Ruby isn't the average run of the mill high school student. Find out how unique she is.
| My twin sister, Jade, was absolutely beautiful, therefore I hated her. Not only did she inherit the looks in the family, but she also inherited the brains. How fair is that? Plus, Mom liked her better. I think it's because she looked more like my mother than I did. She had dark hair, dark eyes, like mine, but that's where our similarities ended. I was shorter than she was by an inch and I was chubbier than she was. Not that I was fat, but I was a whole size bigger than her. I weighed five more pounds than her. At five foot four inches, that made a huge difference.
We drove to school every day in our shared gold Mustang, a gift that we received from our mother last week on our sixteenth birthday. Mom could only afford one good car, or two crappy ones. Jade and I decided to share and drive a better car than if we'd insisted on separate cars since neither of us wanted to be seen in a clunker. At the time, we hadn't realized just how difficult it would be to actually share a car. She drove the car to school while I drove from school. That's the way we split the driving privileges. We worked that out all by ourselves when Mom told us to work it out or walk to school. It's five miles to school and I wasn't about to walk. One thing I hated worse than my beautiful sister is exercise. That's probably why I'm five pounds heavier than Jade. She was a lot more active than I was.
Jade was also the popular one. Guys seemed to gravitate toward her, while they gravitated away from me. Of course, she was prettier than me. That might have something to do with it, but I didn't think it was only her beauty that attracted the guys. She had more girl friends than I had, too. We shared almost none of the same friends. It was rare than we ended up at the same parties. I usually hung out with the "out" crowd, while she hung out with the "in" crowd. We were polar opposites, like yen and yang, like the sun and the moon.
She was a cheerleader with football player boyfriends at almost all times. I was in the drama club with the girls and guys who wore too much eyeliner to school. I had boyfriends from time to time, but I didn't go all crazy over them. Jade did. Her whole world revolved around a guy when she was in a relationship. She would wear his jersey and his class ring and change her profile picture to the two of them, and make his picture her phone wallpaper. She called him constantly and went out every Saturday night with him. She was completely consumed with the guy for about two months, then she dumped them. I'm not sure why. We didn't talk much about things that mattered, or things that didn't matter. We pretty much just didn't talk to each other.
"Six o'clock," Jade commanded as she parked the car in the school parking lot. She always parked crooked, as if the lines weren't meant for her. Funny, but in everything else, she stayed between the lines. Parking...forget about it. I wondered if it was her subconscious mind trying to break free, let loose, do something wild and crazy for once in her life. Yah right. That would be the day. Everything had to be in perfect order in Jade's world. OCD was putting it mildly when it came to most areas of her life.
I didn't bother answering her, since it would be futile. She wouldn't hear me even if I have some steaming aversion to six o'clock. She shoved her keys into her purse. She had a cute little furry bunny on her key ring. Mine had a skull and crossbones, and I didn't carry a purse. I simply attached my keys to my belt, where I attached everything. I carried everything I needed in my cargo pants pockets. I could even fit notebooks in there if I wanted.
"Don't be late!" Jade ordered me. "I have a date tonight."
"Woohoo!" I said snidely. I hated it when she ordered me around. It wasn't like she was my older sister. Okay, so she was a minute older, but that didn't count because my mom had a Cesarean when we were born. Jade was the one closest to the incision they'd made. Any sane person wouldn't count it as a triumph of any kind, but Jade did. I walked on to my first class, Drama. I loved Drama class. I loved acting and singing. I could do it all day if they'd let me at this stupid school. But, no, I had to take stupid classes, like Physical Education, and English, and Calculus, and Physics, and History. Boring stuff. Someday I wanted to be an actress, an actress who also sang in her roles. I could easily picture myself doing that for a living.
