|Moving Day in New England
Author: maudlinrose PM
New Salem, Massachusetts. To Nick, balance in life is important. Cars, magic, school (occasionally) and girls (but not since Cassie). But what happens when that balance is upset ? Selina Porter moves to town.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 3,526 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-18-02 - id: 919678
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own anything L.J. Smith wrote.
Fandom: Secret Circle.
Author's note: Funnily enough, the Secret Circle is the first fandom I ever really played around with. I created Selina back when I was about fourteen, and she is admittedly a bit of a Mary-Sue. Rather, a Mary-Sue full stop. But… her character is firmly entrenched in my head now, and I can't just change her for the sake of it. For those interested, I created her mainly because I didn't think Nick belonged with any of the Circle girls, hadn't discovered slash at that stage, and wanted him to be (sobs) happy. It didn't make sense to me that the SC are supposedly the only proper witches in the state, let alone the country, so Selina is the Maiden of a witching organization not entirely unlike that of the Night World books, minus all the vampires and shapeshifters. Her family moves to New Salem because… actually, there is no good reason. They just do. Jobs, I suppose. Strangely, they buy one of the empty houses, Number Three, Crowhaven Road. This is the third time I've tried to write this down, and the only attempt that's even vaguely working. Please let me know what you think.
On with the fic…
Moving Day in New England
Chapter One: Coffee
She hates it sometimes.
Hates all the power, and intellect, and beauty she's been blessed with. Hates the attention she gets at all of the fucking rituals and parties she presides over. Hates knowing that sometime, one day, she's going to have to take over the leadership of the Inner Circle from the Crone and be that Crone, herself.
But, then, her life wouldn't be anywhere near as fun, if she couldn't get most guys to fall all over her just by smiling. It wouldn't be nearly as easy, if she had to struggle her way through algebra and physics. It wouldn't be nearly as pleasant, if she wasn't couched from all the nuisances of life by being the Maiden, the leader, someone who does not do things but makes people do them for her.
These things have to be weighed into the equation.
She stares out the window of their nice, expensive, European sedan and watches the Massachusetts scenery drift by. She's squashed into the corner next to her sister, with her brother in the other back seat, behind their mother. A nice little nuclear family, this, with beautiful, smart triplets in their final year of high school. They're moving because Daddy dearest has got a job in New Salem, and Mother wants to experience small town life on the seaside before she dies.
She's going to miss their old town. She doesn't make friends easily – a decade of being told she has to rule has made her aloof and cold. But… at least she knew people there – relatives, mostly, witches, who didn't think that there was anything abnormal about celebrating the Solstice and knew what she was.
"Selina!" her sister hisses.
She turns her head, slowly. She does everything with grace – it was knocked into her by the very same people who taught her how to cast her first circle, and held her hair back when she vomited at her first sight of human remains. "Yes, Alice?"
"What are you thinking about? You went all… distant." They get on okay, for sisters. Alice had met her soulmate, Tyler, at the age of five. That effectively put an end to a lot of the sisterly rivalry crap most girls go through when they hit puberty.
"Oh, nothing. Moving. School. You and Tyler, a bit." She's good at lying. She's had a lot of practise.
"Yeah. Well, it's only for eight months. Then we go off to college."
That's weird. She would've thought Alice would be more upset about being away from Tyler. "But… won't you miss him?"
"I miss him whenever he's not around. And, let's face it, just because we're soulmates doesn't mean we can live in each other's pockets for the rest of our lives. I think this'll be good for us… a test, if you like." Oh. A test. It all makes sense now, in the world of Alice.
"Oh." There's nothing more to be said, really.
Her father takes a turn onto a narrow bridge. They've been stuck in the car for almost four hours now, without a break. She hopes they're almost there. "We're almost there, kids," her father says, "only fifteen minutes at the most, now."
