Chapter One: Just the Way I Am

I love my mother's store. Walking into it, my eyes fell on the table in the middle of the shop, where a tarot deck sat. Around were other occult objects for gypsies and witches alike. A mystical air hung in the room. Gypsy magick filled the entire shop.

I went into the back room to find my oldest sister, Liza, with a client. Currently giving a palm reading, I could see her aura, pulsing around her and the client. I was the middle child of nine. Liza and Sidi, who was telekinetic, were twins and nineteen years old. Antoinette was a year younger than them and had visions of the future and past. Stefan was our resident pyrokinetic and he was seventeen. Rajko, my closest brother and a telepath, and Nadja, an empath, were sixteen, they were my triplets. Yolanda and Elena were the youngest at fifteen, Yolanda read tea leaves, and Elena had her astral projection.

Quietly, I went into another room to change. I pulled off my clothes from school and changed into the clothes of my trade. At sixteen, I had already learned to use my abilities in the ways of my ancestors. People came to Ana Nicolae to get their fortunes read. Whether they truly believed in my powers, or just were tourists looking for a thrill, they came to me or one of my siblings.

Dressed in a flowing black skirt, red corset top with a black cloak, I left the hood of it down. I pulled my long, thick, and wavy, dark brown hair was pulled back under a red kerchief. I really looked the part. My hair, dark almond shaped eyes, and olive skin portrayed my Romany ancestry.

I put a pair of dangling moons in my ears. A little bit of black eyeliner, red eye shadow, and blood red lipstick finished the ensemble. I truly looked the part of a gypsy, and people expected someone of the trade to look a certain way.

I was proud of my heritage as Romany, a Nicolae gypsy, and being a part of the first generation in almost two centuries to have a boy, let alone two. Seven girls and two boys, we were a very large family. We were the children of the first of seven sisters. The gypsy magick was strong with us.

I went out and sat at my table, waiting for customers to come. I looked at my client book, seeing that there was no appointment for anyone until just before closing. I took my tarot cards out and set them in the middle of the table. I could give readings to anyone who walked in, at least until my client showed up.

At about five, I looked up when the bell above the shop door rang, signaling the entrance of someone.

"Ana," The girl said, coming up to me. "Already at work are you?"

"Yes," I answered. I looked up to see my two favorite people in the world, Nadia and Rajko. "You expect me to be somewhere else?"

Rajko looked at me. His Romany eyes matching Nadia's and mine perfectly. We were the three that the Romany was most prevalent in us. The others had more French looks to them. The Romany came from my mother's people, where we also got our powers. My father was a Frenchman through and through. We lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. I could speak French when I wanted to. It was often how my siblings and I communicated when we didn't want anyone else understanding us. Every once in a while, someone actually could understand us but it was rare.

"J'ai faim," Rajko said. "Let's go get something to eat."

"Like what?" I asked.

"Anywhere," Nadja said. "Where do you guys want to go?"

"Le Petit Café, over in on Bourbon," I suggested. It was my favorite place to get beignets.

"Oui," Rajko said. He always preferred to speak in French if he could. "To Bourbon Street! Allons-y! Allons-y!"

Needless to say, my brother could eat at all times of the day or night. We left my mother's shop, after I put away my tarot cards. I remembered I had to be back by seven, but seeing as it was only five. Two hours was more than enough time to eat some beignets and possibly some coffee or something. Plus I'd get to spend time with my brother and sister, which wasn't something I got to do often anymore. I pulled the hood of my cloak up. Despite the fact that I would look weird in any other city, in New Orleans, it was almost common to see someone dressed like me.

When we got to the café, we easily got a seat. We all had some beignets, trying our best not to get covered in the soft white powder. I took a sip of my coke.

"Mmm, le coca," I said. It was probably my favorite of all soft drinks.

My siblings looked at me, smiling. "I knew you would enjoy this," Rajko said. "Beignets always cause someone who is lacking in fun to be happy again."

"Oh great, now I am no more fun," I said, teasing him back.

"Non, chere," Rajko said. " Just a work-a-holic. You need to learn to enjoy the things in life that only last for this time."

"Hey," I said. "I can't help that I devote myself to my work. It's just the way I am."

"You can answer your heritage without it becoming your total life, ma chere," Nadja said.

"I have no reason to not devote myself to my work," I said. "Rajko, you are always with Lydia, and Nadja, you're always with Jon. My two best friends are busy with their significant others, I don't have anything left to do but work."

"Then we need to get you a boyfriend, Ana," Rajko said. " A girl your age should have a boyfriend. But he needs to be someone the two of us approve of. We're your triplets. You can't date someone we don't approve of."