, hugs Mike then turns to me.
She pulls me into a tight hug, “Thanks Kat, and have fun” her words are whispered but the last ones come out in a singsong-whispered voice.
She pulls away before I can grab her and tell her just what I think of her teasing. Although truth be told I kind of like that she cares enough to set us up.
“Bye Bye Lizy, I’ll see you later” I tell her as she walks out the door.
“Is she ok then” asks Mike and he sends genuinely concerned.
“Ya she will be at least, we just needed some time together” I tell him, “and thanks for the breakfast it looks amazing” I tell him.
“No problem Kat, I just wanted to tell you that I really wish we hadn’t broken up, and I am really, really glad I ended up at school with you.” He says, his cheeks turn pink as he rushes to get his words out.
I take his hand in mine and look up at him so that our eyes meet, “I am so, so glad that I can do this.” I say mischievously.
“You can do what?—“ he asks confused for a moment. Only a moment because I lean in and kiss him gently on the lips.
“That” I say.
“Oh that” he says slightly dazed.
I pull him to my couch where a table appears as we sit. I am getting so good, the tray even floats over to us and settles on the table.
“You know Kat, I get the feeling your magicality skills may be better than mine” he tells me sinking into the couch.
“Magicality? I don’t think that is a word, and trust me it is all thanks to Jewls, Soff and Marissa” I say sitting down next to him. I pick out a chocolate chip waffle and cover it with fluffy white whipped cream, just like I did over three weeks ago back in DC.
Mike opens his mouth to say something but just then my door flings open and the three girls I was just talking about appear in the doorway wearing swim suits and sunglasses, I also notice that they seem to be bringing some heat with them.
“Did someone mention my name?” asks Marissa throwing her arms open.
“Oh hi guys, I thought your sister was here.” Says Soff.
“Nope she just had to go” I roll my eyes slightly to let my friends know that she didn’t actually have to go.
“oh well you know we really have to go as well” says Jewls pushing Soff towards the door, “do we not girls?” her voice takes on a slight edge.
“Uh oh ya sorry I forgot, we want to get some sun tanning in so we are hitting the beach in Australia.” Says Soff quickly.
“Ya and we are meeting some friends, uh, uh some other girls there” says Marissa finally catching on, all though the sharp elbow from Jewls probably helped.
“Of course you do” I say rolling my eyes. My sister and now my friends seem intent on leaving Mike and I alone.
“Have fun” says Jewls pushing Soff and Marissa back through the door.
“Thanks you too girls, bring us back some lemonade.” Says Mike
“Lemonade? Couldn’t you just make some?” asks Jewls.
“Ya I could but lemonade from the beach is always the best” he explains.
“Alrighty we shall bring lemonade for two back from the beach” says Soff as Jewls forces her through the door and closes it.
“Is it just me or did they seem very keen to leave?” Mike asks me smiling.
“No I think they were pretty keen to leave.” I tell him.
“So are we on for tonight? No more sister dramas I hope” he raises one eyebrow teasingly.
“We are, I think Liz will be fine, if she isn’t I will just have to send her to Soff. So what are we doing then?” I ask him in what I hope is a sweet and yet indifferent voice. I smile and hope that I look pretty. Luckily I remembered to put on perfume this morning but unfortunately the chocolate chip waffle hasn’t done much for my breath. Stop it Kaitlin Reisse I order myself, you cannot start obsessing over everything. I stamp all girly thoughts of how I look out of my mind and concentrate on Mike.
“Well the seventh harry potter, part one is on tonight as well I could book tickets.” He suggests, but I can tell there is something else he is thinking of.
“Or…” I prompt him smiling to let him know it is ok to suggest something else.
“Well I heard that the Eiffel tower is beautiful at night and I have only ever seen it during the day, plus I have never been up it before” he smiles at me with what I have come to call his sheepish smile, “just an idea.”
