"Jesus Christ!" She seethed between fast ragged breaths. She ran as fast as she could down the busy street with minutes to spare. And, of course, it would be freaking raining, she thought as she ignored the pinching pain in her feet and continued to run in heels. If she had any sense of modesty, she would be holding her dress down instead of flashing all of SoHo her lace-covered ass, even if it was just a blur to onlookers.
"If I had any modesty… I wouldn't be running down the street… in my tiniest black dress…in heels…to a complete stranger's apartment…chasing a freaking fairytale…fifteen minutes before midnight…on freaking new years eve!" She muttered to herself between forced breaths as she sprinted down Canal street.
Less than a week ago, she would have never dreamed this was what she'd be doing on new years eve. Less than a week ago, she was happily single and living for herself only. Less than a week ago, she worked in a little coffee shop in the village, teaching kids piano on the side. Not her dream life by any means, but she had convinced herself she was happy. Now, after this life-altering slap in the face, she realized that none of it was what she wanted. Deep down, she'd always craved more. She'd always known there was more out there for her. Maybe that's why she was sprinting toward this fairy tale.
She was on her own after a car accident made her an orphan. She had no other family to turn to, and she had aged out of the foster care system by midnight that very day. So, she quit college, moved to the city, and after 7 years of making it work, she forced herself to think she was really happy. Then on one blustery December morning, that all changed.
The city was quiet during the week between Christmas and New Years. She loved it, easy shifts at the coffee shop and no lessons where she had to wrangle and convince kids music was worth the patience and convince the parents it was worth the investment. She had plans that day after she closed up to cozy up with a book and a big glass of wine and maybe order a pizza.
She was the only one in the shop. She was sneakily trying to close up early when she heard the friendly tinkle of the front door opening. Turning around, Josie was met with the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. The first thing she noticed was the brilliant glass bottle green eyes, hooded under thick lashes. Then her gaze fell to the woman's full mouth, her creamy white skin, high cheekbones, and deep copper hair set in loose curls down to her waist.
It took Josie an embarrassing amount of time before she realized the woman was talking to her.
"Sorry, what did you say?" Josie stammered out, praying to whatever god would listen that she wasn't blushing.
"I said, 'You're Josie Santos.'" Stated the mysterious, gorgeous amazon of a woman.
"Um, yes. I am. How do you know that?" Josie said, stepping up to the counter. The woman smiled triumphantly and unbuttoned her coat.
"Jesus." Josie let out and, without a doubt, was instantly blushing. The woman was a freaking goddess in a sweater dress that hugged every inch of her almost six-foot curvy body. The woman laughed a deep throaty laugh. One that made Josie's thighs tighten together on a sharp inhale of breath. She'd always been interested in women, but you'd have to be dead to not find this woman attractive.
"Well, Josie. I have a story for you. I promise I'm not a crazy person. But what I'm about to tell you may make you think so. But I can tell you're an open-minded woman." The woman said, stepping closer to the counter and letting her hands trace the wood.
"A woman who has also always felt a little out of sorts with her environment. A woman who doesn't feel she fits in. A woman who knows there is so much more that her life could be if only she was given the opportunity." Said the woman as she looked Josie up and down, licking her lips as she settled her focus on her mouth.
Josie didn't move. She barely breathed. Was she dreaming? Did she fall down behind the counter, was actually passed out, and dreamt this was all happening?
"No, you're not dreaming. But you might want to breathe if you don't want to actually pass out." Stepping from the counter, Elizabeth walked back to the door and, with a slight shake to her hand that only she could see, turned over the closed sign.
"If you don't want to hear what I have to tell you, all you have to do is simply tell me, and I will leave. And I will never bother you again." She waited, Josie said nothing.
"Lovely." She said as she flipped the lock.
"Why don't you make us a pot of tea, green if you have it, and we'll get cozy. My name is Elizabeth, by the way." She said as she took off her coat.
Through what she can only recall as muscle memory, Josie made a pot of tea, took off her apron, grabbed two cups, some honey and lemon, and sat down opposite Elizabeth. She knew the woman had not taken her eyes off her the entire time she went through the motions of something she had done a thousand times. She fumbled more than she'd have liked but was oddly confident as she walked over while keeping eye contact with Elizabeth.
As they each wordlessly prepared their tea, there were several times when their hands would touch or softly glide by each other. Josie could feel sweat beading on her forehead; not the only part of me getting wet, she thought. Elizabeth stifled a chuckle.
