• 22.2 ~ Sometimes We Need A Little Magic
Luca, Evie and Harry sat around the table eating dinner later that evening. It wasn’t often that Harry was home early enough to cook for them, but when he did he enjoyed it and thought that Evie and Luca did as well.
“Luca, I checked out the house we spoke about. Turns out someone is living in it, his name is Mr. Tomlinson.” Luca nodded in acknowledgement and continued to eat his dinner. Evie put her fork down and looked between her brother and Harry.
“A witch used to live there.” Harry turned his attention to Evie.
“Where did you hear that?”
“Megan told me and her grandma told her. Don’t worry Daddy, the witch that lived there was a good witch and she doesn’t live there anymore.” Evie picked her fork up again and continued to eat. “What’s for dessert?”
“Evie, witches aren’t real. Good or bad. You understand that right?” Harry looked between Luca and Evie, “You both understand that right?”
“Why would Megan’s grandma lie? You said lying is wrong.” Evie asked innocently.
“Well” Harry bit the inside of his cheek and thought for a moment, “I’m sure Megan’s grandma wasn’t lying. Maybe she was just telling her a story.”
“I don’t think so Daddy. Megan was really serious. Her sister Amy even knows about it and she’s only in kindergarten.” Evie turned to Luca, “You heard Megan when she told me too. Tell Daddy.” Before Luca could answer Buttercup jumped on the table. She sat in the middle, her tail beating against the table, looking straight at Harry.
“Buttercup! Get off the table!” Harry swept his hand toward her, “Off!” Buttercup refused to move. Harry heard Evie start to giggle and while he continued to try and move their cat he caught a small smile on Luca’s face. Harry wrapped his hands around the cat and put her on the ground. “Stay off the table Buttercup.” Harry watched as the cat blinked at him before flicking her tail and walking away from the table. Evie continued to giggle as Harry sat back at the table.
“Daddy, what’s for dessert?” Evie smiled as she pushed her empty plate to the centre of the table. “That was really yummy.” Harry smiled at the compliment, perhaps he shouldn’t push the witch topic so hard, it obviously wasn’t scaring Evie and an argument wasn’t something Harry looked forward to at any point in his life, especially with a stubborn 7 year old.
“How about ice cream sandwiches?” Evie smiled and clapped her hands while Luca just nodded.
“Alright, well let’s clean up and then we can all have ice cream sandwiches before you two start on your homework.” Harry shook his head at the groans, “Nope, no arguments.” Both kids picked up their plates and headed toward the kitchen, Harry gathered dishes while he listened to them talk in the kitchen.
“How many more days until school is over Luca?”
“Too many Evie. Too many.” Luca replied. Harry laughed and put witches and the newest citizen of his small town on the back burner. He had ice cream and homework to worry about now.
Harry knew he was dreaming. It wasn’t the surroundings that told his brain that it was a dream, it was the fact that he was watching his kids in a yard he felt was familiar but couldn’t place. Evie was playing with Buttercup another cat and kittens, she was giggling and smiling as the tiny fluffy kittens crawled in her lap. Luca was balanced on a skateboard, riding down the cracked sidewalk, a smile on his face. Harry felt himself smile as he stared at Luca, he’d never seen him on skateboard before and it had been too long since he’d seen that smile. His heart burst with pride as he watched Luca stop the skateboard, but instead of turning to look at Harry, Luca directed the smile behind him. Harry followed Luca’s sight line and felt his smile fall as he watched Mr. Tomlinson clap and smile toward his son.
“What the-” he muttered to himself. He watched Luca run toward Mr. Tomlinson and high five him.
“I told you Luca! I knew you could do it!” Harry frowned and started toward the man he’d met only once and his son. As he approached the scene changed, Luca and Evie disappeared and Mr. Tomlinson was now seated on a large porch swing, smiling toward Harry.
“Chief Styles.” Harry stopped at the stairs leading up to the porch.
“Mr. Tomlinson. What are you doing in my dream?”
“Please, call me Louis. We’ve already been through this.” He sipped from a glass in his hand, “Please have a seat. I was wondering whose delightful children those were. I take it Evie and Luca are yours?”
