So when Ben and I walked in to the castle, we found chaos. Mark floated by, looking annoyed. Ben and I started laughing.
“It’s not funny.” He said.
“It is. A little.” I snickered.
I saw his lips twitch a little bit. “So maybe it is a little funny, but I was making dinner.”
I shouted for Bonnie and when she walked in to the room I pointed at Mark. “We do not disrespect those who would make us dinner when we do not have to. Set him down. Gently.”
Bonnie pouted and looked from me to Ben, then sighed. “Okay. Fine.” She waved her hand and Mark floated down, landing gently.
She turned to leave and I coughed. “You’re forgetting something, young lady.”
There was an even bigger sigh, followed by “I’m sorry, Uncle Mark.”
“Apology accepted. Now, come with me and I’ll show you how to make fish sticks.” Mark said as he took her hand and led her in to the kitchen.
Ben wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my temple. “Well handled.”
I ran my hands over his and smiled. “Thanks. She just wants attention. Losing a Mom is hard.”
“At any age.” Ben said.
“Yeah. At any age.”
“I’m not mad you know.” He said as he walked us towards the hall closet so I could take off my coat and boots.
“What gave away my worry?” I said as I wiggled out of his arms and took the items off.
“You forehead wrinkles and your jaw muscles twitch when you’re worried,” He picked up the twin’s bags that had been left in the middle of the hall and moved them to sit by the staircase. “and you frown a lot.”
“You pay too much attention.” I said as I moved to stow my bag in the closet after removing my cell phone. I had a feeling I was going to need it tonight.
“Not nearly enough, in my opinion.” He said as he picked me up and kissed my nose. “For example, I didn’t notice that you’d gone without this morning or I’d have made you very late for work. I also didn’t notice that you smell of grease and it’s be coming quite sexy.”
I grinned and kissed him. “While Uncle Miles and Mark have them busy, let’s escape. You can wash my back.”
“I like your brain.” He said as we headed up the stairs. We got halfway up the flight when there was a loud bang and a sharp cry coming from the great hall. The sound of murmurs coming from the room settled us though. Miles sounded like he was handling things just fine.
“Hurry. Before they catch us or something else happens.” I said and Ben ran up the stairs.
We were back down stairs an hour later, laughing together like a couple of idiots. Hand in hand we walked in to the kitchen and found ourselves in pure chaos. There was flour everywhere. It covered every single surface and all six of its occupants. I groaned and tapped my forehead against Ben’s arm.
“Um, what happened?” Ben asked as he looked around the room.
“Well, I was trying to teach Bonnie how to properly dredge and flour fish when Miles and Peter chased Gibbs in here because he had a hold of Miles’s new shoes. Peter tried to cast a spell and it exploded the eggs. Bonnie tried to cast another one, before we could stop her, and that exploded the flour.”
When Bonnie and Peter started to giggle I shot them a look. They immediately sobered up and looked down at the floor. The headache that I had earlier from the knocks to the head I took was coming back with a vengeance.
“Okay. Everyone cleans. No one leaves the kitchen until it’s done. Ben and I are going to take the two dogs upstairs and give them baths.” I said. I stopped and scooped up Gibbs.
“No magic. As soon as the kitchen is clean, clean yourselves.” Ben said as he picked up Winston who was trying to hide under a table.
We walked out while Bonnie and Peter were still whining about not being able to use their magic. I stopped, went back and poked my head in to the room.
“You don’t have control over your magic. I have control over mine. That’s why I can use mine and you are not to use yours.” They tried whining again and when I caused two pots to smash together, they shut up. “Do not use your magic. Look at the mess you created while trying to use it for something that you should have done with your hands. In this house we do not squander magic on what can be done by hand.”
With that, I marched upstairs with Ben to wash the dogs. Locking ourselves in the bathroom, I took a minute to down a couple of aspirin after we put the dogs down. Ben came up behind me and rubbed my shoulders.
“You handled that well.”
“Oh, that’s good. “I sighed leaning back against him. “You handled it well too. I didn’t think of the ‘no magic’ rule.”
