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Authors: C. G. Powell

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BOOK: Spell Checked
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~~~***~~~

 

 

It was just past midnight when Aidan let himself into Beck’s apartment.  Beck was sitting in a low, white upholstered chair opposite a large modern fireplace, brooding at his rejection earlier that evening.  Aidan always admired Beck’s taste.  His apartment was very modern, like a high-end yuppie’s apartment in New York, not the eighteenth century Georgian townhouse that it really was.  Aidan placed a glass wrapped in a napkin on the end table next to Beck.  “I took this after she left.”

Beck looked at the glass debating whether or not he was ready for the answers it could possibly provide.  He picked it up with the napkin and handed it back to Aidan.  “Bring this to Howard tonight.  Tell him I want a full DNA scan ASAP and make sure he knows no one else is privy to this information.”  Howard worked for Beck and like Aidan, was a warlock who owed no allegiance to the Witch’s Council, but sometimes Howard (who had a big mouth) was far from discreet.

Aidan slipped the still-wrapped glass back in his pocket.  He looked at Beck saying what he felt he had to, “Regardless of the DNA results, you still need to talk to her before she leaves town.  You know as well as I do, if you don’t, it will just eat away at you. Helen is still there, Beck.”  Aidan waited for what was sure to be an explosive response.  He knew Beck would not appreciate his interference in this matter.

“What the hell am I supposed to tell her?”  Beck demanded.  “Hello, Maelin, sorry about last night’s abrupt exit but I really wasn’t prepared for my soul mate to be reincarnated as a witch, especially since witches and Vampires don’t get along very well, so they say.  But that’s okay because Aidan, my warlock friend, believes this will all workout if only we could all just get along.”  Beck ended his tirade with an overused witch’s phrase just to drive his point home.

“Only if you want her to think you’re riding the crazy train,” Aidan laughed, trying to lighten his friend’s mood.  “I just mean, don’t be so quick to burn bridges.  Look, I have a date with her friend tomorrow night at Café en Seine.  I’ll just invite Mae to go with us and you can meet us there,” Aidan suggested.

Beck calmed himself as he looked at Aidan saying, “I waited two hundred years for her to return.  She promised this time it would be forever.”  For as many times as Beck had offered Helen the chance of eternal life as a vampire, she had always refused.  He would inevitably charm his skin to grow old with her and watch her die, only to be reincarnated thirty to forty years later and start life with her anew.  “Which brings me back to the current conversation, what if Maelin doesn’t want to go to dinner with you and Gemma?”

“Then I’ll bewitch her.  Besides, I know how much you like the Parisian atmosphere at Café en Seine,” Aidan said as he made his way to the front door.

“I know you are right Aidan.  This whole situation is just leaving me a bit distressed.”  He stood up and let out a deep breath.

“Then it’s settled, meet us there at six.”  Aidan shouted on his way out the door.  It was late and he still had to bring the glass to Howard.

 

