The Black Craft

How can I fear the end when I know that where I am
headed is to a new destiny?
Being a reincarnated Witch isn't easy. 18-year-old Billie
is struggling with coming to these terms. On the eve before her
eighteenth birthday she discovers she and her family are Witches,
her best friend is an Empath and the school Principal is a
Vampire.

The first eighteen years of her life she's been kept in
the dark all so that she and her brother could have a normal
childhood. But her fathers' choices has led to disastrous
consequences. Billie must learn to conrtol her powers and gain
strength as the first Vampire is reborn in the small town of Penn
Gate.

A lot of questions surround the new kids, Astrid, Christian and
Desiree. Billie doesn't trust them and likes it even less
when her own brother, Brian, begins to date one of them. But
what can she do about it when she has to keep her own secrets
safe?

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13. Playing It Safe

The following day Kyle awoke in the Smiths’ basement and Leonard swore he’d help him with his medicine bills if Kyle could remember the girl who got him to play along with her ‘prank’ and he put Kyle in touch with a werewolf, that Leonard was friendly with, to help him come to terms with his condition.  The next couple of days passed by without any drama and the only excitement at school was the next big football game between the Penn Gate Panthers and the West Babylon Eagles, after that it was prom, prom, prom.  We were late in getting started with the Senior Year book so, as I ran to the year book office to enrol myself as photographer, I ran into Christian.

“What are you doing here?” I asked sitting my camera down on the photographers’ desk.

“I am trying to see if they have any openings for a photographer.”

“That spot has been filled.” I said my jaw tightening.

“Oh, really, by who?”

“By me.”

“Hmm, well I’m just going to have to see if I can get them to change their minds.  I need this spot for extra credit in art class.”  he said.

“Well, tough, the spot is mine and I want it for more than just extra credit.” I spat.

“Really, Billie, why are you so difficult?” he asked flirtatiously batting his lashes.

“I am not difficult I am determined.”

“You’re a tease.”

“I am not, I am tenacious.”

“Can’t you just let me have the spot?  I hear your photographer for the newspaper, why do you need to have the spot on the yearbook committee too?”

“I’m going to study photography when I go to college and I need all the experience I can get.”

“Oh, sorry gorgeous, but I really need this extra credit.”

“Look, Christian, I am not going to let you bully me around like you do with all the girls in this school who worship you, so think again!” I said throwing him a filthy look.

He brushed my camera off the desk and into the bin.  “Look I’m all for this ‘Girl Power’ stuff but if I don’t do this I’m going to fail art class.”

With those words he sealed his fate.  I removed my camera bag from the desk bin and gave a small wave of my hand, while his back was turned, and Christian’s camera cracked as it hit the linoleum floor.

“I don’t see how you can take pictures without a camera.”

Christian looked over my shoulder to the doorway and said, “Principal Smith can you speak to Miss Black about destruction of personal property?” he said waving his shattered camera.

I turned to see Leonard sigh and say “Billie, come with me please.”

 

Leonard turned and stalked off in the direction of his office.

“Billie, please be careful.  We still don’t know if they are the evil beings Josephine had foretold about.”

“Leonard, the photographer’s spot on the year book committee is important to me.  Now, I’m not going to let that sadistic creep get away with trying to bully me out of it.”

“Billie, we do not know if these are the vampire here to raise this ungodly evil from damnation.  You also used your powers, if they know you’re a witch…”

“Leonard.”

“Listen to me, Billie.” Leonard said stepping inside his boxy office holding the door open for me.  “We all have to play it safe for now.  Riley, Willem, Faith and yourself have to act like everything is normal.  Whomever is up to no good has been watching us.”

“What makes you say that?” I asked taking a seat.

“They approached Kyle days after he was attacked by a werewolf and asked him to spit in our bottles.  What if, let’s just say it was the Moon’s, what if they had a werewolf in place to attack someone who works here.  Kyle isn’t important, they just chose at random.”

“You’ve been thinking about this a lot.” I said.