“What is going on? I’m dreaming. Why am I dreaming about you?” Harry looked around, he felt confused and disoriented.
“Whoa. Harry. Calm down.” Louis now stood in front of Harry, his hand resting gently on Harry’s arm. “You are dreaming. I don’t know why I’m here but I am so for now why don’t you sit with me and have a glass of lemonade. I think I might even have some cookies.” Harry watched as Louis waved his hand and a second glass appears alongside a plate of cookies. He allowed Louis to guide him to the swing and then accepted the glass Louis offered. He sniffed at the liquid before taking a sip, it was sweet and tangy and felt very satisfying for a dream glass of lemonade.
“This is really good. Thank you.” Louis nodded and pushed his legs against the porch to move the swing.
“You’re welcome. It’s my Grandma’s recipe, has a secret ingredient.”
“This is so strange. I don’t understand. I know I’m dreaming but it all feels so real.” Harry stared out into the yard, “But I haven’t seen Luca smile like that in years. I know this can’t be real.” Louis remained silent as he watched a sadness cross Harry’s face.
“I wish I could figure out how to make him smile like that again. Ever since his mom died-” Harry trailed off before taking a sip of the lemonade. He didn’t know why he was telling a dream stranger all of this.
“I’m sorry Harry. I’m sure your wife was a lovely woman, Evie and Luca are beautiful and sweet.” Louis placed his hand on Harry’s knee and patted it.
“My wife?” Harry turned to face Louis before letting out a small chuckle, “Oh no. No, no, no. Cara wasn’t my wife, she was my best friend. I’ve never had a wife, uh, known I haven’t wanted one since I was about 10. Evie and Luca are my kids, but not biologically, I adopted them after Cara passed away. They have no other family.” Louis raised his eyebrows, his hand had stopped moving and was now just lying on Harry’s leg.
“Oh.” Was all he could mutter, “That’s very noble of you Harry. Most men wouldn’t take on two children by themselves.”
“My sister and parents live in town. They help out a lot, so really I’m not raising them by myself. I just couldn’t let them go into the foster system. I loved Cara, I love those children. Evie even calls me Daddy now.” Harry smiled and reached for a cookie, he felt comfortable, a weird sense of peace filling him. “Luca is still dealing with it all, maybe I should buy him a skateboard. What do you think Louis?” Louis felt his lips twitch into a smile. He knew he was in Harry’s dream, he wasn’t sure what had pulled him into it but he was finding himself glad he had been.
“I think that might be a great idea Harry. Perhaps you can bring them by, I could help Luca if you’d like. I used to skate in my younger days.” Harry nodded and finished his cookie.
“Yeah why the hell not. I mean, I know this conversation isn’t actually happening but sure. I’ll bring him by and Evie too. I think they’d like you. Evie thinks your grandmother was a witch, isn’t that silly? Maybe you can talk to her about that too. She doesn’t seem to want to believe me that witches don’t exist.” Louis listened to Harry babble. He smiled and nodded, knowing full well that when they both woke Louis would remember this conversation and understand it to be real but Harry would think it was all a dream. Louis removed his hand from Harry’s leg and looked into Harry’s green eyes.
“Magic is real Harry.” Harry laughed.
“Oh not you too! What is going on? This dream is starting to be silly. Okay Louis, whatever you say. Anyway, I think it’s probably time for me to wake up. It was nice talking to you Louis, well, figment of my subconscious Louis.” Harry walked toward the stairs, not really sure how to wake up from his dream, he turned back and waved at Louis.
“See you around Louis.” As he descended down the stairs he watched the scenery start to blur together. Harry woke up, staring at the ceiling of his bedroom. He pressed the palms of his hands to his eyes and yawned. Turning toward his bedside table, he reached for his phone and checked to see how much time he had before his alarm was due to ring. He felt a smile fill his face as he realised his alarm was 1 minute away from going off. He switched it off and stretched his arms above his head. Rolling out of bed, he swore he could still taste lemonade and chocolate chip cookie.
Blocks away from Harry’s home another man woke in his own bed. He blinked his blue eyes open and smiled as his pregnant cat Lily pressed her head into his hand.
