Flashy Magic, Part Three

Kira Lubahn

Art by Belquis Elhadi
We pull into the apartment complex parking lot, and I can’t help but notice that he frowns a little as he looks out the window. I know Sunny Hills Apartments doesn’t live up to its name, but it’s not that bad. The bullet holes in the sign are more than ten years old.
No matter how much I defend it, the family’s never liked it. Mom keeps telling me that she hasn’t converted my old room to a craft area yet, that I could always move back in. I like being away from all the Magicbuster stuff though. I’ve never quite fit, and back home the conversation always turns to the family business.
 
I pop the trunk and jump out to start unloading my things. Theo follows my lead, and I take a minute to watch him. He moves like he’s got power to spare, and the numerous charms and protections hanging from his wrists and neck make him look a little bohemian. The magical reference book tucked into the back pocket of his jeans makes me smile. He’s carried it since we were kids, but I’ve never seen him use it. Too smart for that.
 
Pulling my cart out of the van, I carefully set Mr. Bun’s hutch onto the bottom shelf.
 
“Why don’t you just use a transportation spell?” He says, eyeing my cart and then all the supplies I’ve stuffed inside the van.
I stop and put my hand on my hip. “Sometimes it’s nice to know you can do things without magic.” From the look he’s giving me, I can tell he’s not buying it. “And Mr. Bun gets queasy if I move him around with magic too much. He has a delicate stomach, okay?.”
Theo snorts and starts an incantation under his breath.
“Hey, wait!” He’s done before I can stop him. Transportation spells are easy for him.
My van is cleared out, and the cart with Mr. Bun is up in my apartment. If it ended up in somebody else’s I’ll kill him, but I know it didn’t. Theo doesn’t make mistakes.
He closes the trunk with a smug tilt to his smile.
“You didn’t have to do that.” I say, a little annoyed.
Theo only shrugs and heads inside. Not wanting to start an argument, I lock the doors of the van with a snap of my fingers and head after him.
* * *
Once we get into my apartment I rush over to Mr. Bun’s cage and open the top. His eyes look a little glassy. I pet his big floppy brown ears and whisper soothing nothings to him.
The feeling of Theo’s gaze makes me look up from my rabbit. “What? You made him all woozy.”
He doesn’t say anything, but his expression is unimpressed. After a short staring contest, which I lose, he goes and sits on my sofa. I hope he doesn’t sit on the broken half, and am rewarded by the lack of surprised squawk. If he’d sat on the other side, he would have hit the floor faster than I could have explained why there was a cushion over the giant hole in my couch.
It was on clearance, okay?
Mr. Bun is looking better, so I scoot him a little closer to his water bottle and close the hutch back up. A quick glance at Theo shows that he’s busy inspecting my apartment, from the secondhand furniture to the water stains on the wall.
I take the opportunity to empty my pockets of the money I’d received and count it. Twenty dollar tip, I realize. Sweet. I think I love Jason’s mom.
I put the cash in the freezer, telling myself I’ll stop by the bank in a few days. My icy stash is looking more and more like a respectable deposit. That and rent is coming up.
Leaning over my counter, I call out to Theo. “Hey, you hungry?”
“Nope.”
He’s lying. I can always tell. He gets this little hitch in his voice that you can hear at the ends of his words. I want to tell him that he can’t fool his little sister, but I let him keep his pride even though he has too much of it.
“Yeah? Well, I am, so whatever you need to talk to me about can hold on until after I make myself something to eat.”
By Kira Lubahn