Justin, my ex-boyfriend, was in my drama class group. We'd divided into groups of four at the beginning of the year. The teacher, Mrs. Grimes, always called us "Group A", proving what we'd suspected--that she wasn't very creative for a drama teacher. Justin and I had dated at the beginning of the year. We were ecstatic when we were assigned to the same group back then. Now...not so much. He was having a little trouble letting go of our past. He was constantly giving me dirty looks when I said anything about another guy to Lacy, another person in our group. Lacy was a tiny waif of a person, who constantly let everyone know that the petite section in JC Penney dwarfed her. Any time we had to do something physical, we always used her size to our advantage. Once she was a spoiled brat in one of our skits and I was her mother. I could actually lift her and carry her on my hip. I don't think she weighed eighty pounds. She wasn't near five foot tall. Everyone laughed at that skit. We received an A on it from Mrs. Grimes.
Today in Drama class, we were playing "Hangman". It was a cool game that we played every once in a while when Mrs. Grimes didn't have a lesson ready. She wrote "Movie" on the blackboard to indicate that we were supposed to be guessing a movie title. Each team got a turn to guess a letter. Instead of guessing the letter straight out verbally, a member of your team has to act out that letter, then your team could guess that letter, then guessed at the puzzle. She pointed at our team first.
Right after she pointed to us, the door to our classroom opened interrupting our game. All motion stopped and all eyes turned hastily to see who was about to walk in. I heard gasps from the girls when an unknown tall guy with broad shoulders and narrow hips strode across the floor to Mrs. Grimes' desk. His dark hair was disheveled and spiked in all different directions accenting his perfect jawbone that was perfectly parallel with his cheekbone. With confidence, he pressed the paper down in front of Mrs. Grimes. It was as if he knew all eyes were on him, and he loved it. She stared at him longer than a teacher should stare at any student, then looked down at the paper when she'd caught herself. He was gorgeous from head to toe, with his button up short sleeve shirt having several buttons unbuttoned showing his muscular chest. He stood still waiting for her to give him some kind of direction.
He glanced up several times and caught several smiles from the girls, and probably a few of the dirty looks from the guys. They knew he was going to be competition. In my opinion, there was no competition. No guy in this school compared to his good looks, but it was more than that. He had a young looking face, but his confidence definitely exuded a maturity that I'd never seen in a high school student before. I got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Ruby's team needs another player," Mrs. Grimes told him as she pointed to my group.
He looked my way, directly at me, and smiled. His smile caused my heart to jump in my chest. I waved my hand like an idiot to show him who Mrs. Grimes had meant. He walked over and sat in the empty desk in our circle, directly to my right. He exuded a scent that I hadn't smelled before in my life. I'd have to ask him what kind of cologne he wore.
"Class, let's welcome Cameron Thrasher. He's a junior that just transferred from Glendale," Mrs. Grimes said with a smile to Cameron.
I wondered if Glendale mourned the loss of its most god-like student. He smiled really big. "Thanks everyone. It's nice to be here," he said easily as if he'd spoken in front of a million people in his lifetime.
Other classmates, especially the girls, yelled out a "Welcome, Cameron," loudly.
He made sure that he smiled at every person who had extended him a welcome.
"OK, let's get started," Mrs. Grimes instructed.
I stood up first and did an impression of a bird, with my arms flapping like huge bird wings. This was easy. I saw Cameron crack a smile that almost erupted into a laugh. I could tell that it took some effort to contain his laugh.
"B. Bird," Justin yelled out.
"Yes!" Cameron cheered as Mrs. Grimes wrote three Bs on the board in the appropriate blank spaces.
We had no guess for the puzzle, but we were granted another turn since we'd guessed a correct letter.
Justin stood up and pretended to be putting a hat on his head.
"Hat. H," I yelled out.
Justin shook his head indicating I'd guessed wrong. What the heck? He was putting a hat on his head.
"Cap. C," Cameron yelled out, impressing me. Why didn't I think of that? Maybe being too close to him was causing my brain to cramp up.
