July 19, 2012

Midlocks - Round 23

Annie gazed up at the address that had shimmered on the back of the calling card the warlock had given her. She gazed at the doors, trying to work up the nerve to knock.

All of a sudden, Sterling materialized before her eyes.

"Welcome, young one," he announced.  "I see you've come to learn the true way."

"You said you'd answer my questions."

"That I did.  But, I think you will enjoy finding the answers yourself."

Annie looked at Sterling, "What do you mean?"

Within the blink of an eye, they were transported to a room with a cauldron and a large book, very similar to hers.  "What's this?" she asked, blinking.

"The answers are in the book."

"What do you mean?" she demanded as she stomped her foot.  "You said you were going to explain it to me!"

Sterling sadly shook his head.  "The only way you will ever truly see is to see it for yourself."

What in the world was the problem with these people, Annie fumed.  They spoke in half truths and talked in circles.

"I'm going home!" she said on the verge of tears.

"Don't give up, Annie.  Fight for the knowledge!"

Sighing, Annie looked at the thick book that sat on the pedestal.  "Fine."

Sterling stayed in the room with her quietly worked on his spells and potions as she read the big, dumb book.

Stretching, she wandered down to take a break.   She didn't know how Sterling could stand in front of the cauldron for so long!

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Andrea.

"How did you know I was here?" Annie called as she ran outside. "What are you doing?"

Andrea leapt upon her broom and zipped away in a flurry.

"Come back!" Annie screamed.  "Tell me what I want to know!"  Fuming, she stomped her foot and kicked at the grass.

One minute she was throwing a temper tantrum outside and the next she was transported to the magic room.

"Now, now, dear child. That behavior is hardly lady-like."

Furious, Annie glared at Sterling.  "Don't tell me what to do! And don't think you can just whisk me away whenever you feel the urge. I don't like being summoned as though I'm a kid!"

Calmly Sterling slightly bowed, "Then I suggest you not act like a little child."

Annie could feel a scream welling up through her throat and then Sterling patted her shoulder.  "There, there, my dear child.  You're making progress."

"What are you talking about?!" Annie demanded.

"You will see soon enough," he replied cryptically.

Sterling & Annie fell into a routine of reading downstairs or being holed up in the magic room.  She felt comfortable with him.  And despite his habit of speaking in riddles, he really was quite funny & charming.

Surprised to have learned a new spell, Annie itched to use it. 

Summoning Andrea, she felt pride that her magic was so great that she could actually summon the old witch easily.

And set her running away to escape the bees.

Snickering, Annie watched her run away.  "She can't touch me," Annie giggled happily.

All at once, she was whisked away to the magic room and stood before a very solemn looking Sterling.

"Oh you should've seen her, Sterling! It was hilarious!"

"You think using your powers to harm someone is hilarious?" he demanded angrily.

His anger surprised Annie.  She knew that Sterling and Andrea didn't get along.  She thought he would've appreciated the look on Andrea's face as she ran off.  "Look, it's not a big deal," Annie started to explain.

"Not a big deal? Not a big deal?!" Sterling raged.  "There is a delicate balance between good and evil. Right and wrong.  For every action there is a reaction! For every harm, you slip further from good! Is that what you want?"

"Geez, take a chill pill! It was just a silly little spell!" Annie defended herself.

Sterling sadly shook his head.  "Then you have not yet learned what you should now. Perhaps I was wrong about you," he said as he walked out of the room.

Annie watched Sterling go, feeling uneasy.  She didn't like disappointing Sterling & he had certainly never acted like that before.  Glancing at the pedestal, she wondered if there was something she was missing.  Sighing, she began reading where she had left off... hoping something would pop out at her.

Meanwhile, Sterling sat downstairs and thought.  He felt bad for coming down so hard on Annie.  Yes, the spell was a silly one, but he had hoped she would further along by now.  Perhaps it just wasn't possible to repair a heart that had been gripped so tightly by the darkness.

When he heard her scream for him, he quickly transported himself up the stairs.

"Is everything okay?" he asked breathlessly, looking around for danger.

Annie just laughed and leapt into his arms.  "I did it, Sterling! I think I really did it! I don't know what! But I did it! All of a sudden, I just felt something click and this lightness came over me. I could feel it surge through my body!"

Sterling set Annie down in front of him, smiling proudly. "I knew you could do it, my child. You are truly gifted."

Annie smiled at Sterling.  "I couldn't have done it without you," she said softly.  New feelings coursed through Annie's body & she felt like she was seeing the whole world through a new light.  But, desiring Sterling that way shocked her to her core.

Could she be in love with him, she wondered.

Weeks went by as they fell into their routine.  Annie tried to ignore the growing akwardness, praying that Sterling didn't notice.

Working up her nerve, Annie reached across and grabbed Sterling's hand.  "Sterling, I have feelings for you and..."

One minute Annie had been speaking to Sterling & the next his chair was empty.

Narrowing her eyes, she transported herself in front of him, blocking his escape.

"I was not done talking to you!" she said, frustrated.

Sterling put his hands on his hips.  "You misunderstand child, if you think I want to discuss this with you!"

"Child?!" she sputtered.  "I think I've proved that I am not a child anymore!"

Sputtering, Sterling transported himself somewhere he was sure she wouldn't follow.  The top of the Midlock Home.  Gazing at the town spread out before him, he took in a deep breath.  She'd shocked him by grabbing his hand and announcing her feelings.  She must know that they would never work together.  Their age difference was immense in years & in deeds...

When she materialized before him, Sterling had been too shocked to say anything.  When she'd leaned in to kiss him, he'd been mesmerized to protest.

"But, I'm your teacher, Annie.  This should not be."

Annie smiled and leaned forward to kiss him again.  "Perhaps there are things that I could teach you..."

Sterling didn't have it in his heart to fight his feelings for Annie anymore.  The truth was that even from the first moment he had laid eyes on her, he had wanted her.  That was why he had intercepted her mentor Andrea in hopes of showing her the light.

Materializing together, they transported themselves to the room.

"Are you sure about this, love?" Sterling asked.

Annie wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer for anther kiss.  "More sure of anything else in my life!" she told him.

Sterling was constantly amazed by his brave, beautiful, smart love.  She seemed happier now and more at ease with herself.  She had spoken about the war she'd had with herself under Andrea's tutelage.  She'd known she did wrong, but hadn't known there was any other way to live her life as  witch.

And Annie's power was growing every day.  She poured through the good book in hopes of divining all the answers she might possibly have.

And, she had been practicing her spells faithfully, especially the summons spells.  Smiling she called Sterling to her.

"I must admit that I am not used to being summoned like that, love," Sterling said to a grinning Annie.  "It is quite disconcerting!"

Patting the bed beside her, she tried to keep a straight face as she offered to kiss it and make it all better.

Lounging in her magic chair, Annie summoned Sterling to her.  "There is some news I'd like to share with you, dear."

"I'm pregnant!" she said as she stroked his cheek.

Sterling rubbed her belly in awe and dropped to one knee.   "You said that perhaps there were things that you could teach me and I thought you must have been crazy.  I believed that I knew all there was to know in this world.  But, there is something that you taught me... and that was how to love as deeply as I love you.  Marry me and continue to teach me with your goodness," Sterling proposed.

"You are more beautiful than any other bride I have ever seen before, Mrs. Annie Midlock!"

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