Her first sight of the house is a shock. Oh, it's large enough; almost as big as the one they left behind. But… it's old, and unkempt, and doesn't look like it's been lived in for decades. She turns and raises her eyebrow at her father, who shrugs, looking defensive. "It was a bargain, okay? The realtor couldn't get rid of it fast enough. It has six bedrooms, a study, five baths, a full dining – what?"
"We've had this speech already. You even told us it was rustic. Rustic, you said. Rustic for me means cosy log cabins and thick porcelain plates, not this…" she waves hand in the direction of the house, looking sceptical.
It's a quiet street. It's the middle of the morning – they'd gotten up early to leave, and she supposes everybody is at work or school. God knows she'd rather be sitting quietly in history, rather than moving halfway across the state in the middle of her senior year.
The moving truck pulls up. The fun of unloading all their furnishings begins. The house came with a lot of ancient, dusty furniture – not her mother's style at all, but it fits this aging, rundown house perfectly. Her room is in the corner, overlooking the ocean. She thinks, quietly, that she'll enjoy the view in the evenings.
Nick knocks on the door of Number Three, Crowhaven Rd.
The coven wanted to meet the people who were brave enough to move to a road populated by witches. It was a given that they were out-of-towners, since no outsiders from New Salem would move there.
Cassie and Diana had volunteered to go and introduce themselves to the newcomers, but Faye had suggested and Deborah, Suzan and most of the others had concurred that some of the less friendly ones be the 'welcoming party' - a test as it were. Nick had been volunteered. He had tried to volunteer the twins, but they had claimed an essay that needed to be written, and gotten out of it. And Deborah and Faye had said that there was no way they were helping, so he was doing it.
He sighs and drops the hand that he'd just raised to knock, sensing the person on the other side of the door.
The door doesn't open for a minute, and he wonders if the other person is trying to catch him out the same way he would try to catch them, were their positions reversed. It opens, and his breath catches in his throat as he sees one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen in his life. She has long, black hair and dark blue eyes. He is silent, assessing her.
"Yes?" the woman - no, girl, she looks to be about his age - enquires. She is tall, and angular, standing stiff-backed in black trousers, white shirt, and a black cable-knit jumper. She looks directly at him, and a smirk plays about her mouth.
He doesn't know why the rest of the Circle thought that he should do this. He's never been any good at communicating with other people – he's spent most of his time thus far at Circle meetings smoking silently in corners. He supposes an introduction will do for starters. "Hi. I'm Nick. I live next door."
"Hello," the girl says. "I'm Selina."
"They sent me over here – the other kids in the street – to investigate," he blurts. "This house hasn't been lived in for almost seventeen years, now. Not since my… the owners died."
"I can tell," she says. "I mean, not about the owners dying, but about it being unoccupied." He thinks that maybe she's as flustered as he is – she doesn't look like the kind of girl who normally finds it necessary to clarify what she says. "Do you want to come in and investigate?" she asks.
He steps through the doorway and into a very dusty entry hall. There are cobwebs above his head, and the thin winter light coming through the window over the door shines through the dust hanging in the air. The clean up job on this place will take weeks.
"I'm a senior," he says abruptly. "How about you?"
"Senior. I'm a triplet, actually. James and Alice are around here somewhere."
He silently follows her down the hallway. She opens a door and they enter what is obviously intended to be a kitchen. Or, at least, there is a fridge and a stove, so he guesses that's what it's meant to be. It's hard to tell though – there are still boxes from floor to ceiling, and sitting on the bench tops. He's never moved in his life, and so this feels odd to him, like he's watching the creation of a home, or something. "So, what made you guys move to New Salem?"
She hunts through one of the open boxes. "Oh, you know. Daddy got a job here, and Mother… Mother insisted on moving rather than have him commute. Would you like a drink? I've found the coffee, and I know James went up to buy milk earlier."
"Yes, please," he says, "What does your father do?"