Flashing her eyes up to Elizabeth, Josie thought, Wait for a second, can she read my mind?
"Yes. But don't worry, I can only hear you because you think so loudly. I'll teach you how to shield that." Taking a sip of tea and looking over her cup at Josie's adorably confused face. Elizabeth knew the effect she had on a person. She'd been around long enough to learn how to attract when she wanted to. And boy, did she want to attract Josie. She'd been waiting so long to find her again. To reconnect their soul threads once more. Glancing away, she pushed down the feelings that were welling up from memories of her past.
"Now, are you ready for a story that might freak you out? I promise you, you hold all the power during this and in whatever decision you decide to make." Elizabeth set her glass down and sat back, looking at Josie, who hadn't touched her tea.
"I'm so sorry; I'm just confused about who you are and how you know me. I think I'd be more comfortable if we started with that." Josie said, nervous to say anything that might upset or make this woman leave.
She felt like a thread of herself was unraveling inside her and was being drawn to this woman. She didn't fear her, but her logical side said she should. Instead, she felt a sense of calm, as if she knew her. And whenever Elizabeth looked at her, she felt like, for the first time, someone was actually seeing her. Knew her.
"Logical indeed." Elizabeth smiled. "And, you do know me. Unfortunately, not from this lifetime. Let's get the big cards out of the way and see how you swallow that down." Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, why am I so nervous? Elizabeth thought. Opening her eyes, rip it off like a bandaid.
"I am a witch. I'm three hundred and nineteen years old. And for over a hundred of those years, you were my pupil, then my equal, then my lover. And then you died." Pausing, Elizabeth took a sip of her tea to soothe the Sahara that was now her throat.
Josie looked at her in utter disbelief, but something in her stomach felt like it clicked on, and she was instantly warm and tingly. Her heart started racing, and her fingertips began itching. And without warning, she fell to the floor and started shaking and writhing. Not in pain, but in what felt like expansion. Not physically, but her essence, which had felt as If it was in a birdcage, suddenly became free and filled up her entire mind and body for the first time.
"Well shit," Said Elizabeth, kneeling down to Josie, "you were a lost one, weren't you." Almost like she'd been waiting to finally wake up, Elizabeth thought. Waiting for the shaking to stop, she smoothed away the hair from Josie's face, looking into her eyes. She felt the world click back into place once again, and she couldn't stop herself from letting out a few tears. She never imagined she'd ever have the only person she ever loved back in her life.
Josie looked up into Elizabeth's eyes and felt the snap of a connection click inside of her.
"What the fuck?" Josie whispered as she made her way into a kneeling position. Elizabeth mirrored her, sitting knee to knee.
"I know it's a lot, and unfortunately, we don't have much time to get to know each other before shit hits the fan. Why don't we sit back down." Nodding, Josie let Elizabeth help her to her seat.
Once they were both seated, Josie gulped down her tea, still scaldingly hot, but it helped her feel something other than the foreign energy running through her veins. Elizabeth knew there wasn't much time before that power took over inside of her. It needed to settle. And that took time she didn't have.
"Ok, so, here's the thing. I met you when you were a woman of twenty-five in a small English village where most got married at fifteen. You were always so stubborn." Shaking her head, Elizabeth smiled. "Due to your age, your parents forced you to marry a man four times yours. I had just arrived to get supplies and was getting on a boat back to Ireland that day. You came to me pleading to help you, knowing full well that the rumors were that I was a witch. I had run away from an arranged marriage when I was young and knew that spirit of yours would be much better spent living a life like mine rather than one with a man who would beat you and force you to have his children. I hid you in my trunk to keep you from that horrid future." Elizabeth spoke quickly as she knew Josie would lose the capability of listening once her power hit full peak inside her, and she'd pass out.
"We can get into the details if you'd like at another time, but the long and short of it was we fell in love as I taught you. And then we became inseparable. Everything was beautiful until…." Smirking, Elizabeth looked into Josie's eyes, "there's always one of those, isn't there?" Sitting back in her chair, she continued.
"My teacher, a very jealous and power-hungry warlock, found out about us. About the power we had together and how happy I was. And how unhappy he was. Misery loves company, I guess." Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and kept on going. She only had a few more moments left. She could smell Josie's power reaching its peak.
"He found us, and to spite me, he killed you in front of me. In my rage, I returned the sentiment, threw out my power, and burned him to oblivion. Or so I thought." Looking up at the ceiling with tears, she said, "In your last moments, I promise I'd find you again. I said the spell reincarnation, not knowing if it would actually work." She looked at Josie, "It did."
