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The Mistress of Magic

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Chapter 2: Crow's Warning

Blair’s dress twirled when she heard the soft chimes sing as the glass door’s opened. “Welcome,” she said cheerfully. It was the school teacher, Mrs. Liana Lance.

She was a bright young woman with dark black hair that was in a pony and she had a vivid golden dress on matching the sunshine outside. Blair recognized the blue shopping bags Liana was holding tightly, since Blair bought her lingerie from the same shop.

“Good morning, Blair,” Liana ran up to her with a huge smile and rosy cheeks. “I need another batch of that special brew you make of, oh what was it-”

“Cloves, ginger and cardamom,” Blair reminded.

She tried to hold back a squeal by holding her purse clenched to her chest. “It’s amazing how some spices can help in the bedroom.”

“You finished the last batch already?” Blair giggled and strode behind the glass counter.

“It works wonders, Blair,” she exclaimed with excitement.

Blair couldn’t help but slightly blush. “That’s nice to hear,” Blair scooped up some dried flakes and put them in a clear bag, she carefully tied it with a purple bow and handed it to Liana. “A gift,” she said.

Liana’s brown eyes brightened. “Thank you, but why?”

Blair closed the lid of the tea box and leaned over the counter. “My tea has made a life better, that’s enough payment.”

Liana lifted her bags and strode out the door letting the whimsical chimes ring over her as she left with a smile.

Blair straightened the crystals, dusted the shelves and wiped all the mirrors, spotless it all shined under the warm honey sun-rays. It was perfect day, she thought, but as she passed by her office a crow outside the small window ruffled its wings, she tilted her head at the small eerie warning.

Abruptly, her shop's door violently opened and shook the chimes almost knocking them off.

“Blair!” A woman came shouting inside. “I need your help,” she pleaded hopelessly. Blair recognized the wildly tousled ginger hair and big hazel eyes immediately, it was Eleanor Bates. She owned the bakery shop across from Blair, her infamous cheesecake was always the talk around town.

Blair’s brows knit together. “First calm down, Eleanor?” She guided the nervous baker to a seat, with a cup of cool water following closely.

Eleanor took a deep breath and chugged the water down her parched throat. Blair always found Eleanor to be the calm and collected at all times. So, what was this sudden change of spirit? Blair questioned alone.

Blair took the mug from her and set it aside. “Now, tell me all about it?” asked Blair.

“Okay,” she said on a sigh. “You know how everyone is expecting me to do the Mayor’s wedding preparations-”

Blair nodded. “The cake.”

“Yeah,” she sobbed. “Now people are asking for birthday surprises, or baby shower cupcakes and I have to maintain my shop every day.” Eleanor’s head slumped in the palm of her hands. “Why is it so overwhelming?” She begged.

Blair straightened her shoulders and fixed her blouse as she got up from her seat with a small grin. She strode across the shop and opened a glass casket full of crystals and gemstones. Blair followed her slim finger as a guide but secretly it was her magic guiding her, her finger stopped on its own as it hovered over what she was looking for; a blue lace agate crystal. It’s a baby blue shard mixed with a hue of greyish silver and it radiated an aura of relaxation and clarity to whoever’s heart it laid upon.

She picked up the crystal and held it close to her heart for a moment, a stream of magic entered the stone, she grasped the ends of the silver chain and found her way back to Eleanor. Eleanor moved her silky ginger hair to the side and let Blair clasp the ends together.

“What’s this?” Eleanor asked as she observed the crystal.

“It’s blue lace agate,” said Blair. “This is a soothing stone for your troubles-” But Blair cut herself short and waved her hand at the complications. “It’ll help,” she just told Eleanor.

Eleanor’s face instantly brightened into a radiant smile. “Thank you,” she said while pulling out her wallet and handing Blair a five-dollar bill forcefully even though the crystal costed three dollars. “For always helping.”

