Raina went back to work at Nevoc, where she was all set to retrieve the box to take back to Gabe. Whisking past the busy workers, they barely noticed her as she walked through the bar area back to the office and noticed a strange spot on the floor that she didn’t recall seeing before.
She knelt for a better look. One symbol from the paper and the box that Gabe was working on appeared there. She rubbed her finger through it, and examined the contents, and all that was there was a fine, silt like residue with a purple hue.
Raina grabbed the box, left the office and on her way out she said, “I have something important I need to take care of, and I won’t be back to work today.” Before the girl could respond, Raina was already gone.
After arriving back at Gabe’s house, she barged in and found Gabe in his office looking up more symbols and ancient writings on the Internet. She extended her arm outward and said, “Here it is. I hate to put this on you, but I am not leaving until we figure this out.”
Gabe wheeled around in his chair, scratched his head, and stared at Raina. “Look, I don’t think whatever is in that box is good. These symbols are Wiccan, which explains a lot if it were Esmra’s house. I am not saying that the symbols in today’s age represent anything negative. However, I believe that if this is from a distant past, then it very well may show something negative.”
Gabe went back to flipping through his computer screen while Raina looked to her phone, from which she read a text from Derek asking to see her later that evening. As she read, Raina’s smile spread across her face like wildfire. Then another text came through from Amelia asking about Derek. So, as the ideas of her new love interest momentarily distracted Raina, while Gabe continued his work.
“Raina, I need more time with the inscriptions, there isn’t anything I can find on the Internet. I may talk to one of my professors at school. He may point me in the right direction. Okay?”
Raina nodded, and she got up to leave the room. “Okay, look, I appreciate what you are doing for me. I do.”
A few days passed, and Gabe still had not been in touch with Raina, and it was time for Raina and Derek to get together for their date. She and Amelia had not exchanged many words, not having the chance to see each other with their respective work schedules and new boyfriends. Amelia spent a lot of time with her new boyfriend, and Raina was getting closer to buying the bar from Esmra. She kept working, and when she was not working, she was with Derek.
Raina and Derek spent all Saturday together, going to museums and to the movies. Despite the pair couldn’t look more different and appeared not to be a match, she and Derek ironically were getting along. Their infatuation seemed to have bloomed overnight.
They arrived back at the apartment Derek shared with his best friend. Already having spent some very intense and heated hours together behind a locked door, they weren’t going to waste a second. After several rounds of sex, Derek rolled over as he dripped with sweat and lay on his back with heavy breathing.
“Wow, Raina, I don’t think I have ever met or been with anyone like you.” He looked over at her, still in amazement of the new experience that had taken place with a woman he usually wouldn’t give any attention to.
Raina smiled and pulled the sheet up over her and rolled into Derek’s side. “Well, I aim to please.”
“So, you want to head out and get something to eat? Girl, with that kind of exercise, I need to refuel.” Derek leaned in and gave her a kiss and promptly put his clothes on.
The pair left the apartment, just missing Amelia, and Brian. They drove over to a local café in town to grab a late dinner, and as they pulled in, an unfortunate encounter was on the horizon. Derek’s ex-girlfriend and a group of their mutual friends walked in and put their names on the waiting list.
Derek opened Raina’s door and helped her exit the car. He put his arm around her as they walked through the front doors of the restaurant when his old group of friends lay their eyes on the couple. They took their eyes off one another and maintained their smiles while adding their names on the list. Then Derek locked eyes with the interested parties watching the couple.
Derek pulled his head back in shock and recognition to see his old group of friends and his ex-girlfriend. “Oh, well. Hi. What are you all doing here?”
One girl of the group numbering five said, “Well, a few of us are from here, you know?”
Derek blushed and noticed the group’s eyes on Raina. “Uh, well, not that this is your usual place. But good to see you,” he attempted to walk away from the group and dodge the questions he knew would soon follow.
