I change my mind. I said I felt loved in the last chapter--I lied.
NOW I feel loved. :) Ah, life is good.
Thankyouthankyou to Babiidoll, TK Anez, Scarlettino, ThexSkyxGray, Dakota s., Updown2insideout, WerewolfLover, and L. Valdez for giving all that awesome feedback. Gotta love feedback.
I peered over the ordinary kitchen pot that rested on a hotplate (because I sure as hell don't use big, black cauldrons, if that's what you were expecting,) and squinted to read the ridiculously small print in my potions book. I mean ridiculously small. "Uh," I mumbled. "All a dollar…something…sit flies…Lenore?" What was this, Edgar Allen Poe?
Barbara rolled her eye and flicked her hair over her shoulder. She sighed heavily, like it was a huge burden to be sitting in the chair next to me.
"No, moron. Stupid Lijik." She said scathingly and leaned over to read her own book. I clamped my mouth shut before I could blurt out insults. Who the hell was she to call me a Lijik? "Add a quarter ounce of sage and stir twice clockwise before distributing the chopped newt tail evenly into the potion." She emphasized all the words I'd misread and sat back with a 'hmph' and a smug smile.
"Very good, Mrs. Meyers. Even teaching Johnson how to read." Mr. Polsh appraised as he passed by our desk.
"Hey—I—what the hell?!" I gave his hulking back the most offended look I could muster, hanging jaw included. "Thanks so much, Mr. P."
"Anytime, Johnson." He smiled and waved a hand in acknowledgement.
"That guy sucks." I murmured to myself.
Barbara smirked. "I see all the time around the blonde freak has made you mental. Talking to yourself? Hmph. First sign of mental illness." She paused in her distribution of the newt tail. "I'd say I'm sorry…but I'm really not. Hopefully, the asylum will be here soon to get you out of my breathing space. It's nauseating, really, having you so close all the time. I don't know why my parents allow the staff to place me here with all of…you." She cast a distasteful look around the room.
I rolled my eyes, but continued to crush a small slab of willow bark with the handle of a cutting knife we'd been given. Barbara had an…influential family. "Sure, Barbie. Whatever makes you happy."
She scoffed. Get used to that scoff, Lexus, I thought to myself. You're gonna be hearing it an awful lot. "What the hell is this anyways?" She sniffed the steam that slowly rose off the liquid in the pot.
"How the fuck am I supposed to know? I'm just doing what it says on the page."
Barbara leaned forward to read the board at the front of the room, but I'm relatively sure it was only because there was a cute guy who gaped down her shirt as soon as she did so. As her eyes skimmed over the words on the board, she brought up her pointer finger and suckled on the tip of it. I think it was supposed to look like she was thinking about the assignment, but that's definitely not what the boob-gaping guy saw.
I tapped the clear quartz that I'd levitated to hang above the pot for positive Energy. I tapped it, and it bounced around a little in the air. "Is this thing working at all?" I hit Barbara's arm. "Stop showing that guy your boobs, Barbie. Your sluttiness is attracting negative Energy. It'll all be your fault if a demon shows up in the classroom and eats everyone."
She shot me a glare, but leaned back in her chair and crossed her legs. Finally, we get some class. "Could be worse. I could be a loser like you. At least guys want me."
Gross. "I do not even wanna know how many STD's you have." I said disgustedly, going back to crushing the willow bark.
Barbara ignored me and crossed her arms. "Well? Hurry up already. Everyone else is almost done with this thing."
I glanced over at her. "Yeah. Probably because their partners are actually helping them." So far, I'd done all the work here. My Energy was slowly decreasing and my annoyance was not-so-quickly rising from charming the ingredients to prepare themselves and keeping the Quartz levitated over the pot.
"Lazy idiot." She sniffed. "I've helped plenty."
"Really? What did you do?"
"I put the newt tail in, didn't I?"
"And who chopped the newt tail?"
"Why does it matter who chopped it? I put it in."
"But you wouldn't have even been able to put it in if I hadn't chopped it."
As Barbara's eyes narrowed, a harsh breeze blew my hair from my face. "Here's what I think, Idiot. I think—"
I gripped the table and the Quartz over the pot quivered violently. "You know what, Barbie? I really don't give a damn."
"That must be what your father said to your mother when she told him she was going to have you. I mean, he did leave you, didn't he? The only reason I can think of someone leaving their child and their fuckbuddy is because they just didn't want them."