Justin nodded. Mrs. Grimes doesn't put any letters on the board. She shook her head, indicating that we'd just lost our turn. Darn it.
"I wish you'd sit down, Justin," I said to him sharply, then smacked my hand on my desk.
He sat down immediately almost as if someone had pushed him into his chair. That was odd. Judging by the look on his face, it shocked him to fall into his seat as well. He must have tripped. It was funny to watch.
The turn was passed to Team C, who immediately won the Hangman game by guessing all the right letters to spell out the movie title, "Baby Boom". We congratulated them. I had to be a good sport about losing. It took some effort sometimes, but I managed it today.
Mrs. Grimes gave us a copy of the play that the drama club was producing this year, "Annie, Get Your Gun". I usually tried out for, and won a part in the play. I wasn't sure I was going to go out for a part this year though. Everyone in class started reading the play and making comments. I looked up from the play and glanced at Cameron. He was even more beautiful up close. How could a human being be so perfect? I decided that he was a freak of nature, and he was way too good looking to be interested in me. With his dark skin and perfect features, along with that awesome body, he could probably have any girl he wanted.
He glanced up quickly catching me staring at him. Embarrassed, I looked down at my play immediately. I could see his knowing smile in my peripheral vision. I placed my hand on my forehead to hide my face from him. I felt him tap my arm, moving my elbow off of my desk. I turned toward him. He cracked a huge smile disarming me.
"You...me...lunch today," he said in a commanding voice.
I sat there confused for a moment. I'm sure it showed on my face like a beacon. Suddenly, I didn't like him very much. It was almost as if he were ordering me to have lunch with him. I didn't like to be ordered around in the slightest. In fact, nothing pissed me off more than being ordered around by anyone. I could feel myself fuming inside. How dare he think he can just order me to have lunch with him.
"Busy," I snapped at him, then gave him a "take that" look.
His face registered total shock as if he'd never been turned down in his life. I looked down at my script and continued reading the play. Or at least, I tried. I could feel his glare burning into the side of my head. I placed my hand on my temple to block his gaze and hide my satisfaction.
After the bell rang, I worked my way around Cameron and Lacy to make my way to the door. I couldn't get out of the room and that awkward situation fast enough. After I started walking down the outdoor walkway, I felt a tug on my arm. I turned around to face two of the most intensely green eyes I'd ever seen in my life. It was Cameron again. I stopped in the hallway to face him. His face was stern and I could tell that he was pissed off.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked sternly. It was more of a demand, and again it pissed me off. What business was it of his? And who did he think he was?
Still, even though I was mad as hell that he couldn't mind his own business, I answered him honestly, "No."
I turned to continue my walk toward my locker. He walked next to me, not relenting even when I sped up. "Then why won't you have lunch with me?"
"Maybe I just don't want to," I answered him snidely then started working on the combination to my locker. I messed up and had to start again. I was sure it was because he was next to me and making my heart pound faster. I could barely remember my name, but I knew that I did not want to have lunch with this guy.
"This is going to be harder than I thought," he said then turned and walked away.
I watched him walk away. What was going to be harder than he thought? My mind was going over every possibility, but settling on none. He'd just met me. He couldn't have an ulterior motive already. Oh boy, he looked good from the rear. His cargo pants fit everywhere perfectly. Why was he wasting his time with me?
At lunch, I ran into my sister and her new boyfriend, Brandon. He played some important position on the football team. All the girls practically dropped to their knees every time he said hi to them. Have some self respect, girls. He was pretty good looking in a jock sort of way--tall, built well, with brown hair and shocking blue eyes.
Jade nodded to me as she stepped into the car with Brandon. He drove an orange Eclipse. His parents made more money than my mom obviously. Being a single mother had some drawbacks according to Mom, and half the finances was one of them.
Jade didn't want to acknowledge my existence any more than I wanted to acknowledge hers. We never waved to each other or even acknowledged each other's existence usually.
