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“Are you ready?” Jasper asked squeezing my hand.
“Ready for what?” I asked with a hint of fear.
“I have something I want to show you, something that I think will help you relax.” He said smiling at me. I could see that he was holding in a laugh, but his eyes showed the laughter he fought to contain.
“All right, bring it.” I said as I squeezed his hand, took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
I felt Jasper’s hand tighten and just like that I felt like I had been shoved into a tiny little hole.
“What the hell was that?” I asked hysterically as my knees buckled. Jasper never let go of my hand and caught me before I even hit the ground. He gently sat me on the ground.
“This is so embarrassing! This is the second time I have found myself on the ground today.” I laughed closing my eyes, too embarrassed to look into Jaspers.
“It happens to just about everyone the first time they travel by stellarportation.” Jasper said kneeling next to me. I opened my eyes and Jasper smiled. “Are you okay?” he asked concerned.
“I’m fine, but I don’t know if I like stellar-port-whatever.” I said trying to get up. Jasper quickly gave me his hand and helped me to my feet. “I feel like I just got shoved through a hole the size of a toothpick.”
“Glad to see you still have your sense of humor.”
“I’m not kidding, I’m serious that was totally weird. I don’t know if I want to do that again.”
“Hate to break it to you, but stellarportation is the only way out of here.” Jasper smiled.
“Yay!” I said non-enthusiastically. “So where is here anyway?” I asked as I realized that I had not even looked to see where we were.
“This—this is where I go when I need to get away from it all.” Jasper said as he turned and gestured around him to reveal the most beautiful place that I had ever seen.
It looked like we were in some kind of park or meadow with brilliant green grass as far as the eye could see, a pond framed by willow trees and Japanese cherry blossoms. Scattered throughout were beautiful lilac trees, flowers of every color, and it was all completely surrounded by mountains that fed the stream that flowed into the pond. This place seemed so surreal, there was no way that this place was real! I felt myself smile and that’s when I remembered that I was here with Jasper. I looked at him a little sheepishly. Jasper had the most serene look on his face, but he wasn’t looking at the meadow, he was looking at me. Looking at him I could see just how his eyes matched the stars, reflecting the light from the pond, I got lost in his eyes and in that moment I knew that I was completely safe with Jasper.
“I—I can see why you come here.” I stuttered, trying to catch my breath.
“It is beautiful, and seeing your reaction to it was priceless.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this before. I don’t think were in Kansas anymore.” I retorted chuckling at my use of the old Wizard of Oz line.
“No were not, were in the mountains of Oregon.” Jasper said as he studied my face for a reaction. He must have seen what he was looking for because he began to laugh. “This is where I come to think. That’s why I brought you here; I knew you were stressed and frustrated and you have been through a lot today, so I thought you could use a place like this.” He said as he looked towards the water.
“It’s amazing. Can we stay for a while?” I asked.
“As long as you would like, remember I can have you back at home in a snap.” Jasper said snapping his fingers.
“Thanks.” I said smiling at him trying to forget how we got here because I was not looking forward to the return trip. I squeezed his arm as I went to sit under one of the huge willow trees, I tried to put the appreciation I felt into that squeeze.
I leaned back against the trunk of the tree and watched the stars dance across the water. It almost felt like we were in another world. It was so peaceful here; one could not help but feel calm. I took a couple of deep breaths and the scent of lilac filled my nose. It was like this place was frozen in time, so untouched by the outside world, by man. I was already feeling more relaxed when the thoughts of the day started swirling through my head. I looked around and I could see that Jasper had sat by the stream. I think he wanted to give me some space so that I could sort things out. I smiled to myself thinking that if someone told me yesterday that today I would find out that I was magical, I would totally laugh in their face and tell them they had the wrong person. Heck, if I hadn’t had the visions I wouldn’t believe it myself, but there was no denying those visions. I remember all too well how much they made my head and body hurt.
Today had been one hell of a day, I found out I’m magical, had three visions, found out I have an angel, who is my magical guide, and not to mention the fact that I am now lying to the three most important people in my life—my dad, Jess and Mickey. And that’s when I realized that I had not talked to Jess or Mickey since I left school that day. I also realized that I had not checked my phone since I got home either. I bet when I get home I will have a ton of messages from them. Man I wish I could tell them, I really don’t want to have to keep lying to them, I’m not a good liar. As I thought about telling my friends I was suddenly hit with an odd warm feeling that started in the area of my stomach and the more I thought about telling my friends about my “gift” the more the warmth spread, until it finally stopped at my heart. And that’s when I knew that I had to tell them.
