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There was a light knock at the door. I turned to see Chaz peeking in at me.

“Hey,” he said, smiling mischievously. “Want to run off with me?”

“What?” I breathed.

“Skip the rest of your lesson,” Chaz explained.

“Sure,” I said, excitedly. “But well, Rachel already said I could go.”

“Really?” Chaz said, surprise evident in his voice. “That’s not as fun.”

I giggled. “We – we could pretend?”

“All right,” Chaz said, brightening. He opened the door and pretend-whispered, “Come on!”

I jumped up and ran over to him. As I passed through the door, we looked at each other. Chaz put a finger to his lips. I hid my resulting giggle behind my hand. He took my free hand and led me away.

My cheeks reddened instantly. Would it be bad if he noticed how excited I was? It seemed as though it might be.

“It’s really hard to believe Rachel would just let you off the hook like that,” Chaz mused, quietly.

“I know,” I whispered back. Chaz chuckled and stopped to look at me. I bit my lip.

“Well, come on in,” he said, nodding to the tech room.

I followed him in, and he closed the door behind us.

“Did you want to show me the website?” I asked when I thought of it.

“Not today,” Chaz answered. “That’s for next time.”

Next time. There would be a next time. My heart floated. Oh, I’d missed him so much.

Chaz sat in his chair and pulled another over for me. When I settled into the seat, I looked up. I was staring right at him… staring right at me. I was unable to move. Totally frozen with electric nerves.

He smiled. “Rachel hasn’t taught you to summon your wand yet, correct?”

I shook my head. “I can summon it?”

“Yep. Like my Dad did when we first met,” Chaz said. “It’s the very first thing you should learn. That way, when you need it, you’ll always have it nearby.”

“I just thought you would carry it around.”

“It would be weird to carry it with you to school, though, right?”

I remembered when Jenny had brought her wand to school for Halloween. The girls had been almost mesmerized by its beauty.

“You’re right,” I said. “But why would I need my wand at school?”

Chaz looked at me strangely for a moment. “Well… you never know.”

I nodded, sure that he knew something I didn’t.

“Anyhow,” he continued, “to summon your wand, you have to form a bond with it first. You’ve had yours for a while now; do you think you’re ready?”

I thought about it, biting my lip again. I definitely did feel a strange closeness to the piece of crystal. And Aunt Lahela had said something about bonding with it as well.

“I think so,” I decided.

Chaz smiled. “Okay,” he said, sitting up straight in his chair. “Put your right hand out. Close your eyes. And just…” He swung his hand slightly. And suddenly, his wand appeared.

I clapped, then stopped, feeling embarrassed.

Chaz bowed with a bright smile. “Thank you, thank you,” he chuckled. “Now, you.”

I felt at once as if I were onstage with bright lights beating down on me. “I… can't.”

“You can,” Chaz said. He put his free hand on my shoulder. I expected to feel more nervous, but there was just a warm comfort seeping in from his touch.

“Really?” I asked. At that moment, there was no distance between us. We were equals.

“Yes,” Chaz said, honestly. “Just try.”

He moved away as I nodded. I could feel the warmth, now in my arm, travel down to my hand. It was as if his magic were mixing with mine. I felt safe and strong. I closed my eyes and moved my hand through the air. With a whoosh that sounded almost like music, I opened my eyes to see my wand in my hand.

“Oh, my God…” I breathed, slowly. I’d done it. It wasn’t a mistake. I really did have magic in me.

Then, I frowned. “Chaz…” I said, sadly. Somehow, both hoping and dreading it being true. “Did you help me?”

I looked at him. He truly seemed puzzled. “What do you mean?”

Oh, boy… How was I going to explain this?

“It’s just… when you touched my shoulder… it felt warm, and…it was like your magic was flowing through my arm.” I scrunched up in my chair, trying to steady my nervous self from the revealing string of words.

Chaz smiled. “No, I didn’t do anything. That magic was all you.”

“Are you sure?”

He chuckled. “Very.” I smiled. “In fact... now that your wand is here, we should try something else.”

“Okay!” I said. I was nervous, but excited. “What?”

“Hmm…” Chaz mumbled, adjusting his glasses. He stood, glancing around, then pointed at a stack of books on his desk. “There. You can move those.”