Blair watched the young girl skip out of her store with satisfaction and hope that all will get better, since it always does and Blair was sure of it since her magic controlled the crystal.

Blair straightened her floral skirt and noticed the arms of the clock where pointing at noon, which meant that it was time for paperwork and inventory, but it wasn’t always a pain since her magic did half the work.

-Maddox’s POV-

His long strides came to an end when he heard the news from his secretary. “So, you’re saying Ms. Claris can’t come to finish my house,” he said curtly.

“She got sick and can’t make the commute this far,” said Tony while pushing his glasses up his straight nose.

Maddox tucked his hands in his pockets, “Can you find anyone else?” he asked his secretary.

Tony nodded. “I did find someone but she’s-”

“Bring her in,” he interrupted. “I want my office at home refurnished as soon as possible.” Maddox left his secretary in a sticky dilemma because the woman he was ordered to hire was definitely the exact opposite of his dangerously intimidating boss. But what could he do when the eccentric shop owner who was the main talk around town was also the only available interior designer in Meadow-Mist. So, Tony straightened his prim suit and quickly followed his boss’s orders with no fuss or muss.

Blair heard the soft chimes again and she instantly lifted her head from the piles and piles of paperwork, she was just about to wave her hand with magic and clear her table but thank god she hadn’t because the man that had just walked in wouldn’t gotten one heck of a surprise.

“Welcome,” she exclaimed but when she saw the stiff suit and cold glasses she briefly froze, she didn’t recognize this man; in fact, she had never seen him before. Blair whispered the easy enchantment before tightly closing the door behind her making sure that the flying papers weren’t seen by this mysterious man. “Can I help you?” She asked him.

-Tony’s POV-

Tony looked down at his phone and matched the image with the woman standing in front of him. She was watching him through her heavy lashes, with an odd glimmer in her eyes and a sense of mystery he wasn’t used to. “I’m looking for Ms. Blair Lightwood,” he said.

Her brow arched. “You found her,” she leaned on the counter.

He pushed his glasses higher from the bridge of his nose. “I have an important proposition for you,” he said.

Her eyes twinkled like the night stars do over this town. “Do you now,” she remarked. “Well, why don’t you have a seat, Mister-”

“Anthony Welsh,” he finished before taking a seat on the burgundy chaise chair.

“Mr. Welsh,” she said. “Why don’t you explain further and I’ll make us some chamomile tea.”

Tony stiffened briefly, “That’s my favourite,” he mumbled while pulling out a file.

She peeked from the far corner. “I know,” she revealed with a grin.

“So, you want me to design your boss’s office,” she summed up simply.

“Precisely,” he said after closing the brown folder. “It’s only one room and you’re the only person in town whose free enough to do it.”

Blair sipped her tea. “Hmm.” Blair did study interior design in college, but she never built first-hand experience, or trained the knowledge she had received. She did help the town’s people buy lamps or dressing tables, sometimes pick what colour paint would look nice with their rugs, but never a full room, and that for a complete stranger. “I’ll have to meet him first,” she said on a sigh.

“Of course, that can be arranged,” he quickly agreed. A silent moment passed in the drifting sunlight. “By the way, how’d you know I preferred chamomile tea?” He asked after tasting the sweet hot tea, savouring the familiar rich taste with such fondness.

“You have insomnia,” she answered.

His eyes widened. “How’d you-”

“The way you push your glasses up all the time,” she remarked. “You rarely react to anything, except if it’s outrageous, you’re distant and that’s a sign of someone who gets no sleep.” His eyes finally brightened, unlike the dull black ones he walked in with, his mouth hanged open threatening Blair to smile. “You know I can probably help you with that.”

His head tilted to the side. “Really?”

She leaned in, “I have a few tricks up my sleeve,” she claimed. Her eyes scanned her store like radars trying to detect what she seeked. “Tell me what type of curtains you have in your bedroom?” She asked while busily looking around.

