Painting with Brooms

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New me

By the time we made it to the mall it was midday and I was still glancing at myself in mirrors petting my hair. It was so not me and I loved it.

"Didn't peg a normal girl like you to want black hair." Trent muttered with his hands in his pockets. He was totally warming up to me since I sent him across the street to pick up breakfast for the two of us while I got my hair done. It was black, short and adorable.

"Yeah well I'm not exactly normal." I said fingering the sunglasses frowning. "There's got to be a better store around here."

Trent sighed rolling his head back and forth across his shoulders as if trying to stretch as he raised his hands back. "You mean something that doesn't smell like a child prostitute?"

The cashier whipped her head around and glared at him crossing her arms. She had been rearranging perfume not even a full five feet away from us, hair whipping over her shoulder causing a few dry strands to fly onto my shirt. Gross. "There's a Hot Topic and Spencer's around the corner for your- kind." She sneered at him, the venom practically dripping from her voice.

"Oh good, I'd hate to look like you." I responded before Trent could even open his mouth- my smile wide as I walked past her.

"Ugly bitch." I heard her mutter before I stepped out of the store sighing.

Don't do it Raven.

Don't do it.

Don't fucking do it.

Fuck it I knew I was going to. That bitch had it coming.

"Hey Trent, could you be a dear and get us some cinnabon and some slushy drinks? I want a red one. Meet me at the Hot Topic store?" I asked sweetly batting my lashes before pulling out my card from my back pocket and holding it up between two fingers.

He sighed rolling his eyes plucking it from my fingers. "I hope you know with the way you're eating you're going to get fat. If you don't die of a heart attack first."

"Shut up you know you're loving today." I said sticking out my tongue. I noticed a hint of a smile before I watched him walk around the corner while I stood in front of the store where I could still see the worker inside.

I took a strand of platinum blond hair off my shirt wrapping it around my finger. Clearly she bleached her hair- dead hair. I could work with this.

"Three times three I-"

"Linda, naughty naughty. First you betray the coven now you're spelling innocent little mortals."

I felt the hairs prickle on my neck as I whipped around. There stood one of the standing members of the Eastern coven- one of the ones in the high priestess' inner circle and council. Her name was Hailey, her hair was red and her eyes a startling blue that brought out the freckles on her face making her appear much younger than she really was. Though she looked near my age she was actually about four hundred years older. She was one of the ones who had cast that spell on me, and though I had only met her a few times she was actually probably one of the most civil of them since she came from a farm in the middle of no where. Technically she was supposed to belong to the Western coven until recently- our leader was stronger and brokered a deal.

"Hailey." I said pausing a moment as I stared at her then my finger before hiding it behind me.

She laughed pulling my hand forward gesturing to the hair before laughing and unwinding it from my finger. Her hands where warm and careful, so unlike the harsh ones that usually hit me from those in my coven. "You should be careful not to use magic with that curse on you."

"Doesn't seem to make it worse."

She frowned. "Yeah I was kind of hoping marrying the prince might have fixed that but circumstances certainly changed... I wasn't one of the ones that voted for you to go, you know. I also don't like that they put this stupid bounty on your head."

"W-what?" I asked my eyes growing wide. A bounty? That's what they called them now- made it sound like someone would be rewarded for killing a traitor. Which they where. Everyone was. Incentive to turn in the criminal or anyone harboring them.

Bounties required twelve votes in the council of thirteen. That meant all of them- perhaps with the acceptation of only one voted for my death. Perhaps even-

"You... don't know?" She asked her eyes widening as well as she took a step back away from me. "I thought that was part of the reason for the hair change..."

"What bounty?" I asked coldly. "Why would there be a bounty on MY head. I'm a nobody."

She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear not quite making eye contact. "Well you didn't return and the vampires required us to send another bride. We refused of course since we upheld the contract according to Iona and you didn't return to us. We all assumed you had been drained of course but then they suddenly had a new barrier around the castle... made by a witch."

I frowned "I only put that up so my amazon packages could be delivered, I didn't exactly go with a lot of cloths and he gave me the option to stay. I figured since you guys basically sold me..." I trailed off biting my lower lip. I hadn't exactly thought about what it might look like on the outside. They hadn't even contacted me- and I was the traitor? They sold me off like cattle!

"No witch has a right to live separately from the coven unless the request has been approved. I voted against you considering all the evidence-"

"Evidence!? You guys sold me off and now put a bounty on my head. My life isn't exactly going to be long with this thing you guys cursed me with against my will." I was practically shouting at this point my hands balled into fists. I could feel this thing every morning stretching on my skin, spidering out making it harder to breathe each day. This curse whatever it was.... it was slowly killing me and they already knew that when they sent me.

I was disposable.

That's when it clicked- it wasn't actually about me. I was a political piece- something disposable. If I was a willing traitor it made it easier to deny their claim, but here was one of the council.

Closing my eyes taking a deep breath. "A bounty means they will be trying to kill me. Let them try. The spell you guys cast did have some effect, I was able to avoid my death once. I'll do it again. And again. And again. Whatever contract you had with the vampires isn't over and we all know what happens when magical contracts fall through."

Hailey pursed her lips before nodding at my words. "We shall see. I won't make any moves to harm you today... it's the least I can do. If I where you though, I wouldn't leave that castle after today." A warning- not a threat. Hailey had a good heart.

So different then the rest of them.

I nodded before walking past her headed to Hot Topic to meet up with Trent.


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