Diana was glad to be back in her room at the Bed & Breakfast, but her stomach was tied in knots. She kicked off her Uggs and sat on the bed before flopping on her back with a dramatic sigh. So her parents didn't believe she was Fae. Was that so bad? Her parents' lecture on the way back from the workshop about trust and being disappointed in her was especially fun. Not.
She covered her face with her hands, and ran them up her scalp. She fisted her hair and clenched her teeth. How could they not believe her? How could they not trust her? She rolled over and screamed into her pillow.
It wasn't the first time, she reminded herself. They'd hired the nanny for Bobby because they didn't trust her to take care of him. She'd caught the nanny drinking on the job, but her parents didn't believe her. Then the nanny had started insisting that they stay in their rooms and study, even after they'd finished their homework.
That nanny got sick, and another came. Then another. After the third nanny got sick, she heard her parents have a big argument with someone from the agency. Then there was an opening at the boarding school Mom had attended. Mom had said it would be a great experience for Diana.
Had her Fae magic somehow made the nannies sick? Without realizing it, had she willed them to get sick? She may have wished them sick... No. That would be awful.
Why expect her parents to believe a crazy story like her being a Fairy? She barely believed it herself. She sat up and stared at the tub. If she got in it again, would she change again? Could she just focus and change back and forth from one shape to the other?
She stood and stared in the mirror above the sink, then closed her eyes. She tried to relax and clear her mind, then pictured the creature she'd seen in the mirror when she woke up. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Focus. Heather had said Fae magic was based on belief. So she made herself believe in the Faerie she had seen in the mirror.
The tingle crept though Diana's body, followed by a sudden pressure in her back, a tightness in her chest, and a ripping sound. Her eyes flew open, and she staggered back in astonishment. Her wings had sprouted through her black halter top! She twisted from one side to another, surveying the damage. Her wings were sore and felt worse than last time, and the back of her top now looked like someone had ripped it for a rock concert.
Diana shook out her wings, stretching out the kinks, and let herself be amazed by the form in the mirror. The brilliant colors of the diaphanous wings dazzled her; and her eyes seemed to sparkle. The pain in her wings forgotten, she posed like a fashion model.
She flexed her clawed hands and smiled. “Hi Mom! Hi Dad! It's me! Diana!”
She mimed their response in the mirror, trying for a horrified look. Her cat-like eyes couldn't quite pull it off, and she giggled in spite of herself. Then she tried again to mimic her mother's stern look.
“What, mother? Haven't you seen a fairy princess before?”
Knocking rattled the door.
Diana jumped. She crept to the door, trying to keep her claws from clacking. “Who is it?”
“Hey Sis, lemme in.”
“Go away.” The last thing she needed right now was her nosy brother.
Diana held her forehead for calm. “Bobby, I'm a little busy right now.”
“Something happened to Mom and Dad, and I'm scared.”
Diana panicked and opened the door, looking at Bobby. “What happened?”
Bobby stared at her, his mouth open wide.
“Shit!” Diana slammed the door on him, and ran over to the mirror. She saw what Bobby had seen, and cursed again. She closed her eyes, envisioning her old self, and believed. The tingle swept over her body, and she opened her eyes to her human self. Then she ran back to the door and opened it.
Bobby was blinking and staring. “That was the coolest thing I've ever seen.”
“What happened to Mom and Dad?”
Bobby blinked again and shrugged. “They went out to dinner without us.”
Diana glared at him. “You weren't scared at all, were you?”
He held up a bag with golden arches on it. “They got our favorites, with extra fries. I was afraid... I might eat them all before you opened up.”
She let out a sound that was part scream and part growl, grabbing him by his faded rock concert T-shirt. “You're such a turd!”
“But I have friiiiies.”
“Give me that.” She grabbed the bag and walked into her room with Bobby following.
“Wow,” he said, closing the door. “I mean... you really have wings! And your eyes-”
Diana ignored him and set the food out on the small table. She grabbed some fries and chomped them while she opened her Filet-o-Fish(TM).
He sat down and grabbed a cheeseburger. “You tore your top. In the back. Where your wings were.” He somehow managed to smile as he bit down on the burger and chewed. That “I know something I'm not supposed to know” smile.
Diana sighed, her nerves tingling. “You know, you can't go telling people. You saw how Mom and Dad reacted; they don't even believe us. Anyone you tell will think you're nuts. And I'm not gonna show people to prove you're right either. I don't want to show anyone.”
“Yeah, but you can't lie. You said so yourself.”
“Doesn't mean I have to show people anything. I just can't deny it. So we'd both look like idiots.”
