Illusions begin, p.24
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       Illusions Begin, p.24

           N.L. Greene
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  Chapter Fifteen

  They took the short trip to the park in comfortable silence, both lost in thought, the cab driver being the first one to speak up when they arrived at their destination. “That’ll be eight dollars,” the cab driver said gruffly but not rudely as they pulled in front of the park.

  Becky began to dig around in her purse for her wallet but looked up sharply when she heard the cab driver mutter a ‘thank you’ and the door opposite of her being opened. “Blaine, did you just pay?” she found her wallet and opened it, pulling out a five dollar bill and shoving it toward him before he could even answer. “Here take this.”

  “No,” he said as he got out of the cab without taking the offered money from her. Becky huffed and scrambled out behind him, trying not to spill the contents of her purse in the process.

  She slammed the car door shut harder than she intended but the driver pulled away before she could offer an apology. She glared at Blaine instead. “Why do you keep paying for me? It isn’t like we’re on a date or something. We just met! Besides that, I am completely capable of paying for my own things,” she huffed out the last of her statement, her arms crossed over her chest and her foot even stomped. She knew she was acting like a child but she couldn’t help it. Blaine was just standing there, hands in his pockets, held tilted to one side and a sexy as hell grin on his face, looking down at her. It irritated her that he insisted on being such a gentleman, that he was thoughtful of her feelings of being alone with him, and that she couldn’t stop thinking about how hot he was. The fact that he found her irritation amusing was even more frustrating. When he still didn’t say anything after her mini tantrum, she stomped her foot again for good measure before walking past him in a huff.

  She heard him chuckle from behind her and although the deep sound caused her to shiver slightly, she ignored it and him. She walked further into the park and spied an empty bench. It was in front of a nice tree that would offer them some privacy but there was also a street lamp next to it that would keep them out of the shadows and visible to those who passed by. She plopped down onto the bench and slumped against the back with her arms still crossed over her chest and her lips pursed. The light from the street lamp made her curly hair look a deep auburn color and her pale skin gleam. She didn’t notice the appreciative look in Blaine’s eyes or the way he had to catch his breath before he could come near her.

  Blaine sat down beside her, much more gracefully and smoothly than she had, and then leaned back as well. His arms were crossed over his chest and his legs were extended out, feet crossed at the ankles. She glanced down at herself after looking at him and noticed the obvious difference in their demeanor. She looked like she was pouting and uncomfortable, scrunched up and awkward. He looked relaxed and casual, and dammit…sexy. She did not like the way this man was making her think, act, or feel. What was wrong with her! Giving herself a mental shake and a good scolding for allowing him to get under her skin and lose focus; she dropped her arms and sat up.

  “Thank you for paying for the cab fare. That was very kind of you,” she told him meekly while glancing up at him from the corner of her eye.

  “It’s no problem and I know you can take care of yourself, but that isn’t how I was raised. I didn’t mean to offend you,” he said awkwardly and for the first time Becky realized that Blaine was probably just as nervous as she was, if not more. He had a lot more to lose if she decided she believed him but didn’t keep his secret. She could tell the world about his ability to use magic and probably even prove it once he told her everything. He was placing his faith in her and willing to trust her, just like she was with him.

  She let out a sigh at her own behavior. “No, you didn’t offend me. It’s just that I’ve always been coddled and taken care of. My parents, who I know love me more than life, have always been a bit over protective and always taken care of everything for me. I just recently graduated and finally moved out on my own. I am relishing my first taste of freedom and independence. It’s difficult to let that go now.”

  “I understand. Growing up, I was always protected and guarded more than any of my friends because of the magic within our family. The fear of someone discovering it was always there, making it very difficult to be independent in any way. I only got that when I moved out of my family’s home as well. I remember those first few months of being able to do everything for myself,” he glanced at her with a wicked grin. “It was nice to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and not have to answer to anyone.”

  “Exactly!” she said pointing at him and then pulled her hand back self-consciously when his smiled widened and she caught the glimmer in his eyes. Her breath caught, making her realize that they were getting off track; talking about things there were a little too emotional and personal for her comfort. She quickly changed the subject. “So…tell me about this magic.”

  The glimmer left his eyes, almost as he was disappointed but he continued the conversation without missing a beat. “I wondered how long it was going to take you,” he said in a teasing tone that made her think she was mistaken about the look she thought she saw.

  “I was just trying to be polite. I didn’t want you thinking I only wanted you for your magic.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth she realized what she said. She instantly felt her cheeks blush and was thankful for the camouflage of night so he wouldn’t see. She bit her lip and waited, hoping he would let it slide. She should have known better.

  “So, what else is it that you want me for, if not my magic Becky?” Blaine asked, his voice soft and low.

  “Umm…I…I mean, I didn’t…” she blew out a frustrated breath and slapped her open palms on her thighs before glaring at him. “I didn’t mean it like that!” she said in frustration.

  Blaine laughed, loud and deep, the sound taking her by surprise. It was a good laugh. One that would make anyone who heard it laugh too, including herself. She found a smile tugging at her lips when he finally responded to her outburst. “I know you didn’t mean it like that Becky. I was just teasing you. Why are you so nervous now? You weren’t like this back at the diner?” he asked curiously.

