“Are you ready for tonight, Opi?” I asked, slamming my locker closed. I leaned up against it and tried to give him a flirty look.
“I think so,” he said, closing his locker. “I was up all night reading the book.”
“And collecting dew, I hope,” I said, smiling at him through what I hoped were sultry eyes.
“That too,” he said, “You look tired though, you don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”
I straightened up immediately, trying to hide my blushing cheeks by busying myself in my backpack. “What? No, I’m fine. Everything is fine, I wouldn’t want to miss this!”
“You’re sure?” he said, smiling around his braces. “I know you have history last period and Mr Connor just assigned us a ton of reading tonight.”
“Psh, forget that,” I said, though inside I was panicking. Last night had been a late night and I was a slow reader. “I’m definitely going to be there to see your initiation ritual.”
“Great!” he said, looking a little flustered as the school bell rang. “I guess I’ll see you tonight?”
“It’s a date!” I said cheerfully as he waved goodbye. As soon as he turned around, I buried my face into my backpack.It’s a date? My forehead hit my history textbook through the waxed fabric. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
By the time I got to geography class, my cheeks were still burning red. I slide into my desk between Syra and Sam at the back of the classroom. The rest of the class filed in to find their own seats.
“Are you okay?” Sam asked, “You look flushed.”
“I’m fine,” I said, pulling out my notebook. “Everything is fine.”
“That means it’s not fine,” Syra said teasingly. “What’s up? Did you try and make a pass at Opi again?”
“No!” I said loudly, then quieter, “Maybe…”
“I knew it!” Syra crowed. “How’d it go? Did you try to give him the sexy eyes like I told you to?”
“Eww, Syra, where do you learn stuff like this?” Sam said, letting me dodge the question for a moment.
“In a magazine,” Syra said matter-of-factly before turning back to me. “So, did you try it?”
“Yes,” I muttered into my notebook.
“He thought I looked tired.”
Syra burst into laughter that made the teacher give her a dirty look. The teacher moved to the front of the class, attempting to shush everyone so she could begin her lesson. The classroom quieted until Syra was the only one still laughing. The other students turned to stare at us and I wished I could melt into my seat, but Syra seemed unconcerned with their glares. As her laugh faded into giggles, the teacher started up her lesson.
“Seriously, he thought you were tired?” Syra whispered to me.
“Yes,” I muttered under my breath, trying not to meet her eye.
“Show me your flirty look,” she demanded quietly.
“Come onnn,” she whined a bit too loudly. The teacher glared at her and she sat up straighter, taking some notes. I thought it was over until one of her sheets of paper started nudging me in the elbow.
I glanced down at it, seeing her grinning beneath long, blonde hair. She poked me with the folded sheet of paper again. I rolled my eyes, taking the note.
the note read.
I scribbled angrily, underlining it twice. I folded it and passed it back. I heard her pencil scratch a few times and the note landed back on my notebook.
Pretty please with sugar on top?
I rolled my eyes harder, glowering at her in a way that said Really?. Instead of taking the hint though, she looked excited instead. She grabbed another sheet of paper, scribbling a question and turning it my way.
Was that the look?!?
I furrowed my eyebrows, snatching up the page.
Syra frowned at me, grabbing the sheet back. She scribbled across it quickly, passing it to Sam behind my chair. I leaned over Sam’s shoulder as she unfolded the note.
Was that the look?!? NO!!!!!
Saaaam, Mary’s being mean to me.
Sam rolled her eyes, shifting the paper at an angle so I couldn’t see her response. She passed it back behind me to Syra. Syra unfolded it so I couldn’t read it, audibly scoffing at her response. She angrily wrote her response, passing the note back.
Sam took the note, quickly peeking at the answer. Then she tucked it under her book, explicitly ignoring Syra and focusing on the teacher. Syra humphed at her, also turning to the teacher. I gave her a weird look, but she didn’t pass me anymore notes until the bell rang again.
“What did you tell her?” I asked Sam as soon as class was dismissed.
“She said she’d tell the teacher I was passing notes if I didn’t leave you alone,” Syra said bitterly. Sam nodded.
“You didn’t have to do that, Sam,” I said. “She wasn’t bothering me that much.”
Sam gave me a hurt look. “I was trying to help. You looked embarrassed and she was going to get us all in trouble.”
“Yeah, but that’s just what Syra does!”
Sam glowered at me. “Well excuse me then.” She turned around and stalked off through the hall.
