She leaned into me and sobbed.
I didn’t know her but damn if I didn’t suddenly feel responsible for
her. How in the hell had that happened? Because I lost my mother too? Because
this poor kid had big blue eyes and pleaded for me to help her? Damned if I
She wiped her face on her shirt. “We should probably get some
And we did. While she did buy some junk food, I was a little surprised
at how much healthy stuff she put in the cart. She even claimed she knew what
to do with it.
When she grabbed a box of Earl Grey tea, I laughed. “You liar!”
She looked slightly embarrassed. “My mom drinks it,” she looked down at
the box, “she drank it.”
I snatched it out of her hand and threw it in the cart. “If nothing
else, we’ll brew it just to sniff.”
She blinked back tears before grabbing a bag of coffee. “Sounds good.”
The bill at checkout nearly gave me hives. Did teenagers eat this much
every week? The paperwork the attorney left did show a nice monthly allowance
for necessities, but if the grocery bill was this much each week, I’m not sure
how much would be left.
I tried to hide the shock from Elaina. My poker face must not be as
good as I thought, however.
“Don’t worry, we had to get a lot of staple items this week. We won’t
need this much each time.”
Smiling, I started piling bags in my truck. “You noticed my
She laughed. “I’ve never seen a mage turn white like that. It was like
a vampire had sucked you dry.”
After returning home, she helped me put all the groceries away then
volunteered to start making dinner. I poured a glass of wine and leaned against
the counter, watching her. Something was niggling at the back of my head.
“I wanted to ask you about that awesome fireball you made earlier.”
I noticed the pause in her movements before she went back to work. That
“Cool, huh,” she said, keeping her back to me.
“What kind of magic is that?” I asked. “I’ve never seen a witch make a
fireball.” I studied her movements while she worked. Her hands started to shake
a little. The topic made her nervous. Interesting.
Her shoulders rose and fell as she took a deep breath. “As it turns
out, I’m not a witch. I turned twelve and mom put me through all of the usual
tests. Nothing.” She shook spices on the meat in the pan.
“Wow, that must have sucked.” I was trying to stay on her level to keep
“Not really. She didn’t make a big deal out of it. I helped her with
her projects, learned about ingredients, spells, and relics. Last year, I felt
She turned and looked at me. “I don’t know how to explain it. It was
like a switch flipped and I could feel something here,” she said pointing just
below her sternum.
“Warm and kind of moving?” I asked.
She nodded. “Exactly, except sometimes it feels icy too.”
Warm and cold? Was this kid defective?
“Anyway, I told my mom. We were close and she was just, awesome. I
always knew I could tell her anything. She said it was excellent. So, we went
into the woods and tried several things.
Nothing I tried worked. Then she said to do what felt naturally. That’s
when I cupped my hands and made a tiny light ball. It was the size of a
This made no sense. It didn’t sound like any magic I