“Okay, so the only thing I’m missing is sage. Out of all things, it’s fricking sage.”
I let out a frustrated sigh, especially because I know that I had it on my list. I had it on both lists, to be precise. Yes, I will need to go to the shop again, because I will need the nasty spice for cooking, too. Tomorrow. Or the day after. But tonight, I need to focus. I glance to my right, watching in awe as Snowball lives up to his name, curling up in front of the fireplace. Oh, how much I wish I was a cat right now. But then again, I know I must be careful what I wish for. Especially since I ‘realized’ that my mother was a Wicca. Cool, right? Well, not so much if she leaves you when you are only three, and you are forced to learn everything for yourself (and by yourself). And that includes cooking, boys, and now magic. And my father? Well, he is great, thank you very much. Or I guess he is, somewhere in the Alps, having fun with his girlfriend and her kids. The kids he is raising as his own. But it’s okay. I can cope with it, I really can. All of it. Well, apart from the magic part, if I’m honest.
Let me get one thing straight: I don’t want this. I have never had any intentions of stepping into her footsteps. Not even for a minute. I wanted to find my own path, I wanted to be different. Yet here I am, being so desperate that I’m casting a spell. And a love spell at that. Funny, right? Okay, I’m not laughing. I’m thinking of doing everything else, but laugh. Like run out of the house, or sink below the floorboards. Or just simply run, and never look back. Start over somewhere, where nobody knows me. Sure thing. Although that might be an option even here, because I’ve never made any friends. Not real ones anyway. Having to grow up when you are basically a child does that to you. Go figure.
So, yes, no luck in the guys’ department, either. I didn’t have a mother to tell me about my period, let alone sex, nor did I have a father to warn me about the dangers of letting a guy walk me home. Until that ‘special’ school education, I thought that storks brought babies and dropped the cute little things onto your doormat. Uh-huh, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. And I can’t exactly say that I know too much about sex now, either, even at the age of twenty-five. All my so-called friends have had five-six (or some of them even dozens) of boyfriends, and I only had two. Not to mention that they sucked. One of them quite literally, deciding that he preferred boys. Not the best way to gain some confidence, especially since he broke up with me two weeks before discovering his true ‘calling’. But what about my own identity, my own calling? I always knew I was different, weird even. But how could I know who I truly am, when my whole life is based on lies?
Snowball reminds me that I have an important task, meowing eagerly. Yep, he can truly sense when I’m in a bad mood, and this is one of those times. Probably not the best time to cast a love spell, but I don’t have another chance. Not for a long time. Oh, I did my research. And I was thorough, like always. I need a full moon, and this one is an extra special one, because it falls on All Hallows’ Eve. Witches (or Wicca, as I understand they call themselves nowadays) believe that the veil between our world and that of the spirits is the thinnest this time of the year. Anything can come through, not just messages. But it works both ways, so we can send a message to the Universe, too, and it will be extremely likely that it will be answered. I guess you can imagine my initial reaction. Yep, wanted to stick three fingers in the air, hoping the Universe could read between the lines. But then I thought better off it.
You probably think that I should be asking for the whereabouts of my mother or my father, but I simply don’t care. I haven’t seen them (or heard from them) in exactly 22 years, and I’ve been fine, I really have been. Not gonna start to be a cry-baby tonight, that’s for sure. So, back to the spell. Witches say that this time is perfect, and it only happens every few years. Well, being single for the past four, I would rather not wait any longer, if it’s up to me. And, as it turns out, it is probably up to me.
Oh, that bloody sage.
Why don’t they attach a guide in case you don’t have all the ingredients? I can’t believe that every single witch goes to the shop, remembering everything, every time they want to cast their spell. Surely, they must have a substitute for these herbs. You know what? I don’t care. I don’t even believe in this stupid thing.
Why am I doing it then?!
Emily, focus. That’s it. Now, where was my pen? Ah, behind the candle. Okay, I will do this, sage or no sage.
Lighting the candle is easy, as is anointing it with the required oils. They actually smell really nice. They remind me of her. Well, what I can remember, that is. I could never place the smell, but now at least I know. With a bitter smile I note the faint scent of sage, which might be an ingredient of one of the oils. Great, that will do. As soon as I smear the last drops onto the side of the pink candle, it sizzles a bit. Trying to calm my breath, I reach for the piece of paper, then start writing.
