The Date

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Cora didn't wake until noon the next day, and when she did it was only because her mother had wrenched the curtains aside, letting in a stream of light

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Cora didn't wake until noon the next day, and when she did it was only because her mother had wrenched the curtains aside, letting in a stream of light. If Stella Emerson hated one thing, it was laziness. She expected the members of her family to be up at dawn like her. Saturday was a prime day for making Made with Magic products. The holidays were upon them, and their clients would want to look their best.

Cora groaned and pulled her pillow over her head. It wasn't six yet, so she had no reason to get out of bed.

Her mother pulled the pillow away. "I need you in the kitchen," she said.

Cora pulled her other pillow over her head. Once she'd asked why they couldn't use magic to make all of their products, despite that bad brewing spell. Her mother had been so furious she'd shattered a glass mixing bowl. "Our clients expect the best," she'd said. "Every product must be made with care."

Cora pretended to be asleep, but her mother wouldn't buy it. "Up, up, up," she said. "I want you up, dressed, and downstairs in ten minutes."

When her mother left, Cora pulled her pillow off her head. She got up, treaded across the room, yanked the curtains closed, and then curled back into bed.

She'd been dreaming of Beau.

"Cora." Her mother yelled so loud the walls rumbled.

Cora's bed shook. "For the love of Jupiter," she said, but she did get out of bed.

***

By the time five o'clock rolled around, Cora had been in the kitchen all day, mixing and pouring the Made with Magic products into jars with pink tops. She hadn't told her family she had a date with a boy, but judging by the time she saw she had no choice.

Cora, her mother, and grandmother had made the products, while Willow concentrated on creating and printing their holiday labels on the family computer. On the counter in front of Cora were a dozen or so jars of their most beloved product, Cocoa Coconut Face Cream.

It smelled like chocolate.

Cora's arms ached, but she gathered as many products as she could and took them to the fridge. "It's all full," she said to her mother who whipped a bowl of fluffy brown cream as if it would get away from her.

She stopped mixing when Cora said this, wiped her hands on her apron, and came around the center island to inspect the fridge. The two bottom shelves where they stored their products were full.

Stella took down a jug of milk and sniffed it. "We'll have to toss some things," she said, as she sent the milk sliding across the counter.

"As long as we don't starve," Agatha said.

Cora put the jars in her arms down to help her mother toss what was old and spoiled in their fridge. When they were finished, they'd cleared out half a shelf and most of the vegetable bin. They still didn't have enough space.

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