Tamlin goes to the Summerdream house to visit his friend Sylvie, who just became a teen a few days after him.
"Let me give you a makeover," he says when she greets him in the old mansion's huge, empty entrance, "I can completely transform you."
Sylvie isn't so sure she's up for being completely transformed, but she'd rather go along with Tam than turn him down, so she brings him up to her room.
"There," he says when he's satisfied with his work, "You look amazing, Syl. The other girls will be jealous."
"Okay, I guess," Sylvie murmurs.
"Okay?" Tam sputters, "What's wrong, Syl? Don't you like the dress? Or is it the hair?"
"No, it looks great," Sylvie sighs, "But does it look like me?" Sylvie glances in the mirror beside her, not recognizing the girl in the reflection, "Tam, my whole life, I've had to live up to my mother's expectations, be what she wants me to be. I don't want to be a doll for you to dress up on top of that."
"It's not like that, Syl," Tamlin protests, "I mean, I do like to play dress up. And I did kind of have this image in my head, of you and me, being the coolest looking couple in Edgewater. But I only want that if it makes you happy, too. You don't need clothes at all, I'd still want to be with you, even without them."
Tam blushes at his own words, "Uh, I mean..." he stammers.
"What other images of me do you have in your head?" Sylvie laughs.
"I'd better not say..."
Sylvie pulls him into her arms, "Better just kiss me, then."
Sylvie decides she loves her new look, and she does rather like the idea of being one half of the coolest looking couple in Edgewater. They decide to show themselves off at The Octopus's Garden.
It turns out though that the club is dead tonight, and there's no one around to se how cool they look together. But Tam and Sylvie are too wrapped in each other to notice.
Brynne tries not impose too much on Raymundo. As a teacher, he really does have to be careful about the out of school time he spends with students. But they do keep in frequent contact by phone.
Meri overhears his daughter's conversation with the young teacher, and shares his concerns with Allyn.
Allyn decides it's time for a mother-daughter chat. "I know how overwhelming it can be," she says, "All these hormones putting pressure on you. It's hard enough just being a teen, but add to that our needs as fox spirits..."
"Mom!" Brynne protests, horrified, "I'm not even dating anyone!"
"But there is something going on between you and Raymundo Hawksquill, though. You're always on the phone with him. I've heard your tone when you talk with him."
"There's nothing going on with me and Ray!" Brynne denies vehemently. Allyn gives her a hard stare, and Brynne relents, "I did got to prom with him, and we did kiss. And stuff. But not, you know, 'stuff'. And, yes, I'm still attracted to him. But I do have self-control, you know. And so does he. I barely see him outside of school. He's free to date if he wants, and so am I. But that hasn't happened. For either of us."
Allyn smiles, "You're a lot more responsible than I was at your age," she says, "I'm proud of you. Just, remember to be careful, when you decide you are ready..."
Brynne rolls her eyes at her mother. "Ray loves being a teacher. I wouldn't jeopardize that for him. And I'm not completely at the mercy of my hormones, you know."
It doesn't take much to set Keira off. All Jasmine did was ask her daughter to get ready for her first day of school, and she was met with a tide of anger.
"I'm not going to stupid school!" Keira rages, "I hate you!"
It's been like this since before Keira could even talk. As a toddler, she'd throw her toys and break them, and she bite and scratch her parents when they'd try to calm her. Jasmine and Dennis hoped it was a phase she'd grow out of, but Keira reached childhood with the same temper.
"Sweetheart, school will be fun. You'll make new friends..." Jasmine cringes at the thought of her daughter's temper encountering other children. If it doesn't work out, Jasmine might have to give up her new job and home school Keira.
"You're a terrible mother," Keira sneers in disgust.
Dennis comes downstairs and hears the exchange.
"Don't ever talk to your mother that way!" Dennis shouts.
"Honey, please, shouting doesn't help," Jasmine soothes.
"Nothing helps," Dennis sighs in defeat, "What are we going to do with her?"
"I wish I knew," Jasmine says softly. They had talked about having more children, but that won't happen until they can figure out how to parent the one they have.
Keira listens in silent outrage as her parents discuss her like she's not even there.
Jasmine almost expected the call from school, asking her to come in for a conference with Keira's teacher. Keira got into several fights with other children right from the start of the school day. Melusine Dayspring, her boss, was kind enough to let her out of work early, and when Jasmine arrives at the school, she find's her husband, the school's coach, already in discussion with Raymundo Hawksquill.