 

~~~***~~~

 

 

Howard answered the door.  He was an older man in his sixties and resented Aidan’s youthful appearance despite being over three thousand years old.  Aidan was glad he called en route.  It was one a.m. and Howard looked less than thrilled to have him on his doorstep.  Getting right to the point, Aidan handed the wrapped glass to Howard.  “Mr. Worthington wants a full DNA scan…and keep it hush-hush.”

“Tell him I’ll get to it first thing in the morning.”  Howard mumbled as he started to close the door on Aidan.

Aidan blocked the door with his foot and pushed it back open.  “You must have misunderstood me on the phone.  He wants you to get started on it now.  So get dressed and I’ll take you to the lab.”

“That won’t be necessary.  I can find the lab without your help,” Howard grumbled.

“I insist.”  Aidan smiled.  He wanted to ensure Beck’s orders would be carried out promptly and he was prepared to do whatever that required.  Even if it meant giving up a couple hours of sleep to listen to Howard complain.

Chapter 2

 

 

The phone started ringing, Mae half fell out of bed as she fumbled to pick up the phone, realizing it was just the wakeup call.  Gemma peeked out of the bathroom and laughed at her for being such a dork.  “Good morning sleepy head, you might want to hurry up.  Breakfast starts in forty minutes.”  Gemma started to get dressed; her hair was already fixed and her makeup on.

“Well you seem awfully happy today.”  Mae said, letting out a big yawn and dragging herself to the bathroom to brush her teeth.

“What’s not to be happy about?” she chirped.  “I’m in Ireland with my best friend, I’ve met the most handsome man here and I have another date tonight,” Gemma grinned as she touched up her hair in the mirror after putting her shirt on.

“So, how did your date go last night?  I’m assuming quite well since you have another one tonight,” Mae replied, answering her own question, while she tied her hair in a loose pony tail.

Gemma looked at Mae in the mirror and smiled, “Last night was so much fun.  I wish you would have gone with us.”

“And ruin any chance you might have had for a one night stand?  I wouldn’t think of it,” Mae interjected, as she smiled at the prospect of it.

“Aidan was every bit the gentleman last night, almost too much for my taste.  I think I would have preferred a good tumble instead,” Gemma laughed.

Shaking her head, “You’re such a slut,” Mae teased.  “Today is day one of the tour.  What’s on the itinerary?”  She was dressing and looking for her walking shoes at the same time, nearly falling over.

Gemma grabbed the brochure from the small table by the window, sat in the chair next to it and started reading the itinerary aloud.  “Let’s see, day one…..The Guinness Brewery, Dublin Castle, Grafton Street for lunch and shopping and our last stop of the day is the Jameson Distillery before we head back here this evening.”

Mae took one last look in the mirror before they left the room for breakfast.  She let out a disappointing sigh as she realized, despite her extra attempts to look nice, she still looked a mess.

Breakfast was a large buffet setup in the conference room for the tour group.  Standing by a large brick fireplace, was their driver/tour guide, a middle-aged-happy-go-lucky fellow named Paddy.  He was answering what seemed like a barrage of questions from the passengers, excited to start the day.  Mae looked around the room and noticed that their group consisted of what were mostly older couples.  It seemed like Gemma and herself were the babies of the bunch and probably the only ones single.  It made her wonder why the travel agent recommended this trip to Gemma in the first place.

Unexpectedly, the day turned out to be fun and went by fast.  The view of Dublin from the Guinness Tower was so phenomenal that Mae could have spent hours there dissecting the city.  Dublin Castle was not only beautiful, but its rich history made it even more intriguing.  She and Gemma could have spent a week on Grafton Street shopping, but time was too short.  Somehow, Mae knew that one day she’d come back and have a chance to see Grafton Street at her leisure.  Mae also learned why she preferred Irish whiskey. The kegs used to age Irish whiskey were old winery kegs, which give the whiskey a smoother taste, unlike in America where they use new oak kegs, leaving a more “oak-ey” taste, not nearly as smooth.

Mae sat down in one of the chairs by the window and removed her shoes from her aching feet.  “That was fun, but I’m glad to be back at the hotel.  Paddy threw so much information at us, I thought my brain would melt,” she said to Gemma.  “What time is your date with Aidan?”

Gemma rummaged through her suitcase, trying to pick out an outfit for her date.  “He said he would be by at five-thirty.  Something about wanting to spend as much time as possible together.  It’s already four, so I hope you don’t mind if I jump in the shower first.”

