just got that silk in from the far East,” a soft,
nervous voice said from the stairway. “I’m fond of
the colors, personally, but it doesn’t shape as
nicely as some of our previous shipments.”
Cece jumped a
little, looking up to see a thin girl sitting on the
third to bottom step, the black of her well fitted
suit in stark contrast to the dusty brown of the
stairs and the dull yellow of the wall paper. “Oh, I
do like the colors, but really Pippa, I’m afraid I
don’t have anything to go with it. I’d have
to buy a new dress.” Cece held up a wide brimmed
topper, made of rich red velvet with delicate roses
made of gold silk wrapped around the band.
Pippa smiled a
shy grin, looking down at her feet, flirtation was
not her strong suit, “Oh but Miss Williams, I’m
quite certain it would suit you.”
“How many times
do I have to tell you Pippa?” Cece started again,
her brash Western, new money tones contrasting with
the hushed ones of Pippa’s City accent. They spoke
the same language, most countries did, but there was
something about the accents, the tambour that made
them almost completely different. The way a chicken
egg doesn’t really resemble an ostrich egg,
that sort of difference. “Please, it’s just Cece.”
“Of course Miss
Williams,” Pippa said softly, avoiding eye contact.
rolling her eyes, “And this one?”
“Oh, yes. That
one,” Pippa moved carefully to stand next to her
costumer, “Hand felt cloche. The cherries are wax.
Caterpillar Green lace ribbon, I thought it set off
the pink nicely?” She ended the sentence with a
question on her breathe, a need for reassurance, a
need to know her craftsmanship was up to the mark
that Cece demanded.
“It’s lovely. A
shame it wouldn’t go with your hair, I think a more
feminine touch could suit you,” Cece blurted out.
Pippa bit her lip and looked away, with something
akin of embarrassment or sadness on her face. “Oh I
mean,” Cece realized what she’d said, “not that what
you wear does suit you, it’s just… Well, I wouldn’t
expect most women to dress so… how do I put this?
Masculine? Not that there’s anything wrong with it,
it’s just I think there’s so much more you could be
working with, I mean you’re quite attractive, but I
think… Well, the look is rather scandalous, so I
guess you always stand out in a crowd, so that’s
good, it’s just I think you could be equally
Williams,” Pippa said, her voice softer than normal,
lowering it to nearly a whisper “please.”
Pippa picked up another hat, “I think this one would
go nicely with your hair.”
“Oh yes, let’s
try it on, shall we?” Cece removed the fine orange
bowler from her corkscrew brown hair. “I adore the
gold thread, one of your personal touches, am I
right? I’m sure I am, I always am. Oh, it’s so
pirate—in a chic sort of way. Tres cutting edge. Oh
yes, I’ll take it.”
redhead smiled what was for her a grin, but was more
like a small smile. She was a very quiet smiler.
father was a haberdasher, or had been until he died,
just as his father had been. And his father before
him, and his father before him, and his father
before him, although it had been his uncle
before him, and his father before that. In fact, for
the past fourteen generations, the Stetsons could
trace a seemingly endless line of tailoring to men
and their small fineries. And if there was one thing
they excelled at, it was hats.
Pippa was the
first girl to enter the family business, a fluke,
really. Her twin brother had been meant to take over
for their father, but when their dad passed away,
Edward had jumped on the nearest train to
university, in an attempt to become a magician. And
ever since, Pippa had grown considerably more used
to having serious conversations with strange men in
silly hats. Perhaps more so than a young lady of her
She was just
shy of 22 and was too tall for a girl, but too boney
for a woman. Pippa had inherited pronounced,
androgynous cheek bones from both sides of the
family, and pale red hair. It hadn’t seemed too far
a reach for her to simply slip into gentlemen’s
clothing; after all, she spent her life catering to
And she had a
little solitary magic, the kind passed down after
years of hard work focused on fine details. Pippa
had never been terribly gifted in magic; she’d left
it to her brother. She could perform a few
rudimentary spells, but never anything more than
fetching a bolt of fabric from across the hall
without leaving the room, or rethreading a needle
with ease. Edward, on the other hand, could casually
change his clothes with a snap of his fingers, or
walk with unparalleled grace on the wind.
had other skills her twin lacked. Like knowing which
silks made the best lining, or how to talk someone
into buying a more expensive hat.