I stepped into our Mustang with Courtney getting in on the passenger's side. Courtney was the best friend I had at the moment. We did lunch just about every day. We celebrated that we had a car now so we no longer had to walk to lunch.
"So that was your sister?" Courtney asked me as we drove to the nearest restaurant. Lunch was only forty five minutes here at Buckeye Union High School, so we had to eat quickly.
"Yes that was her," I said wondering why she was even interested.
"I thought you two were twins," she said, but I could tell it was more of a question.
"We are," I told her.
"You two look nothing alike. All this time, I've been looking for your double. I should have been looking for your exact opposite."
"Did you really expect me to be one of those twins who wore a matching outfit and parted her hair on the same side as her twin sister?"
"No, I guess not, now that you mention it. You'd probably rather stick needles in your eyes. Wouldn't you?"
"I'd rather date a farm boy," I one upped her. Dating a farm boy was the most horrible penance I could dream of. There were a few of those here at high school since Buckeye was a farming community. They used to look my way, but I shot them down so fast it made their tractor tires spin. They'd pretty much given up on me now.
We ate lunch quickly, then drove back to school. Courtney was a fun girl, unique, quirky, and always on her game. She was in the Drama club too. We'd starred in a few school plays together over the years. She was a great actress. When we were walking back onto school property from the parking lot, I spotted Cameron leaning against the gym as we approached it. We had to pass the gym to get to our lockers from the parking lot. He was blatantly staring at me as I walked toward him. Was he still pissed that I didn't want to have lunch with him?
"Who is that?" Courtney asked me when she caught me looking at him.
"Cameron somebody, a new guy. He just started today," I explained to her as I tried to tear my gaze away from him unsuccessfully.
"If he just started today, how can he hate you so much? It usually takes people a week to develop that much hate for you," she teased me.
She had a point. I usually didn't care whether people liked me or not. I never had. I simply did my own thing, and if I found friends along the way, that was great. If not, I had no problem being alone.
"I turned him down for lunch," I told her.
"Dang, girl. Why would you do that? He's gorgeous. I certainly wouldn't have minded sharing a seat with him," she said with an evil smile.
"Oh shut up, Courtney," I told her. "He's a total jerk, completely into himself."
"If I looked like that, I'd have trouble pulling myself away from the mirror too."
I laughed at Courtney as we parted ways. Her locker was on the opposite end of the hallway than mine. As I was closing my locker, I looked toward my History class. There he was leering at me, leaning up again his locker which was miraculously four lockers down from mine. He looked as though he were waiting on something, or someone. I tore myself away from his gaze. If he weren't so good looking, I'd think he was kind of creepy for always staring at me like that. I tried to ignore him and walk past him through the crowded hallway.
When I tried to walk past him, he started walking with me. Geeze, did this guy never give up? "Ruby," he said as if we'd been friends for years and required no formal greeting whatsoever.
"Cameron," I said curtly then made a sharp right, hoping to lose him.
No such luck, he turned right with me and stayed close on my left side. I looked at him questioningly. "I've got History next too," he said snidely, as if he'd outsmarted me somehow.
"Too?" I asked. How did he know my schedule?
"I asked around," he answered with a quip.
His cockiness was grating on my last nerve. He was acting like he'd just won a game against me. I had no clue what game he thought he'd won though. "Why would you do that?" I asked him.
"It will work out better for us if we have most of the same classes," he answered, then winked at me and opened the History room door for me. "After you."
I gave him a dirty look as I walked through the door. I almost ran to my table, which I shared with two other students, Anna and Tim. I quickly sat in my chair placing my History book and notebook on the table in my spot. I was about to place my backpack on the empty chair next to me, when Cameron sat in it preventing me. I gave him a bewildered look. "And the closer we are, the better it is for me," he said as he raised his eyebrows almost mocking me.
I let out a breath that came out more like a growl. "They have stalking laws in this state, you know?" I informed him with spite.