"Johnson, Meyers. Cool down there." Mr. Polsh halfheartedly ordered, but he was still absorbed in his book.
As my annoyance boiled, so did the liquid in the pot before us. Scalding bubbles of water spilled out over the top, causing some working pairs to exchange worried glances and swallow lumps in their throats.
Barbara only raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Ooh, hot bubbles. I'm so scared."
I shook my head and turned back to the potions book, forcing myself to read the next sentence and not lose it. "Add a dash of…what does this damn book say?"
"I mean, your mother couldn't have been anything else to him. I've seen her before. No one would want her unless they just wanted her body. How many abortions do you think she's had?"
My finger on the page shook. "Add a dash of…"
"She doesn't want you either. She doesn't even want to live with you."
The Quartz shattered.
Suddenly, before I could say anything, before I could do anything, the pot tipped over towards Barbie and it (and its contents) hurtled towards her. She screamed out as the liquid in the pot touched her skin. Something sizzled, and the air turned putrid. Like burning flesh.
"Johnson!" Mr. Polsh yelled out, furious, and rushed up to get some rosemary from the cabinet. He started barking out orders to nearby students, who scurried around to obey.
Barbara's multi-million dollar face was on the line.
The drapes over the windows were torn from the rods, and pots all over the room were thrown against the opposite walls.
Remarkably, in the middle of this maelstrom, I was left untouched. "My mother," I started quietly as Barbara shrieked and flailed around on the floor. I knew she could hear me. I could see some kids trying to cast a protective circle around her.
One of the chopping knives that had been flying around in this mini-hurricane came to rest against Barbara's throat, and she wailed like never before.
My lips trembled. "Is not a whore."
Everything stopped where it was for a moment before falling to the floor. The wind ceased to blow. The liquid that was now on the floor stopped boiling. The small flame on a bunson burner at the front of the room fizzled out.
But the people remained upright, and every single one of them were staring at me with the most terrified expressions I'd ever seen.
All except Mr. Polsh. "Johnson." He snapped, his voice quivering in anger. "Headmaster's office. Now." He pointed to the door. Just like that, everyone snapped to life, as if they'd been in a trance. They scurried around, getting water for Barbara, trying to sit her up, going to get the nurse, getting herbs and minerals for a healing circle.
I didn't look at her as I walked over the broken glass to the door.
I was too ashamed of myself to look at what I'd done.
I was too scared to turn and see the extent of it.
"It was an accident, I swear to God." I blurted as soon as Page lowered himself into his chair. "She was talking shit about my mother, though, and I don't know why what happened actually happened because she always does that. Talk shit, I mean. She's horrible, actually. But I was really, really trying to keep myself together, but then she said something about how—well, you don't need to know what she said—and then the Quartz shattered and the pot fell over and the potion burned her and then everyone's pot fell over, and the—and the mirrors broke, and then Mr. P's cabinet fell apart and the glass in the doors broke and everyone started freaking out and Barbara was having a seizure or something on the floor and—you really already know all this." I bit my lip and cringed away as he sighed.
"You know, Ms. Johnson, I had faith in you. I really did." He shook his head and took off his glasses. He cleaned them on the hem of his shirt, put them back on. "I thought you could contain yourself. I'm perfectly aware of your ancestry, of course, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you should be losing control at every teasing peer."
I leaned forward and frowned. "My mom doesn't have any history with control loss. I mean…she's a dog. Her Shift's a black lab. She's always been controlled with her magic."
Page looked surprised for a moment. "I wasn't talking about your mother."
Not it was my turn to be surprised.
No, not surprised. Scratch that.
"That's ridiculous." I said coolly, brushing some hair out of my face. Lexus Johnson: The unwanted daughter of some faceless warlock who'd run out on the mother. I ran a hand through my hair, forcing my bangs back from my face for a moment. "My father hasn't given us the courtesy of knowing his identity."
Page froze like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, his eyes wide, and his mouth in a worried frown. Almost like he…knew something. "Uhmm…of course!" He shook his head and laughed. "Of course. Silly me, what am I thinking? Of course, of course."
He waved his hand dismissively and jotted something down on a post-it note. "Silly me." He muttered again. "Silly, silly me. I almost—Mike, there you are!" He shot up and yelled.
I turned and grimaced at Mr. Polsh. "Hey, Mr. P. So, about what happened today in Potions, I am really, really sorry. But she was kinda asking for it. Didn't you hear her? And plus, it was an accident."