I consider, I could go up the Eiffel tower and look out over a beautifully lit up Paris, the city of love, with the guy I am in love with. Or I could go watch Harry Potter with him, sure I like the movies but the Eiffel tower sounds so romantic. “You know” I say coyly, “I think I could survive a trip up the Eiffel tower with this guy I know. He is Hot, and kind, he brought me breakfast in bed and didn’t mind when I had to cancel our plans because my sister was upset. He is smart and he helped me fix an entire school system in a small village in South Africa.”
“you know this guy sounds pretty nice, maybe you should go out with him, maybe you should go up the Eiffel Tower with him” Mike says his smile is genuine and he looks as happy as I feel.
“Oh I agree, I wonder if this guy, who is so very amazing realizes that I think I have fallen for him”
“You know I think he has fallen right back for you” Mike says leaning into kiss me. And just then I forget about my bad breath, about wanting to be cute but indifferent, I forget everything except Mike.
I’m sitting in front of my sister on her bed, and she is braiding my boring brown hair. And no I am not dreaming, after Mike left to do some homework my friends were still missing so I went out in search of Lizy. Luckily she wasn’t too hard to find (did you know my compact can locate people, soo cool). I found her in her room curling her hair.
“Why hello there Kaitlin” she says.
“Kat remember not kaitlin, Kaitlin and Liz fight, Kat and Liz are friends” I tell her sitting down on her bed.
“Right, Kat got it. Can I call you Kaitlin when I am mad, it would be so cool” she puts on a deepish voice which makes no sense because her voice gets really high when she is angry, “Kaitlin Reisse, you are a big fat flying green pig” she thunders, I can’t help cracking up, “hey I was being angry you can’t laugh”
“I am so sorry, but you sound so silly” I laugh.
“Oh well you are forgiven. Ooh can I braid your hair” she begs, “puh-lease, it’s grown past your shoulders, and it is so thick and pretty. I have been practicing French braids”
“Umm sure, but I get to take it out if I don’t like it, I can’t look stupid for my date tonight” I tell her blushing slightly.
“Ohh my little sis is going on a date, well in that case you must let me braid your hair that way I can question you without letting you run away.” She explains grabbing two blue hair bands, a hair brush, and a comb.
“ Sounds dangerous” I tell her but I let her start brushing my thick hair anyways.
Which is why I am still sitting on her bed half an hour later. It is 1:30 and my head hurts.
“Stay still I am nearly finished” Liz instructs as her hands fly through my hair, she has already braided and re-braided three times but she swears that this is the last time.
“I want to see” I beg as I used to when I was little and Liz would braid my hair into messy braids.
“Be patient” she tells me just as she used to while she was braiding my hair into messy braids.
“Fine fine” I relent, unfortunately in my relenting I manage to yank my braid and am forced to cry out in pain.
“Oh for goodness sake, ok I’m done tada” she ties my braid and adds a little bow at the end of each pig tail brad.
“Mirror please” I say and she hands me one. I walk over to the wall mirror and use the one in my hand to see the back of my head.
“Wow your good” I tell her smiling at the image of myself. I look younger than I am but the braids are actually pretty cute, “thanks Liz they are pretty”
“Anytime darling, soo want to tell me all about this Mike guy” she asks.
“Well you would have known if you hadn’t left me in DC, he was my boyfriend for a few months at the end of freshman year but we broke up at the end of the year because he was changing schools and going abroad.” I tell her not meeting her eyes.
“Listen Kat you can’t understand how sorry I am that I wasn’t there, both physically and emotionally for you. I really wish I had been a better sister.” She says, I can hear the ache in her voice and I realize that it was stupid to think that one evening could fix everything between us.
“Liz you hurt me when you left, you hurt me when you were not there for me, but it isn’t an un-healable wound. It may take me some time, both of us some time, to become the sisters we once were, before we started to fight, but if you’re willing then I am willing to take the time to become sisters again” I tell her slowly.
