TG Universes & Series:
By Portia Bennett
The turmoil and excitement generated by Bobbie’s win in the Masters has died down somewhat; however, the game of golf will never be the same. One result of the magic cheating scandal was that all professional sporting events in the western world would be closely monitored for magical influence. The word went out in the world of magic that anyone found influencing a sporting event would immediately and irrevocably (subject to review) lose their magic powers. The warning also carried over to the gambling community, which included the many lotteries around the world. It took a while for the word to reach some of the more remote areas of Africa and Asia. Eventually there were two banishments, both for influencing gaming. After that, for at least a century, the problem seemed to be under control.
Bobbie enjoyed her break from golf tremendously. Both she and Cindy found it difficult to describe the deep joy they felt about their impending motherhood. Bobbie and Andy were much in demand on the sports and regular talk shows, but Bobbie did manage to caddy for Andy for two months before it became too tiring. During that time, Andy won his first two events on the PGA. That opened the door to all the ‘Major’ tournaments on the tour.
The very precocious Randi Lewis, at only a little over 20 has completed her bachelors and masters in chemistry and will soon be starting doctoral work in chemistry at MIT. She is being groomed by The Wizard to run a satellite SRU shop. It will be only a part time, weekend job; however, this is setting the stage for other witches and young wizards to be able to practice their growing magical powers. Randi and Myrna Moscowitz will be doing major genetic and bio-chemical research. Avery Moscowitz has become l’enfant fantastique in physics for his research in controlled fusion. Now the adventure begins. Randi and Silky are alone in the SRU shop.
If you haven’t read the previous stories about Cindy, Bobbie, and the rest and how they arrived where they are now, you should probably read them. Start with An Incremental Journey, Cynthia and the Reluctant Girlfriend, Cynthia and the Dumpster Diver, Cynthia and the Moment of Truth, Cynthia and the High School Years — Parts 1 & 2, & Bobbie and the Glass Ceiling.
I have researched the Spell’s—R-Us Universe diligently and cannot find anything that violates it, other than that The Wizard is a bit kinder and gentler than sometimes reported. Don’t get me wrong. Given an opening, The Wizard could resort to some of his more ironic and nasty transformations. I’m sure that could happen at any time.
Holly did an outstanding job of fixing my punctuation errors and occasional wanderings into gibberish. She does a great job figuring out what I really meant to say.
This work is copyrighted by the author and any publication or distribution without the written consent of the author is strictly prohibited. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.
Chapter 1 - Love Happens
Randi looked up as the bell tinkled. The young man who entered was looking here and there, obviously not too sure of himself.
'Why do I always have to get these lost puppies when His Wisdom decides to take a coffee break?' she thought. She looked at him a bit more closely. He was reasonably attractive, twenty-five, twenty-six years old. He was about six-two, six-three, light brown hair, slender, but well muscled and he had made a reasonable attempt to be dressed nicely. The shop always amplified her mind reading ability, and she could see he was a good person. Then she saw who he was shopping for. She did a quick data base search and learned everything she wanted to know about Betty Brown in about two seconds. If she didn't do something, he was going to make a serious mistake. Betty was just about to swoop in and take him down.
"So, Frank, you want a potion to make a certain girl see you in a more attractive light?"
"Well, yes. I was thinking about some perfume, something nice. Say, how do you know that, and how do you know my name?"
"For what it's worth, I'm a witch, and I usually know what the customers are looking for."
"Right, and I'm …."
"You're Frank Deere, a doctoral candidate in physics at Princeton. You're interested in an undergraduate student named Betty Brown, and she won't give you the time of day. At least she hasn’t before now.
"Believe me she's not worth the effort. She has the morals of an alley cat in heat, and that's an insult to cats." Silky, Randi’s familiar, jumped on the counter, and gave Randi a dirty look.
"I'm sorry Silky, I just couldn't think of a better metaphor at the moment.
