Heather sat on the bed opposite Diana, waiting patiently in the tiny dorm room. Diana's roomie Tanya hadn't wanted to leave; but when she got a mysterious text about a party down the hall, she couldn't leave fast enough.
Diana felt a twinge of guilt about the text as she sat Indian-style on her bed and shook out her hands. She cocked her head from side to side, stretching her neck.
“What are you doing? It's not like the Olympics or something.”
Diana glared at Heather. “Says the armchair quarterback.”
Heather shrugged. “Are you ready, or what?”
Diana settled herself, and lowered her head. She stared at her hands and pinched her face as she focused as hard as she could. She took a deep breath and let it out. “Ready.”
“Finally. Okay. Here goes.”
“Just say it already!”
“You don't have to get all pissy. You made me wait.”
“Heather, I swear, if you don't-”
“Sharon... Mary... Elizabeth... Dulcet... Vaughn.”
Diana felt the magic flow and she tried as hard as she could to hold it back. She focused her thoughts. Diana Jean Morgan. Diana... It was no use. The magic flowed past her grasp. She stared at her claws. “Damn it!”
“It's the power of your true name,” Heather said, biting into a chocolate chip cookie from Tanya's stash. “So it's really hard to keep your Glamour up when someone knows it, huh?”
Diana focused for a minute until the magic flowed and she was her old self again. She leaned over and grabbed a cookie. “Yeah. I can't have some random person outing me. I need to figure out a way to keep that from happening.”
“Maybe an enchanted item? We use totems to help with spells. Maybe you could enchant something with Fae magics to hold your Glamour even if you can't concentrate on it.”
Diana snorted. “Like I'd have a clue how to do that.”
Heather sighed. “I don't know. It might sound crazy.”
“No, I'm ready for anything.”
“Maybe you can weave another Glamour as your old one is dispelled. Like envision that everyone sees you as your old self until you can fix it.”
Diana pondered it for a second. “Okay, let's try.”
They spent the next half-hour with each repeating Diana's true name, and Diana working on her Glamour. By the time Tanya barged back in, Heather was reporting that she only saw a glimmer sweep over Diana for a fraction of a second.
Diana was frowning. It wouldn't be enough.
“Hey! Those are my cookies, bitches!” Tanya ran over and grabbed the package, looking at the six that were left. She glared at Diana. “I can't believe you ate all my cookies!”
“There's six left,” Heather said, her mouth full of cookie.
“How was the party?” Diana asked, trying to distract Tanya.
Tanya glared at Heather until the witch got up and moved to Diana's bed. Then she sat down and took out a cookie. “It was a hoax. Someone playing tricks. A couple dozen girls got the text. So we decided to schedule a real party next week.”
“Did Brit or Carmen get the text?” Diana asked, as innocently as she could.
“No, just me. So what are you up to tonight?”
Diana shrugged. “Heather and I were just chatting about magic. Imagine how cool it would be if you could just snap your fingers and have all your homework done for the year.”
“Oh, that would be cool” Tanya said, flicking her blond hair and biting into a cookie. “I'd become a famous movie star and have my own private island.”
They spent the next hour chatting and daydreaming, until the dorm monitors called lights out.
“I'll see you tomorrow,” Heather said, getting up to leave.
Tanya closed the door behind Heather and turned back to Diana. “So what is it with you and Heather now? It feels like you're deserting the Fierce Four.”
Diana got up and grabbed her nightshirt. “Heather and I have a lot in common.”
Diana searched for something to say that wouldn't be a lie. “We have similar parental issues.” She hoped that would be enough to satisfy Tanya, and closed the bathroom door to change. When she came back out, Tanya was busy texting on her phone.
“Brit and Carmen say Hi, and to turn your phone on.”
Diana stretched out on her bed and opened her phone. She scrolled through the texts about the mystery party and the upcoming party and who was saying what about whom. She scrolled through message after message and got caught up in yet another weekly mundane drama.
They spent the next hour texting and chatting. Diana got lost in the infectious hijinks of random funny video links and teasing wars. She tried to forget how different she'd become, and just blend. Guilt ate away at her good feelings, until she had to put up her phone. The thought of the real Diana in Scotland, slaving away for the Fae was infuriating. Especially while Diana the Fae changeling enjoyed the luxurious heritage Diana the human deserved.
Things would be changing.
Diana stared at the ceiling, not wanting to give up her life here; but she had to face the fact that it was based on a lie. She wasn't the person everyone thought she was. She wasn't even who she thought she was; and she'd have to hide her true nature for the rest of her life.
She needed to go to Scotland and rescue the “real” Diana. There was no doubt about that. But then what? What would she do when they got back here? How would she fit in?
The next day, she and Heather lingered in English class until everyone had left. Diana used a little magic to cloak them from the teacher and they had the room to themselves.
“Sharon Mary Elizabeth Dulcet Vaughn,” Heather said as soon as the door closed.
Diana gritted her teeth as she worked the magic to avoid showing her Fae self, before changing back. She made the expression look like a smile.
“Impressive. I didn't even see a glimmer that time.”
“I'm going to need to create an identity for Sharon Vaughn. I've been thinking; and when I rescue Diana and bring her back, I can't still be her.”
“But you'll have to look human.”
Diana took out the sketch pad she used for art class and turned to a blank page. She waved her hand over it and focused on a mental picture. A second later, the image of a blond girl with emerald green eyes appeared on the page as though she'd sketched it with colored pencil.
Heather stared at the page. “Who is she?”
“Nobody. Me. I just made her up in my mind.”
“A Blonde? I mean, you'd be hot, but you're going blonde?”
Diana focused, creating the image in her mind. She closed her eyes and made Sharon Vaughn, human person, come to life. All her school records, history, everything, basically a carbon copy of her history as Diana Jean Morgan. A moment later, she opened her eyes and saw blonde hair in her peripheral vision.
“So call me Sharon Vaughn from now on, okay? As far as the world knows, Diana went to visit sick relatives in Scotland.”
“And you're going to get her?”
Sharon thought about it, and decided that there was no reason to put it off. “I'm going to catch the next flight out.”
“I want to go with you.”
Sharon stared at Heather, wondering how she'd gotten so lucky to have such a loyal friend. She thought about the Fae holding Diana, and what they might be capable of. “It's too dangerous.”
“Do you know a spell to find something?”
Sharon pursed her lips. “You know I don't.”
“Then I'm going.”
“No, you're not.”
Sharon looked out the window of the airplane as she tried not to think about all the close calls she'd had so far in the day. The metal detector had gone off when she'd gone through, for some reason. She had nothing metal on her, having removed her shoes and belt and everything, so she guessed it had something to do with her magic.
Next time she'd have to magic her way around them.
The security people had wanted to give her a pat-down, but it had been easy enough to make everyone believe they had without actually touching her.
Then there was the steel boarding ramp airway from the gate, which had tested her focus to the limit. And now, she was surrounded by a cramped sardine can of humanity. At least the airplane wasn't made of steel. And the seat next to her had been vacant in the reservation system.
She began to worry about her parents and how they'd get along with the real Diana. Maybe she could smooth that over with magic too. She couldn't exactly explain it to them. Oh God. What about Bobby? She'd have to stay friends with him. Maybe she could arrange to visit for all the holidays.
That train of thought derailed when she felt someone sit down next to her. She didn't want to turn away from the window and look, thinking that if she didn't acknowledge the person, that maybe she could ignore them. Then she worried that she could somehow snuff someone out of existence by believing them away. She sighed and turned to her neighbor for the eleven hour flight.
Heather smiled at her. “Told ya I was going.”
(go to chapter 12)
(go to chapter 12)