|Kindle hated the sound of her alarm clock. But that was the only thing that would get her up every morning. Kindle would rather stay in dream land forever. She could be anything there. Kindle visited all kinds of places in her dreams. Sometimes they seemed so real that when she woke up she felt like she hadn't slept at all, but had spent the whole night on vacation. It was actually a dream that had brought the 22 year old small town girl to Everton FL in the first place. This town was exactly like she had dreamt it; the only thing that was missing was the excitement and discovery that she had felt when she was here in her dreams.
Kindle rolled over toward the alarm clock and turned it off. It was 6:45 am.
She walked into the bathroom and splashed her face with cold water. It took her about 30 minutes to straighten her long black hair that fell to the small of her back. She put on some light makeup that would probable melt away by the end of the humid day and through on her jeans and her ever common long shirts. Kindle was obsessed with being comfortable and didn't go to great lengths to be fashionable. She always woke up a little earlier than she needed so she could have time to herself before she had to leave. She sat on the balcony with a fresh cup of coffee to look at the stars as the faded away with the sunrise. Kindle has always liked night better than the day time and there was a love hate relationship with watching it fade away. She looked at the clock when she was done with her coffee, it was time to go. She grabbed her purse and locked up her apartment as she left.
Work was just a few blocks away at an antique shop, so Kindle always walked. She had worked at Ancient Moon for only a few months but she loved it. The store was small and over crowded, but they had the most interesting things. The owner, Madeline, found most of her things herself from estates of the elderly whom had passed. The family would let her in and she would go through the house, the attic, and the basement looking for treasures. She would find things that the family would sell to her for almost nothing.
Most people were confused at what she chose, "We were just going to throw that away, are you sure that is an antique?" was the most common response. They would take Madeline for one more look around the house and point out things they thought were something an antique shop would sell.
"I have what I want." She would respond, "How much?" Madeline would take cash out of her ornate and unusual purse and leave with her treasures.
"Hello Madeline," Kindle called out as she rounded the corner and saw her boss unloading newly acquired items from her trunk. "Did you find anything special yesterday?" She inquired. Madeline never came back with anything that she didn't think was special, but every once and a while she would find something that was not to be sold again, well at least not until Madeline's things were gone through when she passed.
"Oh yes," said the middle aged women dressed in her usual hippy looking cloths. She always wore long loud skirts, a simple shirt and almost too much jewelry. But today was different. There was only one necklace on her neck and she held the pendant in her hand for Kindle to see. It was rather small compared to the other jewelry she had on. The large chandelier earrings and the thick bracelets were usually matched with two or three long thick necklaces. But the new necklace was oddly perfect for Madeline's style. It was a bronze eye with a circular stone in the middle. "Isn't it great?" She asked. "I cleansed it this morning so I could wear it today." She had that smile across her face, the kind that she got last time she found something special. Kindle saw it in the store often. The look could also be found on face of the customers that came in looking for something, when they finally found it, they would always walk up to the counter with that same smile on their face. Most of Madeline's customers were regulars. Occasionally a new customer would come in look around the store with quick glances at everything and leave. They were the antique shoppers that would be better off at the other antique shops that had things that Madeline had left behind on her searches.
Kindle helped Madeline take the rest of the things into the store and to the back to be cleaned and prepared to go on the shelf. She heard the bell on the door ring as someone walked into the store.
"Clair!" she heard her boss call out.
"I thought I would come in before anyone else had a chance to look through the goodies you picked up last night." Clair said as she came into to store. "What a necklace!" she exclaimed.
Madeline and Clair began to talk about the necklace. You could hear the disappointment in Clair's voice as she spoke knowing that Madeline kept the things that she wore and there was no talking her out of it. "Did you find any more jewelry like that?" Clair asked hopefully.
"No," Madeline replied, her happiness unwavering in reaction to Clair's distain. "No more jewelry, but the woman did have some taste in other things as well."
"Madeline, let me look at what you brought in." Clair begged.
"Clair dear, if I let you come back and see before I have the items on the shelf, I will never have peace. Every time I walk in the door I will have one of you girls in right behind me trying to beat the other." Madeline explained, "Besides, I haven't cleaned or priced anything so you wouldn't be able to have it anyway."
