Chapter 1: Goodbye, Brewster! 1 GOODBYE, BREWSTER!
Okay, here we go.
I, Heidi Heckelbeck, am officially freaking out, so I hurl myself onto my bed.
I bury my face in my pillow.
Please don’t let boarding school be super, totally, and utterly horrible, I think.
Then I wonder:
Why in the world did I agree to go anyway?
I mean, sure, I definitely want to become a better witch, and yes, I’ll put on a brave face, but I’m not gonna lie, I’m terrified of living away from home.
This is a life-changing step.
I roll over and grab a framed picture of my two best friends, Lucy and Bruce. There I am, standing in the middle, with one arm around each of them.
We look so happy by the pool!
This picture is definitely going with me—even though the sight of it tugs at my heart, and even though I hardly have any room left in my suitcases!
My door creaks open.
“Heidi?” Mom walks in with a stack of white towels. “Honey, what are you doing? We need to hit the road in less than an hour.”
I push myself up to sitting and twist my hair into a messy bun.
“I’m having a moment.”
Mom sets the towels on the bed beside me. “Well, it’s totally natural to feel anxious before leaving for boarding school. To be honest, I was petrified.”
It comforts me to know Mom was scared too.
“It’s just that I’m going to miss everyone SO much.”
Mom rests her hand on my shoulder.
“Remember, your friends and family will always be here. And now you get to make more friends.”
She gives me a smile before continuing.
“It’ll be an adventure! The rest of us will be missing you more than you’ll be missing us. And you’ll love Broomsfield Academy—just like Aunt Trudy and I did.
I press the picture of my friends against my chest. Mom points to my duffel bags. “Now, time to finish packing.”
I drop to my knees beside my new comforter, neatly folded inside a see-through plastic case.
This comforter is totally me.
It has ribbons of patchwork, with spirals, paisley, polka dots, and itty-bitty flowers. The other side has navy-and-white stripes. Navy pom-poms dangle from the edges. It’ll look SO good on my bed at school. This makes me feel a smidge better.
Mom nudges me again.
I grab the towels and begin to shove them into an empty duffel bag.
“Tell me more about Broomsfield Academy.” Mom’s already told me about it a bazillion times, but it helps to talk about it.
“Well, as you know, it’s the only school in the country that has secret classes for witches-in-training.”
I sigh dreamily.
“I know! I wish I could take magic classes ALL day every day.”
Mom laughs. “Well, you have to take regular classes like English, math, and science too.”
I like all those subjects, but wouldn’t they be way more fun if they had a bit more magic in them?
Like, what if I could enchant my books so the story would come to life in the classroom?
Or what if I could magically solve climate change in science class?
And I would definitely be psyched if my pencil could take notes all by itself! Think about it. No more cramped fingers or eraser dust!
Mom hands me a stack of sheets to pack with my towels, totally interrupting my thoughts.
She knows the way my mind works.
“Slow down, Li’l Miss Witch,” she says. “Remember that ALL Broomsfield witches and wizards are sworn to secrecy.”
She puts a hand on mine, and I turn to look at her. She locks eyes with me and continues.
“Heidi, absolutely none of the other students can find out about the School of Magic program. That’s the beauty of Broomsfield Academy. The classes for magical students are hidden in what seems like a regular, run-of-the-mill boarding school. It’s been this way for generations, and anyone who isn’t a witch or wizard is none the wiser.”
My mom always stresses this point.
It’s like she thinks I’ll be the ONE witch in the school’s 150-year history to spill the beans!
Not a chance.
I LOVE secrets!
And I’ve never given away my own witch identity in all my life, so why would I start NOW?
Mom zips one of my suitcases. “And more important, you’re not supposed to practice magic outside class,” she adds as if I didn’t know.
Blah, blah, blah, I say in my head, trying to block out this information.
But the truth is, not practicing magic when I feel like it will be superhard for me.
I love to practice magic!
It comes in handy every day, and you can do so many cool things with magic, like clean your room without lifting a finger, make random stuff glow in the dark, or make a pencil bend like a wet noodle.
And how am I going to change my nail polish every morning, like I do now? And there’s no way I can do my hair without magic.
I would never survive without my tangle-tamer and de-frizzing spells!
Okay, I’m seriously getting worked up about this no-magic rule.
Maybe I’ll be able to sneak a little everyday magic in when nobody’s looking—stuff nobody would suspect.…
I can be a very clever witch when I want to be.…
I look up and notice that Mom has a very stern look on her face. I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m thinking, so I quickly change the subject.
“ANYWAY,” I say a tad dramatically so I can move on to my next question. “What will I learn in my School of Magic classes?”
Mom wheels another suitcase into the hall and comes back to pack my bathroom stuff.
“Well, for one thing, you’ll learn the history of magic.”
Makes sense, but I want to learn new spells. I want to be able to make my scooter fly or travel to faraway places with a blink of my eyes.
“What else?” I ask.
Mom packs a green loofah and a pair of black-and-white-striped flip-flops for the shower.
“You’ll learn how to brew potions and cast charms and spells, as well as learn the magical properties of plants and herbs,” Mom goes on. “You’ll also learn how to use a wand.”
Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
I squeal as I shove a neatly folded pillowcase into my bag.
I’ve never used a wand before.
“Hey, how come you never use a wand or practice magic at home?”
This is something I’ve always wondered about my mom.
“You know very well, Heidi. It’s because I chose to be a regular mom. But that doesn’t mean I don’t use magic. I’m just discreet about it, and I learned that at school.”
“But Dad makes more potions than you do, and he’s not even a wizard!”
Mom frowns. “Yes, but Dad’s potions don’t have magical properties.”
I shake my head. “Well, I disagree on that! Dad’s soda recipes are magically FIZZ-i-licious!”