As soon as I decided to tell them I immediately felt the stress of the day slip away, I knew that I could trust them with my secret, and I knew that together with my friends and Jasper I could figure all this out. I don’t know how I knew, but I did. Now I just have to figure out how to tell them. Feeling much more serene than I had since my first vision, I allowed the sound of the running stream wash over me and before I knew it I was almost asleep.
“Uh, Jo! I think we should get going.” Jasper said interrupting what I am sure would have turned out to be sleep.
“Oh, sure.” I replied looking up at him. Wow he is so amazing, I thought to myself. “Thanks for bringing me here, I really do feel better.” I said getting up and dusting myself off.
“No problem, as your guide it is my responsibility to watch after you and that means keeping you calm.” He stated seeming rather detached. Something had changed in him while we were here. I wasn’t sure what, but I could feel Jasper trying to distance himself from me. I was getting ready to ask him what was bothering him, when he reached his hand out to me; “Ready?” he asked looking at me, I looked into his eyes hoping for some clue as to what happened to change his mood so drastically, but all I could see was sadness.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” I said taking his hand, and just like that we were back in my room.
My return trip via stellarportation was not as bad as my first, this time I managed to stay on my feet but I still felt nauseous.
“Trust me you’ll get used to it.” Jasper said as he let go of my hand and leaned against the wall by the window.
“I don’t know about that.” I said taking a couple of deep breaths.
“We’ll I guess I should be leaving.” Jasper said pointing at my clock. It was now 12:15 a.m., what felt like minutes, turned out to be over an hour.
“Yeah, I guess so, but when will I see you again?” I asked, nervous about the prospect of never seeing him again.
“Soon, I promise.” He smiled a cocky little grin, that didn’t quite touch his eyes, and then he stellarported out of my room, with the last thing I saw being the wink of his eye.
I collapsed onto my bed, now worried that I had done something to offend Jasper. I was certain I could fall asleep right where I was, but I dragged myself off the bed and forced myself to go wash my face and put on my pj’s. I needed to get some sleep; I could worry about Jasper in the morning, but before I crawled into bed I grabbed my cell phone, and sure enough I had ten texts from Jess and Mickey. All asking the same thing—was I okay and begging me to call them, I sent a quick text to Mickey and Jess telling them that I was fine, but that I had something huge to tell them and to meet me tomorrow morning. Then I crawled into bed and was asleep within minutes.
I don’t remember what I dreamed about, but when I woke the next morning I was tangled in my blankets and I felt like I had played tug of war all night. I was completely exhausted, the serenity of the meadow having worn off. I looked at my bedside clock and noticed that it was only seven forty-five. I decided that it was entirely too early to be awake for a Saturday, and decided to try and go back to sleep. I tossed and turned for an hour and finally decided to give up and take a shower. I took a long hot shower, hoping the steam would help relieve some of the stress from yesterday. I’m not sure how successful it was, but at least I was more awake and I didn’t look like the zombie I felt.
I quickly dressed, throwing on my favorite old jeans and a purple flannel shirt. I grabbed my cell phone and texted Jess and Mickey asking them if they could meet me at CoCo’s Hot Spot, the best coffee shop in town, in twenty minutes. While I waited for a reply I went to the bathroom to see if I could do something to my rather blah hair, I quickly surrendered and just left it down, I swiped some eye liner on my sleepy eyes and decided that it was as good as it was going to get. I returned to my room to see that they had texted me back with a definite yes. I tiptoed downstairs, hoping to avoid running into my dad before I left, I decided he was still asleep and quietly slipped out the front door.
I arrived at CoCo’s fifteen minutes early, but I thought that it would give me plenty of time to find a table out of the way from prying eyes and ears. CoCo’s was already busy, but I was able to find a quiet corner table with a perfect view of the parking lot. I ordered my caramel macchiato and sat down, when I noticed that Mickey’s blue mini-coup was in the parking lot. I looked around the coffee shop, certain that she just missed me, when I saw Mickey and Jess standing behind a brown jeep, talking to Jasper. I watched intently, trying to figure out what they were saying, but all I could tell was that Mickey seemed to be having an argument with Jasper and that Jasper seemed to be rather upset. I could tell that Jess was trying without success to play the referee between the two, but when Mickey got going it was hard to hold her back. Mickey had quite the temper and never backed down from a fight, most people made the mistake of thinking that because she looked angelic it meant that she actually was; and boy were they wrong, needless to say, word quickly spread around school that she was not to be messed with. Mickey approached Jasper and Jess quickly stepped between the two of them attempting to push them apart, then I saw Jasper’s shoulders slouch with defeat as he stellarported. Jess and Mickey had a quick conversation before heading into the coffee shop. I waved at them as they entered the door, trying to hide the fact that I had seen everything outside. Jess and Mickey gave each other a quick glance and headed towards me.