"You'll have to forgive my friend,” Randi said to Frank. “She gets a little sensitive at times."
"I am not sensitive. There is not a cat around, alley cat or otherwise, who has morals as low as that woman's."
Frank looked at Silky with a bit of disbelief because it was obvious she was talking. "So what is this place? I thought it was just a gift shop, but now I'm not too sure. And, how do you know about Betty? I thought maybe a gift of a fine perfume would be just the thing to let her know that I would like to know her better."
Randi stepped around the counter and stood in front of Frank, who was giving her some appreciative glances. She was about five-nine and built like the proverbial brick pagoda. His eyes had settled on her sapphire blue eyes. "I'm Randi Lewis," she said taking his hand in hers. He could feel the warmth flowing from her into him. Her smile was beautiful.
"What does she have that I don't have? Her hair's bleached; mine is natural. She has implants, this is all me. Her eyes are nearly colorless, she wears blue contacts. She seduces men for favors. I have a Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in chemistry, and will start on my doctorate this fall.
"There's a lot more to tell you, but I think we can talk over a nice dinner this evening. I know you're not doing anything." She handed him a card. "Here's my address and phone number. I'll see you at 7:00. We have reservations at the Pepper Mill at 8:15."
Poor Frank was thunderstruck. One minute he was looking for a gift for someone he wasn’t sure liked him, and the next minute he had a date with a gorgeous blonde who could read his mind, and said she’s a witch. He walked back into the mall, more than slightly dazed. He hadn’t even said he would accept; however, he knew he wanted to know more about the outgoing and beautiful blonde with the talking cat. ‘Shit, the cat really did talk!’ Well, the least he could do was tell her … her name was Randi … he would be glad to take her out.
He turned back and pulled the door open. The store was full of customers. ‘Where in the hell did they come from? Wait a minute, this isn’t the right store. This is a Hallmark Store. What the hell is going on?’ He turned, went back into the mall and looked around. The shop he had entered was nowhere to be seen.
Frank looked at the card she had given him. “Christine Miranda ‘Randi’ Lewis, BS, MS, Witch in Training, Specializing in Potions, Transformations, Spatial and Temporal Distortions. Phone: 555-7676. 1727 Beaver Pond Road. Your GPS will get you there, Frank. I’ll see you at 7:00.” The card was done on very nice stock, and the personalized note as well as the rest was done with engraved printing.
“At it again, I see.”
Randi turned to see The Wizard holding a Grande Latte Mocha from Starbucks.
“Well, he’s nice, and he was about to make a horrible mistake. I couldn’t let him do that.”
“So, are you going to mess with his mind?”
“I promised a long time ago that I would never do that to an innocent, you know that.”
“You failed in your promise, Randi. He’s hopelessly in love with you. You cast a spell that can’t be broken.” The Wizard had a twinkle in his eye. “I’m afraid you are stuck with him.
“Thanks for watching the shop for me. I think you are about ready to take over the branch shop. It will be just operating on weekends, and you will be able to continue your studies. You won’t be getting the high activity locations for a while.
“You need to get ready for your date with Frank, but you’ll have to go out the back door. We’re in Cuernavaca.”
“In love with me; so what am I supposed to do?”
“I imagine that’s entirely up to you, but if I know you, you will do the right thing. Now, you have a dinner date to get ready for.”
Randi grabbed her purse, and with Silky resting on her shoulder, headed for the back door. Of course she couldn’t see Silky wink back at The Wizard and Wolf.
“Well, Wolf, that worked rather nicely, if I say so myself. It will take her a while to realize, probably by 10:00 this evening that she’s in love with him as well. She’ll find out soon enough that he is a carrier. That will be just a little added bonus. Can you imagine a bunch of little ‘Randi’s’ running around? That should be fun.”
“Boss, you didn’t mess with her mind, did you?”
“Absolutely not. Besides, I promised not to. If I ever did, and the spell was somehow to be broken, the results could be tragic. We certainly don’t need that with things going as well as they are.
