Read Flirting With Magick Online

Authors: Leigh Bennett

Flirting With Magick (10 page)

BOOK: Flirting With Magick
6.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


I knocked on Scott and Luke’s front door at what we had decid
ed would be our usual time, overnight bag in hand, and entered when I heard someone say “Come in.” To my surprise, Luke was sitting on a stool in the kitchen while a woman my mother's age combed down
and cut the back of his hair. The short, golden blonde locks floated down
to the laminate floor.

“Abby!” Luke called out. “How are you?” He didn’t give me a
chance to answer. “Abby, this is Julie, Scott’s mum and, as you can see, our hairdresser. This is my cousin, Abby.”

The woman put down her scissors and extended her hand to me. “
Pleased to meet you, Abby.” I noticed she had a pleasant English accen
and felt a sliver of disappointment that she didn’t recognise my name
I quickly pulled myself together. Why on Earth would she? It’s not
as if Scott would have confided in her about a girl he just happened to be shagging. I certainly hadn’t mentioned Scott to my mother.

I discreetly dropped the overnight bag at my feet, hoping she wou
just think it a large handbag. “You, too,” I said politely, shaking her hand

“Scott’s gone to get some milk,” Luke answered what was to be
my next question. “And some groceries for the weekend away.” He
caught my eye and smirked.

“Oh, okay.” I glared at him, sending him telepathic signals that if
he was to say anything more in front of Scott’s mother about the we
ekend coming, I would kill him.

“Is Scott going away this weekend?” Julie piped up, brushing the
stray bits of hair from Luke’s neck and taking off the plastic gown.

“Yeah, just with some friends,” Luke told her, standing up to get
the broom from the corner of the kitchen. My glare had obviously
worked on him.

“And you’re not going?” she asked him

“Uh, no. Stuff to do around here.”

She seemed pretty happy with his response and didn’t press further
before turning to me. “So, Abby. What do you do?”

“I’m the front office manager at Avalon IT. They distribute software
.” I gave her my memorised job explanation.

Do you like it?” She put the scissors into her bag and leaned forward
on her elbows on the kitchen bench.

“Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

“And are you Marie or David’s niece?”

“Marie and my mum are sisters.”

Our small talk was interrupted by the front door opening. Scott
looked surprised to see us all talking around the bench. “Oh, hi Mum.” He dragged his bags into the kitchen. “Hi Abby.” He casually acknowledged
me as he passed and started unpacking the groceries.

“Luke just told me you were going away this weekend,” Julie said.

Scott shot me a glance. I kept my face expressionless. He understood
. “Yeah, just with some friends. Get out of the city.”

“Anyone I know?”

“Nathan.” He looked at me apologetically. “A friend of his won the
trip. No one you know.” He pulled out a bottle of lemonade. “Anyone
for a drink? Abby?”

“Thanks.” I was just grateful for something to do.

“Do you need your hair done while I’m here, love?” his mother
asked him. I started to notice the resemblance, same almond shaped eyes and straight nose.

“No, I think it’s okay for the moment.” He ran his hand through his fringe, the gesture I’d become accustomed to. Of course this was a bit awkward for him. “Maybe next time.”

“Alright. Well, how about I take you out to dinner then? Abby, would you like to join us?”

“Oh, um... thank you but I...” I couldn’t just say yes.

“Come on.” Luke interrupted, “you weren’t doing anything tonight
, were you?” His eyes twinkled tauntingly.

I glanced at Scott. It was his mother after all, and I didn’t want to
get involved where I shouldn’t. He smiled at Luke’s teasing and nodd
ed at me. “Yeah, come on.”

Permission granted. “Sure, thank you.”

The Thai restaurant was small and had only a handful of custo
mers when we were seated at a corner table.

“Whereabouts in England are you from, Mrs. Ryan?” I asked when
we had ordered our food and a bottle of white wine was being divided
between the four of us. “I noticed your accent.”