“Yes.  It can’t be coincidence that all of this started happening around the time you inherited your powers.”

“What are you saying, Leonard?”

“I’m saying, we don’t know what is going to happen next but at the centre of all this uncertainty is you.  You are a newborn witch and you are in the prime of your magichood.  Don’t you see, Billie?”

I shook my head.

“Whatever is going to happen here starts with you and then ends with you.”

“No, it didn’t start with me.  It started with Josephine.”

“Same soul, so what?  It’s all about you.”

“Well, on that terrifying note…” I said standing up.  “I think I’ll go to class.”

“Billie…”

“Leonard, I get it.  Act natural and treat them like I’d treat anyone else.  But vampire or not, I will not let Christian take my spot on the year book committee!”

“Very well.”  Leonard sighed in defeat.

“Has there been any news on Miss Berry or the other missing kids?” I asked.

“No, but they are all disappearing in the same area.”  Leonard sighed.

“Yeah, I had noticed that.”

“Where does Christian and his sisters live?”  Leonard asked.

“Do you really have to ask?”

“Hmm, perhaps you could find a spell, or even write a spell, to find where they have all gone.”

“I’ll look into it.” I said stepping out of his office.

 

The rest of the day was dreary due to the down pour that had begun in the late morning and PE was the last class of the day which surely meant one thing.  Coach Reynolds with his too short shorts and handle bar moustache was standing at the ready with his whistle hanging off a chain around his neck.

“As you can see it’s raining outside and we cannot use the track.  You all know what that means,” the groans of all the students almost drowned out his next words, “Dodge ball.”

He pulled two sacks of soft balls from the gyms cupboard, “Let’s see, Smith and Black,” he indicated Faith and I, “you are team captains so come and grab your belts.”

The belts were actually long pieces of fabric in the school colours.  Faith picked the red and I got the black.  As we tied the strips of fabric round our waists Coach Reynolds continued to instruct us.  “Now,” he pulled a coin from his pocket, “Black your heads and Smith your tails.  Whichever side it lands, gets to choose their team mates first.”

Coach Reynolds flicked the coin high in the air before it landed on his hand.

“Black goes first.”

“Nikki.” I began.  Nikki dashed over and took a black belt from me.

“Simon.” Faith followed suit handing a red belt to Simon.

“Derek.”

“Chloe.”

“Sunita.”

“Ryan.”

We continued on like this calling out names and handing over belts until there were only a few people left.  I remembered the promise I had made Leonard about treating the other Sun-Walkers like I would anyone else.

“Desiree.” I called, Desiree looked up in shock then quickly smiling she dashed over to my side.

Faith taking the hint called, “Astrid.”

“Russ.”

“Carrie.”

“Mona.”

“Christian.”

“Gareth.”

“Andy.”

 

The last of our team members ran over to join us and wrapped their belts around their waists.

“When you’ve got your team, captains, come and take these balls and give one to each team mate.”

Faith and I took a sack each from Coach Reynolds and handed a soft ball to each of our team mates before taking a ball for ourselves.

“You don’t start until I’ve blown this whistle.”  He said indicating the whistle lying on his extremely hairy chest.  “On the count of three, one… two… three!”  He blew hard on his whistle and the game commenced.

 

Whenever someone got hit he’d whistle then shout from the sideline, “Russ, you’re out!”

Of course when you put hormonal and angry teenagers in a room where you can throw balls at each other, things are going to get personal.

 

It had been several times Faith threw her ball in the direction of my head before I realised she was targeting me.  ‘You’re going to pay for that, bitch!’ I thought angrily to myself.  My team members were down to just three and Faith had four.  I had lost Russ, Sunita, Mona and Gareth and Faith had only lost Chloe, Andy and Astrid.  I took out Christian while Desiree, Derek and Nikki each took out Simon, Ryan and Carrie from Faith’s team.  Faith in her one-woman team dodged all our balls and successfully managed to take out the rest of my own team.  Ball after ball we threw at each other and never caught our opponent.

