MAGIC & MAYHEM SERIES
A Witch In Time
“The paw is getting awfully close to the boob,” I stated calmly, without taking my eyes from the TV. Say Yes to The Dress was on and it was a really good one. “If you value that fuzzy little arm, I’d remove it.”
“Got no idea what you’re bitchin’ about, Dollface,” Fat Bastard, my newly inherited wise-guy cat grumbled as he quickly removed the offending appendage from my chest.
He resituated himself on the couch, shoving his other two enormous and furry feline buddies over—Jango Fett and Boba Fett. Fat Bastard clearly needed a little more room to go to town on his nads.
Closing my eyes, I tried to block out the sound of three obese cats slurping on their no-nos, but alas, one didn’t hear with the eyes. However, if I plugged my ears I would miss all the TV bridesmaids screaming in horror at the dress the gal was about to enter the room in. Forget the fact that I’d already seen the episode four times… Messing with my programs was not working for me.
“Don’t you guys have something to do other than making me want to puke?” I asked as politely as I could considering I was seconds away from zapping their lazy asses off my couch.
“As your familiars, we wait for your orders,” Boba said as he looked up and gave me a lopsided kitty grin.
If his back leg wasn’t extended into a contorted position and his balls weren’t flapping in the wind, it would have been cute… but this following orders thing was news to me. All witches had familiars—animals who were supposed to support and help their witch—or thwart in my case. I’d actually inherited the three idiots from my beloved, departed Aunt Hildy. They ate me out of house and home and ran an illegal gambling ring, but were excellent in a battle. Any magic shot at them simply bounced off and went back at the shooter. They’d actually saved my life and the lives of my friends recently so I was trying to deal with their obsessive cleaning habits.
“Wait. Are you serious? I can boss you around?”
“Nah,” Jango grunted with a laugh. “He’s just screwing with ya, Zelda.”
I paused my show, glared at the overweight menagerie on my sofa and sighed. As much as it pained me, I kind of liked them—disgusting tendencies and all. Of course this was top-secret information I would only admit on my deathbed. I’d already admitted far too much to all of the new people in my life.
“Out,” I snapped at the cats and pointed to the front door. “You fat dorks need some exercise. And if I catch any of you sleeping on the porch, I’ll put you on the treadmill for an hour.”
“We don’t have no treadmill,” Boba volunteered between licks.
I waved my hands in the air and a brand spanking new treadmill appeared in the foyer. I was only supposed to use my magic for the good of others, not to garner more TV time for myself. However, the cats were meaty and this was more for their good than mine.
“We do now,” I informed them with a wicked little smile.
Their groans made me giggle.
“But I only have one section left,” Fat Bastard complained, referring to his crotch.
“Move it or lose it,” I said in a brook no catshit tone.
Slowly and apathetically they moseyed their bulbous butts off the couch and out the front door, whining all the way. Goddess, they were annoying.
“Damn.” I moaned as I plopped back down on the now cat-free couch and realized I’d pressed the off button instead of the pause button on the remote. Whatever. I’d seen the episode before and knew the bride picked a heinous lacy dress because her grandma put her foot down. I didn’t need to watch all that crap anyway. Furthermore, I was supposed to do thirty minutes a day of insightful meditation according to my new therapist, Roger the porno loving rabbit Shifter.
“What the hell does insightful meditation even mean?” I muttered to no one since I was blessedly alone for the first time in what felt like a week.
Closing my eyes and following the recommendation of the questionably skilled head- shrinker, I gave it a try. Of course the King of Shifters was the first image that crossed my mind. The gorgeous wolf shifter, Mac—all six foot four of sexy, dark haired, perfectly muscled, sapphire eyed, beautiful man. The very same one who was convinced I was his mate invaded my thoughts. I didn’t believe the mate bullshit for a minute. I was a witch and he was a werewolf. A very good looking, hotter than hell werewolf who made me question my self-professed loner status. Constantly.
I closed my eyes and tried again. Not working.
“Hell, I’ll just pretend I’m talking to someone about my pathetic, out of control existence,” I announced to the empty room.
Still didn’t work. I’d just save my meditation for therapy. A silent hour with Roger would drive him nuts.
