Home > Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(6)

Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(6)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“I’d like you to meet Tegan,” Marcel gestures toward me.

Gabriel looks at me and nods politely, and then of all things he blushes and drops his gaze, as if he’s shy around girls or something.

Marcel clears his throat. “I would like you to use your expertise to determine what exactly it is that surrounds her. I can sense it is magic of some sort, but she claims she doesn’t practice, nor does she know anybody who does.”

Seriously, I don’t know whether to believe this crap and start getting freaked out or to be extremely bored with how naïve both of these men are. I remain silent as Gabriel takes a minute to study me.

Abruptly he says, “It’s a spell,” he squints his eyes a little as if in deep concentration, “and it was cast a long time ago by my estimation. It’s strong, perhaps even intended to last a life time,” then he steps up close to me and asks, “May I?” holding out his hand.

“Okay,” I reply, allowing him to take my hand into his. He keeps his eyes shut for a moment and then he lets go. He looks me in the eye, but not without effort, and I can’t help finding his shyness cute.

“It’s a spell cast by a good witch. By someone you are closely related to. My instincts tell me it was your mother, but it could have been your grandmother, or maybe even an aunt. I can’t determine what exactly it was intended to do, but I do know that its purpose is a combination of concealment and protection.”

“Oh,” I say, not having expected so much information. “Well, my mother died when I was three, so I never really knew her. I don’t have any aunts and both of grandmothers died before I was born.”

“Well doesn’t that render this all the more mysterious,” says Marcel. “And I do love a good mystery,” he smiles at Gabriel, as if in silent communication. I think I see Gabriel shake his head at Marcel ever so slightly, but I can’t be sure.

Marcel turns to concentrate on me again. “My dear, I am sorry for keeping you, but would you allow us to try and discover what this spell is? I’m sure you would like to know yourself, and I’d be grateful of the practice. I’m not half as experienced as Gabriel in this field, so it would be a first for me to unravel an old spell.”

I would have thought that Gabriel was the less experienced judging from Marcel’s seniority in age. They probably think I’m just dying to find out all about this spell. In truth, the only reason I’m sticking around is because I want the job I just applied for. Speaking of which, maybe I can use Marcel’s sudden interest in me to my benefit.

I’m quiet for a minute and Marcel asks, “Well, will you let us study you Tegan?”

“That depends.” I reply.

“On what?” he asks, smiling widely.

“Am I going to be successful in getting that shop assistant job you’re looking to fill?” I ask, sweet as pie.

Marcel smiles even wider this time and he’s silent while he considers it before saying, “Well I don’t see why not, can you start tomorrow?”

“Of course.” I say with a grin.

“All right then, be here for ten and I’ll show you the ropes.”

“Great,” I answer happily and shake Marcel’s hand, before turning to Gabriel. “See you Gabriel.”

“Bye Tegan,” he replies, and smiles at me with a little more confidence this time. God, he is adorable.

I head home with a swing in my step, happy that I’ve actually found a job, even if the means were somewhat unconventional. I don’t really know what to think of Marcel’s ideas about me having a spell cast on me. But I suppose I can afford to indulge him a little. When I get home I find a message on my voice mail from Nicky telling me she’s coming over with Chinese takeaway. My stomach gurgles at the prospect. I’m slowly getting my appetite back, so I must be making progress.

At six on the dot Nicky walks through my front door with a brown paper bag in one arm and a bottle of rock shandy in the other. Normally she’d bring wine, but I think she’s concerned about me drinking too much. I’m curled up on the couch in a pair of comfy grey cotton bottoms and an old t-shirt. She takes two plates out of the cupboard and dishes up the chicken chow mein, rice and won tons. Yum. When we sit down to eat I decide to tell her my good news.

“Hey, guess what?” I say, eyeing a won ton.

“What?” she asks, while simultaneously shovelling chicken into her mouth.

“I found a job.”

“Already? That’s great Tegan, where is it?”