“No, go ahead.  The only thing I have planned is to go to the bar later and have drinks with some of the people from our group.”  In a way, Mae was glad to have the evening to herself.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” Gemma yelled from the bathroom.

“Two is company and three’s a crowd.  Besides, he drives a Roadster.  Where would I sit?” she asked, listing her valid excuses as to why she should not go with them.

Gemma peeked out the bathroom door and let out a sigh.  “I just want you to have fun too, and we can always catch a cab.  Will you at least think about it?” she said before shutting the door again.

Mae sat quietly by the window doing a Sudoku puzzle, thinking of reasons to stay in for the evening; she knew Gemma would make another attempt before she left.  It was five-thirty and Aidan was already at the door.  Gemma was not ready, so Mae let him in.  He sat on one of the two chairs by the window.  “How was your tour today?” he asked her.

“We had a good time,” she said, sitting in the other chair.  “I wish we could stay in Dublin longer. There’s so much to see of the city and today went by way too fast.”

Aidan also wished they could stay longer.  He could bewitch them to stay, but he had figured out a long time ago, things go much better when the other party willingly comes of their own accord.  “Then why not stay longer?”  He asked, hoping she would rationalize a good reason on her own for why they should not leave.

Mae picked her puzzle book up again, mulling over the one she had been working on before her peace and quiet was disrupted by Aidan’s prattle. “I wish it were as simple as that, but the bus leaves in the morning for Kinsale,” she said as if to remind him of she and Gemma’s imminent departure.

“Well… if you won’t stay, you should at least join Gemma and I this evening for dinner and dancing,” Aidan smiled.  He needed her to go with them tonight and he didn’t like the idea of bewitching her.  However, he knew he would if only for Becks sake.

“Thank you, but no.  I would not want to intrude on your date,” she interjected, wanting him to leave her out of their plans.

“It’s no intrusion at all.  I even swapped cars with a friend for the occasion and Gemma really wants you come with us.”  Aidan did not wait to have his invitation declined again.  He looked into her eyes and set in motion a charm that would compel her to go with them.

Gemma finally graced them with her presence.  Looking at Aidan she said, “Sorry to keep you waiting.  Did you talk her into coming with us?”  Both turned to look at Mae as they awaited her answer.

Before she had a chance to think the words had already left her lips, “Okay I’ll go.  Just give me a minute to shower and change,” she replied, suddenly thinking to herself.  “Why in God’s name did I just say that?”  She really didn’t want to intrude on their date.

Gemma smiled and started picking out clothes from her suitcase.  She handed Mae a turquoise halter dress with a rouched-waist and a full calf-length skirt, a string of pearls and silver rhinestone sandals with two-inch heels.  Not wanting to keep Gemma and Aidan waiting, Mae left her hair unwashed.  It was still curly from the night before so Gemma loosely combed it back with her fingers making a French twist in the back and pinned it with a couple of rhinestone clips.  After last night, Mae was a bit scared when Gemma took out her make-up case, but within minutes she was finished and Mae looked in the mirror.  Light colored shadow on her eye lids and simple brown eyeliner, slightly pink cheeks, and a mauve gloss with a hint of gold shimmer.  Mae rubbed her lips together to spread the lip-gloss evenly and said to Gemma, “At least I don’t look like a Goth hooker tonight,” she smiled and thought, “Actually, I almost look pretty.”

Gemma hugged her from behind, “I’m glad you’re coming with us.”

To their surprise, there was a silver Bentley waiting for them out front complete with driver.  Aidan handed them each a rose as they entered the car and took their seats, then asked, “Would you ladies care for some champagne?”  He grabbed three glasses and a bottle of Cristal from the front seat and poured each of them a glass of the expensive champagne.

Much to Mae’s relief, Café en Seine was more bistro/bar than some snooty up-scale restaurant.  The décor was very opulent but relaxing, despite being packed in with a bevy of young, beautiful, twenty-something-year-olds.  A waiter escorted them to the reserved table in a more secluded area away from the bar and handed them menus.

Gemma was looking around at the beautiful Parisian décor when she notice Aidan’s friend at the bar.  “Aidan, isn’t that Beck over there at the bar?  You should invite him to dine with us.  Is that okay with you Mae?” Gemma asked, as if it were nothing more than an afterthought.

Mae wanted to kick Gemma under the table.  “Gemma knew Beck was the last person I wanted to”….Stopping midway through her thought, Mae was unable to process the rest of it.  “That would be lovely,” Mae said aloud instead of to herself.

