Julie jumped out of her seat. “Awesome!”
Jenny gave an excited squeak.
While everyone was busy heading into the next room, I grabbed my Mom’s hand. She looked into my scared eyes and gave a small smile.
“It’s okay, Janey.” Her voice was soothing, and she squeezed my hand. “You don’t have to be scared.”
She held my hand as we walked into the living room. I was a little embarrassed, but I was too anxious to let go. We sat together in one of the big chairs. Mr. Parker sat closest to us on the couch, then Rachel, Jenny, and Chaz. Julie took the big chair on the other side of the couch, and the twins sat huddled together on the floor in front of her.
As my eyes passed over the group, I noticed that everyone else looked nervous, too. Only Mr. Parker was still smiling.
“Well, Jane,” he began, “it might be hard to believe, but our family has been sent here to help you train.”
I blinked. “Train for what?”
Mr. Parker glanced at my Mom, so I did, too.
She frowned. “You need training... in magic.”
“Like, magic tricks?” I asked.
Was this a part of the contest?
Mr. Parker chuckled, and the rest of the family followed suit, nervously.
“Not tricks,” he said. “Real magic.”
“Real... magic?” I echoed.
Mr. Parker waved his hand and pulled a wooden stick out of thin air. I started clapping, until I realized no one else was.
I blushed. “But... wasn’t that a magic trick? You pulled it out of your sleeve or something. Right?”
Chaz smiled. “I’m pretty sure he left it on his desk at work.”
“I... don’t understand.” I was worried this was all some kind of game. My stomach sloshed as I looked around the room. Every face was serious.
“Everyone has a part of themselves which is connected to something far greater,” Mr. Parker explained. “Not everyone knows how to use that connection or that it even exists. And it’s stronger in some than others.” He paused. “You, Jane, have the potential to become very powerful, indeed.”
“Real magic,” I breathed. I thought about it. How I’d always felt so different. About Aunt Lahela’s crazy stories and my Mom’s worried face when she told them. Could it be that they were actually true? That I was... “So, I’m... a witch?”
Mr. Parker shrugged. “Witch, priestess, sorceress... whichever you like.”
My Mom’s hold on me grew tighter. “Are you okay, Jane?”
I nodded – slowly at first, then faster.
It just made sense. Somehow. Impossibly.
“So, when do I get to start?” I asked. “I’m ready to learn!”
“Good,” Mr. Parker said, a sparkle in his eyes. “You’ll start training with Rachel next week.”
Rachel beamed at me from her spot on the couch.
Next week? It seemed so far away. How could you tell a girl she could do magic, then make her wait to learn?
The serious tone of the room broke at my face. They all laughed, some more than others. Chaz’s chuckle was quiet and sweet, and he smiled at me after. He didn’t want me to think he was laughing in a mocking way. That warmed my heart.
Mrs. Parker joined us with a big grin on her face. “So, it’s all settled, then?”
“Yes,” my Mom said. “Thank you both so much.”
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