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Friday, October 16, 2015

Wish - Chapter I

I

I expect you both to be on your best behavior while I'm gone!”
We will!” The brother and sister promised their father.
That means no parties! If the neighbors so much as suspect you're having a party, they will call me and I'll come back and ground your butts!” Their father warned.
Yes dad,” both replied with a tone of frustration that he didn't seem to trust them.
Good,” he stated, giving each one a last hug and kiss before leaving on his week long business trip.
Thomas and Sarita looked at each other as if trying to figure out what the other was thinking. Thomas crossed his arms and frowned at his 12 year old sister. It already felt like a pain in his butt that he was considered responsible for her.
I may be more or less in charge while dad is gone, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to nag you about doing your homework! Do it on your own or fail; see if I care,” Thomas huffed.
Sarita laughed and flapped her hand at her 16 year old brother as if waving away his statement. “I never do my homework, so don't worry about that!”
He narrowed his eyes at her in dis-appreciation. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
Probably not!” Sarita stated with a shrug. “If you need me, I'll be in my room.”
Good, and do your homework while you're in there!” He called after her, ignoring when she muttered: Probably not. “And don't bug me when Ianto gets here. Unlike you, we plan to study.”
Sarita stopped abruptly, turned to look at her brother with an expression that clearly told him that she was happy that Ianto was coming over. Then she quickly changed her expression to one of blank disinterest. She shrugged again, then walked into the kitchen.
Hey! I thought you were going to your room!” Thomas shouted after her before checking out the window to see if Ianto was on his way yet.
I am, I just want to grab a snack first!” Sarita called out to him from the kitchen.
Right...” Thomas muttered softly, scoffing. He knew one thing more certainly than anything else about his sister: no matter how much she acted like a normal girl in front of him, she was a complete push over when it came to everyone else. Around others, she seemed to be very shy and eager to do as asked. It frankly worried him to no end!
In the kitchen, Sarita quickly dug around in the cupboards until she had gathered up all the ingredients she'd need. In the background, the door shut with a sound that shouldn't have been heard from the kitchen, but it sent a thrill straight to her heart. She stopped what she was doing, closed her eyes, and focused completely on her brother's best friend.
Ianto was as cheerful as ever, chatting with Thomas as they went to Thomas' bedroom. The two discussed their various classes, lamented the fact that they had a big math test and a history test on the same day, and then complained about having to pull an all-nighter. Their conversation faded as Thomas' bedroom door shut behind them.
Hmm...” Sarita murmured softly to herself as she opened her eyes. “Strawberry Shortcake...”
In a matter of minutes, she whipped together a batter to be baked in special dishes so that each palm sized cake would end up a certain shape. While the cakes were baking, she prepared a strawberry compote from frozen organic berries, and then set some heavy whipping cream and honey in a professional mixer to be turned into whipped cream.
Very soon, the kitchen smelled heavenly!
Sadly, Sarita had to practice her patience as she waited for the Shortcakes to cool just enough that they wouldn't melt the whipped cream outright. As she waited, she decided to make some of her favorite green tea – enough for everyone. Finally, everything was ready and set on a tray.
Carrying the tray carefully, Sarita knocked on her brother's door. His room was across the hall from hers, which made them seem close, but actually, the hall was pretty wide and there was a lot of space between the rooms. They were the only rooms in this part of the house, and so had plenty of privacy. Not that that was entirely necessary. It just made it easier when they had loud projects to work on, such as piano practice.
I told you not to bug us!” Thomas growled as he opened his door. Then he saw the tray she carried and shook his head as if thinking: I knew it! “On second thought, come in a minute.”
Ianto laughed silently when he saw the tray she carried. He knew that such a treat was actually one of the few reasons that Thomas would let her into his room when they were busy studying. With a big grin, he complimented his best friend's little sister.
That smells so good!”
Thank you,” Sarita nearly whispered, looking away from him with a pleased blush. She set a plate with two Shortcakes in front of Ianto, another plate with two Shortcakes in front of her brother, and then set a cup of tea next to each plate. “I just thought that a good snack would help you study better,” she informed them so softly that it was almost hard to hear her.
