Chapter Two

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Chapter Two

"Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy biiiirthday, dear Brook-lyn." My parents paused for dramatic effect. "Happy birthday to you!"

They'd insisted on singing, even though I'd pointed out that I was sixteen now and entirely too old for such childish traditions. When they were finished, they both laughed at their inability to sing on key and looked at me expectantly as they waited for what came next. For the second time that day, I blew out my birthday candles, wishing for the same thing I always did: a different life.

"Brilliant, just brilliant," my mom said, clapping, when I'd blown them out. Mom watched a lot of British television and I think she wished she lived there. She thought the accent was so proper, and every once in a while she'd speak like the characters in her favorite shows. It used to bug me and Dad, but after a while we just sort of got used to it.

"I bet I know what you wished for," my dad said, wagging his finger at me like I was a child misbehaving. He did that all the time. It was like he was in denial about the fact that I was no longer a toddler. It probably stemmed from the fact that he'd always wanted another kid, but Mom had said she was done after it took her thirty-six hours of nonstop pain to have me. She'd said if Dad wanted another child, he'd have to push it out himself.

"Let's have some cake," Mom said, already slicing into the vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. No matter how many times I requested something different, like raspberry filling or double fudge, it was always vanilla. My parents said they didn't like riffraff in their cake.

And that pretty much summed up my family. Vanilla, hold the riffraff.

I waited as patiently as I could as my mom served us, my leg bouncing up and down anxiously below the table. After she handed me my piece, I practically inhaled it.

"Can we do it now?" I asked as I swallowed the last bit of cake.

"Patience, Brooklyn," my dad said as he chewed slowly. "Your mother and I haven't even finished our slices yet."

I held in an aggravated sigh and tried to remind myself that I'd waited sixteen years for what was about to happen, so a few more minutes wouldn't kill me. But it turned out to be the most excruciatingly long ten minutes of my life. And just when I thought I might explode, my parents pushed their plates away and sat back, finally full and happy.

"Here, let me get those," I said, jumping up and clearing the table.

"Well, we should unbind your powers more often." Mom chuckled, watching me go. "Maybe then I'd finally get you to do your chores."

"Sure. Yeah," I said, ignoring her tone. "Can we do it now?"

My parents looked at one another.

"Please?" I wanted to add, "You promised." But I didn't think whining would help my case, since I was trying to get them to see me as mature now.

My dad stood up and reached out his hand to help my mom up out of her chair. "Fine. But we'll need a few things," he said, walking into the living room. I followed after them like a puppy dog. "First, I need a bucket of water, a rose, cayenne pepper, peppermint oil, dirt from the backyard, a large candle, and a glass of milk."

"Got it," I said, disappearing at once to gather everything he mentioned. After several minutes of rummaging around the kitchen, I came back into the living room with my arms full. I placed each item on the coffee table, except for the bucket of water, which I put on the floor between us. My dad held the jar of dirt in his hands, which he'd been nice enough to retrieve for me. No girl should have to go digging around in the dirt, especially on her birthday.

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