“My dearest daughter,” my dad called out as he walked in the front door and tripped over our new piece of furniture. “Your decorating skills leave a bit to be desired. Is there a reason we have a treadmill in the foyer?”
“The cats are fat,” I explained logically.
“Yes, well, speaking of… I thought they were all having heart attacks. They’re in an appalling pile just off the front porch panting like they’ve run a marathon.”
“Good Goddess,” I muttered with a giggle. “At least they made it off the porch. Where have you been?”
I was still getting used to having a parental unit and living with him. Fabio slash Naked Dude slash my dad was very new to my world. He hadn’t known about me for most of my thirty years and had to pay a steep price to be back in my life once he found out I existed. It was complicated, but what in my life wasn’t?
I stared at the beautiful man from whom I’d inherited my red hair and green eyes and grinned. I’d only recently started calling him Dad after he’d almost bitten the dust for the third time since we’d met. Near death experiences had a way with making me do things that were not in my normal repertoire—like caring for people.
My mom, who was cray-cray and didn’t have a maternal bone in her body, had turned my Dad into a cat to punish him. He then, very sneakily, became my pain-in-the-ass familiar. And as the story goes… I accidentally ran over him with my car. Of course he came back from the dead since he was a freakin’ cat with nine lives. However, he didn’t rise from the dead until I’d served my nine months in the magical pokey for accidentally mowing his ass down.
The kicker was that I realized I loved him on his second kitty near-death catastrophe and apparently my love was the magic he needed to become a human again. Well, human was pushing it. He was a warlock with an unhealthy penchant for gambling. My dad was also an outstanding cook, procurer of designer clothes and he loved me. It was win-win-win.
In the beginning, I was sure he was using bad credit cards and stealing the outlandishly expensive duds for me. However, it turned out the old man was loaded. His fortune was questionably gained, but it made me feel much better about keeping all my dubious booty.
“I’ve joined the Town Council,” Dad announced grandly as he waved his hand and made the treadmill disappear.
“Why did you do that?” I asked getting up off the couch and slapping my hands on my hips.
“Because if I’m going to live here, I need to have a say in the local politics. I’m fighting to have gambling legalized.”
“Of course you are,” I told him with an eye roll. “But I was talking about the treadmill. It was fine in the foyer.”
“Zelda, those cats can barely make it to the front yard without passing out. You think they’ll survive a round on a human walking machine?”
“Point,” I agreed with a giggle. “However it was a good blackmail device.”
“I’m sure it was,” he agreed. “But I think a padlock on the refrigerator would suffice.”
“Wrong,” I countered with a shudder. “They have food stashed all over the house so they won’t starve.”
“Are they planning on eliminating all the mice we’re going to attract by turning our home into a two story grocery store?” Dad inquired as he dropped a few high-end shopping bags on the coffee table.
“They’re keeping them as pets.” I sidled closer to the bags. “Are those for me?”
Nordstrom, Neiman and Fleur of England—my dad had taste far superior to any woman I knew.
“That depends,” he answered coyly as he stepped between my hands and the treasures on the table.
“Depends on what?” I asked with narrowed eyes. He had ways of getting me to do things that I had no intention of doing. Cashmere was his evil weapon… and Prada… and Gucci and the list went on and on.
Yes, I was materialistic, but I was getting a grip on it. Part of my maturity or more accurately, my parole, was that I could only use my magic for the good of others. Therefore, I was now unable conjure up shoes that cost more than most people made in six months. It was difficult, but doable thus far. Dad’s excessive shopping habits helped tremendously.
If I was being honest, I felt better about using my power for others—not that I would let it be known. My reputation as an uncaring, selfish, irresponsible witch was getting seriously tarnished here. The Shifters in Assjacket, West Virginia thought I was a good and compassionate witch. Being thought of kindly was taking some getting used to and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop—it always did.
But back to the matter at hand.
“Depends on what?” I repeated, not liking the smirk on my father’s face.
My dad, Fabio was a crafty sucker. How did I know? I was cut from the same cloth.
“Well, it’s a funny story,” he started as he got comfortable on the couch next to me.
“Funny as in ha-ha or funny as in oh my Goddess are you freakin’ serious?” I asked, trying to peek inside the bags.
