Moon White: Color Me Enchanted with Bonus Content (4 page)

BOOK: Moon White: Color Me Enchanted with Bonus Content
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“What is it?”

“Read it.”

I look down at the card in my hand. It’s pretty with its ornate borders and a crescent moon with some small purple flowers below it. There are also some symbols that mean nothing to me, but then I see the word at the bottom. “Heather?” I read.

“Yes.” The woman nods. “But turn the card over, dear. Read the back. It’s an oracle card, sort of a divining tool. I drew it just for you. It should have some words of wisdom that are meant for your life.”

I turn the card over and read aloud. “Beauty and immortality belong to you. You will be protected and good luck will be your companion. But beware of isolation along the way. The lovely heather sometimes grows in lonely places, creating barriers between themselves and those who have brought them pain.”

“There you go,” says the woman in a satisfied tone.

“That’s amazing,” I say, looking up at her. “Do you know me or something?”

She just laughs. “Well, we haven’t been officially introduced,
but you do seem familiar.”

“I mean do you know my name?”

She shakes her head and looks slightly confused as she reshuffles the deck of cards.

“My name is Heather,” I tell her.

Her eyes widen. “Oh. Well, I guess I did pick the right card then.”

I hand the card back to her.

“No, dear, I think you should keep it. It really was meant for you.”

I nod. “Thanks.”

“And my name is Willow.”

“Really?” I say. “That’s your real name?”

She smiles. “It’s very real. But do you mean is that what my parents named me? No. It’s the name I chose for myself. They named me Cindy.” She laughs. “And for some reason Cindy just didn’t seem very spiritual.”

“My parents actually named me Heather,” I say, instantly realizing how dumb that must sound.

“Well, your parents must have had some good insights. And you seem like a very spiritual person to me.” She leans forward now, studying me closely. “Do you keep a Book of Shadows, Heather?”

“A what?”

“Come, let me show you.” She motions me over to a shelf on the wall that’s full of books. “Let’s see.” Finally, she locates a stack of ornate-looking hardcover books. She picks up a purple one, and on the front in gilded letters are the words
Book of Shadows
. She hands it to me, but when I open the book I see its pages are empty. The quality of the paper is very nice, but it’s blank.

“There’s nothing here,” I point out.

She laughs. “Of course.”

“I, uh, I don’t get it.”

“It’s a book
you
must write, Heather. It will be your own Book of Shadows.”

“Oh.”

“Sort of like a diary, but much more. It’s a place to record personal thoughts, meditations, sketches, recipes . . . oh, whatever. But you don’t let anyone else read it. Well, unless you really want to. It’s very private, you see.”

I stroke the smooth leather cover, temporarily blocking my vegan conscience as I run my fingers over the embossed letters. “I like that.”

“I’ll tell you what, Heather, since this is your first time in my shop, I’ll give you a 20 percent discount for all purchases made today. How’s that?”

“That’s great,” I say. I turn the book over to see that it’s $20. The candle is $15. I’m not that great at math, but with 20 percent off, I’m guessing my total should be around $30. Willow shows me another book that she thinks will be helpful, as well as a few other less-expensive items, including some incense and herbs and stones. The focus of most of the items seems to be self-discovery and power. The total, even with my discount, comes to more than $50, which surprises me, but fortunately I have my debit card, which taps into a fair amount of savings thanks to a small life-insurance policy that Mom put in my name. Then Willow writes down some titles of other books that she recommends. “Just in case I’m not in the shop when you come back. I have a girl working here part-time, but she’s really a novice.”

“Thanks.”

“And this is a good website,” she says, handing me a small card.
“A friend of mine developed it. A lot of the websites aren’t trustworthy. And some just operate so that they can make money by selling their junk. The items they sell aren’t authentic, so you have to be careful or you can get into trouble.”

“Thanks, Willow,” I say as she hands me my bag. “I don’t think it was a coincidence that I ran into you today.”

She solemnly shakes her head. “No, I’m sure it wasn’t. Come see me again, Heather.”

