The morning brought on Esmra’s routine of waking before everyone else; and for a change she made a pot of coffee. While she read the paper over her cup of caffeine, she watched the birds fight over the seed from the feeder. Her quiet morning ended with several sets of footsteps from the girls who regarded themselves as a part of the coven house. Accompanied by steps, morning giggles filled the air and grew in volume as the three laughing witches arrived.
Esmra took another long sip of her coffee and even did so with a clear grin. “Well you are up early,” she said without turning to see the three girls digging in the pantry for something for breakfast. “So, I bet the scene is, first, Amelia giggles with Tracey and Raina follows as the third wheel in silence because...” Esmra turned around to see the exact scene she constructed aloud. “Raina isn’t quite the morning person.” Esmra left her chair and shooed them out of the pantry.
“I will cook. I already started the rolls, and I was lucky enough to pick up some eggs at the market. So, Raina, would you like tea or coffee?”
Raina rolled her eyes and slapped herself down in the chair as she rubbed her eyes and yawned. “Coffee, black. Leaded.” She held her face in her hands. A face streaked with the prior evening’s makeup that she refused to remove.
Amelia danced around the kitchen, reading the latest text message to Tracy, another girl in the coven who stood as tall as Amelia. She had flaxen blonde hair and deep blue eyes that widened with delight at the extra attention Amelia garnered from her gentlemen friend.
“Please, it is too early to give a shit about boys. Can’t I have a cup of coffee in peace?” Raina snapped as she squinted with the sting of the hot coffee on her lips.
Esmra tended to the oven but turned around and said, “Raina, what’s with this mood? Not have a good time last night?”
“Oh, I did, I just have a headache, and I stayed awake last night wondering how I can get the money together faster to get Nevoc taken off your hands.” Raina took another gulp of her coffee.
“Look, Raina, there is no rush. Just keep helping me run things, and it is fine. Nevoc will be there for you when you are ready. I want you to have the place. To get your start because I know you want to own your own business and it makes me feel good to help you.” Esmra patted her on the shoulder as she pushed through the giddy girls to get plates down from the cabinets.
Everyone sat at the table and inhaled eggs, bacon, and rolls. The loud chewing was the only sound in the kitchen for a brief time. Afterward, everyone including irritable Raina, helped clean up.
They left and Amelia was set to clean out some of Esmra’s old closets for some much-needed spring cleaning. She stayed behind while the other witches left, and Esmra and Raina left for Nevoc.
The rest of the girls that lived with Esmra, which at the time was only six other girls that included Raina and Amelia, went on to their regular jobs.
It was quiet with everyone gone. Amelia tended to her cleaning operation in between the lovey-dovey text messages that flowed in like a ramped river, from Brian. Giggling and happy, Amelia cleaned out the enormous closet in Esmra’s room.
Filled with old photos and furniture, it appeared as if it could be the front and center of an antique store. It took her most of the day to clean out old papers and items that Esmra said she wanted to be given away or donated. Amelia’s phone rang, and it was Esmra calling from Nevoc to check-in.
“Oh, hey Esmra, yeah, things are going okay. So, you said I can keep anything I find I want and donate the rest?”
Esmra, on the other end of the line and seated at her desk in the office of her bar, said, “Of course! I just knew with your interest in nostalgia that you would enjoy going through that closet. I bet the last time they cleaned it out was before my grandmother put her things in there, and that has to have been over seventy years ago. I wasn’t even born when my mother said she remembered my grandmother moving her stuff in thereafter her grandmother passed away! That is a lot of years to keep junk!”
“Sure thing Esmra, I have found a few things I like and an old lamp. But nothing else so far. I will get to it, so see you all when you get back.” Amelia hung up the phone.
For about another hour she cleaned and found her way into an old wicker like box, and upon opening, there were old letters, papers, and pencils. As Amelia continued to dig to the bottom, her hand brushed over one last solid item. After she pushed the contents away to get a better view, she indeed found something else she wanted to keep. A box, with strange symbols written on it, locked up and without a key.