Gentle. Caring. Affectionate. Attentive.
Snowball meows again and I scrap the paper, tossing it in the already overflowing bin. Why is it so hard to come up with the characteristics I’m looking for in a man? Why can’t I know what (or who) I’m craving for, just like Christine or Hannah? They are always so sure, and then of course they end up with the guy of their dreams. And me? I might have my ideal guy, but somehow, I always choose the safe option. Aka the guy that I don’t even find attractive. As long as they like me, I think that’s enough for both of us. Well, clearly, if that was the case, I wouldn’t be trying to summon my dream guy, would I? Or conjure, or whatever the spell said. It isn’t going to happen anyway. Maybe I’m just trying to prove to myself that this shit doesn’t work, and that my mother left me for nothing. I mean, how could magic be so important that she leaves her own daughter for it, driving her husband insane at the same time, so he is forced to do the same?
Okay, back to the so-called spell. Taking a deep breath, I close my eyes, trying to imagine how the man of my dreams would look like. If this won’t work, I might as well go for the real thing, right? Where’s the harm? It takes a few minutes to form a mental image, but I’m getting there. He disappears a few times, moves in and out of focus, until I can concentrate enough to maintain the picture. I nod to myself, then open my eyes again, trying to capture everything I saw. No, he wasn’t gentle or caring. He was hot, sinful, and dominating. He took what he wanted – what I wanted as well. He loved me with such a passion that made my head spin and consumed my heart and soul. He was dangerous, the kind that burns you out in a second, if you aren’t careful. And to hell with being careful when he holds you in his arms. He is the type that melts your heart (and panties), just by looking at you with those smouldering eyes. Yes, I think that kind of passion is exactly what I need right now. Maybe that’s what I have always needed, even if I didn’t know I wanted it. I might have lived a sheltered life to date, and it was safe, I will give myself that. But it was as boring as it could ever get, with no risks. Well, with no risks of losing someone again. My heart never got involved, so I wouldn’t have to go through that again.
Snowball scratches the leg of my chair, stirring me back to reality. This is so silly, me crying about my past all over again, when I promised I wouldn’t do it anymore. With a sigh I fold the piece of paper, finally happy with the outcome. Okay, I have the list, what’s next? Oh, I have to burn it in the pink candle’s flame, then bury the ashes in my front garden. There is just one problem with that: I don’t own a front garden. Again, a small cactus pot will have to do. I think I will place it on the windowsill, so the full moon can shine on it. Even the thought makes me shiver.
Careful not to burn my loft apartment down, I throw the folded paper into the tiny flames. It might just be the strangeness of tonight, but for a second I could swear I see the flames take on a neon green hue, but then it’s gone, and so is the piece of paper. Wow, that was cool, and faster than I imagined. All I have to do now is bury the ashes and wait. With trembling hands I reach for the tiny cactus, silently thanking it for its service all these years. Who knows what will happen to the poor thing now, that I’m using it as a carrier for my spell? I just hope it won’t turn into the man, because then I’m screwed. The idea makes me chuckle, and, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m ready for whatever comes next.
Boy, am I wrong…
Patting the smooth soil down I sigh heavily, already knowing just what a fool I am. Yeah, sure, the guy I secretly dream about, the one I haven’t even met yet, is going to appear in my life miraculously. Just because I cast a spell. Just because so-called magic is in my blood. Please, give me a break. I feel a sudden urge to put the candle out and go to bed, but as I reach for the flame, it flickers again, as if trying to escape my murderous touch. The idea alone is ridiculous, and if I wasn’t so pissed off right now, I would probably laugh at my stupidity.
Okay, I can do this.
Taking a deep breath, I brace myself to blow out the mesmerizing flame, when the clock strikes midnight and I jump out of my skin. Goosebumps are fighting for a space on my arms, but there isn’t much left to spare, considering that I’m scared shitless. Something has changed, and I can feel it. The clock strikes again, and a shiver runs through me. It’s as if I wasn’t alone in the room. The air becomes chilly, and Snowball gives a low growl, then a hissing sound, just before disappearing behind the sofa. I can’t blame him, because I wish I could do the same.