“Morning Lily. Well that was an interesting evening. I believe I met your kittens last night. You’ll be having 5 my sweet and I suspect they’ll be coming quite quickly.” Lily purred as Louis scratched behind her ears. “Yes, yes my friend, they’ll be healthy and I met a little girl who is eager to play with them.” Louis swung his legs off his bed and tucked his feet into the slippers he’d left there the night before.
“Well Lily, I guess it’s an early start for me today. Only a week until I open Silver Blade, I should finish the initial stock today and perhaps I’ll run into the handsome Chief Styles again soon.”
Louis gave himself a mental pat on the back as he stood back and admired his shop. He smiled at the floor to ceiling book shelves that stood in the back corner, new books mixed with old, all types of written word on the occult and magic. He scanned the wall of dried herbs and mixtures he’d prepared, potions and creams for everything from memory help to basic glamour charms. He smiled as he moved toward the shelves and straightened a bottle that was out of place, nothing in the shop was harmful or that potent, more like a small energy boost in the direction the purchaser would be heading anyway. Enough of his magic put into the pots and bottles to give a positive result but nothing that would harm anyone or anything. He had filled his shop with things that could help the town and its people if they opened their mind to it. Louis didn’t run around advertising that he was a witch, it wasn’t that he was ashamed of the fact, but he’d found in other places he’d lived that once he confirmed it, people tended to remove his `mysterious´ label and replace it with a very prominent `crazy´ label. When his grandparents had passed Louis had been surprised to find himself the recipient of the old house. Originally he’d thought to just sell it but when his mom started to tell him that his Grandmother had been open with her talents when they’d lived there so many years prior he’d thought to at least check it out. He’d fallen in love with the old house almost immediately and when he found the vacancy on Main Street he’d started the process of opening Silver Blade. He’d been in town for almost a month now, kept mainly to himself and avoided most contact with the town’s residents. He planned on keeping the `mysterious´ label intact and knew it would help draw attention to his shop, which he hoped would also benefit from the towns touristy nature in the summer months.
What he hadn’t planned on was the attractive Chief of police piquing his interest. Louis had spent most of his life alone, the few relationships he’d had always fell apart when the men wanted to know more about his life. He’d never felt comfortable enough to open up his life and secrets and as he’d found with people who didn’t know him, even when they did, the term `witch´ tended to make them retreat fairly quickly. Dreams and visions had told him he’d eventually meet someone he could be himself with but as he’d gotten older and watched anyone he was interested in leave, he’d started to think fate and the universe were just screwing with him. Chief Styles did intrigue him though, physically he’d stirred warmth in Louis’ belly, tall with broad shoulders, a head full of curls that framed a face of green eyes, a full pink mouth and dimples that Louis wanted to see again. The personality had come out in the dream when he’d spoken about his children, the honorable man who’d taken on the task of being a Dad because of the love he held for his friend. The frustration and deep concern Harry had for the young boy had made Louis want to comfort him and help, but the deep, pure love that Harry obviously had for both of the children had radiated off of him. It was what Louis had felt the most in the dream, it had wound itself through the scene, had made the colors more vivid and the smells of the outdoors more pronounced. Louis found himself day dreaming about the man, wondering how he could see him again when a sharp knock on the blacked out windows brought him back to reality. Normally he’d ignore it, but when it sounded again he walked to the door and unlocked it to peek out. He bit the inside of his cheek to prevent the smile from filling his face when he found Chief Styles on the stoop.
“I’m sorry Chief, I don’t open until tomorrow.” Louis fit himself into the door, hiding as much of the shop as possible but still making himself visible.
“Mr. Tomlinson.” Harry stated with a warm smile on his face, “Please, again, call me Harry. May I call you Louis?” Louis nodded and waited for Harry to continue.“So, uh, Louis. Your shop has garnered a lot of buzz around town with a lot of rumors swirling about what you are specializing in” Harry let the sentence trail off hoping Louis would pick up the conversation. There was something about Louis that intrigued Harry. Physically he was beautiful, blue eyes that seemed friendly but swirled with a bit of mystery, high cheekbones and a strong jawline made his face a stunning work of art, he was a few inches shorter than Harry, but where Harry was long and lean Louis was curvy and compact. Harry couldn’t help but notice the muscular thighs and had a quick flash of his hands kneading into them. He shook his head and cleared his brain of the inappropriate though picking up on the fact that his sentence had gone unanswered by Louis but a small smile was now playing on his lips.
