The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 21

Heat rose up through his body like he was standing on a steam vent. Every muscle and nerve came alive. He wasn’t even sure he was still touching the floor.

The rush of air stripped the heat from his skin and everything changed. No matter which way he turned his head, his field of vision was filled with the sprawl of forest and rising hills. He flapped his wings and—he flapped his wings? Cole opened his mouth to cry out.

The screech of a bird filled his ears.

Pandora was gone. He couldn’t feel her or sense her presence. All he saw was sky and the earth below. Things started to contort, and his vision went blurry. His heart pounded, thundering with the unknown and the known. More bird cries filled his ears. Everything about this moment was strange and, somehow, déjà vu.

There was a brief pinch of discomfort, then all went black.

He opened his eyes and saw the wood ceiling of the attic. And Pandora, looking down at him with big eyes and a slightly awed expression.

“Are you okay?”

He blinked up at her. “I don’t know. What just happened?”

She glanced down the length of his body before making eye contact again. “For about thirty seconds, you were…a raven.”

“It sounded like you said I was a raven.”

“I did.”

He really didn’t want to unpack that, but somehow it made perfect sense. And no sense. “An actual bird.”

“An actual bird.”

He stared at the ceiling for a long, quiet moment, hoping he would suddenly awaken and realize this was all a dream. No such glorious thing occurred. “I might need professional help.”

She nodded. “I can arrange that.”

“You mean professional witch help, don’t you?”

“In this situation, that seems like the best choice.” She helped him sit up.

He leaned on his bent knees. “What the hell is going on with me, Pandora? This isn’t normal. You can’t tell me this is normal.”

“If you’re a familiar, which it seems you are, then yes, becoming a bird is normal. But you shouldn’t be shifting spontaneously or blacking out when it happens. It seems pretty obvious you weren’t in control of the shift and that’s not how it should be, but then how could you control it when you didn’t even know what was happening to you? Or…I don’t know. But we’ll figure this out.”

As his common sense returned, he managed to process his thoughts a little better. “Pandora, I’m not a familiar. I’m not anything but human, so there’s no way I just changed into a raven. I’m sure it was just the rush of blood and endorphins brought on by our kiss.”

“Cole, I know what I saw.”

He closed his eyes for a moment. “I can’t believe this is possible. I just can’t.”

“I thought you might need convincing. So I pulled this off you.” She held up an iridescent black feather.

Pandora chewed without really tasting. She sat between Kaley and Cole with the pizza in the middle of the table. She knew Cole and Kaley were talking about school, but Pandora’s mind was on the feather in her pocket, what she’d just seen and what it meant.

And how much she’d liked kissing Cole.

She studied him. He was in an animated conversation with his daughter, as if nothing had happened. How he could manage that, she had no idea. Maybe it was a skill set that came with parenthood. Whatever, it was impressive.

Kaley tapped her arm. “Hey, are you in outer space?”

“Kaley, that’s not nice,” Cole reprimanded.

“Sorry.” Kaley shot her father a look before talking to Pandora again. “You seem really far away.”

“Yeah, I guess I was.” Pandora glanced at Cole, but he was getting another slice. She turned her attention to Kaley. “What did I miss?”

“Nothing. Boring school junk. I’m so glad tomorrow is Saturday. Do you have to work?”

“Yes. I have to show a house in the morning. Hey, can you see everyone’s aura?”

Kaley perked up, apparently happy to talk about witchy stuff. “Yep. Yours doesn’t look nearly as broken as it used to.”

Good to know—and telling—but not what Pandora was after. She pointed the tip of her pizza slice at Cole. “What’s your dad’s aura look like?”

Kaley made a face. “His is weird. I’ve never seen anybody else’s like it. Except for Grandpa’s.”

Which made perfect sense. If Cole was a familiar, one of his parents had to be too. “Weird how?”

“It’s all dark and floaty. Like black snow.”

“Or maybe…feathers?” Pandora watched Cole’s face.

“Sure, could be.” Kaley stuffed another bite of pizza in her mouth.

Cole’s everything-is-fine expression blanked out. He stared at Pandora, the look in his eyes like that of a drowning man searching for a life preserver.

Pandora’s heart went out to him. She could only imagine how it felt to have your life—and your beliefs—turned upside down like that. Not to mention finding out your parents had clearly kept some big secrets. “Why don’t you guys come to my mom’s house for dinner tomorrow night?”

Cole nodded, but it seemed more like an acknowledgment that she’d said something rather than an acceptance of her invitation.

Kaley answered around a mouthful of pizza. “Cool! I can’t wait to meet more witches. Will your sisters be there?”

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.