But I’m paralyzed. I gulp, unable to take my eyes off the now pinkish-orange flames. They seem to change color by the second, flickering, sizzling, playfully tangling my nerves into a thousand knots. Their dance is so beautiful, magical even, and I’m under their spell. For a brief moment I wonder what’s going on, but then the clock’s chime rings in my ears once more, and the flames flicker again, leaving me breathless and empty. The void that has always been in my soul, only hidden in the deepest corners is now more painful than ever, and I’m afraid it will consume me. I close my eyes, letting the void take over. I can’t breathe, I can’t say anything, just sit there, with my eyes closed and my heart wide open. Whatever is in the room, whatever is here to take me, I’m ready.
Waiting for the inevitable, I hum a song I still remember from my childhood. There is a faint touch on my shoulder, a tender caress, and the goosebumps come to life once more, demanding attention. The motion sends shivers down my spine, through my soul, my entire being. It’s both a delicious and scary experience, but one that I want very much. So much so, that it forces me to open my eyes and glance back over my shoulder. Except, nothing could have prepared me for the transformation that happens in front of my eyes.
I gasp, and might even have screamed a little, if I didn’t lose my will to speak. I get up and walk up to the mirror. One step at a time.
That’s it, Emily, you can do this.
I stop in front of the mirage, unable to believe my eyes, but also incapable of taking my eyes off it, in case it disappears. The scene is so clear, so real, I feel like I only need to reach out and touch it, to be a part of it all. The full-length mirror that used to be home to all my insecurities, all my teenager anger, fear, frustration, and sadness, now depicts a totally different picture. It’s still my reflection, but somehow I don’t recognize the woman staring back at me. Her face is flushed, her freckles have disappeared, and her previously fox-coloured hair is now a healthy (and quite seductive) shade of auburn. And her eyes speak volumes of the storm that’s raging inside her fragile soul. Except, I don’t feel fragile anymore. Gazing into the mirror makes me feel sexy, desirable even. I don’t know how, but all of a sudden I see just how strong I am, how I am whole already. And I have achieved that all on my own, without the help of anyone.
I involuntarily twirl a curl between my fingers, just to make sure I’m not dreaming. The mirror was showing the truth, I have changed. But didn’t I cast a love spell? Could it work this way, too? To help me love myself? But then it still doesn’t make sense, except… I reach out, placing my palms onto the mirror’s surface and close my eyes for a second, wondering if the new me will disappear when I open them again. But something else happens. Something much scarier. Something I can’t explain. Something I don’t want to explain. Instead of the cool, hard glass, my open palms touch something silky smooth, velvety, and oh-so-alive. Yes, I can hear someone’s heartbeat in my mind, I can feel the pulsation under my fingertips. My own heart speeds up to match the pace, and I’m too scared to open my eyes. A pair of strong hands slowly envelop mine, holding me still, before I could fall into nothingness.
No, I don’t want this, not yet.
Emily… Open your eyes…
Trust me, you are safe. You wanted this, remember?
The voice is coming from deep inside my mind, and I might as well be losing my grip on reality for all I know. There is that gentle touch on my shoulder once more, followed by a feather-light kiss on my neck, and I let out a whimper. It is too good, too painful to be true. It speaks of love, happiness, and ecstasy. And yes, lots of pleasure.
And it could all be mine. It could be, but when? And how?
Just open your eyes…
I finally do as the voice says, and I swear I don’t even gasp when his turquoise eyes search my face. Nor do I squirm when his hands leave mine and travel up my arms, resting at my shoulders. He probably just wants to steady me, but his touch is everything but soothing. His hair falls onto his muscular shoulders in waves, almost like a mirage that could disappear any second. The thought alone makes my stomach do a double-take. Whoever this guy is, I don’t want him to go anywhere.
Then I won’t.
I nod, as if him talking to me in my mind was the most natural thing on Earth. Well, we might not even be on Earth anymore, but I don’t give a damn. I wanted to start anew somewhere else anyway, didn’t I? As if on cue, a gentle breeze caresses my skin, bringing with it the scent of freedom and adventure. I take a deep breath, inhaling it all. As I’m about to take in my beautiful stranger, he lets go of my arms and takes a step back.
No, please don’t go.