“So, yes, I’m sure you’ll have quite a few visitors when you open.” Louis nodded again finding the way Harry shifted in his stance and tried to charm Louis endearing.
“That’s what I’m hoping for Harry. Was there something else I could help you with?” Harry shook his head gently, the slight disappointment of the conversation ending so quickly apparent on his face.
“No, no. Uh, just thought I’d stop by and, um, I guess see everything for myself. This was Mr. Chadwick’s Barber shop for as long as I can remember, it’s a bit strange to not see it when I pass this way.” Harry shifted again, bringing his hand the back of his neck and scratching, “You don’t happen to sell skateboards in there do you?” Louis cocked his eyebrow toward Harry.
“Skateboards?” Louis watched as a slight blush came across Harry’s face. He felt his smile grow. Perhaps Harry was putting more weight into their chance dream meeting than Louis had given him credit for. “Why don’t you come inside Harry, I’ll give you a quick tour.” Harry brought his hand back to his side and mentally kicked himself for acting so strangely. There was something about Louis that made him nervous but excited all at the same time. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d met someone that seemed to have such an effect on him. He’d actually never really found anyone who did much for him if he was honest with himself. He’d had a few boyfriends but nothing that had panned out to much more than sex, no emotional or intellectual stimulation, and ever since the kids he’d basically just rejected the notion of ever dating again.
“That would be really great Louis. I can take a peek and make sure all your licences are displayed and such.” Louis rolled his eyes but chuckled.
“Sure Chief. Whatever you say. Come on in.” He turned and stepped into his shop, moving so that Harry could step in as well before he shut the door soundly. “Welcome to Silver Blade.” Harry felt his eyes widen as he tried to take in all of the knickknacks, odds and ends and bottles that filled the space. It was not like any shop he’d ever seen before and definitely not what he had expected.
“So that’s probably a no on the skateboards?” He finally managed to whisper out as he continued to take in the shop. He turned and found himself smiling as he heard the quick bark of laughter escape from Louis.
“No, unfortunately no skateboards. If you’ll notice, my business license is hung right behind the register.” Louis pointed toward the framed piece of paper from the town’s municipal office. “Just a shop full of books, and herbs and knickknacks.” Louis watched Harry carefully as he ran his fingers along displays and read the labels on bottles and jars that lined the wall. He watched as Harry raised his eyebrows at descriptions, his lips turning down when he found something he’d obviously not heard of. Louis found it adorable and he couldn’t help but smile, he found himself wanting to explain things to Harry, to show what was real and what was just for show. He gave his head a shake and cleared his throat.
“So you said something about a skateboard. I don’t sell them but, uh, I have a few at home that I don’t use anymore. I could give you one if you need it but isn’t skateboarding to work a bit strange for the chief of police?” Harry turned to give Louis a confused look.
“Why would I skate- Oh!” Harry laughed and shook his head, “Right, skateboard. It’s not for me and yes it would be strange for the town to watch their police chief skateboard to work. I’m not coordinated enough for it even if I wanted to, I’d end up breaking my neck I’m sure, but my son, I think he might enjoy it.” Louis smiled gently, it was so incredible to watch the peace and love that filled Harry’s face when he spoke of his son. It was similar to what he’d seen in Harry’s dream last night but so much more intense in reality.
“Why don’t you bring your son by? I can teach him the basics perhaps? Give him a few tips?” Harry’s dimple popped as he nodded.
“That would be wonderful. If you open tomorrow, you must be pretty busy, when would you be free?”
“How does Sunday work for you? I’m closed on Sundays and I didn’t have much planned. I’ll be home all afternoon.” Harry extended his hand toward Louis.
“Sounds wonderful. I’ll see you around 3.” Louis reached out and shook Harry’s hand, a tiny shock of electricity shot through Louis body and he shivered at the feeling.
“Sounds good Harry. See you then.” He let Harry out of the shop and slid to the floor against the closed door. Something was different about Harry Styles, something that made Louis feel calm and nervous all at the same time, whatever it was Louis felt the need to explore it and figure it out.