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If you haven’t read part one, read it here.
As I pack up my things, the mother comes up to me. If the smile on her face is any indication, I think I’m going to get a groovy tip.
“All the children had such a good time. I overheard them raving about you. Even my Jason was excited by the end.” She leans forward and continues under her breath. “He’s going through, ah, a bit of a phase right now. My ex-husband died a few months ago, and it’s hit him pretty hard.”
Straightening, she pulls my fee out of her pocket and what looks like a little extra. “Thank you, and Jason should really thank you, too. It is his party.” She turns around and yells for him. I take her momentary distraction to tuck away the money.
He trots down the stairs, looking a little annoyed, and I realize it’s the kid from earlier.
“Don’t you want to thank Miss Ollie?” she prompts, reminding me of my own mother.
While he deliberates, I set the final box onto my cart, then turn my attention back to him. A phone in another room starts to ring.
“Thank you.” He eventually says, looking at his feet. The mom nods, and runs off to catch the phone, assuring us she’ll be right back.
With the mom satisfied and the cash burning a hole in my pocket, I don’t bother waiting for her. I open the door and begin to push my cart out. At the last second, I decide to do one final trick for him.
He looks up.
I let the magic stew a little then tip my hat slowly upward, lengthening the reveal. His eyes follow the hat, going the size of dinner plates when it’s clear that Mr. Bun is no longer in his cage, but on my head. Just as quickly, I lower the hat and wink.
“How did I do what?” I ask, gesturing toward the rabbit hutch on my cart. Mr. Bun is chewing on a piece of lettuce.
I close the door on his stunned expression and walk to my van. He’ll be even more astonished when he finds my business card in his pocket, I think.
* * *
After carefully packing Mr. Bun and all my supplies into my mini van, I unlock the driver side door and slip inside. I take my hair out of the severe bun I put it in to look professional and shake my head. Pure bliss. Setting my head on the edge of the steering wheel, I close my eyes and take a deep breath.
I jump straight up and hit my head on the ceiling. My scream tapers off as I look to the passenger seat and see my brother sitting there.
“God, Theo,” I breathe. “Don’t do that and don’t call me that either.”
He raises an eyebrow at me, and I correct myself. “Theobald, I mean.” Some of us like our weird names, but I never have. I’m more of a nickname kind of girl. “What are you doing in my car?”
“Just drive.” He says with a dismissive shake of his hand. When we don’t go anywhere, he turns to actually look at me. It’s my turn to quirk an eyebrow. Relenting, he says, “I’ll tell you when we get to your apartment.”
This is good enough for me, so I stick my keys into the ignition and start her up. It takes a minute for the engine to roll over. I got the ol’ mini van for cheap because of it’s age. I may or may not have pushed a little magic into her innards to get her to go again.
As I make my way out of the maze of suburbia and cut across town, I keep glancing at Theo. He looks good. I haven’t seen him since Christmas, and then only for a moment. Some young warlock got a little too ambitious halfway through trimming the tree, and he had to cut out with a couple of the other cousins to clean up the mess.
His amber brown hair, the same color as mine, is slicked back tight. It’s like him- under control without a single strand out of place. He may have a line or two around his mouth and eyes that I haven’t seen before. The only real noticeable difference is how he’s sitting. He’s still alert and vigilant, but he seems a little tired. I’d know. I’ve spent my whole life watching him, and up until high school I tried to be him.
By Kira Lubahn