Witches & Faeries

There is a world beside our own; where things unimaginable run free.

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2. Introductions

“Open your eyes.” Her sister’s voice whispers creepily in her ear. “Wake up.” Cara begins poking Piper’s face when she doesn’t get a response. Piper groans and swats the hand away. “Go away, Cara.” “We’re going to be late.” She protests. “Does it look like I care?” Piper asks slyly, opening one of her eyes. Today is the first day of high school, the first year for Cara, the last for Piper. “Fine.” Cara says agitatedly and leaves Piper’s bedroom. Now, fully awake, Piper lays in her bed and stares up at the ceiling. She is thankful her sister woke her, because the nightmare that has continually haunted her dreams once again ruined her nighttime slumber. An endless hedge maze had corrupted her brain’s lobes the moment she realized her last year of high school was upon her. She lays in bed a few more minutes before her mother’s exclaiming voice breaks the calm and quiet like a stray rock in a pool of water. “Piper! Get up!”  She slowly lifts herself from the bed and begins getting ready. She blindly grabs a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and ties her auburn hair back into a messy ponytail. Looking at herself in her bathroom mirror as she brushes her teeth, she wonders how she hasn’t run into Valentino Aceto, the somewhat new and mysterious Italian student, since the previous school year, despite living in an oddly small town. It was love at first sight, at least on her part. His olive skin and hazel eyes mesmerized her the first time he stepped into her English class. He always dressed in the most expensive looking clothes and his Italian accent could melt ice. But most of all, he was a gentleman; he opened doors for women and helped people with bags they couldn’t possibly carry. Piper sighs as she brushes her teeth. If she sees him today, she vows, she will speak to him. “Piper! Hurry up, you’re gonna make your sister late on the first day!” Mrs. Daresbury’s voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Piper has never liked her mother, or her father. Through the years they have expected too much from her, even when she was a small child. They expected her to learn how to walk before her first birthday, but she was a late bloomer and didn’t take her first steps until her second. They expected her first word to be daddy like the other children in Willow, but taking them by surprise, her firsts words were a slur of vulgar profanity. The more she grew in age the more they expected of her. When Cara was born, they expected Piper to bond with her, but she stayed in her room for three weeks and played games by herself. Their hearts would always ache when Piper would act out and start trouble around town, but now, how Piper preferred it, they’ve lost their expectations for her. They have transferred it to Cara, the golden child. Jogging down stairs, the smell of bacon and eggs hit her like a tidal wave. Mr. Daresbury is sitting at the counter, separating the kitchen from the small dining room, reading his newspaper as usual and Cara is next to him eating a bowl of cereal. The light spills into the room through the windows over the kitchen sink and stove. The bright yellow curtains make the room more lively and hospitable. “Here,” Mrs. Daresbury obliges, handing Piper her hearty breakfast. She takes a seat at the dining room table and begins to eat. Her father looks over his shoulder and shakes his head. “I can’t believe you can eat that,” He says in disgust. Piper rolls her eyes and begins to make loud smacking noises with her food. Yet another expectation Piper was handed but destroyed, the abstinence of meat. The smacking continues for a minute or two before Cara politely requests her to stop. “No.” Piper says defiantly, stuffing a forkful of eggs in her mouth. “Don’t start this girls, it’s way too early in the morning.” Mrs. Daresbury says as she cleans pans. “You know your father and I get tired of all your bickering. You’re sisters, you’re not supposed to fight like this,” Cara grazes her spoon around her cereal bowl before she says sorry. “Yeah, you should be.” Piper smirks as she hands her mother the cleaned plate. Mrs. Daresbury looks at Piper exasperatedly. Piper grabs her backpack from the back of one of the dining room chairs and begins to head out. “Wait, Piper!” Cara says, as she struggles to find her backpack. “I think you left it upstairs,” Piper offers. Cara jogs quickly up the flight of stairs back to her bedroom. “Can I talk to you?” Mrs. Daresbury asks walking over to Piper in the living room with Mr. Daresbury closely behind her with a cup of coffee. “I know we’ve all had our differences over the years,” Her mother starts. “What is this? Some sort of intervention?” Piper interrupts, rolling her eyes and shaking her head. “No,” Her mother scoffs. “Well, sort of. But what I’m trying to ask you is to be nice to Cara today. It’s her first day and she’s more anxious than usual. Just help her out please, protect her.” “I don’t do well with promises.” Piper replies. “Please,” Her mother says, looking into her eyes. The noise of Cara’s feet coming down the stairs breaks their concentration. “I found it,” She sighs, holding up a blue messenger bag which matches her eyes. Piper sighs with relief, once again silently thanking her sister’s impromptu appearance. “Let’s go.” Piper says heading for the exit, Cara following close behind. “Piper!” Mrs. Daresbury calls out “Please!” But the girls were already down the stone path and headed up the street. “I don’t know why you try,” Mr. Daresbury says, sipping his coffee. “Piper is as stubborn as a boulder,” “But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try,” Mrs. Daresbury says, as she watches the girls walk up the sidewalk from the front doorway. “something has to get to her eventually.” “I don’t know.” Mr. Daresbury whispers. “We’ll see.”