Haberdashery (extraordinary hats for ordinary
occasions, the sign boasted) saw plenty of foot
traffic in its hay day. Enough to justify opening a
new section, mainly of women’s hats, tidy bonnets
and soft silk toppers. Traffic had begun to slow
though, when Edward left. While Pippa had always
been the better hatter, he’d always attracted the
female buyers. Now the shop as a whole got no more
traffic than one or two decrepit old men each
day—unless it was near a holiday—with only a handful
of exceptions. One such exception was Cece Williams.
was the kind of girl who was always so cutting edge
on fashion, it had ceased to be fashionable, and
simply looked odd, like someone trying to dress
almost futuristic, and ending up looking like
something out of a pulp science fiction. She’d
double up on stockings, or pair a shockingly bad
yellow silk blouse with a pale lavender skit and
remarkably paisley shoes. But being the daughter of
rich nobles, and pretty in the way chubby faced 19
year olds are at that age, Cece had attracted a
variety of suitors. And needless to say, a peculiar
number were only interested in her rather fine
collection of hats. Men are a strange bunch, all
things considered, and Cece wanted very little to do
with most of them.
In fact, Cece
Williams owned so many hats; she’d never actually
worn the same one twice, nor did she—or anyone
else—actually know how many hats she did own.
It would be an
understatement to say that Pippa was smitten with
Cece. An understatement like saying “the Pacific
Ocean has quite a lot of water,” or “Cece Williams
has quite a lot of hats.”
There was a
raucous tinkle of bells signifying that someone else
was in the store, but Pippa and Cece were both very
carefully ignoring everything but each other and the
sprawling display of rainbow hats that crowded the
tiny shop like people queuing up for a pop star’s
concert, hat brims like elbows shoving for
said he had a brother!” A woman cried from the
doorway, breaking the two girls from their trance.
“Or that his brother was cute…” She had a seductive
quality to her voice that was prone to making
strangers wet themselves to talk to her.
Cece, had she
been of a magic stock, would have shot literal
daggers from her eyes at the stranger, instead of
just giving her the nastiest look a high class,
ditzy girl could muster.
“Can I help
you?” Pippa asked, in a tone that she perceived as
angry but would have been heard as
mildly-annoyed-but-probably-fine by anyone else
(especially someone as loud and brash as Cece
Williams). She turned to see a tall, dark skinned
woman, dressed in a way that was, unlike Cece’s
clothing, the cutting edge fashion.
“Oh,” the woman
said, taken aback “you’re a girl, so I guess you
A large bundle
of wool coat and long red hair came barreling in
through the shop door making the bell scream in
indignation. The ginger ball of energy hit Pippa
with enough force to knock her down as it shouted
gasped, “what are you doing here? Aren’t you meant
to be at school?”
“Um,” the tall
boy—a mirror image of Pippa if she had been about a
foot taller and half a foot broader and possessed
the ability to grow a fine sheen of facial hair
across her chin and to smell remarkably like kippers
and rum all the time—“About that…”
The black woman
cleared her throat, “We—well, mostly Edward—require
your assistance in a fairly touchy subject. Is there
somewhere we can talk,” she shot a nasty glare at
Cece “in private?”
was one of those women who was beautiful in a cold,
untouchable way, and she knew it. It was one of the
fiercer weapons in her arsenal, not counting her
uncontested mastery of fire magic. Or her ability
with a gun. Or her significantly higher than average
intelligence. Or her—well, she sufficient to say she
wasn’t the kind of girl one should annoy. Every part
of her was deadly. She’d met Edward at University,
where she’d more or less tolerated his existence
until he had managed to outdo her in a class, and
then it became personal. She had been left with two
choices: destroy him or humiliate him. Tamara had
chosen the third choice and decided to seduce him
been half successful.
quickly discovered that Edward was more interesting
in the things that glitter than the appeals of the
flesh. A love of his that had made his life
difficult more than once.
assistance?’ For what?” Pippa asked, not moving away
from the counter. “I have to watch the shop.”
Edward ruffled Pippa’s hair until her exceedingly
fine top hat fell to the ground, “don’t worry about
the shop! It’ll be fine! And if it’s not, well, who
even cares about gentlemen’s finery? We could get
you a nice job selling dresses or pastries or some
other bit of bother that people seem to think is
picking the hat up off the ground and brushing it
off with a huff.
it’ll be fine. Scouts honor.”
doesn’t want to, then don’t make her. At least she
has a sense for business, which is more than I seem
to be able to say about you,” Cece said,
giving Edward her most intimidating glare, which
well overshadowed the fact she was nearly two feet
shorter than the boy even with her over tall,
glitter encrusted mauve boots. “From what I’ve heard
on the ton is that you’ve gone off to school to gamble
and visit--” she glanced at Tamara, who
bristled, ready for the attack, “unsavoury women
of the night.”
