A Chapter by Casey Lynn


     For the next five days, Avery never had a moment alone.  Not really.  Her father had taken off the days she was out of school from work and babied her worse than he babied Jax, which was truly saying something.  He took over her magic training for the week and she never had it easier.  It was where they were at the moment, in the basement of their home, throwing spells back and forth.  Today was defensive and offensive hand magic.
     “Come on, sweetheart, no muttering under your breath.  Its hand magic, you shouldn’t have to cast in order for it to work properly.”  Avery’s father muttered as Hex laughed his a*s off when Avery landed on her a*s again.  Hand magic, once mastered, was supposed to be automatic, reflexive and instant.  Everything else came naturally to her, especially casting, but no matter how hard Avery tried, her hand magic stubbornly refused to stabilize. 
     Pushing to her feet, Avery felt herself sink down slightly on the thick mat that lined the floor and walls.  It was akin to a padded cell, only minus the cell part.  Training tended to get rough and more than once, one of her cousins had gone flying through the air to crash into one of the wall mats.  Avery had always thought it was hilarious, but now that she was the one flying, she wanted to curse Hex with bright purple zits.  So she did.
     “F**k!”  Hex charged her, but before he could come within five feet, he was flying.  No doubt Avery’s father would have let them have at it if it wasn’t for the fact Avery had started to hyperventilate.  In her mind, Hex’s green eyes turned to steel and he shot up a foot in height.  Tuesday’s events began to play out before her, only in her mind, it ended in him catching her.
     Avery came to with her head tucked between her knees, her father and a guilty-looking Hex kneeled before her.  Her father was petting her hair, Hex was humming softly.  The tune was familiar but without the lyrics, it took her a moment to place her mother’s song. 
     “Sorry.”  Avery’s voice was little more than a harsh whisper, like she’d been screaming even though she was positive that she hadn’t had enough air to little more than squeak.  As soon as the word left her lips, Avery was yanked into her father’s embrace and Hex was being dismissed.  Without realizing it, she’d begun to cry.  “Damn it.”
     “Shh, Avy, everything’s okay.  You’re safe here and, I promise, he’s never going to come anywhere near you again.  Safe, you’re safe.”  He continued to murmur nonsense to her until she stopped the waterworks.  Avery relaxed into his arms and breathed in his familiar scent.  A mix between wood smoke and rue.
     “I’m okay, promise.  We going to practice more?”  Avery was hoping that the answer was no, and nearly started crying again when he shook his head.  Her father pulled her to her feet, kissed her forehead and sent Avery after a guilty Hex before turning to Avery’s six younger cousins.  Avery walked out of the basement to the sound of her father’s voice telling the little ones the difference between the different herb mixes that caused sleepiness.  
     Avery found Hex up in their room, staring at the wall with a glassy look to his eyes.  She crept up on him, maneuvering her way into his lap.  His arms closed around her, his head buried in the crook between her neck and shoulder.  “I’m okay you know.  Its not your fault I’m a little jumpy.”
     “Jumpy?  Jesus, girl, you just had a panic attack and you’re a little jumpy?”  Avery had managed to startle a laugh out of him, felt it when his chest and shoulders vibrated.  She and Hex had been close ever since Avery’s father took him in when his parents had died of magic backlash-a result of milking personal magic to its last drop.  Seeing him upset tore a hole in her heart.
     “You okay, now?”  Avery kissed his cheek before hopping off his lap and jumping in place.  “Come on, Dad gave us the rest of the day off!  That never happens when Willow’s in charge, we should celebrate by going out to party!”
     Hex grinned, green eyes shining through his mop of black hair.  “I heard there was a new club down on Boulevard, exclusively for young witches and wizards.  Named it Backlash.”
     “Who the f**k names a club after a magical disease?  Figures, the humans probably don’t even know what the magic is.”  Avery rolled her eyes, never loosing excited smile.  It was the first since the incident that her heart felt free of its heavy chains-chains constructed out of Avery’s lingering terror.  Her father said that it would take time for her to fully recover.  Which Avery thought was silly.  She hadn’t actually been hurt and Harvey, if that was even his real name, had only subtly threatened her.  It wasn’t as if he told her that he was going to murder her and he was probably lying about Avery’s mother.  The eternal magic preformed when she was presumed dead wouldn’t have worked if she was still alive, even if she was being held in a magical stasis.