I thought I was shouting, but my voice was only in my head, as it seems. And yet, a cheeky smile appears on those kissable lips, softening his masculine features.
Just thought I would give you the option to have a proper look.
I must admit, I appreciate the idea. The way he is standing in the middle of the field now, surrounded by nothing but the vast array of greens of all hues, with his devilishly handsome features, he makes the perfect contrast. I don’t even care why he is dressed in a white shirt, brown pants and a pair of black riding boots, nor do I want to notice the sword by his side, or the bow hung over his back. He isn’t dangerous, or at least not in that way. He wouldn’t hurt me. After all, I conjured him.
No, you didn’t.
I raise an eyebrow at that, and he finally speaks. I mean for real this time, and not only in my head. God, his voice could be used to move mountains.
“Although I must admit, your power surprised me. You weren’t supposed to be able to do that.”
“What is it exactly that I did?”
Good, I found my own voice. Hopefully I’m not going crazy then. He motions behind my back, and I turn around, maybe too quickly. He steadies me again, this time pulling me close to his chest, and I swallow hard. Not just because his muscles are pressing into my back, but because of what’s in front of me. My loft apartment, my cat curled up in front of the fireplace, and the candle on the small table. The only ‘problem’ is that I’m not there. I’m on the other side of the mirror, as strange as that sounds. I shake my head, and ask the only thing I can think of:
He lets out a sigh behind me, and it makes me shiver. Do I want to know?
I turn around in his arms, realizing a moment too late that it was a bad idea. His eyes seem to be glowing now, and the turquoise iris has a few spots of amethyst in it. Before I could say anything, he continues in his deep ocean voice:
“Although you didn’t conjure me, you did open up the portal that led you to me, to my world. I didn’t think it was possible, but I underestimated you. Will you forgive me, My Lady?”
I blink once, then I blink again, in complete shock. I glance back over my shoulder, afraid that the mirror would disappear, and I would have no way back. But then, would I miss anything, apart from Snowball? Turning back to him, it’s my turn to search his handsome face, but the previous glow is gone. His eyes are turquoise again, and boy, do they make me hot and bothered.
“I have so many questions…”
He places a warning finger onto my lips, and I gulp.
“There will be plenty of time for that… Later. But tell me, did you really cast that spell to talk to me?”
And with that, his finger traces a lazy line along my lower lip, then my jaw, while the amethyst spots reappear in his eyes, along with the lust I was hoping for all along. It makes my head spin, but I would give anything just to look into them for all eternity. But I don’t. He is right. I’m not here to talk or simply look at him. I know that he is basically a stranger, and we are in a strange land (or I’m going crazy), but either way, I feel like I have known him longer than I’ve known myself. I seem to recall the snake tattoo on his left arm, or the way he likes his coffee. I seem to remember his touch, his kiss, the way his love tastes. I have no idea how this is possible, but right now I don’t care. With all the strength I can muster, and before I change my mind, I raise on tiptoe and plant a tentative kiss on his full lips, one that he returns eagerly, and with a tad bit more passion than I can take without losing my mind completely. And then it hits me. This happened before, with him, maybe in another lifetime. It was always meant to be. Opening up to him comes so naturally that it’s almost scary. No, not almost. He must sense my hesitation, as he is the one who pulls away, keeping me at arms’ length.
“Maybe we should stop.”
He whispers between two ragged breaths, and I have to give him that, he is a gentleman. I frown, then remembering something, smile innocently.
“Maybe we should.”
I can almost feel his pain at the rejection, but he nods, takes a step back, reaches for my hand, then lifting it up to his lips he places a soft kiss onto my palm. A kiss that’s meant to be a sign of respect, but to me, it’s much more. Pictures of a past I never knew I had come flooding to my mind, images of him and me, images of us. Some of them painful, others mildly erotic – and the rest, well… Not so mildly. I don’t think he saw this one coming, but from his burning gaze I know he felt it, too. I nod, as if giving my approval to myself, then shoot him the most seductive smile I have up my sleeve.
“But then again, I don’t think stopping was on my mind when I cast that spell, either.”