After a careful study of the box, she shook it a bit, and there was not any audible sound and seemed empty. With little regard for the hollow sound it made, Amelia smiled and put it with the other items that she wished to keep. She finished her big chore and took the things back to her and Raina’s room. She placed everything including the box up on a shelf in her closet behind her hanging clothes.
She took the rest of what was in the old closet of Esmra’s to the donation center and returned. As she strolled into the house, she texted away with Brian, setting up a small outing for just the two of them later that day.
She hurried up the stairs and tossed her dusty clothes and opted for a hot shower when Raina strolled in from work.
“Amelia?” Raina said, as she tossed her black jacket and purse on the bed and leaned in the doorway while Amelia washed her hair.
“Yeah?” Amelia shouted out over the noisy shower and fan running.
“Okay, just checking, I think I have a deal worked out with Esmra, you know, to buy Nevoc. I love it there. I think I found I have a knack for business, and so far, it has increased in visitors. Esmra put me in charge of the hiring, and some new girls, seem to bring in more business. Maybe I could get other things going too. I don’t know about everything, but I am excited.” Raina showed emotion for once, and she smiled at the thought of getting to have so much responsibility.
The water shut off, and Amelia poked her head out, “That is great! I am happy for you.” Amelia said as she stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself up with a towel.
“So, you must have gotten dirty to shower in the middle of the day. I always knew you to be that early morning shower type.”
“Oh, yeah, wow, that old closet was terrible, but now it is in good shape, and I found some cool things to keep, I can show you later.” Amelia dried her hair and threw on a pair of jeans and a blouse.
“Why not now?” Raina flopped on the bed thumbing through a magazine.
“Oh, uh, Brian and I will meet up and grab a late lunch.” Amelia answered.
“Oh, so what about Derek? Is he going?” Raina’s tone was snarky.
“I think he is a little intimidated by you but seems to be interested. Why don’t you message him and see if he wants to do something? You two could get to know one another better.” Amelia handed Raina her phone, “Here take his number.” Amelia smiled as she watched Raina take the number and put it into her phone.
“Okay, you are right. I will.” Raina said, and she texted Derek to see what he was up to and in moments not only did he answer but the two of them seemed to have hit it off better than the first meeting, and they made plans for him to stop by Nevoc after she was finished working the next day.
Later, the house seemed empty, with most of the girls still out for the day, Amelia was out with Brian, leaving Raina to herself. After a quick bite of leftovers from Esmra’s dinner the night before, she decided to clean up the room she shared with Amelia.
She stripped sheets from their beds, vacuumed the rugs, and dusted the furniture. As Raina cleaned, she found the shirt she borrowed from Amelia before that never was put back up in her closet.
Raina continued to bob her head to the music coming through the headphones as she walked over to Amelia’s closet to hang up the shirt. She reached high for the top bar and slipped, missing it from improper balance on her toes, dropping the shirt. A few other shirts toppled down when she brushed her arm through them to find her balance. Then came the lamp Amelia found in Esmra’s closet; it barely missed her head along with the mysterious box.
Raina leaned over to see the box on the floor, and she pulled her headphones off while she picked up the box and studied it in her hand. The box had Celtic signs and others that she did not recognize. Just as she tried to open it and found that the box was locked without a key, voices were audible from downstairs.
Raina put the box and the lamp up and went back to cleaning the room when Amelia came in, and she was on the phone with Esmra, who she had just said bye to and hung up the phone.
“Wow! Look at you! Cleaning up!” Amelia said.
Raina shook her head, “Yeah, I just decided that I should help a little more.”
“Well it looks good in here,” Amelia sat down on the bed, “So what’s the news with Derek?”
“Oh, we will meet up tomorrow, and I can’t believe I am excited.” Raina’s face was softer than usual, and she seemed happy.
“I am so glad for you. You deserve happiness, Raina.” Amelia gave her a hug.
“Okay, let’s not get to mushy here.” Raina smirked as she put her headphones back one and finished the last few chores.