War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch (8 page)

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
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"What if what?"

I took a deep breath. "What if I told
you I'd recently discovered I might be a half-ass, half-practicing witch and
that I've been one my whole life?"

"I'd tell you I believe you, of
course. That's what sisters do."

 
"Yeah, but what if I told you I was
deadly serious?
Would you try to get me in the nearest insane
asylum as soon as possible?"

She took a long draw off her cigarette and
smiled. "No. I'd just tell you that I can talk to dead people and I don't
even have to be related to them."

 
"You should talk to your sister
,
"
I heard again in
the back of my mind. And he'd known that from a
picture
.

"For—for real?"
I asked.

"Yeah.
You want to haul
me
off
to the nearest asylum? Mom almost did."

"Mom
what
?"

"Oh, yeah.
You don't remember? 'Course, you were fourteen and all intent on
being a teenager and I was only nine and a pain in the ass. But you don't
remember when she hauled me off to a child psychiatrist for six months?"

"Of course I do," I said slowly.
"But that was because of
school
,
because you were having problems fitting in with the other kids—"

Stacy laughed.
"Yeah.
She wishes. First she took me to one who told her it was a lot more common than
most people thought, and then she took me to one who told her I was
schizophrenic. So I smartened up and shut up and told everybody I was just
making it up and they decided I just had the ordinary imaginary friends. And I
never told anybody else.
Anything
."

I sat and stared at her, my heart breaking
at the thought of a nine year old walking around with that. And carrying it
alone all this time. "And you never told
me
? You didn't think I'd believe you?"

She shrugged. "I told
Mom
, Ari. Who loudly proclaims to love
us more than anybody else in the world ever
will.
As long as I'm
normal
.
As long as
you're
normal.
Don't tell me you don't know that and it's not one of the
reasons you never opened up. You always knew that. I almost did tell you a few
times, I've always wondered—did
you
see anything? But you don't, do you? You just—you just
know
things. Well, that's not right,
either,
it's not like you know what's going to happen or anything, not like a fortune
teller. You know people. You know who and what they really are and sometimes
you know what they're thinking. I think that depends on how hard they're
thinking it and how much you like them."

"I've never told you I know what
people are thinking sometimes."

"Oh, no, you've always been real
careful about that. Without even knowing or meaning to, I think. You're real
good at passing it off as ordinary observation and educated guess."

I sat in stunned silence and let it soak
in. "And all these years we've never told each other?"

She smiled. "But we knew. We always
knew. You know we did."

"Sister hug!" I proclaimed. We
reached for each other over the console and squeezed each other breathless.

"So.
What earth-shattering revelation by the name of bounty hunter Chad
Garrett brought this on?"

"Am I broadcasting? What else do you
do besides talk to dead people?"

 
"Is that what he calls it?
Broadcasting?"

"Yeah."

"Well, yeah, you are, but you're the
only live person I can read. Visitations and funerals are a
bitch
, though, I tell you what. And
sometimes I know what's wrong with people. Like when Amy Buford was trying to
get pregnant last year? And finally went to the doctor and she's a diabetic and
that was the problem? Well, I didn't know
what
the problem was, but I knew there was something wrong with her. And back to
Chad Garrett—"

"No," I said firmly and opening
the car door.
"Tonight.
Still want your place?
Scott's no longer a factor at mine."

"Yeah, but his vibes still are. That's
gonna take a while to clear out."

 
 
 
 
 

Chapter Thirteen

 

I told her
all about it that night over the pizza recipe we'd created when I was eighteen
and she was thirteen, the one that had our friends who lived five miles away
calling in on Sunday afternoons proclaiming, "You're making pizza, aren't
you? I can smell it!"

"So,
again I ask," I said, licking the remnants of pizza sauce off my fingers.
"Do I need an insane asylum?"

"I
believe every word," she declared emphatically.
"Every
word.
Why wouldn't I? So, now
I
ask—with
all that, why am I sitting here eating pizza with you instead of him? Not that
I think the two of you would be sitting here eating pizza."

"Well,
damn, get graphic, why don't you?" I laughed.
"Because—I'm
not ready.
This is all so
new,
and so old at
the same time, like when I hear—" I broke off. "Do
you
have any trace memories?
Of ever being here before?
Like
déjà vu
only not?"

"Such as?"

"Such
as hearing a foreign language and feeling like you
know
it, you just can't
remember
it? I do that.
With Italian and Russian.
Russian
, for God's sakes! Most people
can't even pronounce a Russian name."

"Never
noticed, but I'll definitely start paying attention. He could help, you know.
Sounds like he's already come to terms with all this magical stuff
that's so new-old to you."

"So
have you. And I didn't even know it."

"Not
like he has, apparently. It's always been almost completely unconscious for you
and actually, mostly for me. For him, it sounds like
it's
really
super
conscious."

I shook my
head. "No. I mean yes. I mean, I just need to sort it out on my own some
more before I'm ready to see him again."

"Well,
don't take too damn long.
Wit.
War—N are waitin' on
you, you know."

