The Potion Diaries

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Book: The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward Read Free Book Online
Authors: Amy Alward
Instead, I delay the inevitable by staring at the glow-in-the-dark stickers on my ceiling. I stuck them up after I’d been to a party at my classmate Ella’s house – one of the few Talented parties I’ve ever attended.
    Her house was one of the massive mansions almost at the base of Kingstown Hill, and I had pulled up on my bike, cycling past limo after limo queuing to swing around the semi-circular driveway and drop off their dressed up inhabitants. When I had heard house party, I’d automatically thrown on my favourite T-shirt, dark jeans and scuffed up ankle boots – turned out, this was the wrong look. As Wilhelmina stepped out in a sparkly strapless ballgown, I almost made a U-turn right then and there. But Anita had spotted me, and she was as dressed down as I was.
    ‘You’re not leaving me to face them all alone,’ she’d said, and I’d grudgingly gone with her through the vast double doors, feeling stronger with her by my side.
    Strangely, I can barely remember the details from that party now – the beginning of it swallowed up by my nervousness, but the rest dominated by a single detail: Ella’s bedroom. Her parents had opened up the whole house and Anita and I had gone exploring. A few times that made us the unwitting interrupters of closet hook-ups, but most of the time it led to rooms more magnificent and wondrous than the rooms that came before it. But Ella’s bedroom – I will never forget it. I opened the door and gasped – the ceiling was completely enchanted to look like the night sky. But not just the night sky as you would see it on a normal night in Kingstown – a fuzzy grey-black background, stars drowned out by the light pollution or clouds – but the kind of sky you could only see from the top of a mountain, the pitch black cut by swathes of stars, milky-white galaxies shot through with purple and dark, swirling nebulas.
    That night I’d come home and plastered plastic stars all over my bedroom ceiling. It didn’t quite have the same effect, but it was the closest I was going to get.
    Now I shut my eyes tightly and try to convince myself that the past two days were just a dream, a blip easily wiped from my memory. Well, except for the fact that I know when I go down for breakfast I won’t be able to watch the news – that part of the routine won’t be added back in for a
time. But maybe going back to work in the store, helping to restore some order after the chaos of Emilia’s attack, will make me feel normal.
    The first few hours of the morning tick by in blissful solitude. I fix the bell above the door and get started on clearing up the mess. The terrifying thought crosses my mind that maybe the media will come by the store, bearing flashbulbs and voice recorders, to capture the Kemi family’s misery on air. Yet obviously our early exit from the Hunt isn’t even news enough for that. We are forgotten as quickly as Princess Evelyn’s early suitors.
    Once I’ve piled up the scraps, I tie back my dusty hair and sit down cross-legged on the floor, trying to match them up like some enormous jigsaw puzzle. A line of text on a torn corner catches my eye – I swear it matches with another scrap of paper I’ve seen. I absent-mindedly clamp the first bit of paper between my lips while I reach across the floor for the other.
    As luck would have it, that’s when the bell rings for the first time that day. I snatch the paper from my mouth and yell out, ‘Excuse the mess but we’re just clearing up from—’
    The words die in my mouth as I take in who has walked in the door. Zain Aster.
    Blood rushes up to my cheeks and I am immediately annoyed with myself in case he mistakes my flushed look for being attracted to him. So I throw him a good scowl just in case.
    To his credit, he flinches. ‘Hi, Sam.’
    I move behind the counter, putting a big, solid object between us. He’s wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, which is so different from the school uniform I was used to seeing

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