Simple chapter - a bit important...
+ DJ, I broke the 3k barrier today... over 3500 words
+ DJ, I broke the 3k barrier today... over 3500 words
Jane whispered the incantation and watched as the protective circle grew and grew. It was one of the advance protection spells their grandmother taught them. They needed to master it before leaving for their trip the day after tomorrow. She had become quite used to it and could complete circle in one try. When it was big enough to cover her entire frame, kind of like an invisible shield, she stopped chanting and waited for her sister.
‘Bigger Julie’ Rose’s stern voice sounded from the balcony.
‘I’m trying’ Julie hissed between half-closed lips. This was her third try at the circle and even this one grew no bigger than her head before dissolving completely. She sighed and started all over again. Concentrating on it so hard she was giving herself a headache, the fourth circle grew large enough to shield her torso and more importantly her heart. Evil magic-doers were known to either go for slow torture, just because they relish it, or quick deaths if they’re in a hurry. If the latter were the case, the vital organs would be the ones to attack.
‘I want to see a fully drawn circle by tomorrow-afternoon, Julie!’ Rosalie reprimanded, ‘I cannot send you out there if you can’t perform one of the first steps needed to protect yourself’
‘I don’t see why I have to go in the first place grams’ Julie sighed dropping her hands, ‘Jane is perfectly capable of handling herself out there…’
‘We don’t know what to expect in Belladonna Cove, so I’m not risking it. Both of you found different DiGorgios. One of them or both will take you to Jean. If they are close relatives, there’s a slight chance they might help you. If not, the outcome will be one I dare not think of. You will watch over your sister…’
‘…and I will do the same’ Jane finished the sentence with a smile.
‘Besides, the two of you are stronger when together, so end of discussion. Fully drawn by tomorrow’ Rose continued pointing at Julie, ‘Now let’s see the two of you defend yourself. Jane, if you please!’
She nodded at her Grams’ words and redirected her gaze to Julie, standing not so far from her. Jane’s face went from smiling to serious like a shadow moved over it. She balled her hands into fists and pressed them against each other. The energy she willed up materialized in the form of white sparks centering on her fist. Rosalie taught them to chant using their thoughts instead of their lips; giving them a surprise element if the enemy didn’t know what spell they were using.
With eyes fixed on Julie, she completed the chant and hurled a ray of energy in Julie’s direction landing just of front of her feet.
‘Hah, you miss-‘ was all Julie could let out before the ray reflected off its landing spot into 5 smaller rays; making her jump to the side with a shriek. But not before one of them ripped a small slit in her jeans. ‘Janey!’
‘Never lose your concentration even if it’s your sister you’re up against!’ Rosalie’s voice sounded from the balcony, ‘some evil-doers know transformation, so always keep on your toes. This moment has brought something important to the table. You’ll need a safe-word, both of you! Make it something only the two of you know. That way you’ll know who’s who! Well, Julie? Aren’t you going to avenge your jeans?’
‘That’s not funny grams!’ she said, returning her attention to her sister on the other side of the garden. Julie started her own mind-chant. As she gathered the energy to her hands, a small circle, almost identical to the protection charm, materialized. When she completed her chant, it went from a greenish-blue to bright red and she hurled the small fireball in Jane’s direction. Jane moved, but just like her spell’s twist, the fireball curved a bit and grazed her upper-arm.
Jane flinched at the pinch of pain, but her full-body protection spell prevented her skin from seriously getting burned. She rubbed the pink spot as she whispered a healing charm. Rosalie took a sip from her tea and watched her granddaughters practice; seizing up the strength of their powers and making a mental note of what needed more work. ‘A bigger fireball would’ve done more damage; you’re not concentrating enough Julie! Concentrate and hit your sister! Her rays of light would’ve done more than just rip your jeans if you hadn’t moved. Concentrate’
‘How can I concentrate when clearly you taught Jane the better spells. It’s…’
‘I taught the same spells to the both of you. It’s not my fault you can’t decide which to use. Such a beautiful sunny day… Rays of Light is the perfect spell if you remember to draw the energy needed from the sun. You can work with almost everything nature gives you. And the elements, Julie… they’ll help you, truly! Never forget—Air, water, fire, wind—they all have their own strength when used at the right moments… Try again!’
‘Okay, water—water spells, air—‘, oh right, sunny day Julie thought. She spread her legs to stand firmer and stretched her left arm to draw a magical rune in the air. She focused her entire being on every inch of the rune as she mumbled the incantation. The magnitude of the rune shook her drawing hand, but she managed to finish drawing it. The minute she did, a violent, gust of wind set in and blew away most of the autumn leaves. The sunbeams materialized into fireballs that were now raining on Jane.