He let out a laugh as Anna and Tim sat in the chairs next to me. Anna, who was usually extremely shy, looked him over from head to toe and gave him a smile. He returned the smile. As he did, I felt a pang of jealousy. Why was I jealous? I didn't want to date this cocky self absorbed jerk. Did I? I'd never felt so confused about a guy in my life. Usually I knew if I wanted to go out with a guy, and usually I really knew if I didn't. I was torn between really wanting to go out with him, or wanting to punch him really hard.
I anxiously waited for our History class to start, doing my best to ignore the Adonis sitting next to me. Again, he had to introduce himself to the class. His voice was like velvet and seemed to calm me, even though I was still scathing from his audacity. How did he do that?
I bided my time with taking notes on Mr. Schneider's lecture studiously. I don't think I've ever paid so much attention to Mr. Schneider before. I never looked up from my notebook. When class was over, I made a break for the door and dashed right into my Algebra class which was two doors down. When I looked up, Cameron was at my table again with a huge smile spreading across his face. How did he manage to get the seat next to me? Denise was sitting there yesterday. I saw Denise sitting in the front row as I passed it on my way to Ms. Hughes' desk.
"Denise, why aren't you sitting with me where you belong?" I asked her.
"Cameron asked me to trade," she said innocently, as if saying "who could resist those eyes?"
I rolled my eyes and continued on my way to Ms. Hughes' desk. I slammed my notebook down on her desk a little harder than I'd intended. She looked up abruptly. "Yes, Ruby?"
"I want to change seats with someone," I told her, still steaming.
"We don't change seats in this class. You're probably thinking back to when you were in Kindergarten," she said with authority slightly talking down to me.
"Cameron and Denise switched," I tattled and pointed toward Denise, the traitor.
Denise smiled and looked down.
"Cameron is new. He didn't get a choice at the beginning of the year. He's getting the same choice you were given when the year began. It's only fair."
I let out a low scream through my teeth and stomped back to my desk, and sat next to my new stalker. Cameron was smiling really big and never took his eyes off of me.
"Don't worry. I'll grow on you," he said. He was enjoying his victory way too much and it was pissing me off.
I wanted to kick him, but I restrained myself with some effort. "Don't flatter yourself," I said then opened my book to the chapter we were studying in Algebra. I couldn't help but notice the exchanged looks between Ms. Hughes and Cameron while she lectured. It was like they were in on a private joke together. My blood boiled. I wasn't sure if it was because they had that connection, or if I was jealous that he was smiling at her so sweetly.
After class was over, I'd decided that I'd had enough of Cameron's stalker tendencies and committed to ditching him. I had a free hour next, so I practically ran straight to my car in the parking lot. I hastily stepped in and started the engine. I heard a knock on the passenger window. I screamed out in defeat and slammed my head against the steering wheel. I almost stomped my foot on the gas pedal, but decided not to be a careless driver since I'd only had my car for a week and didn't want to lose it. I looked to my right to check traffic. As I did, I saw that it was Courtney at my window. I sighed in relief and unlocked the doors.
"Get in, girl," I called to her.
"What are we doing? You don't usually go anywhere during our free hour," she said as she stepped inside. Courtney had a free hour with me. We usually spent our hour at Senior pole, talking and laughing with a couple of the other kids who also had a free hour.
"I just have to get away," I told her. I didn't bother telling her who I was getting away from. I backed the car out carefully and put the gearshift in Drive. As I pulled up to the stop sign, I saw Cameron crossing in front of me in the crosswalk. He looked at me and smiled a victorious smile.
I let out a low primal scream in futility.
"What's your problem?" Courtney asked me, completely confused.
"He won't let me alone," I complained to her. "He has three classes with me, and now apparently he has free hour with me too."
"Gee, that must be a fate worse than death," she said sarcastically. "Honestly Ruby. What's your problem with him?"
