Toil & Trouble - 22 - Transformation
Chapter 22 — Transformation
"Yes, but hopefully it's only for one day. Try to act like nothing is wrong. Rose?" Charlotte said, glancing at Rose.
"Sorry, this is just really weird." Rose said, looking back at Sarah apologetically.
"That's okay, it's weird for me, too." Sarah said, looking down at the table.
"Perhaps it would be best if you continued your lessons with Rose and Willow?" Charlotte suggested, looking at Tina.
Tina looked surprised, "Are you sure?"
Charlotte nodded, "Yes. We need to continue as if nothing were different. And perhaps Willow will have some new insights into glyphs."
"Glyphs?" Sarah asked.
"It's a new way to do magic Grandma introduced me to. We've been working on developing it more since we don't really know how to use it all that well yet. Come on, I'll tell you all about them." Tina said, standing and beckoning for Sarah to follow her. Rose fell in behind them as they walked up the stairs to Tina's room. "I'm kind of surprised Grandma wants me to tell you about glyphs, I wasn't even sure you knew how to do magic like we do." she said once they were all seated on Tina's bed.
Sarah shrugged, "A friend of mine seems to think I could learn, and should, so that works for me."
"Cool." Tina said, and began explaining what they'd discovered about glyphs. That led to a discussion about the trance state she used to practice the glyphs. Tina noticed Sarah was nodding off after a while, so Rose helped her to a guest room.
Tina got ready for bed herself. It's weird to be having fun explaining things to Sarah while she looks like that, but still be missing Willow at the same time. she thought as she drifted off to sleep.
Tina woke to the sound of her alarm clock, having forgotten she had to work with all the confusion over the switch. She dressed and hurried to the kitchen for breakfast. Rose came through and Charlotte asked her to wake up Willow. Weird to have anyone have to wake her up. Tina thought. Rose looked like she was thinking the same, until she remembered it wasn't really Willow.
Willow came down a few minutes later.
"Good morning Willow. I hope you slept well?" Charlotte said when she saw her.
"Uh, yeah, I did." Willow said awkwardly.
"Have a seat, breakfast will be done shortly." Charlotte said.
Willow sat, but didn't look at anybody, just kept her eyes glued to the table.
"Uh, what would you like to do today Willow?" Rose finally asked.
Willow shrugged, "I don't know."
"We could go to the mall, you always like that." Rose said, forgetting for a moment that Willow was really Sarah. Willow shrugged.
An uncomfortable silence descended, broken only when Charlotte brought breakfast to the table. Willow picked at her pancakes.
Once she was finished eating Tina rinsed her plate and got ready to go to work. She looked at Willow sitting there at the table, obviously uncomfortable, and wished she knew her better so she would have some idea how to get her to relax.
"Be careful today Willow. I'll see you later." she said, waving as she walked out the door. Willow waved back weakly.
Tina was glad Willow didn't have a job to go to, since Sarah was obviously having a hard time. Anybody who knew Willow at all well would know something was up. She only hoped that Nathaniel didn't know her too well. Though if he was as unstable as her grandmother suggested, it might not matter.
At work she noticed that Tiffany hovered over Sarah for a while, but was surprised with how well she actually handled herself. In a way it wasn't surprising, knowing how friendly Willow tended to be. She also managed to keep her excess energy in check fairly well. It seemed clear that Willow was having an easier time being Sarah, at least as far as her job, than Sarah was in being Willow.
At lunch she did ask a few questions, but not that many. Tina exchanged surprised looks with Tiffany, which Sarah obviously caught, saying, "What, you thought this would be really hard for me? I'm pretty good at talking to people, most of the time. And I'm real comfortable with computers and electronics and stuff. This isn't that bad."
Tina shook her head, "You're full of surprises. I wonder how Sa...I mean, Willow is doing."
"How did she seem this morning?" Tiffany asked.
"Tense. Withdrawn. Or maybe just nervous. I don't know her that well." Tina replied.
"I meant to warn you, she's really depressed over her fiance going back to Harvard. She's also had a rough time lately in general. We're all worried about her. She's a lot stronger when Erica is here. If you could keep an eye on her, and ask Rose to do so as well, I'd really appreciate it." Tiffany said.
"Sure, I'll call Rose right now." Tina said. She stepped out to make the call. Rose was at the mall, so it took a moment for her to find a quiet place so they could talk. She quickly filled Rose in on what Tiffany had told her and let her get back to her shopping.
After the call she went back to the break room, "I told Rose. She promised to keep an eye on her, but she's got a doctor's appointment right now. She should be back with Willow in an hour or so."
"Thanks, I'll feel better knowing somebody's watching out for her. She's kind of fragile." Tiffany said.
They got back to work after that. However, it wasn't long after that Tina felt a burst of magical energy nearby. It was powerful, but nothing like some of the other things she'd felt recently. A moment later Tiffany suddenly ran off. Sarah started to follow, but quickly lost sight of her. She hurried over to Tina.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"I felt magic being used nearby. I think Willow nailed Nathaniel. She must have a way to contact Tiffany, I guess. Or maybe she can sense magic, too. But without knowing where it came from I think we should stay put. We're short handed now, anyway. If they need our help they'll call us." Tina said, hoping she was right.
Tina was distracted and thankful it wasn't a busy workday. Thankfully Rose called after a seemingly interminable time and told her that they were all safely back at her grandmother's. She hurried to ask her boss if she and 'Sarah' could leave early, telling him that a friend of theirs had been hurt. A couple of late shift people had already arrived, so they were able to get out early.
"What's up?" Sarah asked anxiously after Tina told her they were going home.
"Rose called. She said everyone's safely back at Grandma's, so it sounds like everything went okay. But let's hurry up and get back there." Tina said.
Sarah nodded and followed her out. They ended up running most of the way back.
As they breathlessly walked into the kitchen they overheard some girl saying, "It's not fair. I've been looking for magic all my life and it just falls in your lap!"
"I know how you feel." Sarah said. "I'm really envious of Sarah, myself. Can you change me back now Sarah?"
Tina stepped around her to look at Sarah. "Are you alright?" she asked.
Sarah nodded weakly, "Yeah, I'm fine. Here, let me touch Willow so I can change her back." Tina stood back and Sarah tapped Willow's outstretched hand, changing her back instantly.
"Well, we lucked out." Charlotte said, walking up behind Tina. "Everybody is available to come over tomorrow night. I was afraid it would be a week or more."
"I suppose we should come back tomorrow, then?" Jill asked.
"Well, only Sarah really needs to be here." Charlotte replied.
"Can I come with her?" Tiffany asked.
"If you want, I suppose. We try to keep the meetings as small as we reasonably can, though." Charlotte said.
They all sat, who weren't already, and looked at each other uncomfortably. Charlotte cleared her throat, "Are you still open to talking now, as I suggested before?"
"I suppose so." Jill said, glancing at Natalie.
"Willow, why don't you take Natalie here up to the guest room. She can sleep here tonight." Charlotte suggested.
Natalie grumbled at being left out but followed Willow upstairs.
"So, how long have you guys been doing magic, anyway?" Tina asked.
Mike thought about it a moment and said, "About a month, maybe a little more. That about right?" He looked to the others, who nodded.
"A month?!" Charlotte exclaimed.
Mike shrugged, "Yeah. We're still getting used to the idea. To be honest, we didn't know there were other people out there with magical abilities until a few days ago."
"Wow, you must have felt really isolated." Rose said.
To Be Continued…
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