“Class is almost out, girls, end it now or call it a draw.” Coach Reynolds shouted over our grunts and roars.

Most of my classmates called out to me to cheer me on, even those that were on Faith’s team.  And this was what really pissed Faith off, her team cheered me on.  The look that I’d seen so many times on Faith’s face since I moved here was gone, the bitter bitch was replaced with one of pure rage.  The bell had rung; the coach and the students were leaving when Faith threw her ball.  I saw her movement at the corner of my eye and threw my own ball at her.  The ball that she’d thrown at me had clipped my shoulder whereas my ball hit her full in the face.  “Collect all the balls and put them back in the bags, girls.”  Coach called over his shoulder.

 

The shock of the ball hitting Faith in the face had sent her staggering to the ground.  I walked over to her and offered a hand up but she slapped it away.  “Whatever.” I said walking away.

She clambered to her feet and started collecting balls.  As I grabbed my bag and began filling it something hit me in the back of my head.

“What the hell!?” I shouted as another ball whizzed pass my ear.  “Have you gone completely crazy?” I shouted at Faith as she began throwing ball after ball at me.

I untied my bag full of balls and sent them flying at her with a wave of my hand.  They pummelled her like rain and made their attack again.  She ran over to the basket ball court and got the heavy, hard, basketballs and started to throw them, aiming for my head.  I screamed as one nearly hit me and that invisible gust of wind carried me up again where I floated over to the nearest basketball hoop.

“Get down here!  That’s cheating.” Faith shouted at me.

“I can’t come down, I don’t know how!” I shouted afraid.

She ran over and started to jump up and tried to grab my ankle.  “Don’t!  You’ll make me fall!” I shouted again floating higher until my back was against the ceiling.  She ignored my pleas and kept on jumping.  The empty ball bag was only a few feet away and, with a wiggle of my finger, it came to me.  On her fifth attempt at trying to catch my ankle I sent the bag at her and it caught her mid jump.  With another wiggle of my finger the rope on the bag tied itself with Faith inside.

“What the hell are you playing at?” Her screams muffled as she thrashed around inside the bag.  “You do realise I will kill you, don’t you?”

“Look, I did that so you wouldn’t kill me.  Now, I will let you out only if you promise to stop trying to hurt me.”

The thrashing in the bag ceased and a small sigh escaped the bag.  “Fine!  Like I care.”

 

Still floating above the hoop, I motioned for the bag to untie itself and Faith rolled out.  “You have to come down from there.  If anybody sees you you’ll be totally screwed.” she shouted, her temper not quite sated.

“Well go get Riley or Leonard or, better yet, get a set of ladders!”

“I’m not leaving you here!  You have to learn to control your powers, Billie!”

“I don’t know how!  There isn’t exactly a handbook on how to use your supernatural powers, you know?”

“You managed to get down at Kyle’s apartment.  How did you do that?”

“The wolf was about to attack Riley.  It scared me to death.”

“Right, I’ll find something to scare you… aha!” she said and lifted a nearby basketball.

“Faith don’t you dare!  There isn’t even something soft to land on anyway.”

“I’ll catch you.” She said.

“Not likely.”

“Don’t you trust me?  I have vampire strength, remember?” I sighed.  Faith threw the ball aiming for my head once more and I fell.

 

As I was falling, I saw Faith smile and step back.

 

**************************************

 

I woke and tasted blood in my mouth.  My head felt light and heavy at the same time, wrapped in a bandage.  I could hear someone shouting, Leonard shouting at Faith then a door slamming and more shouting.

“Hey,” Riley said once my vision cleared, “stay still okay, you’re not done healing.  I’ll go get Willem, he said you’d have to be awake for the next part.  He didn’t want to do it when you were unconscious.”

“Why?”

“I dunno, something about damaging your mind.  Wait here.” he said sternly, before kissing my hand and leaving.

