I enter the shop with my list in hand. Dark red candles, of course, like Olivia’s Scottish heroine hair, and purple, her favorite color. And black for protection and pink to help manifest a miracle in service of the highest good.
Which is what we’re going to need, I think, if this is going to work. Oh, ye of little faith, I chide myself in my mother’s voice, as I buy new smudge sticks of white sage and sweet-grass, incense in jasmine and patchouli, and essential oils in every type of rose I can find. And honeysuckle, I think, to bind the spell.
Then I remember to stop at the fabric store for a few extra rolls of red ribbon. I tuck all my purchases in the dainty willow basket and take them to the register.
“Hey there, girlfriend,” says Clarice behind the counter. Her blue eyes are huge and fringed with long dark lashes. “I thought this was a half-century celebration. This stuff looks more like a love spell. What are we doing, conjuring up some sex god to give Olivia a birthday thrill?”
“Something like that.” I smile. I don’t want to give too much away, for there’s power in secrets. If there’s power in the words that get spoken, there’s even more in the ones that don’t. The fact that it’s a paradox tells you that it’s the truth.
At least that’s what Olivia says. She’s the one who introduced me to the coven. I’d been a stumbling solitary, reading every Cunningham and Conway that appeared on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf, when I happened to meet Olivia at a psychic fair. She saw me for the poor lost lamb that I was, and taking me under her wing, taught me more about the Craft and my own spirituality than all the nuns at Mount St. Joseph Academy combined. And tonight - tonight, I’m determined to show her exactly how much she means to me.
My next stop is the grocery store, where I pick up brownie mix and butter and lots of honey and heavy cream. And every copy of every tabloid I can find with Johnny Depp’s picture plastered all over it.
Not that I, or Olivia, read this stuff, but Olivia just worships Johnny Depp. Hearing her talk about him - his new movie, his appearances on late night TV, his interviews in magazines, his talent, his looks, his charm, his range - gave me the idea one night when I happened to catch a few minutes of Don Juan de Marco in the middle of one of Olivia’s trips to Baden-Baden, Mykonos, or Mallorca.
It was the dinner scene, in the beginning, when he’s seducing the first woman, that caught my attention, so that I understood in a split second what made Olivia gush. And from that moment on, I knew exactly what she needed to do to decide whether or not to believe in what GianCarlo appeared to offer.
I pull up to my last stop and look around as I turn the ignition off. Dwyer Cemetery is set off the road. I pull out the bunch of flowers I’ve brought specifically to leave here.