Before Keira Bowman even entered his classroom, Raymundo had known what she was. Aymeri himself had come to the young teacher and tasked him with the job of revealing the truth to her parents. "In the world they come from, it's pretty common for teachers to inform parents of issues with their children," the dragon had explained. The glamour Summerdream had laid on the couple had been slowly lifted in the days prior to Keira starting school, so by now, they would be full of questions for their child's teacher. Ray had been preparing for this day.
"Keira is a very special little girl," he starts.
"She's not 'special'" Dennis seethes defensively, "She has a temper, but she's not slow."
Ray chides himself inwardly for his word choice. Of course, out there, 'special' has connotations beyond what he meant to express. "Of course," Ray says, "She's very bright, actually. But her temper would be not be normal for your typical human child. Keira is not a typical human child." Ray pauses to let his words sink in.
"Are you saying Keira isn't human?" Jasmine gasps, picking up his meaning.
"None of us are, here," Ray answers, "Edgewater exists as a haven for people with...magical...heritage. Elves, fairies, gnomes...but your daughter is rare even amongst our kind. She's a dragon. A true dragon."
"You aren't serious," Jasmine answers. "Elves? Fairies? And Keira is a dragon?"
"I'm quite serious. Surely you've seen people here with what you'd think of as peculiar skin or hair color, pointed ears..."
Jasmine glances at her husband, they'd just been talking the other day about how odd some of their new friends were. They hadn't noticed when they first came to town, maybe because they were used to seeing strange hair and general weirdness in L.A., but lately it had started coming to their attention, that their new home was bizarre even by L.A. standards. It never occurred to either of them that their neighbors were elves or fairies, though. Jasmine can't believe she's even entertaining that thought now.
"Okay, so let's for a moment say I believe that there are elves and fairies here in Edgewater. How can Keira possibly be a dragon, when they are lizards, and she's obviously a little girl?"
"Dragon's can take many forms, not just the great lizards you are thinking of. Many generations ago, a dragon named Aymeri married one of your husband's ancestors, a human woman, who had some fae ancestry. Most of his descendants took after his mother, and were halflings, mortals with fae ancestry. But your daughter was born a true dragon, which is very rare."
"My grandma Becky used to talk about her grandfather, he was, uh, a criminal, I guess," Dennis says, "She said he'd use 'elfin magic' to avoid detection and escape from difficult situations. She told me a story about him doing a job with grandfather, who was a dragon."
"And you believed it?" Jasmine asks.
Dennis blushes, "Not at the time, no. I thought she was senile, or pulling my leg. But now..."
"Becky Bowman's grandfather was Rory Bowan, the grandson of the dragon Aymeri," Ray tells them. "Her husband Kaiden was from the same line, the grandson of Rory's sister, Kelsey."
"Eww, your grandparents were cousins," Jasmine says, "But how do you know so much about Dennis' family?"
"Hawksquills keep the genealogies of everyone in town. It is our job to know these things. You also have magic in your ancestry, though it goes so far back it was nearly impossible to find it. One of your ancestors bore a child to an ifrit. That makes you the first of your kind in Edgewater. Though I've heard that Moth has tagged an ifrit halfling not too long ago, and we may see him come to Edgewater yet."
Jasmine decides not ask what an ifrit is, or who Moth might be. "So, what does this mean for Keira, being a 'dragon'?" She refrains from actually making air quotes around the word, but they are clear in her inflection.
"Young dragons have terrible tempers, as you've seen. I've been preparing myself to be able to help guide her through this difficult time, to show her how to control the rages. And I can help you understand, as well. More importantly, Aymeri will also be involved, though he hasn't lived in physical form for a few generations now. But, it really takes a dragon to parent a dragon, so he'll be with us here in school everyday, and he'll spend time with you at home, as well."
Dennis glares sharply at the teacher, "You've known about this since we came here? And you're only telling us now?"
"Would you have believed it if we told you before your daughter's temper manifested?" Ray asks.
"What do you think?" Dennis asks his wife in a whisper, "Are they all crazy? Do we stay here and trust these people, or do we run screaming from this town?"
"It just seems so impossible," Jasmine answers, "But if it's true, it's Keira's best hope. If it's not...well, where would we run to? Any other school system would put her on drugs, or kick her out. I say we stay, and try to believe in magic."
Chapter title is a song by Elvis Costello