“Only Make-Believe” (Fae Anthology, July 2014)

Robin, who looks like a faun when he isn’t hiding himself with glamour magic, has tried to make a life for himself since his parents abandoned him in the human world. When he meets a girl with magic of her own, he has to navigate identity, loneliness, and teenage hormones.

Excerpt:

Usually I was better at emulating normal people, but a lot was at stake here. Yes, she was cute, but that wasn’t it. I’d never had anyone to talk to about me, about magic, about anything—not since my parents left me.

She shot me a thoroughly unimpressed look. I wondered why she couldn’t see my glamour, that there was something different about me, the way I could sense it all over her.

I tried again. “Look, I promise I’m not hitting on you. I just really need to talk to you about something.”

“What’s that?” Her delicate chin lifted in challenge.

“Magic.” Speaking the word out loud to someone made me dizzy.

Her eyes narrowed, crinkling the bridge of her nose. I could like freckles, I thought. “You’re full of it,” she said, but she leaned closer and I knew I had her.

I held out my hand.

She stared at it, then at me. I wondered if I’d crossed a line, but then she placed her hand in mine.

If I blew it, she’d probably avoid me forever and I would go mad knowing I’d been so close and lost my chance. I pursed my lips, exhaled, then pulled her after me into the rain. I could barely bring myself to look at her in case it hadn’t worked.

But it had.

The rain fell around her, but her hair, her clothes, were perfectly dry. She spun in gleeful circles. From the look on her face, she’d clearly never seen magic before. Maybe she’d been left here even younger than I had.

“This is crazy,” she said. “There’s no way.”

“You believe me?”

“I’ve waited my whole life for magic.” Her voice quavered. “How did you know?”

“You’ve got magic of your own. I knew it when I saw you. That’s why I had to tell you.”

From the curb, a car honked. She bobbed in an impatient, frustrated dance. “Aw, crap. I have to go.”

“Tomorrow?” I asked. “This weekend?”

“Friday. After school. I’m Nadia, by the way—”

“Robin.” I waved at her, dropping the glamour on her as I did, and she shrieked as she realized the water had soaked her clothes. It was a good-natured short of shriek, like children jumping through puddles, and she actually stuck her tongue out at me before dashing through the rain toward her car.

(Fae Anthology, Word Weaver Press, July 2014)

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