I don’t know who closes the distance between us. It doesn’t even matter. What matters is that we both want to live and relive those memories of another lifetime, while creating some new ones to remember in the next. Time stops right here, right now, there is only this one moment we will always call our own, no matter what happens later. No matter what happens when I go back to the other side of the mirror, to my world. Now, right now, I’m in his world. And, as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Who am I to argue with that?
Suddenly his lips are on mine, and he kisses me as if this was what he has been waiting for all his life. And I kiss him back as if my life depended on it. It occurs to me, that up until this moment, I only existed, but I never lived. I never loved. Not with all my heart and soul, not pouring all of me into the notion. One single kiss is my undoing, and it threatens to spin me out of both his and my world. But isn’t this what I wanted? Spell or no spell, he is everything I ever wanted. Hell, he used to be mine. Why haven’t I found him in this life until now? He clears his throat and looks away, as if I said something awkward. Yeah, right, I will have to get used to this telepathic thingy…
“This is going to sound strange.”
I raise an eyebrow at him, and he lets out a small chuckle. Oh, God, is he cute when he does that, or what?
“Okay, maybe not stranger than any of this. You know, even soulmates don’t always spend all their life together. They don’t even meet in every lifetime. Sometimes one of them isn’t ready, the feelings they get when they are around each other become too strong to bear. But when they do meet and accept who they really are to each other, well… That’s just epic.”
There is a wicked grin on his gorgeous face now, and I can’t help but grin back.
“And let me guess: you are about to prove your point, am I right?”
He nods again, and the amethyst sparkles return, taking my breath away.
“But first, I want to show you some real magic.”
And with that, those amethyst spots grow larger, until they consume his entire iris. It is beautiful and mesmerizing. I feel like I am flying, and everything seems so small. I gasp when I realize what is happening. I look around, which only confirms what I feared. I’m floating mid-air, and he is holding me up with his gaze. Oh, wow, now it was me, who didn’t see this one coming. Strangely enough, I’m not scared. On the contrary. I make birdlike movements with my arms, pretending they are wings. His laughter is like music to my ears, and I think I fall in love with him a little more. After we had our fun, another type of fun begins, but we are no longer laughing. I end up on my back, and my clothes disappear. The velvety grass is tickling my back and bare bottom, but it’s a delicious feeling. If anything, it adds to my arousal. Hmm, I’m beginning to like his world.
“Real magic? Didn’t you say that I had powers, too?”
He raises an eyebrow, now kneeling between my bare thighs. A shiver runs through me as I picture his face buried between them, but I must contain myself – for a little longer. Focusing all my energy and willpower, I concentrate on his shirt, and wait. And… Nothing happens. Except that I make him laugh. Which in turn makes me furious. What do they say about magic being intensified by strong emotions?
“Honey, it took me years to learn how to…”
He loses his train of thought when his shirt vanishes into thin air, followed by his pants, the sword and the bow. My head hurts a little, but it was totally worth it. And so was the admiration on his face. Priceless.
“You were saying?”
But he thinks better of underestimating me again. Instead, he continues what he started a moment ago. Trailing soft (and occasionally not-so-soft) kisses along my inner thigh, he inches up towards my pussy, and I can’t wait for him to get there. But he doesn’t, at least not before his tongue and fingertips travel down my other leg first. He looks into my eyes, and those amethyst spots pull me in, while his tongue circles my clit. He gently bites down, and I can see the ghost of a smile on his lips before my back arches off the ground. The feeling is too much, he was right. But I wouldn’t trade it for all the riches of the world. Both his, and mine.
He continues his sweet torture, kissing, sucking, biting. It feels like an eternity passes, and maybe it does. The first ripple of orgasm takes me by surprise, and I almost pass out from the sensation. But I don’t, and he continues licking my pussy, torturing my clit, as if he didn’t just witness my whole world crumble. Regardless to say that I have no energy to argue, but a girl has to try, right?
“Mhm… no… em, yes… wait.. it’s my… turn…”
Next time. Now I need you too bad.
I fleetingly note that we are back to that telepathic talk, but before I could think about something, he pushes his impressive (and quite obvious) erection into my slit, and all wittiness leaves my being. All I can do is hold on to his shoulders, digging my nails into his ripped flesh. He groans, but grabs hold of my hands, lifting them above my head. His amethyst spots grow once more, and I can feel something tighten around my wrists. I look up, only to see his belt keeping my hands locked above my head. Magic again, how very clever. His teeth graze the sensitive spot behind my ear, before he whispers:
“If you kept that up, I wouldn’t last a minute.”