“You know that occult shop called Indigo on Steward’s street?” I ask her.

“Oh yeah, that’s a cool little place, how’d you manage that?”

“I suppose you could say that the boss took a special liking to me and decided there and then to give me the job. He thinks I have a magical aura or some nonsense so I agreed to let him study me in return for him giving me a job.”

Nicky stops eating for a second. “You sure he’s not a loony?”

“Probably is, but who cares? At least now I know I’m going to be able to pay my rent and not get thrown out on the street.”

“Don’t you think you should go back to college?” she asks, and I can tell she’s trying her hardest not to sound scolding, her voice an unconvincing monotone.

I put down my plate for a moment. “Please don’t make me feel guiltier than I already do. I’m not dropping out, I’m just taking some time off. I can repeat in September.”

“I’m not trying to guilt trip you, I just think you’re too clever to give up on your education. I mean, look at me, I’m probably still going to be working in HMV when I’m fifty.”

“No you won’t. You’ll be a millionaire successful painter by then.” I tell her smiling. Nicky’s big passion in life is her painting, and I don’t lie when I tell her that I know she’s going to be huge someday.

“Yeah, yeah, shut up and eat your dinner,” she says, a small grin on her lips.

The next morning my alarm goes off at eight, I don’t have to be at Indigo until ten, but I want to have a long shower and a leisurely breakfast before heading out. I actually slept last night, but it was only to dream of Matthew. Except this time it wasn’t his suicide scene. I dreamt of our very first night together at that house party. He was playing guitar on a makeshift stage and then afterwards we went to a room upstairs and talked for hours. We just clicked, it’s hard to describe. I was so unbelievably happy that night. I wish I could go back and relive our time together, but I have to stop thinking about things like that, my life is what it is right now.

The first thing I do is grab the black bag of clothes from my bedroom floor that Nicky gave me to search for an outfit. I find a purple tie dye dress, a long navy cardigan and some black tights that will go together. After my shower I brush out my hair and eat a bowl of cereal.

When I get to Indigo the shop door is locked and I have to knock on it several times before I see a tired looking Marcel stumble down the stairs of the mezzanine floor and come to unlock the door for me.

“So you’re definitely not a morning person then,” I say with a grin.

“Not at all,” says Marcel yawning. “I’m much more of a night owl. Would you like a cup of coffee before we begin?” he asks, as I follow him inside the shop.

“Yes, I’d love one.”

Marcel takes me through a door at the back of the shop and down a hallway that leads to a tiny staff room where there’s a small table and two chairs. Gabriel is sitting in one of them, reading a book while sipping on some coffee himself.

He looks up at me and smiles warmly. “Hello Tegan,” he says. “How are you this morning?”

“I’m good, a little tired though.” I reply, practically gawking at his dark green eyes. He must have noticed because he averts his gaze back to the book he’d been reading. I have a thing about eyes, I don’t know why, I like to admire unusual colours and shapes.

“I’m just going to nip to the toilet before we open,” says Marcel. “Be back in five.”

I pour myself some coffee while Gabriel focuses intently on reading his book.

In an effort to break the silence, I ask, “So, do you work mostly weekdays or weekends?”

Gabriel raises his eyes to look at me and then replies, “Weekends and some weekdays. Marcel likes to have Saturday and Sunday free so I take those shifts.”

“It must be hard on your social life.”

“Not really,” he shrugs.

“You probably go out on week nights then,” I add.

“I’m not much of a social animal,” he says modestly.

“Oh, well you’re probably better off. It’s only weirdos you’ll ever come across out in this city anyway.”

He looks at me strangely for a moment and then says quietly, “Yes, you’re most likely right about that.”

Then Marcel returns and ushers me out to the shop floor. He spends about ten minutes showing me how to use the cash register and I get the hang of it quite quickly. Then he shows me around the bookshelves which are divided into several sections like Self-Help, Philosophy, Religion and of course there’s a whole lot on Fairies. I try not to roll my eyes at that one.

