Chapter One: Concealments and Revelations

The blue tiles on the wall greatly complimented the white ones well on the wall. She set foot on the marble floor, feeling the stinging cold sensation on the sole of her feet. She shivered a bit, but shrugged the feeling when her feet felt numb. She stripped off her oversized shirt and undergarments and stepped into the loft shower. She turned the knob of the shower and bathed in hot water. She lathered her hair with lavender-scented shampoo and aloe vera bath gel. After rinsing all the suds off, she wrapped her body in a towel and went straight to the sink. She brushed her teeth, and then looked at her reflection. She had dark circles under her eyes, and her eyes were still droopy.

"Gosh. Do I have to look like a mess all of the time?" she mumbled, the toothbrush still in her mouth.

She spat out the minty foam, and rinsed her mouth. She looked up at the mirror once again and saw how dripping and soaking wet her hair was. Suddenly, an idea struck her. She combed her hair with her fingers, and upon releasing her fingers from her hair a big blob of water escaped her long black tresses. After playing around with the blobs, she released them on the sink, and they slowly spiraled down the drain. This was the first time in thirteen years that she used her gift for something of use to herself.

Her gift was the gift of Water, and that allowed her to manipulate and conjure water. Surprisingly, she didn't inherit her gift from anyone in her family. No matter how much they tried to trace back the possible origin of her powers in their ancestral line, but still got no interesting results. She dressed up in her usual get-up; folded jean shorts, a yellow fitted shirt, a black hoodie, and a pair of black converse sneakers. She went downstairs and straight into the dining room. She sat down on one of the oak chairs, and stared at her brother who was sloshing the pancakes on his face. Her brother was elatedly enjoying his pancakes. He had the same jet-black hair, and tantalizing hazel orbs like his sister.

Her mom turned to her. "Good morning, dear." But she wasn't listening, and she just gaped at her messy brother whose face was filled with pancake bits and maple syrup. Her mother gently placed her hands on her shoulders. "Stop gaping at your brother like that, honey. And close your mouth, will you? Flies are going to enter your mouth." She joked.

"Mom, the only reason Amber is staring at me because she's jealous I got the good looks. But wait, there's more. She's staring because even the though I'm shoving this good food in my face, I'm still handsome." His brother bragged cockily.

"Why you-" She shouted as she lunged towards him. Luckily, their father came just in time to pull Amber off of her brother. She squirmed within his grip, and then he sat her down on the oak chair.

"Amber Reed. Explain yourself." Their tall and lean father commanded. He had auburn locks and a dainty mustache planted above his upper lip.

"Why don't we ask William, Dad?" She said as if there was venom dripping from every word. Realizing that her parents would probably reprimand her and eventually ground her for eternity, she stood up from her seat, and walked away. She grabbed her skateboard and her helmet, and set out for the road.

"You have to remember, Royce. She's not like us, she's not normal. She can cause a devastating flood if she gets upset." Her mother whispered to her father as she walked to the door.

"She may have supernatural powers, but she's still our daughter. Whatever she is, we should accept her."

She rode her skateboard to her best friend's house, and that house was only ten blocks away. Upon reaching the house, she skidded to a halt and climbed the tree beside a bedroom window on the second floor. She set her skateboard in a hole on the tree and crawled to the roof below the window. She peeked at the window, only to see that her friend was seated on the center of her bed, reading a tattered old book. She opened the window and ambushed with a flying teddy bear. It hit her in the face, but she was fine. She climbed into the room and sat on the green couch.

"Shouldn't you be entering by the front door?" her best friend asked her, not taking her eyes away from the book she was reading.

"I'm okay with climbing the tree." She chuckled.

"Well my neighbors aren't, and so is my mom. My neighbors said that if they didn't know you were my friend, they would've called the NYPD for mistaking you as a thief." She explained.

"Hardy-har-har. If that was Mrs. Norris, tell her that her house smells like rotten cabbage." She rolled her eyes while saying so.

"And my mother, last but not least. She's very thrilled to have you here, but she still wants you to pay respect. You know how old-fashioned Victorian ladies are." She laughed while lying down on her bed.

Together, they laughed about that last sentence. Amber lied down beside Claire. Now Claire was one of them, too. She had the gift of Efflorescence, the gift that allows their bearer to conjure, to grow, and manipulate plants and flowers. She had a cocoa-colored mane, emerald orbs with rectangular frames, and she loved wearing skirts and anything with spirals and floral prints.

"Speaking of old people and our parents, did you by any chance receive a weird letter this morning?" Cerise asked.

"Letter? I don't recall anything. Well maybe I really wouldn't know because another ruckus made its way into our house." Amber turned to her side.