Mr. Polsh kept his angry frown on his face. That man was going to get wrinkles in his forehead one day. Really, really bad ones. "Ms. Meyers is going to be in the intensive care unit of San Francisco General Hospital until further notice. It's going to be difficult to put a strong enough hypnosis charm on her doctors so that they'll treat her without asking any questions. What were you thinking, Ms. Johnson? Were you even thinking at all? Her parents are not happy, Ms. Johnson. Not happy at all."
"IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!"
Mr. Polsh's face only hardened. "I hope you realize that her parents will more than likely open a lawsuit against Edgewood Academy."
"Yeah well, Barbie's parents can take their lawsuit and stick it up their—"
"Oho, no need for that, Ms. Johnson!" Page clapped his hands together and grinned like it was fucking Christmas.
It's not Christmas, Mr. Page. I just lost control of myself and sent one of the richest girls around into a coma. Your school is screwed up the ass.
So stop acting like a five-year-old who just got a new bike!
Bikes. Psh. I don't even know anyone who rides a bike anymore.
"Kevin, stop with the smiles." Mr. Polsh told the headmaster. "Did you hear me? They'll be opening up a lawsuit against Edgewood. We'll be lucky if we stay open! All because of this little girl who couldn't control herself!" He yelled, jabbing a finger in my direction.
I narrowed my eyes. "Don't you dare pin this all on me, Mr. P. You heard her start running her spoiled little mouth about—"
"To be honest, Ms. Johnson, I don't give a damn what she was saying to you!" he boomed.
"WOULD YOU STOP BOOMING FOR ONE SECOND?" I yelled. "Jesus Christ!"
"Yeah, you know. Booming. It's what you do."
"Yeah, you boom. Like, boom."
"Well, I don't give a damn what she was saying. You should know better than to lose control over petty insults." He shook his head, his brow still furrowed in fury. "I don't know if you were thinking of anyone but yourself when you sent Ms. Meyers into a coma, but Edgewood Academy cannot close."
I groaned angrily and glared at the ceiling. "It was an accident! Good God! Do you really think I would purposefully send the richest witch around into a coma with witnesses around? I don't think so!"
Mr. Polsh and Headmaster Page exchanged a glance. "She hasn't…" Page began.
"Don't speak of it!" Mr. P hissed. "She obviously has not!"
I frowned. "What haven't I done?" Really? What haven't I done around here?
"Getting a bit egotistical, are we?" Mr. Polsh sneered. "We're not talking about you."
I shook my head and resumed my game of glaring at the ceiling. "Whatever."
"Would you excuse us, Ms. Johnson?" Page suddenly asked, never leaving Mr. Polsh's angry gaze. "I'm sorry this is getting cut short. We'll discuss your punishment after school."
"Sure." I shrugged, but when they didn't move from where they were, it became clear that I was the one being excused. "Oh, you mean…oh. Sure." I stood from the chair, working the kinks in my neck and listening to the joints in my back pop from sitting for too long. "Yeah." I nodded and stepped out the door. Cool. No suspensions until after school. Well, hell. If I was already getting suspended, did I really need to go to the rest of my classes? It probably wouldn't be smart. Everyone would be pointing and whispering. I'd done some crazy shit in Potions. I couldn't remember the last person who'd done anything that serious by accident—or at all. It would be smartest to steer clear of my classes.
But, wait! I kinda wanted to see if Ryan was in any of them… Beautiful, raven-haired, Siberian Tiger Ryan—OK, STOP. Do not even go there right now. I mean it. I really mean it.
I turned on my heel, striding back to the Headmaster's office. I could ask him. I reached for the doorknob, forgetting to knock, and—
"She doesn't know!" Page's voice hissed from behind the door. "How can she not know about it?!"
I snatched my hand back. They said they hadn't been talking about me, but who else could it be? If it was about Barbie, I wanted to know. I sidestepped and crouched next to the door, trying to get my ear as close as possible to the door without standing directly in front of it.
"Of course she doesn't know, Kevin. Think about what would happen if she did. She's only sixteen. It's too much to drop on her."
Barbara was seventeen.
But I was sixteen. I took a deep breath. A lot of people at Edgewood were sixteen. Lola was sixteen. Kathy was sixteen. Lots of people.
"Be reasonable, Mike! Because she doesn't know, she won't learn to control herself because she doesn't know she needs to! Imagine what happened today in Potions, only about a hundred times bigger and more devastating. Her victim wouldn't be in a coma, they would be dead." The headmaster's worried, anxious voice.