“I’d go to the end of the world and back if it meant I can have you back” she tells me.
“With or without magic” I tease.
“Without of course” she says defensively, then realizes I am teasing and says, “how far would you go?”
“Eh maybe to my room and back” I say in mock casualty.
“Meany” she tugs my braid gently, “lunch?”
“Ya I’m starving” we jump up and head down to lunch.
Things may not be completely fixed between us but we are definitely getting there. Now there is only one thing I have to do.
After lunch I tell Liz I have to go meet up with someone and I call Lucy.
“Hey… I was about to ask you if you could… ok sure five minutes… thanks Lucy…see you there” I hang up and run to my room to pick up a coat and mittens, a scarf and hat.
I take the stairs three at a time on my way out and then run out the door.
The familiar walk to Café Paul only takes five minutes of winding through snowy streets. It is 2:30 and I don’t have to be anywhere until 6 when I am meeting up with Mike, so I have time.
I push open the door and the lady behind the counter smiles sweetly.
“Bonjour mademoiselle” she says.
“Bonjour Madame” I reply.
“Kat” Calls out Lucy from a table by the window.
“Lucy” I smile and walk over to sit down, “Thanks for meeting me, I am sorry that we haven’t seen each other since before Switzerland.”
“Don’t worry, it isn’t your fault I should have made time and been more helpful” says Lucy ever smiling.
Lucy is truly amazing, she is apologizing when it is me who hasn’t been making time for my friends.
“Lucy don’t it was my fault, but don’t worry I’m just glad you could come.”
“SO what is it that you wanted to say” she asks after studying my face for a moment, ”you have something on your mind Kat”
“I do. First of all, I really wanted to see you because everything in my life seems to be working out so well, and it is thanks to you that I am this happy. Also I missed you and your bubbleyness. But most importantly I wanted to ask you something” I hesitate.
“What is it?” Lucy asks gently.
“I wanted to ask you, or more like tell you that you have been an amazing friend to me. On the first day I met you I thought you were crazy. Now I know that you are just crazy nice.”
“I highly doubt you came here just to tell me that I have mental issues” says Lucy, she is smiling but I know she is taking this seriously as well.
“No I wanted to tell you that I am proud of you for being so strong for your father and brother. I am proud of your strength despite your lost loss.” Lucy looks down and I have a feeling that she is crying, “and Lucy I think that your mother would be so proud of you if she could see you now. I know she loves you and she is as proud of you as I am” The words stream out. Words I didn’t know were in me when I called her earlier. But words that are truer than anything I have said today.
“You have no idea how much you mean to me” Lucy chokes out after a minute, She pauses to wipe her eyes and when she looks up her blue eyes shine extra bright, “and I am proud of you, you confronted the boy you love and asked him out officially, you had the strength to find a new place and make new friends, but most importantly you learned to be friends with your sister.”
We spend the rest of the afternoon in café Paul sipping hot chocolate and talking.
At 5:30 I stand up to go and Lucy goes her way.
While I walk through the snowy streets I think about everything that has happened to me.
I remember everyone telling me to be truthful. Maybe they were right, maybe by being truthful to myself, about how I really feel towards my sister I have managed to make things work out. Maybe by being truthful I have managed to combine my two worlds.
I no longer have a home world and a school world. Now I have one world, sure in some places it may be a little bit weak. My life isn’t perfect but it’s pretty darn close.
I look up and see my school towering ahead. I think back to my flight here, the flight attendant offering me a choice of sweet or savory, I took both.
I guess I was offered a choice, home life or school life, I took both. And it was definitely the best choice. In front of me lies four friends who mean the world to me, a sister who loves me and whom I love back, and a boyfriend who brings me breakfast in bed. I remember thinking I would succeed despite my sister, but maybe I can succeed with her instead of despite her.
I stick out my tongue and catch a snow flake before heading in side to start my new life, the life where I have sweet and savory.