The brunette girl that stood next to his ex and watched Raina whispered into her ear and then said, “So Derek, aren’t you going to introduce us to your date?”
Derek’s ex dressed to perfection, and she had long blonde hair, blue eyes, and an admirable figure. Her makeup was flawless, and she had a death’s glare at Raina.
The ex-girlfriend said, “Derek, what about me?” She smirked.
“Uh, yes, I am sorry, this is, uh ... this is my friend, Raina. Raina, these are some of my friends, this is Erica and Heather.”
Neither of the women exchanged pleasantries; however, they exchanged a few dark looks at one another.
Raina’s eyes cut like daggers. Still, she smiled and said hello to everyone despite the insult. A few moments later, everyone was called to take their respective tables. After the meal ended, the trip back to Derek’s apartment was decorated with a colorful exchange of words.
Raina sat in the car as Derek drove and stared at him waiting for some kind of response to what took place earlier and when she didn’t get what she was looking for, she jumped on him. “So, are you ashamed of me?”
Derek rolled his eyes while he drove. “Why are you asking me that?”
“Well, is it customary to introduced someone you just slept with as your friend?” Raina did not take her eyes of Derek as he continued to stare at the road.
“You and I just met; things moved fast. I wasn’t sure what our status was at the moment. But I guess now is an appropriate time to discuss that.” Derek gave Raina a look that didn’t appear to be happy with where the conversation was going.
“Derek, where do you want this relationship to go?”
He shrugged as he turned away and continued to drive into the apartment complex. After he parked the car, they both walked to his apartment, where they both saw the lights on, and Brian’s Mercedes parked out front.
“Derek, I asked you a question.” Raina’s tone lowered, and she took him by the arm.
“I don’t know, okay? You and I just met, and we haven’t had time to get to know each other yet. I like where things are going, can we just leave it at that?” Derek raised his arms as he looked at her.
Raina took a sharp breath and turned to walk away. “I don’t do ‘let’s see where it goes.’ If this is how it will be with you, then this doesn’t work for me.” Raina said as she walked to her car.
Derek followed her. “Aren’t you going to come up?”
Raina gave a sly smirk. “Oh, for round six? I guess five prior rounds weren’t enough for you, and neither am I.”
Raina jerked herself into her car and drove off, leaving Derek standing in the parking lot. She drove back to Esmra’s place where most of the girls in the coven had already gone to bed, and Esmra was the last one up in the kitchen reading.
Raina walked into the house and didn’t stop by the kitchen to say anything to Esmra. Instead, she trotted upstairs and closed the door and threw her bag down and jumped into the shower. Just as she finished the shower and was getting into bed, Amelia walked in.
“Raina, what is going on with you and Derek? Why did you leave?” Amelia sat on her bed and kicked off her heels.
“What’s it to you? I came home, big deal.” Raina got into bed and turned her back.
“Raina, when Derek came upstairs, he said you two fought over the status of your relationship. He seemed upset.”
Raina turned around with an incredulous look on her face. “What? Well, I don’t know if I can believe it. He didn’t seem to care too much about introducing me to his friends in the right way. He just said I was his friend.”
“Look, you are always so intense. That isn’t always good with some guys. I think he likes you a lot. Maybe he felt awkward, did you ever think of that?”
Raina leaned up against the headboard. “I appreciate what you are saying. But we slept together a lot, and I thought things meant more to him than friends.”
“You already slept with him? Raina, what have I told you? Take more time! Geez. This happens with guys. You sleep with them too soon, and then they get scared with your intensity.”
Raina pushed Amelia to get off her bed. “I don’t need your lectures. Just leave me alone. If I screwed this up, then I guess I did. But you won’t have to worry about me chasing after him. I won’t. I learned from the last one.”
“Okay, Raina, whatever you say. But I believe that Derek likes you. You know he just broke up with someone a lot different from you. You should feel good about that. He dated you because you are different.”
Amelia undressed and went to bed, and the girls didn’t say another word for the night.