Dad paused and scratched his head as he considered his answer. This did not bode well. If he had to come up with a story I would find palatable, we were in trouble before we began and I sooooooo wanted what was inside the bags. Damn.
“I suppose a bit of both,” he conceded as he pushed the bags farther away, but not without revealing some of the contents first.
My breath caught in my throat as I spied a very expensive purse I’d been eyeing and of course some cashmere. He was a total butthole.
“Out with it,” I snapped wanting to find out if I had to deny the bribe on the table. I really didn’t want to, but my dad’s hemming and hawing was making me uneasy.
“So I applied for a position and they don’t want me to have it,” he huffed and threw his hands in the air. “It’s just not fair.”
“Was it Town Treasurer?” I asked with a snicker.
My dad’s finessing of finances made the good folks of Assjacket a little wary—and with good reason. He was the BIG winner at my cat’s illegal gambling ring and from what I’d heard everyone in town owed him money.
“No, although that would have been a smart move on their part. I could raise millions for this area. All we need is a casino and a few well heeled out of town guests,” he pondered aloud with an evil gleam in his eye. “Maybe a horse track… ”
“Bad idea,” I said redirecting my flighty father. “Let’s get back to the story that involves me tearing into the packages on the table.”
“Right,” he agreed and clapped his hands together twice. “I’ve applied to be the artistic director of the community theatre.”
“Whoa, there are so many weird things about that statement I’m not sure where to start.”
He gave me an I’m going to ground you stare and pressed his fingers to his temples. “You’re supposed to be on my side,” he pointed out.
“I am,” I insisted, “especially when there are bags involved. But what kind of place puts the artistic director of a dinky ass community theatre on the Town Council?”
“Assjacket,” he shot back with a grin.
My newly adopted town wasn’t really called Assjacket, but it was how I referred to it. The new name was catching on, much to the displeasure of the older Shifters in our community. I also referred to my job as the Shifter Wanker, formerly known as the Shifter Whisperer. Wanker fit me better. I was a healer who could talk with the Shifters in their animal form. Not my first choice of vocation, but since I hadn’t come up with anything better or less life threatening, I took the post.
I was good at it even though it hurt like a mother humper to heal the clumsy idiots. I secretly loved my job—not the pain—the job.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Why won’t they let you be the artistic director?”
“They consider me high risk since I’m not a Shifter,” he pouted.
“What about community theatre is risky at all?” I asked perplexed. “I mean, my Goddess, you would costume the hell out of any show you did.”
“Right?” he grumbled in agreement. “I told them this, but apparently Assjacket’s thespian society is the laughing stock of West Virginia.”
“First of all, never say the world thespian again. And secondly, because I enjoy asking questions that I don’t want the answers to… why?”
Dad’s grin was positively contagious and my own grin pulled at my lips in response.
“The last show they produced was a musical version of Silence of the Lambs. Several audience members got eaten and the Fava Bean number was lewd,” he replied trying desperately not to laugh.
“Bullshit.” I slapped my hands over my mouth as I too tried not to laugh. Eating paying customers was not funny. “You’re making that up,” I accused through splayed fingers.
“How could I even begin to make something like that up?” he demanded, insulted that I would doubt him. “The disaster before that was a musical version of Friday the 13th.”
Fabio, my several centuries old father figure of questionable maturity, could hold back no longer. He fell to the floor and laughed so hard tears streamed from his eyes. He could barely breathe. I was now convinced this horrific story was true… which was why I was appalled and furious with myself that I was in hysterics too.
“Did anyone die during that one?” I squeaked, hating myself with each request for more details.
“No,” he choked out, as he wiped his eyes and admirably attempted to pull himself together. “A few stab wounds.”
“Wait,” I said as I punched his arm. “When you say eaten do you mean eaten?”
“Yesssssss,” he hissed back in hysterics. “But it was only a hand and a foot if I’m remembering correctly.”
I heaved a huge sigh of relief coupled with a gag. I’d envisioned total cannibalism.
“Thank Goddess,” I grunted. “Wait, I’m confused.”
“About the Fava Bean number?” he asked with an enormous grin.
“Um… no—absolutely not. Those are three more words you shall never utter again. About the bribe bags on the table.”
“Ahhh,” he said as he got back up to his feet and began placing the contents of the bags on the table inches from my fingers. “There’s a caveat.”