And with that, he starts moving his hips, and I’m only too eager not to match his thrusts. I now know that I could probably break free using my will. If I wanted to, that is. I know that my moans are getting louder, but I don’t care. It isn’t like anyone could hear us, and even if they could, they would be in for a treat. Hell, I know I am. It’s as if we fit together perfectly, our motions are coordinated. Like those ballet dancers that practice for years.
Can we practice this for years?
His answer doesn’t register, as it’s swept away by another otherworldly orgasm that rocks my world. God, I feel like it even shook the ground. But yet again, I don’t have time to come down from my natural high, because he lifts my legs up higher, while his hands move underneath my buttocks, thus elevating my hips. I’ve never tried this position before, but then again, I never had a proper lover before him, either. Still, I can tell that he is near. I look at those amethyst-stained turquoise eyes a little longer, trying to drink it all in for later. The light brown hair that falls smoothly onto his shoulders, the muscles that move whenever he enters me or draws out. The myriads of emotions and memories that radiate from his eyes, the ones that are reflected in my green pair. All the things we used to tell each other, all the things I want to hear in this lifetime, too. I lost count of the times he took me to Heaven, both in previous lifetimes and in this one, but one thing is clear: I was right. I have never been loved before. Not like this.
Coming back to Earth (or wherever we are) is a shocking and unwelcome feeling. I know that sooner or later I will have to go back through the looking glass. Funny, I don’t remember Alice having such wonderful adventures. But then again, that story was for kids, right? I look around once more, so that I can always remember this place. Because, according to the Wicca, opportunities like this don’t come often. I look into his now turquoise eyes, and I can tell he is thinking about the same thing. An idea starts to form in my head.
“Can I stay?”
My voice is shaky, almost childish, and his expression changes instantly. I don’t like his look, not a single bit.
The words are out before I could take them back, but the voice seems like someone else’s:
“Can you come with me then?”
He shakes his head again, and my heart sinks. I nod between two sobs, turning towards the mirror. Its smoky interior, the small loft apartment that I once called my own, seem to be repelling me now. So strange that when I got here, I was afraid that I couldn’t go back, and now that I am forced to, I’m scared I will never find my way back here. Suddenly, I can feel his touch on my neck, a gentle caress. I look back behind my shoulder, and he kisses me gently. Saying goodbye. I break away a minute too early. I have never been good at this kind of thing.
I raise my hands, placing each palm onto the cold, hard surface of the mirror, then close my eyes and wait. I don’t look back. I don’t want him to see my tears, nor do I want to see him waving goodbye. I don’t want to remember all that could have been mine. The now familiar dizziness takes over, and when I open my eyes, the levy breaks. I’m back in my loft, and Snowball stirs in his sleep, meowing, before turning his other side. I glance at the candle, just to catch the last flames burning down. With heart in my chest I turn around, touching the mirror. I don’t even know his name, and he has disappeared for ever. Why did I have to come back? Why?
I want to be with you. Please, let me go back.
But nothing happens. Stupid mirror. I bump my fist into it, but all it gives me in return is my reflection. I have changed, I know that now. Nothing will ever be the same. But I notice something else as well, between two sobs. I wipe my eyes, looking at the small medallion. Its turquoise stone is glowing in the disappearing candlelight, and the flecks of amethyst cast mysterious shadows around the room.
You can come back, anytime you like. The medal will help you, my love.
I nod, my sobs slowly easing into a gentle laughter. I will go back through the mirror, many times. In fact, I feel like I belong there, with him. I belong there with you.
You do. I’m yours, and you are mine, for all eternity. Oh, and I’m Aiden, by the way.
Aiden, of course. No wonder I have always found that name sexy as hell. Okay, he is right. And yes, I have changed. But not enough, not yet. I need to know who I am, I need to know how is it possible that I can wield such powerful magic. I need to find my mum and get some answers. I need to know the truth. I walk up to the fireplace, gently caressing Snowball out of his slumber. He looks at me sleepily, and I whisper as I gaze into his emerald eyes:
“I hope you are ready for an adventure.”