“Now we have to get ready to open; siesta is about over. We have just discovered that there may be an authentic ‘curandero’ living between here and Taxco. The Mexico City Coven thinks they may have located him. Apparently, he is not aware of his power. If they are right, the consequences could be invaluable.
Frank Deere was from the area, and pretty familiar with many of the newer residential areas at the outskirts of the city. It was strange, because when he turned on the GPS it was already programmed, and it was becoming easier and easier to accept this ‘witch’ thing. He followed the familiar highway and secondary roads. There were tones and verbal instructions before each turn. It was the second time that he was alerted to the change in direction that he realized it wasn’t the regular pleasant GPS voice. It was her voice with all the proper inflections.
“Follow the road around the pond, and just after the bridge, take the second driveway to the right. The Cape Cod Blue salt box is the house.”
There was a little guest parking area, and a pleasant, hedge lined brick walk led to the front door. There were half a dozen cars parked closer to the garage. He didn’t know exactly why, but he had stopped on the way and bought half a dozen golden and white roses mixed with gardenias for her. There was a doorbell button and a lovely brass knocker. He could swear the cast image of a face winked at him as he gently rapped on the strike plate.
It was just a few seconds before the door opened. The woman who opened the door had to be Randi’s sister. She was about the same height and had very similar features. Her hair was golden blonde, and she was very pregnant. “Hi, I’m Cindy Brewer, Randi’s big sister. She should be down shortly.” She extended a nicely manicured hand and firmly grasped his as he took hers. She held on for quite a while.
“My goodness, you are good looking. Well come on in. There are a lot of people to meet. Randi’s big brother, Tom is on a pack trip out west. You’ll meet him later, I’m sure.”
They entered the family room, and he found there was a rather large crowd present. “Okay, everyone, this is Frank Deere, and as you know, he is working on his PhD in Physics at Princeton, and has had the misfortune to meet Randi. I think I’ll start over here." Frank had caught a glance of a tall and equally pregnant redhead as he entered the room. Suddenly, he realized who she was. “Frank, this is Bobbie Anderson and her husband Andy. Bobbie and I have been best friends for more than 20 years.”
“Oh, my gosh, I watched you play at Augusta. You were fabulous. You had come so close before, and to win it the way you did was just spectacular.”
“Well, I had a lot of help from this guy,” she said, giving Andy a kiss. “The nice thing is that he will get to play there next year, and I will get to watch. I’m going to be carrying little Cindy around, so I may not be carrying his bags. I was going to start cutting back pretty soon, anyway. Now that I have won majors on both tours, I’m not sure there’s much left to play for, well just one, but I think I want to be carrying Andy’s bag when he wins his first major.”
Bobbie looked down at the bouquet of roses that Frank was holding rather gently. “You do realize that Randi goes absolutely bonkers over roses? Whether you intended to or not, you are going to make quite an impression.
“She said you met her at the shop. That’s probably important. Not many people enter the shop accidently. There’s usually a reason for it to be wherever it shows up.”
“That has to be the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.” Frank found it very easy to talk to the beautiful redhead. “If I told anyone what happened, they’d lock me up. Randi basically told me I was going to take her out to dinner, and I was so taken with her, I didn’t even tell her I would. I left the shop, and when I realized I hadn’t accepted, I returned to tell her that I would be glad to take her out. I went back in … but it wasn’t the shop. It was a Hallmark store.
“Then there was her business card, really nicely printed; except it was personalized for me.”
“She told you she is a witch?”
“Yes she did. She’s either a witch, or a great hypnotist. For some reason I think that the former may be the case. It just makes a lot of sense. I’ve always felt that there was real magic. There are things going on that can’t be explained through ordinary means, and magic seems to be a logical explanation.”
“Well, you’re correct on both counts. Randi’s a rather special witch, and she’s also an accomplished hypnotist. She’s surprised a lot of us.”
