Isabelle Blackstone has been able to read minds since she was nine. Now she's 16 and she frequently wastes time reading people's thoughts; undisturbed and undetected. Until one day, someone talks back...


3. Chapter 2

"Nobody has ever replied to me before," I say quietly as she stands beside me. 

"Nobody has ever been able to jump into my head before," she laughs, getting comfortable. "Glad you think so highly of me, by the way."
I'd been studying her face; sweet, soft, gorgeous. I look away, embarrassed. I try to reach out into her thoughts again.

"Hey!" she laughs, swatting at me playfully. "I'm Mahina, by the way. Call me Mahi for short."

"Isabelle, call me Isa," I smile back. 

"Well, well, well. Such a pretty name for a pretty girl. That's not the only thing that you've got going for you, though," she winks at me, smiling coyly. 

"Oh really?" I question.

"Really. Your name is pretty, you have a nice nickname, you're gorgeous. More intriguing than most people," she lists, looking off into the crowd. "Quite attractive, if I may."

Flirting with a girl... who knows what my parents would say. Strictly boys only in my household, as far as I can tell. My dad would be ice cold. That’s if I was even in the room long enough to tell him. He'd probably disown me, if he hasn’t already. My step-dad would have a fit. Their only daughter- into girls... If only they knew...

"It'd probably kill them?" Mahina guesses. 

"Don't be a hypocrite!" I tut. I agree with her statement, however.

"Same here. Gay and way too scared of what will happen to say anything. Oh well, one day."

A short silence follows before I start talking again.

"I've never seen you around before," I comment, turning to her.

"I just moved here," she says. "We used to live in London but my mum didn't like it anymore. Too busy for her liking."

"So you just up and moved?"

Mahina nods. "I lost all of my friends because of it. We already had a house up here, but I didn't want to move here."

"I could never imagine just uprooting everything and resettling somewhere else... My step-dad wouldn't let it happen."

"My dad only wants to make my mum happy. She doesn't deserve him," Mahi says, shaking her head sadly.

"My actual dad's horrible to my mum whenever he sees her," I say. "She tries her best to be civil, but he just brushes her off."

"What about your step-dad?"

I shrug. "I'm not sure. I don't speak to him much."

"How do you get away with it?" Mahina asks.

"I just don't stay downstairs a lot when he's home- which is almost never."

She nods. "What school do you go to?"

"The one in town, the grammar school," I say. "I'm supposed to be really smart."

"I'm supposed to be going there," she says. "Maybe we'll have the same classes sometimes."

"I hope so, I wouldn't want you to be alone."

I check the time, knowing I have somewhere to be- a façade to keep up.

"Well, Mahi. It was really nice to meet you, but I've got to go. I need to go and act straight with my boyfriend-who-doesn't-quite-know-that-I'm-not-straight-yet. But I'd love to see you again," I say, standing up and brushing myself off. 

"I agree, Isabelle. I'll be here tomorrow, okay?" she asks.

"I'll see you then. Consider me your first friend," I grin.

She nods before I start running off, waving over my shoulder. What a girl.

I walk quickly through the streets, blocking people's thoughts from my head. I brush past people and gather glimpses of what they're thinking but sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I haven't mastered the art of stopping it yet- but I'm getting there. Slowly, but surely. 

My mind wanders to Mahi. How have I never met her before? There are so many questions I have for her; about her. She's stunning: her caramel skin matches her dark hair perfectly. Her eyes sparkle, a light hazel. She has so much light inside her.

I shake her from my thoughts as I approach the café that my boyfriend said he's waiting in.

"Hi, Tom," I smile, sitting down with him.

"Hey, baby."

We order some drinks and sit, chatting happily. We've been dating for about two years- and when we first started dating, I was into him. Into him in the way I've been into many people throughout the course of the relationship. It's not been serious to me for a long time now. About six months in, I realized that I was bisexual. I think I'd known for a while, but admitting it to myself was a big step. Bisexual; so I thought I'd still be into Tom. Turns out, as he delves more into political conversations, he expresses quite demeaning views towards the LGBTQ+ community- and as soon as they came to light I lost interest. I've never been forced to stay in here, but I feel as if my mum would be disappointed- she likes Tom, and they think I do too. 

"Are you even listening to me?" Tom laughs, snapping me out of my thoughts. 

"Uhh... Yeah," I lie. 

"What did I say then?" he grins. 

"Uhhh..." I strain my thoughts.

He rolls his eyes playfully. "As I was saying, school starts again in a week, and we won't be able to see each other as much."

Ah, summer break is almost over... I can't wait.

I nod, taking a sip of my drink.

"So, we should study together after school so we can see each other."

"Tom... You're in a different year to me," I sigh. 

"And? We studied together last year," he points out. 

"That was different! This year is important for you- you've got exams, you're Year 13! You have universities to apply for, A-Levels to revise for. Whereas I'm Year 11. I have GCSE's to focus on, I need to be able to have so much time to revise."

"I could help you," he offers.

"You have too much to focus on!" I protest. I might not be interested in being his girlfriend anymore, but I still care for him.

"I feel as if you never want to see me anymore!" he complains.

"That's not true!" I lie.

"How is it not?"

"We've been together almost every day this summer- Tom."

"But you've been so distant- not just this summer!"

I look down slightly. I know he's right.

There's an awkward pause.

"Exactly," he sighs. "Listen, Isa, if you don't want to do this anymore, it's fine. I promise. As long as you're happy- I won't complain."

"But... But my mum..."

"She shouldn't care if you're happy- tell her we fought, tell her I broke it off. I'll go along with it. But I think it's better if we go our separate ways," Tom says. 

“But what about your parents?” I ask again. The last thing I want is to get him into trouble. 

“I’ll think of something,” he reassures softly. 

I nod in agreement. "Thank you. I'll get out of your hair for a while. See you in school?" 

He nods and smiles. "See you."

I nod again and stand up, straightening my clothes. I walk out gracefully, not looking back for fear of going back. My stomach twists: what will my mum think?

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