Williams,” Pippa said, half desperate, half pleased
that Cece was defending her. More like two-thirds
desperate for her to stop and about 400% incredibly
Williams, is it?” Tamara sneered. “Well, Miss
Williams, since you clearly don’t know what you’re
talking about, I’d ask you to please—“
Pippa glared at Tamara with a look in her eyes that
could have actually resulted in daggers being shot
from her eyes, and that she’d only used once before
on a patron who wouldn’t stop harassing her. She
doesn’t know this part of the story, but that patron
died a few hours later. Tamara knew this part in the
way that all people who are so fully attuned with
magic know things, and she was very glad that her
magic was greatly more powerful than the young Miss
Stetson’s, and also that Pippa didn’t know the sort
of power she did possess. Tamara did not like the
idea of having a heart attack because of a little
girl, she did not like it one bit.
Edward glanced around then with a snap of his
fingers he closed down the shop windows, flipped the
sign on the door to ‘closed,’ and summoned up four
chairs and a full afternoon tea, crowding the
already tiny shop with the smell of freshly baked
scones. A gust of wind made the china tea cups
tinkle. “I might have screwed up.”
trying to say is that he did screw up.
Royally,” Tamara said.
royally,” Edward said. Cece took a sip of tea, “I
mean I might have lost a bet with some very powerful
people that require me to steal the crown jewels.
But no big deal, you know. It’ll be fine. Scout’s
Cece spat her
tea out onto the mahogany table and its lace table
said, “this table’s on loan, don’t ruin it.”
“I should have
known you were going to tell me something like
that,” Pippa sighed the weary sigh of someone who
had heard it all before; “you aren’t even a scout.”
Williams, while I appreciate your view, that doesn’t
change the fact that he is—unfortunately at times
and unlikely though it may seem—my brother and if I
can help him, then I have to.”
call me Cece, and it’s not as though he helps you
with anything around here,” she gestured around her
to the shop which was admittedly looking a bit worse
for wear these days, Pippa could only do so much.
She desperately needed help, though she’d never
“I don’t need
his help. I enjoy my work. And he enjoys his
gambling… It’s not a perfect comparison.”
“Fine, but if
you’re going to go risk your life and your shop and
your really amazing hat making skills, which really,
you’re wasting in this shop, not that it isn’t a
great shop, but really, you’re an artist, and no one
here really appreciates you, you’re amazing, and I
just wish that you could see that, and I—“
Williams,” the corners of Pippa’s mouth quirked up,
really certain about this, Tam?” Edward was
carefully re-inking his wizard marks. The dark blue
shapes danced up the skin of his arms like the wind
he so easily controlled. It was strange to him that
body paint could help channel magic, but it did, so
he didn’t question it much. He probably should have,
really, but he was a man of simple thoughts and
course I’m sure,” she shrugged, painting another
bright red swirl on her face.
“But if we
screw up, that’s my sister… I mean, if I go to
prison, okay. But I mean, Pip’s—“
go wrong, I assure you.”
right. You better be right, because otherwise—“
“I am right,”
she corrected him.
honor?” he asked, raising an eye suggestively.
you’ve made up that asinine phrase, you know. Just
to bother me,” she walked towards him, moving like
sex, and kissed him once. “Now go find your sister,
you insufferable idiot, before I decide to stop
he winked, kissing her once more then wandering back
down the stairs to the shop where his sister was
In the quiet
of the tiny apartment above the shop where 14
generations of Stetsons had lived, Edward explained
his “Grand Master Plan.” Carefully, he tried to
explain “Old Magic.”
There was a
type of magic older than books of spells and magical
objects. Older than wizard marks and magic wands. It
was the magic of blood. Edward had, like any twin
who realized the magic of being a twin would do,
researched this until his bones ached with every
late night spent reading page after page in the
musty corners of the library that all old things
inevitably end up in. You know the type. Their very
core is that of age and secrets.