I leaned up against some pillows and found that I was in Riley’s bedroom.  On a wardrobe there were twin mirrors and I caught my reflection in them.  There was blood stains running from my mouth, ears and beneath the bandages.  My whole head seemed to hum whenever I moved which made the pain so much worse.  Riley returned with Willem just a minute or two later with Leonard in tow, muttering to himself.

“Okay, Bill, stay still a minute while I take your bandages off.” Willem said in soothing tones.  Under the bandages my hair was matted with blood and there was an ostrich egg sized bump on my head.  “Now, I’m going to put my hands on your head so it might hurt a little.  I’ll see when the wound has healed but you’ll have to tell me when the pain is completely gone, okay?”

“Okay.” I said.

 

Willem put his hands, as gently as he could, on my head and they felt warm.  His hands seemed to vibrate, the heat coming from him came to me and washed the pain away like ocean waves.  I could feel the swollen bump lessen before disappearing all together.  I put my hand up once the aching pains had gone.

“Better?” Willem asked.

“Much better.  Thank you.”

Riley handed me a towel.  “Here you can have a shower if you like.  It’s just through there.” he pointed to a door at the side of a book shelf.  “Dulcie’s going to swing by with some clean clothes for you.”

“How did you get me out of school without anyone noticing?” I asked.

“We have our ways.” Said Leonard darkly before leaving the room.

Riley sighed.  “You take all the time you need in the shower.  There’s shower gels and shampoos on a glass shelf in the corner.

“Thanks.”

“Just a warning, Faith is going to apologise when you’re ready.”

“Oh, really?” I asked angrily.  “Her idea?”

Riley smirked, “No, but Leonard doesn’t want us fighting amongst ourselves when we should be working together.”

“Well, I suggest you remove any objects that I could use as weapons.  Especially anything sharp or heavy.” I said walking to his bathroom.

 

Riley’s bathroom was almost as large as his bedroom, his shower stood in the middle of the room with a ring shaped curtain rail and a large round showerhead hanging high above me.  The water slowly rinsed the dried blood from my hair with masses of shampoo.  Over the sound of the water falling all around me, I heard Dulcie’s voice outside the door.

“How is she?”

“Severely pissed off, to say the least.”

“What the hell was Faith thinking?”

“Faith was being Faith.  Do you expect any better?”

“Why would she do that, though?  I mean, I know she’s a superlative bitch and all but Billie has hardly done anything to piss her off.  Has she?”

“Billie is my girlfriend, that’s plenty to piss her off.”

“What, she doesn’t approve?”

“No, Faith wants my brother and I to be as miserable as her.” Riley explained.

“You know Billie won’t just let that pass.  Whether she cracks Faith’s head open in return or puts a hex on her, Billie won’t let it lie.”

“Leonard won’t be happy if she does.”

“Do you really think that will stop her?” Riley didn’t answer.

 

Dulcie rapped her knuckles on the bathroom door as I pulled the towel around myself.

“I’ve got clothes for you, Bill.”

“Thanks, DC.  I’ll open the door and you can pass them to me.”

The towel was tiny and a little revealing so I snuck my arm out around the open door and Dulcie handed the clothes to me, blocking the open door from Riley’s line of sight.

Once I was dressed I quickly towel dried my hair and followed Dulcie and Riley downstairs to where Willem and Leonard stood either side of a surly Faith.

“Billie, I believe Faith has something to say to you.”  Leonard said.

“No.  She doesn’t, because she won’t mean it.”

“Billie…”

“I’m sure Faith is aware that, although I am still learning, I can do much worse to her than she has done to me.”

The room stood silent as Faith ground her teeth.  Truth is, other than the time I lost it when my parents died, I’m not a violent person.  But Dulcie was right, I most certainly would not let Faith get away with this.  “If it weren’t for Willem’s healing hands I could’ve died.  I’m not going to hurt or hex you.” I said taking a step toward Faith.  “I’m not going to let you get away with it so don’t go getting the idea that I’m forgiving you, either.”