"Let me guess, Amber. You ran away and sought refuge here at my place." She rolled her eyes at her.

"The same old story again and again. Well what did the letter say, anyway?" she asked her best friend.

"I was admitted at Westfall Academy. I'll be moving alone. Believe me; I don't like the idea of leaving. But no, my mom just interfered with my life for the nth time." She said as she stared at the ceiling.

"What? You're leaving?" she asked as she sat upright in a blink of an eye.

"Sadly, yes. I want to stay, but my mom said I should attend this school. And it's all because she attended this school when she was my age, and it's because she had the same power as well." She explained with sorrow noticeable in her tone.

Suddenly, Amber hugged her. She was boyish alright, but deep inside she really cared for her best friend. She was a tough girl, but the thought of being apart from her best friend sent tears streaming down her face.

"I don't want you to leave!" she shouted at Claire.

Claire knew that both of them didn't want her to leave, but she had to. She couldn't fight fate. But then Claire being the intelligent girl she is, she came into a conclusion that would save them from being apart.

"Amber Reed. Listen to me. Our freak show abilities, they're going to save us. You have a gift too, right? If this Westfall Academy is for people like us, then soon enough they're going to admit you in the school. Just go back home, and wait for the letter. As soon as you get the letter, call me. Let me know right away." She ordered.

With this, Amber climbed out the window, grabbed her skateboard, climbed down the tree and rode back home. On her way home, she bumped into a guy walking idly on the road. She landed on her butt and rolled a few meters away.

"Ouch! What the hell?" she shouted to the figure whom she bumped into. The figure approached her and carried her in his toned arms. She suddenly fell into unconsciousness.

Amber regained consciousness and found out that she was lying down on her bed in her room. She tried to sit up, but her selected parts of her skin felt so sore and tremendous pain was stinging her, so she kept still on her bed. She then felt a wintry breeze on her skin, and she felt relieved, at least for now. She slowly drifted to sleep, but before falling completely into slumber, the last words she heard was a faint, "I'm really sorry."

She woke up the next day to the ruckus her uncontainable brother was making in her room. He was running around her room, an envelope in his left hand.

"Rave William Reed! You stop this tornado from destroying my room, or else I'll pluck all the strands of your hair one by one!" she shouted after sitting up. She still felt a tremendous amount of pain, but she knew she had to rise from her bed sooner or later.

Her brother stopped right away, fearing that her sister would stick by her threat. Amber was very certain about everything she says, and she sticks by her word all the time. He walked to her side and gave her the envelope. She was pleased at herself for taming her brother, but the ripped envelope in her hand made her blow her top off. His brother slowly started to back away from her bed, sensing that he would be in grave danger.

"Tell me what I'm supposed to do with this now!" she shouted at him while bringing the letter to her face.

"It's a letter. Duh. Read it, Amber." He mocked.

"How many times do I freaking have to tell you that privacy is a MUST when you're involved with any matters regarding me? Out! Get out, you nosy brat! And close the door behind you while you're at it!" she screamed at him while pointing at the door.

Her words sent tears streaming down his face, and sent him running away from her. He closed the door behind him, like she told him to. She was very irritated at her brother for ripping open the letter addressed to her, but proceeded to read it nonetheless. The letter was written neatly in perfect and eligible handwriting. After a few minutes of reading the letter thoroughly, she perceived the whole message.

"Yes! I got in at Westfall!" she screamed happily.

Suddenly, heavy footsteps were heard, inching closer and closer to her room every second. Soon enough, her parents barged in her room, with anger evident on their faces. Her mother went ballistic, dragging a bawling William into her room.

"Amber Reed! How many times do I have to tell you to stop bullying her brother?" Her mother burst out in anger.

"Don't worry, Mom. In just a week, I'm out of this inferno you call home." She said as she gave her mom the admission letter.

Her mother's jaw dropped at what she just said. In her whole life, never had her daughter talked back like this. Sure, she was a boyish girl who never really acted like your usual teenage maiden, but she was still a kind girl with an angelic façade.

"Wha-at?" her father tilted his head to the side.

"I'm leaving. I'm scouted by Westfall Academy of Magic for freak shows like me. Isn't that what Mom thinks of me? A freak show?" she said as she made her way to the bathroom.