Blood magic is
complex, more than complex than can be explained in
these pages, and much more complex than can be
explained without having spent years studying magic
and probably several mystic arts too. Edward, with
all his study and natural talents, still barely
understood it. But it boiled down to this:
If there were
two people—brothers, sisters, parents, children,
twins especially—shared blood, they could do
something no one else could, as long as they had
magic to begin with. They could bend reality, even
just slightly, which was awfully useful for things
like healing diseases or making bonds of sacrifice.
Or, y’know, stealing the crown jewels without
getting sent to prison. Things, Edward had always
thought to himself when studying, that would really
benefit the world at large.
what none of the books really mentioned was that
blood magic was really only the second most powerful
magic, but it’s not the kind books really talk about
much. At least not those kinds of books.
After all, the
sorts of angry, old, fuddy-duddy wizards that wrote
books were probably too misogynistic to ever
acknowledge such a “feminine” form of magic. The
kinds of wizards that were respected back in the old
days when magic and writing first made love were not
the kind who thought much on anything but power, let
stared at Cece who had decided the best way to be
stealthy was to wear every item of black clothing
that she owned, which included three black skirts,
two pairs of stockings layered on one another, heavy
soled boots, a blouse, four jackets, one layer of
gloves with fingers, one layer of fingerless gloves,
and shockingly, only one delicate little pill box
hat, “You’re really good at not being suspicious
Cece made a
rather unladylike gesture.
twins said in tandem, hoping to break up the
tension, “What’s first?”
Pippa did not
like flying. No, that’s not right. Pippa did not
like her brother gripping her tightly to his chest
as he bounced across the sky. She felt it was really
ungraceful and there had to be better ways to fly.
Admittedly, they were flying to the top of a rather
tall building, but regardless, it just seemed…
dangerous… and unnecessary. She was a prude
businessman, Pippa didn’t believe in extraneous
ticks in her ledger, and she did not believe in
bouncing on clouds just to be lowered into a
building to steal crown jewels because your brother
is an idiot.
against every principle she had as the owner of what
was a moderately successful business (which was
admittedly not doing as well now that her more
charismatic brother was not working there and was
wasting his money on large gambling debts, though
she always did. Hers was a patient love).
was an idiot.
where the crown and other jewels such as scepters
and necklaces and what not that only makes the rich
feel but also appear even richer, was large. And not
just plated with gold as these sorts of buildings
tend to be, but actually made of gold. This made
breaking into it easy, as gold is an incredibly soft
metal and Tamara burned hot.
Tamara told Cece as the three of them dropped into
her eyes, like she was listening to that when
her—um, her favorite hat maker was in danger. Yes,
her favorite hat maker, or even her friend, if she
were to go so far. She reminded herself that she was
not courting Pippa Stetsons. Well, not PROPERLY,
“Keep hold of
my hand, kay Pip?” Edward whispered, a gust of wind
carefully picked its way through the first three
locks protecting the jewels. The large rocks,
encrusted in gold and glitter, stood behind three
layers of glass and dozens of locks.
said that since we were little,” Pippa said in her
normal voice which is a whisper for most. The final
lock was stuck.
you’re my baby sister!”
“I am four
minutes older than you; I’m not your baby sister!”
Pippa suspected that if you didn’t bicker with your
sibling, you didn’t really love them.
“But you’re so
little!” Edward felt exactly the same as his sister
when it came to petty arguments with her. “You’re
“No I’m not!
Maybe you’re just a giant, did you ever think of
“It’s not my
fault you’ve always been shorter than me.”
“Oh, and it’s
my fault?” Years of training at a hat shop had made
her fingers nimble and skilled; Pippa had no trouble
getting through the final set of tumblers to open
the case, despite the darkness of the room.
trickle of air pressed down to keep the pressure
sensitive pads level as Edward began the delicate
process of trying to move them.
“Can you two
both stop? We actually do have a goal,” Tamara
be what, exactly?” a voice drawled behind them.
Edward and Pippa both said something that really did
not fit their station in society at all.
was a guard. He pulled out a gun, the kind with
magic bullets that pierce through shields and knock
the perp out cold. Just as he was about to fire,
there was a loud ‘thump!’ and he fell to the ground.
y’all,” Cece said, her heavy boot still in hand, “So
how do we go get those jewels?”
A loud alarm
began to sound and Tamara grimaced, “We don’t.”