“That’s because you’re not used to dealing with kids who have powers that need to be controlled.” Ben pointed out as he let go of me and removed Winston’s collar.
I opened the taps and adjusted them so it was warm water coming out. “And you are?”
“In the five years I’ve been in town, Maggie tried to set me up with more than one woman who had kids.” He said as he started to rinse off Winston. His coat was an egg and flour filled mess.
“That sounds like her.” I said as I started shampooing where Ben had already been with the water.
Ben laughed. “It’s very much like her. Anyway. The Thompson twins are witches too.”
I bobbled the shampoo bottle. Thompson. Marjorie Thompson. No wonder why she glares at me when I’m in the Countryside Market. I groaned.
“Fuck. No wonder she doesn’t like me.” I hung my head, which Winston took as a sign I needed kisses and started to lick the side of my face. “Thanks Winston.”
I saw Ben’s lips quirk and then he leaned over and licked my mother cheek. I started laughing and pushed him off.
“Gee, that was sweet of you.”
“I do what I can.” Ben said as he started rinsing the soap off of Winston’s back.
We worked in tandem, cracking jokes and getting each other wet fighting over the hand-held shower head on the bathtub. The dogs thought it was great fun and joined in, getting us even more soaked and covered in the smell of wet dogs. We were drying the dogs off when the twins appeared in the doorway, still covered in flour and egg goop. I nudged Ben.
“Well, looks like you two had fun.”
The twins sighed and rolled their eyes at us.
“The Uncles sent us upstairs. They said to tell you that and to ask you where we can shower.” Bonnie said.
“You can shower in here, Pete. Bonnie come with me.” I said as I got up and led Bonnie to another bathroom down the hall.
I went and chose rooms for them while I was waiting. When Bonnie stepped out of the shower, I showed her to her room for the evening. She squealed with delight when she stepped in to the room that was painted in a rich purple and decked out in a four poster curtained bed.
“I take it you like your room?” I asked. She just hugged me.
“Yes! How did you know?”
“How did I know what?”
“That this was my favorite color and type of bed?” She said, practically bouncing from one foot to the other.
“Really? Mine too. I really like the curtains.”
Bonnie stopped bouncing and looked up at me. “Will you read to me tonight?”
“Sure thing, poppet. What would you like to read?”
Bonnie ran down the hall and got her bag that she left in the bathroom. Hauling it down to where I was at, she brought it inside and dug through it until a tattered copy of The Hobbit was revealed. I laughed.
“You know this was my favorite when I was your age?” I said as I took her hand and helped her get in to bed.
Bonnie brushed her hair as I settled down in a chair next to the bed to read to her.
“No way!” She said.
“Big way. Now lie down and I’ll read.” I watched until she settled down in bed.
Then I began reading to her. Bonnie didn’t even make it past the first chapter before she was out like a light. Smiling to myself, I got up and walked as quietly as possible out of the room. As I closed her door, I head a cough from Ben.
“Well?” He said with a raised eyebrow.
“One chapter of The Hobbit and she was out. You?”
“Chapter and a half of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.”
“Well, at least they have good taste in books.” I said as I took his hand and walked down stairs with Ben.
It was after 9pm when we walked in to the kitchen. It sparkled. We walked in to the great hall to find Miles and Mark passed out cold on the couches.
“Next time we’ll have to make sure they’re not involved. They weren’t supposed to help.” I whispered to Ben.
“What makes you so sure there will be a next time?” Ben whispered back.
“I promised the Sheriff I’d babysit if he passed along information.”
Ben was quiet and for a second, I was afraid he would get angry. I should have known better. Ben is not Timothy.
“That’s actually a pretty good idea.” Ben said. “Good thinking.”
“Thanks.” I said and tugged him out of the room. “Another shower and then bed for us. They’ll pick themselves up later.”
“Another good idea. You’re just full of them tonight.”
I laughed. “I try.”
An hour later we tumbled into bed, clean and happy.