The Sugar Quill
Author: Nundu (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Black Magic  Chapter: Default
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The box lay open on the kitchen table

Black Magic

 

 

The box lay open on the kitchen table.  The chocolate glistened invitingly, and as she walked past, the thick summer air wafted the heavy scent toward her.

 

No, I shouldn’t, she thought as the sweets beckoned.  Over twenty-five years and seven children had wrought a difference that still surprised her when she glanced in a mirror.  The once slender, athletic figure had given way to the round curves and heavy hips that refused to be trimmed, no matter how she tried. 

 

With another glance at the temptation and a sigh, she pushed through the door carrying a heavy basket of laundry to peg out.

 

* * *

 

The summer heat had driven him from the shed.  He collapsed into a chair with a glass of water and noticed the box on the table. It was filled with a mouthwatering variety of chocolates – at least twenty different types, he guessed.  The top liner of the box held a map that revealed the secrets of the assorted shapes and patterns.  His eyes fell on a rounded mound with a fanciful swirl on the crest.  Strawberry mousse.  Her favourite. 

 

He glanced out the window to see her stretching up to peg out an endless line of socks.  The years had changed her.  He knew that she missed her old figure, but every curve reminded him of glorious days past.  The mound of a child growing in her belly.  The wonder of the feel of kicks of that new life.  A child suckling at her breast as she looked at him with a glow on her face. This woman had given so much to make a home for him and the children.  She could make six grown men and a fiery young woman quail under her stern glare, yet show them love that they knew would never die.  This woman made him fall in love all over again, every day.

 

He carefully picked out the sweet and wrapped it in his handkerchief.  The door snapped shut behind him as he strode across the yard to the woman with her hands full of socks.

 

* * *

 

The box lay open on the kitchen table.  They came from the parlour in a rush of laughter, sharing the energy of young love.  He saw the box first and reached for it, but her hand knocked his callused, freckled fingers out of the way.  With a demure smile, she carefully inspected the choices, then lifted out a square of dark chocolate.  She held it tantalisingly in her long fingers for a moment, then lifted it to his mouth.  Catching his arms around her waist and pulling her close, he took a bite.  As she pulled the remainder away, a long thread of caramel fell on his chin.  She wiped it away with her finger, giggling; he grabbed her wrist and put the caramel-laced finger in his mouth.  She popped the rest of the sweet into her mouth and wriggled out of his grasp.  With a shout, he chased after her.

 

* * *

 

The box lay open on the kitchen table.  She walked past with her broom on her shoulder, pleased that they had finally invited her to join their game.  They had finally quit treating her like something delicate that would shatter if put to test, and she had shown them, she thought with a grin.  She had got three goals past the gloating git.  She glanced at the box and was tempted by the luscious sweets glistening in the heat. This occasion called for a celebration, after all.  She hesitated, trying to decide which one to choose.  In the centre of the box lay two pastel coloured ones, different from the rest.  Sugar coated almonds, no chocolate.  Her hand hovered above them.  No, she thought.  I’ll leave them.  He doesn’t much care for chocolate anymore.  He can have them.  She took the plain chocolate block, sinking her teeth into its richness, and headed for the cool of her room.

 

* * *

 

The box lay open on the kitchen table between the stacks of books.  She didn’t seem to notice it, but he couldn’t ignore it.  Rather than reading the text he had open before him, his eyes kept being drawn to the box, with its neat little compartments full of delicious treats that were carefully seated in a ruffle of waxed paper.  Her movement, reaching up for a lock of hair to twist around her finger, brought his attention back to the book.  He found himself reading the same paragraph over and over again and knowing he had not absorbed a single fact.  He watched her twirl a lock over and around her neatly manicured fingers.  The brown spirals of curls had lightened again this summer with days spent outside in the garden or sitting in the paddock reading as the rest soared overhead in a casual game.  The afternoon sun occasionally caught a strand and the light reflected in a streak of gold.  She often caught it back in a clip or elastic, grumbling at its stubbornness, but he liked it best down.  The riot of curls was like her, fiercely independent and refusing to be tamed.

 

She gave him a glance that drove his attention back to his reading.  But rather than his book, his eye was caught by the box lid.  Its diagram showed what each piece of chocolate was hiding.  That one had a peanut butter centre.  Another, a hazelnut cluster.  That lumpy one had caramel and pecans.  Then he spied it.  Dark chocolate with a raspberry centre.  She didn’t eat sweets often, but she had a weakness for raspberry.  His fingers reached for it, then he hesitated.  She hated to be interrupted when she was on a quest for an answer.  But, then again, it was raspberry.  He plucked the piece out of the box, trying carefully not to let the papers make too much noise.

 

Now what, he thought.  Should he call her attention, and thereby risk a scolding?  Should he wait until she was done and give it to her then?  That could be hours.  The thing would probably be a puddle on the table by then.  Taking a breath to strengthen himself, he reached out and placed it on the centre of the page she was reading.  She jerked her head up in surprise.  He grinned at her.  She barely suppressed a roll of her eyes.  He lifted his brow indicating she should take the offering.  She shook her head in resignation.  Lifting it to her mouth, she took a tiny bite off the end, as if hesitant to indulge in such decadence; her eyes wrinkled in pleasure at the taste of the tart fruit.  He watched fascinated as her even, white teeth bit into the sweet and she snatched a wayward piece off her lip with the tip of her tongue.  She finished it with a tiny sigh of satisfaction and went back to her book.  He smiled to himself and went back to the same paragraph, determined this time to at least get through the first page.

 

 

 

 

 

~*~*~

Much thanks to ReaderRavenclaw who whipped this piece into shape.  It wouldn’t be nearly as sweet with out her wonderful beta work.

 

Almost everyone who has read this is curious as to the identity of the second couple.  At first I thought it was Bill and Fleur, but Charlie tapped me on my head and said ‘Ahem, I have a love life too, you know.’  Just goes to show you the author isn’t always the one in charge!

 

 

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