She took a bath while thinking of what to do next. The first thing that popped up in her mind was to tell Claire about her admission. Now Claire told her to call her if she received an admission letter to some weird magic school, but she thought it would be more admirable if she told her personally. After taking a bath, she put on a clean set of clothes, slung the little bag with the letter on her shoulder, and set out once again for her best friend's house. Putting in mind what happened to her the last time she rode her skateboard to Claire's she decided to walk to her house instead. She was walking down the street when she caught a blonde-haired guy looking at her. She froze in place, thinking of what to do. Sure, the boy was handsome and all, but it didn't leave her mind that he could be a rapist…or something? She moved towards the direction of Claire's house, inch by inch. She was startled when the blonde walked towards her. She wanted to run away and escape, but she froze in fear. Her whole body was screaming at her to run, but her limbs seemed like they were too stubborn to move. She didn't see it coming, but suddenly the blonde was only but a meter away.

"Stay back! I have a bottle of mace in my bag! And I won't think twice of using it on you!" She finally found her voice. The boy stopped his tracks. "Well? What are you doing?" she tilted her head to the right.

"What do you think I'm doing? I'm preventing an excruciating pain in my eyes." He shrugged.

"Well? What else? Stay away from me!" she shouted, still frozen in place.

"You're not my wife, but you're a real nagger, Reed. Wicked." He muttered.

"Hey! I heard that. Wait, what? You called me by my surname. Do I know you?" she asked, crept out by what the anonymous guy was saying. Sure, he was good-looking, but there was something odd about him. He looked a little bit familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on it.

"You don't, judging by your reactions. I'm from the all-boys school near yours. We've walked past each other a couple of times. You're from Prickett High, right?" he asked.

"Yeah. You're saying you're from that all-boys academy, huh? You mean, Preston Academy? The prestigious private school?" she asked, her eyes widening in disbelief from what she just heard.

"Yeah. I am from Preston. So, ugh, I have to go. It's nice to finally meet you in person, Amber Reed. " he said as he walked away and waved his hand at her.

"Hey, wait! I didn't get your name!" she shouted as his distance from her became longer and longer.

"Shane. Shane Adams." He said, loud enough for her to hear.

"Shane Adams, huh? Cool name." she muttered to herself as she walked away to Claire's house.

Amber reached Claire's house, a few minutes after she talked to Shane. She thought of passing through her window again, but thought about 'respect' for her mother. And so this is where Amber Reed passed through the front door after what seems like how many months. She had her own key of the front door, so she opened it with her duplicate. She walked inside and closed the door behind her. She passed by the living room, but there was no one there. She went straight to the kitchen when she heard small sizzles and popping grease bubbles.

"Hey, Mrs. D. What's cooking?" she asked as she kissed her cheek with her own.

"Claire's favorite frozen food." She answered as she smiled at her.

"Oh, I see. It's bacon." She grinned sheepishly like an idiot, inhaling the pungent aroma of the sizzling bacon.

She was hungry, but she tried to fight it back because she wanted to tell her best friend the good news that they would share together. And so she asked permission to go upstairs and Claire's mother just nodded. She went up slowly, trying to keep as quiet as possible to surprise her. She peeked in her room, only to see her best friend napping on her bed, wearing shorts and a blue long sleeved top. She crawled to her side and hugged her by the waist. She lifted her head and placed it gently on Claire's shoulder and poked her cheek. Claire just groaned in complaint.

"Wake up, Claire-bear." She whispered as she continued to poke her cheek.

"No. Let me sleep. It's a weekend, I'm overloaded. You know that, Am-bear." She complained, sarcasm and irritation evident in her tone.

"I have good news, Claire-bear." She continued to poke her cheek.

"Can't it wait like, I don't know, an hour or so?" she asked.

"Come on. It's good news. We both benefit from it." She said in a coaxing voice.

"Aw, Amber. Look, I'm really tired. I need sleep." She pleaded.

"Let me guess, you finished that dreadful book for English." She said with sarcasm obvious in her tone. She was pointing her index finger to the thick blue book that read: 'Literature: Then and Now'

"Well? School starts in three weeks, you know. And you know what? If you stopped talking, like five minutes ago, I would've had a continuous sleep." She said as she rolled over to her side.

Amber wasn't a sourpuss, and she understood that her friend was really serious in her studies and that she was really tired; but all she wanted was to let her best friend know that they were to attend the same school. Amber stood up and slowly walked to the door.

"Well I just wanted to tell you that I was accepted at Westfall Academy, too. But I totally understand that you're tired and you'd rather sleep, so I guess I'm going now." She said with boredom in her tone. Claire sat up right away upon hearing the words: "accepted" and "Westfall Academy"

"What? You're accepted, too? That changes everything!" she screamed in disbelief, and then while doing so she was ambushed by Amber's bear hug. She was startled for a while, but she returned the hug.

A/N: Did you like it? Please review ;)

-Cerise Donovan, 2:42 pm, 10/24/2011, Philippine time.