Prologue: Poppy

Her dad was in jail? Why was Jerome keeping this from her? Poppy couldn't tell if this was better or worse than the original assumption that he had walked out on them. She thought Mara had been on her side, but she hid this from her. Poppy could not fault Jerome for hiding this. He always acted in what he thought was the best way for her. Even if others couldn't see it, the siblings loved each other. Ever since their father had walked out/apparently been arrested Jerome had stepped up to parent Poppy when their mother threw herself into her work.

They weren't alone though. The saying of "family doesn't end in blood" definitely applied to them. There was Alfie who basically moved in with them due to his own neglectful parents, and Liliana. Lili had stepped up to be a mother figure to Poppy over the years. Together, the four of them were a ragtag patchwork family.

This past year though her family seemed to be falling apart. The trauma that Alfie and Jerome had gone through last year, but would not tell her about, seemed to still haunt them. Alfie dating Amber pulled him away from the two of them and strained the brother's bond. While she had come to think of Mara as a friend before this betrayal, even she could see how toxic the relationship was between her and her brother. Poppy couldn't believe that Mara actually wanted her to write a letter to her father. He had left them with their awful mother and never looked back or reached out. Poppy had wanted closure, that's all. With this most recent betrayal Poppy just really needed Lili, Frobisher Academy would not know what hit it.

Poppy hopped from foot to foot as she waited anxiously outside the main entrance. Lili had promised that she would be there by the end of classes. It was now almost 5! Where was she? Any of the cab traffic on campus had been related to the Treasures of Ancient Egypt exhibition opening and the gala that was being thrown in honor of it. Poppy was so distracted that she didn't notice someone slipping out the door behind her until a pair of warm hands were placed over her eyes.

"Guess who?" A sweet and soft voice whispered in her ear. It was the best sound that she had heard all semester.

"Lili! You're here!" cried Poppy as she whirled around to hug her. "When did you get here? I've been waiting forever for you! What were you doing inside?". Lili simply laughed and waved off her questions.

"All will be answered in good time darling, but I think this is our cab." Lili declared as she gestured to the sleek black cab that had just turned into the circle drive. Opening the door Lili ushered Poppy inside.

"Where are we going?" questioned Poppy.

"I thought you might like some real food for a change. We are headed out for a late lunch/early dinner and to chat. I have quite a bit to tell you my dear. Some big changes will be happening". Despite how much Poppy pressed for answers Lili refused to tell her anything until they were seated in the restaurant and had ordered.

"Now flower," Lili started "I have some big news to tell you. Please try to contain yourself". Poppy braced herself. "I'm transferring to your academy and living in Anubis house! I was inside finalizing the paperwork when I found you. As of now, I am officially a Frobisher Academy student." This was the best news Poppy had heard all year!

"Oh my gosh Lili! What made you decide to transfer?"

"Your phone call was a much-needed reminder for me that I am too far away from my family at the moment. You all need me, and I need you. Hopefully now things can go back to relatively normal."

"I am so glad that you are moving! How did you manage to get into the same house as the boys?"

"I had a wonderful conversation with Mr. Sweet and might have slightly threatened to go public with all of the scandal Jerome has told me about last year. He was of course very happy to comply with my wishes after that." Lili revealed. The girls then spent the rest of their meal happily chatting before heading back to the school.

Lili dropped Poppy off at her door for the night after promising to meet her tomorrow morning before class and bring her lunch. As Poppy watched her walk towards Anubis house, she couldn't help but feel that everything was going to be alright now that Liliana was here.