1. Chapter one

Resting her head against the front passenger’s window, Willow watched the golden and red hued trees pass by in a blur.  She felt cramped after having been in the car for the past few days, at five foot seven sitting in such a small space was excruciating. From the back passenger’s seat came the whiney voices of her twin younger sister’s asking for the hundredth time how much longer they would have to endure sitting in the car. Her Mother sighed from the Driver’s Seat, “We’re almost there, Maybe another ten minutes top,” She called out loud, in a quieter voice she addressed Willow, “You’re Father is just excited, we’ve given you the second largest bedroom in the house, with its own bathroom. Your room even has its own lock for privacy. We understand it’s been a hard few years for you, and to uproot you when you have only two more years in high school, well we just wanted to make it as easy for you as possible.”

                “My own Private room with locks, huh?” Willow’s smile was tainted, “Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be fine. Besides you really should worry more about Josh and the Twins,” She spoke the name of her twin brother, “If I ever need to talk I know just the Mom to go too.” It was true, she didn’t want her mother to worry about her, and she had enough on her plate as it was. It had been only a few short months ago when they had heard of Grandma Victoria untimely end, although she’d been in her eighties and Willow would hardly call that untimely, that her Parent’s decided they’d all needed a fresh start. Since their Mother inherited the old house, along with a tidy sum which went into remodeling the house over the summer break, they had packed up their things and decided to drive up from North Carolina to Riverdale, New York. Her Father and Josh had gone ahead to ensure the house was in order before the rest of their family joined them.

                “Welcome to Riverdale, population 25,000”, appeared in a flash as the car sped by through into the town. Small town, Willow hated small towns, everybody knew everyone else and gossip was infused with the air you breathed. As they meandered through town, she got the distinct impression they had stepped back in time. The buildings seemed to be an eclectic mish mash of old meets modern, there were several different time periods, From Colonial all the way up to current times. According to her Mother the town had been established in the early 1700’s, and had grown from a group of five founding families. From what she understood, the town had a sordid past.

                Riverdale high school was by far the most modern building in the town, located off Main Street it was a two story brick building, almost too big for the couple hundred high school students. They meandered through the rest of the town, slowly making their way up the hill which overlooked the town. An overly large Victorian Mansion sat hidden behind a thicket of trees, A glimpse of it could be seen every so often as they wound up the long driveway. As they pulled to a stop in front of their new home, Willow got a full on look of it. Standing at three stories high, with a wraparound porch, it was certainly an impressive building. Several pot of hanging flowers hung from the porch ceiling, with two potted trees standing guard on either side of the door. Above them, thick rain soaked clouds threatened to downpour any minute.

                Opening the car door, Willow Tumbled out; stretching as she did so. It felt good to get out of a cramped spot after hours of driving on the road. Her younger sisters tumbled out after her, and then promptly ran into the house. Shaking her head, Willow walked to the back of the car and began to grab their bags. “Always the responsible one, Let me help you,” Josh walked around the side of the car and grabbed the last of the bags, “Dad and I have been working hard to ensure everything would be perfect for the whole family. I took extra precautions with your room, but I’m sure you’ll approve.”  Smiling, Willow shook her head, “You always do have a way of going above and beyond, But I’m proud of you for being such a hard worker. You’ve changed the past few years; I remember when you used to be such a procrastinator.” This time Josh laughed, “I know, you used to harp on me about getting work done. But, I know college is right around the corner and I have some big plans. Besides, I’m excited about seeing the face you make when you see your room.”

                “You sound pretty proud of yourself,” She smirked as they made their way up to the front door, “Well then we’ll just have to see what you and Dad managed to accomplish.” Smiling Josh opened the door, giving a little bow as he ushered Willow into the house. The entire floor was an open floor plan, the kitchen, living, and dining room seemingly flowing into one another. While the outside of the house had been left untouched, they had taken out all the stops indoors. Everything had been updated and refurbished, and while the floor was completely new, they had left touches of the old. The stairs were located at the center of the house, which Willow headed straight for, “Come on, Josh, Show me my room.”  She followed Josh up the stairs, towards the back of the house. Her room stood command over the back yard, giving her a clear view of their yard until the tree line.

                “It’s a lovely room, Josh,” Willow smiled at her Twin, “You certainly made it feel like home.” Josh had put every effort into making the room hers, from her four poster bed nestled against the wall, to the two full book cases flanking each side of her bed. Across from the four poster bed a small vanity cabinet stood complimenting the room. A window sill covered in cushions created the perfect reading nook. The floor was wood, as seemed to be the theme throughout the house, but as she observed the dark finish she could make out written runes and symbols. “I took the precaution of warding your room with actually one of your own spells that you devised; I’m surprised that it actually took me a couple hours. It’s one complex spell, But you’ve always had a knack at warding magic,” Josh walked over to his sister, grabbing her hand, “I’m proud of you, especially after all you’ve been through this past year. I want you to know that I’m always here for you.”