“By ‘us,’ I take it there’s more than one witch around here.”
“You have that right. Cindy and I are also witches ….”
“Please don’t tell me you used magic to win all those tournaments.”
“Absolutely none, my grandmother had a lot to do with that, although I respect golf too much to have ever have used magic to affect my game.
“That gorgeous blonde over there is Randi’s mother. You’ll meet her in a moment. Randi’s little sister, Martha, we call her Marti, is another witch. My mother is a witch. See that gorgeous dark haired girl? That’s Cindy’s husband’s sister. She’s a witch, too. Charli’s very special.
“You have to realize something, Frank. The fact that we are able to tell you these things means you are one of us. You have been brought into this group whether you realize it or not. Well, welcome into the family. You are going to have your hands full with Randi, but I don’t mean that in a negative sense. She is a wonderful young woman, impulsive as hell, but wonderful none-the-less. Her IQ is off the scale, and she needs to be challenged. I have a feeling you are the one who is going to challenge her.
“I am going to put this very bluntly. The fact that you are here means that no one, especially Randi, is going to fuck with your mind. Everything is going to be in the open, above board. There are some evil magical people out there; however, they are not part of this group.”
Their conversation was interrupted by something pushing against Frank’s leg. It was the little black cat he had seen that afternoon in the shop. Next to her was a sleek gray cat. “Would you pick us up? We’re afraid to sit on the floor for fear that our tails might get stepped on.” Shortly, Bobbie and Frank were gently carrying two cats. “Thank you, we get a bit nervous with so many people around. I’m Silky, by the way. I think you knew that, but Randi didn’t introduce us properly this afternoon. She can be so embarrassing some times. This is my sister Chloe. We’re associates of Randi and Bobbie. You’ll meet Queen Maddy in a while.
“In case you didn’t notice, Chloe’s expecting.”
“Silky, that’s really personal. I don’t think he cares about that sort of thing,” Chloe responded, while Bobbie s gently stroked her head and ears.
“I guess congratulations are in order,” Frank was getting into the swing of things. “When is the blessed event?”
“I’m due about a week after Bobbie.”
“When’s that?” Frank could see that although Bobbie was definitely in her third trimester, she wasn’t due for quite a while. He knew that cat pregnancies were just a little over two months, and the math didn’t seem to be working out.
“It will be a little over two months. Associate’s pregnancies are much longer. Marissa and Sally’s associates were not born of associates, so their development took a bit longer. Maddy raised them, they were orphans, but they caught up very quickly. Maddy’s a real good teacher.”
Once again, Frank was distracted as Randi gently took his arm. He turned to see who it was, and a rush of adrenaline caused his face to flush. She was positively beautiful, but then, he knew that. He could feel a stirring that was probably a bit inappropriate; however, it was impossible to deny her sexuality.
“I don’t know why I got these flowers for you. It just seemed to be the right thing to do. I was thinking about what you told me this afternoon, and I think you saved me from making a serious mistake. I guess these are a ‘thank you’.”
“I love roses and gardenias. How did you know?” She kissed his cheek before she found a vase and put them on the coffee table. He warmed to the tips of his ears. For the next 20 minutes she dragged him from relative to relative and friend to friend. Of all the people he met, there were only a few who were not magical; however, there was a connection, and it would take a while to learn about all the details.
Frank was not habitually a very gregarious person. He had tended to hide out in the physics labs where he was very comfortable. He had always hoped to meet and fall in love with someone who would reciprocate his love, and there was something about the somewhat artificially attractive Betty Brown that had caught his attention.
Well, all it had taken was about two seconds with the vivacious Randi to eliminate any attraction that Betty may have had for him. He realized almost immediately that she was as genuine as they came. He felt very confident that he was going to learn a lot about her over the next few hours, days, weeks, months, years? ‘Shit, after tonight I might never see her again, but somehow, the thought of that seems ridiculous.’
