Genie in a Wine Bottle

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Chapter 7

I sat up on the couch staring at Michael, who was sitting on the ground with papers and files surrounding him.

He looked ten years younger, with those thick frames on, a hood covering his face as he stared at something.

“Are you done yet.” I asked him.

“Nah I’m still reading this case.”

“No. Not the case. Thinking of your wishes.” I told him. I didn’t really care that much about his case, I granted the wish to assist him but if he wasn’t going to give me the things I need then I couldn’t help him.

“You really want me to think of these wishes fast.”

I nodded, “Yeah because I would like to go back to the warmth and safety of my wine bottle. Actually, can you do me a favour and hide me somewhere that people won’t find me for another hundred years.”

Michael did that beautiful laugh again and leaned back against the base of the couch where my leg was resting “You really don’t like your job do you?”

I leaned back lying against the couch letting the soft fabric swallow me up, “You get bored after a bit. All I see are selfish humans asking for riches, there is no limit for greed. Besides granted wishes is a draining thing.”

“Does it kill you?”

“What granting wishes?” I asked. Michael nodded.

“Nah, just slowly eats of your special abilities but also makes you powerful with time. Like I guess you progress from junior genie to senior genie eventually. You just need to be able to control all that energy and channel it. Depends what the human ask for as well.”

“What was the hardest wish you had to grant.” Michael asked.

“Oh this is going years ago,” I sat up, “I can barely remember this one. It was a young man with a daughter and she had cancer. That was a hard one to deal with.”

“I thought you couldn’t bring back people from the dead so to cure her of cancer was breaching that rule isn’t it.” Michael pointed out.

I nodded, “In a way yes. He didn’t ask me to kill the cancer or cure him from that illness. I can cure you from the common cold but not from deadly life diseases. He was smart you see, he knew the limitations of my powers, he could risk trying to find another genie who was more powerful to grant him those wishes. Instead he asked me to give him enough knowledge, money and resources to be able to treat that cancer for his daughter.”

He indeed was a smart man, not to mention it only took him three days to think of the three wishes unlike Michael over here.

“That way he was able to access everything he needed to get his daughter the best medical care and basically afford it and live from that.”

“Smart man.” Michael nodded, “So uh, you know for my second wish. What are some of the best ones you’ve granted.”

I shook my head, “I can’t tell you that,”

“Why not?” Michael asked slightly annoyed as he pulled off his glasses and placed it on the pile.

“You need to think of a wish yourself, I can suggest stuff but I can’t just pick and choose for you. That makes it my wish, not your wish to be granted.”

Michael groaned tugging off his jumper, his shirt half rising with it exposing his toned torso. He pulled it down with the other hand and ran a hand through his hair deep in thought.

“I guess you don’t need to wish for a better body.” I said, “One less concern for you.”

Michael raised his eyebrows, “Are you checking me out genie?”

I shrugged, “I’m just helping you with the wishes. Not the best i’ve seen and not the worst.”

Michael grimaced as he stood up, “I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not.” he stretched his arms over his head leaning back, “but saying that you’re not repulsed by me, are you still okay to be my fake girlfriend for this weekends birthday.”

“So you haven’t found anyone else? Are you sure that is not your wish.” I asked.

“Come on, if I get a fake girlfriend I will need to get rid of her and the entire thing seems really clingy. You’re here, I know a bit about you to play along with this.”

I sighed, “Sure I guess.” I have seen how busy he was the past few days, always at work, or in the apartment reading those files. I was almost getting bored watching him that I had to resort to watching the movies he had put on.

He was still waiting for the files on the two people I asked for, he said they should come next week.

“We need a name for you though.”

“I do have a name.”I pointed out.

Michael shook his head, heading for the kitchen. He came back out holding a packet of chips that he chucked towards me.

“Sheila is not a name. It’s a slang for girl. So whoever was calling you that was calling you girl the entire time.” Michael sat down and I quickly moved my legs before he sat on top of them. I scooted up the couch so I gave him more room.

“You pick a name then.”

Michael shrugged, “I don’t know genie, what do you want to be called. Surely you have a name? Is it written on that wine bottle of yours.”

“I don’t know human you figure it out.” I grabbed a handful of chips. God whoever made these addictive snacks was truly a god. Maybe I could get some to take away with me into my wine bottle

“I’ll think of a name for you by Saturday, which is only a day and a half away so maybe we should make a list of how we met.” Michel brought over some soft drinks as well, taking a place on the couch.

“What do you mean?”

“I need to come up with a more realistic story than finding you outside my doorstep in a wine bottle.” Michael grabbed a handful of chips himself. Unlike me, who was shoving them down my throat, he ate them one by one, deep in thought.

“I think that’s a fine story, just remove the part of how I was in a wine bottle because that’s our secret.”

“I don’t think my parents will want me dating someone that was hanging outside my apartment door either.”

“Okay…” well his parents have high expectations, “How about you say we met at work? I am helping you with you cases” I suggested.

“Nope. Can’t really date people I work with. Conflict, heavily frowned upon and my father is also a detective so he wouldn’t like that.”

I shrugged laying back down again, “I don’t know, you think of something and I’ll just nod along.”

Michael reached down for his folder, “is that another case I can help you with?” I asked. Maybe that could be his second wish, another case.

“Nah I’ve got this. You relax.” he smiled.

Little did he know relax was one of my strongest activities, that’s all I do in between genie jobs. With that I closed my eyes, perhaps I should just have a little sleep. Sleep really didn’t do much for me, but it made the time fly by. Maybe I could wander down some of my many memories

* *

“There are a lot of people here.”

Michael nodded, he looked really tense and uncomfortable as he sat in the car looking out the window.

