>Afterwards I’m sure it’s the doubt that defeats us. Olivia lingers after the others leave, Leslie in my sneakers. “You know,” she says, leaning into the glow of the new porch light, “maybe it’s just as well. What was I supposed to do with him, anyway?”
I punch her gently on the shoulder and smirk flirtatiously. “An it harm none, do as ye will. What kind of a witch are you?”
“Not a very good one, obviously,” she replies. We look at each other and I start to cry. “Oh, don't cry, honey, this is probably the cutest thing anyone’s ever tried to do for me.”
“Really?” I squeak against her damp silk shoulder.
“Really.” She pats my back and sets me upright. “That whole Don Juan de Marco idea - who wouldn’t want that for a birthday present? You should get some sleep. You were glowing like a blowtorch for quite a while in there.”
“Yeah?” Olivia sees auras. She says anyone can see them, but I don’t. “What color was mine?”
“White and gold, mostly. Pink, in the center.” She kisses my cheek and in the shadowed depths of her huge purse, her cell phone begins to blink red. That’s new, I think. She never used to carry it with her. She turns to leave, fluttering a farewell over her shoulder. “GianCarlo? Ciao, bello! Where are you? Home? My home? You’re here?” Her feet crunch through ankle deep leaves as she disappears, giggling like a schoolgirl into the darkness.
“Good night, Olivia,” I whisper. “Happy birthday.” And watching her sashay down the path, pink pashima swaying, I know no one would ever believe that a little over three years ago, her husband of twenty-seven years had been accused of molesting a series of little girls in the church where he’d been a minister. Buddy Love’s wet nose brings me back to reality. “Okay, boys,” I say. “Let’s go out.”
The magic words take them to the kitchen, but something makes Duffy’s ears prick up and he growls the moment he enters the room.
“What’s wrong, boy?” I ask. Just don’t let it be another mouse, I think, as I switch on the lights. Duffy chased the last mouse right up Marnie’s leg. I’d have to die if that happened to me. I switch the light on, but there’s nothing running in any direction and Duffy’s gaze is fixed directly on the back door.
I grab the cordless phone when Duffy’s chest goes down, his tail goes low and he growls again. The growl alerts Buddy Love. The kitchen door is locked. I tiptoe to the window and peek over the tops of the unbleached muslim curtains.
The night is still now; whatever storm blew through before the ritual is over. Beside me, Buddy Love whines and Duffy growls. “What is it, boy?” I ask. My heart pounds in my chest. There is something out there - something alien and strange - but Buddy Love is whining and scratching at the door.
I check to make sure 911 is punched into the phone, and with my finger on the CALL button, I open the kitchen door. The dogs immediately begin to howl, and I realize if I hadn’t been so cautious, I might’ve tripped over the naked man lying just outside the door.
I hush the dogs and tiptoe forward. He’s asleep, as soundly asleep as I would imagine for a human it’s possible to be, and naked as the day he was born. A shock of honey blond hair falls over his face and I push it back gently with a shaking hand, revealing dark brown roots.
He rolls over on his side, and as I stare down the entire length of his body, alabaster as marble in the yellowish light, I know that the sleeping naked man on my back porch is undeniably, indisputably, Johnny Depp.