"Fine... have you put out anything new since my last visit?" Clair gave up. The regulars were always trying to get first dibs on the items Madeline brought back, but she was so stubborn that no one but her ever got their way.
"Look around. I always have something put out."
Clair browsed for about an hour trying to peak in the back every once and a while. Kindle laughed to herself as Madeline shooed Clair into another part of the store. Clair was about Kindle's age and had short blond hair. She dressed with the latest fashion and always flaunted expensive jewelry. Most of the time she was seen with her best friend Lindsay, who seemed to be the perfect lap dog for a girl like Clair. Lindsay was not as pretty as her friend and had long red hair. Anyone could tell that she tried very hard to be just like Clair.
During lunch the store closed for an hour and Kindle would sit in the back, eat, and listen to Madeline talk.
Today Madeline couldn't stop talking about the necklace and how she couldn't believe that the house didn't produce more things to bring back.
"Kindle, years ago" Madeline started. "It was hard for people to find things to use for the craft. Mostly Witches were born into a family who practiced the craft for years, and they had everything at hand. There were few people that would make things to use, but it wasn't something that you would be respected for. Witchcraft was more of a disgrace in predominantly Christian or Catholic towns like this one. Well, even now you wouldn't go around telling everyone you are a witch. You would be treated like a leper. Today you can get things for the craft at book stores and such, but they are more like souvenirs than useful tools. The things I have here in this store were probably made by hand by avid practitioners and used in one family for many years. When the family converted to a different religion, the things were boxed and passed down. Some things were most likely sold or thrown away, but if I can get there before that happens I am hoping to find a whole collection that I can sell to a coven. It would be a wonderful enhancement to preserving the old ways."
Kindle could tell that Madeline had been searching for this collection of work for longer than Kindle had known her, but the hope in her eyes never faltered.
The day at Ancient Moon always went by quickly. As Kindle walked home she thought about the necklace that Madeline had. Kindle had not found anything at the store that she liked as much as Madeline liked the necklace, but she did find some things to practice with. Kindle was a witch too, and was very picky when it came to things she would use in the craft. She had been practicing for two years, but her skill was progressing slowly. Kindle was teaching herself, so right now she was just studying and contemplating what she wanted the craft to mean to her.
Kindle grew up in a Christian house where they went to church every Sunday since she could remember. Kindle used to passionately believe in Christianity, but as she became older Kindle wanted to know why she had so many restrictions on her life. There are so many rules, and every Church she had gone to so far had different interpretations of the bible; there was no way to be sure what was right unless Kindle read it for her self. In the end Kindle decided to find something that she chose to believe, not what she was told to believe.
"Kindle," Clair called out. "What did Madeline bring in today?" The blond persistent girl from the store called out.
Kindle continued to walk but answered in a voice loud enough for Clair to get the message, "You'll have to wait and see... just like everyone else Clair." Her voice was cool and unwavering. Kindle was getting tired of having people, especially Clair; bombard her wanting her to reveal privileged information when Madeline already told them what she wanted them to know. Ancient Moon was Madeline's store and it would have been going against her wishes for Kindle to divulge that information.
"You're not even a real witch," said the red head with Clair. The girls didn't think she was what they called a "real witch," because she hadn't joined a coven in the area.
The first time they met, Lindsay probably thought they would be best of friends. She figured the new witch in town would join her coven and be just like all of the witches that she knew. Clair and Lindsay were what Kindle would call phony witches. She figured they probably started to get into it when a popular friend did or to scare their parents. They followed the public view of witchcraft, and since they had money, they always bought the best things available from the antique shop. They also had all of the things you could buy from the stores that produced the novelty items Madeline was always preaching against.
To Kindle, being a witch isn't defined by what you have or how expensive it was, it meant that you were using something that worked for you and helped you along your way. Kindle slightly turned toward Lindsay and Clair and looked them straight in the eyes. "You're right Lindsay," Kindle said sarcastically. "I'm a fake witch just like you." Kindle rolled her eyes and continued to walk home.
"You're a bitch," Clair said. "You know that?" She called out as Kindle rounded the corner to her block.
