The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 15

“Hey, Kaley’s done great with me.”

“I can see that.”

He exhaled, pushing some of the bad memories out. “Since then, Lila’s contact consists of occasional phone calls and a package on Kaley’s birthday. Oh, she shows up every once in a while, but that’s gotten rarer as the years have gone on.”

“And this last package is the one that set everything off.”

He stared at his coffee. “Yes. Except it wasn’t a package. Just a letter and a packet of stickers.” He snorted and looked at Pandora. “Stickers? For a thirteen-year-old girl? Lila has no clue what that kid likes.”

“And this letter was about Kaley becoming a witch?”

He nodded.

“And Lila would know about that because she’s a witch too, right?”

He scowled. “She thinks she is, yes.”

“I’m starting to get the picture.”

“Good. Then you understand why I’m reluctant to let you—or anyone—teach her to be a witch only to have her grow out of this phase and blame me for subjecting her to some kind of crazy brainwashing with another nutty wom—” He stopped himself from finishing the sentence, but the damage was done.

Pandora pushed back her chair, rolled her eyes and muttered something under her breath.

“What was that?”

She glared at him. “I said I really ought to turn you into a frog.”

“You’re welcome to try.”

“You and your smart mouth. You should shut it until you can learn not to insult the people who are trying to help you.” She lifted her hand and flicked her fingers at him.

He tried to respond, but couldn’t make a sound. He put his hand to his mouth. His lips were sealed shut.

Her eyes rounded. “I didn’t think that would work.”

She flicked her fingers at him again, and his voice returned as his mouth opened. “What the hell did you just do to me? What was that?”

“Reason number one why you should never make a witch angry.”

“That wasn’t witchcraft. That was—” He faltered, unable to come up with an explanation.

“Because it’s warm in here? Because your lips got tired? A vitamin deficiency? When are you going to understand that there are things beyond your comprehension? I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with your ex-wife, but I’m not her.”

“Pandora, I didn’t mean—”

“Yes, you did.” Pandora grabbed her purse and stood. “Don’t get up. I’ll see myself out.”

And she did, resulting in his door being slammed for a third time that day.

After a long day of work, Pandora took refuge in her sister’s flower shop. She perched on a stool and inhaled the gorgeously sweet, green fragrance that permeated the space. It was like nature on steroids in here. Of course, it would be. It was a flower shop. But Marigold had a knack for flowers that went beyond the ordinary thanks to her superior witchy gifts with plants. She supplied most of the witches in town with their herbal needs and was generally considered the most adept green witch in the area.

As Marigold lifted a bucket of flowers onto the work table, Pandora resumed her conversation about Cole. “So he’s very hot. But kind of a butthead. I mean, I get why he’s a butthead, but still.”

Marigold stuck a spray of something bright orange into the arrangement she was working on. “You should cut him some slack. He’s clearly not had an easy go of things.” She looked over at Pandora. “And as a single parent myself, I know of which I speak.”

“How is Saffie?”

“Madly in love with Charlie Merrow, which worries me a little.”

“Why? Because he’s a werewolf or because his mother’s a werewolf or because his dad’s the sheriff and a werewolf?”

Marigold made a face. “None of those. Because she’s eight and already in love with a boy.”

“Tell her to sit down and have a conversation with him. That ought to cure it.”

Marigold smiled as she added a few yellow roses to the vase. “I think you like this guy.”

“Don’t go there.”

“He is your type.”

“Seriously, Mari, don’t go there.”

Marigold went to the cold storage and brought back a bucket of orange lilies. “I’m sure he’ll come around. He has no choice if his daughter’s a witch. Sooner or later, he’s going to experience something that can’t be explained away.”

Pandora shifted, leaning against the counter behind her. “You know, something weird happened while we were up in his attic. I handed him this old scrying mirror, and when he took it, he got this kind of blank look on his face but his eyes went sort of wild. Like he was getting some strong vibes off it. Or seeing something. But when I asked him about it, he clammed up. Refused to acknowledge anything had happened.”

Marigold stopped what she was doing and stared directly at Pandora. “Are you saying there’s a bunch of Gertrude Pilcher’s things still in that house?”

Pandora laughed. “I’m pretty sure all her things are still in that house. Based on what I saw, Ulysses threw nothing away.”

“Those are powerful goods, Pandy. They shouldn’t just go to anyone.” Marigold picked up a lily and snipped the end. “At the very least, the coven should put them into safe keeping.”

“I told Cole I’d take care of cleaning out the attic, but technically shouldn’t that stuff go to Kaley? I mean, it’s sort of her inheritance.”

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