Back on the
dome, Edward collapsed, “What am I going to DO? If I
don’t show up with those jewels, I’m doomed.”
still have your sister and her… friend. If worse
come to worse, we shall simply plunge ahead. See how
many of the Brothers we can take down before they
well… kill you,” Tamara said, examining her nails as
though they were the most important thing in the
world. “We’ll go down fighting, er, scout’s
second, the BROTHERS?” Cece shouted. “You mean the
gang? The one that tends to make other magicians
disappear?! The ones that control the drug
syndicate?! The ones who--”
“Those are the
ones, yes,” Edward smirked. “My dear Cece—“
Williams,” Cece corrected him.
my dear Miss Williams. Never play poker.”
“Why do you
need me, exactly?” Pippa finally asked.
“Because if I
have you, my powers are ten-fold.”
“Now wait just
a minute!” Cece brayed, “No one’s going anywhere
until you explain how you managed to piss off the
Edward carefully distracted himself by getting
distracted, “Look!” he said brightly, “you can see
the hat shop from here! Why don’t we head back? Grab
something to eat?” Out of nowhere, he had a bottle
whiskey and was downing it one go.
him in the ribs, really, how had she ended up the
partner of someone so incredibly dumb?
Pippa, uncharacteristically forceful, “let’s head
back to the shop and you can explain the facts.”
The facts were
these (these were the facts), Edward Stetson had the
kind of gambling problem that ate many people out of
house and home, unless they, like Edward, had
someone willing to support them and pay for each
time luck not only frowned upon them, but slapped
them in the face. If he was a man who reflected
often on his life, he’d be constantly thankful that
his twin sister was his exact opposite.
said, bringing in his chips, “looks I win again.
Sorry boys, but it looks like I have to split--”
round,” A hooded figure who’d been betting high and
losing big all night, “please.”
table, Tamara was shaking her head ‘no.’ She didn’t
want to clean up another one of this boy’s messes.
She loved him with a burning passion that matched
her close ties to fire, but he was a very trying
boy. He may have been more powerful than her, but
where he had raw ability, she had common sense and
the ability to work hard.
Edward was suddenly realizing that the man he’d just
won two dragon eggs and a considerable handful of
ancient scrolls of power was offering essentially to
lose again; how could anyone resist that? “Yeah, all
right,” was about to lay down a chip when the other
how’s about we increase the stakes?”
a thick eyebrow, “What did you have in mind?”
hood, the man grinned. “Let’s play a game, shall
exactly remember the game—or Game, really, it was
worth the capital letter, or how it went, he just
remembered being dragged into an alley when he
apparently lost and having the “Rules” explained to
were somewhere between the Mafia and Catholic
Church. They were obsessed with morality, but never
seemed to apply it to themselves.
When he had
first begun to study magic, he’d been warned about
the Brothers. They had tried to bring him into their
organization several times, but his tendency to not
think before he acted had protected him from their
mystery cults, much of what the Brothers did was
kept in the shadows, though phrases like “virgin
sacrifice” and “burning cities to the ground” were
tossed around. No one who had sold an illegal drug
or potion in the Greater City had been able to
escape their influence, nor had a single pimp or
whore, or any illegal gambling ring. They had a
finger in every pie, so to say, and had poisoned
plenty of pies in their day as well. They seemed to
see themselves “punishing the wicked,” even if they
were the ones who forced them into being wicked in
the first place.
made people like Tamara seem like tame kittens,
unable to harm a fly. If you should not piss off
Tamara, you should make sure to never even look at a
Brother the wrong way. If Tamara was terrifying,
these were the sorts of things that made her go home
crying to her mother.
They were not
the kind of people you avoided paying a debt to.
point, had Edward succeeded in obtaining the crown
jewels as he had been meant to, was meant to be in
an alleyway. Edward had been a bit frustrated that
they had decided he’d make the delivery in an alley
way because it was dark, a bit dirty, and altogether
far too clichéd to make for an interesting
story if he were to survive it. Honestly, you’d
think they’d be a bit more creative, being a shadowy
organization and all, since they must have a lot of
practice with this sort of back hand deal.
quite made it into the shop when a wall of darkness
hit Edward, slamming him into the back wall of the
store. He hit with such a force that he could hear
the sound of breaking dish wear in the Stetsons’
family apartment that was perched precariously on
top of the shop.
Stetson,” a voice melted out of the darkness a
nearby alley. “I expect everything went as planned?
No Rules broken?”