     Although, an argument could be made about her sanity after seeing Ms. Saint and the janitor lying motionless.  Avery had seen two body bags come out of the building when she was with the police for a short period of time.  Either Saint had died shortly after Avery had sprinted past her or she was mistaken about seeing the woman breathing in the first place; both scenarios were entirely possible given the state of mind Avery had been in at the time.  
     Her thoughts skipped down a bloody path as Avery shifted through her closet for something to wear, all the while keeping up a rather cheerful conversation with Hex as he did the same.  Pulling out a short black dress that had been sitting on the rack for over a year now, Avery wondered if they should invite anyone else along.  “Hey, you gonna invited your boy toy to go with us?  Maybe then we could make it a semi date, after I hook some poor wizard around my pretty little fingers of course.”
     Avery held the dress against her front and remembered why it had remained in her closet for so long-the chest area had bright gold cat eyes embroidered onto it.  Not only would her father never let her out of the house with something that called so much attention to her body, but it was hideous as well.  Aunt Millie must have bought it for her for some holiday or birthday.  The woman was a coot.  
     Making sure the dress was stuffed into the far recesses of the small space, Avery pulled out a black leather skirt that was just long enough to get past her dad in but also acceptable to go clubbing in.  Tossing it over onto her rumpled bed, she started to go through her tops.
     “He’s my boyfriend not my boy toy, Avery.  So, yes, I’m going to invite him and Hecate help any man you manage to snag.”  Hex said from across the room, the rustle of fabric telling Avery that he was pulling on whatever outfit he’d chosen.  A tight, wraparound tube top followed Avery’s skirt onto the bed and the search for the perfect heel was on.
     “Boyfriend, boy toy, what’s the difference?  And, by the way, any man I end up with will be lucky to get a piece of this.”  Waving a had up and down her body in a gesture that was over exaggerated, Avery quickly pulled on her outfit and held up two pairs of glossy boots.  “Blue or black?”
     “Blue, they’re strappier.  And the difference, just so you know, is simple.  Knox and I have been together for almost two years now and to call him my boy toy just doesn’t fit the bill anymore.”  Hex said, glancing in the mirror before waving a hand in front of his face to make what was left of the zits disappear.  Unlike Avery, he excelled at hand magic and had chosen it as his specialty like she had chosen casting.  “Of course, you wouldn’t know the meaning of respect if it bit you on that tight little a*s of yours.”  
     “I do have a good a*s, don’t I?”  Avery said jokingly and began working on her hair.
     “Is that the only thing you just heard?”
     “Yeah, yeah.  Respect and all that bullshit.”
     “Sweet Hecate, you’re going to run some poor man into the ground someday.”  Hex grabbed the hot iron from her fingers, rearranging little pieces of her hair and making sure Avery hadn’t missed any embarrassing spots.  This was their routine every time they went out together or got ready for school, and it felt good to be getting back to it after the last few days.
     “Ready to go?”  Avery gabbed her purse and ID, before heading out into the hall without waiting for a response.  She wouldn’t go anywhere without him.  Besides, he had the keys.  So she walked off and maneuvered her way back down into the basement to let her father know that she was headed out.
     The club was dark and crowded.  Bodies moved together in a thickening mass, with a spark shooting into the air every so often as some witch let her magic out  for a little, petty display.  Avery hadn’t been to many magic only clubs before, mostly because there simply wasn’t that many around and her father would skin her alive if he caught her going to the underground clubs.  Not that that had stopped her before.
     Avery was dancing with a guy she’d met while getting a soda from the bar while Hex and Knox were in some dark booth making out like half of the patrons residing in the club.  The guy she’d met, Kye, vibrated with magic as his hands slid down her waist and over her outer thigh.  Avery wouldn’t have minded if he hadn’t started fingered the edge of her skirt.
