“What class do we have next?” asked Reese. Reese always forgets his schedule. He likes to rely on his own thinking instead of “listening to a piece of paper”.
“History.” I replied.
“Oh, you mean naptime?!” replied Neil with a sarcastic tone. Neil’s sarcasm in very important to our group’s dynamic. It’s like how a clock’s gears turn; it’s a necessity for us.
“Essentially.” said Sam under a laugh that we all share together.
I enjoy this kind of sarcastic, humorous banter with my friends. It always drives my mind away from all of worries. I can always count on them to lift my spirits which is ironic since I’m the happy optimist in our group. Their presence keep my mind off of what is truly bugging me: my family.
My parents always say to never keep secrets for they can destroy bonds that can never be mended. Since that is a value in our house, we never lie to each other and always be perfectly honest with each other. Sometimes, it can lead to hurt feelings and broken hearts but you get used to it after a while.
That is why I love my friends. They are a second family to me and I can always trust them with anything. As we walked down the hallway, we came across our mortal enemy and her henchmen acting like idiots; it’s the norm these days.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the lower-class beggars from the slums of Beverly Hills.” said Tina with a great amount of detest.
“Well if isn’t the bitch who thinks she’s entitled to everything.” I replied. I try not to show emotion towards her comments to show her that she doesn’t get to me.
“Don’t be upset because I can afford it. Daddy thought I deserved it.” Even though my family is middle class, Tina thinks everyone who isn’t wealthy is poor. I can’t imagine her attitude towards homeless people.
“I don’t think you should listen to everything your daddy says.” I replied.
“Like when he tells you you’re pretty!” said Sam with a devious smirk.
Sam’s comeback makes us and a surrounding crowd laugh uncontrollably and Tina walks away with a depressed look. She knows not to have any interaction with Sam after what happened last year. Tina was bullying another girl and Sam stepped in because she believes that nobody has the right to tease anyone for what they have or at all. After she argued with Tina, she declared that she could do anything she pleases and continued to bullying the original girl. She tried take her bag and Sam lost control. I heard the words, “I’ll kill you, bitch!” followed by repeated slaps to Tina’s face and screaming. After the beating, Tina’s face was blood red and she had to go to the hospital. Sam was suspended for a week but she thought it was worth it. To finally put Tina in her place filled her with joy. That is why I love Sam; she has spunk and morals unlike some people but what I really liked about her was that she had less compassion than the average girl.
When we get to History, I immediately feel a change in my persona since this is the “nap zone”. It’s so boring that it makes watching paint dry or the grass grow more exciting. Seriously, who’s bright idea was it to relive pass moments and compress it into a core requirement to graduation? Sounds like a placeholder for something else and for my sake it’s something better than learning about people who are dead and don’t know that we exist.
. . .
My friends and I always find ways to be together. We love being alone together because we understand that we all wish for a non-judgmental atmosphere. We eat alone together, study together and sit at the same tables during every class, well except for the teachers that like to break us up. We even all get off at the same stop because we live in a Cul-De-Sac and we all are neighbors. It’s pretty quiet most of the time but we always try to liven it up even if it means tagging a few houses.
When I arrive home, my parents’ talking quiets down to a whisper. I hate it when they do that. What are they talking about that’s so important? And if it was so important for them to quiet down why can’t they be honest about it? Isn’t that the core value of our home or have I been living a lie all of these years? Good thing, it’s Friday because I can go upstairs and take a nap because homework is a Sunday problem.
I fall down on my bed hard enough to bounce a few inches in the air. I wrap myself in my sheets like a burrito and fall asleep and when I awake, my phone says 6:23pm. My mom and dad call me and my two brothers down to the dining room. My brothers and I are a set of triplets. River is the oldest of us, while I am the middle child and Tyde is the youngest. What I don’t understand is why they have names from nature while my name is ordinary: Quinn. I understand that the myths about middle children are unnoticed are fact now, but seriously? I didn’t think it would be this bad.
When we all sit down at the table, my parents look worried about something. Maybe what they’re about t tell us is going to change our lives forever. I hope not because I am in a happy place right now. I am about to graduate in a few months and go off to University of Richmond next fall.
