Happy New Year! May your year ahead be filled with magic.
Stay the Night
It was going to be weird. Amethyst hadn’t thought about that part when she suggested that Jas stay with her. But she thought about it now, remembering how strange it had felt when he’d opened her coat closet for her coat.
He’d gone home to change and pack a few things. She’d gone to Scarpa’s for dinner, where she picked up a primavera pizza, spinach salad and an apple tart for dessert.
Amethyst pulled up Flint. The modest little houses looked cozy, windows glowing with warm light, winter-bare landscaping sketched in charcoal lines in the orangey light of streetlights. One house still stubbornly sported Christmas lights. She crested the little hill where she could see her house ahead on the right.
Jas’ Range Rover Evoque was already parked in the driveway. Her stomach did a funny little flip, not sure whether to be relieved or nervous. Although the nervousness might be from wondering where Balgaire could be.
She sent a flick of magic ahead to open the garage door and disarm her wards. The Range Rover’s lights came on and it pulled into her garage, a tight fit in the single-car space. Amethyst pulled her Outback onto the driveway behind it, gathered up the pizza box and the bags containing the rest of the food and opened the rear door with another magical nudge. Caramela bounded out and trotted into the garage.
Jas was pulling an oversized duffle from the backseat. This time Caramela gave him a sniff and a cautious wag. Jas patted her, slung the bag over his shoulder and slammed the door.
He raised a brow. “I assume you knew it was me.”
“It’s your—” She stopped. “Oh. The car might’ve been under illusion.” She turned to close the garage door to cover her embarrassment. It went down with considerably less rattling than her old one had. “Well, I’d sense an illusion, anyway,” she grumbled.
“If you’re looking for one, yes.”
This time he raised both brows, maybe waiting for her to tell him she had been looking. She only met his gaze, daring him to ask. He didn’t.
“If you don’t already have a ward in place against illusion, I’d recommend you add one.” He took the pizza box from her. “I certainly have.”
She grinned. “I bet. How far down the street does it extend?”
“That,” he said, “is privileged information.”
To torment him, she’d created the illusion of a loud party at his house a couple of months ago. The neighbors had called the Party Patrol and everything. His retaliation was telling Mama that they were getting married.
“You don’t trust me,” she said. “I’m hurt.” She flipped on an outside light and opened the side door to the garage. “But since you mention it…”
She stepped outside. Jas set the pizza box on top of his car (coincidentally out of Caramela’s reach), followed her through the side gate and down to the sidewalk. She stood thinking a moment, riffling through the second-hand spells in her mind, then found one that would work.
Amethyst knelt by the curb. With her finger, she drew a rune, a straight line with three lines branching off of it. It glowed an eerie purple for a moment, almost beyond the range of vision, then seemed to sink into the surface of the concrete.
Jas watched her. “That,” he said, “is an old, old spell.”
“I’m supposed to use a rowan wand to draw the runes, since rowan is a protection against enchantment. But I figured out that most stuff like that is just symbolism. All I really need is the right intent to set the magic.” She stood, moved to the opposite corner of her property and marked the same lines. “And my intent here is to see the truth.”
“You seem to favor old spells, from some of the magic I’ve seen you work.”
Setting another rune into her driveway, she shrugged. “It seems a lot of wizards don’t recognize the old magic, so it’s harder to counterspell.”
She moved to the opposite side of the driveway, then to her front walk, Jas drifting behind. Finishing one last rune, she stood and dusted off her hands. “I’m hungry now. Let’s eat.”
It was back into the garage then to collect the food and Jas’ bag.
He put the pizza box on the dining room table and his duffle on a chair. Unzipping it, he extracted a bottle of wine and set it next to the pizza.
“I thought this might go well with dinner.” He zipped up the bag again and picked it up. “Where shall I put this?”
Leaving the plates and bowls she’d taken down, she led the way into the living room and down the hall. The nervousness was back.
Oh, come on, she told herself. This was your idea.
Besides, the thought of Jas in her guest bedroom was a lot more appealing than lying awake with wizard’s senses strained for someone using magic.
She turned on the light in the bedroom across from hers. “Here it is.” Continue reading