Finally, it was time to leave for the restaurant, and it seemed they were floating down the walk toward his car. She was holding onto his arm, but really, they were just together. He held the car door as she pivoted into the front seat. ‘My goodness she has beautiful legs.’ But he already knew that.
He eased the car around so that he could head down the driveway. “I have a feeling that I am taking you away from a family gathering. That’s quite a bunch. Was it someone’s birthday or something?”
“No, they were just there to meet you. Oh, they’ll probably have a little party now that we are gone. Mom called everyone over to meet you when she found out we had a date.”
“Why would she do that? Does she have everyone meet all of your dates? Was I undergoing some sort of test?”
She hesitated …“No, I think I was.”
Chapter 2 — A Quiet Dinner and Some Revelations
The Maitre d’ escorted them to a lovely, out of the way table. A lovely candle was flickering slightly, and it served to accentuate Randi’s lovely features.
The waiter seated them. “Would you like something to drink before you order?”
“Frank, their margaritas are very nice. I would love one.”
“We’ll have two margaritas, up, in a salted ‘Old Fashioned’ glass, no ice, please. Two ounces of tequila, two ounces of Cointreau, one-half ounce of fresh lime juice, one and a half ounces of Rose’s Lime Water: shaken with ice.”
“I have a feeling you like margaritas, too. That’s quite a recipe.”
“I learned it many years ago, even before I drank one. It’s an old family recipe, and other than being a little sweeter, it is very much like the original margarita. Most margaritas today are pretty watered down, and poor imitations of what the drink was intended to be. One does not gulp these down from a salted beer mug.”
He watched her as she did something with her hand. “I just put a screen of silence around us so we may talk without being overheard. Sometimes, I tend to talk a lot, and it’s just safer this way. There won’t be any secrets between us.
“About Mom inviting everyone over, I haven’t had a very good reputation about dating. I think Mom wants to marry me off, and I have disappointed her with my past boyfriends. I shouldn’t call them that, because none of them were around very long.”
“Did you do something to them?” he asked a bit hesitatingly.
“Not really, I just made them realize I wasn’t the one. They were nice enough, but there wasn’t any future with them. Most of them couldn’t see past my boobs, and getting me between the sheets was their main objective.
“You’re a bit different. I know you find me attractive; however, before I stopped reading your mind, I found you had already gone beyond the sex thing. No one had ever done that before.”
“I remember you said you could read my mind. What am I thinking now?”
“I don’t know. As I said, I shut that off. I’ll take a quick peek if you want me to; however, I will never read your mind unless you ask or call to me.
“Since you asked, you were thinking about asking me to the opera next week, Tosca. I love Puccini. There was also something about taking a backpack trip, but you thought that was being much too forward, and would wait a while before asking.
“Okay, the mind reading is off. The answer is yes, by the way.”
“For the opera?”
“For both: you will find out very soon that I am a bit impulsive. I don’t seem to make many bad decisions. But I make them quickly. My magic talents showed up very early. I did some things when I was six or seven that some adult witches still can’t do. I never did anything very bad, I had thought out everything logically; however, the ease with which I did things surprised everyone. I just did them because I could. As I grew up, I thought things out a bit better, as far as the impact would be on the unsuspecting.”
The waiter showed up with their margaritas. Randi took a sip and raised her eyebrows in approval.
“So tell me about your doctoral project? It sounds very interesting.”
“So, you read that, too?”
“I got that when you first came through the door of the shop. You were thinking about how to focus the magnetic field and lasers so that you could contain the fusion reaction without destroying the vessel, and at the same time, draw off some of the heat to operate the steam turbine.
“You could use about 40 witches; however, they couldn’t concentrate on anything else, and the whole thing shuts down when you have to substitute a witch. They would never go for it. I think you are on the right track though. I think using boron instead of deuterium is definitely the right way to go.”
She looked up to see the waiter approaching. “I think we had better order.”