“Dover, in the south. And please, call me Julie.”

“How long have you been in Australia?”

“About twenty-one, no, twenty-two years.”

I did a quick calculation then looked over at Scott “Were you born
in England?”

“Yep.” He smiled as though I had just discovered a special secret.

“All my children were,” Julie went on. “We moved here when
Jamie, our youngest, was two.” She turned to her son. "I'm seeing him
tomorrow. Have he and Claire seen you play?"

"He did the first few times, but his shift has changed at work. She
comes out quite a bit though."

I sat back in my chair and avoid looking at Scott. I was enjoying
the opportunity to find out more about him without having to ask him
direct personal questions. “How many children do you have, Julie?”

“Three. Two boys and a girl.”

“So you’re the oldest or the middle?” I asked Scott.

“Middle,” he replied.

“So am I.” I announced to the group. “Two brothers.”

Luke snorted. “Yeah. I remember when we were kids, Ben would
pick on you, and then you would pick on Toby. And then you’d get into
trouble with your Mum so you would run to your Dad.” He leaned
over and stage whispered to Scott. “Abby was a Daddy’s girl.”

I scoffed. “That’s a bit rich, coming from Aunt Marie’s baby boy.”
Everyone at the table giggled knowingly. Luke was an only child and
at least until adolescence, could do no wrong in the eyes of his mother

Our food arrived, and we all started piling spicy green curry chicke
n, crunchy stir fried vegetables, and fluffy coconut scented rice into our
bowls. I observed the interaction between Scott and Julie. She nagged
him about his eating habits, asked why he didn’t come home more
often, and teasingly questioned when he was going to get a real job
and settle down with a nice girl, all of which he answered with an
inaudible mumble, before she turned to Luke and pestered him with the same questions. It was plain to see that Luke was practically part of the Ryan family. Both men instantly became more animated when Julie changed the subject to the band and their forthcoming album.

“The album’s going great.” Scott enthused. “But we need two or
three more songs, so we have to really get stuck into some more writing

Yeah, but we need a tragedy or heartbreak to give us some inspiration,”
added Luke. “One of us needs to get dumped or something.”

“You could always write about Bianca,” Julie suggested to Scott.
My ears pricked up. Bianca must be the ex-girlfriend. I held my brea
th for more information.

“I’d hate to say it, Mum, but the split with Bianca wasn’t exactly
heartbreaking,” he answered, glancing quickly at me before going back
to his meal. “Besides, Daniel usually does the lyrics. We’ll have to spe
ak with his girlfriend.”

“Are any of your brothers married?” Julie asked me between

I nodded, hurriedly swallowing to answer. “Ben’s been married for about three years, and he’s got a little girl and a baby on the way.
Toby only just came out last year, and he’s seeing someone, some guy
he met through friends. I don’t know how serious it is.” It suddenly
occurred to me that I was the only single one in the family. It would have been depressing if I wasn’t having such a good time right now. “Have you any grandchildren?” I asked.

My daughter, Corrine, has two children with her partner, Jason.”
Julie grinned and spoke mostly to Scott. “Jason’s just confided in me tha
he’s saving for a ring, but don’t say anything to Corrine; it’s a surprise.”

Scott just looked confused. “But they’ve been together for years. What’s the point?”

Julie shook her head and addressed the table. “My dear son, alw
ays the cynic.”


“That was awesome. Thank you, Julie, I haven’t had food like that
in months,” I exclaimed as we walked back to Scott and Luke’s flat.

“Don’t tell me I’ve got another person’s eating habits I have to
keep an eye on.” She joked to me. We reached her car, and she took each
of us in a goodbye hug. “Lovely to meet you, Abby. You keep an eye on these boys for me, will you?” she said before driving off.

The three of us wandered into the cold flat, and I picked up my bag from where I had dropped it. “I’d better get going.”

“Are you sure?” Scott asked. “You can stay if you like, you know.”