Bobby looked like he was deep in thought as they ate. When they were down to the last few fries and were slurping air from their shakes, he spoke again. “So how did you become a fairy?”
Diana shrugged and swallowed a swig of her strawberry shake. “I've always been this, I think. I just didn't know.”
“So what can you do? What are your super-powers?”
Diana laughed. “I don't know, weirdo. I'm still figuring it out.”
“Well, you can make stuff appear, and you can change how you look, and that's so cool. I mean, so cool. And you have wings, so I'm guessing you can fly-”
“I'm so not jumping off anything to test that.”
“Yeah, but it's dark outside. You could just take off from the ground and nobody would see. We could go into the vineyard. Could you make wings on me?”
She stared at him, agape. “How are you okay with all this? I mean, I'm freaking out here, and you're all excited.”
“I wish I had super-powers. Then I'd show Nelson Mitchell and his posse. They'd never see it coming. Can you make weapons? Swords? Knives? Armor? Guns? Ooooh! Can you become invisible? Read people's minds?”
“I think you should stay away from sugar for a few days. Seriously.”
“What about telekinesis?”
Diana buried her face in her hands and mumbled “How about I just muzzle you?”
“What are you laughing at!”
“We're gonna have so much fun!” He took her by the hand and pulled her to the door.
“Where are you going?”
“Just follow me!”
Diana let him drag her, protesting as they went down the stairs and out into the vineyard. When they had reached a spot far enough away from the lights of the B&B, he stopped. The leaves from the vines ruffled in the gentle breeze, dulling the rumble of the distant freeway.
“Are you gonna tell me why we're standing out in a dark vineyard now?”
His toothy grin reflected off the distant lights. “So you can try out your new wings.”
“Look, I'm not exactly sure how your mind is able to accept this better than mine. Do you even realize what this means?”
“Yeah. That I have the coolest sister in school.”
“That's just it, Bobby.” She sighed and pulled a grape off one of the vines. Had the cluster of fruit even been there a second ago? She wasn't sure, and decided she didn't care. “If I'm Fae and you're not, then I'm not really your sister.”
She watched him process that as she chewed the grape. It was amazingly sweet, just like she had imagined it would be. This had to be some elaborate nightmare. Either that, or she'd died in her sleep and this was hell. She thought about the milk commercial where there were all the cookies the man could eat, and he thought he was in heaven; but the milk was all gone in the fridge. Somehow, in some way, she expected a refrigerator with no milk to show up later. Not a literal one, she quickly amended in her thoughts.
Bobby shrugged. “So you're my adopted sister. Whatever. I can make your life miserable until you show me your wings.”
“Is that so?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.
His Cheshire-cat smile glowed from the lights at the B&B.
“You're not afraid I'll turn you into a toad or something?”
She shook her head and sighed, figuring that there were worse things in the world than having a pesky younger brother. “Fine. We'll try out the wings. But we go in as soon as Mom and Dad come home.”
“Yes!” Bobby pumped his fist.
Diana closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and blew it out as she imagined her Fae self again. This time she put her arms across her chest and held onto the side seams of her halter in case it ripped more; but the wings flew out through the existing rips. By the time she'd emptied her lungs, she was the creature again. She felt the change flow more naturally each time she did it.
“Wow,” Bobby said, stepping forward and reaching for a wing.
Diana stepped back. “Not so fast, Bobby-boy. You're gonna have to catch me first!”
They smiled together for a moment before Bobby leapt toward her.
Diana turned to run away and keep him from touching her. She fluttered her wings and was airborne a second later.
“Oh my God! I can fly!” Diana yelled down at Bobby as she soared up thirty feet into the air. For a second, she thought I can't believe this is happening!
The next thing she knew, she was plummeting to earth.
No! Believe! Believe! Diana's heart raced, and she frantically flapped her wings. She managed to slow her descent enough to land hard on her feet and fall to her knees.
“Are you okay? What happened?”
Diana stood and brushed herself off, smiling. “I guess I have a few kinks to work out on the whole flying thing.”
“If you're okay then I'm checking out those wings.” Bobby reached for them.
She jumped back. “Oh no you don't!” Bobby's laughter and hooting had her flying again in no time, and she dove at him.
He grabbed at her and missed as she darted back up and around, then landed in the next row of vines.
They both laughed like fools before Bobby started chasing her again. She ran and flew up, soaring around him and landing.
They spent the next hour laughing and chasing each other through the vineyard. Diana gave in to the temptation to lose herself in their play. She needed this, and the more she played with Bobby, the more she realized how much she missed him since being shipped off to the boarding school. They chased each other and played tag just like the old days.
Except for the flying part.
(Continue to Chapter 7)
(Continue to Chapter 7)