They eschewed a second margarita in favor of a nice pinot noir.
“I think you need to talk to Avery. He’s doing some interesting things at MIT.”
“Avery? Dr. Mankowitz? That guy is amazing. How do you know him?”
“He and Myrna are part of the group. They couldn’t be there tonight, but you will meet them soon enough. They’ve been part of the family since they were in high school, and are one of our main connections to the scientific world. That’s why I’m going for my PhD in chemistry.
“The world of magic has for centuries divorced itself from the physical sciences. We know now that what magic we do is very strongly connected to chemistry and physics. It’s just that our abilities to change space-time on a small scale allow us to do what physics has revealed concerning how the universe works. I can do a lot to alter space-time; however, my other strength is in potions. We’re trying to quantify what happens in some potions to bring about what they do. Many potions are just links to the world of magic. They are sort of like an order at a fast food restaurant. Ingesting a potion is like putting in an order at the register. The potion taker doesn’t see what happens in the ‘kitchen’, he just gets the results. All sorts of twists in time and space take place to make the results happen.
“Now we find that nanotechnology is a major player. I’m trying to find how the mixing of various organic materials ends up creating nanites that affect the potion taker’s DNA the way they do. There are so many ways that magic happens. Some of it is mind control; but a lot of it is chemistry and physics. Those of us who have the ability, seem to be able to do things on a sub-atomic level to facilitate the changes. There’s so much, and I am going to love telling you about it.”
Frank shook his head like he was trying to clear out the cobwebs. “Why are you telling me all of this? This stuff is certainly not common knowledge. In the wrong hands, I‘m sure this knowledge could be misused.”
“I’m telling you this because I can. You’re the first one from the outside that I’ve ever been able to discuss this with. I never even wanted to talk about this sort of thing with any of the others. The fact that I can talk with you means a lot. The Wizard, he runs that shop by the way, came back right after you left. They already know about you.
“We learned a long time ago to not question what’s going on in the magic world. My big sister and her husband are major players. We just found out what was going on there. ‘They’, and I’m not too sure who ‘they’ are, are trying to save magic in this universe. It has been wiped out in many places: sometimes because of evil, and sometimes because of gene pool dilution. That’s been the problem here.”
She paused for a moment as the revelation hit her. Their attraction for each other might be natural; however, their meeting had to have been arranged. They had been set up. She suddenly smiled.
Her quiet giggle wasn’t missed by Frank.
“What’s so funny?”
“The Wizard told us many years ago that there was no such thing as an accident. All events are just an expression of probabilities coming together. Our meeting today was no accident. They made sure the shop would be in the mall when you got there. They wanted us to meet, and I think I know what the reason is.” She paused briefly. “Were there any alleged witches in your family history?”
“My great grandmother many generations removed was almost burned at the stake for witchcraft. They say she was saved by someone who put out the fire and disappeared with her. She allegedly moved to Albania from France. The story was written inside the cover of an old Bible.”
“I thought so. Let’s finish dinner. I have a feeling that Mom will be waiting up for us when we get back.
“You’re a romantic, aren’t you?”
“What do you think about falling in love at first sight?”
“Well, never having been in love before today, I guess I would have to say I believe in it. What about you?”
“Yeah, me too: they can’t do anything about that, by the way. It ruins the magic.
“I guess that means we are stuck with each other. By the way, all of our daughters will be witches. It should be a lot of fun.”
He kissed her before she sat in the car. She was as eager as he was. She thought about the joke about the guy who picks up a woman in a bar. She warns him that she is a witch, and that he needs to behave himself. Sure enough, at midnight, she turns him into a motel. ‘Not tonight, but soon,’ she thought.
Next time: Frank meets The Wizard who verifies Randi’s guess. Against her mother’s advice, Randi tells Frank about her origin. They meet his parents and Randi reminisces about growing up with her best friend Ginny, and the time that Ginny started remembering her past as a department store Santa.
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