It’s just getting dusky as I drive back toward Westport. I pull out my cell and hit the speed dial for home. Hopefully they’re not worried. But Augustine answers and sounds just fine. It does bother me a little that I lie to her. Instead of telling the truth, I say that I stayed in town to have coffee with a friend and lost track of the time. I don’t even know why I do this, because I doubt that she cares one way or the other. Dad, on the other hand, wouldn’t approve of me just taking off like that and driving out of town without telling anyone. He thinks my car’s not totally reliable and that he should know where I am if I’m not within ten miles of home. Naturally, I think this is just typical parental paranoia. So as I close my phone I reason that some lies are acceptable, even good. Especially if they’re meant to protect someone, like my dad.

four

“W
E’RE HAVING AN EQUINOX PARTY ON
S
ATURDAY,”SAYS
A
UGUSTINE AS SHE
sets a piece of eggplant casserole on my plate.

“What’s an equinox?” I ask as I spread some garlic hummus on a piece of flatbread.

“It’s a very special time of year,” she explains. “The day and night are the same length. It represents the changing of the seasons.”

“Remember how Augustine and I were engaged on the vernal equinox?” my dad says as he sprinkles a heap of shredded parmesan cheese onto his chunk of casserole. It’s all I can do not to grab the container and dump some on mine too, even if it does have milk. Augustine really tries to make healthy food, but sometimes it just doesn’t taste quite right.

“Oh yeah,” I say. “I remember how Augustine said it was a good sign that you asked her on the first day of spring.”

“And then we got married during the summer solstice,” Augustine says, winking at Dad. “We made sure the planets and stars were aligned properly and did this thing right.”

“So Augustine thinks that the autumnal equinox would be a good time to have our friends over, a way for her to meet some people.”

“You can invite your friends too,” she says. “It’s for all ages.”

“Augustine already called Brandon Lichtner about the music.”

“You’re having live music?”

“Yes,” says Augustine. “I’m hoping the weather will be nice enough to have a bonfire outside, and the band can play from the gazebo and we’ll have dancing on the deck. I’ll make a lot of hanging lanterns, out of old canning jars and twisted wire, and we’ll put little tealights inside and hang them from the trees. It’ll be beautiful.”

“It does sound pretty.”

“So you’ll invite your friends?”

“I guess . . .” Okay, I’m not too sure what Lucy would think of something like this, especially since she’s not too comfortable with Augustine anyway. But Kendall and Chelsea might like it.

“How was dance?” asks my dad as he pours himself a glass of wine, holding it up to the light to examine its clarity, which I’m thinking is a little murky. My dad makes his own wine, and some batches are better than others.

“It was okay, I guess.” Then I decide to make my announcement. “But I was sort of thinking about quitting.”

“Quitting?” Dad sets down his glass and frowns at me. “Why?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I think I’ve sort of outgrown it.”

“But you’re
so
good,” says Augustine. “You can’t quit.”

“And this is your year to be the Sugar Plum Fairy.” Dad tosses me a hopeful smile.

“Maybe not.”

“Maybe not?” Dad looks confused now. “Why not?”

So I tell them a little about the new girl. “She’s Naomi’s goddaughter, and she dances like she’s been to some really good schools. Her family moved here from Southern California and — ”

“Her last name isn’t Daniels by any chance?” asks Dad.

“Yes,” I say. “Elizabeth Daniels. Do you know her?”

“I don’t know
her
, but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her dad recently.” His brow creases. “Anthony Daniels is the developer of the Yaquina Lake property.”

“The development that your firm is fighting?” asks Augustine.

“That’s the one.”

“And his daughter is the one who’s going to steal Heather’s chance to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy?” Augustine looks seriously disturbed as she holds a knife in midair.

“Calm down,” I say in a joking voice. “She’s not stealing my chance. She’s just better. And she’s Naomi’s best friend’s daughter.”

“This is all wrong,” says Augustine. “You’ve been dancing for Naomi for years. You can’t just let this interloper waltz in and take your — ”

“Elizabeth isn’t taking anything,” I say.

Augustine nods and sets the knife back into the casserole. “Yes, I’m sure you’re right. And I have to give you credit for handling this so maturely. I’m sure I’d have been mad with jealousy when I was your age.”

