Tasmin had never told anyone.
Not Thalia, not Natalie, not Michael, not even her parents. It had always been her secret. A lot of people, when they keep secrets as big as hers, feel guilty about what they are concealing. But not Tasmin. People would think she was crazy if she told them.
She had only ever done it about three times, and each time it had scared her. Her power was terrifying. Power, Tasmin thought, is that what it is? Maybe curse would be a more accurate term.Tasmin looked at herself in the mirror.“Tonight,” she said solemnly to her reflection. “Tonight I will do it. I will do it again, for the fourth time. I promise.”Hands shaking, she put her red hair up in a messy ponytail. Why did this make her so nervous? She hadn’t even begun…“Tasmin!” A voice called as she walked through the menacing double doors of her high school. Tasmin spun around.Natalie was racing towards her, a piece of paper held high in the air. Her bronze skin shone in the Autumn sun, and her dark, blonde-streaked hair flew behind her as she ran. “Taz,” Natalie said between gasped of breath as she arrived at her destination. “I have…amazing…extraordinary…absolutely fantabulous…news!”“Okay,” Tasmin frowned. She wasn’t sure how exciting this news actually was – Natalie was always over-enthusiastic about everything. “What is this…fantabulous news that you have brought me?”“This, my friend -“ Natalie waved the piece of paper in front of Tasmin’s nose. “- is my fantabulous news.”Tasmin grabbed the piece of paper and rolled her eyes. She scanned over the messy writing that was scribbled onto it.My place @ 7. Sat. Bring whatev (friends inc)Tasmin raised an eyebrow at Natalie.“Yeah. I’m ecstatic.” She said sarcastically.“Dude, do you even know what this is?” Natalie said, gaping.“Umm, no. No clue,” Tasmin said, re-reading the paper. What did Sat mean? And the whatev bit?“Oh, I get it. You need me to translate it for you, nerd girl. You don’t read twenty-first century.” Natalie laughed.“Hey! That’s so not true! I just like a touch of grammar to be in what I read, thanks very much.” Tasmin insisted.“Okay, fine – if you say so,” Natalie grinned. “It means this: Be over at my place at seven o’clock – obviously in the afternoon – and you can bring your friends!”There was a silence. “Still not catching on.” Tasmin finally said.“It’s an invitation,” Natalie practically screamed. “Tasmin, it was in my locker!”“Oh! Er – okay…who’s it from?”“Are you serious? You don’t recognise this handwriting?”“I don’t know about you, but I don’t spend my free time memorising the style of every ninth-graders’ handwriting, Natalie!”“It’s Ashton’s handwriting! It was his birthday yesterday, and this is the invitation to his birthday party! And it was in my locker!” Natalie said impatiently.“Ashton…”“Yes, Tasmin, Ashton. The freaking most popular boy in ninth grade?”“Ooh right – is he the blonde one?” Tasmin asked.“Oh, for God’s sake Tasmin, no. Do you pay any attention to boys whatsoever?” Natalie paused and looked at her. “Actually, don’t answer that question.”“Thalia, do you know who this Ashton guy is?” Tasmin, Natalie and Thalia sat around a worn picnic table in the lunch courtyard. Thalia nodded, and her auburn curls bounced up and down.“Yeah,” she said through a mouthful of sandwich. “He’s, like, the most popular boy in the grade.”“That’s exactly what I said!” Natalie protested, folding her arms.“Plus – he’s reasonably aesthetically appealing.” Thalia added.“What?” Natalie asked, confused.“Hot,” I translated for her.“Ooh – now I speak your language, sister.” Natalie pointed her fork at Thalia.“Anyway, girls – let’s get back to focus.” Tasmin said.“Right. Are we going to this party or not?” Thalia added.“What kind of a question is that?” Natalie looked horrified. “The most hot and popular guy in the universe invited us dorks to his party. Of course we are!”“But technically he didn’t invite us -“ Thalia gestured to herself and Tasmin. “- to the party. He invited you.”“But this is a once in a lifetime opportunity! And plus he said that we could bring friends if we wanted to.” Natalie rebutted.“Yeah, but I don’t think he gave you that invite expecting Thalia and me to turn up. We’re like the least popular and hot girls in this school.” Tasmin said, sighing. “Nat – I don’t know who this Ashton guy is, but you seem to really want to go to this…thing of his. And you should, because he invited you.”“Tasmin – maybe this could actually be an opportunity. You know, to -“ Thalia began.“To get a reputation? Yeah, no offence Thalia, but that’s not gonna happen, and you know it.” Tasmin said in an annoyed tone.“Tasmin, shut up – Thalia was just trying to be nice. And actually, she was right. Don’t be such a -““Nat – Thalia wasn’t the only one who was right. I was, too. None of us have a reputation but you. And yours is tiny compared to whatever this Ashton dude’s is. If you want to waste your time going to some stupid party just to improve your popularity and get away from us dorks, then whatever. Go ahead.” Tasmin lowered her eyes to her food, her cheeks red. What had she just said?“Okay – Tasmin? That was just plain weird. You know that’s not why Nat wants to go to this party.” Thalia looked horrified.Natalie looked at Tasmin, her cheeks beet red, and walked off, leaving her lunch on the table. Tasmin put her head in her hands.“Thalia, I’m so sorry. I never meant -““Yeah, whatever. I don’t care. Sorry Tasmin, but that was just…why did you say that?” Thalia stood up, brushing the crumbs off her uniform.“I don’t know. I’ve just been so stressed lately, you know?” Tasmin’s voice trembled. Please, please, please don’t ask what about.“Stress is no excuse for saying something like that to Natalie.” And Thalia walked away.Tasmin walked up the front steps of her house and through the old, oak door. She sighed. Why were the two of her friends all so complicated? They were all so different. They had all been friends in primary school, and when they moved to high school, they had decided to stay friends. Gradually Natalie became more and more popular. She changed a lot. She streaked her dark hair with blonde on one side. She started to get to know some of the boys in her grade. She was invited to more and more social stuff, and yet Thalia and Tasmin stayed the unpopular girls that they were. And even though Natalie was always invited to sit with the popular groups at lunch break, she still sat with Thalia and Tasmin. She was still the same girl that they knew in primary school.Thalia was never the most popular girl in primary or high school. Thalia was really good at making friends, however, and was involved in a lot at their school. She did drama and some sports and was really good at math. Thalia was very pretty as well. She had dark, long, curly hair that reached down to her waist, and shining eyes. She caught the attention of a lot of boys at their school. She made a lot of friends, but still chose to sit with their group.
And then there was Tasmin. She wasn’t pretty or popular or even friendly. She was just Tasmin. The girl with the fiery red hair that never stayed in its place – ponytail or braid – and the furious dark eyes. There was nothing special about Tasmin. Well, at least nothing anyone knew but her. In fact, there was something very special about Tasmin – more valuable that beauty or popularity or anything like that – she just didn’t know it yet.