"He's just too cocky for my taste," I told her as I drove down the highway toward Sonic. I needed an orange Fanta to calm myself down in the worst way.
"Maybe he is, but he sure has a right to be." Courtney let out a wolf whistle.
"Shut up, Courtney. I'm not in the mood," I snapped at her.
"Dang, I've never seen you affected this way by a guy," she said.
"Two large orange Fantas," I told the speaker at Sonic. Courtney and I made a break for it occasionally to Sonic just for fun, and that was our standard order.
Courtney and I sat in my car and drank our orange Fantas, and talked about everything under the sun except Cameron. I refused to talk about him any further.
As we were walking back onto the campus, I spotted Cameron walking back onto school grounds from behind the gym. He turned around and watched me walk. He was deliberately staring at me and making me uneasy. Zack, a guy that Courtney liked, was walking right beside him.
"Oh, two for the price of one," Courtney sang out to me, joking.
"Oh hush up, Courtney," I chastised her, then smacked her on the arm. "I wish you'd trip right about now in front of Zack."
Courtney immediately tripped over her feet and almost fell to the ground. She grabbed for my arm right before she hit the concrete. Zack turned around and walked toward us. He gasped, then started laughing. Courtney was easily embarrassed around guys that she liked, but anyone else, she could blurt out anything. I don't know what was wrong with her brain.
"Better spit your gum out, Courtney, so you can walk," Zack called out to her, teasing her.
"How did you do that?" Courtney asked confused. The way she looked at me, told me that she thought I put a voodoo curse on her somehow.
"Power of suggestion, I guess," I teased her. "I barely touched you. Don't be blaming me for your two left feet. You're always tripping, or just falling."
Courtney gave me an odd look. I laughed at her as we went our separate ways to class.
After school, and after drama club, I met Jade at the car. I stepped into the driver's seat and started the car, waiting for her to kiss the hell out of Brandon. It took her too long so I started honking the horn to irritate her. She slapped on the window telling me to quit. I smiled at her, acting innocent.
Finally she stepped into the car. "You're so annoying, Ruby. I don't rush you when you kiss your boyfriends."
"I don't make a full four act play out of kissing my boyfriends. One or two smooches and I'm done," I argued with her.
"Oh, I wish you were at home already," she said loudly with anger then slapped the dashboard hard in disgust.
I was about to laugh at her, but suddenly I was in our living room sitting on the couch. Was I dreaming? What just happened? My mom was sitting on the couch next to me. Her mouth dropped open in shock. She gasped. I gasped. I was confused and I was dizzy. I took a deep breath and tried to exhale slowly. I stared at my mother. She stared at me.
My mom's cell phone rang. I could hear Jade's voice yelling, full of panic through the receiver.
"Mom! Ruby just disappeared! I don't know what happened to her. She disappeared into thin air!" Jade was frantic and about to cry. Would she actually care if I disappeared? I wondered. I must be dreaming to think that Jade would care if I did actually disappear.
"She's here. Come home. I'll explain everything when you get here," Mom said calmly as she stared at me. "Drive carefully."
"Is she okay, Mom?" Jade yelled through the phone.
Jade hung up the phone, and Mom closed her phone never taking her eyes off of me.
"Explain?" I asked her softly. "What just happened? This is a dream. Isn't it?"
Mom shook her head slowly. "I should have told you girls something a while back, but I wasn't sure how to tell you. Apparently I waited too long."
"Jade's a witch. Isn't she? I knew it. She's always been evil, Mom," I exclaimed to my mother.
"Quit being silly. There's no such thing as witches," she said in a condescending tone as she patted me on the leg. "Wait until Jade gets home and I'll explain everything. I don't want to go through it twice."
A few minutes later, Jade came running through the front door. She immediately dove for me, hugging me tightly. She had never hugged me before in her life. I wasn't sure how to react. I patted her on the back softly. "I was so worried that you were dead," she exclaimed, then she slapped me hard on the arm. So much for our newfound sisterly bond.