“Curtains?” He sounded surprised but he continued to answer. “Er- I don’t have curtains, there blinds,” he stuttered his answer.

“I suspected that,” she said while lifting from her seat. Her eyes found what they seeked behind the vintage Persian rug. “These will help,” she handed Tony thick dark cotton curtains, wrapped up in a blue bag with a black bow tied securely around it.

He quickly stood to his two feet and hesitantly accepted the bag. “How much?”

“20 dollars,” she stated indifferently.

His eyes widened. “20 dollars!” He exclaimed. “This- this looks like really cotton, I can’t take this for just 20 dollars, please tell me the real value.” He quickly pulled out his leather wallet and handed her a small silver card.

She held the card and felt reluctant to give in, even though she never liked receiving money from someone who needed what she gave them. “Alright,” he still paid half the price of the original, but she just kept that part a secret.

His hand hesitated just before he was about to tuck his glasses up again, his face lightened with a small smile. “I will arrange a meeting with Mr. Steele tomorrow,” he said with his hand extended out. “If that’s alright with you, Ms. Lightwood.”

She nodded and accepted his hand.

Blair’s chin rested in her palm as she saw the last brink of light disappear behind Charlie’s book store. She stretched her arms towards the ceiling before picking up her bag and headed home like everyone else.

Blair laid in bed as her mind pondered over the offer she had gotten earlier. Her heart didn’t take long to convince her that this project would be fun. She would get to design a room for someone she had never met before, who knows what will happen on this path. So, she turned on her belly and knocked out early for tomorrow’s meeting at Mongolia Hotel with the keen and mysterious Mr. Steele.

-Maddox’s POV-

Maddox tossed his jacket on the stiff white couch and unbuttoned the silver cufflinks on his shirt. His penthouse was darkly lit with just a few lamps left on by Tony. He poured himself a bourbon, the rich caramel liquid poured down his throat revitalizing him, his eyes wandered over to the massive glass windows- that exposed the entire town of Meadow-Mist and acres of land stretching far and wide beneath him. Unlike the city, the night sky here sparkled brightly, which was one of the reasons he moved here. Maddox couldn’t deny the appeal of a small town and fresh clean air. People barely recognized him here, so he could roam around leisurely without paparazzi tailing his every move.

In the city, he had lived everyday like the last. He didn’t enjoy going out much and neither did he like going to the bar to meet up with friends, nowadays life felt so colourless like nothing could surprise him. He looked for something new, something authentic and refreshing that set his mind over a million moons and back. Maddox was looking for someone to remind him that life could be better even though darkness was everywhere.

Maddox placed his empty glass down on the piano, his eager fingers pulled his tie loose, the silky fabric stayed laced between his fingers as he unbuttoned his shirt for a shower. Suddenly, his phone lightly buzzed against his thigh; there was only one person who contacted him this late.

“Hello, Sir,” Tony’s voice spilled through the speaker, which was oddly very bright for this late at night. “Your appointment with Blair Lightwood the interior designer is tomorrow at nine o’clock sharp.”

Maddox groaned silently because he had completely forgotten about that. “Alright,” he raked his tousled hair.

“Goodnight, sir,” he said chirpily.

“Goodnight, Tony,” Maddox cut the line and tossed his phone on the clean sheets of his bed.

He rolled his stiff neck and stepped under the raining shower head, until the water fogged up the glass and burned his skin he didn’t walk out. He stood under the fresh water and rinsed the day off him, his shoulders loosened and he began to fleetingly ponder who this interior designer was.

Maddox pulled on pair of black shorts and slipped into the cold bed that smelt of fresh linen and detergent, his heavy eyes drifted over the balcony doors and he found quite an odd sight, a crow was perched on top of the concrete railing, it ruffled its feathers and frolicked under the mystical moon. The soft cotton pillows sank as he laid still under the dark ceiling, his eyes didn’t even try to stay open before he drifted off like everyone else.

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