Best Witches Issue 22
See the previous issues at my author page.
I came flying out of the portal and slammed into something hard and cold. My ribs creak, and the air rushed out of my lungs as I closed my eyes, trying to remember how to breathe. Every part of my body was screaming. All of that, plus nausea that comes from portal travel I felt like I had been run over by a truck.
“Kill me now,” I moan before two more pops sound, and I’m squished again. A shoe ended up in my face. An elbow in my gut. Vera had landed right on top of me, while my father landed gracefully to the side of us.
“Should have warned ya. Sorry about that,” Donovan tells me, leaning over and offering a hand to help me up. His smirk declared that even if he had thought of it, he wouldn’t have said anything. I wouldn’t have.
After untangling the two of us and getting us on our feet, Donovan placed his hands on his hips looking around appreciatory. I did, as well. We were right where I had planned: in the back workshop of the bookstore.
The door to the workshop slammed open and Steve stood there, wand in hand; apparently, he had kicked the door open.
“Oh.” He stopped just moments before blasting us with some sort of spell.
“Nice welcome home, Steve,” I grumbled.
“You just launched what sounded like an explosion, and I’m the only one here. What am I supposed to do?” Steve yelled at me. I could feel my face turning red as I glared back at him. My father stepped between us.
“Very sorry about that. Portaling delicately takes practice.” He held out his hand to Steve. “Donovan Steele.”
“Uh, Steve,” Steve muttered, and I giggled.
“Steve, this is my dad…apparently,” I told him.
Steve quirked an eyebrow and looked back and forth between us with an amused smile.
“Well, this should be interesting.” Steve mused. “How was Venice?”
“Almost died, you know the usual,” I said shrugging.
“It certainly seems to be.” Steven nodded. “The girls are worried sick.”
“Yeah, I’ll call them in a few.” I motioned to the girl who had been standing quietly beside us. “Steve, this is Vera.”
“Ciao,” she said, waving.
Steve looked at Vera like he had never seen a woman before. His mouth was slightly parted, on the verge of drooling. I could see Vera’s cheeks blush with the attention.
“Bellissima,” Steve whispered.
I walked up to him and shoved an elbow in his ribs, which just made all of me hurt even more. Steve composed himself and held a hand out to Vera.
“Nice to meet you,” she said, and he nodded.
“May I show you around my humble shop?” Steve gestured to the door.
I had a feeling that Vera would love it. His books versus her nicknacks; it was almost too good to not be a coincidence. With that, they were gone.
“I’m fine by the way,” I called after him, and he just made a gesture at me without looking away from Vera. “Oh, bother,” I said, giving my best Winnie the pooh impersonation.
“Well, he seems fun.” My father said. I spun back to him, almost forgetting he was there.
“Hoot and a holler,” I muttered. “Where exactly have you been all of this time? You have quite a few decades to account for.” I growled.
He pulled out one of the stools from the worktable.
“I’ve been searching for answers,” he said matter of factly.
“What kind of answers?”
“About you about what’s next. Your mother knew something big was coming but she died before we could find out what. She sent me off to find out what I could that could help you. I’ve been doing so ever since.” He crossed his arms. “You turned out fine.”
“I turned out with Daddy issues.” I countered.
“You would have had those even if I was around.” We glared at each other.
“Well, what did you find?” I asked him.
“Not much.” He deflated like a balloon.
“You missed my whole life for not much?” I growled.
“Your mom didn’t want me around anyway. I was the means to an end to have you to save the world. Everything I did find said it was not going to be pleasant your next steps.”
“You have been gone this whole time,” I said very slowly. “And you found out this is going to suck?” Each word rose in volume. “It’s been two days!” I was screaming now. “And it already sucks! Thank you for the update, Dad!”
I turned on my heels and stormed out of the workroom. I needed to cool off. And I needed to call the girls. I grabbed the shop phone and made my way outside to let them know that things had gotten even crazier than before.
Thank you, Sean Eike, for the image this week.