WARNING: This chapter contains strong language, explicit sexual content, and nudity.
I thought we sealed our love with that kiss three days ago. But in my blissful state, I’d almost forgotten one dire and inevitable detail – the new moon.
The night where the moon is black will be here in a little less than two weeks. That means I only have that long to decide what I want more – Dominic or my magic.
Obviously I want to choose Dominic. In fact, I did tell myself that if the time ever came for me to make the choice, it would be him. But there lies another problem with that. If I choose him, I’ll forsake my powers. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be an issue.
But as I stare out the window at the distant city of Hillridge, I know that Ebony is still out there, and she’s still wreaking havoc on innocent people, planning God knows what.
I guess “innocent” might not be the appropriate term for the latest victim I’ve seen on the news. But it’s still unnerving.
I remember when I told Ebony how much I loathed Abel and all that he’d done to me. But he wasn’t the only man I told her about who hurt me in some sick way. Carter, my former boss, was also mentioned. How he tried to exploit me and parade me around butt-naked onstage like a cheap whore. And how that led to my resignation. She was equally pissed off at my lack of rebellion regarding him.
I saw the report yesterday. Dominic was making us some lunch when it came on the TV. The anchorman spoke of yet another murder. Then, it showed Carter’s photo, and stated him to be the owner of the Poppin’ Cherry, which has burned to the ground.
There’s still no word on any of the employees, including Angel.
I remember when I told Carter that I hoped his strip club burned to the ground. I was momentarily horrified by the prospect that I was responsible. Because my magic is turning dark, did my threat to Carter come true?
But no, it couldn’t have. I didn’t cast the resurrection spell that brought Ebony back until after I quit. My magic wasn’t possessed then.
Bringing my sister back is what ignited that inferno.
Speaking of infernos, is it just coincidence that the strip club burned because of what I’d said? Or had Ebony planned it that way? I can’t even remember if I told her my retort to Carter’s order or not.
Suddenly, the doorbell rings from below. I scamper to it, not opening it until I ascertain that it’s not Ebony behind it. Even if she tried to fool me by changing her appearance, it wouldn’t work. The spell she used with Dominic in making him believe he was in bed with me doesn’t work on witches.
But it’s not Ebony that I see behind the door. I’m shocked to see two police officers, one man and one woman, the latter of which who appears to have had a few too many donuts. I answer the door and they greet me with stern faces. I step out onto the porch.
“How can I help you?” I ask them. The man replies, “Lydia Brewster?”
“I’m Officer Oswald, and this is Officer Goodrich. We’d like to ask you a few questions.”
“What’s this about?”
“Abel Penrod and Carter Sullivan.”
I almost fall off the porch. I did not see this coming.
“What about them?” I ask carefully and somewhat defensively.
“May we come inside?” Officer Goodrich asks. I have nothing to hide, but this isn’t my house. I know my rights.
“I’m sorry, no. Dominic, the owner of the house, isn’t here at the moment, so I can’t legally grant you entry.”
Take that! I knew watching all those CSI episodes over the years would pay off.
Officer Goodrich frowns, and Officer Oswald has a similar look on his face. But I won’t budge. This is still Dominic’s house, even if I’m living in it too. Oswald seems to regain his senses and finally answers my question.
“Miss Brewster, are you aware that both Mr. Penrod and Mr. Sullivan were murdered in recent days?”
“I saw a report on the news.”
“You were clients of both of them, right?”
I bite my lip. I can’t lie about this. That will make me look even worse than I already do given the circumstances. Still, I don’t like where this is going.
“I wasn’t really a client,” I reply. “I worked for Carter, and Abel was my landlord’s son.”
“And you recently cut ties with both of them, correct?”
“Well, yeah. Dominic is my boyfriend, and he asked me to move in here with him. So I informed Abel and did just that. Carter pushed me too far with the job, and since I was moving here anyway, I just walked out. I quit, but that’s it. That’s the last time I saw either one of them. I moved here with Dominic the very next day.”
The officers don’t look convinced. I want to ask them what the hell their beef with me is, when Officer Goodrich answers the inquiry before I can ask it.
“Miss Brewster, we have witnesses that say they saw you arguing with Mr. Sullivan. And we understand that you were behind on your rent. Mr. Penrod could have legally filed a lawsuit against you in order to collect the debt owed to him. But he never got that chance, because he was murdered.”
“Wait, are you saying you think I killed those two men?”
A light comes on in my head. These cops obviously came here to apprehend a suspect. I’m their prime murder suspect.
How did I not realize this until now?
“I didn’t kill anyone!” I burst out, louder and more fierce than I intended. “Yes, I had an argument with Carter, and yes I owed rent, but I didn’t kill those guys! Look, Abel’s the landlord’s son. It was his dad I owed money to, not him. So killing him wouldn’t do me any good anyway. And since I didn’t work for Carter anymore, why kill him? What motive would I have?”
