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Snowflakes in Summer

Grace is struggling.

She just can’t wrap her head around the concept. I pop another cheese wonton in my mouth, leaning back on the couch, watching Gabe explain it again.

“It’s a feeling that you get. Some witches need spells, but the powerful ones just kind of think about it. Will it to happen, so to speak. So just kind of imagine the candle lighting.”

Gabe is being very patient with her. Not that I’m not a patient person. I’m not that patient though.

“What if I need spells?” She asks.

“You don’t,” he guarantees her.

“Maybe she does,” I quip, getting a little restless. “Some people do. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

No. She does not.” He says through clenched teeth.


“Holly, let’s go out back and work on something else,” I tell her. She’s already mastered the candle. It just comes naturally for her, but that’s to be expected. She nods, standing up from where she’s curled up on the floor, leaning against the couch, a half eaten plate on the coffee table in front of her. I can tell from her face that she’s sympathetic towards her sister, but she is getting restless as well. She’s ready to learn more.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Gabe says harshly.

I ignore him, leading Holly out of the living room and towards the back door. I can sense her hesitation but she doesn’t let that stop her.

“Why is he so sure Grace doesn’t need spells?” She asks me quietly, sitting in a chair on her back deck.

I sigh. “As far back as we can track, none of the six destined witches needed ever needed spells. She could be stalled because she hasn’t completely committed—like a mental block. But he’s so pressed to make a breakthrough that he’s really just going to burn her out. He needs to get out of his head. Just because he thinks something doesn’t make it real.”

She nods, deep in thought. “You mean like the way he thinks I’m supposed to be with him,” she whispers softly, “and not you?”

It’s dark out but I can sense the blush on her cheeks, my hand itching to feel the warmth of them, to brush her hair from her face, to lean on closer to her...

“Exactly,” I answer her. Suddenly, I feel the need to confess to her. “I don’t feel anything for Grace. She seems nice enough, but when I first saw her it wasn’t anything special. Not like it was when I first saw you.”

She smiles a little, crooked smile and finally looks back up at me.

“This is all so crazy,” she says, pulling her fingers nervously through her hair. “I mean, yesterday I was completely normal. Going through some stuff... but normal.”

My stomach clenches in anger. Gabe never should’ve dropped all of this on her like that. They say weird things have been happening, so they would have figured it out soon enough.

“I’m sorry,” I tell her. “That was a terrible way to find out, and really terrible timing.”

She shrugs. “It’s definitely kept me from thinking about it too much. So that’s helped me a little—I can’t dwell.”

I smile sadly. “I guess that’s an upside.”

We sit in silence for a few moments, the waves crashing softly against the sand behind us. The breeze is blowing gently through her hair.

She’s so beautiful.

“If you feel something for Gabe... that’s okay, you know.” Except it’s not. “He’s so sure that the two of you... that you’re supposed to be together. If that’s what you want, I won’t stand in your way.”

She looks at me for a long second, her eyes searching mine.

“I don’t...” she starts, nervous. “I don’t really want to go to the football game with you...”

My heart races.

“Maybe our first date shouldn’t be one where we’re surrounded by thousands of screaming people and I don’t understand anything that’s happening.”

I can’t hide my grin. “What would you rather do?” I ask her, resisting the urge to touch her—her shoulders, her arm, her face, something.

“I don’t know,” she says shyly. “Something a little less... crowded?”

“I think I can do that,” I tell her, relieved that she still wants to go out with me, despite all of Gabe’s persistence and their odd connection. I clear my throat. “Did you want to try something a little more difficult than candle lighting?”

She nods eagerly.

Controlling the weather is advanced, something I can do but haven’t completely mastered. However, I’ve heard from Gabe that she’s already done it by accident.

I instruct her on what to think about, what to feel, how to urge something to happen. How to imagine it and make it happen...

And before I know it, it’s snowing.

She’s looking around in awe and I can feel an odd sensation building inside me... is it pride? It’s strange how attached you can be to someone you’ve barely known when magic is involved. My thoughts take a possessive edge as I wonder how Gabe truly feels about her. Does he feel proud when she accomplishes something? Does he feel the complexity of emotions that I do? Does he want to strangle me every time I look at her, the way I want to strangle him?

And how does he feel about Grace? I’ve noticed the protective way defends her. The way he encourages her to continue trying simply because he believes in her so much. His patience almost like a caress.

And he doesn’t even notice.

He’s so wrapped up in Holly that he can’t see that he does have a connection with Grace.

“This is amazing,” Holly says breathlessly, breaking through my reverie. She’s spinning in slow circles, staring at the snow in a trance, hands out catching snowflakes on her palms. She smiles in awe, her full pink lips pulling up over her white teeth seductively.

You are amazing,” I tell her. She doesn’t even seem to understand what just happened. “You did this. You made this happen... and you don’t even realize how advanced this is. You’re doing things it takes years to master.”

“Isn’t that kind of normal though?” She asks, confusing me. “I mean... If I’m supposed to be so powerful, shouldn’t it sort of come naturally to me?”

I consider it. “To an extent I expected it to. Causing a storm when you’re angry is one thing, as emotions can be a huge driving force in magic if you aren’t careful... but for someone to make it snow on the beach in the summer... that’s challenging even for someone experienced, but doable... and you make it look easy.”

“Can you do it?” She asks me.

“With a lot of concentration,” I answer her with a laugh.

She laughs too. “This is exhilarating.”

“Let me show you something,” I tell her, taking a step towards her, taking her hands gently in mine. Her breaths slow, her eyes wide in expectation. Everything is quiet, the world slowing around us. She gazes at the snowflakes, each one frozen in time. If she wanted, she could reach out and touch one, examine the different patterns in each snowflake.

Instead what she does next surprises me.

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