“Hey Jo!” Jess said cheerfully, giving me a hug. “We have been so worried about you.”
“Thanks, but I’m fine I promise.” I said, smiling meekly.
“So what’s this huge thing you have to tell us?” Mickey asked getting right to the point. It was just like Mickey to cut through all the crap and get right down to it.
“I will tell you once you have your drinks, I’m sure you will need them.” I said.
Jess and Mickey ordered their drinks and were back before I had a chance to chicken out and run.
“Spill!” Mickey demanded as soon as they sat down at the table.
“Okay, well this is all sort of hard to take in, so please just listen to what I have to say before you think I’ve totally lost my mind.” I urged, looking them in the eye.
“Whatever.” Mickey said flatly.
Jess threw Mickey a what the f*@#% look and added, “We’re not going to think you’re crazy Jo.”
“You might reconsider that once you hear what I have to say.”
“Jo, we’re your best friends we will not—“
I quickly interrupted Jess, she was so sweet, clearly the nicest and motherly of the two. “Please, Jess just let me talk first.” Jess nodded.
“Okay, you remember when you found me passed out under the tree yesterday?” I asked. They both nodded in response. “Well, I didn’t just pass out. I had a vision.” I rushed out before I could chicken out. I looked down at my drink, afraid to meet my friend’s eyes, I didn’t want to see the judgment that I knew would be there. The silence was deafening and it seemed to last forever, when Mickey finally broke the silence.
“You had a what?” Mickey asked in mid-drink.
“A vision, or at least that’s what I think it was. It was weird, one minute I was under the tree talking to this guy, then next thing I knew I was at a lake.” I explained.
“How do you know it was a vision?” Jess asked with a look of excitement.
“Well apparently I come from a long line of powerful, magical daughters, who all have powers that differ from generation to generation, and I guess visions is one of my powers.” I explained. As I said it out loud it all sounded so unbelievable. I looked at my two friends and I noticed that they were looking at each other and not even looking at me. “What—you think I’m crazy don’t you?”
“No, we believe you, it’s just that we have something we need to tell you.” Jess said looking at Mickey. Mickey glared at Jess and I could hear Jess mutter under her breath that I had a right to know. “We already know who you are.” Jess said softly, looking at Mickey and back at me.
“Hold up—what do you mean you already know who I am?” I asked with a hint of confusion and frustration.
“We know you’re magical, we have been waiting for your powers to present themselves.” Jess continued.
“How in the hell did you know I was magical, when I only just found out?” I asked my anger rising with every word.
“Jo, calm down, let us explain.” Jess implored, reaching to touch my hand, I jerked it away, not quite sure I wanted to hear what they had to say.
“I. Will. Not. Calm. Down! I have been beating myself up about not telling you what was going on yesterday, and I decided that I couldn’t—no that I didn’t want to go through this without my friends and now you’re telling me that you already knew and you didn’t even tell me!” I hollered as I grabbed my things not really caring that the whole place was staring at me.
Jess stood in front of me, touched my arm and said, “we wanted to tell you, we just couldn’t.” It looked like Jess wanted to cry.
“Yes you could have, you are my friends, or at least I thought you were. True friends would have told me what I was, even if they knew Zeus would strike them down with a lightning bolt. How long have you known anyway?” I asked, standing there looking at them, I stopped yelling, but I could feel the anger bubbling just under the skin.
“We’ve known since sixth grade.” Mickey said finally saying something.
“Holy crap, you have been lying to me for five years! I am so out of here!” I exclaimed as I stormed passed Jess, nudging her with my shoulder to get through, by the time I got to my car I was in tears. I could not believe my friends knew about me and didn’t even tell me. I started my car, and just sat there, trying to calm my nerves. What the hell was I going to do, the only two people I had ever trusted, besides my dad, turned out to be liars.