"I always knew you were a bitch." A voice stated from the shadows a few feet from her door. It was Ann. She was Asian, five foot two and had long black hair like Kindle's, but her eyes were brown and Kindle's were green. Every Friday night Kindle and Ann would go out to the bar and unwind from the long week. Ann wasn't a Witch so Kindle didn't talk to her about her beliefs. Ann did like to experiment with different things, just because it was something to do. Ann had a restless soul and was easily convinced to try anything. She never cared one way or another, what they did, just as long as they were doing something.
"Of course you did!" Kindle agreed with Ann's comment. "Where are we going tonight?" Kindle questioned.
Ann always picked somewhere new and they always had a blast. "I thought we would go to Bashes." She said as they walked up the stairs within the complex. "You'll like this one." She stated. "I checked around, and found out that 'he' might be there tonight." She said smiling.
Kindle stopped in front of her apartment, "I told you I wasn't interested." She reiterated again, hopefully, for the last time.
Ann smiled again and disregarded what Kindle said. "Get dressed, it is already 6 o'clock and we need to get there soon."
Kindle just let it go. She went inside and jumped in the shower. Ann lived across the hall in the same apartment building from Kindle, and had stopped Kindle in the hall one day to introduce herself about two weeks after Kindle moved in. The first impression that Kindle had of Ann, was that she had enormous self confidence. She never faltered in speaking her mind, and didn't really think about how others would take it. She took the freedom of speech she was given and ran with it. Kindle didn't feel that she owed anyone an explanation for anything, and Ann offered it without provocation.
Kindle stood in the shower for a little while longer than needed thinking of him. She let the hot water beat down on her head and back as she thought. She couldn't help but take extra care in what she wore tonight. Maybe Ann was right, she did care if he was there. Kindle picked out a cream colored knee length dress made out of cotton, simple, but suited her figure very well.
There was a knock at the door shortly after Kindle got out of the shower. Ann was waiting for her ready to go. "Come in, I'm not completely ready yet." She said hoping that Ann wouldn't put her finger on the real reason she had taken so long. "I just need to put on my makeup." Kindle said as she rushed over to her mirror and finished up.
"Don't worry, Kindle you look fine. Now, let's go before we miss the cab." Ann walked to the door and Kindle followed her to the cab outside.
When they arrived at the bar Kindle could feel her stomach fluttering. She was mildly pissed off at Ann for mentioning him. "I wouldn't be feeling this way if she hadn't told me he might be here." Kindle thought. She tried to shake off the feeling as she followed Ann inside the bar. Ann went straight for the bar and Kindle branched off to the bathroom. Once inside Kindle checked her make up and tried to forget him. The door opened and she heard a familiar voice behind her.
Clair was laughing at something that Lindsay said. Their smiles quickly faded when they saw her standing by the mirror. Kindle could clearly see Lindsay's face harden as she tried not to make eye contact with her as she passed by them towards the door.
"So, I haven't seen him in here yet," Ann stated as Kindle walked up. "But the night is young." Ann made a quick glance around the room then at Kindle.
The bar tender brought Kindle her drink. She could already tell it was going to be one of those nights. With Clair and Lindsay roaming around the bar and Ann trying to get Kindle to tell her that she couldn't wait to see "him" there, she knew that she was going to need more than one double shot margarita.
"Yes," Ann squealed quietly as she grabbed Kindle's arm and spun her around. "He's here!" she exclaimed. It had only been thirty minutes since they arrived and there he was.
Kindle's heart jumped for a second as she combed the room with her eyes to see if it was true. And there he was, all six feet of him with dark hair, brown eyes, and a great body. Kindle couldn't help but smile. He looked better than she remembered. The last time they had seen him was about two weeks ago at a club called Chaos a couple blocks away. It was about closing before they had spotted him on that night and since then; Ann had made it her mission to hook Kindle up with him. She said the best thing to do is have him come to you
"Ok, Kindle let's go play pool." Ann demanded as she traded some dollars for quarters.
"Look Ann, I don't need your help to get what I want, and I don't want him." Kindle argued.