"You're really getting into this investigation, aren't you? He's a lawyer – he's joined Meade and Everson as a partner. It's Meade, Everson, and Porter now. Mother doesn't work – she socialises. Old money, you know? Alice is… was… a cheerleader, and James played basketball until last year, when he injured his knee. And me? I'm just… me, I think. How do you like it?"
"A lot," he starts, and blushes faintly when he realises she's talking about the coffee. "Oh, the coffee," he says, and she nods. "Um, milk, no sugar."
She smiles. He looks at her lips, then down further to her chest. She's not built, not like Faye or Suzan, but he thinks what she has is okay. A sharp cough distracts him from his thoughts, and he looks up. She's holding out a mug of coffee. "Sorry to disturb you… but, here's your coffee. Now what exactly do your… friends want to know?"
He thinks maybe she isn't so flustered anymore, now that he's gotten caught checking out her rack. "They didn't really specify," he says, and takes a sip of the coffee. It's good. "Mind if I smoke in here?"
"Go right ahead," she answers. "It's not like you'd be able to smell the difference. This house has really been let go. Shame, really."
It's obvious she's waiting for him to explain himself. He'll try. "This street… it's a real close community, y'know? And I guess they… we… just wanted to find out what you guys are like. I don't think anyone's moved into this street for a couple of generations, actually." More like since the original coven moved here, in the seventeenth century, but she doesn't need to know that.
"And they sent you?" She looks dubious, and rightly so. He's not exactly doing a good job investigating. "Why? What are the others like?"
"There're eleven of them. Adam, Diana, Faye, Suzan, Deborah, Melanie, Chris, Doug, and I are all seniors. Cassie, Laurel, and Sean are juniors. I guess you could say we're a tight group. Grew up together, all of us, except for Cassie. Adam and Cassie are dating. Chris and Doug are twins. I'm the odd one out, actually. Don't really know the others all that well."
"And they chose you for that reason, do you think?" She's up to something. He doesn't know how or why he knows that, but he does.
"No, I think it was mainly because I was the only one who didn't mind, and who wasn't one of the…"
"One of the what?" Fuck. He really shouldn't have said that. But she's not the type of girl to let it slide, so he may as well tell the truth.
"One of the nice ones. Cassie and Diana would have come, but you would've all ended up talking about fashion and school, or something."
She laughs. It's not a pleasant sound, but it sparks something inside of him that he'd never realised was there. He looks at her, then, and she looks at him, and they make eye contact, and he knows. She is his. He is hers. They are one.
He thinks he's going to vomit. She looks vaguely distressed as well, like she's just thought of something that she doesn't really like. She closes her eyes, briefly, and when her lashes flutter open he can't see anything reflected in them. But he knows what he felt, and he has to go. "Look, I can tell you don't…"
"I'm sorry," she says, and it's such an odd phrase, coming from her, that he closes his mouth. "I shouldn't have laughed at your friends. I'm sure they're very nice people."
"That's not it," he finds himself saying, "And you know it."
"No," she sighs, "It isn't. Fuck. Um, I guess we should talk?" She sounds unsure.
"Don't fuck around with this," he says, hoping that someone will come in and interrupt what is turning into the most intense moment of his life.
"I'm not!" she snaps. "Look. Nick. I don't know what this is, and I don't like it much, and we need to talk about it. Because if we don't talk soon I'm just going to leap on you and hope for the best, and that is so not like me I don't know what to do."
It's strange. When he was dating Cassie, he found himself constantly wanting to comfort her, and protect her from things that go bump in the night. He doesn't feel that for this girl, not at all. "I should get back, report to the others. Do you… I could come back maybe, after dinner?"
"I'm supposed to go to school tomorrow. Maybe you could pick me up?" Fine. Whatever.
"I'll be by at 7.40 in the morning. What about your siblings?"
"They can make their own way. We have a car." She knows what this is, he realises, and wonders how. He walks up to her, and touches her bottom lip briefly before leaving through the kitchen door.
He wonders what he's going to say to the Circle.
