Hoping her cheeks weren’t red, Maddy let out a slow breath. He was god-like—a dark god — with that wavy black hair. It was a perfect length, she thought, that men should wear their hair. It wasn’t shaven or spiked, not scraggly either, just perfect. Beyond the fact that his shoulders were as wide as a doorway, he’d been bent over to see in the display, making him her height. She sighed, which would make him taller than her five foot eleven. That didn’t happen often in her not so normal world. As if it wasn’t bad enough having this red hair that was unmanageable, she had to be taller than most men too.
Moving over to the last piece, she stopped when her stomach cramped. Taking a deep breath, she waited. It came again, harder and more painful than the last one. Clenching a hand against her stomach she turned back towards the outer exit and headed as quickly as she could manage in that direction.
A tingling went down her spine as she stepped outside, and the pain was gone. She knew that tingle. Magic. Someone has used magic on her? She glanced over her shoulder as she walked down the sidewalk towards the back of the building. She stopped by the bench and turned to look behind her. No one was following her.
Frowning, she turned around and spotted a man sitting on the bench looking very pale. It was the dark god. “Excuse me. Are you all right? You look quite pale.” Dark brown, closer to black eyes studied her.
“I’m feeling a bit better now. My stomach just felt a little off for a few minutes.”
Maddy perched on the other end of the bench. “I understand. Maybe it’s the air inside—I wasn’t feeling right either until I stepped outside.”
“Did you eat anything at the cafeteria?”
Maddy shook her head. “No, why?”
He leaned back, still holding a hand lightly over his stomach. “I was worried it might be something from there.” He paused. “Whatever it was, it seems to have passed and I feel fine now.” He sat there for a moment trying to decide whether he should stay and continue talking to the woman that had caught his attention more than once today, or head for home. He looked back over, she was watching the walkway. Just his luck, she probably wasn’t alone after all. “Are you waiting for someone?” Of course she was, a woman that looked like her wouldn’t be unattached. Those eyes, which oddly seemed almost turquoise outdoors turned back to him.
“Maddy shook her head. “No I thought—” she realized she’d been about to say the word magic to someone she knew nothing about. “Never mind.”
Her cell phone ran and she began digging around in her bag. She pulled out the chiming phone and opened it.
“I’ll let you get that.” He said quietly and stood up. His stomach still felt okay. She smiled up at him as she talked to—most likely a man, he grimaced inside. So, taking that cue he smiled back down at her and turned to head back down the walkway.
Maddy laughed at Veronica’s agonizing day of helping her mother choose centerpieces. “I can definitely say my day was much better, Ronnie.” She watched her dark god as he reached the corner of the building. He definitely looked good from this angle too. She grinned, realizing she’d stopped listening to her friend on the other end of the phone. “Sorry, what?” He disappeared from her line of sight. “I was distracted—” her stomach cramped again. What is this? “I’ll call you back, Ronnie.” She closed the phone and dropped it in her bag. The pains were getting worse. Trying to take a few breaths, she lifted her head. The man came back around the corner gripping his stomach. Maddy frowned. Something was not right with this. As he bent over and rested his hands on his knees, her pains lessened and then were gone.
It can’t be. No—no—no—no! She sat back and closed her eyes thinking for a moment. He’d looked through the case— she opened her eyes. She hadn’t been thinking anything except ‘wow’ when they’d had their little moment inside the museum. She breathed a sigh of relief. She’d been so afraid she’d messed up big time, again, and unintentionally done a spell that was affecting the two of them. She looked over to see him straightening slowly. He stood there with his hands on his hips as if waiting for something. Running a hand through that oh-so-nice hair, he shook his head and turned around again.
She held her breath and waited. One, two, three, he was out of sight again, four, five—she huffed out a breath as the pain sliced into her again. Not good! She watched the corner he’d gone around, twice now and sure enough there he was again. Well crap! She thought as the pain faded once more.
Letting out a deep breath, she got up and quickly walked over to him. He was bent over again. She placed a hand on one very lick-ably muscular arm. “Hey. I think maybe you should come back over and sit down.”
He let out another slow breath and looked up at her. “I guess it wasn’t gone after all.”
Maddy shook her head. “Mine either. Come have a seat. I’ve got some water maybe that will help.”
He nodded his head abruptly before straightening up slowly. “Thanks.”
They both walked slowly back to the bench and sat down. Maddy rummaged in her bag. She pulled out a bottle of water and held it out. “Here. It’s unopened.”
He took it. “Thanks again.” He took a few small sips, “so you said you weren’t feeling well either?”
Maddy nodded. “It comes in waves and then stops.” This was the truth. She couldn’t very well say whenever you leave my sight. Because witchy realm or not, that was a lame statement in any world.
“Huh.” He took another sip and then held out his hand. “I’m Colin, by the way. Colin Gregor.”
Maddy smiled and placed her hand in his. “Maddy Darcy.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, even though we seem to have been attacked by the same sporadic virus.”
She just smiled. Now what? How was she supposed to find out if what she suspected was right—without sounding like a complete lunatic? “Do you live around here, Colin?” It was the first dumb question she could think of.
Colin shook his head. “No. The other side of town, I caught the bus here.”
Maddy smiled again, “I guess the bus ride is out with the way you’re feeling now.”
Colin scowled, “Yes, which makes me wonder, what now?”
Maddy glanced to the treed area behind the building, to the old maple. She couldn’t very well drag him through a portal. She looked back at him. “I’m only on the outskirts of town. Would you like to grab a cab with me there? I have a whole cupboard of herbal teas—maybe I can find one that will help.” Right after I talk to my mother through a mirror and tell her some nasty witch is playing a very uncool prank, she thought not calmly at all. She only knew she couldn’t let an unsuspecting stranger wander off.
Colin ran a hand through his hair. He really didn’t want to have to sit through several hours of waiting at the clinic to get something to settle a cramping stomach. He certainly didn’t have any reason to rush home. “You know, I think I will come and give your tea a try.”
Maddy was shocked. That was too easy. “Great,” she smiled at him and got up.