Yep, this should do it!” Thomas stated with a wry smile.
Thank you,” Ianto added with a more genuine smile.
Sarita quietly left the room, shutting the door and rushing into her own bedroom so that she could set the tray down and jump on her bed and squeal into her pillow. Her own cake and tea could wait a minute! It was far more important to bask in the wonderful feeling of bravery she felt for having the courage to do something nice for the boy she really really liked!
Making him happy makes me so happy that I could just cry!” She shouted in a whisper as she rolled over and over on her bed with her pillow over her face to muffle the weird sounds coming out of her mouth.
That's because it's a large part of who you are,” a strange voice stated. It sounded like it was suppressing an amused laugh.
Sarita gasped and fell off her bed. “Who's there?!”
A look around showed no one. She even looked under her bed and in her closet before shaking off the creeped out feeling and sitting at the table where she'd set her cake. “I must have imagined it...”
Nope,” the voice stated. “I'm real, I just can't show myself to you until midnight three days from now.”
Huh? What? Who are you? Where are you?!” Sarita asked, searching her room again.
I'm your familiar,” the voice explained. “You'll get to choose the form I take, but until then, I can't show myself to you. I'm only here because you're already awakening.”
Huh?” Sarita wondered, scratching her head as she turned circles in her room. “What are you talking about?”
Your birthday... when you turn 13... You still have three days, so take that time to decide what form you want me to take.”
Familiar??? What's that?”
Look it up if you need an explanation,” the voice suggested with a tone of barely concealed ire. “Sheesh! They didn't even explain that much to you!”
Who didn't explain what?!” Sarita demanded, starting to feel angry with this disembodied voice.
Your parents,” the voice stated impatiently. “They should have told you everything by now.”
Well my father is currently on a business trip and my mother is dead,” Sarita explained a bit defensively.
There was a pause, and then the voice asked: “How long has your mother been dead?”
Since I was three,” Sarita stated with a shrug. “She was a model out doing a photoshoot on the ocean, but there was an accident, and she drowned.”
Is it possible that your father didn't know?” The voice asked itself with a sigh. “Well, I suppose he might not have known. That would explain why he didn't tell you anything. Sarita... you have magic...”
I have what?” Sarita asked, tempted to clean out her ears because she can't have heard that right. “You mean... like a witch?”
You can call yourself that if you want, but I suppose that technically, you're not a witch. Witches do good by healing people and casting spells for love, luck, or money. You – on the other hand – are more like a... gift to the world...” The voice faltered, not sure how to explain this properly.
A gift to the world?!” Sarita blurted out incredulously.
In your line, inherited from your mother, is a power that has been around for a very long time. You are a force of good. Well... as your familiar, I hope you'll be a force of good, but in actuality, your power is simply that; power. It's intended to help people, and you by nature come from a long line of good women who are compelled to help others, but you can choose to ignore your power and do bad things.”
Sarita stared at her reflection in a mirror in shock for a moment. Her mouth literally hung open. “What do you mean I can choose to be bad?!” This concept was utterly foreign to her!
You could! It's just that it's in your nature to help others, so I am pretty sure that you won't. It's the driving force of your power, after all...”
What is?” Sarita wondered curiously. Part of her wondered if she was actually going crazy.
The need to help others. It's almost a compulsion, really. Your power is the ability to grant wishes...” the voice explained.
Like... like a genie...?” Sarita asked in an excited whisper. I Dream of Jeannie had always been her favorite show!
That's a more accurate description of your power than witch is, but still not exact. You're not bound to any object, nor are you cursed or expected to serve a master. You are not actually limited to three wishes, but – as you'll find – giving any one person more than a single wish will probably create chaos and disaster.”
I really think I must be dreaming...” Sarita murmured to herself, not sure whether she should go to bed and try to wake up, or sit at the table again and finally eat her handmade Strawberry Shortcake.
Before she could make a decision, there was a knock at her door. It opened a moment later just enough to let her brother poke his head in. He frowned at her curiously for a moment, then shook his head and shrugged.
