Ruby decides whether or not to keep her genie powers. Short chapter. Please review.
| *** Chapter 2
The drive to school was filled with silence as always, but today's silence was different. Jade seemed to be scared to death. I was too. Somehow I felt that our lives were about to become really different. It was the feeling I got when the new school year started. I knew it was not going to be the same as last year. It was scary and exciting at the same time. I wasn't sure if this was more scary than exciting though.
Jade and I parted ways without a word to each other. She almost always had some snide remark, or some order for me. Today...nothing. I walked to Drama class. Drama was not on my mind today. At least not school drama. My life was no longer the same. Everything had changed in the blink of an eye. I didn't feel like the same person. I wanted to turn back time and still not know that I was half genie. And, a genie? Who would have thought they were real? I would have believed in vampires before I believed in genies.
On my way to Drama class, I was so engrossed in my new species revelation that I didn't even notice when Cameron first appeared beside me. He startled me when he asked if I was okay. I think I was more shocked that he said it sweetly though, as if he actually cared. Was there a heart under all that cocky bravado?
I looked up at him to see concern in his eyes. I nodded but didn't say a word. I sat down in class just as the class was beginning. I could feel his eyes on me, but not in an egotistical way today. I glanced up at him to see him evaluating me, as if he thought I might jump out the window or something. I gave him a grim smile, then looked down.
When I looked up to see Mrs. Grimes showing us a few stage stunts, I noticed Katy, the electric redhead, almost slobbering as she stared at Cameron. A jealous ting hit me. I wasn't sure why. It wasn't like I was after him or anything.
Mrs. Grimes asked if anyone wanted to try out for the play. I heard a few answers. Katy was going to try out for Annie. She would be perfect as Annie and she had a great singing voice. She was pretty good last year as one of Marion's maidens in Robin Hood.
"And what part are you trying out for, Ruby?" Mrs. Grimes asked me directly.
Gosh, I didn't know if I'd even be alive when it came time to act in a play. I couldn't try out for a part. They'd have to let my understudy take my part after my impending death. "I don't think I'm going out for any part this year, Mrs. Grimes," I said grimly.
"But, we're counting on you, Ruby. You're the best actress we've got," Mrs. Grimes said, very disappointed.
"Sorry," I said. "I can't. I wish.." I caught myself, then corrected myself. "Well, I don't know if I'll even be here then, or not. My mom is having some issues at work."
"Oh, sorry," Mrs. Grimes said sincerely. "Let me know in private if there's anything I can do to help."
I shook my head. I'd never felt so low in my life. What if those council guys found us and killed us all? To think, yesterday my biggest concern was trying out for a play and ditching a cocky guy. Funny how your whole life can change in a day.
Cameron reached over and patted my arm in sympathy, or condolence. I don't know which. I didn't acknowledge his touch, but it made me feel a little different about him. Maybe he had a heart in there somewhere and wasn't completely stuck on himself.
Somehow, I managed to avoid any further contact with Cameron for the rest of the day. I saw him several times during the day, but he was always a safe distance from me. He always had a look on his face, as if he were wondering if he'd be safe approaching me or if I'd bite his head off.
I drove home, as always. Again, Jade and I didn't say a word to each other. We pulled into the garage and entered the house through the kitchen door. "Mom, we're home," Jade called out to Mom.
Mom was usually in the living room or the kitchen when we arrived home from school. We didn't see her today. She must be outside talking to the neighbor, or in the backyard taking care of the pool. She was almost always busy doing something. She'd raised us on her own all these years and she knew how to do all kinds of household chores. She was a very self sufficient woman.
Jade raided the fridge for some bottled water. I waited for her to get out of the way, and pulled out an orange Fanta for myself. We both sat at the bar and drank slowly, hoping Mom would come in and start cooking something for dinner. We both hated cooking for ourselves. After a few minutes, we gave up on Mom cooking and grabbed ourselves some hot wings from the freezer, and threw them in the microwave.