After that he walks me through the section of the shop that contains the jewellery, healing stones and crystals, and then he shows me the little collectables like angel and fairy statues.

Before he goes he leans in close and says quietly, “If any customers come in looking for something specific, I mean, something that isn’t out here in the main shop, just go get Gabriel and he’ll deal with them. We’ve got a room in the back with some of the more hard core materials, these are for the professionals. Our psychic Stephanie does her readings in there as well. She comes every Wednesday from four to seven, so if anyone wants a booking with her you just consult this book,” he pulls out a brown leather notebook from under the register, “and if the date they want is free you pencil them down for an appointment.”

“Got it.” I nod.

“You’re going to be fine,” says Marcel with a wink. “I’m off now, I’ll be back before lunch.”

“See you.”

After Marcel leaves I sit down on the stool beside the counter and breathe out a sigh. What did he mean by professionals? Like professional witches and warlocks? Or maybe he just meant mediums and psychics. I never realised just how many deluded individuals there are out there. There aren’t any customers for about a half hour, but then after eleven a steady flow of people coming in and out of the shop begins so I get busy.

I haven’t seen Gabriel at all since Marcel left, but I suppose he’s probably busy in the back room. A nervous woman in her forties with visibly thinning hair comes up to the counter and quietly hands me a self-help book. I glance at the cover, something about building up your self-esteem.

An hour passes and I’m still sitting there watching as various men and women and teenagers come and go. Some buy things, others don’t. Then a girl about my age with a choppy black bob in pigtails and severe brown eyes overdosed with black eye-liner comes elephant footing it up the steps to me and asks impatiently, “Who the hell are you?”

Nervously I drop the pen I’d been fiddling with and look up at her. She’s wearing a top made out of heavy black fishnet with a pink bra underneath and a red tartan mini skirt with ripped tights and New Rock boots. She seems angry for some reason and it makes me anxious.

“I - I’m Tegan. I just started working here today.” I answer.

“Get Marcel for me now!” She demands.

“He’s gone out.”

“Oh for God’s sake, then get Gabriel, and hurry up about it.”

All flustered, I rush to the back room. I knock first before going inside. Gabriel’s sitting on the floor with a notepad opened in front of him and a pencil in his hand, and there are stacks of books all around him.

“Oh, um, I’m sorry for bothering you, but there’s a girl out front asking for you and she seems kind of pissed.”

“Really? What does she look like?”

“Short black hair, kind of like a Goth-Punk nightmare.”

Gabriel laughs at my description and then says, “Oh, that’ll be Rita, I’ll be out in a sec.”

I hesitate at the door, waiting for him to get up, but he continues to scribble something down on his notepad. He looks up at me. “You can go back out Tegan, I’ll be a minute.”

“No, that’s okay I’ll wait for you. I don’t want to go back out to her alone, she looks like she wants to punch me in the face and I don’t even know her.”

He laughs again and rises to his feet. “You don’t need to be scared of Rita, she’s all talk, believe me.”

Then he walks out the door and I follow behind him. When we get back to the counter Rita is leaning against it with one hand on her hip, and her face is a picture of hostility.

“Why the hell haven’t I been informed about this?” she asks, pointing at me.

“Marcel deals with the hiring Rita, not me,” says Gabriel in a level voice.

“Well, I thought you guys were finally going to let me work here, and then I come in to find her working at the job I was supposed to be given.”

“I never heard Marcel say he was going to give you the job.”

“Oh whatever, you know as well as I do that I deserve it. I’ve been coming here for years, I know the place inside and out.” She gives me another look up and down.

“Don’t be rude, Rita,” says Gabriel, and for the first time he actually sounds angry. He seems older now, by decades. That certainly puts her in her place and she shuts up immediately. After a minute of silence she flutters her eyelashes and purrs, “I’m sorry Gabe, but you know how much I wanted that job.”

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