I never thought I’d have to apply all the information I learned on crime shows to real life. And I must say, I don’t like it one bit.
They’re both staring at me, and it’s starting to make me agitated. I must remember to control myself. I can’t let the dark magic coursing through my body consume me. Especially not in front of the cops. How would I explain my way out of that one?
“Well, Miss Brewster,” Oswald replies to my outburst, “can you tell us where you were four nights ago between the hours of ten p.m. and twelve a.m.?”
Oh. That must have been when Carter was killed.
“Yes, I was here. With Dominic.”
“Can anyone verify that?”
Normally Dominic would, but he’s not here. Plus, they probably wouldn’t believe him anyway. And Ebony, well, she’s the one responsible for all this, so there’s no way she’d confirm my alibi.
“I don’t need it to be verified,” I retaliate instead. “I didn’t do anything wrong. But while you’re here, if you’re so interested in investigating crimes, I’ve got one for you. I should have reported it before, but I figured no one would believe me. Abel took advantage of me. He made me have sex with him in exchange for an extension on my rent. And then he didn’t give it to me, so he came back and tried to rape me.”
The officers exchange a glance. Maybe this wasn’t the wisest thing to say. It makes me more guilty to them, because now I have a motive for one of the murders. More of a motive than I had before.
Why can’t I keep my damn mouth shut? I get myself into more trouble with it than I do my magic. That’s pretty sad.
The officers don’t take a report of my allegations, since the accused is deceased. They instruct me not to leave town (where the fuck would I go?) as they leave.
And after they leave, I bolt into the house, slam the door shut, get down on my knees, and let out a cry of fury.
Ebony has gone too far. I don’t know where she is, but I swear to God that I’m going to...
...to what? Kill her? I can’t do that. If I kill her, my powers will be completely overtaken by darkness. I probably won’t even recognize myself, just like the grimoire stated. I’m not a dark witch. I don’t practice black magic. I didn’t know that bringing Ebony back would cause such calamitous circumstances. If I had, no way in hell would I have done so.
I’ve never felt so belligerent in my life. I can’t explain the wrath I feel, threatening to boil over in an erupting volcano.
This, of course, causes the lights to flicker and one bulb even pops and goes out completely.
Dominic returns moments later and meets me in the living room. I haven’t told him about Ebony and how she’s evil and responsible for the deaths of Abel and Carter. But I can’t contain my agony as I throw myself into his arms and start sobbing uncontrollably, telling him all that’s transpired.
Dominic holds me tightly, hanging onto every word. His posture changes to one of utter rage, but it won’t do either of us any good if he goes to the police with my alibi.
When I finally calm down and stop blubbering like a child, he tilts my face up and stares at me as I touch my fingers to his cheek. Whatever he’s about to say is very serious, and I’m not entirely sure I can handle it.
“I’ve been thinking about something you said when you first told me about yourself,” he begins. “You told me that you’d have to choose between me and your magic. And you have to do it before the next new moon.”
I nod, not liking where this is going.
“Well, you’ve been a witch your whole life. And you’ve only known me for a very short time. Lydia, I can’t ask you to sacrifice your powers for me.”
“Besides. You’ll need them if you want to put a stop to your sister.”
I jerk my head up so fast I bang the top of it on Dominic’s strong jaw. “What?” Dominic kisses my forehead.
“You think I don’t know?” he says with a grin in an attempt to lighten the mood. “Who else could be responsible for the deaths of the two men you abhorred more than anyone in the world? You told your sister about them, and until she showed up, they were alive and well. But I still don’t understand how she even randomly showed up at my house.”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’ve got time.”
I sigh, but surrender. I tell him everything. The fire on Ebony’s twenty-first birthday party that led to her death. My obsession over the past two years to bring her back. The spell that brought her back and turned my magic dark. The realization that she was actually evil all along. I don’t leave out a single detail.
I even add the part about her disguising herself as me and banging him.
“I told you no sex on the first date,” I remind him as I brave a smile.
But this just pisses him off as bad as it did me.
“Ugh!” he bellows. “I can’t believe she...oh my fucking God! I was there with her the whole time?! She’s not even hot! I hate girls like her! She has that weird look to her that just says, ‘I am not what I seem.’ No shit! And that cocky attitude, you can tell that she’s just thinking, ‘I’m better than everyone else and I can get any guy I want.’ Lydia, I can’t even begin to tell you how sorry I am. No wonder you weren’t in the mood the next time I made a move.”
“It’s not your fault, Dominic. I forgive you.”
Dominic collapses on the floor in disgust. I sit down next to him and cup his chin in my palm.
