Chapter Five: Jasmine

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The city centre was heaving with people when Caleb and I reached it. Everyone was in high spirits, decorating the streets with dazzling silver banners and sprinkling confetti over the floor so that it glimmered. The vibrant atmosphere was echoed by the music pulsing out of the loud speakers, a shocking contrast to the slow, calm melodies that usually drifted through the city.

"Hey, Jazz, how's Brae?" Devon danced over to me holding an armful of shimmering streamers. She was always the first one to get into the party spirit.

"He seems great, happy to be home though."

"He'll be even happier once he sees what a sparkling party we've put together for him!"

"He's going to love it!"

"How could he not? I'm organising it after all," she laughed happily. "Hey! You can't put that down there! The tables are on the other side of the fountain - are you blind? This is where everyone's going to dance!" She quickly hurried off to pester a flustered looking boy with bright green eyes.

"Sorry, Devon. It was getting kind of full up over there, so I thought..."

"Don't think! Just do!"

"Hey, Brody," I called over to him, waving. He nodded in response then went back to trying to pacify Devon, before she got too annoyed with him. Laughing, I carried on weaving my way through the crowds of people, hurrying to catch up with Caleb, who had gone ahead without me when I stopped to talk to Devon. It didn't take me long to find him again; he had barely made it out of the crowd and onto 5th street, where our house was.

I had lived with Caleb for as long as I could remember. No one knew exactly where I came from originally. One of the members of Caleb's congregation had gone down to his boat one morning to find me tucked up in a basket inside of it. More than a little confused, he brought me to Caleb, who decided to take me in until a "more suitable home" could be found. One never had been and, after I started sleeping through the nights, he decided that he didn't mind having me around. So with him I had stayed. Caleb had been best friends with King Zephyrus since they were children and I had ended spending a lot of time at the palace growing up, which is how I had become close friends with Brae.

When we got to the front door, I rang the bell and waited for Noni to come open it. I had a key, but Noni didn't like it when we let ourselves in. Her hearing wasn't brilliant and it made her jump if she suddenly heard someone walk into the kitchen. A few seconds later and the door opened to reveal her round, beaming face.

"You look cold! Come in quick, into the warm." She ushered us both inside and made us sit down in the living room while she went to get hot drinks. She didn't really need to fuss: I always felt cold when I went outside, even in the middle of summer. According to Brae, my olive toned skin made me look more as though I should always be warm, but this was never the case. I don't think that Caleb was cold at all, but he enjoyed being fussed over. He spent the rest of his life having to worry about everyone else, so it was nice for him to come home and have someone worry about him.

"Brae seemed pleased to be back," Caleb said once we were alone.

"He did, didn't he and he'll be even happier tonight, once he's seen Devon's party. It really is sparkling."

"That girl is a law unto herself. She'd paint the whole town with glitter if we let her," Caleb said, grumbling slightly as usual and I laughed.

"She's not that bad! She just likes to make sure everyone has as much fun as possible. Where's the harm in that?"

Caleb pulled a face but didn't answer as Noni re-entered carrying a tray of steaming drinks. She handed ours to us and then sat down in her chair, smiling. Noni was always happy. She saw the good in everything and kept us all in high spirits, no matter what was happening. Caleb and I were very lucky to have her around.

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