I shrug. “Well, what’s the point?”

“Even so,” says Dad. “You can’t quit. You can’t even assume that the Daniels family will still be here by Christmastime. We’re hoping they’ll be so discouraged when they see our claim that Anthony Daniels will tuck tail and run.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Let alone the wetlands laws, he has all sorts of hoops to jump through if he plans to make a resort out of Yaquina Lake.”

“That’s such a lovely lake,” says Augustine. “I’d hate to see them spoil it.”

“So would I,” I admit. “Remember when we used to go canoeing on it, Dad?”

He nods. “Yep. And I can’t bear to think of a schmaltzy golf course going around the west end of it.”

“That would be a tragedy,” I say. “I mean, that’s where it goes off into the dunes and — ”

“And golf courses waste so much water,” says Augustine. “From what I’ve heard, this area’s water supply is already hard-pressed.”

“Well, Mr. Daniels has proposed a saltwater redemption plant to recycle the water for use on the golf course.”

“Oh.”

“And he has some big-shot attorney who’s well versed in environmental issues — rather, in how to get around them.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re there to oppose this Daniels guy,” says Augustine. “And I think Heather better stick with her ballet too.”

Dad lifts up his wine glass again. “I agree. Here’s to Heather, our favorite Sugar Plum Fairy.”

“To Heather,” says Augustine, holding up her glass.

“Do I get some wine for this toast?” I ask Dad as I hold up my glass of green tea.

He considers this. “Only if you promise not to give up your dancing.”

I nod. “Okay, it’s a deal.”

Augustine hops up and gets another wine glass from the hutch behind the table, quickly pours a small amount, and hands it to me. Then we all toast. But I can’t help but make a face after one sip, and then Dad laughs.

“I guess I should’ve warned you that the blackberry wine wasn’t worth making a deal over,” he says. “But a deal’s a deal. No backing out of ballet, Heather.”

“That’s right,” says Augustine.

“I’ll do my best.”

I offer to help Augustine clean up after dinner, but she informs me that it’s Dad’s turn to do KP and that it won’t be fair if I help him. “We’re still trying to figure out how to balance the household chores,” she says. “Since I cooked dinner, he is supposed to clean up. Without help.”

“Fine with me,” I say. “I have homework anyway.” Then I ask in what I hope is a nonchalant way if anyone called while I was gone. Okay, I’m wondering if Lucy called and wanted to apologize. But it seems no one called. So I thank Augustine for dinner, excuse myself, and go up to my room. But instead of going straight to homework, like I probably should do, I open the bag of things I bought at The Crystal Dragon. Taking them all out, one by one, I carefully examine them, then put them away. I light the orange candle and turn out the lights. I set the candle on the center of my dresser, where it’s reflected off the mirror. For a moment I just stare at my own reflection in the flickering light. My long straight hair, which is normally the color of bittersweet chocolate, is tinted with mahogany henna. Augustine helped me to do that shortly before school started. And right now it looks redder than usual in the amber candlelight. My face in comparison to my dark hair looks extra pale and my cheekbones, which I get from my mom, seem to stand out more than usual in the shadowy light. I suppose in some ways I do look a little witchy. But not necessarily in a bad way. More like mysterious, mystical, enchanting perhaps.

I look down at the porcelain fairies that are also on my dresser. They look almost as if they’re posed to begin some kind of ceremonial dance around the candle. I began collecting fairies years ago. My parents would get them for my birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and now I must have close to a hundred fairies in various forms throughout my room. I suppose I should’ve outgrown them, but for
whatever reason, I haven’t.

BOOK: Moon White: Color Me Enchanted with Bonus Content
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Game for Tonight by Karen Erickson
Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi
The Falcon's Malteser by Anthony Horowitz
While Other People Sleep by Marcia Muller
A Slender Thread by Katharine Davis
Good Indian Girls: Stories by Ranbir Singh Sidhu
Together We Heal by Chelsea M. Cameron
Rayne of Fire by Michelle Young
Silver Silk Ties by Raven McAllan