Chapter 24: Very Real Things

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The sun was setting over Miami, sending millions of tiny explosions of red and yellow sparkling out across the bay. Kim was standing out on the patio of the condo, working the grill with an extendable spatula in one hand and a refreshing beverage in the other.

Calum was curled up snoozing on one of the lounge chairs nearby, but he suddenly perked up, fully awake, radar ears twitching. He collected information for a moment, then leapt down and scampered across the floor, disappearing into the house.

He returned a few moments later, being carried by Willow.

"Hey! You're home! Yay!" Kim said. "Just in time. Nothing's burnt yet."

"What's all this?" Willow asked, eyeing Kim's spatula suspiciously. She delicately deposited Calum back on his chair, where he immediately curled up and closed his eyes.

"I'm grilling!" Kim said. "I've got like a BBQ tofu thing happening! I figured you'd be hungry and it's not like we can go out to a restaurant together. There's also a pitcher of mocktails if you need a refreshing beverage. It's my own special recipe: pomegranate juice, ginger beer, and mint. I call it Fancy Nancy's Chill Pill."

"Wow. We have a grill?"

"We do now."

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

"I mean, not, like, 100% sure? But if I screw up it's nothing a little magic won't fix."

Willow eyed the pitcher of drinks Kim had made, but stayed hovering by the door, not coming closer, and not sitting down. Kim watched her. Something was off.

"I had the weirdest freaking day," Kim said. "What about you?"

"Umm. Normal, I guess," Willow said, looking out at the water. "I'm tired. Garrett St. Clair did my shoot. He was like possessed."

"Oh I love him!" Kim said. "I miss working with him. Tell him I said Hi next time you see him."

"I can't," Willow said. "He can't know we've been hanging out."

"Oh right. Duh. So listen: I know you have a thing tomorrow and I know we're totally on the DL but: I wondered how you'd feel about a top secret visit to a witch friend of mine in Hollywood. Do you know Maria Holmes? She's very cool and discreet and totally safe space for us. There was some MESSED UP STUFF going down in London today. I was just minding my own business, taking selfies, and suddenly this crowd of men, like hundreds of them, started attacking and harassing me! Like out of nowhere! And I don't know what that's about but it affects all of us, you know? I mean if we can't take selfies, what's next, right? So I wanted to get Maria's opinion and see if she's heard of anything else like that happening. Are you up for it, do you think? You said your thing tomorrow was only 3 hours, right?"

"Actually...my thing tomorrow got moved," Willow said.

"Oh! Really?"

"And actually...I need to head back to Florence early."

"Awww. OK. Well maybe I'll just go and fill you in later you."

Willow hesitated. "And actually...I'm heading back tonight. I just came back to say goodbye and get my stuff."

Suddenly Kim and Willow were staring at each other from opposite edges of an impossibly deep canyon.

"What?"

"Cassio asked me to come back to Florence tonight. I said I would."

"So you're leaving now? Like right now?"

Willow nodded.

"But you had a thing tomorrow."

"It got moved."

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