Valorie raced to Charley’s house. She listened to her own footsteps – lappity-lappity-lappity-lappity – until she saw the orange door.
‘Charley! Are you awake?’ She rang the bell.
‘Charley answered the door eventually. There was a woman in a blue blouse behind him.
‘What, what? What is it?’
‘There’s something important I have to tell you. Can I come in?’
Charley glanced at the woman, and then sighed.
‘I suppose so. Eddie, would you mind excusing us?’
The woman nodded. ‘I’ll go and brush my teeth or something.’
She went upstairs and Valorie stepped in, trying to catch her breath.
‘Who was that?’
‘That was Eddie – Edina. She’s a friend of mine.’
‘OK, normally I wouldn’t barge in on you at this time of the morning, but I’ve got something to tell you.’
Valorie dug into her pocket and showed him the MP3 player.
‘Honestly, Valorie,’ Charley sighed. ‘What song is so good that you have to run half a mile to make me listen to it?’
‘It’s off the news. I knew I wouldn’t remember the whole thing, so I taped it. Just listen.’
Charley leant on the arm of the sofa as Valorie found the recording and pressed ‘PLAY’.
He listened. He looked quite worried by the end of it.
‘It looks like the Government have reached a new low,’ he said.
‘Well, what are we going to do?’
Charley thought. ‘There’s not a lot I can do. I’m not a Member of Parliament, remember. I suppose I could have a serious word with our friend O’Hanlon.’
‘OK. Good. Yes. Oh, God.’
‘I found out yesterday that my Dad’s a Wizard too. Mum got really mad because he never told her… and…’
‘I see. So you’re worried about ‘coming out’ to your parents.’
‘Well, yes. Weren’t you, just to begin with?’
‘My parents were both Wizards, and they encouraged me to develop my abilities. I suppose I was lucky.’
‘Yeah, you were. Can I sit down?’
Valorie sank into the squashy sofa.
‘Do you ever use this sofa? It’s too comfy to waste by just standing up all the time.’
‘I like standing up,’ Charley said defensively.
‘So why do you have a sofa?’
‘Everybody has a sofa.’
‘But what’s the point of having one if you don’t use it?’
Charley thought. ‘But I do. My guests use it. So mnuh.’
‘You’re so immature.’
‘Takes one to know one, loser.’
Valorie appreciated that Charley was trying to lighten the situation, but she still felt uneasy.
She looked at Charley.
‘Are those your pyjamas?’ she asked.
‘They look like pyjamas.’
‘You used to think all my clothes looked like pyjamas. You know, I’m surprised to hear that your father was the Wizard.’
Valorie tilted her head. ‘Why’s that?’
‘I don’t know. Your mother always seemed surer of herself than he did… more kind of confident. That’s more common in the Wizarding parent.’
Valorie heard the woman come downstairs. She’d brushed her teeth and hair, and was now wearing a very musky perfume.
‘Oh, Eddie, this is my trainee, Valorie. Valorie, this is my friend from college, Eddie.’
Eddie shook Valorie’s hand. ‘Nice to meet you,’ she said.
‘Are you a Wizard too?’
‘Yes, but I only found out two years ago and I’m a slow learner. I’m probably worse than you!’
Valorie turned her head to Charley.
‘Hmmm?’ she said.
‘I may have mentioned you, a couple of times,’ Charley explained.
‘Charley, what happened yesterday?’
Charley said nothing for a few seconds, then – ‘Shouldn’t you be at school?’
‘I’m not going in today.’
‘Oh yes you are.’
‘I don’t want to,’ Valorie moaned. ‘I won’t be able to concentrate on my school stuff, not after today…’
Charley sighed. ‘Be it on your own head, I suppose. So what about yesterday?’
‘Well, what did I do?’
Eddie fell backwards onto the squashy sofa.
‘This sofa is so comfy,’ she said, snuggling into it. ‘Why don’t you ever use it, Charley?’
Charley ignored her. ‘Well, you managed to make some physical impact on the fruit bowl, which I’m quite proud of. Even if you did break it…’
‘It’s OK. If anything, I’m thankful. Thanks to you, my other fruit bowl has more than doubled in value. Now, where was I? Oh yes. The trouble was, you concentrated too much energy into your action, and something else happened.’
‘What?’ Valorie asked.
‘You teleported yourself through my front door, that’s what happened.’
‘It means you’re capable of teleportation, which is excellent. Well done. The thing that worries me is that when you try to grab something in your etheric body, you unintentionally teleport yourself, which means you send yourself back into your real body… you see the problem?’
‘Yes.’ Valorie sank further down. ‘That’s kinda sucky.’
‘Indeed. Training you is going to be slightly more difficult than I thought.’