Lynda, a college freshman, passes her last test to earn the title of junior wizard by casting a complicated spell on an unsuspecting victim: Jason. She expects to turn him into a servant, but the spell backfires and they fall in love.
Lynda discovers that another junior wizard has designs on capturing the Mayor’s office. Lynda fears he will try to take over the city and thereby cause extensive problems for the other wizards. The master wizards tell her that they can’t help her stop him unless he sets foot on their property. With only the assistance of the man who was first her victim and now her lover, she sets out to confront the evil wizard.
I shoved my hand into my pants pocket, encountering the money Gino’d given me to pay the court fees when I’d visited him the afternoon before, and my thoughts ran back over the conversation that had preceded my request for a loan.
We had waited until Darnell was safely out of sight then I’d sent Jason back to our apartment and headed to Gino’s by myself. He’d answered the door after only a couple knocks, stood patiently while I poured out the encounter and shook his head.
“I can’t do anything. Not unless ya can get him over here or prove he’s using his powers ta throw the election.”
I couldn’t prove anything and he knew it. I tried though. I pointed out what Darnell had said. I repeated what the other guy had said. I insisted that Darnell couldn’t win honestly, that he was going to have to do something underhanded.
Gino had listened, and nodded, and repeated himself:
“I have ta have proof he’s misusing his powers. All you’ve got right now is a guess. He might be plannin’ on casting something... but there’s plenty a’ ways ta cheat that don’t require magic. I’ll get one of the senior wizards ta keep an eye on the poly-sci building in case he shows up again, and we’ll do what we can ta’ watch the polling places when the election starts in three weeks. That’s all I can do, unless ya can get me proof... or he steps back on ta’ this property.”
I shifted to the other foot and stretched. I was tired of waiting in line and wishing I dared materialize a chair. Jason reached over and rubbed my back for a couple seconds then dropped his arm around my shoulders. I leaned into him, snaked my arm around his waist and tried not to think about seconds ticking past on the clock. The door opened a few minutes later and a clerk came out.
“All couples who are interested in a mass ceremony raise your hand.”
Mine shot up instantly. Jason’s followed reluctantly. I didn’t care if there were five hundred people in the room saying vows at the same time or not. I wanted to get this over with, pay the fee and go home. The clerk motioned and we joined fifteen other couples walking through the door.
As civil ceremonies go, it was pretty boring, and I didn’t pay too much attention to what the Justice was saying. I was busy looking around at the large room with long chalkboards on the walls that reminded me of a classroom. My thoughts found their way back to the poly-sci building and started wondering if the senior wizards had seen any sign of Darnell.
Jason waved his hand in front of my eyes and I jumped. “You’re supposed to be listening,” he whispered.
Binding spell or not, I realized Jason was taking this ceremony seriously, and I suddenly felt guilty for not paying attention. I forced myself to listen to the rest of the Justice’s spiel, tried to put real feeling into saying the required vows and made a heroic effort to keep my thoughts focused on what we were doing until she pronounced us all married.
My mom was going to shoot me for not inviting her, but my dad would probably be happy he didn’t have to pay for anything big. After he got through grilling Jason to make sure he was gonna stick around, of course. I grinned, promised myself to invite them for dinner to facilitate the barbecue and accompanied Jason to the cashier’s office to pay the fee. I snuck him the money and let him take care of handing it through the window, signing forms and doing legal stuff.
He had to wave his hand in front of my eyes again, because a small ‘help wanted’ sign on a bulletin board next to the cashier’s office had attracted my attention. I scribbled my name on several lines, provided the required thumb prints and waited impatiently while the cashier printed off a receipt, made copies of the forms and handed them to Jason.
We moved out of the way of the next couple, then I yanked on his arm and pointed at the sign.
“We’ve got jobs,” Jason protested.
I sighed and tried not to feel frustrated. “I know that. Look at it again.”
Jason squinted, read the sign over a couple times and shook his head. “I don’t...”
“They’re hiring tally help, Jason. They’re looking for people to come down here and help count the votes after the election.”
“They’re only paying minimum wage.”
“Jason...” I turned him to face me and looked into his eyes. “I love you, but stop being dense. They’re going to count the votes here. In one building. At night.” I watched the gears turn in his head for a few seconds before the light clicked on.
“Darnell...” He finished his thought by rapping on the counter to get the clerk’s attention. She handed some forms to one of the other couples and peered at Jason.
“Are they still hiring?” He pointed at the sign. She peered at him harder then pointed across the hall at a glass door with the words ‘Human Resources’ lettered on it in gold paint. I bit my tongue, tried not to laugh and followed him through the door.
Copyright © 2006 by Crystalwizard