“Thanks.” Now having met Scott’s mother, and being given an
insight to his personal life, I felt a bit uncomfortable staying there with
a fresh view of him. It would take a couple of days to be able to look at him in the same way again. “But it’s just having met your mum and heard about your family; I can’t look at you as a sex object tonight,” I told him.

He laughed and walked me back outside. “So I guess I’ll see you at your place Friday evening when we make the big trip.”

“Sure.” I gave him a chaste peck on the cheek and drove off.




quickly enough. At twen
past five, I started packing up my papers, shut down my computer, and
rushed out at five-thirty on the dot. Scott’s van was already parked on
the street outside my block of flats, and I could hear excited talking
through Kate’s open front door when I reached her floor.

“Hey, guys.” I stuck my head through the doorway to see them all
relaxing around the table. “I’ll just change and be right with you.” I ra
up to my flat, got out of my tailored work gear and into a comfortable
tracksuit, shoved the food I was designated to bring into my esky, and
picked up the weekend bag I had packed the previous night, locking th
e door behind me.


Although the chilly winter air suggested otherwise, the cabin interior
was pleasant and welcoming. Within minutes, Nathan effortlessly started
a roaring log fire while the rest of us set to work putting the food away
in the cupboards and fridge of the surprisingly spacious and well-equipped
kitchen. Moments later, we were sitting on the cosy, floral patterned
couches while Kate handed each of us an excessively large glass of cask
red. The greasy takeaway I had practically inhaled on the way had settled
comfortably in my stomach, and I was feeling fresh and alert despite the
long drive and late night arrival. Kate and Nathan were snuggling together
on the other couch, their heads bent close, talking quietly. Nathan’s so
chuckle was only just audible as he ran his hand lightly over Kate’s taut,
legging enclosed thigh. I looked over at Scott who was on the same couc
as me, engrossed in the cabin’s information booklet, not looking at me
and not touching me, even though I was sitting close enough to feel hi
s body warmth. I wondered how our relationship could be exactly the
same as Nathan and Kate’s and yet so different. I picked up a pamphlet
about the local ski school and pretended to read, mainly out of desire
to not look bored or rejected

or both. Maybe Kate and Nathan sh
have come here on their own. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to in
vite us. Maybe it was too romantic.

“Hey, I’ve got a great idea, you guys.” Kate barely contained an
excited squeal as she
interrupted my thoughts. “Let’s all hop in the spa

Scott tossed the booklet on to the floor. “Great idea,” he declared
, patting my knee and jumping up off the couch.

We all stripped down to our underwear, my insecurities dissolving
as the warm water enveloped my body and the wine put my head into a
pleasant haze. I leaned back into Scott’s arm, which was draped behind
me, closed my eyes, and breathed in the fruity aroma of the bubble bath
I had over-generously tipped into the spa, the bubbles now reaching
astronomical heights in the churning water. Kate lit some candles and
switched off the overhead light so we were wrapped in the soft glow

which would have been almost romantic had there been two in the tub
rather than four. Those two I meant - not us two.

“I’ve got another great idea!” Kate effervesced from the other side
of the bath. “How about a game of Truth or Dare?” Scott, Nathan, an
d I all groaned, but no one objected.

“I’ll go first,” Kate continued. “Nathan. Truth or dare?”

“Truth,” Nathan answered enthusiastically.

“What’s your longest relationship been?” Kate asked him, most
likely out of her own curiosity.

“Six months,” Nathan promptly answered and left it at that. “Scotty
. Truth or Dare?”

BOOK: Flirting With Magick
6.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Dreidels on the Brain by Joel ben Izzy
Range of Motion by Elizabeth Berg
Phantom Embrace by Dianne Duvall
First Light by Sunil Gangopadhyay
The Stranger's Sin by Darlene Gardner
Devil's Playground by D. P. Lyle
The Memory Box by Margaret Forster