“And that would be?” I asked as I closed my eyes when he plopped a rockin’ pair of Jimmy Choo pumps on the table next to an obscene pile of green cashmere that matched my eyes perfectly.
“They’ll let me have the job if you agree to star in the next show.”
My dad was a dick of epic proportions. I was not an actress. I couldn’t sing to save my life and I wasn’t going to have any part of a life threatening musical no matter how much I coveted the booty on the table.
“Nope,” I said with my eyes squeezed shut so hard I felt a headache coming on.
“Come on Zelda,” Dad pleaded.
I could hear him placing more items on the table and I was seconds away from shrinking the clothing on his body to extra small. This was so unfair.
“You listen to me,” I hissed as I sat on my hands and kept my eyes firmly closed. It was too risky to have the use of my hands. I’d either zap him, which wasn’t nice, or I’d grab the stash on the table and run. Neither scenario was attractive or happening. “I’m a witch who heals dumb ass Shifters when they get booboos. I do not have the time to humiliate myself in front of the masses on stage. I do fine with that in my daily life. The answer is a big, fat, hairy no.”
“All right then.” He sighed dramatically. “I suppose Sassy might like the black Hermes Birkin bag with the gold hardware.”
“Do you hate me?” I shouted as I threw myself over the bag like it was a fumbled football in the Super Bowl. “Sassy’s coloring does not go with this bag. It would look much better carried by someone with red hair. And you’re a total dick.”
“I’ve been called far worse,” he replied with a chuckle and then sighed dramatically. “All of this is yours. I was just hoping you would humor an old warlock. I so wanted to be in charge of an extravaganza.”
He gently pried me off of the bag and placed it in my arms along with all the other apparel. I stared down at my windfall and wanted to cry. Dad sat down next to me and put his head in his hands… and he wasn’t trying to trick me anymore. Shit.
“I don’t need this stuff. You can give the bag to Saaaa… ssaaay,” I whispered as I felt the need to either put my head between my knees or breathe into a paper bag. “You have to stop spending money on me. I don’t deserve any of it. I called you a dick. I’m pretty sure daughters calling their fathers dicks isn’t good.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” he assured me as he put his arms around me and squeezed. “I wasn’t there for your teenage years so you owe me about four years of calling me a dick.”
“Only four?” I asked with a small grin.
“Okay, five,” Dad conceded generously with an adorable lopsided grin.
We sat in silence for a few minutes. It felt so nice to be held by him. I was thirty, but in his arms I was a little girl—a wanted and adored little girl.
“I can’t believe I’m going to say this… but I’ll think about it,” I muttered as I shook my head in defeat. “However, I refuse to sing or dance or talk that much.”
“I can work with that,” he promised with a smile that lit his whole face.
“What’s the show?” I asked as I played with the clasp on my brand new, ridiculously overpriced purse.
“It’s a surprise. I don’t even know. Bob the beaver and Roger the rabbit are writing it,” he said as he absently smoothed my hair back.
“Holy hell, that sounds dangerous. Roger’s a perv. If he writes a song and dance filled Debbie Does Dallas, I’m out.”
“Me too,” Dad agreed with a laugh and a shudder. “Let’s just wait and see what they come up with. It might be fun and we’ll get to spend some real quality time together.”
Famous last words.
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One of these things is not like the others—life threatening community theatre, wire hangers, chipmunks, tree-house sex-capades with a hot werewolf and head-shrinking with a porno-loving rabbit Shifter.
Actually none of these things are even remotely like the others, but it’s my life and I’m going to make the pieces fit into a perfect puzzle—even if I have to shove it together and glue it with magic.
New leaf, new leaf, new freakin’ leaf.
Caring for people wasn’t in my repertoire until I landed in Assjacket, West Virginia. Falling in love wasn’t anywhere on my agenda. It’s messy. However, I’ve been told messy is what showers and therapy are for. I’m hoping that info is correct because Goddess knows I’m trying.
Never until now have I been a witch that wanted it all—the guy, the job, the friends and the place called home. Now I just have to fix my slightly irresponsible and somewhat unstable witchy ways so I deserve it.
I’m going for perfect…or at least a loose definition of the word.
Messy…here I come.