“Look at me,” I request. “What Ebony did was unforgiveable. But I don’t hold you responsible. And if it makes you feel any better, I did manage to get her to stop. I froze time and that shattered her illusion.”
“That would explain why I woke up with a boner and no one there.”
“Yeah, time freezing spells can sometimes alter memories. You didn’t remember having sex with anyone. I was counting on that, because there’s no actual spell to completely erase someone’s memories, and definitely not just certain parts. I didn’t know how else to explain what happened. But I hate this. I hate that I’ve been so deceiving this whole time.”
“You had a huge risk to take, Lydia. And now you have a high price to pay. And like I said, you’ll need your powers.”
“But I need you more. Besides, my magic is no match for Ebony’s. I told you, she’s stronger now because of the whole fucked up suicidal death spell thing.”
“You’re her older sister, and you’re not evil. Pardon the cheesy cliché, but good has always triumphed over evil. If there’s one thing you can do, it’s bring your sister down.”
Dominic then sits up, pulls me up with him, and kisses me tenderly. I return the kiss eagerly.
When he pulls back for air, I realize even more how futile my efforts will be to stop Ebony. Not just because she’s stronger and more powerful. But because if I lose Dominic, I’ll have lost much more than my sister.
There’s an old legend that proclaims a witch’s powers can weaken or vanish altogether if her soul mate dies. That’s a risk I’m not willing to take. Then I’d be without both Dominic and my powers.
“How about a compromise?” I suggest to him. He raises an eyebrow in consternation, but urges me to go on.
“I have until the night of the new moon to sacrifice my powers. I’ll stop Ebony before then. After she’s out of the picture, I’ll give up my magic and I’ll be with you.”
“Don’t. That’s what I want. Witches aren’t supposed to exist. What good has it done me? I didn’t use it to save myself from Abel and Carter, it can’t give me money and a perfect life, it can’t get rid of cellulite, and it can’t even get me true love. I got all those things on my own, no magic involved. I don’t need it. Ebony thinks magic defines us. But it doesn’t. It’s just a part of us. And I won’t let it take over me, and I sure as hell won’t let it take you away from me.”
Dominic wraps me in his arms, almost as though he’s acceding.
But he’s more stubborn than that. He knows that my magic is a big part of me, and it has been since I was born. And it always will be a part of me, even if it’s relinquished.
“Well, that sounds fair,” he finally affirms, “but just in case, I better give you something to remember me by.”
And with that, Dominic wraps his arms around me and tenderly kisses my neck. I begin to topple backward, but his steel grip keeps me from becoming a victim to gravity.
I return his embrace eagerly, savoring every one. He thinks this will be the last time, or one of the last times, that we’re able to be with each other. But I won’t let that happen.
But I still bask in the moment of his tantalizing touches, and I even break out a, for lack of a better word, magic card.
“You like power,” I whisper in his ear seductively, “but you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Then I proceed to show him real power. Every time he touches me, every caress, kiss, grasp, results in a literal spark of carnality. This seems to really turn him on, as evidenced by the familiar bulge in the front of his pants.
It arouses him even more when I roughly shove the coffee table out of the way and climb on top of him, smothering him in kisses while moving my hips against his eager manhood.
It then becomes a playful contest of us both exerting our powers, him sexually and me supernaturally. As it gets more intense, our clothes are peeled off and discarded on the floor.
And then we make love. The kinky splendor evaporates as our bodies become one on the floor (still not a bed). We don’t fuck, we don’t have sex, and we don’t screw. We literally make love. It’s passionate, tender, and intoxicating. This is what true love should feel like.
“I love you, sheila,” Dominic says as he slowly pushes himself into me over and over. “I wouldn’t care if you did have some sort of spell on me. I don’t want to let you go.”
“You won’t have to.”
I realize, as we’re both at our peak, that the first night I spoke with Ebony after bringing her back, I told her she’d never lose me again. I’m about to break my word to her.
And I don’t care. There’s no way in hell I’m letting Dominic die. My word to him means far more than that to my tramp of a sister.
“Lydia,” Dominic whispers softly in my ear once our sonata has ended, “do you remember that day I first met your sister and you said you’d eventually move out and live with her?”
“Yeah, and I swear you looked sad when I said that.”
“It’s because I loved you even then, just like I said. I don’t want you to go. I never wanted you to move out, and I don’t now either. Stay with me, Lydia. Just until the night the curse takes me.”
“I won’t let it take you, Dominic.”
He doesn’t believe me. I can tell. But I hold him tightly as he says, “I can literally say that I’m in love with a stripper. Or rather, a former stripper.”
“I hate that song.”
Dominic chuckles and I fall even more in love with him.
I vow, here and now, to put a stop to my sister’s evil, and to beat this curse. And I know just how to do it.