“Please excuse me, ladies while I retrieve my wayward friend.”  Aidan grinned as he walked away…“Everything is going as planned,” he thought to himself.

Beck was just finishing his glass of wine when Aidan approached him.  “Did the girls like the flowers and champagne?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m glad you thought of it.  Unfortunately, I still had to charm Mae into coming and I added an attraction charm.  Otherwise, you’d be spending the rest of the evening at the bar instead of joining us for dinner.  Your lady is quite obstinate, like someone else I know.”  Aidan answered.

“You should be so thankful, that stubbornness has saved your bum more than once if I recall.”  Beck chastised Aidan as they walked to the table.  “Hello, ladies.  My apologies for last night’s abrupt exit, I had a bit of an emergency.  I hope you can forgive me?” he said, before sitting down at the table.

Despite Mae’s previous reservations and her inability to concentrate, dinner went well.  Strangely, she kept having the wickedest thoughts where Beck was concerned, wanting to touch him, kiss him, feel him.  She wanted him to make the first move…..Any move.  Dance music started to play and people were making their way to the dance floor.

Beck leaned closer so she could hear him over the music.  “Do you like to dance, Mae?” he whispered softly.

She could feel his breath on her neck.  Her mind was thinking sensual thoughts as she shifted in her seat.  “I love dancing.  Nevertheless, like most geeks I am not very good at it.  And how about you Mister-Calm-Cool and Collected, you ever raise the roof?”  She laughed mentally at the thought of Beck doing the electric slide; it was as out of place as a milk bucket under a bull.

“It has been a long time since I danced.  But, I do enjoy it when I get the chance,” Beck replied.  He then leaned over towards Aidan and whispered something to him.  Aidan nodded in agreement, then got up and spoke to the DJ.

A tango started to play.  Beck stood up and put his hand out to Mae.  “Dance with me, Mae.”

“I can’t dance to this.  I don’t know how to tango,” she said nervously.

“But I do.  Just follow my lead and feel the music.”  Beck pulled her chair out and she gave him her hand.

“I don’t want to look like a fool in front of all these people, Beck.”  Mae said as they walked on to the dance floor.  For some reason, she was finding it hard to tell him no.

He put his hand around her waist.  “All you have to do is keep eye contact with me and feel the rhythm,” Beck reassured her.

The music surrounded them as they danced, flowing through them.  Unaware of her own movements, each touch from Beck felt like a lover’s embrace.  All she could sense was their closeness.  Lost in his beautiful, ice-blue eyes, his fingers burned like a fire against her skin.  Moving, spinning, touching, over and over again.  Mae could not get enough of him.  Pressing so close, she wanted to melt into him and become one, then being pulled away and yearning to be close again.  In the pulsating rhythm, Beck’s hands traced down her body’s curves as her legs wrapped around him.  She felt like she was looking into his soul; naked, touching, feeling.  When the music died down, all Mae could feel was Beck’s warm breath on her neck and his heart beating wildly against her.  “You are beautiful,” he whispered as clapping and cheering erupted from the crowd when they walked off the dance floor together.

As they headed back to the table, Aidan pulled Beck aside.  He looked at Mae and said, “Could you give us a moment please?” in a concerned voice.

“Sure, see you back at the table.”  She made her way to where Gemma was sitting and sat next to her, wondering what was going on between Aidan and Beck.

 Aidan waited for Mae to be out of earshot when he finally shook his head at Beck.  "Well my friend, that little sexual number was practically pornographic.  You two were undressing each other with your eyes and Mae was projecting her emotions for everyone to feel.  It was like raw animal lust took over the room.  By the end of the dance, we all thought you two would be naked on the dance floor.  Half-way through the dance, Gemma slipped her hand in my front pocket and well...Need I say more?"

Beck, stunned by his friend’s words, felt the dance had left him in an emotional turmoil.  He was feeling completely vulnerable and did not like it at all.  "I should not have let you charm her, now I cannot tell if any of this is real or just the charm."

"You need to relax and go with the flow.  What could possibly go wrong?"

Beck and Aidan returned to the table.  "Would you care to dance?"  Aidan asked Gemma as he offered her his hand.

"I would love to," she replied, taking his hand and leaving Mae and Beck alone at the table.

BOOK: Spell Checked
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