 

* * *

 

Just
because I wasn't ready to see the master warlock yet didn't mean I was out of
contact with him. Through the next two weeks the emails and texts flew and we
burned up the cell towers between Macon, Georgia and wherever the hell he was at the time
which ranged from various back roads in the Alabama
boondocks to Tallahassee to Savannah. And God knows where else. And
minute by minute, day by day, and phone call by phone call, I felt myself draw
closer and closer to the time we'd call each other home.
      

The end of
the second week brought with it that announcement so dear to all working girls'
hearts—we weren't going to make deadlines on a massively complicated,
mind-boggling, drawers of filing cabinets full corporate litigation case unless
we worked on Saturday and probably Sunday. "We" in this case included
me, Mark McCray, the senior partner whose case it actually was, Jon Tennille,
his secretary Amanda, one of the younger attorneys by the name of Nathan
Armstrong, and the litigation paralegal Dana Marlow.

It didn't
happen that often, not to me, anyway, though Dana and Amanda pulled Saturdays
fairly frequently and I wasn't really upset about it. Actually, I took it as
sort of a confirming sign that I wasn't ready to text the words, "Come now,"
down to Quitman, Georgia—or wherever the roving PI was located at the moment. I
was disappointed about that, too, but I was in the process of coming to believe
that nothing that ever happens is accidental, and that when the time came—and
it was drawing ever closer—I would know.

It was
about 12:15 that Saturday when I realized that I hadn't eaten anything that
morning. I was bad about that and I was getting past peckish and was just about
in danger of getting shaky. I wasn't the only hungry one, either. Nathan came
down the hall and hollered into Mark's office.

"Hey!
I'm goin' down to Frick & Fries, you wanna come?"

Frick &
Fries was a Macon
institution. It'd been in business since the 1920's on a diagonal stretch of

Cotton Avenue
.
Downtown wasn't what it used to be with shopping having moved to the malls and
out of downtowns everywhere in the 70's. Downtown now was nothing much but a
few businesses, lots of law offices and the courthouse. Many new eateries tried
and failed, but Frick's had never so much as blinked an eye from the time its
doors opened. Nor had it ever changed the original diner counter and probably
not the booths over on the side either.
The menu remained eternal. Fried chicken to make Colonel Sanders weep, hot dogs
with a secret sauce kept in a vault, and hamburgers with meat patties that ran
way past the margins of the buns. The fries we won't even go into. Frick &
Fries knew the secrets of seasonings long before anybody thought to put
anything other than salt on a fried potato.

I started
salivating.

"Yeah,
I'll go with you," Mark said, coming out of his office. "But let's
bring it back. What about Jon?" He went down the hall past me. "Jon!
Me and Nathan going to Fricks, you want anything?"

Jon
Tennille walked down the hall towards them.
"Oh, yeah.
I'll take two hotdogs."

Okay, I was
hungry. I was working on Saturday, a Saturday when I'd been seriously
considering summoning my own personal warlock back to Macon. And at this exchange between the
attorneys who apparently didn't even notice me sitting there, or Amanda down at
her desk, or Dana over in her little cubbyhole, let alone consider us anything
but an extension of our computers, or even stop to think we might be hungry
too, I was
pissed
.

I gave way
to the only vent for such a high state of piss-off available to working girls.
I mentally chewed their asses off.
"I
do not believe y'all are that freakin' rude and insensitive!"
I
shouted at them in my mind.
"You've
got three girls you've hauled down here on their Saturdays, and you don't even
have the manners to ask them if they're hungry, let alone offer to buy their
lunch?!?!"

That was
when Jon Tennille did a sort of double-take. "Oh!" he
said,
something of a puzzled note in his voice. "Oh,
guys, wait a minute! Amanda, you want something from Fricks? Ariel, what about
you? And where's Dana?"

Holy hell
! Like Steve
Erkle from the old sit-com, I asked myself, "
Did I do that?
" And
you know, I believed I
had
. I smiled sweetly.
"Two slaw dogs, please.
With fries."

When the
food arrived via the attorney delivery boys—and wasn't that a novelty to
savor—I decided to try one more push when they started parceling out orders at
our desks.

"Be nice to eat at the break room table in a
group
," I projected out to Jon Tennille.
"Hall's goin' to smell like chili dogs
and fried chicken if we don't
."

"No,
wait, Mark, don't do that," said one of the most senior partners in the
firm. "Take it to the break room. We'll all eat in there."

They headed
down the hall. Dana came up beside me and leaned close. "You know,"
she whispered in my ear, "that's the first time in all the times I've been
down here working on Saturday with any of 'em. The first time they've ever
bought my lunch." I smiled. Oh, yeah. I was coming right along. It was
time.

Around
4:00, the discussion began as to whether to push on until later or to come in
on Sunday. I'd never been hesitant to voice my opinion and I wasn't now.

"Mark,
whatever it takes. Let's get through it tonight. I don't want to come in
tomorrow. I have plans," I said.

"Well,
it might be 6:00 or 7:00—"

"I
don't care. I don't want to come in tomorrow."

"Okay."

I realized
as I sat back down in my chair and inserted the earphones that I hadn't even
said please. My hands were already curled over the keyboard when I glanced at
my phone. I picked it up and slid the keyboard free.
"No this is late notice but can u come tomorrow? Figure the PI
doesn't need my address"

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
10.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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