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I could tell there was a wish incoming when my eyeballs caught fire. Twin reddish orange lights flared like miniature stars, reflected from my computer screen.

"Hoo boy." I balked and hustled across my office door, closed it before a corona of faint blue white flames burst along my skin. My human coworkers were not aware of my hidden half and I was set on keeping it that way. If that meant taking the crappy corner office under the stairwell with bad wifi and no windows, so be it. The office wasn't that bad. It was downright luxurious to some of the work spaces I'd occupied in my tenure as Wish Granter, but beneath the stairwell, blocked by thousands of pounds of metal and concrete, wifi wasn't the only thing that suffered poor reception. Which is why thirty second later, I found myself precariously balanced in three inch kitten heels on top of my desk, wreathed in blue fire as I shifted back and forth, trying to receive the Wish.

There was a knock on my door.

"Come back in five minutes, Greg," I snarled.

"But I need these documents signed by noon, Shay," he whined. The knob began to turn. I sneered at the door, the lock snapping into place. The sniveling pencil pusher had the nerve to yell at me. "Dammit Shay, I'm on a deadline here!"

I pursed my lips and blew a smoke ring toward the closed door. The smoke drifted lazily across the office and sank through the wood.

"Seriously, I'll tell management-achooo!" Greg backed away as more violent sneezes followed. The aura of flames dimmed slightly. Great, just great, giving someone an allergy attack taxed my magic reserves these days.

Wish Granter was my side, side gig, one I'd worked for centuries but sadly, in today's tech ruled world, it wasn't sustainable enough for even a magical creature to make a living on. Wish Granting relied on the belief the Wisher poured into the Wish, their faith it could come true, and there was an awful lot of cynicism to counter these days. Luckily, this time of year gave me a natural boost. Call it the Christmas spirit, bruhahaha, or whatever, there was an extra special something that gave human and non human belief a boost.

I needed a Wish, a good one. Come on, baby. I lifted my left leg, ignored the treacherous wobble of my right ankle, and lifted up my arms like I was greeting the sun.

"Come on, come to me," I whispered.

The blue aura of flame flickered and surged upward in a brilliant flare of rose gold. "Yasss." The energy of the Wish permeated the air, teasing the flames as it surrounded me like an fickle cat seeking affection, considering me to see if I was worthy. Finally it enveloped me and sank into my skin.

I wish to wake up on Christmas morning next to someone I love, who loves me.

My leg dropped. I stared in vacant horror at my locked office door. The promising upswing in my day hovered and plummeted to rock bottom.

"Shit."

****

I took lunch out of the office. I needed a drink, maybe five. I still hadn't signed Greg's papers. He was probably still sneezing somewhere.

A love Wish. What the heck was I going to do with that? It couldn't be something simple like material goods or a cure for a life threatening sickness. No, of course not, it had to concern the most complex emotion in existence. I downed my glass of fireball whiskey, enjoying the sweet burn of cinnamon down my throat and gestured the bartender for another.

"That's your third, Shay. It's not even one in the afternoon."

I sighed. The bartender's concern was touching, though I was a regular at this establishment and he knew I had a staggeringly high tolerance for someone who clocked in at five feet two inches. "I can handle it, Mike, just keep them coming. If I want to get day drunk on a Tuesday that's my prerogative."

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