"That doesn't matter right now, just pick a pool stick." She said. Ann picked the pool table next to the one he was at. "This is you chance," Ann started again. "Just ask him if he can help you make a shot in." she ordered.
"I don't think that is going to work." Kindle refused. "He is probably asked that all of the time."
"Well I don't care how you do it, but I will not take no for an answer. I want you to talk to him tonight." Ann ordered.
"Ok, I will." Kindle gave in. She looked down at her drink. It was about half way gone. "I will talk to him after I get another drink." Kindle promised. She took a little longer walking up to the bar than was necessary, but she wanted to finish her drink before she got there.
When she got back from the bar, Clair and Lindsay were flirting with the guys. Ann was sitting down waiting for Kindle, glairing at the other girls. "Look at what happens when you don't make your move." Ann whispered with disappointment. "Now you have to get to him through those girls."
"I am not fighting with Clair and Lindsay over a guy." Kindle announced.
Ann's face lit up. "You know them?" she said happily. "Do you know any dirt? That would be the perfect weapon." Ann deducted. "What do you know?" she asked.
"I am not going to act like I am in high school. If you want me to talk to him you have to let me do it my way." Kindle was getting annoyed. She was tired of being treated like she needed to be coached on how to get a guy.
She has never been shy and has never had any trouble with making the first move. Hopefully this would shut Ann up. "I am going to take my shot." Kindle grabbed her pool stick and picked the cue ball up off the table and positioned it in the perfect place to execute her plan.
Lindsay and Clair were giggling and talking with the guys. Kindle got ready to take her shot, she looked behind her, and when the time was right, she shot. His glass hit the ground with a crash and broke. Kindle turned around slowly and looked him right in the eyes.
"I am so sorry," Kindle apologized. "Let me make that up to you, come on, I'll get you another drink." She grabbed her drink and motioned him to the bar. He stepped over the broken glass following Kindle to the bar, just as she knew he would. No guy would turn down a free drink from anyone, especially if they just made them drop theirs. Kindle could feel the piercing stares of all three girls on her back as they walked over to the bar together.
When they reached the bar she looked at him trying not to think about how hot he was. "What were you having?" she asked him calmly.
"Crown and coke," he said with a smile.
Kindle motioned the bar tender over, "Hi, can I get a crown and coke on my tab please? Oh, and I accidentally broke a glass over there," she said and pointed to the glass on the floor. The bar tender nodded and grabbed someone to clean up the broken glass. As he made his drink, Kindle took it as opportunity to talk to him, "So," she said. "I'm Kindle."
"Jake," he replied in a deep voice. Jake was well built and tall. Kindle loved that. He smelled great but she tried not to think about that. She already knew that she liked him and she would only admit that to herself, but she didn't want to get into another relationship right now. She didn't know how he would take the fact that she was a witch and there was really no reason in hiding it. Her last relationship ended when her ex found out she was a witch and he didn't understand what it was actually all about. He thought that it was evil.
"Well nice to meet you Jake," she said.
"You too, Kindle." He agreed.
Kindle tried to remember that she was just talking to him to get Ann to stop bugging her about it. She looked over at the pool tables and noticed an employee cleaning up the glass. He was about finished and Kindle looked back at Jake, "I am sorry again for breaking you glass." She said.
"No problem, at least you replaced it." He said smiling. "So, do you come here often?"
"No, I haven't been here before, I usually go to Chaos." Kindle could feel herself remembering how she felt the first time she had seen Jake. Ann said that the look on her face meant that he was the guy she was going to help her get. "You will thank me for it later." Ann had reassured her.
Jake took a sip of his drink. "I don't think I have seen you there."
"Maybe you missed me." Kindle said. She was kind of hurt that she remembered him and he didn't remember her. But She couldn't be sure that he had even seen her.
"That's a shame."
Kindle couldn't help but smile. "Well Jake, I better get back to my game." Kindle said as she stood up. She turned to go back to the pool table when Jake stopped her.
"Wait." Jake said as he grabbed her arm lightly. "Those girls are still over there." He said motioning over to Clair and Lindsay. "Todd likes them, but I just think they are annoying. Will you stay here with me for this one drink?" he asked.
