Simone and Jessica were never that beautiful, although they certainly thought they were. So did everyone at school only because they were twins. But they weren't even identical; they were just fraternal twins that wore the same makeup and dressed the same, hoping to fool people into thinking that they were. They never fooled me. My cousins were the haughtiest, most self-righteous women I ever knew, and nothing changed when my mother told me that we were moving to Los Angeles.
"But the twins live there!" I whined, hoping to change her mind.
"My nieces aren't nearly as bad as you think, Lydia," she said. I knew better.
We had lived in Santa Ana since I was born, and we only saw Aunt Hazel and the twins once or twice a month, which was fine by me. Sometimes two months would go by without a visit and I was very grateful. Of course, Mom would call her sister and ask why she hadn't called. Then they'd come over, and I would hear the same crap I had been dealing with since I could speak.
"Ly, you're getting fat. You should seriously consider lipo."
"Are you sure you want to wear that? It looks like cat's vomit."
"Jessica, everything she OWNS looks like vomit!"
That was the basis of their conversation. I didn't take it personally; if that was all they could come up with, it was pathetic. Simone always called me Ly, and it had only gotten worse when I told her how much I hated the name because I saw the word "lie" in my head every time she said it. She laughed and told me to get over it. I just rolled my eyes and walked away.
"Come on, you can't take a damn joke?"
Sometimes they thought I'd tell on them. Jessica was always scared she'd be found out, and they'd send her to a detention hall, as if that was her destination for verbally abusing her cousin. You would think if she were that nervous, she'd stop. But Simone always egged her on. I hated them from the very beginning. I knew they would never stop. They were two years older than me and believed that gave them the right to boss me around. I will never forget the day I punched Jessica in the face. She screamed bloody murder and ran to Aunt Hazel. They didn't speak to us for a year. It was bliss.
"But you know how horrible they are, I know you do!"
"My sister's children are as dear to me as you, Lydia. Since we will be living in their neighborhood, I will expect you to get along. You're fifteen; you should be old enough to handle yourself!"
"It's not ME that needs handling!"
"Lydia," she said in her warning voice.
"Oh, and you'll be going to La Brea High School with your cousins as well. There had better not be any fights, do you understand me?"
"Mom, why would I fight with seniors?" I retorted, grabbing a piece of toast from the toaster, one of the only utensils left in our almost empty house. I quickly ate it, mom packed up the toaster, and I carried the last of my boxes out to the moving van. Goodbye Santa Ana. Hello, hell.
I passed the La Brea Tar Pits on my way to school. As usual, I had to cover my nose as I ran past. It was almost second nature by now to avoid inhaling the stench. I spotted Vanessa and Serena as I ran up to the front of La Brea High. Out of breath, I swiped the hair out of my face. They looked at me like they thought I had been time traveling again.
"Hey, guys! I ran past the tar pits, you know they smell something fierce!" I sighed, and adjusted my bookbag strap. They nodded in agreement. I looked up at the sky, the moon still visible even though the sun was out.
"Didn't the news say there was going to be a lunar eclipse tonight?" I asked in fear. Serena nodded, looking grave.
"We're as weak then as we are at the dark of the moon," Vanessa stated the obvious, looking at her feet. We all hoped that the Atrox wouldn't realize we were fragile today.
"Ew, it's Turner!" someone called out to me. I didn't need to turn around to know who spoke.
"Oh, you're with the foeda dea," the girl said with disgust in her voice. Serena turned red and glared at her. I could've sworn ever since Morgan became an Initiate that she would leave us alone. But logically the Atrox would have told her who we were and that we were to be eliminated. We had to be wary.
Off in the distance a girl stepped off of the bus, and she looked over towards us. Something about her made me take a step backwards, and I ran into Vanessa.
"Catty, watch it!"
"Sorry. Does anyone else notice something odd about her?" I pointed.
"Do you think she's another Daughter?" Serena asked.
"No; it feels off."
"She could be. I'm going to go talk to her," Jimena said.
"Don't scare her!" Tianna said hurriedly.
"Qué dijiste, chica? What did you say?"
"Well, I mean, you were in a gang, she might..."
"I can handle it, chica, you just calm down."
We watched her walk away, and I could tell the others began to feel my unease.
I stepped off of the bus steps, almost tripping onto the concrete. As I caught myself, I heard two girls laughing.
"You're just totally trippin' on our territory, aren't you?" Simone asked, grinning.
"Go away," I growled.
"Oh, the little sweetie thinks she can tell us to go away? This is our school, girlie, you can't tell us to go away," Jessica said, shoving me.
"Hola, welcome to La Brea," I heard a kinder voice say.
"Just stay away from me. Before I punch you again!" I threatened Jessica as I turned to the girl.
"Hi," I said uncomfortably, shifting my feet.
"Why don't you come with us today, chiquita? We'll protect you."
"Thanks, but I can handle myself."
"There are worse dangers than your cousins," another girl said, approaching me.
"How did you know...?" She wiggled her eyebrows, and I laughed.
"Me llamo Jimena, this mind reader over here is Serena."
"Hi, I'm Lydia," I said, happy to have some friends.
I met the other three girls in my homeroom. Their names were Catty, Vanessa, and Tianna. All five girls seemed nice enough, but I didn't feel very welcome. It felt as if I was being observed instead of befriended.
"So, how do you feel about the moon?" Tianna asked.
"Have some tact!" Serena hissed at her.
"We all love the moon; it represents the light in the dark. Tianna just wants to know if you feel close to it as well."
"I never really thought about it. I guess so, it's when the werewolves come out, right?" I said, laughing. They just looked at me.
"I really don't like any kind of light. I feel most comfortable when it's just pitch black. Then no one can see me." They exchanged significant glances and turned towards me and smiled.
"Come on, we can boost your self confidence. Come with us to Planet Bang tonight," Serena offered.
"I don't know..."
"Doesn't your mom want you to make friends?" Vanessa asked.
Later that day, the girls took me to their friend, Maggie. They said I'd learn a lot there that I didn't know before. It just confused me more.
"Ah, my daughters," she greeted them. Daughters?
"Oh!" she said when she saw me, putting her hand over her heart. I saw something in her eyes that reminded me of a frightened rabbit.
"We think she might be one of us," Catty said abruptly. Maggie studied me. She looked a lot like my grandmother, yet at the same time as if she were only twenty-five. She then decided something, because she clapped her hands together and led me to an armchair.
Then, with the 'daughters' helping her, explained to me the fact that Selene, the goddess of the moon, gave her daughters as protection against an ancient evil called the Atrox, and that it was my job to defeat them. She then gave me a moon amulet.
"What is her power?" she asked the Daughters. They looked at me. I shrugged.
"Serena can read minds, Vanessa can become invisible, Catty travels back in time, Jimena has premonitions, and Tianna is telekinetic. What can you do?" she asked again. I shrugged again, and then noticed that Maggie's apartment was larger than I thought. I walked over to the other room and saw a couple arguing.
"Who are they?" I asked Maggie.
"Who are who, Lydia?" she asked. I pointed.
"That's just a wall," Tianna said. I turned away from them and noticed she was right. But then it disappeared again.
"I can see through walls," I stated as if I had known my entire life. Maggie clapped her hands together again and got up to hug me.
"Tu es dea, filia lunae." I understood her, even though I knew she was speaking Latin. You are a goddess, a daughter of the moon.