“How are you kids?” asked my father with concern.
“I’m ok but I’d be better if River would put the toilet seat down!” I say with a scornful look on my face.
“Why is it my responsibility to make sure that the bathroom is prepped to your liking?!” asked River with slight aggression.
“It’s your responsibility because every time I have gone to the bathroom after you, the toilet seat was up and I have fallen into the toilet! Do you have any idea how disgusting that is!” I asked with fiery passion.
“Not my fault you have sit down just to pee.” said River. He says it so quietly that I barely overhear him and slap him in the face. Surprised that I reacted so violently, he feels his face, feels the sting and heat of the slap and gets angry. He practically throws his chair out of the way to lunge at me but Tyde stops him in the nick of time. Tyde has always been my favorite of the two, he isn’t much of talker but he will always have more maturity and integrity than River.
“What are you doing?!” said Tyde. I can tell that he was slightly angry by the furrowing of brows and the look he was giving River.
“Did you not just see what happened?” said River. He was confused that Tyde jumped up so quickly to protect me. I have never had any physical altercations with my siblings but Tyde and River used to fight a lot when they were younger and Tyde would always easily overpower him.
“Dude, chill. When are gonna grow up?”
“Are you serious?!”
“I’m not smiling am I? She’s your sister, do not put your hands on her or I will hurt you. Understand?”
The bleakness and seriousness in Tyde’s tone is normal but it was never like this before. I thank him for saving me but I’m worried that Tyde will do something that he won’t regret but River will regret.
“Other than that situation, are you guys ok?” asked my father.
“Yeah.” replied River, Tyde and myself.
“Good because we have something very important to tell you.” said my father.
“You guys know we love you right?” said my mother.
“Yeah.” we all replied.
“But we haven’t always been completely honest with you.”
“What do you mean?” asked Tyde. He usually can keep an emotionless face but the tension in this conversation gives him a look of worry.
“We are a part of a secret race that have special abilities that we are born with because of our genetic makeup. The name that society use to describe us is “EnerGenes”.” said my father. We all look at each other with saying anything because we couldn’t believe what we just heard.
“Why is our race secret?” I asked.
“Because, we have tried to make peace with humans but they usually fear things that are new or different and our kind qualifies.” replied my father.
“Are you an EnerGene Dad?” asked Tyde.
“Why did you decide until now to keep it a secret?” asked Tyde.
“Because this is the time of maturity when your powers will start to manifest.” said my mother.
“Wait...so basically we’re a bunch of freaks?!” asked River. I can hear the sarcasm in the pacing of his voice. His sarcasm in obvious in the highs and lows of his voice and his facial expressions.
“We are not freaks, our kind have been on this world before humans. How dare you address this this way!” replied my father. He never shouts but whenever he does, he’s always talking or scolding River only.
“What did you expect?! We’re about to start living our own lives, we’re going to college and beyond and then you tell us about our heritage that could ostracize us from society?! Man, this is some old bullshit!” replied River. After that, he walks out of the house mad that he now may potentially won’t have a future.
“Ugh. What do we even bother talking to him?” asked my father.
“I stopped ages ago.” replied Tyde.
“Don’t worry Quinn. You and Tyde haven’t experienced anything out of the ordinary with your bodies have you?”
“Not that we know of, right Tyde?” I asked.
“Negative.” he replied.
“Ok, well since you guys have just been hit with this, why don’t you guys take it easy for the weekend?” asked my mother and my father agrees.
“Fine by me.” I said.
“I’m cool with that.” said Tyde.
With that, we went into our rooms for the rest of the day. I’m mad that my parents kept a secret from us because we were raised not to keep any from them. I thought we were all supposed to live by that principle but I guess I was mistaken. But what makes even more disgusted is the fact that River is being so selfish. This is big change for everyone and he is behaving like a baby. Whereas Tyde, he realizes this and does not want to cause our parents anymore strife because things are already complicated enough. Supposedly, River is the oldest and Tyde is the youngest but from this scene, maybe their powers accidentally made them switch brains or something. This needs to be further verified. But since our powers haven’t manifested yet, maybe River was born to be an immature whiner and Tyde was born to a be a strong leader.