After we finished those off, we started to worry about Mom. "I wonder where she is," Jade asked me, the first words she'd spoken to me today.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I'm sure she's around somewhere. Her car was in the garage."
"You're probably right," Jade agreed with me. "She usually leaves a note, though."
I picked up my backpack from the bar and walked toward my room, then turned around suddenly to Jade. An awful thought had just entered my mind. "You don't think anything is wrong. Do you?" I asked her.
"Like what?" she asked, with a twitch of her mouth, telling me that I was overreacting.
"Like the council found us," I spelled it out for her slowly telling her that she wasn't thinking things through as well as I had.
Jade ran to Mom's bedroom searching for her, frantically. "Mom!" She returned from her bedroom, shaking her head.
I started to worry then. I ran out the front door and looked down the street. I returned inside the house. "She's not out the front," I reported.
Jade ran through the house, opening all the doors and not bothering to close them again. She was on a mission. "She's not in either of our bedrooms either."
Man, I hoped we were worrying for nothing. We both ran out the back door together, then all of our fears were brought to life. A man wearing funny pants was talking to Mom in the backyard. He had dark hair and a turban, and had his arms crossed across his bare chest. Jade and I both screamed causing Mom and the man to look our way suddenly.
"Girls! Wait!" she called out to us and ran up to us.
"Mom! Are you okay?" I asked her, then grabbed her arm. I'd take her with me to my favorite place. Man, I hoped that was possible. I was about to wish and clap my hands, then, Mom started laughing. Jade and I looked at her totally relieved now, knowing everything was okay. We'd jumped to conclusions. But who was this guy? He for sure wasn't the pool guy wearing those funny pants.
"Girls, this is your uncle, Verde," she introduced the guy to us.
We looked at him, shocked to be meeting him. Was he a genie? Or a jinn? He was a good looking guy, but his clothes were all wrong for today's world. They looked to be from Cleopatra's period of time. He looked like one of her love slaves. He was shirtless, and really built, and wearing really funny pants, with really funny shoes. The two of us simply stared at him.
"Hello, girls. It is nice to finally meet you in person. Rojo has shown me several pictures over the years, but they do not adequately portray your beauty."
Okay, he spoke in a really weird way, slowly and enunciating each word, but he wasn't half bad, and apparently he was family. He was the first family member we'd ever met from our father's side. And my dad's name was Rojo? Who would name their kids Red and Green? Well, I guess Mom did, but our names are cute. Not red and green. "It's nice to meet you," I said first, trying to hold in my humorous thoughts.
Jade held out her hand to shake his. "Uncle Verde?" she asked.
He took her hand and kissed it. "I am a brother to your father," he explained.
"Pictures?" I asked. "We haven't seen our father since we were two. Aren't those pictures a little outdated?"
"He has seen you. He has had guardians with you from time to time when it appeared as though you might be exposed," he explained.
"Guardians?" Jade asked curiously.
"Lower level jinns with just enough powers to blink you away, if the necessity arose," he explained.
We both looked at him as if he had two heads.
"Jinns are male genies. Guardians are jinns whose powers have been confined due to council ruling, usually punishment of some kind. They often place themselves for hire, until they can cross into the good graces of the council again."
"So you're a jinn?" Jade asked. "Like our father?"
He nodded. "I am. And I bring a message from your father."
I held up my hands stubbornly. "We don't want to hear it. He hasn't spoken to us in fourteen years. We don't want to hear what he has to say now."
Jade looked at me, as if I were being rude to our newfound uncle. "Ruby, let's at least hear the message. It might be important."
"It is. He wants the two of you to be safe from the council. He has requested that the two of you relinquish your powers forever."
"Relinquish our powers?" I asked. Was he kidding? I didn't want to give up my powers. I hadn't even used them yet, well not for anything good or cool anyway.
"How do we do that?" Jade asked.
Was she serious? She wanted to give up the best thing, the only thing, our father had ever given us? "No, Jade. I don't want to give them up."