Mr. Polsh sighed, and a chair creaked, presumably from his weight being lowered into it. "Look. It's too much to drop on her. She would freak out, and then all we would have is one freaked out teenage girl, and a foreboding weight on her shoulders. Of course her mother hasn't told her. Besides, it's probably not even her. Who knows how many illegitimate children Drake has? And none of the Families are here in California." Mr. Polsh sounded exasperated and exhausted. And he wasn't booming!
I swallowed a terrified shriek. Mr. Polsh + No Booming = Bad Things!
It was horribly silent for a few moments, before Mr. Polsh spoke again.
"The boy." I almost couldn't hear the headmaster, he was so quiet.
"The boy? What bo—of course." Mr. Polsh cursed. He sighed. "The Andrews boy."
I froze. What?
I wanted to barge into the headmaster's office and demand what they were talking about. What about the Andrews boy?! But instead I just tightened my lips and took another deep breath. Good things come to those who wait.
But better things probably come to those who barge in and demand things. Damn it.
Mr. Polsh cursed once more, louder this time, and there was a thud.
"Be careful with that, Mike! That desk was a gift from the Bolivian Ambassador."
"Bolivian desks are the least of our worries right now." Mr. Polsh's voice shook. "If Lexus Johnson finds out that—"
I jumped and let out an 'eep' as a hand closed around my arm. "Lexus!" Lola was there, eyes wide and frowning.
"What the—?" I started, finally noticing that class had let out and students were flooding the hallways. I sighed. "You're never gonna believe what happened in Potions."
She shook her head. "Already heard."
Kathy Gallows was nicer than her last name let on. She didn't like violence or hate—that's why her favorite element to use was Water and her favorite class was Circle Casting, because they were sweet, kind, and healing.
But she still hated Barbara Meyers. Barbara just had a way of letting everyone know she thought she was better than them in horrible, malicious ways. She was spoiled and mean and Kathy just didn't like her. In middle school, Barbara had gotten into Kathy's room and destroyed everything just because Kathy had told a teacher she'd seen Barbara smoking in the bathroom. Barbara had torn apart her books, burned the letters and pictures from her family, and generally just made it look a bitchy whirlwind had torn through the room. In ninth grade, Barbara had stolen Kathy's hard-earned test grades. Every year, almost everything that had gone bad in Kathy's life had gone bad because of Barbara.
I mean, come on. The bitch actually killed Kathy's dog.
Kathy Gallows hated Barbara Meyers, but that didn't mean she approved of what Lexus had done to her. It was so weird. She'd known Lexus since sixth grade, and they'd always been friends, and she knew Lexus had her temper, but she never would've thought Lexus would actually hurt anybody too badly! She never thought she would've sent Barbara into a coma. Kathy had been in the room when Lexus had lost it. She'd considered trying to stop her for a moment, but when she saw the look in Lexus' eyes…well, the closet where a few kids were hiding was looking good.
So when fifth period let out, Kathy rushed into the hallway with everyone else to whisper in the shadows about what had happened.
"Did you hear about Lexus?"
"In a coma?"
"Out of control…"
So they went. A couple minutes into the break, the whispers intensified. Kathy craned her head to see Lexus and Lola walking by. Lola looked fierce, like a mother bear protecting what was hers. She was glaring at anyone who dared to point at Lexus.
And Lexus. She just looked…lost. It was the first time Kathy had ever seen her look vulnerable.
It scared the hell out of her. She wanted to reach out to her, to cast a circle around her, to tell her that she was still there for her.
But she stood rooted to the spot, too horrified to move.
Well, Kathy knew what she was going to do on this Wednesday night. Benita was going to have another batch of her cookies missing.
Uh oh, you guys. Lexus is screwed. Drop a line, if you're not too busy. I wanna know if I'm moving this story along too fast or not. (Plus, I got a lot of suggestions and pointers in some reviews last chapter, and I am getting to them! :) I really am. I'm going to work that criticism into later chapters.)
Also, I got a review with the suggestion to make a blog for this story as a solution to a small problem I addressed in a previous AN, so I did! It took forever, so YOURE WELCOME. Yeah. The webpage will actually be the Homepage link at the top of my FP profile, if you want to go ahead and check that out. It's got character bios, character pictures, etc, etc, if any of you are interested in that stuff.