Abby wants a new life, but magic was never on the agenda. Her new neighbours are great, if you like mermaids, werewolves, and medusi. Adapting to her role in the neighbourhood is tricky as it involves pulling magic between dimensions, but the garden gnomes that she animated try to help when they can. The warlock next door is also a problem, every time he gets near her, her power goes berserk. When a stalker joins the crew and tries to end Abby's new career the hard way, her life is danger and the neighbours are up in arms.
"Abby. Abby, close the mirror." The voice seemed so far away and she was trapped in the cupboard.
A sharp jolt to her hand and the viewer snapped shut. Abby blinked in astonishment at what she had seen, felt and heard. "Holy crap." He leaned over her and took the viewer from her hand. Contact was minimal, but she still managed to keep her power to herself.
"I am surprised that it took you that powerfully."
He still kept his hands free of her as she wobbled to her feet and that act of separation made her grit her teeth. "I had to jump start the mechanism, it may be a little stronger now until you work the charge off it." She settled back in on the sofa and took another slug of the lemonade. "Who knew that a seal could be that angry?"
He was putting the viewer back and turned to her in shock. "A seal?"
"Yeah. It was a seal's soul trapped in that painting. A small magus sealed it in there after he found the seal almost dead on the beach. He then had a clown painted on the treated sealskin. He wanted people to be as scared of clowns as he was." She relaxed back and let the images she had seen wash over her. It was a small child's frustration and humiliation that drove him to create that painting. That he had control of enough magic to do it was just another tool for his plan.
"Seriously? A child did that?"
"Yeah, in the late sixties or so."
"Do you know who it was?"
"No. But with the upped charge, you should be able to investigate. And the reason he attacked Laura was that she smelled a bit like a piece of herring. What seal could resist?" She kept her eyes closed as she heard him pick up the viewer and move to the painting again.
A few short moments later he closed the tool with a snap. "Sonofabitch. It was so simple and yet I couldn't see it."
"I am betting that it happens a lot with older mechanisms that rely on magic. But back to the reason I am on your couch. I need to know about what I am." She didn't have any room to put her feet up on his coffee table so she kicked off her shoes and curled her feet up on the couch.
"You are a Nexus."
"Yeah, but why did the council put all of you here?" This question had been bugging her. "And who the heck is on the council anyway?"
"The council is a group of elected officials from the differing magical races that have survived to modern day." He answered the second question first and crossed his own legs in the lotus position on the other couch.
Oh, he is limber. This has possibilities.
"The last few times a Nexus has been found, it has been drained dry by whoever found it and has died shortly after. We didn't want that to happen to you."
"We? Who is we?"
"Your new neighbours here onOak Point Way
. Each of us volunteered to be here as a type of an honour guard. If you can learn to control your dispensation of magic, you will live a long and healthy life."
"And if I don't?"
"You will sputter and burn out like a candle and there will be nothing we can do to help you. You carry the seeds of your own survival or destruction within you."
Abby took a deep sip of her lemonade. "Wow, that is a heavy conversation killer. Okay. The next question is, why is the energy signature on my gnomes changing color?"
"Really? So quickly?"
"Uh, yeah. So. what is doing it?"
"As living things take on your energy, they convert it for their own use. The more they live, the faster they change. The tree for example will metabolize the energy that you gave it and your magic will be irretrievable from that point on."
"Okay. So as long as it is still my energy, I can pull it back?"
"That is the theory. I don't know of any cases where the Nexus was able to do it extensively though. That is why you need the training that I am offering you."
She sighed heavily. "What exactly would this training entail?"
"Every morning when your energy is at its peak you will come over and I will give you exercises to enhance your control over your energies." Xander rose and moved to a side cabinet, the drawer that he opened yielded a seven-foot strand of pearls. "These pearls are a good outlet for your extra energy. You can fill them up one at a time and use them to relieve the overflow to prevent accidents like the one that struck Laura."
Abby wrapped the pearls around her hand and hefted them. They were not light. "I am supposed to haul these things around with me?"
"Well, they will give you a place to put your extra energy. It's your choice." He crossed his arms and scowled.
How could she not find that sexy? Her power ramped up again and she filled three pearls in a few seconds.
Then three more as he stated, "I want to see you first thing in the morning, every morning until we get this under control."
She would like to see him first thing in the morning, after they had spent the night tangling the sheets. Five more pearls. "Fine. I will be over here first thing in the morning tomorrow."
"Excellent. I look forward to working this out with you. I will be here to help you out as long as it takes." He took her hand in his and looked deeply into her eyes.
Ten more pearls. Oh, to hell with it. She jumped forward and locked her lips with his. It was just as fantastic as the first time, but this time she had him at a disadvantage and he took a moment to react. He reacted with passion and she was halfway through the necklace before she was able to break the contact. "Wow. Okay. We can't do that again. Or we can't do that again today. But I would definitely like to do that again. But not when we are working on extending my expiration date."
His grin was devilish. "Done. The instant that you are firmly in control of the power, we have a date."
She extended her hand and he shook it. "We have a deal. What is your official job title by the way?"
He was escorting her out and he gently pinched her backside as he gave her a light shove out the door. "I am the Safety Warlock. Do you feel safe?"