Maggie kept looking over at the local history book she bought from the hardware store earlier. She resisted the urge to pick it up while she worked on her novel. If she were not so far behind writing the manuscript, she would sit down with a cup of coffee and read it. But learning about the building’s history and lore was going to have to wait. Especially when she had to go to Bruce’s for supper shortly.
Maggie heard an apartment door open and close, and then another. Debbie must have just gone to Bruce’s, she thought. She looked at the clock; it was almost six. Time to get ready and go.
She closed her laptop and took a bottle of wine from the refrigerator; she would use it as a host gift for Bruce and Debbie. She had no ribbon or wrapping paper for it but did it really matter?
Maggie walked toward the door, pausing in front of the full-length mirror. She looked at her reflection for only a moment, just long enough to check her appearance, and if someone was standing behind her. Things were fine.
Not bothering to lock the door behind her, she walked to Bruce’s and knocked. Bruce opened the door while Debbie stood at his side.
“Come in,” he said, motioning for her to enter. “I wasn’t sure you’d come or not.”
“I’m happy to be here, thanks for inviting me.” Garage rock played softly in the background while the aroma of something cooking in the oven made her mouth water. “Smells good in here.”
Debbie took the bottle of wine from Maggie and handed it to Bruce. “It’s meatloaf. Bruce is the best cook around. He’s a better cook than my mom was. Aren’t you babe?”
Bruce opened the wine and poured it into three glasses. “How’s that hangover?”
Maggie shook her head. “It’s long gone. I’ll have to remember your cure . . . If I ever need it again.”
“Have a seat at the table, you two,” Bruce said, pulling the pan of meat out of the oven.
“So Maggie, Bruce tells me he helped you out in the basement, earlier.” Debbie’s bubbly personality was only cooking at a simmer.
“Help me?” She sipped her wine. “He just showed me that room in the corner.”
Bruce brought the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, bread, and butter to the table. “She thought she saw something.”
Maggie was about to respond to Bruce’s comment when Debbie said, “Blessing?”
“Sure thing,” Bruce said, straightening his posture as he sat down.
Bruce and Debbie held hands and extended their hand to Maggie. She could not help but think about the witchboard table and séances. She took their hands.
Bruce cleared his throat and said, “Lord, we know without a doubt that you’ll bless this food as we pig out.”
“Amen,” Debbie said, loudly.
Maggie looked at Debbie and then at Bruce, who was staring at her. She did not think that meal blessing was quite appropriate, especially since it seemed they made fun of it. And the way he was still holding her hand, not letting go, was a little disquieting.
“Dig in,” Bruce said, finally releasing Maggie.
“How’s your writing coming along?” Debbie asked as she spoke with a mouth full of meatloaf.
Maggie took another sip of wine. “Fine.” She looked at Bruce who kept glancing at her between bites of meat and potatoes.
“Eat, Maggie,” Bruce said. “You came her for supper didn’t you?”
Maggie nodded and put small portions onto her plate. Who knew what ingredients he used when making the loaf; it could have an eye of newt and toe of frog for all she knew, especially after how he acted in the scrying room. Then she realized Susie was not there. “Where’s Susie?”
“She’s sleeping in Bruce’s bedroom,” Debbie said, seeming unconcerned.
“Is she okay?” Maggie forced a bite of meatloaf into her mouth and down her throat.
Debbie frowned at Maggie. “What? Do you think I can’t care for Susie?”
“No, absolutely not.” Maggie was caught off guard by Debbie’s reaction. “Sorry.”
“Babe, she didn’t mean anything,” Bruce said, resting his hand on her arm. “No worries, it’s all cool.”
Debbie smiled and nodded. “No, I’m sorry. I’m going to check on her now.”
When Debbie left, Bruce scooted over into her seat so that he was close to Maggie. He moved in so his legs touched hers, just like in the dream she had.
Maggie did not know what to do. Was he coming on to her, and with Debbie in the next room? How bizarre this whole situation was, she could not move.
He brought his face closer to hers and whispered, “I’d like you come over and visit me. I’d like to get to know you better . . . A lot better.”
Then the table shook; Debbie had kicked it. “What’s going on here?”
Bruce stood and walked to Debbie. He put his arms around her and whispered something to her. Something that Maggie could not hear. Then he left the room.
Debbie looked at Maggie with an expression close to a sneer. “Stay away from Bruce, he’s mine. Got it?”
Once again, Maggie got it, but she did not know exactly what she had.