 

I looked at Dulcie and she faced me.  “Remember when E and T said what they most longed to give Faith?” I said to Dulcie trying to speak in code.  Dulcie caught my hint and, beaming, began to clap.  Faith was looking less and less confident.  “I think, in return for you almost killing me, a makeover is suitable punishment.”

Riley and Willem sucked in a breath as Faith’s face went scarlet.  Yes, Faith would have never before agreed to a makeover.  She was proud of her gothic garb, the black makeup and ratty hairstyle.

“Of course I could still hex you if you don’t like those terms…”

“I accept.” She interrupted my speech.  “I accept.” she said deflating.

 

Dulcie and I walked to the front door.  “Do you have your car with you?”

“No, I walked over.  Yours is still at school.”

Riley caught my hand.  “You’re leaving?” he asked. 

“Yeah, sorry, I don’t think I can be in the same room with her just now.  I’m still angry.”

“I’m sorry.” he said.

“Riley, it wasn’t your fault.  There’s nothing for you to be sorry for.”

“Then I’m coming with you.  Where are we going?” he asked grabbing his coat.

“I need to get my car and then I’m going to go arrange Faith’s makeover.”

 

I saw Leonard approaching and I could tell by the look in his eyes he wanted words with me.  Instinctively, I grabbed Dulcie and Riley’s hands, blinking, I thought of the school parking lot.  This was the first time I’d teleported Dulcie and she wasn’t ready for it, when I opened my eyes she was on her knees.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!  I should’ve warned you.”

“That… was… awesome!” she said breathing hard before laughing.  “You’re amazing!” she said embracing me in a hug.

My car was parked by itself in the middle of the car park in the darkness when we piled inside and made our way to Eve’s house on Charles Close.  Her house was painted an almost terracotta colour and the window shutters were ivory coloured.  Her bedroom was on the side of the house and she had her own little veranda.  If she wasn’t over at Tilly’s house you would normally find her stretched out on a chaise lounge on her veranda, sitting on her laptop passing the time on Facebook or AOL.  At the sound of my car door slamming her curly blonde head peered over the wooden sill and called out, “Hey, Billie!  Hey, DC and… Riley Smith!  What the fudge?”

“Can we come up, Eve?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah, sure!  Come on up.” she said beaming.

 

There was a little set of wooden ladders at the back of the house that led up to Eve’s veranda.  When we got up we saw Desiree stretched out next to Eve on a sun lounger.

“Hi, Desiree.”

“Hi.” she said.

“What are you doing here?” Dulcie asked before Riley or I could stop her.

Eve put on a guilty face.

“Eve, I told you not to show the moves to any of the candidates before trials.  Must we have this conversation again?” Dulcie said angrily.

“No, but…”

“But nothing!  Who is captain?”

“You are.” Eve said docilely.

“You better remember it ‘cause there are plenty of girls trying out tomorrow and I assume you don’t want one replacing you, do you?”

“No.”

“Dulcie, don’t you think you’re being a bit hard?”

Dulcie looked at me, blinking.  “Are you okay?” I asked.

“I feel a little… ill.  Help me to the car?” she asked.

“Sure.  I’ll be right back.” I said over my shoulder to Eve.

 

Riley and I escorted Dulcie to the car until she was strapped in a belt on the back seat.

“What’s going on?  That’s not normally like you to get so pissed.”

“I know.  It wasn’t me, I mean yeah I was a bit miffed that Eve went behind my back like that, but that wasn’t me.”

“What happened?” Riley asked soothingly.

“Desiree.  I was channelling Desiree’s anger.” Dulcie whined, “My head really hurts, my stomach is churning and every one of those damn street lights are hurting my eyes.” Dulcie finished angrily.

“Can you turn them out or may be dim them?” I asked Riley.

He nodded his head and closed his eyes.  After a few seconds some of the lights went out and the rest were just dimmed.

“Better?” I asked Dulcie.