  “Well maybe because we weren’t in the middle of a dark park, at night, with no witnesses, and the perfect opportunity for you to murder me,” she told him with a smirk. She wasn’t nervous about that anymore but she would rather him think that than discover she was uncomfortable because he was so attractive.

  He didn’t seem to believe her though. “Well I don’t think that’s it but I’ll let it go for now. And I do know what you meant. I don’t think badly of you for being so curious about what I told you and eager to know more. I would be too.”

  Just like that, every single other thought was gone. “Good. Tell me everything!” she exclaimed.

  He smiled again but it was brief, his face turning serious as he removed his hands from his pockets and sat up straighter. Becky instantly responded to his shift in mood, finding herself sitting up straighter and more alert as well. “I can’t tell you everything but I will tell you what I can for now. The most important thing about all of this is secrecy. I sought you out because I had a good feeling about you. However, until I know for sure that you won’t share any of this with anyone else; I am only allowed to reveal certain things. You understand?”

  As much as she hated to admit it, she totally understood and agreed with what he was telling her. Like she had stated earlier, they had just met and he would be stupid to divulge such an amazing secret with someone he didn’t know if he could completely trust. Unbeknownst to him, Becky had every intention of proving that he could trust her. She wanted to know everything. “Yes, I do.”

  “Good,” he took a breath, wiped his palms on his pant legs and then looked out into the park. His voice was soft when he spoke. “I am a MysticSeeker. We are a group of people that know how to use real magic. We have existed for thousands of years, sometimes being a larger grou
p and sometimes being even smaller than we are now. Like I told you earlier, there are a few hundred of us now, but once upon a time there were thousands until knowledge of our abilities began to get out and people became either scared or jealous of our power. A lot of those stories about witches and whatnot you’ve heard about in history have some sort of relationship with our group. That part of it is a very long story that we don’t have time for now and one that you will learn if you choose to join me and learn how to use magic. For now though, you should know that every single human being has the capability within themselves to use magic. It is something we are born with that never leaves us. That internal magic combined with the magic of the earth and the universe can be harvested and used to do amazing things. The key to actually using the magic is having the knowledge to harvest it and not everyone has that ability. There have been a few, very few, over time that have figured it out, but for the most part it is something that is taught and learned by The MysticSeekers. It is something that is held very sacred and passed down from generation to generation. There are not books or manuals that contain the secrets to teaching these skills. It is only done verbally. Usually it is kept strictly within the family lines, seldom, if ever, letting an outsider come into the fold, but…” now he glances at her, his gaze boring into hers, “occasionally a natural magic user is found and exceptions are made.”

  Becky was quiet for a moment, taking in everything he had told her. It all sounded so simple and too good to be true. She told him just that. “It just seems simplistic. I know you said the key is learning to ‘harvest’ the power, but how could more people not do it on their own if they believed?”

  “You’re right, it is so simple but you just said yourself why more people aren’t doing it.”

  “Huh? I don’t understand.”

  “If more people believed, then maybe they would, but they don’t.” Seeing the look of confusion on her face, he continued. “Remember when you were a little girl and you believed in magic?” She nodded but let him go on. “Your belief was so deep that you probably believed in everything magical; fairies, vampires, and unicorns. All of it.” She nodded again but still remained quiet. “But as you grew up, you became more aware of the difference between reality and make-believe and I’m sure you had adults telling you those things you believed in were fake and fanciful. So when you stopped believing in those things, you stopped believing in magic all together. The one most important attribute a magic user needs is a concrete belief in magic.”

  “But I believe in magic,” she argued, but he was already shaking his head before she even finished her sentence.

  “You believe in magic shows, magicians, illusions, and tricks. You find them enjoyable, entertaining, and you love to solve the tricks and illusions they show you. You don’t and haven’t in a very long time, actually believed that magic was real. That lack of belief is the key.”

  “So your telling me that if I believe, like truly and totally believe in magic, that I’ll be able to do magic. Just like that?” she asked skeptically. It was really sounding too good to be true now.

  “No, that’s not what I’m saying.” He shook his head and adjusted how he was sitting so that he was facing her more. “I’m saying that the belief is the key. Once someone has a true belief, they are more receptive to the power within and around them. They can feel or sense what they need and use the natural power to perform the magic they desire.”

  “Okay, so I think I understand. But what sort of magic are we talking about? Manipulating objects, making things disappear, what? When you say magic my mind conjures up all sorts of possibilities.”

  “Honestly, the possibilities are endless. The ability of magic is all based on the MysticSeeker. The amount of power and energy in the world is infinite. So it’s all up to how much the individual can learn to control and manipulate. With time and practice, I have seen people do absolutely astonishing things. On the other hand, I’ve also seen the power go to some user’s heads, just like it can with anyone that gains any sort of power. I’ve seen some very horrible things, which is why it’s so important we keep our secret and are very careful who we trust with it.”

  “I understand and I know it’s only words for now, but I want you to know that you can trust me,” Becky told him solemnly.

  He smiled at her then, the first one since he started explaining things to her. “I think I know that.”

  She stared at him for a moment, lost in his eyes and that smile, overwhelmed with happiness that he trusted her, before she realized that she was staring. She blinked and sat up straighter. “Good,” she said enthusiastically, “Now why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and show me some magic!”

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