“Does that mean I get to see the look now?” Syra asked happily. I stared at her stupidly.
“Uhhh…” I stammered. “I gotta get to class…”
I turned around quickly, walking toward my history class at the end of the school.
We always met by Sam’s locker after class, especially when we were going out together. I waited for the two after class, but they never came by. The halls were empty by the time I decided to check Syra’s locker, but they weren’t there either. I walked the four blocks to her house alone.
When I got there, I could see that the others were already in the clubhouse. I sighed, walking across the grass to the dark, wooden room. I could hear Opi talking.
“Does anything look different now, Sam?” he asked. “Are you seeing ley lines now?”
“I don’t think so,” she replied. “But I don’t know what they’d look like.”
“So how do we know it worked?”
“I’d say the glowing light was probably a good sign,” I said, slipping inside.
“Mary!” Opi said from the centre of the circle. “You’re here!”
“I said I would be,” I muttered, hoping he couldn’t see me blush in the dim light.
“”Syra said she wasn’t sure you were coming,” he said.
I gave Syra and Sam the evil eye. “Well maybe if they’d waited for me after school…”
Sam at least looked a little guilty but Syra just stuck out her tongue. I stuck my tongue out further and the two of us made increasingly stupid noises at each other.
“No bickering!” Opi said, pointing at both of us. “My turn for magic. Sit down and make nice.”
I sat down against the wall, sticking my tonuge out one last time as Opi closed his eyes, the same way Sam had. Unlike her, he didn’t hum. Instead, he began to chant quietly. He started with a monosyllabic noise, repeating it in the dark room. Nothing happened, however, until he switched to a different sound.
Slowly yet surely, he began to gather an aura as well. But where Sam’s had sparkled like sunlight, his wavered, flickering about him like waves of energy. It reminded me of a campfire, or the way heat rises off concrete in the summer. His aura glowed a deeper shade as well, a burnt orange colour like the leather book that sat before me.
He moved on from that chant quickly, cycling through another two words with no apparent effect. When he switched again, I noticed the water in the jar reacting again. Unlike for Sam, this time it froze, forming a tower of ice crystals in the centre of the bowl like an upside-down icicle. I watched it grow as he continued his chant.
Soon he fell silent. I peeked around behind him to see if there had been any other reactions around the circle, but I couldn’t spot anything. The candles still flickered in their bowl and the milkweed still lay in the cup. I did think the milkweed might be a little fluffier than it should have after a day in a sweaty hand, but nothing impressive like the tiny icicle palace being built on this side. Opi exhaled deeply, and suddenly the ice splashed back into water, the aura fading into the air above him.
“Well, did it work?” he asked as soon as he opened his eyes.
“Yes!” Sam said, clapping her hands together.
“Yes, but…” I said more cautiously.
“But what?” he demanded.
Syra chimed in. “It was different. There was nothing glittering this time, and the water didn’t jump around, it just froze.”
Opi frowned. “But I did exactly what the book said. Even better than Sam did, she didn’t do the chant.”
Sam blushed slightly. “I forgot the words.”
“Ugh, I have to memorize something?” I said, looking at the book.
“That’s what I said,” Syra complained. “But that shouldn’t be an issue for you, Miss Smarty Pants. You’re the one who aced every test this year.”
I snorted. “I hate memorizing. I study so I don’t have to memorize anything.”
“You’ll have to tell me how that works in History class,” Syra said teasingly.
“Stop bickering!” Opi said again loudly.
“Oh hush,” Syra said. “We’re having fun. This is fun, right Mary?”
“Yeah, it’s fun” I said good naturedly. “But I still don’t understand what we’re supposed to do.” I looking to Sam.
“It’s like, some sort of meditation thing,” Sam said, not wanting meet my eyes. “You have to focus on like, opening up these seven energy points in your body, starting at the base of your spine and moving up to your head.”
“And you’re supposed to chant something?” I asked.
“Well, I didn’t.” Sam shrugged. “I don’t know how picky it all is.”
“And I have to memorize all seven energy points?”
“Yeah, they have all these different meanings and names and a different chant. But I didn’t, and you guys seemed to think it worked.”
“I guess,” I said. “But yours was really different.”
Sam frowned. “If you say so.”
“Do you think they’ll all be different?” I asked Sam and Opi. They looked at each other and shrugged.
“Guess we’ll see when Rou gets home.”