At the same time Julie was drawing the rune, Jane whispered an incantation of her own. She didn’t know what spell her sister was going to use, but she had an idea it was going to be something with sun-energy, just because Rosalie mentioned it. As soon as the fireballs appeared above her, Jane held up her arms in front of her and as she spread them a see-through blanket materialized. She moved it over her head and there it stayed like a barrier. The fireballs came down in full force, making Jane flinch every time one was close. To her relieve they dissolved as soon as they hit the barrier; never once going through.
Jane looked up at the barrier as the fireballs hit. Because she hadn’t mastered the spell, the barrier didn’t last very long and one of the last balls missed her when she jumped to the side. It fell to the ground and scorched the dry grass. Jane quickly trampled the small fire to keep it from spreading.
‘Well done Julie! That was a lot better! Drawing a fire-rune with the energy of the sun…’
‘It wasn’t that good, because she still blocked it’ Julie muttered.
‘That’s because she had an inkling of what was coming. Why did you use sun-energy right after I mentioned it was a sunny day? That gave you away! But you did well-enough, the both of you. We’ll try again tomorrow and Julie, remember… fully drawn next time. The protection charm helps your powers if you don’t have to constantly worry about being hit! Think about that…’ Rosalie said and wheeled herself inside the house.
‘Let’s face it, I’ll never be as good as you’ Julie pouted, leaning against the fridge.
‘Yes you will! We’re the same, pun intended! You just need to concentrate and practice a little more, that’s all… Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you come with me to class today? It’ll help you relax and concentrate at the same time. It’s perfect and it will get grams off your back… We know you could use that, so what do you say?’ Jane said flexing her arms to prove a point.
‘I don’t know! Grams off my back sounds good, but I’m not really into yoga’
‘Well then maybe you should get into it! It’s proven useful to me and I haven’t died from trying it, so are you coming or are you coming?’ Jane replied, tying her hair in a messy knot.
‘Alright, I’ll give it a try… hey, shouldn’t we hit the showers first?’
‘They have them over there, so come on!’
‘Wait let me get something to wear…’
‘I have that over there too, stop stalling!’
PontView Relaxation Center
‘…I know what you mean. I said the same thing… If that man took his suitcase with him, honey, I don’t think he’s coming back. She was crying on the phone all afternoon… I mean, that is pathetic, girl! She don’t even know just how pathetic… I swear if that girl calls me again, I’m telling it straight up, I ain’t lyin’… Maybe it’s the eyebrows, I told her she needed to tweez ‘em… and you know how she doesn’t shave her legs sometimes… whoo… Oh, hold up girl, I’mma call ya back! Uhu, Malibu Barbie just walked in… uhu, that one! I call you! Bye! Hey Jane, long time no see, where you been girl?’
‘Hi Tamar, it has been a long time. Just… work’s been piling up, no time to spare…’
‘Okay, wow! Hold the phone! This isn’t happening! No more mojitos in the morning! I’m seeing double…’ Tamar, a not so young African-American woman with a bob hair-cut leaning to the right, said. Her hairstyle reminded Jane of the one Iridessa’s been sporting recently.
‘Mojitos in the morning? Tamar, this is Julie, my twin sister’
‘Twin- You never told me you were a twin?’
‘Yeah, well this is the other part of me that I can’t seem to get rid of’ Jane mused, nudging Julie’s shoulder, ‘trust me I’ve tried!’
Julie just stared at the receptionist with a small polite smile. She didn’t really warm up to her and thought her very fake.
‘Julie here, wants to take one of the introductory classes to see if…’
‘Oh, there are no intro classes today. Maya just called in sick and we don’t have a sub. But you can fill in this form and we’ll call you when she comes back to…’
‘No need!’ Jane interrupted her in the same way she did. ‘She’ll just be my plus 1 in class today. Is cash okay?’
‘Sure, but I don’t think there’s room…’
‘Don’t worry, we’ll make some…’ Jane smiled, handing her a few dollar bills, ‘by the way, is Dante back yet?’
‘Yes, he’ll be taking over from Mrs. Jones. Guess you’ll have your old teacher back on your first day back no less, lucky you!’ Tamar replied with a hint of sarcasm.
‘Yes, lucky! Alright then, I’ll show Julie around a bit before we start. Thank you Tamar and tell Xeniya I said hi’ Jane put her arm around Julie and made for the door.
‘Who’s Xeniya?’ Julie whispered.
‘Her gossip-buddy! Wait for it!’ Jane answered hearing Tamar press the redial button.
