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“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.”
~ L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz

“What did you say?” Axel spun around, pinning her with his eyes where she stood half-in half-out of the bathroom

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“What did you say?” Axel spun around, pinning her with his eyes where she stood half-in half-out of the bathroom.

“Are you, you know, Charmed?” Sloane hated the way her voice cracked on the last word. Even after six months of discussing the Charmed world with Delanie, it all still felt strange and forbidden. What prompted her to blurt the question out was beyond her. She wasn’t even sure what she was doing standing here in her bedroom with a stranger. Someone she’d only met one other time. It had seemed like the right thing to do.

Axel’s blue eyes narrowed watching her squirm under his hard glare. He hadn’t answered her question and it took everything in her to hold back the tumble of words wanting out. There was so many things she wanted to know, but something about his solemn, stern face made her bite her tongue. If it had been the other brother, Emerens, with the twinkle of mischief in his blue eyes, she would have pressed for answers. But it wasn’t. The man in front of her wore a frown making her fidget like a child in trouble. And she hated that feeling, she realized. Squaring her shoulders, Sloane returned his stare hoping she looked serious.

“How do you know about Charmeds?”

“I asked you first,” Sloane blurted. Axel shook his head mumbling something under his breath before walking to the other room. She chased after him, not liking the way her feet followed him of their own accord.

He leaned against the counter separating the kitchen from the living room. One brow quirked up as she slowed her hurried paces not able to decide whether to cross her arms or put her hands on her hips. She ended up just standing there under that hypnotic blue stare until she couldn’t take the quiet any longer.

“I have a friend who’s a Charmed.” The minute the words were out, she slapped a hand over her betraying mouth. The corners of his lips turned up ever so slight as if he fought back an unwanted smile. What would it be like to see him smile, she wondered before trying to shake the intrusive thoughts?

“Charmeds do not have slig friends.”

“See! I knew you were a Charmed.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. How else would you know what a slig is?” Sloane let the joy in her words leak out in a broad smile until his next words.

“Your logic is flawed.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“It is. I could know the same way you do,” he pointed out, interrupting the argument she was about to launch into. Her mouth hung open a second before closing as she narrowed her eyes. A knock on the door interrupted their stare down, which she totally would’ve won had she not had to open the door, she thought, letting an out of breath Emerens inside.

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