Love Potion

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There was a spark in the air right before she stepped into my store. I was unsure if it were an aura spell or just a bright spirit approaching, but when the bell chimed as the door swung open and in she came, her presence alone mesmerized me into peaceful stillness.

Despite my ample life experience, I knew better than to be surprised by my clients. Though herbalism had grown into a common profession in the last couple of decades, my main recipes were archaic—if not forgotten to the common folk—and my trinkets perceived as ancient artifacts. People knew of my reputation. It tended to attract the eccentric. I just had to figure out what type of eccentric she was.

I glanced over my shoulder from shelving arcane potions behind the counter but tried not to incessantly ogle her. Sleek black hair, casually clothed in short jeans and a sleeveless blouse, with a small purse hung from her shoulder.

"Hi and welcome to The Bottled Wish," I said with a generous smile.

But she didn't answer. I waited for a moment of eye-contact, then repeated myself, out loud while signing.

She offered a curt bow of her head, and the barest of simpers as she glanced my way, then answered my greeting via signing, "Hi." Silver rings and black glyphs adorned her hands, which moved like a subtle dance. Her accent insinuated she was part of the local arcane community.

And that I'd seen her before, now that we actually stood face to face.

The black lining her eyes, the change from the baggy sweaters to the feminine blouse and tight jeans, and the fresh haircut—I was a little ashamed for not recognizing her until now. She'd always been cute, but she looked absolutely gorgeous now. Perhaps dressed for a date.

She meandered out of sight between the rows of cases that divided the store into two.

I put the last vials and bottles in their place, put the box they'd been in by the back door that lead to my tiny laboratory, and moved on to putting the arcane cookbooks and blank grimoires in the bookcase by the window.

Every now and then, I'd peer up, through the openings between the racks and shelves, allowing me glimpses of her. I reminded myself not to stare and instead watched the brick streets winding down the hills outside the window, the dense woods and grassy roiling planes further down the streets, then returned and found her catch my glance.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence, so I brushed it off, distracting myself again with the outside landscape. Aria's peaceful winds breezed through the area, ringing chimes on porches and turning the mill's large colorful sails, but I suddenly found my lungs and heart in a flighty rush when she held my gaze on the third time our eyes met, lingering, almost like a spell.

Her hands trailed the backs of some books, checked out several crystals, and charmed jewellery, then stopped by the commercial potions, energy drinks, digestive boosters, and the like. She'd taken her time until now, but it was clear she'd finally found what she'd come for. Which was funny, since she'd come by almost every day since she first found my store.

Something was up, but I let her do her thing. I finished shelving the books and returned to the counter, overly conscious of the hesitant footfall coming my way.

I turned around and offered her another bright smile. "How can I help you?"

She bit her lip and kept shifting her weight from one leg to the other. So much tension. Poor thing. "I-I'm looking for a potion," she signed, slowly, as if she were questioning her own answer.

"If it's not on the shelf, I don't have it."

She gave me a forced smile before casting down her gaze. Gods, whatever could she be looking for? There wasn't a mainstream potion I didn't have.

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