However, not all good things last forever.
My brother, Nolan, lived with Ethan, keeping an eye on the place while Ethan was deployed with the Army. Neither of us knew exactly when Nolan would arrive home from spending the weekend with his girlfriend, but he had work in a few hours. The chances of him swinging by were high. That meant I needed to leave as soon as possible.
Part of me hoped I could slink away before Ethan woke up, but it was only a matter of time before he stirred. The fact he hadn’t yet indicated to me just how ‘active’ we’d been last night, since not only was Ethan a trained soldier, but now he was becoming more and more of a werewolf. That last part scared me.
I leaned my forehead against the white tiled wall. Regret squeezed my heart like a vise. It would be so easy to blame Jessa, my friend and mentor, for pushing me into the werewolf debacle, and even easier to torment myself for having used wolf’s bane. If I’d gone with the common method of crafting the salve instead of making my own potent blend, then this would not have happened.
Those thoughts led to madness. I balled my hands into fists. Neither Jessa nor I could’ve known what was going on.
The supernatural world was one of magic and potions. Witches were real since I was one. Werewolves, on the other hand, were beasts of legend, not fact. That shocking revelation brought fear and pain crashing through my door and harmed those I cared about.
Both Ethan’s and Jessa’s lives were changed forever, because I couldn’t protect either of them from the werewolf’s attacks. The ramifications of my failure were incomprehensible, especially for Ethan.
Releasing a sigh, I focused on the bar of soap and reached within myself for my magic. Jessa made telekinesis appear so effortless. If I’d learned one thing recently, it was that I kept myself locked away, hoping others wouldn’t burn me at the stake. Being powerless wouldn’t help those I cared about, or me, when the time came to protect them.
Fear and atrophy shriveled my magical muscles. While I still wasn’t convinced about using my power, especially not as openly as Jessa did, I refused to wait for the next disaster to hit before I acted. Something deep inside me knew we weren’t out of the woods yet.
No matter how hard I concentrated, the soap remained rooted in place. Ugh.
How could I measure up as a witch if I couldn’t even accomplish the basics? If my grandmother were here, life would be much easier. Instead, she rested in her grave.
The bathroom door creaked open and my heart leapt into my throat. Panic pushed me to remain small and silent, even though the spraying warm water gave away my presence. If Nolan was home before work, I would be screwed.
My brain scrambled for excuses about why I was here, much less why I was taking a shower.
The mugging wouldn’t work anymore. Things had mostly gone back to normal. I spent more time at home whipping up potions for Jessa’s new age shop, Eternally Magick.
With Jessa in the hospital, she couldn’t run the shop, and I needed to help. What family she had was several states away, and they couldn’t or wouldn’t take time from their lives to assist her.
Besides, Ethan and I didn’t need to be as careful about Nolan coming around to my place. He rarely swung by these days, and when he did, he usually called first.
“Mia? Everything okay in there?” Ethan nudged back the shower curtain, tension tight in his naked shoulders.
Air whooshed from my lungs in a rush and my shoulders slumped forward in relief. “You scared me.”
“Sorry, sweetheart. I felt a lot of energy buzzing in here. Just wanted to make sure you’re okay.” He let go of the curtain, and it fell back into place. The slightest twinge of sadness nibbled at me, but this was for the best. If he got in the shower with me, I might never leave.