     Spinning around to face him, Avery muttered a quick spell under her breathe that was lost to the sound of the music currently thumping through the club.  The fingers of her right hand brushed over his chest, immobilizing him.  Avery might not mind picking up dates at a club, but she’d be damned if it wasn’t on her terms and the guy couldn’t even go five minutes tying to spell her into bed.
     Kye was average looking, with messy blonde hair and shocked, wide brown eyes.  The lights flashing over the fog filled dance floor made him appear a sickly pale color, his lips were nearly bloodless.  He wasn’t used to being caught and wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for Avery’s hypersensitivity to active magic.  Leaning forward, Avery plastered on one of her scarier witch smiles.  “Now, that wasn’t very nice.  Don’t you know that you should wine and dine a girl before trying to f**k her?”
     Her words were softly spoken, but with the help of a little magic, Avery made sure that Kye would hear her as clearly as if they were speaking to each other in a room of silence.  Any color that had managed to remain in his face drained out like a faucet being turned on and he started to fight Avery’s spell.  It didn’t do him much good, her family’s Grimoire had chosen her as its future guardian for a damn good reason.  
     The other dancers, having noticed that something was going down began to take more interest than Avery would have liked.  She needed to end this fast and get the hell out; besides, school started up again tomorrow and she had an appointment with the police afterwards.  Avery closed her eyes and sent out a part of her consciousness to find Hex and Knox.
     They were still going at it.  It was hard to tell which one was Hex and which was Knox.  The club was nearly pitch black in the corner they’d staked as theirs and both of the guys had black hair and pale skin  Luckily, that was were the similarities stopped, so it didn’t take Avery long to figure who was who.  
     Poking her translucent finger into Hex’s neck was funny as all hell, mostly because he jumped a mile high and nearly crashed onto the ground in a tangle of limbs with Knox.  When he looked over at her, his cat like eyes went wide.  The magic Avery was using was considered to be on the master level and only her father knew that she had a talent for it.  “S**t.”
     “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”  Avery’s voice was as translucent as her body and gave the impression that of echoing.  “You know the guy I was dancing with?  Well, it turns out that he’s nothing more than a rat b*****d.”
     That statement had Hex pushing to his feet with a wide eyed Knox following his lead; Avery knew that if she didn’t phrase it correctly, both of the guys were likely to beat Kye with their fists and magic.  She liked it here and wanted to come back, so fighting was off limits.  “He didn’t get the chance to really do anything and I have him frozen as a statue in the middle of the dance floor.  No need to get f*****g aggressive.”
     With that, Avery melded the two halves of her mind back together and was snapped back into her body within seconds.  To say it was disconcerting was the understatement of the year; Avery hadn’t quite yet mastered how to return to her body peacefully and without the need to pass out.  Two minutes later and both Hex and Knox were at her side.  
     Knox was slightly bigger in build than Hex, but where Hex was a mixture of both hard and soft angles, Knox was all hard muscle.  In her opinion, it wasn’t fair that all the good looking, nice guys were almost always gay or taken or both.  His shirt was half way unbuttoned and Hex was in the middle of rebuttoning his own.  Once this was over, Hex wasn’t going to be very happy about being interrupted yet again.
     Hex sent some poor witch to go get the manager of the club and they worked out a deal.  Avery wouldn’t get banned from the club for using cursing magic and Kye would not be allowed on the premises again, which was fine by her.
     Avery went home after that, leaving Hex and Knox to their corner.  Her father came to pick her up, looking more concerned than ever.  And here she thought that being able to handle herself against an attack without hyperventilating, Avery’s father would ease off the protectiveness.
     It was a silent ride home, but when they did get home, all hell broke loose.

© 2012 Casey Lynn

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Added on October 29, 2012
Last Updated on October 29, 2012
Tags: club, training, magic, dancing, freeze, trouble, boy, panic attack


Casey Lynn
Casey Lynn


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