Three days later…
Scarlett slumped into the chair at the café Magic Brew and her savior Maggie appears with a steaming cup of her brew even before she asks.
“Thank you so much, Maggie. I needed this too badly. And did I tell you, you are an angel!”
“Hahahaha, dear… I will get you a pastry that is as sweet as your words. It will melt all your burden away…”
Scarlett smiled and let herself relax in that cozy chair at the café. This place has become her favorite place in just a few days. Every day she left office and sat in the same chair and dug into Google search results, trying to unravel the mystery of Tristan. And to think that Tristan used to come here and he used to like the delicacies from here made her want to come here often.
Tristan. Damn that man by the way. She learned that Tristan is never hungry or thirsty. Well, not technically, but he says he is hungry and thirsty. When he says something like this, which most of the world takes for granted, she is at a loss for words. He is alive, but can he even breathe inside that frame? He cannot touch and has not felt anyone’s touch, save for her on that night. This was, in fact, worse than loneliness. Tristan was living a tough curse. Five years and more of no food, thirst, breath, sensations… how did he manage?
And he doesn’t sleep. She could hear all his ramblings of sane and inane topics. As much as she wanted to hear him talk and look for clues in his words, she needed a peaceful sleep if she had to go about and work simultaneously in the real (office) and the unreal world (Tristan). Yesterday in the middle of the night, she had to drag herself on to the couch in the hall because Tristan was reminiscing too much about his boy band of football fanatics and also his skills in archery.
Though she learned quite a few things, uh… maybe more than a few things, about him, he still hasn’t said anything substantial. Internet was her best friend now and she has been reading all gossip pages, outdated business pages of all major newspapers and any snippet of an update on Chase’ missing case. It was through the internet that she found who Sophia McClaire was. It was a guess that they are the same woman but it was her best shot after three days of snooping all over the internet.
Data analysis: Okay, Sophia was the mother of the employee who suicided. According to Tristan, she can hear him. Was she a witch with curses and powers and powders and cauldron? And broomstick? (That’s very important for witches right?) Godd!!! Scarlett was only familiar with bitches in suits and they carried files and briefcases and not vials of magical liquids. Of course, they knew to curse proficiently as well. Maybe even better than this Sophia.
Action plan: Plan A: Call upon Sophia McClaire.
“Hello, I am Tristan’s new… (Friend? Girlfriend? Roommate? Landlord?Yet to find a word!) I understand that you cursed him right into hell, which is a painting and it is right now hanging in my bedroom. I would appreciate it a lot if you could lift this curse and free us both.”
Sheeesh…. That is so rude.
Plan B: Call upon Sophia McClaire more politely.
“Maybe if I add a few please and could, would, may, might…,” Scarlett thought aloud.
“Well, my child, then you are overdoing politeness if you add all that in one go,” Maggie imparted her golden advice as she laid down the colorful items of sugar on the table.
“Tell me, Maggie, do you believe in magic? Curses and witches?
“Why, my dear, I am surprised you would even ask that to me! I named this place Magic Brew, for heaven’s sake. Of course, I believe…”
Scarlett had to smile at that. Of course, she believed. As she glanced around the café, Scarlett realized that indeed the ambiance inside was different. Surreal. Like the air itself is sparkling.
“Dearie, now you tell me, don’t you believe in magic?”
“Me? I don’t know. Not until recently I guess… It’s been a … I don’t know… startling, no… shocking realization. Everything seems different now. Everything. Including me. ”
Maggie smiled a very knowing smile and Scarlett had no idea what she meant by that smile.
“That’s good. The universe is true. Nature is true. Your heart and love is true. Are all these very different from magic?”
“Don’t ask me things like this Maggie. I do not understand all these. I don’t want to understand. It disturbs me. It makes me anxious. It makes me want to question. Sometimes it even makes me afraid. All I want is…”
“All I want is to help him to lift his curse.”
“Ah! So, there is a curse involved… What kind of? Any idea???”
“Huh? You know? You can? Maggie… You? Are you a witch? Oh my god!!!” And like that, she spilled her Magic Brew on the floor and slumped back again in the chair.