 

The school’s position is closely located to the Daresbury household, so the girls stroll at a comfortable pace. A dark figure ahead of them can be seen after a cumulus cloud passes over the early morning sun. Piper squints her eyes. “Is that Valentino?” Cara takes a deep breath, “Are you still obsessing over him?” Piper laughs, “Every girl is obsessing over him.” “I’m not.” Cara says. “Because you’re weird.” Piper jokes, pushing her slightly. “Don’t push me Piper, I’m close to the street.” Piper groans. “Why are you always so overdramatic?” They continue on for a few more minutes in silence. “I’ve heard things about Valentino.” Cara whispers under her breath. “Heard things from whom?” Piper asks, looking over at Cara with a look of doubt on her face. “I’ve got sources.” She replies. “Toby Thompson.” Piper laughs. “He must be your source. You don’t talk to anyone besides him, I’ve always wondered about you guys.” She ends by giving Cara a wink. “Oh, stop Piper!” She shouts making a face of disgust. “We’re just friends, and no, Toby isn’t my source this time.” Piper rolls her eyes. “Well, what did you hear?” “He’s a misogynist.” “Masochist, is that what you said?” Piper laughingly teases. “He’s a creep Piper. Please just stay away from him,” Cara says angrily, fixing her rimmed glasses on her nose. She is younger and smaller than the other girls in her class, but she makes up for it with intelligence. Her blue eyes constantly look insightful and there always seems to be something working behind them. She flips her crisp blond curls over her shoulder. “Here you go again,” Piper starts, as she flings her hands around. “being overdramatic. What did he do, accidently bump into you in the hallways?” Cara ignores her sister. Piper is the beautiful one, despite her attitude and prevalence to conflict. Usually, when not in a ponytail, her auburn hair flows to the midsection of her back; the tint of it elevates the brilliance of her jade eyes, and her sharp facial features. She has never strayed from conversation, so her group of friends has always been monumental.

The mailbox of the Thompson household is now beside them. The rose bushes in front of their white picket fence are Mrs. Thompson’s pride and joy, even more so than her academically distinguished son. “I thought you were going to wait for your boyfriend” Piper jokes as she notices her sister’s unfaulted pace as they pass the mailbox. “He’s not my boyfriend, and I think I’m going to try and venture out of my social circle this year. Dad said I need to make new friends.” “It’s not really a social circle if it’s just you and Toby,” Piper jokes, elbowing Cara in the flesh above her messenger bag. “And what does Dad know? His only friend is Mom.” They both laugh at this. “If you’re happy with having Toby as your best friend then I say screw them.” Piper looks at Cara sympathetically. “You came out of the womb saying that,” Cara replies; Piper chuckles. “I’d rather be free than locked in a cage.” Cara turns and jogs back to the Thompson residence. “When we get older, don’t ever tell me I never gave you good advice,” Piper smiles, glancing over her shoulder at her sister. “And don’t ever tell me I didn’t give you any either,” Cara replies leaning on one of the teeth of the fence, Piper stops to look back. Cara nods to the shadowy figure of Valentino in the distance. “Stay away from him please.” Piper looks at Cara for awhile. “I don’t do well with promises, you should know that by now.” Out of the corner of her eye she can see Toby peeping from the blue curtains of his living room. “He’s a good guy Cara; he and his family have helped the town since the moment they arrived here,” Cara shakes her blond head, the curls glisten in the sunlight. “Animals hide in unsuspecting skin,” Piper frowns. “Like Little Red Riding Hood?” She then smiles. “ever the drama queen,” She then turns and begins to jog after the shadow of Valentino Aceto. “Valentino!” She calls out. The shadow slows its pace and looks back. “Valentino, It’s Piper!” The shadow completely stops. She finally catches up with him and he’s even more beautiful than she remembered. His hazel eyes shine brightly in the natural light. He wears a red Polo and nicely fit khaki pants; his polished black shoes also glint in the sunlight. “Ciao Piper.” He says, his Italian accent is a little heavier than she remembered. “Long time no see,” She says coolly, trying to fix her backpack and catch her breath gracefully. “Oh, yes. Me and my family went back to Italy for the summer. We just arrived back in Willow a few days ago,” Valentino explains. Piper shakes her head in acknowledgement. The brisk late summer breeze blows through his dark wavy hair. “Well, I’m glad you’re back.” Piper says, trying the hide her smile. “Me too,” He says, looking over at Piper. “Where’s your sister?” “She’s back there,” Her head gestures back. “walking with Toby Thompson.” “Toby Thompson? The fat boy?” Piper looks at him with a side glance. “Well, he’s chunky.” Piper looks down. “Well, I guess.” They walk along in a comfortable silence for some time before Valentino looks back over his shoulder. “Has your sister said anything about me to you?” “No.” She lies. He nods his head. “I didn’t expect her too after what happened.” Piper frowns. “What happened?” “It’s nothing really.” Piper repeats herself more sternly. Valentino takes a deep breath. “On the first day of vacation, she approached me while I was walking my dog, and asked me on a date. I tried to politely decline, but I have a feeling she took it pretty hard.” Piper hardly believes this, but she remembers her sister crying in her room on that supposed night. It would also explain her sister’s warning earlier, but it is hard for her to imagine Cara having the courage to ask anyone on a date, nonetheless Valentino Aceto. She doesn’t probe the topic, but he brings it back up. “I tried to explain to her that she is too young for me, and that I liked someone else.” “Someone else?” Piper asks. “Yes,” He looks at her tenderly. “Oh,” She gasps. “Me?” He laughs. “Si.” A large crowd of high school students can be seen gathered around the large school. The transfer of hugs and the smiles of happiness can be seen from their position across the street. “Come on,” Valentino offers Piper his hand as he steps off the curb and into the street. “I should wait for my sister. It’s her first day.” She says, looking over her shoulder. She can see the small figure of her sister and the round one of Toby in the distance. “She’ll be fine,” Valentino reassures. “She has Toby,” Piper stands on the sidewalk for a moment, thinking about what her mother had said to her earlier. “I guess you’re right,” She takes his hand and they jog across the street and into the crowd.

 
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