“I am so sorry,” I blurted out, bursting into more tears.

“It’s not your fault; I should have explained more of what you were looking for. I just never assumed you had that kind of power,” he shook his head, and stood up unsteadily. “I will leave you for tonight, please remember everything you have learned today and use it tomorrow. Well everything except…. this,” he walked slowly, shakily to the door and closed it behind him. I had nothing left and could no longer control my emotions; I laid my head down into my pillow and let out everything I never knew I felt.


Chapter Twenty

I arrived at school the next morning to another full parking lot. Magic under control, Aunt Syl had given me my freedom back. Thank God. I couldn’t say that I blamed her; waiting for me to figure out I was superhuman had its disadvantages. But no more blowing things up on accident, now I could do it on purpose.

I parked my car in the last remaining spot and paused a moment to take a deep breath and check myself. My mind was protected and my magic flowing through me naturally; well at least what I had been told was natural. It seemed as if I’d known this secret my whole life, but in actuality it had only been about twenty four hours; I guess I wasn’t really an expert.

I made it to class on time, excited to see Lilly and have someone my age to talk to about this crazy new life. Instant disappointment met me however when I opened the door and realized she wasn’t there. Although Principal Saint or Amory or whoever told me she wouldn’t be, I still had held out hope. The hardest part about learning your true identity is coming to terms with the very real legal system you never knew existed.

I found it ironic how easy it was for me to believe the whole super-human, magic skills thing; but how hard it was to take the Monarchy, governing council, rules and regulations part seriously. Maybe because I’d never personally experienced a ruling class in action it seemed more fiction than reality. I wondered if I had some interaction with the Monarchy if it would feel real or not.

And then I remembered that I had. I walked into class and quickly made it to my seat before the bell rang. Kiran sat to my left in all of his pomp and circumstance. I understood now why the girls fawned over him; it was the idea of a crown…. and maybe his amazing good looks. But I wasn’t falling for it. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

“Well, well, well…. look who it is,” he whispered snidely as I sifted through my book bag looking for my copy of Romeo and Juliet. A fleeting memory of Principal Saint telling me to leave Kiran alone crossed my mind before I just as quickly dismissed it.

“Hello, your Highness,” I responded sarcastically. He may have been the Crown Prince, but he was still a jackass.

“Finally, you’ve caught up with the rest of us. Congratulations,” he clapped his hands quietly in mock applause. I gave him a sharp look and found the constant smirk he wore already in place.

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“Well, we can’t all have parents who are um, alive,” I sighed, still trying sarcasm, but regretting the words as quickly as I had spoken them.

“I guess not,” his tone softened and I thought for a second I made him feel bad. “It’s a pity though; I had so much fun watching you struggle,” Cue the smirk. “Thanks for the other night,” he whispered even softer and I heard real emotion in his voice, I turned to say something to him but found that I was speechless looking into his eyes.

The door to the classroom opened and then slammed. In walked Mr. Lambert and another teenager whom I had never seen before. The sight of Mr. Lambert usually made me feel uneasy and nervous, always like I was about to be yelled at; but today when he walked in, an overwhelming feeling of serenity passed over me. Not only that, but I felt more focused than usual; my senses became heightened and the magic became more alive in my blood. The feeling reminded me of the other night in the woods, sending a shiver down my back.

“Excuse me,” Mr. Lambert cleared his throat in an attempt to draw the attention of the class forward. He tried again a little louder. “Class, please give me your attention; this is Avalon St. Andrews. He is a transfer student from Brazil, please welcome him to Kingsley.”

Mr. Lambert directed him to Lilly’s seat and my heart dropped into my stomach. As the new student sat down, I realized the very real possibility that she might never be coming back. I watched Talbott for a moment and though his expression was frozen in place I imagined I could see the sadness in his eyes.

I turned my attention back over to Avalon St. Andrews, thankful that I was no longer the newest kid in school. By the looks of things however, he was going to have a lot easier time fitting in than I did. He was almost too big to be a high school student; although he was wearing the same white collared shirt and navy blue tie every other boy was wearing, the muscles in his arms were clearly defined through the light cotton. His dark curly hair was long, maybe to his shoulders, but he had it tied in a messy pony tail, giving him the appearance of a biker or something. His nose was pronounced and vaguely familiar, although I couldn’t place it. And his eyes were clear green and penetrating.

His most interesting feature was almost invisible, but my eyes drifted there immediately. Under his hairline, covering the entirety of the back of his neck and clearly marked was a very intricate and elaborate tattoo. What looked like angel wings were spread wide covering all of the skin between the base of his shirt collar and hairline. Complex, but beautiful feathers fanned out into wings I imagined belonging to the angel of death. A symbol sat in the middle of the two adjoining wings, but the way his hair was positioned made it impossible to identify. I glanced down at the rest of his body, expecting leather pants or spurs or something and noticed that underneath his white cotton button down were more lines of the green tattoo ink. Although I couldn’t make out what they were in the shape of, they clearly covered his torso and forearms. He reminded me of someone and I continued to stare at him, wondering who it could be.