My dad’s kind of famous. Everybody in Brewster knows he’s the head of research and development at a soda company called the FIZZ.
“Okay, I see your point.” Mom laughs. “But keep packing, kiddo, if you want to get to school before dinner.”
I pull my flowery suitcase off the shelf in my closet. My favorite stuff will go in here.
First I wrap the picture of my friends and me, along with a picture of my family, in tissue. I tuck them into the bottom of my suitcase.
Next I lay down my treasured Book of Spells and my Witches of Westwick medallion, which are in their leather travel case. They’re really old and belonged to my great-grandmother.
I cover them with my brand-new white jean jacket.
I can’t wait to wear this!
I plop a clear zippered bag on top of it. The bag is stuffed with black-and-white-striped tights. These have been my signature look since forever, but who knows if I’ll wear them at boarding school.
It may be time to go for a new style.
Right now I’m kind of into my striped sneakers. Next I plop two large bags of gummy bears into my suitcase for my secret stash. Then I place down a package of compliment pencils that Lucy gave me. One of the pencils says YOU’RE MAGICAL. I smile because Lucy still doesn’t even know I’m a witch! And last but not least, I pack my new shaving kit because everyone knows girls shave their legs in middle school.
Oh, I almost forgot my comics, word searches, and magazines! I drop them into my suitcase, zip it, and wheel it into the hall.
Then I stare at all my luggage.
Gulp! I’m actually totally packed and ready to go!
Butterflies flutter in my stomach.
Then WHAM! Henry’s door slams shut.
I nearly jump out of my shoes.
My brother stands in the hall and looks at my bags and then at me.
“Well, I’m not sure what’s weirder—having you around or NOT having you around.”
My tongue rolls out like a party horn. It’s an automatic reflex. Henry points both index fingers at me and makes a silly face.
“Just KIDDING!” he says. “I’m totally going to miss you! The only upside is I’ll have all the cereal to myself!”
I retract my tongue. Oh wow, I’ll miss racing through boxes of cereal with Henry or fishing for all the yummiest pieces before he wakes up.
I wonder if they’ll have cereal at boarding school?
I sure hope so!
“I’ll miss you too, bub.”
Henry and I each grab a suitcase and roll it downstairs.
Mom and Dad help with the other suitcases, duffel bags, comforter, fan, and desk lamp.
I race back into the house for one more thing.
It’s something I’ve been working on my entire life.
I call it my Thingamajiggy and Whatnot Collection.
Inside this giant plastic storage tub is every single prize I have ever gotten from a gumball machine, trick-or-treating, or fast-food kid’s meal—plus everything from all my birthday party goody bags.
Truth moment here.
I have never thrown even one of these little doodads away.
I have everything in here from animal erasers and Mr. Potato Head parts, to Kool-Aid packets and miniature plastic foods—even leftover Halloween candy.
This miscellaneous stuff comes in handy for spells. You never know when you might need some weird trinket in a potion or mix.
It happens A LOT.
I plunk my tub full of treasures in the driveway with my other stuff, and Dad loads everything into the car. Henry and I hop into the back seat.
The butterflies in my stomach are really flapping now.
I take one long last look at our house. Home sweet home. I’m going to miss it so much.
“Farewell, house! I love you!”
I say this as Dad backs down the driveway.
We’re not even to the end of the driveway when a car pulls up.
It’s my absolute best friend in the whole world, LUCY!
She already threw me a going-away party with all our friends, but here she is to say one last goodbye! Dad stops the car, and I hop out.
Lucy and I run to each other and hug like koalas. She has a purple shopping bag in her hand.
What’s in there? I wonder. Lucy pulls out a scrapbook.
“I finally finished it! It’s a scrapbook filled with everything about us since second grade.” She hands it to me. At the same time, my knees suddenly feel all wobbly, like Jell-O.
The thought of leaving Lucy hits me like a freight train.
Tears fill my eyes.
We grab hold of each other again.
“Thank you SO much,” I manage to say. “I’m going to miss you more than all the Skittles in Skittlesville!”
Lucy pulls away so we can see each other face-to-face.
“Me too,” she says. Her eyes also glisten with tears.
“What am I going to do without you?” I sniffle and laugh at the same time. “Maybe you and Melanie will become BFFs…!”
Lucy laughs so hard, she snorts. “I seriously doubt it! You’re so lucky to be rid of her!”
I can’t help but start laughing too. “All good things must come to an end!”
Then we hug one more time.
“This isn’t really goodbye,” I say. “I’ll come home on weekends sometimes. And there are phone calls and texting and letters.”
Lucy nods. “I know. Love you forever.”
Lucy runs back to her car.
I wave at Mrs. Lancaster.
Then I run back to our car and plop onto the back seat.
I glance at the scrapbook in my hands. The cover has a photo of me and Lucy. It was one of our first photos together, from when we were both about seven years old.
I can’t look at it right now, or I’ll go to pieces.
As our car rolls down our street, I watch the familiar scene disappear behind me.
“Goodbye, life as I know it!”
Then Henry looks up from his tablet with one eyebrow raised.
“Adios, DRAMA QUEEN!”
I shove Henry. He shoves me right back. Then I roll down my window.
“Goodbye, Brewster!” I roll it back up. “And look out, magical new world! Because…
“HERE I COME!”
Then, with a tiny bit of magic, I make the leaves in our driveway swirl around and form the word “goodbye.” I don’t even have to mix a spell to move things anymore. But uh-oh, Mom saw what I just did. Oops.
“HEIDI!” she says as she turns around and glares at me.
“Okay, okay!” I say, and I make the leaves swirl randomly again. Hey, can’t a budding witch have a little fun?!