She watches him go but doesn't say anything, because there isn't anything to say. Her sister enters the room. "Who was that?" she asks.
"The boy next door. Nick. His friends sent him over to investigate." There's an awful taste in her mouth. She gulps her coffee and wonders how this happened.
"Did he say something awful to you? That's not like most guys…. You look upset, though."
"He's my soulmate." Funny, how it didn't sound so bad in her mind when she was thinking it a second ago, but out loud it sounds terrible, and creates this awful, awful silence.
"Are you sure?" Alice asks, timidly. "Because…"
"Alice. I am the Maiden. I know these things." And it feels so good to say that, bring the conversation back onto normal ground. Because if there is one thing she knows it is magic.
"Is he good looking?" Typical Alice. Typical blonde, cheerleader Alice, who thinks of such things when other people would think about all of the other implications.
"Subjectively, he's alright, I suppose. Objectively, he could model for Calvin Klein."
"You know, most soulmates would put it the other way around."
"He's an outsider. At least, I think he's an outsider. I may have caught something, just before I opened the door. But… I opened it, and all I could think was 'Wow, he's It. He's the One.' And I didn't know what to do."
"An outsider! Oh, Selina. I'm so sorry."
"Yeah, so am I." She feels like she's going to cry. Alice crosses the room and hugs her. The sun dips below the horizon.
Nick takes some time to compose himself before entering Number Nine. He's never thought of it as Adam's house, mainly because he's never liked Conant. He feels a strange sympathy for him now, understanding how it must have felt to have to decide between Diana and Cassie.
When Mrs. Franklin opens the door his face is a carefully blank mask. She takes his coat, offers him a cookie, and leads him into one of the living rooms – the only one they keep up – where the rest of the Circle is waiting.
"So, what are the outsiders like?" asks Faye, sounding eager. "We need to make a plan to get rid of them as soon as possible."
"They're… they're…" he sits down, and the others look confused. They're used to him being silent. They're not used to him stuttering. He obviously hadn't taken long enough to prepare himself.
"Did they say something horrible to you? I can go over there right now, cast or not, and beat the living shit out of them if you like." Deborah. He really does like his cousin.
"What makes you think that whatever it was that has upset me isn't going to upset you?" Again, he's making simple mistakes in conversation. This is why he doesn't speak much… when he does, he has a tendency to blurt out whatever is on his mind.
"Oh, man, look at him. He looks like he's going to keel over," he hears Chris mutter to Doug. "We should go over there right now, and beat them up or something. Cause, like, if it's messed with Nick's head, it's got to be bad."
"How many of them are there? Did they hurt you?" Diana looks concerned. He thinks a bit, and attempts to answer her.
"Five, I think; parents and three kids. Triplets, seniors."
"What could be so bad about a nuclear family, Nick?" Conant can say things like that because the guy's an idiot, and whatever sympathy for Conant's plight he might have felt five minutes ago is disappearing quickly under a haze of familiar dislike.
"Yeah." They're all ganging up on him, as usual. "What could be so bad? You don't look injured."
He thinks that he needs to leave, now. He stands up to go, and fights a wave of dizziness. Even Conant is looking concerned now. "What the hell is wrong with you, man?" asks Doug.
"Nothing. I'm fine. I'm going now."
"Tell us, Nick," demands Faye. Bitch. He doesn't know what the fuck he was thinking, doing her last summer.
"Like I said, nothing. Like you said, there's nothing bad about a nuclear family." He turns to go, and a small hand pulls insistently on his sleeve.
"Nick…" says Cassie.
"She's my soulmate," he says simply.
Dead silence. Everybody is staring at him, with varying stages of comprehension, disbelief, and worry in their eyes. He feels like Cassie must've, back on the night her grandmother died.
"Who is?" asks Diana, gently.
He sits down, and tries to explain.
End of Chapter One. Feedback is a good thing. Constructive criticism is better.