                Although only Fraternal twins, Willow and Josh had very similar features; Thick wavy ebony black hair, that while Willow allowed hers to grow down to her mid back, Josh kept his cropped short to his head. Matching storm gray eyes looked out at the world underneath well groomed eyebrows.  They had the same creamy complexion with full plush lips and high cheekbones. However while Josh was built like a football player, tall and muscular, Willow had more of a woman figure; with wide hips, with a well shaped butt, and toned leg. Although Willow was forever lamenting that she was only a b cup up top. “I know, just right now what I’d like more than anything is some space,” she smiled, “I Know we have school on Monday, it’s a fresh start for me. I don’t want anyone looking at me with pity or being my friend because they feel guilty. I want people to like me because of me.”

                “I have football Practice in the morning tomorrow, at ten am, why don’t you come with me? It gives you a chance to meet some people, then maybe after Practice we can head into town and explore a little bit,” He looked at his twin carefully measuring her body language, “It would give you the chance you want, a fresh start. Clean slate so to speak.” She moved towards the bed, sitting down on the edge, “Sure,” her voice came out unsteady; “I suppose it would be a good chance for me to make a fresh start. Alright I’ll go for you, As long as we go out for coffee after and lunch is on you. Although I didn’t realize you already made the team. As always you move fast. ” Laughing, Josh shook her hand, “It’s a deal then, tomorrow at ten am. But you should be ready to go by nine thirty sharp. I don’t want to be late to practice; that doesn’t look very good for the first day. I hear cheerleading try out are being held the same time, maybe you should think about it.” With that, Josh left the room, leaving Willow in her own thoughts.

                Frowning Willow looked around her room, maybe Josh was right. Maybe she just needed to get into the swing of things again. She used to take gymnastics, how hard could it be to switch to cheerleading instead? She wanted to fit in, and joining a club or an extracurricular activity would help her find her niche again. And that was all she really wanted, was to be normal again. The past year had been difficult enough, not that she wanted to remember it and she had two more years until college. The last two years of high school would help set her on the right track, if she could find the track she wanted. Willow and Josh had been planning to go to the same college for as long as she could remember. They were close, but that’s how twins were. They knew each other inside and out, told each other everything.

                Sighing, she stood up and grabbed her bags she might as well as start unpacking her clothes. The room didn’t have its own closet, but a large wardrobe was positioned in the corner of the room with its own full length mirror. It stood out from the rest of the furnishings in the room since it was a throw back in time. It stood a good seven feet tall, with double doors and made from solid mahogany. Although it was old, it didn’t mean it was empty as Willow soon found it full of brand new clothing items. Her mother must have made a new line for her boutique and Willow was the perfect advertisement. Shaking her head, she dragged her bags over and began to unload. She pulled out each item at a time, placing it carefully in the various drawers or left over hangers. Finding a one of her skirts, she pulled it aside along with boy shorts and a plain t-shirt. She hadn’t made up her mind about whether or not she would try out for the cheerleading team however she decided to be prepared just in case.

                Pulling out a pair of silk pajamas, Willow decided to head to the bathroom to take a shower before snuggling into her freshly made bed with a book. Her bedroom, besides the master bedroom, was the only room to have its own bathroom. For that she was grateful, she wouldn’t have a long run from the shower to her bedroom on cold nights when the temperature plummeted like it promised to do tonight. Her bathroom was fairly sizable; it housed a shower tub, with a porcelain sink and heavy duty mirror. The floor was floor was covered in white tile, while the walls were painted a pale cream. A small window overlooked the backyard, sending a delicate shiver down her spine. She would have to get proper curtains for her bathroom later. Turning on the hot water to give it time to heat up, she prepared herself for her first shower in her new bathroom. Stripping out of her clothing, she tossed them into the small hamper by the door. Her bathroom necessities were already laid out by the sink. Josh had certainly gone out of his way to ensure she felt like home in this new big empty house.

                That was how Josh had always been, protective and loving of his twin sister. Willow couldn’t remember a time when Josh hadn’t been there for her. She knew she depended upon him too much, and someday he wouldn’t be there for her. After all he had his own life to live, and someday soon he would find someone to love and start his own family and career. It was just a matter of time, he wouldn’t always be tied down to his sister and she couldn’t ask him to be there forever, it would be a very selfish request. She sighed as the hot water steamed up the bathroom, stepping into the shower she closed the curtain behind her. The heat from the water relaxed her muscles, undoing the knots in her back. The smell of her lavender shampoo worked wonders on her over stressed mind, bringing her into a happy place. For once small moment, she was at peace with the world.

                A knock at the door alerted her to her Mother’s presence, “Hey Honey, I brought you a couple sandwiches with some milk. Don’t worry about the dishes; just bring them down in the morning. Josh informed me that he managed to lure you to go out with him in the morning. He said something about cheerleading try outs? I wanted to wish you luck, but I know you’ll succeed.” Willow peeked out from behind her curtain, “Thanks Mom, But I haven’t made any final decisions. I’m going prepared though, just in case. Oh, I wanted to thank you for all the new clothes you made for me, I really appreciate them.” Her Mother beamed with pleasure, “Your Welcome, I thought a new wardrobe would help give you a boost of confidence for your first day of school. I know that uprooting you at the start of Junior year is a bit of a challenge, and I want you to know I understand that this might be a difficult adjustment for you and Josh and Your Father and I will try to make it as easy as possible for the two of you.”