"And seven years ago, when your mortal ties were cut, I felt you. And I am sorry that you went through losing your parents like that and the lost journey you've been on. Because of your sadness, you never came into your power, and the connection was muted. It took me until now to find you." Elizabeth stood up and started pacing. Josie watched her, her breathing was getting faster, and she was getting warmer.
"I wish I could give you all the time in the world to come to terms with this and spend years getting to know you and sharing our stories, but I'm afraid time is not on our side. You see, that warlock that killed you? He didn't die. He can't die. At least, that is what I believed until I found out why he killed you. That we can kill him. Oh god, we're running out of time." Elizabeth could see Josie start to waver.
"Ok, listen to me, he's not dead, but I know how to kill him. I can't do it without you, but the choice is yours. When you wake up, you will remember all of this, and then you have to choose what you will do next. I pray you come to me before our future is decided for us."
Josie's vision blurred, and as she started to faint, she heard Elizabeth say, "Or we're all damned."
She woke up in her bed a day and a half later. Groggy, but remembered everything. And she had dreamed of what had been and what could be. Looking around, she saw the note and frantically grabbed it and read;
I know this is a lot, but I also know you believe this is true in your heart of hearts. I wish I could give you more time. Still, by midnight on New Year's Eve, if you have not decided to join me, our powers will be obliterated, and he will win and ruin this world in ways you can't imagine. So, meet me at this address by midnight before the new year if you're ready to discover who you truly are and what you're capable of.
She looked at her phone and saw it was 10pm on New Year's Eve. She didn't need to think. She knew what her decision was. She took the precious time she didn't have to get ready for Elizabeth, wanting to look beautiful and feel powerful. With a last look at herself in the mirror, she took the first steps towards a new life.
So, there she was, in the elevator of a luxury apartment, soaking wet, scared, breathless from running, and excited. She walked to the only door on the floor and knocked. The door opened on its own. Standing by the window, holding a glass of wine, Elizabeth watched Josie come into the room and closed the door with a swish of her hand.
"I'm in." Josie said, still panting but didn't move towards Elizabeth. The clock on the wall began to ring its midnight song.
Elizabeth let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding, set the glass down, and walked to her lover.
Pushing back her soaking wet hair, Elizabeth looked into Josie's eyes. After seeing what she needed to see in them, surrender, she touched her face. Indulging herself, she stepped back slightly and looked down, taking in the gorgeous curves no longer covered in a coffee shop uniform. Instead, they were covered in tight satin and lace. God, as beautiful as ever, she thought. Looking back into her face, she sensed Josie's pulse jump in excitement.
Good. She thought and crushed her mouth to Josie's just as the clock struck its final chime of midnight. Both were instantly filled with a need to feel and taste each other. She could feel Josie pouring herself into the kiss, needing all of Elizabeth. And just like no time had passed, a passion that used to fill Elizabeth's nights and days returned and made her feel alive and wild again.
So eager we both are, She thought. How exciting. Smiling as she made Josie slow down and savor the kiss. Elizabeth wrapped her arms around her, bringing her closer to her own body. Elizabeth felt Josie's hands groping for her breasts but trapped them between their bodies by pulling her closer. Gliding her hand up Josie's back, she let her fingers comb through her hair, grabbed a handful at the nape of her neck, and heard her gasp.
With a quick tug, she pulled Josie's eager mouth off hers and looked down at her. Both were breathless, and she knew this night was far from over. Elizabeth had always been the more dominant one in their relationship. It was easy to step back into it after decades of being without.
"Oh my dear, don't look so sad," Elizabeth said as she reached behind with her other hand, still holding her hair at her neck, and slowly pulled down the zipper to Josie's dress. She leaned down, took her earlobe between her teeth, and sucked on it.
"We're just getting started." She whispered wickedly in her ear as she licked it. Smiling when she heard the dress fall to the floor. Pulling back and outlining Josie's swollen lips with her tongue, she moved them to the bedroom.
Oh yes, Josie thought as she felt Elizabeth's hands remove her bra, Happy New Year! Josie giggled as Elizabeth lifted her legs off the floor, pushing Josie to land on the bed.
"And it's just the beginning. We'll get to work tomorrow, but for now," putting her hands on both of Josie's knees, "spread em'." Elizabeth said, and Josie happily obliged.
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