"Hey," Ewan slid onto the bench next to me. "What's up?"
"Nothing," I said. "Hey."
"Yes there is, you look all depressed," Ewan contradicted me.
"I'm not depressed," I told him. "I'm just a bit tired, that's all." My words were emphasised with a yawn.
"Oh, I see," he wrapped his arms around my waist and I leaned against him, resisting another yawn. Ewan squeezed me. "D'you know where Mil and Ax are?"
I shrugged. "No. Maybe we should go look for them."
"Yeah, maybe we should," he agreed, but neither of us moved. After a while of just sitting there while Ewan stroked my hair, he held me away from him and looked into my eyes. "There's definitely something wrong," he stated. "Definitely."
"No there's-" I started, but the look Ewan gave me made me give up. "Fine. I'll tell you later. Not right now."
"Why not? There's hardly anyone here, they're not gonna hear."
I nodded towards the door, which Axel and Matilda had just walked through.
"Toni!" Mil exclaimed, climbing onto the bench opposite me. "We've been looking for you everywhere! Where have you been?"
"Why were you looking for me?" I asked her, ignoring her question.
"I heard you get up at three this morning," Ax explained. "Plus, something's bugging you."
I put my head on the table and groaned. Curse their Tokens.
Tokens are a strong point in magic. Of course, everyone learns how to do every type of magic, but we all have a special gift in a certain type, which makes it easier for us to learn and use. Axel's Token is mind reading and Ewan's is feelings and emotions. Mine is future telling but Matilda's hasn't been established yet.
"She doesn't wanna talk about it," Ewan said.
"It's bugging me, too," Ax said. I looked up to see Mil give him one of her all-purpose looks that normally tell him 'you should shut up now'. He went into silent mode and looked like he was back in that depressed mood we'd managed to get him out of yesterday.
"Oh, Ax. Please don't be like that," I begged. "I just don't wanna talk about it, that's all. Please be happy again."
He gave me a quick smile.
Ewan drew a circle in front of each of us, which stayed highlighted on the table.
"What are you doing?" I wondered aloud.
"Homework," he flicked his hand in the general direction of my circle and a bowl of cereal appeared where it had been. I grinned as he did the same for the others.
"You forgot sugar," I pointed out after realising that he'd made cornflakes and not Frosties as I'd first assumed.
"Can't do sugar," he shrugged in apology. Mil leaned over and rubbed her fingers over my breakfast, and I could see the white powder fall into the bowl.
"I said it in my head," she said, answering our unspoken question on how she did that without the incantation. Damn, that girl was so good at learning this stuff it was enough to make the teachers jealous. It was really annoying; she just excelled at absolutely everything. It wasn't fair!
I chatted with Axel while Ewan tried to teach French to Matilda. After a while, Ewan made all our empty bowls disappear, just before a paper aeroplane landed in front of him. A small paper bird perched on Mil's hand, accompanied by a paper butterfly for me, and a little paper car raced down the table, stopping directly in front of Axel.
"Oh," I said stupidly.
"Students," Miss Anten's voice rang out over the school. "As a favour to my dear cousin, Isabelle, we have agreed to act as guinea pigs for her new means of delivering post. Any suggestions for improvement would be valued greatly. Thank you."
"They could laminate them in case we have another indoor rain storm," Mil rolled her eyes.
"That's a brilliant idea!" Amy, the youngest person in school suddenly appeared on our table, sitting cross-legged at the end of our little group. Amy was eleven, which I guess is only two years younger than Calling, but since her whole family descends from magic people, she got Summoned early at the age of nine. Coincidentally, she is also the daughter of our headmistress, Alexandra Anten. Her Token is teleportation.
"Hey, kid," Matilda, Axel, Ewan and I all greeted her in unison.
"Hi!" she answered brightly, grinning. I scanned her outfit. She wore a checked skirt to her knees, a red top tucked in, and black school shoes. She wore her dark hair down past her shoulders and had a white headband holding it back. Generally, she was wearing school uniform, just modified. She told us that it was her uniform for the school she went to before she came here, and she didn't know what to do with it so she ruined it and then fixed it again. This school doesn't have a uniform.
Axel suddenly burst out laughing, taking us all completely by surprise.
"Ax, what's so funny?" Mil asked him.
"Oh," he sobered up slightly. "Ella's pregnant so she's asking for possible names, and we've been invited to Anna's wedding, and they're both a bit miffed 'cause they're not identical anymore."
"All of us?" Mil asked.
"Is it a girl or a boy?" I asked.
"Who's she getting married to?" Ewan asked.
"Ok, first off, it's a girl so get thinking. Second, her fiancé, and lastly…" he scanned the letter twice. "Actually, I don't know. I'll have to ask." Axel told us all.
"I don't think Ewan meant that," I said. "I think he meant what's his name?"
"Or, more importantly," Matilda chipped in. "Is it the guy she was with when you got Summoned?"
Axel sighed. "His name is Joel."
"So it's not Matthew, then?!"
"No. His name is Joel."
"But it's only been a few years," I objected.
"Yeah, but it's Anna," he said.
Mil and Axel started discussing baby names, and Ewan was helping Amy with her history homework. Yes, that is history homework. That is, he was teaching her a simple way round seeing the past.
"OK, so close your eyes, and start with thinking about something you witnessed," he was saying.
I got on with reading my letter.
Your dad couldn't write 'cause he's in Tunisia so I'm doing it for him. How're you? I'm fine right now; to save you asking (I still want a letter back, though. No getting out of that one). How's your boyfriend (isn't it Evan or something?)?
Cindy's learning how to talk, she thinks you're called Atilla. That'll do for now, right?
How are Matilda and Axel? Is their relationship going well? I guess Axel's in his depressy thing again. Tell him I said to snap the hell out of it.
Is Amy doing well? You said she's the youngest. Like, ever.
Oh, your dad told me about your vision. Whatever you do, DO FREAKING NOT tell Matilda about it. That girl is weak. The guy has looked after her for so long, she cannot know. Not yet, anyway. In fact, there's only one person who will know when to tell her, and you and I both know who that is, don't we?
Anyway, please write back. Please please please.
I stared for a minute, and then decided to go against my usual way of writing a letter in reply there and then.
Instead, I watched Mil. She read her letter, it seemed quite short, but my problem was that the pretty little smile that had been on her face at the beginning soon faltered to a sad little gape of horror.
The conversations that had been going on in our group silenced, because she looked so upset.
"Tilly?" Axel asked, using his nickname for her. "Tilly, what's wrong?"
"Mil, please?" I said, worried.
"Matilda, just tell us, please," Ewan begged.
Silently, Amy tugged on the sheet of paper lightly, and Mil let it go without resistance.
"Oh," Amy breathed after reading it.