                Watching her Mother retreat, Willow finished up in the shower. She didn’t want to be rude and use up all the hot water supply when the rest of her family had to shower. Stepping outside of the tub, she wrapped a towel around herself and began to try her hair. Brushing out the tangles in her long hair took some time, but she finally managed it. Hanging the towel up, she slipped into her silk pajamas and crawled into her bed. While she had been in the shower, the sky had started pouring. Heavy rain fall beat against the windows and the walls of her house. It didn’t appear as if it would be letting up any time soon. It made the perfect night to stay indoors snuggled under thick covers, although as she thought about it a realization came over her. The schools fields would be soaking wet in the morning; it would make it difficult for anyone to practice. Shaking her head, she reached down towards her nightstand. Opening the top drawer, she pulled out a black leather bound book. It appeared to be a simple journal to anyone who didn’t know any better. However to Willow it was priceless, it was her Grimoire, simply put it was a written record of every spell she’d ever written and made.

                Her Mother had taught her that every Grimoire was unique to every witch because no two witches had the same magical stamp. The translation Willow made out of that was that since each witch had her own unique way to cast a spell, just like every cook had their own quirks or methods. There were five levels of Grimoires, one being the weakest while five was the strongest. The higher level the Grimoire the more powerful the witch; Willow’s personal Grimoire was ranked as five. That generally meant that many other witches and other nasty creatures would do anything to get their hands on her Grimoire. Which was why she had put a rather complicated and difficult spell upon it, it wouldn’t open for anyone but her and upon the event of her death it would destroy itself. Josh had his own Grimoire, with his own separate spells. Although they were similar in many other aspects, in their magic they tended to vary quit differently.

                A double tap on her door signaled her younger twin sisters’ arrival before they popped their heads inside. Aimee and Ashley squealed when they found her handling her Grimoire, being younger than Willow they had started learning magic only a two years ago. They both possessed their own Grimoires, but they weren’t as filled as their older sisters.  Willow had been helping them learn to develop their own spells and to fill their own books. “Come on in,” Willow nodded in their direction, “I can make an educated guess as to why you’re here. Did you bring them?” Holding up their books, the twins closed the door behind her and ran toward her bed. Unlike Willow and Josh they were true identical twins. Frizzy copper red hair framed their heart shaped faces, complemented by their emerald green eyes. Although currently going through an awkward growth spurt, Willow had no doubt that they would both turn out stunning. “We wanted to work on glamour spells,” Aimee announced, “With school coming up we wanted to alter our hair color bright pink.” Ashley nodded her agreement, “We want to be unforgettable, and since real hair dye damages your hair we thought a simple glamour spell would do the trick better.”

                “Well have you been working on your concentration exercises’ like I’ve been telling you?” Willow asked them, “Glamour spells are rather simple, all they take is intent and concentration to up keep your spell. Unfortunately since they also require a constant stream of magic, they tend to wear you out, so they are only good for short time periods unless you have something such as a talisman or artifact to help you.” The twins nodded their heads in unison, “We’ve been practicing, like you’ve told us too. We’ve gotten better at it.” Willow motioned them to sit across from her on her bed, “Good, now watch this.” Magic was natural for her, just like breathing, and in to time at all she managed to glamour her hair into neon green. The applause from the twins alerted her to her success, and she smiled. “Neon Green doesn’t look good on you, Sis,” Ashley shook her head; “You should try electric blue, it would match your eyes better.”

                With a small grin and flip of her hair, Willow felt her hair change from green to blue, “How’s this then?” Aimee clapped her hands, “That suits you better. Now it’s our turn!” She watched as Aimee and Ashley spends the next thirty minutes changing their hair color, each time they succeeded she watched them become pleased with their success. Although they tended to be a bit whiney from time to time, they had good hearts. She had forgotten that while she and Josh had been ripped from their high school by the move, Aimee and Ashley had been taken while they were still trying to find out who they were. The move must have been just as, if not more than, difficult for them. Middle school was when you began to realize who you were and where you fit in. She suddenly felt guilty, for what she couldn’t say for sure, but for a moment it swallowed her up. Come Monday morning they would have to try and fit in again at a new school with new people and new teachers. Everyone would probably already have their own cliques and groups formed already.

                “I’m sorry,” Willow found herself apologizing, “I know this move must be difficult for you both, and the both of you have been such troopers. If you need help with anything, feel free to ask me and I’ll do my best to help you out.” The twins paused as a flash of something crossed their faces, before they settled back into their smiles, “It’s not your fault, Sis. Life happens and our parents seem to think this would be a good move for our family. Besides it’s a new adventure isn’t it? We might even meet some cute boys,” a sly grin appeared on their faces, “Maybe even you will find yourself a boyfriend.” They both created kissy faces, “Willow sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” They both erupted into giggles as Willow gagged, “Alright alright, you two out of my room. I have to be up early in the morning and need my beauty sleep more than either of you two hopeless cases.” 

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