Kindle hesitated for a moment, "sure." She nodded with a smile. She couldn't help but doubt her decision to walk away so quickly, she did like him. "So, why do those girls annoy you?" she asked as they turned toward the pool table.
Clair and Lindsay looked and them every couple of minutes, and Ann had abandoned the love coach role and had a guy teaching her how to jump a ball.
Jake hesitated to answer for a second and then concluded. "They seem immature."
"What do you mean?" she asked, curious to what he could be trying to say.
"Well, when they first came over, they had some pretty mean things to say about you." He stated.
The smile was now gone from Kindle's face. "Like what," she said without any emotion. But inside she was furious. The thing she hated more than anything was people talking about her behind her back.
"I don't think it is really important," he said as he finished his drink. "I don't believe any of it." He concluded.
"You don't even know me, how can you tell what to believe and what not to?" Kindle argued in a mater of fact tone. "You never know, all of it may be true." she finished her drink and looked at him one more time. "Well, I am done with my drink, and it was nice talking to you but I have to go." She turned toward the pool tables. Kindle couldn't help but think that Clair and Lindsay had said something about her being a witch and obviously Jake thought it was untrue.
"Maybe I'll see you later?" he called out after her.
She waved without turning around and walked over to where Ann was. "Are you ready to go or do you want to catch separate cabs?" Kindle asked. There had already been enough drama for the night and it wasn't fun anymore.
"No, I am going to stay. We'll talk later ok?" Ann answered.
"Right, see you later." Kindle paid her tab and ignored the stares and whispering between Clair and Lindsay. When outside she waved down a cab and got in, but just before she closed the door Jake ran up and poked his head inside.
"Which way are you headed?" he asked.
"Home," She said shortly.
"Look Kindle, I just don't want to leave things the way they were. I am interested in finding out more about you. You don't seem to be like other girls. Especially not like Clair and Lesley." He pleaded.
That made Kindle smile, not just because he got Lindsay's name wrong, but because she would have hated being put in the same category as them. "Well, if you are going toward Browning and 5th then you can get in." she stated and slid over as Jake got in.
"To tell you the truth, I am going the other way," he laughed as the cabbie drove off toward Kindle's apartment. "Kindle," Jake started again, "I didn't mean to offend you back there."
"You didn't offend me," she replied. Kindle looked over at him, "I am glad you said something," she confessed. "Most people just team up with girls like that."
"Well, I'm not most people." Jake said, "And I have found that girls like that, only say bad things about people they are threatened by."
"So, do you want to know if any of the things they said about me are true?" she inquired.
"Not really, I am more interested in getting to know more important things about you." He said smiling.
"Really?" Kindle asked. "Well what do you want to know?"
"Well, why did you purposely break my glass with your pool stick?" he asked staring at her intently.
"It was an accident," she replied quickly hoping that he would just move on and ask her something like what collage she was going to or what would she be studying.
"I don't think it was an accident." He looked at Kindle dead in the eyes.
Kindle noticed that the cab driver was turning onto her street. She looked over at Jake who was obviously interested in what the answer would be. "My friend and I saw you at Chaos two weeks ago, and I just wanted to meet you." She replied quickly.
"Well, I'm home." Kindle said as she pulled out her wallet. "I had fun."
"Don't worry about it; I will catch it all when I pay my fare." He said has he pushed her wallet back to her. "Here is my number." He said holding out a pack of matches with his number on the inside. "Call me if you want to hang out."
Kindle smiled. "Thanks, I will." She answered and got out of the cab.
She waved as he drove off and watched until the cab turned the corner. Kindle walked up the stairs and unlocked her door. Once inside the apartment Kindle couldn't keep herself from smiling. She never expected him to be so charming, but she would never admit this to Ann.
Kindle sat down on the couch with her favorite blanket and tried not to think about how good he smelled. She could still smell the cologne from when they were in the cab together. She hated to admit it, but Ann was right. It was strange to have been living here for 6 months and not even had one date. Kindle decided that she would call him sometime, just to hang out. She wasn't promising that it would turn into anything. For all she cared, he could just be a friend. Kindle got up from the couch and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. It was earlier than usual but she decided that she was going to go to bed anyway. She didn't want to sit around by herself and think about Jake.