"I do," she insisted. "They scare me. And if it will get us off of the council's radar, maybe Dad can actually come see us, and we'll be safe. I'm going crazy thinking the council will show up any minute when I accidentally use my powers."
"If your powers are depleted, you cannot be exposed to the council. Your father has a love for you that is immense so he desires nothing but the best for you two. He would rather have alive and well mortal daughters than dead genie daughters," Uncle Verde said with sincerity.
Mom looked at me, seeing that my mind was not changing. She looked at Jade and saw that her mind wasn't changing. She butted in, "Maybe they need a few days to think about it, Verde. Can you tell Rojo that they'll think about it?"
"Jewel, I thought you would see the enormous benefit, the absolute necessity of removing the girls from the radar of the council as quickly as possible. Every moment is a new possibility to die," Uncle Verde chastised my mother.
"I do, but I don't want the girls rushed into something they'll regret forever. Once a genie relinquishes her powers, she can't get them back. It's something Rojo wouldn't even consider. Not even for me and his daughters," Mom said. I could hear the pain in her voice. She'd never told us this story before. Of course, she didn't tell us our dad was a jinn until last night so I don't know when the subject would have come up.
"But it is imperative that they be protected as soon as possible. If they use their powers to maximum capacity, the council will be here in the blink of an eye. You know the certainty of that."
"They've been warned," Mom defended us.
"But, if we can see Dad again, I want to do it," Jade said, almost pleading with us.
"Give it another day, Jade. You can wait another day. Can't you?" I bartered with her.
She took a deep breath then let it out. "One more day," she agreed to my deal.
"Great," I said to her. "We'll see you tomorrow, Uncle Green."
Mom laughed at my gall. "Tomorrow, Verde."
With that, Uncle Verde was gone. He simply disappeared. No goodbye. No best wishes. Just blink and he was no longer there. It was so cool! I wanted to do that, of my own accord, instead of having Jade do it to me.
We went inside the house and sat on the couch. "Mom, it sounds like you don't really want us to give up our powers," I said to Mom. I wanted her to explain what she was thinking.
"I don't want you to rush into anything. Your father loves being a jinn. He loves having powers. I don't want you to regret anything, or live the rest of your life wondering what your life would have been like if only you'd kept your powers. Once you give them up, you can't get them back."
"I don't want to give mine up," I said firmly.
"But you have to. We have to. I want to see Dad again," Jade begged me.
"Dad can see you somewhere else. He doesn't have to come here. He and Mom can meet in the middle of a cloud or something and hand you off. I want to keep mine," I said defiantly to Jade, telling her that she was not swaying my decision.
"He's not an angel, sweetheart. Far from it," Mom corrected me.
"I'm not giving up mine. I might want them later on," I told her.
"Why? Mom won't let us use them anyway," Jade argued with me.
"You never know when we might need them though. What if Mom runs into some kind of trouble?"
"We're not super heroes, Ruby. We can't go around saving the day all the time. And, we've managed sixteen years without them. Why do we need them now?"
"I'm not saying we do. I'm just saying that I would rather have them, than not have them, if I should ever need them."
"This decision is totally up to the two of you. It's not a joint decision. You don't have to do it together, or agree on the same option," Mom explained to us.
I nodded my head. Jade waited a second, then nodded hers.
"I'm giving mine up," she declared to both of us with conviction. "They're too dangerous for me. I know I'll mess up and hurt someone, or hurt myself."
She had a point. She would probably hurt someone with her temper. She flew off the handle quite often. Months ago, she slapped her boyfriend who she'd caught cheating on her. She made quite a scene in the middle of school. If she'd had her powers then, that guy would probably be a girl right now, and not in a good way.
School was rather grueling. I couldn't concentrate on any one subject without thinking about Jade and how she was going to ditch her powers. I was desperately trying to think of a way to talk her into keeping them. Maybe I didn't want to be the only one with powers in the family. All this time, I'd never wanted to be like my twin sister, but somehow I wanted this to be the same about us. I'm not sure why.