"Ouch!" I exclaimed, then slapped her back. "I wish..."
Mom clasped her hand over my mouth. "Don't finish that sentence. Never again start a sentence with "I wish". Either of you. How many times have I told both of you to never wish anything bad on your sister?"
I nodded my head in agreement to her terms. She released my mouth.
"Why?" I asked her. "I always thought that was weird, Mom."
"What have you been hiding from us, Mom?" Jade asked her then sat on the couch next to Mom.
We waited for Mom to gather up her courage before she spoke to us. It seemed like an eternity before she finally said, "You know your father left when you two were two?"
We nodded together.
"You said he left for our own good," I said. I'd always doubted that story, even when I was too young to understand it.
"What does that have to do with Ruby disappearing like that?" Jade asked Mom.
"Your dad was, is, a jinn," Mom said slowly to both of us, as she read our faces.
"He's an alcoholic?" I asked her. What is a gin? A guy who drinks too much gin, I assumed.
"No, he's a male genie," she said slowly.
I started laughing. "Mom there's no such thing as genies. You're thinking of that silly show you used to watch all the time. It's not real."
"It's real. He's real. You two girls are half genie. I'm a mortal."
I stopped laughing. Jade looked at Mom. "So, we're freaks?" she asked as her voice cracked like it did when she was about to start crying.
"You're special," Mom corrected her.
"Special freaks. I may as well dress like Ruby and get my nose pierced," Jade said snidely.
"So, we have some kind of powers?" I asked my mother to clarify our situation for me before I freaked out like my twin sister. She always jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst. I was much better at seeing the brighter side of situations than she was.
"Yes," she answered.
"Jade can transport people?" I asked.
"I'm sure you can too," Mom said. "Or you can now. Your father bound your powers when you were babies. Problem is that when you turned sixteen last week, you had free will. Apparently Jade wished for her powers and she received them."
"I did?" Jade asked, still confused.
"To make your powers work, you just said "I wish", then clap your hands together," Mom told us.
"But I didn't clap my hands when Ruby disappeared," Jade said quickly defending herself.
"You did slap the dashboard though," I corrected her. "I guess that was enough to activate your powers."
"So you two need to really watch what you say after you say the words, "I wish"," Mom warned us. "I've warned you two so many times. It wouldn't hurt you to listen to me every once in a while."
"What if we say something stupid? Ruby says stupid things all the time," Jade whined, very worried.
"Me? Jade wished me dead a few months ago. What if she does that again, Mom? Jade could kill me," I asked. Okay, I was getting worried myself now. I was not about to go through life kissing my sister's ass to save my life.
"Genies can't wish anyone dead, unless they're really high up on the totem pole. They can hurt people though, so be careful. I don't know too much about it, since I'm mortal. I know there's an order though. Like newer genies can't overpower the older genies. So you two will be on even keel since you're twins."
"But I did get my powers first," Jade said quickly, as if she had beaten me again, somehow.
"I don't know about that. I wished Justin would sit down today. And, I wished that Courtney would trip. Both of those happened. I thought it was really weird, but now it makes sense," I reasoned.
"So you beat me?" she asked with a jealous vindictiveness she used often, like when my birthday present from grandma was nicer than hers. Grandma always tried to get us matching presents, with one exception--mine would be red and Jade's would be green. She thought our names were hilarious, but she did name mom, Jewel, so she couldn't talk too much. Jade really wanted my ruby bracelet that Grandma had bought me last year. It was still a sore point for her, and I passed up no opportunity to rub it in her face.
"It'd be the first time I've ever beaten you at anything," I told her.
"You're such a whiner. I wish you'd..." Jade started, but my mother slapped her on the mouth and held her hand there.
"No more wishing. You two have got to get a grip on this," Mom lectured us.