I don’t know how I will function at school on Monday. I don’t know if my powers are triggered by emotion, whatever they are, I don’t want to accidentally blast anyone by mistake, well maybe except for Tina. Mom and Dad never said that I couldn’t tell anyone but even still, I think it was implied in the conversation about the conflict between humans and EnerGenes. The worst part about the whole thing is that I can’t tell my friends. My dear, dear friends that I have known since middle school cannot know who I truly am and that makes me sad. I unintentionally squeeze out tears into my pillow, stifling my sobs.
. . .
It’s been two weeks since my parents revealed their secret to me and my siblings. I haven’t felt like myself lately. Knowing that I have had more power than I realized all these years makes me feel uneasy. I feel like my secret is so obvious that everyone can see it. It makes me feel like an outsider. I’ve never felt this way before and it’s definitely not a feeling that I want to get used to. My friends have noticed that I have been acting differently and consistently try to check up on me. Since I try to avoid them at school, afraid that I might hurt them without trying, they text me nonstop. Reese texts me the most which is admirable but I can tell that he has a huge crush on me.
At lunch today, I sit at the table I share with my friends without realizing it. I try to get up but they sit just in time and I don’t want to look like I abandoned them so I stay seated.
“Quinn, have you been feeling ok lately?” asked Reese.
“Yeah. What’s makes you say that?” I asked.
“Well for starters, you’re eating your soup with a knife.” said Neil. He chuckles slightly after but I know he means well.
“No wonder why I’m still hungry and the inside of my mouth is bleeding.” I say and I can’t help but laugh but I know that I can’t get comfortable. I have to leave but I cannot come up with a legit excuse since we have all of classes together. Instead, I reach into my pocket while they’re not looking and go to the ringtones menu on my phone and click one to make it seem like my parents were calling.
“Sorry guys but I have to answer this. I’ll see you later.” I said. Reese grabs my arm before I can get up from the table fully.
“Quinn, you know we’re here for you if you ever need us, right?” he says. Sam and Neil nod in agreement.
“Yeah. Thanks.” I reply. When he lets go, I quickly speed-walk out of the cafeteria. My bland tone when I responded doesn’t make me sound to keen on the idea of them providing me with some type of closure. I don’t want them to stop trying to help nor do I want to lose them but I can’t risk them finding out about me being an EnerGene. I am so confused that I break down in the girls’ bathroom. I guess I am crying so loud that someone comes in to check on me but luckily, it’s Sam.
“You are definitely not ok.” she said.
“No I am, don’t worry about me. I’m fine.” I reply.
“You know you could never lie to me right? I’ve known you since the fifth grade. I know when something is bugging you and by the sound of your crying...something’s bugging you.”
“Listen I’m fine. Let’s just drop it ok?” Before she can say anything else I leave. Sam is extremely persistent and I knew that she wouldn’t budge until I finally spilled the beans. It saddens me that I can’t tell her or any of my friends. She’s the only girl in our group besides me and we have always been able to talk about anything even if we couldn’t tell Neil and Reese.
. . .
It’s been days since I had my conversation with Sam. Things are already awkward between them and me and I don’t want to flare it up anymore. I’m riding the bus home and my friends are sitting in our usual seats and since we’re the last ones to get off the bus at our stop, it feels weird to look in their direction. I don’t want to come off as snobbish and rude so I pretend to do something on my phone.
When our stop comes, I quickly rush off of the bus with my friends right behind me. While I’m walking, I lose sight of them and quietly think about them. All the things that we’ve been through together was about to be thrown away and all because of my stupid heritage. Just thinking about it gets me so worked up that I can’t control and a bright light beams from my fingers which causes a transformer to explode. I stop it and just before anyone could look to see what happened, I run as fast as I can to my house and slam the door behind me.
Tyde greets me at the door but I’m so frantic that he has to drench me with a bucket of water. He carries me up his room and questions me.
“Quinn, are you with me?” he asked. Even though Tyde is younger than me he will always be a better older brother than River.
“I couldn’t control it! I didn’t mean to-” I replied but he interrupts me.
“What happened? Are you ok?”