‘Yeah, it’s me! Malibu Barbie just left. She says hi, by the way. Get this; she has a twin… exact look-a-like. As if one Barbie wasn’t enough, out sprouts another… uhuh! Girl, you’re reading my mind… uhuh… no way, you’re joking?! Girl please… uhuh… maybe this one will sleep with Dante too…’
‘And that’s why no one tells her anything! You can get the juiciest gossip out of her, but never tell her anything about yourself. She always adds a lie to it… like that!’ Jane said frowning at Tamar’s last sentence. She knew Tamar was talking about her and Dante’s close friendship. Which was just that, friendship. A few expressed seeing something else, but Jane wouldn’t get into it, ‘cause it was none of their business.
‘Iridessa, look what the wind, and me, brought in’ Jane smiled, when she walked up to them.
‘Julie, It’s good to have you back… we’ve missed you’ Iridessa said, grabbing Julie into a baby-bear hug, ‘We should catch up, like now! You guys go change; I’ll be on the terrace. Dante is feeling the outdoors again’ she smiled walking away.
Jane led Julie to the lockers in the back and gave her one of her outfits. She always kept a spare, ‘cause when your body gets twisted in countless complicated positions… you never know! She and Julie had the same size, so it fit perfectly. Afterwards she took her to see the rest of the building and told her about all the different classes she could follow there. It wasn’t long before they joined Iridessa on the terrace.
‘So, how do you like the place?’ Iridessa smiled at Julie, ‘did anything spike your interest?’
‘Nah, there’s a lot here, but nothing for anger management… you know, physical!’
‘Oh there was. We had a Tae Kwando class too, but they got tired of newbies falling through the glass-door, not to mention lawsuits, so they 86-ed it. Wasn’t really that popular either, so it wasn’t a loss. On the contrary, it gave us extra room.’
‘Dante said they were planning on building a sauna’ Jane chipped in, ‘Speaking of, he’s rather late, don’t you think Dessa?’
‘He said he’d be here in half an hour, something he had to do… That was almost half an hour ago’ Dessa answered looking at her watch.
‘Something to do, huh, maybe his wife is playing nice today’ Jane mused.
‘Ha!’ Iridessa let out equally amused, ‘Like that would ever happen… No, she’s no more!’
‘She no m… How can you say that so casually? Julie looked shocked at the insincerity.
‘No, she’s not dead, Jul. She is his wife no more! His divorce was finalized 3 months ago’ Iridessa wickedly grinned.
‘Oh, what…’ Julie started.
‘Happened?’ Jane finished, scooting a bit closer.
‘He caught her… with his mentor! Yuk, the guy is twice Dante’s age’
‘Ugh!’ both Jane and Julie released at the same time. Julie didn’t know Dante or how old he was, but even to her that didn’t sound good.
‘How do you know all this?’ Julie whispered, when another woman joined them outside.
‘Miss Juice; I believe you met her when you came in. I think she knows the entire story better than Dante himself. Oh, and did you see her new hairstyle? Bitch; I haven’t even had mine for a week yet… Sometimes I just wanna… ugh!’ Iridessa angrily let out.
‘I’ll tell Greg to restart the anger-management unit, Dessa!’ the other women laughed.
‘Very funny, Lynn! Julie this is Lynn, Lynn this is Julie, she’ll be joining us for today’
Lynn gave Julie a friendly nod and a hi before lying down. ‘You’re not with Margie today?’ Iridessa continued.
‘Nope, she won’t be taking Dante’s class anymore. She has been shipped to next door with Lisa’ Lynn winked at Iridessa.
Julie turned to Jane with a questioning look. ‘Maternity-Yoga’ Jane mouthed to her.
‘Uhu, she’s so far along she gives new meaning to the word whale. She even said it herself. Her due date is February, I think. Can you believe it? I’m gonna be an aunt… of trips! I haven’t seen her happier. She was angry to be leaving Dante, but she knows it and we know it; Dante don’t do whale’ Lynn burst out laughing. And not being able to resist temptation, they all burst into laughter.
‘S-so…’ Julie said trying to stop laughing, ‘that’s your entire class?
‘Yeah, just us four, well now 3. Dante doesn’t like big groups. He likes to give you his full attention, and that works best with groups like ours. You should see his waiting list’ Jane answered.
‘Full of women no doubt!’ Lynn giggled.
‘Only women? Why aren’t there any men?’ Julie continued asking.
‘Good afternoon ladies!’
Julie saw Iridessa visibly shudder at the voice. ‘That’s why…’ Iridessa said with dreamy eyes, before turning around. Lynn was the quickest one off her back and into a sitting pose the moment he walked in. Julie looked up at the man to see what the fuss was all about. She couldn’t see his face clearly as he put down the cd-player and spread out his own mat. She looked at Jane instead; the only one not drooling over the man.