"She's right. This is powerful stuff. We could accidentally hurt someone, or ruin someone's life," I said to Jade.
"But, can't we use it to help people too?" Jade asked. "Like...couldn't we wish for new furniture, so Mom wouldn't have to pay for it, and work so hard? And we wouldn't have to live with these sunken in chairs that embarrass me when the girls come over?"
"No, thanks," Mom said. "I prefer to earn my own furniture. Your father and I always fought about things like that. He wanted to give me everything. I expect you two to do your chores manually, too. No cheating with your new powers."
That was going to be hard to resist. I looked at Jade. I could see her mind spinning in all different directions. She had that special look on her face that she always had when she was scheming and planning. I could tell that she was starting to like the idea of having powers. I had to admit, I was too. This was going to be cool.
"What can we use them for?" I asked Mom.
"Try not to use them. In my world, they cause nothing but trouble," Mom said.
"Trouble?" I asked. Jade chimed in at the same time in stereo.
"When your father would give me something, it had to come from somewhere. That meant that it belonged to someone else. Sometimes it was the person across the street," Mom explained. "I was always afraid that I would go to jail any time he'd give me something."
"So I can't wish for a car of my own?" I asked Mom.
She gave me a dirty look that told me to shut up, and soon. "Don't wish for anything. Either of you. I wish your father was here to explain to you just how dangerous these powers are."
"So, why did our dad leave?" Jade asked, changing the subject completely.
"He left because he didn't want the council to find you. That's why he bound your powers."
"Then why did he unbind them?" I asked quickly.
"He didn't. It only lasts until a genie turns sixteen. Now it's up to you two, to stay under the radar."
"What radar?" Jade asked, beating me to the question.
"The council checks on genies and jinns from time to time. The only way they can find a genie is by his or her powers. It's like a tracking system for them."
"So if we don't use our powers too often, they'll never find us," I said.
"If your dad was here, they'd probably check on him, then find you two. That's why he left."
"Couldn't he at least have visited?" Jade asked, still hurt by our father's absence. She'd felt the loss more than I had, growing up, for some reason.
"He would run the risk of the council elders tracking him here. He'd be leading them right to us."
"They sound mean," Jade said.
"They are. If you ever see three guys wearing turbans and funny pants, wish yourself away as quickly as possible."
"We can use our powers then?" I asked my mother to make sure I'd heard her correctly.
"Yes, you can. You two have no clue how much danger you're in if those guys catch you and find out that you're half genie and half mortal."
"How much danger? What will they do to us?" I asked.
"Will they bind our powers again?" Jade asked.
"No. They'll kill you. It's against the council law for you to even exist," my mother broke the news to us. "It's against one of the council's most sacred laws for a genie to fall in love with a mortal. I was hoping that you two would never activate your powers and we'd never have to face this dilemma again."
Holy crap! That was the most shocking news I'd ever received in my life, and I'd just found out that I was some kind of supernatural freak not five minutes ago.
"What?" I exclaimed. "What do we do? How can we keep away from these guys?"
"We'll have to stay under the radar by not using your powers. And, if they somehow find you, clap away," Mom stated calmly.
"We can do that," Jade said immediately.
"Just say "I wish" and clap. Right?" I asked my mother.
"Yes, but I want you two to think of your favorite place, then say "I wish I was at my favorite place". That'll get you there, and they won't know where you went. You must stay away from these guys at all costs."
"Okay," Jade and I both said together.
We did that a lot. Spoke together. It freaked people out sometimes how we were on the same wavelength. Most of the time, we were at opposite ends of the spectrum though. It was part of being twins and sisters, I guessed.
Mom explained a few more of the rules, and made it clear just how much danger we were in. She scared the crap out of both of us basically. I could tell that she was really scared for the two of us, like really scared, not just the first day of Kindergarten scared. I barely slept at all during the night. I kept tossing and turning. I had bad dreams about men in turbans and parachute pants.