I looked around at all the sensitive tech equipment that graced Chaz’s favorite room. “But can I… I mean, what if I do something wrong?”

“It will be fine. Trust me.” Chaz grabbed onto my chair and wheeled me back towards the door.

I did trust Chaz… I just didn’t trust myself.

“I can’t,” I found myself saying again.

“You can,” Chaz insisted. He reached out to touch me again, but pulled his hand back, smiling. He wanted to prove I was doing it on my own.

I sighed and stood.

“Okay…” I said, weakly. “What do I do?”

“Wave the wand and just imagine a book floating towards you.”

If only he knew how many times I had already tried that at home. Nothing ever happened.

“You can do it, Jane,” Chaz said. “Trust me.”

Taking a deep breath, focusing with all my might, I waved the wand. And in a rush, every book on the desk flew towards me with incredible speed, and Chaz had pulled me into him. A book slammed into my arm, hard.

“Ouch,” I moaned. I pressed myself against him, only half aware of my actions. He smelled so good, but my arm hurt, and he’d never think of me that way, but it was so warm leaning into him. My thoughts were spinning dizzily.

“I’m sorry, Jane." He pulled away from me to look at my arm better. I wasn’t sure which ached more, my arm or my heart. “I should have…” Chaz was genuinely upset. He sighed, then looked at me. “I’m so sorry.”

“I’m okay,” I said, quietly. I tried to put the pain out of my mind so my words would be true and attempted a smile. I cringed, instead. “I’m fine, really.”

He shook his head and stood. “I’ll get you something for that.”

“I messed up,” I said to myself. Or maybe I wanted him to hear.

“You didn’t mess up,” Chaz said, seriously. “Not at all. I shouldn’t have rushed you into it. You’re just starting out.”

“I didn’t think I could do it,” I admitted. “I mean, I’ve tried to do magic on my own. Even though I know Rachel told me not to, but… well, nothing ever happened. So, I was focusing really, really hard this time.”

Chaz gave a little chuckle. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, it only happened because you’re quite powerful.” He smiled and shook his head. “Too powerful for my simple lessons.”

I smiled, then stopped. “But wait, you’ll – please, keep teaching me!”

“Maybe…” Chaz said. “But right now, let me get you fixed up. Wait here.”

Once he was gone, I lightly touched my arm and whimpered quietly, glaring at the mess of books on the floor. So, I was powerful… but I only felt weak. Even when I actually made something happen, it went all wrong. I sighed and started picking up the books, ashamed of myself.

Most of the books were new and well cared for manuals. Tips for website building. Tech stuff. But there was one exception: a heavy old tome, like the ones Rachel usually taught from.

The front was completely faded. I looked at the binding. It was almost gone, too, but I thought I could make out one word. Secrets.

Chaz was back with a glass bottle of yellow gel.

“What is that?” I asked, making a face. It looked kind of icky.

“Arnica,” he chuckled. “It’ll help.”

I sat down, and Chaz grabbed another chair. He opened the bottle, then took my arm gently. As he spread the gel over my sore arm, I gritted my teeth and tried to remember that at least he was touching me again.

My face grew itchy. He left his hand on the spot where I’d been hit. A warmth spread into me again, but it was different this time. Chaz’s fingers were glowing faintly, in a way you wouldn’t notice unless you were really looking. My arm tingled, then grew numb.

“Wow,” I breathed.

“Feel better?”

“Much better,” I said, honestly.

“Good,” Chaz said. But as he sat back in the chair, he still looked upset with himself. I wanted to cheer him up.

“You really didn’t help me before,” I said, giving a small smile.

Chaz’s lip quirked to the side. “How do you know?”

“It felt different this time, when you were healing me,” I said. “Last time it was just…” I laughed, nervously. “I’m pretty sure you didn’t.”

“You’re right,” Chaz said. “You did it all by yourself.”

“But then… why didn’t it work before?” I asked. “When I tried magic on my own.”

“You didn’t really think you could do it,” Chaz answered.

“But I felt exactly the same today,” I told him.

“Well, something was different."

I was with you, I thought. “I guess, because... you said I could.”

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