Not that I'm hungry yet, but I'm going to order pizzas for dinner tonight. What toppings do you want?” Thomas asked.
Are you planning to order from Jenna's Organic Pizzeria?” Sarita questioned.
Of course!” Thomas exclaimed with a tone that she was being stupid. It was his favorite pizza place too!
Well, in that case, I'd like the chicken bacon ranch pizza,” Sarita stated with a smile.
Okay,” Thomas agreed. “I'm going to get an all meat for me, and an everything but the kitchen sink pizza for Ianto. We can all share and have plenty of leftovers.”
Sounds good!” Sarita agreed with a dreamy expression. I'm going to get to eat a slice of Ianto's pizza! I wonder if I can get him to take a bite of it first and have a sort of indirect kiss...
Thomas shook his head at her silliness, and then frowned again. “Hey... were you on the phone or something?”
Uh... no. Just talking to myself,” Sarita lied, not entirely sure what she could say. She didn't think her brother would believe her. Unfortunately, she was a terrible liar, and so her brother didn't believe her anyway.
Whatever...” he stated in annoyance, and then returned to his room.
Ianto chuckled at his expression. “I swear, you care more about your sister than anyone else in the whole world!”
Thomas rolled his eyes, and then shrugged. “That's because it seems like I am the only person she can truly be herself around ever since our mom died. I mean, she's more or less normal around dad too, but kind of a bit too much of a good girl. If I didn't tease her and make her mad from time to time, I'd think that she was some sort of robot programmed to be super nice to everyone without regard for her own happiness.”
Ah... so maybe that explains why she's always making treats for me when I come over,” Ianto stated with a tone of sudden clarity.
Thomas chuckled wryly. “Well... I think she actually likes you. You know what? That's rather perfect! I trust you...”
Wait... What are you talking about?” Ianto wondered, scratching his head in confusion.
I think you should ask her out,” Thomas stated firmly. “She's getting to that age where girls start falling in love with every boy they see, and boys are about a year behind in that department. If you asked her out, she can devote all that lovey dovey attention to you, and I won't have to worry that she'll be too shy to say no to all the other boys when they inevitably notice her and want to mess around.”
Ianto laughed again. “But it's 2015! Girls are allowed to make their own decisions these days. What if she doesn't want to say no to all the other boys?”
Don't say that! Saying that means that you don't understand at all!” Thomas roared in frustration. “I am not against her doing something if she decides to – you know, when the time comes – I'm against her doing something she doesn't want to because she can't say no. It's like a serious character flaw!”
Oh...” Ianto murmured, actually understanding what Thomas was talking about for the first time. “I get it. So you want me to date her because I won't, wait, what if I do?”
It was Thomas' turn to be confused. “Do what?”
What if I decide that your little sister is just too cute for her own good and talk her into doing things?” Ianto asked a bit slyly.
Then I'll kill you and bury in the backyard,” Thomas stated as if this was the only possible option. “But I am not worried about that. I am pretty sure you are a decent guy.”
Ianto laughed. “Well thanks... I think.”
Thomas rolled his eyes again.
Are you sure you want me to be Sarita's boyfriend?” Ianto asked with an expression of disbelief. “I really won't mess with her, but if I am going to be anyone's boyfriend, then I'm going to try to do it right. And by that I mean dates and holding hands and lovey dovey stuff like that.”
Thomas nodded and sighed in relief. “Yes, that exactly. Give her something to focus her lovey dovey attention on so that she has a very good reason to refuse pressure from other guys.”
Ianto opened his mouth to argue, but nothing came out. Closing it after a second, he took a deep breath. “Okay fine. I'll ask her out, but I want you to know that I really do find her cute, so I am not doing this because you told me to, but because I actually like her.”
You do?!” Thomas asked, floored by this information.
Ianto laughed with a shrug. “How could I not?! She's always staring at me with an expression of admiration, she makes me delicious treats, and she's just freakin' adorable!”
Thomas grumbled and looked away.