“We can turn back.” I suggested. I leaned forward looking out the window, when he said birthday bash I didn’t assume there was going to be a turnout like the royal wedding, whichever one was on TV in black and white a few decades ago.

Michael shook his head sighing, and then he took in deep breathes, “Are you ok?” I asked him.

“Let’s get this over and done with, and, well, if I wish for you to get me out of there can you do that?”

I nodded, “Of course, if you want a more realistic one I can make you get food poisoning with the click of my fingers,” I said holding them up.

“Yeah maybe not that one.” Michael opened the car door, allowing a icy breeze to fill up the car. I let myself out, pulling the hem of my dress down.

“Can they really see you?” Michael asked, almost whispering.

“Yep, I added some of Camie’s scent as well, just in case.” I looked around. I for one was pretty keen to go to a party. The last one where I made my human appearance was decades ago.

I remember that party like it was yesterday, it was a very important party between all the rich and influential people during that time. There was music. amazing performances and a lot of arguments.

“Are you coming?” Michael asked casting me a worried look.

“Yes sorry,” I hurried up after him, taking the steps two at a time and following close by him.

Michael looked really tense, there was a permanent tightening in his jaw, he was probably clenching his teeth and his fingers kept fidgeting with something. They were either running through his hair, touching his collar or tapping something.

“You look nice.” I assured him.

“I hope so.” He cleared his throat opening the unlocked from door and letting us in. I was consumed straight away by the loud noises, only amplified by my sense, and an aroma of roast beef that was cooking away.

Michael was ambushed straight away by old people, hugging him, “Michael! It’s been so long. How are you darling?” An elderly woman embraced him for a second time and Michael’s lips strained into a smile.

“Good granny, and you?” He asked.

“Wonderful,” The old woman’s eyes flickered to me, “Well, who is this young lady?” I smiled, aw, she thought I was young. I still have it!

“This is uh-Sheil-uh-Shena?”

I raised an eyebrow, was the that best name he could come up with. Michael ran a hand through his brown locks tugging on the end, making some of it stick up.

“She’s my girlfriend.” he quickly added. The woman’s curious gaze turned into a smile, a big one at that.

“My baby has finally found a woman! Oh I am so glad!” She grabbed him, squeezing him into a tight hug for the third time.

“Well Shena my name is Margaret and I am Michael’s favourite grand mother.”

“Nice to meet you,” I stuck out my hand but the old woman went straight for a bear like hug, knocking the wind out of my chest. Well, that was unexpected but I really should have as she was hugging Michael like he as some rag.

“That’s enough granny, don’t squash her.” Michael said coming to my rescue.

“Come on, let’s go meet everyone I need to introduce them to everyone.”

Michael sent me an apologetic look but reached for me and then hesitated confused as his grandmother walked ahead of him.

“What?” I asked.

Michael shrugged, “This is going to be so weird touching you for the first time. You normally feel like cold air, what do you feel like now?” He said in a lowered voice.

I raised my hand higher, “Touch and find out.”

His grey eyes looked at me for a moment before reached out, lacing his fingers with mine and there was a ray of emotions on his face, “This is so weird.”

“What, I don’t feel like human?”

“No you do, that’s the thing. You’re all flesh and bones.”

I started walking behind his grandmother, pulling him with me before she started looking for us, “And a bit of fat from all those chips i consumed last night.” I pointed out. Even though it would have just gone into my never ending stomach.

Margaret wasn’t wrong when she said she was going to introduce us to everyone, she did that. With each introduction I watched Michael get a little bit more confident and a little but more comfortable.

I wasn’t sure if it was because whatever he was thinking about was at the back of his mind or those beers he was drinking, he was laughing, making that melodic sound and chatting to everyone.

He placed a hand on my back, “My parents are coming, act like you love me.”

“Easily done.” I nodded, the hand was warm on my back.

Michael looked at me, “The pretending or loving me.”

“Aren’t they one and the same?” I asked.

Before he could reply his parents walked up to us, his mother looking between us. I thought it was the father I should be worried about given that he was a detective but his mother seemed to look between us a few times. Perhaps it was the timing.

I would be speculative too, here his mother was trying to set him up with people and then Michael rocs up to a family event with a girlfriend. Maybe we should have practiced our story a bit more.

“Uh this is uh Hannah, um Shana.”

Nervous Michael was back, I reached behind me taking his hand off my lower back, and grasping it in mine realising that he probably needed a bit more help.

“Nice to meet you both,” I stuck out my hand shaking both of their hands, his mothers grip was firm and cold.

“I didn’t know you had a girlfriend Michael.” His mother’s grey eyes narrowed at him ever so slightly.

“Yeah uh, I didn’t want you to start your hundred questions you know?”

Michael was clearly scared or nervous about his mother, his father on the other hand was too busy staring at his phone, was he a work-a-holic too?

“Well Shann, how did you both meet.”

Michael butted in, answering it for us “At a wine bar. She and I ordered the same classic old wine and our drinks got swapped.”

“I didn’t know you drank wine.”

“U was just trying it.” He told his mum. She definitley didn’t think we were together, perhaps we needed to pick up our acting a bit more.

“Alright well I have a million other things to do, you both just hang around I’ll talk to you later.” his mum said.

Michael was more than relieved to tug me behind him outside, “I need air.” He said as he walked through the mansion like house, through the kitchen where more people were buzzing and out into the backyard and into the cold air.

“Are you ok?” I asked as he sat down on a bench. I sat beside him as he reached for my hand, “Did you want to get out of here?”

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I have an exam on Sep 17 so I will be pausing all updates till then. I will also be updating all my new and older stories on here as much as I can today and then going to study for my last ever exam!! (Wish me luck)

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