The first time, Maeve is seven. That's the first time she makes something happen. She changes the color of an apple she was eating.
Happy and smiling, Maeve runs to show her mother her new trick. She doesn't understand when her mother begins to cry.
As Maeve grows, her fascination in magic grows. She develops her abilities, learning she can't fly or do telekinesis, but she can control animals and brew medicines.
Innocently, Maeve speaks of what she can do at school. She tells them of the animals that will do her bidding, and the potions she's created, that change the color of things or help you breathe better when you're ill. Proudly, she proclaims herself to be a witch.
That day, she comes home with bruises and cuts, sobbing. Her mother holds her tight, comforting her distraught daughter. She's much come to terms with her daughter's strange powers.
After this, Maeve buries her magic deep, deep down. She forces herself to not reply when her cat speaks to her in its own language. She puts her ingredients, vials, spoon and book in a chest and locks it tight. She hides her list of incantations in her closet. Maeve knows now being a witch isn't normal.
Even so, she can't block everything out. She will always feel connected to nature and animals, something that got her labeled a treehugger. She will always have her dreams, and a large imagination. Maeve isn't normal, but she's doing her damndest to be. Because she's the only one, and she doesn't want to stick out.
Yet sometimes, Maeve wakes at night with a splitting headache, and a sensation of pressure in her whole body. Those nights, she stays up wondering what she is. She doesn't feel like a witch. She has no inclination to go to Wicca. She doesn't feel normal either.
Maeve is thirteen, when she meets them.
She first encounters him when she is trying to shake a fox off her foot. The little guy's attached itself to her. So while she's snarling at it in the language of foxes, she hears a breath behind her.
She freezes and turns slowly, cursing mentally when she sees Daniel Goodman, a popular boy in her class. The fox bounds away.
She opens her mouth to say something, anything-but he cuts her off. Breathless, he says-
She stares, unwilling to acknowledge the hope rising in her chest.
That night, Daniel invites her to his house. After a calm and pleasant and somewhat-awkward-because-Maeve-can't-stop-staring-at-Daniel dinner and meeting Daniel's sister, Kendra, Daniel drags both Maeve and Kendra upstairs to his room. He locks the door and turns round.
"What's this about bro?" Kendra asks, brushing shaggy blond hair out of crystal green eyes.
Kendra listens attentively as Daniel explains what Maeve's told him, with Maeve interjecting occasionally with corrections and further explanations.
When Daniel's done, Kendra doesn't speak for a moment. Maeve feels nervous. Then Kendra looks up, and brushes Maeve's black hair out of her eyes.
"Wow, Maeve, me and this idiot", gesturing to Daniel, "thought we were the only ones."
Maeve smiles. "Yeah, so did I."
Maeve comes over to their house again on Saturday. The day is spent eating ice cream, practicing magic by pranking jerks, and walking in the park.
And when Maeve sits in between Kendra and Daniel, her new friend and crush, she doesn't feel lost anymore.