“Ms. Matthews…. Ms. Matthews,” Mr. Lambert called loudly from the front of the room. I looked up to see that while I was staring at the new kid, the entire class had turned to stare at me. My face blushed red and I cleared my throat instinctively.

“Ms. Matthews, now that I have your attention, please read the part of Juliet,” I silently came to the conclusion I would never cease to disappoint Mr. Lambert.

The lunch room seemed a much more daunting place without Lilly. I grabbed a tray of food and headed to the back of the cafeteria. I was a little bit earlier than everyone else today since I did not stay after class to crowd around Kiran with the other girls and make sure he was Ok after his near death experience on the camping trip. I also refused to throw myself at…. I mean introduce myself to the new kid.

I sat down to an empty table and relished the few moments of silence I had. Now that I was not threatened with the possibility of losing all control, I had been able to observe my surroundings today. All throughout the day I noticed students and teachers using magic.

In small ways and in big ways they used it for everything they did. Students used magic to pick up a pencil off of the floor, and teachers used it to close a door that was left open. Mrs. Woodsen used magic to close the windows in her classroom and then again to open them when I was pretty sure she had a hot flash. Kiran used magic constantly; to write, to open books, to get a drink. At first I thought everyone was just lazy, but after a while I began to realize that the magic was so much a part of them that there was no other way they were able to function. It truly was the essence of their very existence, and I supposed mine too.

A small portion of me was jealous. I had to remind myself that the magic was at my disposal too and then I had to remind myself that I needed to use it. When I didn’t use the magic that was when I began to have problems. And although I knew I was just like everybody else, they apparently hadn’t gotten the memo because I was still a social pariah. Not that I really minded; I couldn’t really imagine that a girl like Seraphina Van Curen and me would ever be friends.

Speak of the devil, Seraphina entered the cafeteria on Kiran’s arm and suddenly the granola bar I’d just taken a bite of was threatening to resurface. I saw that now too, not just the magic but the respect and reverence Kiran demanded. His very presence elicited sycophantic behavior from everyone, both student and teacher. I also noticed how protective Talbott was, but in a more natural, body guard way; he never left Kiran’s side. I saw him always on the defensive, and after last Saturday night I could hardly blame him. Kiran looked my way and I quickly bit into my granola bar again, staring down at the table. I rechecked my mental force-field and found all intact. I breathed an audible sigh of relief, but it appeared premature. A uniformed boy plopped down across from me. I refused to look up from my lunch.

“Go away. Your minions are waiting for you,” I said through bites of an apple.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Was this seat taken?” a polite and surprised deep voice sans cocky English accent asked. I looked up quickly, horrified.

“Oh, no! I am so sorry!” my face turned a shade of crimson red. “I thought you were somebody else,” my hand flew to cover my mouth after I spit apple all over the table and all over Avalon St. Andrews.

“It’s alright. No worries,” he laughed, while wiping a bit of apple off his cheek. How terrible.

He gave me a genuine smile that I returned immediately. The same peaceful feeling from earlier filled my entire body and my senses were once again sharpened. I could hear every conversation, every fork touch the plate, and every small chewing sound in the cafeteria. I did my best to drown it out; it was actually kind of gross.

“You don’t have an accent,” I said bluntly.

“Were you expecting one?” his skin was tan, tanner than most of the students here. His sleeves were rolled up and I could see a deep shade of olive glistened beneath the green lines from his tattoos; it had to be from living in Brazil.

“Oh, I just thought, since you transferred. I’m sorry, I just expected an accent,” I blushed again, not really sure why I felt embarrassed.

“I’m American, just like you,” he smiled as if he had made a joke, but if he had I didn’t get it. “My parents were working in Brazil until last week. We only lived down there for the last two years.”

“That’s nice. Accents can be so irritating anyways,” he looked up at me confused, but I didn’t dare explain.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” he asked.

“Oh, no, not at all. As long as you don’t mind the outcast table,” I gave him a sardonic grin.

“I don’t mind; I’m pretty sure I prefer it,” he glanced over his should at Kiran and all of his fans; he shook his head and took a big bite of his turkey sandwich. I was pretty sure Avalon St. Andrews and I were going to get along just fine.

“Me too,” I rolled my eyes in the general direction of the Monarchy.

“I’m Avalon by the way. And you’re Eden?” when I nodded my head, he continued, “So I heard a rumor that you like saved his life this weekend?” he jerked his head in Kiran’s direction.

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