But don't worry,” Ianto hastily assured him. “I'm not planning to lay a hand on her until she older!”
Good!” Thomas harrumphed, feeling like an old man at the moment.
So... What do you think? Should I take her to a movie or out to lunch?” Ianto wondered, looking to the ceiling as he thought the possibilities over.
Nah, she loves going to those little fairs,” Thomas stated. “It's kind of stupid really; the rides suck, the food sucks, and everything is way too expensive, but she loves them anyway.”
You mean those little fairs that show up randomly in mall parking lots?” Ianto asked curiously.
Yep,” Thomas confirmed.
That's great!” Ianto exclaimed. “There's going to be one not too far from here this weekend. Hang on, I'll be right back, and then we can get back to studying.”
Thomas sighed in reluctant acceptance. “Just remember, if you ever hurt her...”
Yeah, I know!” Ianto stated with a laugh. He quickly crossed the hall, took a deep breath, and then knocked on the door to Sarita's bedroom. The things I get myself into!
Sarita was confused when the door didn't open a moment later, so it took her a few seconds of staring at it before she realized that her brother wasn't going to just burst in. She whispered under her breath: “Strange...”
Come in?” She called out just a bit louder, still confused. “Did the pizza get here already?”
Ianto opened the door. He looked embarrassed for some reason, rubbing the back of his neck. Sarita blushed, extremely happy to see him.
Do... Do you want me to make more Shortcake?” She asked, not sure what else he could possibly want.
There's this fair thing by my house this weekend, and I was wondering if you wanted to go with me?” Ianto informed her with a blush, and then rushed to fill her shocked silence. “I mean that I was planning to go anyway and I thought you might like to go. I don't know, maybe it's silly! I'll just go now...”
Wait!” Sarita cried out in a near whisper. “I uh... I'd love to go!” Her voice was very soft and dreamy, not much more than a whisper, but it was enough for him to hear her.
Really?” Ianto asked, just in case she was having doubts after all.
Really,” Sarita stated, a bit more firmly. Happiness bubbled up inside her until she just couldn't contain it any longer. She flung her arms around him and hugged him tight. “Thank you so much for inviting me!”
Ianto returned her hug, feeling strangely relieved that the first time he had ever asked a person out ended up so well. Impulsively, he took the chain from around his neck. “See this charm?”
Sarita stepped back so that she could get a better look at it. It was a rather manly but thin gold chain with a charm that in bold cursive said: Ianto.
I've had this necklace for years,” Ianto explained with a smile as he placed it around her neck. “How would you like to wear it until...”
Until?” Sarita asked, finding it strangely hard to breathe. She really wanted to run screaming through the house, call up her best friend, and then throw a loud party!
Until we break up?” Ianto replied uncertainly since her hadn't actually asked her to be his girlfriend.
Sarita was speechless for a few seconds until she realized that she was making a very strange noise. It was like a squeal that someone had turned the volume way down low on. She slapped a hand over her mouth and cleared her throat several times until she could talk again. Only she couldn't! In desperation to communicate somehow, she moved her hand from her mouth to around the charm, and then nodded profusely.
Awesome!” Ianto cheered with a grin. “I'll be here on Saturday afternoon to pick you up!”
Saturday... Sarita thought with a dreamy sigh.
Ianto returned to Thomas' room, shutting the door somewhat enthusiastically. “I'd say that went pretty well.”
Thomas laughed. “I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but I paced the room as I ordered the pizza and I saw a bit. I thought she was going to literally explode when you gave her your necklace!”
I did too,” Ianto murmured with a laugh. “I wish I had thought to get a picture of her just then. Her face was priceless!”
Thomas looked down, and then tossed his cellphone on his bed. “Hey, uh... I don't know if you knew this, but Saturday... that's her birthday...”
Oh!” Ianto exclaimed in understanding. “Crap! Now I need to figure out what to get her!”
Thomas laughed again. “Nah, don't worry so much. She'll just love it if you win her a stuffed animal or something at that fair.”
I think I can do that,” Ianto murmured.

Go To Chapter 2 

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