Cameron stayed close to me, but kind of kept his distance. He was doing his job as a stalker very well. I think he said hello to me a few times throughout the day, but that was about it. I almost wished that he would have talked to me so I could have zoned out on the thoughts going through my head all day.
After school, Uncle Verde was at the house again waiting on Jade and me. Mom was in the living room sitting on the couch with him. She was anxious about what was going to happen. It reminded me of our first day of school. She gave us a nervous fake smile when we walked through the door.
"Are you ready for this?" she asked Jade, as we stood in front of them.
Jade nodded. "I'm ready. I almost wished several things today. I could have given myself away many times."
"But you caught yourself, Jade. You can get used to this. I know you can," I argued with her.
"I'm ditching these powers. I don't want them and I didn't ask for them," she said firmly.
"Are you sure, Jade?" my mother asked her as she stood up and placed her arm around Jade's shoulders.
"I'm sure, Mom," Jade assured her.
"Now say "I wish to relinquish my powers" and clap your hands together," Uncle Verde instructed her as he stood up from the couch in front of Jade.
"That's all I have to do?" Jade asked him. "This is easier than the ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz."
"That's it. When you're finished, I can take you to see your father."
"Dad?" she asked excitedly. "I'm ready."
"Jade, wait!" I said. "You can't go back, remember? You can never get your powers back. Remember how cool it was transport me back to the house? That might come in handy in the future, if you ever need to get somewhere fast, or Mom needs to come back home in a hurry."
"No, Ruby. You are not going to talk me out of it. I want to ditch this curse. I never asked for these powers," Jade said to me, a bit perturbed. "Now what do I do, Uncle Verde? I'm ready to see my dad."
"Just say, 'I wish to relinquish my powers'," he instructed, "then clap your hands together in front of yourself."
"Jade, just think about it a little longer," I begged her.
She gave me a dirty look then said, "I wish to relinquish my powers." She clapped her hands together hard and smiled.
"Okay, now wish for something very small, like something from the other room," Uncle Verde said. "We need to see if it worked."
"I wish for a Butterfinger," Jade said quickly, then slapped her hands together again.
Nothing happened. Everyone smiled as if that were a good thing. I didn't think it was so great though. She should have been holding a Butterfinger right now.
"Ruby, I assume your decision is not to be swayed today?" Uncle Verde asked me hopefully.
I shook my head. I was determined to keep my powers, although I didn't really know why. I simply felt like I would be losing part of myself.
"We shall go see your dad when you are ready, Jade," Uncle Verde said as he held his hand out to Jade.
She took it immediately. Uncle Verde slapped his chest with his free hand, and the two of them disappeared, leaving mom and me in the living room alone. I wasn't sure if I'd ever get used to that--people disappearing before my eyes.
"I can't believe she did that," I told my mom.
"It was her decision to make. She made it. I hope she's having fun with Rojo."
"I'm sure she's happy to be seeing Dad again," I assured my mother.
"You don't seem that anxious to see him again," Mom posed the question to me.
"I'm not. I just think he could have found a way to see us if he wanted to. I mean Uncle Verde came. Why couldn't he?"
"They're not watching your uncle Verde like they're watching him. They had a feeling that he'd married me, so they started watching him. It was impossible for him to come see you. Trust me. You don't want those jinns finding you."
"I'll have to trust you on that one. Do you have any pictures of Dad? I'd like to know what he looks like at least," I asked Mom.
Mom laughed as if I'd said something obviously stupid. "You already know what he looks like."
I gave my mom a confused look. What was she talking about? She didn't have any pictures of Dad around the house, or even hidden in her secret hiding places that she thought Jade and I didn't know about.
"He and Verde are twins," she chuckled.
"Twins? That's odd. Twins don't usually have twins according to my Biology teacher."
"It was unusual in the genie world too. Rojo and Verde are considered to be special because they're twins."
I smiled at Mom. That was really odd. My dad was a twin too. I wondered how Jade's trip to see him was going. I was a little jealous of her, because she was with Dad now. I hoped she would tell me all about it when she returned. I'd like to hear everything.