I slip into the classroom, unbeknownst by the other students in my class, Magic 101. Everyone inside wears a plain gray bodysuit that hides the identities of all students. My teacher is the only one who shows her face. She’s a beautiful human-sized fairy with fiery hair and lace wings that flutter as she enters.
“We will begin with the art of healing. Anyone want to give it a try?” my teacher, GingerBell, says in a sing-songy voice.
No one speaks.
“Alright then, how about… hm… 13125. Come up here and show us how it’s done.”
Sweat slicks my forehead at the mention of my number.
“In front of the entire class?” I stammer. I hate the sound of the monotone voice everyone hears courtesy of the voice modulator in the suit.
She sighs. “Yes, ShyBug, in front of the class.” All eyes fix on me, at least I assume. They’re all hidden behind goofy goggles.
I take a deep breath. They don’t know who you are, May, relax. They won’t until tomorrow when you pass the final exam. Correction, if you pass the final exam. Maybe, I should fail on purpose, I mean, so what? Sure, it’s a HUGE honor being a certified Magic and all, but if it means showing who I really am, is it worth it?
“Sometime today, 13125,” GingerBell says.
I scoot my chair back and walk through the rows of desks to the front. Eyes, so many eyes. I quiver. GingerBell snaps her fingers and conjures a table. Sitting atop it is an injured yellow frog with pink spots who spazzes out like the poor creature is having a heart attack.
“Heal it,” she commands. One look at the blood and guts leaking from the frog's abdomen and I hurl inside the suit. Laughter fills the room and I feel my cheeks grow hot.
“That’s quite enough, class,” GingerBell says. “13125, go wash up.”
I dash out of the room and down the hall to the bathroom. Before I reach my destination, I spot my crush standing in the hall by his locker. Despite my strict class rules, no one out here wears the dreadful costumes. They’re non-magics busying themselves with ordinary highschool lives.
A tall boy with brown hair and vibrant green eyes that radiate emotion slams his locker and stares at me. I stop in the hallway. What do I do? Will he smell the vomit drenching me? What if he recognizes me? No, that's impossible. We’ve never spoken before and I’m sure he doesn’t know I exist.
“How did you get out of class, Magic?” he asks me. The word “Magic” is how they refer to us. I freeze. He’s talking to me? ME? I panic, smoothing back my hair and realizing I’m in a bodysuit and he can’t see me.
“I-I’m not supposed to talk to non-magics,” I say. “It’s a rule.” I rush past him.
I turn around. How can I ignore a request from my crush?
“I’m on the dance committee and I want an opinion from a Magic. We want to do a space theme. What do you think?”
He values MY opinion? Flutters leave me speechless and my pink cheeks leave me thankful I’m hidden in the suit. What should I say that will make him know I love the theme? That sounds like an awesome idea, Oliver, but not as awesome as your hair. No. Your idea is as dreamy as your eyes. Still no. Nothing I say will sound right!
“Well… ” he says.
“Uh… I think it sounds… it sounds—” I can feel the bile running down my front and the stench makes me barf again. His face is a sheet of disappointment and dejection. I scream inside. I want to tell him it’s all a misunderstanding and I do LOVE his idea, but I run to the bathroom instead.
By the time I’m cleaned up and all my tears have stopped falling, the bell rings. I’m grateful to take off the suit inside a bathroom stall and change into my regular school clothes. I walk out of the bathroom and realize I left my backpack inside the Magic 101 room. Ugh… I could kick myself right now. Going into one of the “Magics only” rooms is forbidden for ordinary students and right now, I classify as an ordinary student. I can’t retrieve my backpack unless I put on the suit again.
“Your name is May, right?”
I almost jump out of my skin, if that were possible. My eyes bulge from my head and I freeze right there in the hallway. My mouth refuses to function. Same with my legs. Standing outside the girl’s bathroom is Oliver. I run my fingers through my hair. This time I don’t have the body suit to hide my blush. How long has he been standing there? Does he know I’m the Magic who walked into the bathroom? It’s forbidden for non-magics to recognize Magics before the certification test. Adults are afraid younger Magics may be subject to kidnappings if discovered before their magic fully develops for them to protect themselves.
Nervously, I fidget with the bracelet around my wrist. Non-magics don’t know it, but all Magics wear gadgets to hide their true appearance. If I took off the bracelet, my wings would appear, but for now, I look like any normal human.
“Hello! Somebody home?” Oliver waves his hand in front of my face.
“Hi,” I say.
“Can I show you something?”
“Uh… I really should get to class.”
“Please!” His jade green eyes sparkle and I can’t refuse.
“Okay,” I say.
He leads me into the gymnasium set up for tomorrow’s dance. Why did he ask me about the space theme if it’s already finalized? I follow him into a storage closet where the sports equipment is hiding. There’s nothing here of importance. I mean to ask him why we’re here, but my courage slips away.
“That’s a pretty bracelet. I’m surprised it’s not worn.”
I look down at the lavender bracelet with which my fingers are still fidgeting.
“Thanks,” I say. My cheeks grow even hotter.
“I know your secret.”
“You do?” I want to curl up in a ball and hide behind the desk, but I’m frozen in place.
“You’re a Magic.”
“No, that’s crazy!” I laugh. “ I’m just an average teenage… person… human.” The last word gives me away. Inward facepalm.
“So what are you? A vampire? A fairy? A dragon? A unicorn? A mermaid?”
“So you’re some kind of centaur or satyr or something? Wait, you aren’t a goblin are you?”
“I’m not a Magic!”
He looks into my eyes and his gaze stuns me long enough for him to grab my wrist and slip off my bracelet. I gasp. Butterfly wings sprout from my back and I stare at the floor in embarrassment. Butterfly wings are unheard of among fairies and usually mocked. I feel tears coming and I blink them away. I’ve already embarrassed myself in front of him enough and I can’t add crying to the list.
“Ah, a fairy, the most magic of all creatures.”
I don’t have the heart to tell him my other oddity. Magic never came easy for me and my parents always said it would work itself out eventually, but it never has. I’m a magical creature without magic.
“You can’t tell!” I say, reaching for my bracelet. He hands it back to me, but doesn’t let me leave.
“You have the most beautiful fairy wings I’ve ever seen! The Monarch coloring compliments your blue eyes.”
He just gave ME a compliment, the cutest guy in school. My head spins and my feet fail me.
The next moment I’m in his arms, massaging a killer headache. His face is close to mine.
“Are you okay? You just passed out. You hit your head on the desk when you fell.”
“I think I have a concussion,” I say.
“Here.” He places his hand on my head and shuts his eyes. My burning headache cools and my body relaxes. When his touch leaves my head, everything feels normal again, no headache and my brain is clear as before.
“You’re a Magic too!” I say.
He shakes his head. “I wish.”
“But you healed me with magic.” I shoot him a confused look.
He lowers his head as if ashamed. “I’m a human who can do magic.”
“Yeah, it should be. My mom is a fairy and my dad is human.”
I think back to my predicament, the secret I’ve never told anyone. What would Oliver think of a fairy who can’t do magic? I feel connected to him in some way. We’re both two oddities in the world, different from others in strange ways.
I look over at him with serenity preparing to release the tension weighing on my shoulders. Maybe he, of all people, will understand me. If I open the void of fears and doubts, maybe I can be myself with him. I take a deep breath and let out my insecurities.
“Can you keep a secret?”
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