Milaca,” Edward began, “not exactly.”
sounds like a no. Doesn’t it, Brother Christopher?”
“Oh yes,” a
second voice, equally terrifying, like the monsters
that hide under your bed when you are small and
haven’t learned not to ignore them or pretend them
away, joined him, “that is definitely a no.”
so,” Edward said in the cool, cocky way he’d learned
to address people when he knew--or thought he knew--
he was better than all of them, “but I was thinking
of a different arrangement.”
“Oh no, that
won’t do at all,” the first voice snarled.
And then the
shadowy body of the second voice lunged out of the
Just in time
for Tamara to lung into it.
through the air with fire as the two Brothers tore
through the air with darkness, and Edward just sort
of tore the air.
wind around Tamara was cut off, and so was the
light. Fire, like people, needs air to survive. Air
that was not in the bubble of darkness. She fell to
the ground, surrounded by a dark cloud. Clearly,
there were well more than just two Brothers. Two
times ten would have been a much closer guess.
shouted, a gust of wind knocking one shadow away
from him, only to be replaced by three more.
Desperate, like a mouse cornered in a snake pit, he
shouted for his sister.
She dodged out
of the shadows to grab his hand, a hope that blood
magic was enough to save them both.
nothing but cold, the kind that numbs your very
soul, seep into her as a mass of black wrestled her
to the ground. Pippa lost hold of her brother’s
“This is not
your fight, boy,” the shadows whispered to her, each
word like a spider on her bare skin.
brother, it’s my fight.”
seemed to understand this sort of bond--even if they
HAD misgendered her—since they made no further
argument, but they pressed down on her body until
she felt like she could never be warm again. As
though light were nothing more than a myth. Her
breath came in a stuttering staccato and made her
ribs splinter like ice.
quiet voice cradled her head. “Pippa, I’ve never
really told you, it never seemed like a good time,
but really it has to be said. Well, I suppose it
doesn’t, but if you don’t make it, you need to know
I just… well, not that you won’t make it, but…”
Williams,” she gasped through the cold, each word
breaking on the surface of her tongue, “please.”
“I love you.”
There are some
kisses that define history. That takes the course of
it and shift it about as it sees fit.
This was not
one of those kisses.
This was far
her eyes against the darkness and saw Miss Williams
holding her. A warmth flooded through her like a
She stood and
glanced at her brother where he tried desperately
to. There are, of course, more powerful forms of
magic. Blood magic will only take you so far; the
kind of magic that comes from finding the people who
love you because they want to, not because they have
to, that’s the kind of magic that can really change
worlds. Love, when it’s honest and true, is a very
the times in her life where she knew she wasn’t
really, properly magic melted away, and with a flick
of her wrists, the alley was flooded with life.
Several of the
shadows flickered from view as a warm wind pulled
light into the crevices behind the shop, but one of
the dark masses lunged at Pippa. With a flick of her
wrists, the man made of darkness was swept away. She
moved a hand and the wind picked up to a gale force,
not only knocking her own hat off but causing a
flurry of hats within the shop, banging against the
walls, the remaining three seemed to melt into the
shadows, escaping as best they could from the wind
and the racquet of nearly 100 hats.
to collapse in on herself a bit, tired from serving
as a conduit for the entirety of the wind. Cece
picked up Pippa’s top hat from where it had been
blown away during the redhead’s moments of pure
magic, and handed it to the other girl. Their hands
When she came
to, Tamara was on the concrete, her dark skin free
from wizard marks. Edward was panting and exhausted,
his lip was bleeding.
stared at her, “you aren’t supposed to be able to…”
“I thought I
was the magical one,” Edward insisted.
even have any training!” Tamara cried.”You haven’t
you say that you could—”
But Pippa and
Cece paid them no mind; they were too busy staring
at one another, drinking in every detail like it
might be the last chance to.
“I love you
too, Miss Williams.”
telling you, it’s Cece!”
said, her voice stronger and fuller than it ever had
been, “Cece Williams, I love you.”
“And I love
you Pippa Stetsons. Gosh,” she teased, “why did it
take us so long to notice?”
real and wide and genuine. And they kissed, the wind
picking the two of them up until they were holding
each other a few feet off the ground. Neither of
them really noticed.
Now, of course
it’s not really all that important what happened
next, but it’s worth saying that hats were involved.
after, now that seems the right phrase. Yes.
happily ever after.