“I will be once I get away from that bitch!” she said.

“Are you channelling her?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry.  Okay I’m going to speak to Eve and then I’ll take you home.”

“Thanks.” she said attempting a smile.

 

Riley and I made our way back up to the veranda.

“Is she really mad?” Eve asked.

“No, honey.” I said soothingly.  “Her aunt moves to Manhattan soon and she’s just real upset at the moment.  You know Laura’s all the family Dulcie has left.”

“That’s no reason to take it out on Eve, though.  Sure, Eve went behind her back but it’s no big deal.” Desiree argued.

“Yeah, I know it’s no excuse but she did tell Eve not to show anyone so Eve really should’ve listened to her captain.”

Riley took hold of my hand as Desiree threw me a seriously scary death stare.  “Any way that’s not why I’m here.” I said addressing Eve.  “Riley’s sister, Faith, owes me a huge favour so I was hoping you and Tilly could help give her a makeover.”  Eve’s reaction was quite similar to Dulcie’s but with extra giggling.

“I can’t wait.” She said beaming.  “Let me know when and I’ll assemble the troops!” She said implying the cheerleading squad.

 

Riley and I left when Eve turned to Desiree and they started to talk about what colour highlights to give Faith and whether she’d be able to pull off pastel colours.  When we got home Dulcie went straight to bed without dinner and without a word to any of us.  Just before ten o’clock, when I was headed to bed myself, I left an ice cold glass of water on her night stand with some aspirin in hope they might take some of her pain away.  The attic room was empty now because Riona and Rowanne had left the night we discovered that Kyle was a werewolf.  They’d waited an hour longer than they’d meant to stay to say good bye to me but I didn’t get home in time.  Before leaving, Riona left me a note on my pillow to let me know that instead of sending Josephine’s diary by courier she had arranged to have someone she trusted to bring it directly to me wherever I may be.  Once I’d found what I needed from it I was to return it to her only when she next visited or if I got into Salem State College.  I prayed for the latter, not only because this was the school I wanted to attend but because I didn’t want to bring any more of my loved ones into Penn Gate if things here were to turn ugly.

 

In the mornings Brian continued to leave early to pick up Astrid, they’d begun to see more and more of each other and a constant stream of girlish texts, emails and phone calls came Brian’s way.  After a couple of weeks, I think Brian was starting to get bored of Astrid and often when Dulcie was in the same room with him he kept making flirtatious passes her way.  But Dulcie wasn’t ready for seeing anyone because she was having troubles getting a hold on her gift again and Nana was busy trying to find someone with a gift like hers to help Dulcie.  She constantly put on a brave face but more often than usual you could see through her façade.  Only because of the coming game and the fact that the new cheerleaders, Astrid and Desiree, were still needing to be trained did she still attend school.  Now that graduation was nearing there was an anxious and excited atmosphere looming over the school.

 

Eve, Tilly and the cheerleading squad took Faith shopping and to a salon, one weekend, later to be met at Tilly’s house on Oscar Street with Dulcie and myself.  Faith’s ratty black hair was gone and replaced with straight, smooth mocha coloured hair with thin streaks of honey blond hair.  Her nails were neat and French manicured as well as her toes.  The girls had made her buy lots of girly things like skirts, dresses, make-up and hair products.    All day Faith hadn’t seen a mirror and when we’d finished with her she was in a coral chiffon dress and high heeled gold sandals with big, gold hoops dangling from her ears.  It was quite a transformation and Faith had barely said a word throughout.

“Wow!  Faith, you’re a hottie!” I said and she paled.  “No honestly, you look really nice.  Here.” I said pulling her in front of Tilly’s full length mirror in her closet.  “What do you think?”

“It’s just not me.” She said timidly.  “I like the way I looked before.  You did this because you knew it would hurt me most.”