‘That’s Dante…’ she said smiling and also turned on her mat.
‘I’m sorry I’m late, had some personal things to take care of that unfortunately couldn’t wait…’ Dante started, folding his arm casually. ‘Tamar tells me we have an extra today… welcome Julie… oh, now I see why she said I’d see double’ he continued, eyeing the twins. He looked at them for quite some time before dropping his gaze. ‘Glad to have you back, Jane!’ he smiled. ‘Alright, give us a stretch and we’ll begin in a minute’
He dropped to the floor and rummaged through his cd-bag. After he found what he was looking for, he too started warming up.
They both saw him looking from one to the other before lowering his gaze and a sly smile crept over their faces. They remembered the game they used to play when they were little. Pretending to be the other… Let’s see how well the teacher knows his students…
Julie watched the others and did what they did to warm up. That seemed easy enough, she hoped she’d be able to keep up with the rest of the exercises.
‘Alright ladies, let’s ease into a downward-facing dog for starters’ Dante said slowly pacing to the back.
Crap! Downward-facing dog? What the hell is a downward-facing dog? Julie wondered. She looked at Jane, who was looking at Dante making his way to the back. He gazed directly at her.
‘Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten how to, Jane?’ he grinned.
Julie made an inward ‘Oh’ sound. No one had ever been able to separate them in the little time it took him. Jane gave him an ‘I missed you too’ look and eased into the pose, while Dante made his way over to Julie.
‘Looks like I found one of the lost Dalmatians. Hello, Julie!’ Dante smiled and bended a knee, ‘My name is Dante’
‘I know… I’ve heard about you’
‘Good things I hope…’
Julie didn’t answer to that, just tilted her head. ‘Why is your name Dante? Isn’t it a bit…’
‘And you don’t look like a Dante…’
He laughed. ‘What is a Dante supposed to look like?’
‘I don’t know… but you don’t look it’
‘Wow, okay, my second name is Jason… Do I look like a Jason?’ he smiled amused.
‘No, but it’s better…’
‘I think I like you already Julie… I have a habit of getting to know the members of my group, so tell you what. Why don’t you meet me after class? I’d like to know more about you’
Julie shrugged and he smiled again, ‘Alright then, I’ll go easy on you guys just because you’re new… Just do what the others do and don’t worry about the names…’ he winked getting up.
‘Okay, ladies, that’s enough doggie-style!’ he said walking back to the front, making them all break their pose, laughing. ‘We’ll take it a bit easier for our newbie here, so let’s see which one of you is prettier than the moon’ Dante said easing into the half-moon pose himself.
The exercises were pretty relaxing and intense at the same time. Julie even found muscles in places she didn’t know she had muscles.
After changing back into their normal clothes, the women retired into the tea-room… absent Julie, who indeed stayed after class like a good girl.
‘Have you seen Julie?’ Jane asked Iridessa while pouring some more green tea.
‘Nope, but she was in the locker-room when I left. Didn’t you tell her we have tea after class?’
‘I thought I did, yeah… maybe I should go find her’
‘Relax, it’s not like she can get lost in this building… someone will show her the w… ah, speak of the devil!’
Julie walked in and sat at the table. Jane was just about to ask her where she was when the ladies at the other table suddenly became loud and chatty, announcing Dante’s arrival at their table.
‘Pay them no heed, they’re always like that when he comes in’ Iridessa said when Julie looked up in their direction. ‘It used to be a fight every day to sit at that table’
‘It’s a good thing we’re not obsessed with him then…’ Jane said pouring hot tea in Julie’s cup, ‘Where were you? Don’t tell me you got lost?’
‘Uh no, Jason wanted to talk to me a bit after class, so…’
‘Jason?’ Iridessa looked at her questioning.
‘Dante! His middle name is Jason… I thought you knew that!’ Julie said frowning.
‘I know his name is Dante J. Pierce… didn’t know it was Jas… why are you on first…uh second name basis with Dante?’
‘Hmm, it all has a very distinctive smell, don’t you think?’ Iridessa said, putting two and two together and taking another sip, ‘the smell of upcoming-date’
‘I brought you here to relax and learn how to focus…’
‘And I do feel more relaxed’ Julie cut in.
‘…are you telling me you’re walking out of here with a date? With Dante, no less?’ Jane pulled a face.
‘Yes, she is!’ Iridessa smiled slyly and nodded approvingly.
Julie had to giggle at Iridessa’s enthusiasm and there was a twinkle in her eyes.
‘Yes, I am…’