“Yeah but the transformer...I accidentally shot it.”
“Did anyone see it?”
“No. I ran before anyone could see me at the scene.”
“Good. We have to keep our EnerGene heritage a secret. Let’s just keep this incident between us ok?”
“Ok. Thanks T.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad you at least have one brother you can count on.”
“You and me both.” It’s a shame to say but it’s true. I can’t trust River like I can trust Tyde. And I definitely don’t have that type of relationship with River either. We just aren’t compatible like me and Tyde are. With Tyde’s soothing words, I go to my room, start my homework and go to sleep. I don’t even want dinner and it’s times like these when I want to be by myself. But something Tyde said doesn’t sit right with me. Why do we have to keep our powers a secret? What if we weren’t meant to live in hiding? Maybe we all can live together in harmony but by the way things looked when I accidentally destroyed the pylon, there’s a very slim chance.
When I awake the next day, I feel like I shouldn’t go outside because of yesterday’s incident. It’s as if people can point me out as the culprit from a mile away. But I can’t stay cooped up in this house either so I get out of bed and go to the park. I am sitting on the bench with my phone in my hands when my friends walk up to me.
“Hey Quinn.” said Reese.
“Hi guys.” I almost forgot that I’m supposed to be avoiding them to stop myself from hurting them by accident. Before I let the conversation get too long, I’m going to have make up a fake excuse to leave. I don’t want to but I have to limit their contact with me physically.
“How have you been lately?” asked Neil. I have never seen nor heard him this serious before. It’s surprising because he’s the snarky, sarcastic and prankster of our group and his seriousness is messing with our group dynamic.
“I’ve been ok but I gotta go. My mom wants to take me shoe-shopping so I’ll see you guys later.” I say quickly getting up from the bench but this time Sam grabs me instead of Reese.
“Quinn, we know what happened?” she said.
“What are you talking about?”
“The pylon explosion? We saw your powers.” said Reese.
“You’re an EnerGene, aren’t you?” asked Neil.
I already have my head down because I can’t bear to look at them. Then the tears start rolling down my cheeks and my face turns red. I start sobbing into my hands but Reese presses my face to his muscular chest, using his shirt to wipe the tears away. I am so close to him, that I soon start smell his cologne. The scent is familiar which makes me feel safe around him: sweet, fresh and clean. They all soon start to embrace me and I finally feel the love I once had with them before I found out I was an EnerGene.
“Is that why you’ve been avoiding us?” asked Sam.
“Yeah. I don’t want to hurt you guys by accident.” I replied.
“Yeah we saw what happened to the pylon.” said Neil. We all laugh and I chuckle a little bit. The sarcastic tone is back and his voice is normal again. I’m glad this Neil is back but I never knew he had a serious bone in his body.
“If I did, I wouldn’t be able live with myself.” I replied. The thought of them being hurt or killed because I can’t control my powers makes me cry again and Reese pulls me to his chest again.
“Are you guys gonna tell everyone about my powers so they can call me a freak or turn me in to the police?” I ask them.
“No, Quinn, you’re our best friend and we’re work through this with you, together.” said Reese as he kisses my forehead. Neil and Sam nod in agreement sealing our the deal on this agreement.
“I guess this is another adventure for us to embark.” said Sam as she smiled at me.
“Yeah. We’re never going to leave your side Quinn, no matter how times we get zapped!” said Neil. That actually makes me laugh uncontrollably, making me forget all of my worries. I almost forgot how we used to act. Always laughing, always happy no matter who saw us or said about us. All we need is each other and we always have a great time together.
“We’re a team now. Put your hand in if you’re in!” said Sam. When she stretches her hand out, we all put our hands on top of hers. We had a pact now and there’s no way it could be broken.
“Do you need some time alone?” asked Reese.
“I’ll catch with you guys later.” I replied with a smile. Sam and Neil both walk away and Reese kisses me on my lips. His lips are soft and warm against mine and after he leaves to catch up with Neil and Sam. My cheeks are fire red and I am literally blushing at what just happened but I didn’t know if it was because my friends are so amazing that they accepted my heritage or that Reese actually kissed me. I guess it’s both.