 

Pang, guilt.  “Yes, I did.  I’m sorry, Faith, I was too busy being angry with you that I wasn’t thinking straight.  I shouldn’t have changed you and you shouldn’t have let me.”  I said starting to feel angry before simmering down once more.  “You shouldn’t have to change who you are for anyone.”  Tears were falling thick and fast down Faith’s cheeks.

“No, I shouldn’t.  You should remember, Billie, I may be over one hundred years old but I’m also still as insecure as the next woman and what you and your friends did was down right torture.”

“I’m sorry, Faith, I really am.  If you want I can help you bring back the real you.”

“How?” she asked.

“A spell.”

“Umm, no thanks.”

“Oh come on have a little faith.” I punned and she smirked, shaking her head.

 

When Eve and Desiree came into Tilly’s closet to find out what was going on they were none too pleased to hear that Faith didn’t like her makeover and didn’t delay to inform the other girls waiting in Tilly’s bedroom.  I rushed Faith out the house with Dulcie in tow and teleported them back to my home once we were safely out of the way.  Dulcie left me alone in my room with Faith and all her bags of unwanted clothes to run herself a bath.  I’d drafted several different versions of a spell before Faith finally approved of one. 

“Okay, fine but if I end up completely blonde then I will have to kill you.” She said.

“Careful that’s the very reason we’re in this mess.” I said peaking over my notebook.

“Oh, yeah.” She said shamefacedly.

“What if I make you bald.” I asked.

“I think I can rock that look.” She laughed.

 

I tore off the clean sheet of paper that I’d rewritten the spell onto and asked her, “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

“Okay, I’m going to speak the incantation and I want you to stay completely still until I’m finished.  Got it?”

“Got it.”

Help us now

Find Faiths true look

That we cant seem to find in magazine or book.

Her true face is hidden,

Her true face is lost,

Please make it return,

No matter the cost.

 

 

Slowly things started to change.  First it appeared that someone was combing the colour out of Faith’s hair and replacing it with her original black, but instead of returning her ratty messy her hair was now longer and sleeker ending in big wavy curls.  Her clothes and her makeup also changed, her dress changed to slim black jeans, a brown and green camisole and flat black pumps.  Her pink and purple makeup had been changed to more natural, earthy tones with glossy lips.

“Whoa.” I said as the transformation completed itself.

“What!?” Faith asked afraid.

“H-Have a look in the m-mirror.” I stammered pointing at the mirror behind Faith.

Faith walked around my bed to see herself better in the mirror.  She didn’t say anything for a while, she just studied herself in the mirror.  Playing with her hair and spinning around to get a look at the back.

“Do you want me to try again?” I asked tentatively.

“No.  Um… I think I like this look.” She said still staring at her reflection.

“You like it?”

“Yeah, it’s different but I really like it.”

 

I walked over to her bags that we brought with us and saw that all the clothes in the bags had changed also.  There were more slim jeans, knee high boots, sophisticated sweaters and even some nice evening wear.  She had a full length dark blue dress with sequins decorating the bust, an ivory coloured skirt and shoes to match them all.  Even the makeup had changed to the earthy colours she was wearing now.

“All the stuff you bought today has changed too.” I told her.

 

She pulled some of it out and put them against her body to get an impression of how it would look on.  When she pulled out the long blue dress I told her, “That would be nice on if you put your hair up and if you wear it with some nice silver jewellery.”

“You think I’d look nice in this?” She asked doubtfully.

“Yeah, Faith, you’d look great in all of this.”

 

The hint of a smile played at the corners of her mouth as she said, “Can you help me pick what to wear instead of the jeans?”

“Sure.  Here, try these on.” I said handing her the ivory skirt, a gold coloured camisole and gladiator sandals.

She locked herself in the bathroom while she changed.  When she returned she asked, “What’s the cost?”

“Sorry?”

“In the spell, you said at the end ‘no matter the cost’.  What’s the cost?”

“I don’t know.  Do you feel like you’ve paid a price?” I asked curious.

“In a way I do.” she said before thoughtfully becoming silent.  Eventually, she turned to me and said, “Can you take me home?  I want to show my family.” she said fanning her skirt out.

