I wondered up to Lydia's Boarding House. From the look of the place, I could tell I wouldn't be let in as easily as my brother had made out.
It was a nice day, but even so I was glad that I'd worn a dress with long sleeves. The burns on my hands had spread a little further than I'd expected. They were healing quickly, though.
The door opened almost as soon as I rang the bell.
"May I help you?"
"Uhm... Oh. Yeah. I uh. My brother said I could come."
"What's your name?"
The boy looked around my age and he wasn't unfriendly but I was still a little bit nervous.
"It's Sam. Antha," I added as an afterthought. "Samantha Vatra. My brother's Jake, this was the address he gave me."
He called Lydia's name into the hallway behind him and when she arrived, repeated what I'd told him.
Lydia looked at me and frowned. "I'll let you in this time, but I'll have to have a word with Jacob about inviting people without telling me."
She left and the boy, whose name I later found out was Andrew, showed me into a living room.
It was a nice place. All dark pink with flowery wallpaper. The furniture didn't match and the room was a bit of a mess but it felt homely.
After a while, people started to fill up the small space, bringing board games and the like with them as they came. Most of them formed groups and talked loudly among each other.
Jake grinned at me and introduced me to his room mate, Annabelle. We chatted for a while before Jake jumped up to help serve pizza and fizzy drinks.
While he was gone, Annabelle shyly told me that she had a crush on him. But I wasn't to tell him.
"Well," I said. "I may be his sister but I have seen him topless. I can see where you're coming from."
She giggled and we swapped stories of how frustrating it was to share a room with him.
The last to enter the room was a small girl who was shown in by Lydia. She was probably a bit older than me. I made a mental note to ask her where she got her burgundy maxi skirt from because I wanted to know if they sold summer dresses in that colour, too.
"Wow, I haven't seen her in a while," Annabelle commented.
"Yeah," Jake said as he sat back down. "Haven't seen her leave her room. She hasn't been here that long."
"Yeah. She moved in on my birthday, remember?" Annabelle raised an eyebrow at him.
"Oh yeah, I remember thinking how hot she was," he winked at Annabelle and she rolled her eyes.
Andrew asked loudly if anyone had a lighter, as they had nothing to light the candles on Laura's breakup anniversary cake with. A few people laughed. Andrew shrugged and put the cake on a table near the door.
"Just nipping to the loo," I said, leaving Jake and Anna to tease each other.
While I had been in the waiting room of the doctors', I had worked out a way of using my fire power. It wasn't with my mind, but I thought that if I did it discreetly, nobody would notice in this crowded room.
I blew lightly on the candles of the cake, disguising it as a sneeze, and they flickered to life.
As I turned around, smiling to myself for my achievement, I saw the girl with the maxi skirt staring at me.