“Okay.  Grab your bags and I’ll teleport you over.”

“Thanks.”

 

She was quiet while we gathered up all the bags of new clothing and such.  When she took my arm I didn’t feel her nails digging in like the first time I had teleported her.  With one last look at Faith I blinked and appeared in the Smiths’ hall.  Leonard was halfway striding from the kitchen, with a glass of scotch in his hand, to the living room when we appeared.

He suddenly stopped and dropped his glass, barely noticing the broken glass he said in a shaky voice, “Faith?”

“Do you like?” she asked uncertain.

Leonard beamed.  “How could I not?  You look exactly like your mother.”  he said and Faith ran into his arms.

Willem and Riley came from the living room, staring at Faith as if they didn’t recognise her, with their mouths hanging open.  I slipped across to where Riley stood and he put his arm around me.

“The cheerleaders did this?” he asked.

“No.  Faith wasn’t too keen on what they did so I cast a spell to return her true look and this is what we got.”

 

Faith ran to Willem next who said, “Gosh, you really do look like Mother.”

Leonard’s eyes met mine and I cocked a brow at him.  It was quite clear to him what my thoughts were at that moment and I just knew he regretted bringing the subject of their mother up.  Faith and her brothers continued to talk about how much she looked like their mother but of course they never mentioned how much she looked like her father because they were led to believe they had never met him.  Leonard pulled me out of earshot and said, “I’ll tell them but I’d appreciate it if you could give us some privacy.”

“Of course.” I said looking up to him.  “I’ll be in Riley’s room.”

 

As I made my way upstairs I heard Leonard’s voice say, “There’s something I need to tell you.” before entering Riley’s room.  After almost half an hour, Riley found me in his room sitting on the edge of his bed.  He didn’t say anything as he lay down on the bed pulling me beside him.  For over an hour we just lay there saying nothing as it darkened outside.

“Thank you.” He said catching me by surprise.

“For what?”

“He said you gave him an ultimatum.”

“Yeah, I did.”

“Why didn’t you just tell me when you worked it out?”

“It wasn’t really me who worked it out.  I think it was more Josephine than me.  Besides, it wasn’t my secret to tell.” I explained. “Are you angry with me?”

“No, of course not.”

“Are they?”

“No.”

“Are you angry with him?” I asked.

“I’m not sure.  We’ve always looked up to him as a father figure, anyway.  I don’t see why he had to lie to us.”

“Didn’t he tell you?”

“No.”

“He thought you’d think your father was a monster.  He was afraid you’d reject him.”

“Well, then he’s an idiot.”

“I agree.” I said and Riley laughed.

 

For an hour more we sat in silence before I had to leave.

“I should take you on a real date sometime.” He said as I got up.  “I feel really guilty for not doing this normally.”

“There isn’t anything normal about us, Riley.  Besides, I think we are doing this just fine.”

“I don’t want you to go.” He said putting an arm around my waist.

“I don’t want to either but if I don’t my Nana will kill me.”

“Then may be I should come with you.”

“You’d have to hide in my room all night.” I said gazing up at him.

“That’s fine with me.” He said kissing the back of my neck.

 

I wrapped my arms around his neck and blinked.  When I opened my eyes I found us in my bedroom.  The moonlight was spilling through my window and highlighted a pair of green cat eyes glinting at me from my bed.  As I walked over to Midnight, who was curled up on my pillow once again, he jumped off my bed and stalked over to his igloo bed in the corner of the room.

“That cat’s got attitude.” I told Riley who smirked.

I snuck into the bathroom, as quietly as I could, and washed up before retreating to my bedroom.  When I returned I saw that Riley had removed his pants and sweater and was lying on my bed in a pair of shorts and t-shirt.  We both snuggled deeply under the covers and Riley put his arms around me and pulled me close.  Midnight’s glinting green eyes met mine from the corner and his soft throaty purr sent me into a welcoming deep sleep.

 

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