An Excerpt From: Things That Go Bump in the Night V - Cassandra's Enchantment

© Copyright Cynthia Williams, 2005.

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave, Inc.

Phineas stepped into his bathroom to quickly wash his hands before answering the door.

Before he could finish drying his hands, a deep voice demanded, “Come on, Phin. Open up, I don’t have all day.”

Phineas recognized the distinct New York accent. He set the towel back on the rack and walked the short distance to the door, yanking it open. He glared at his friend, his normally slow southern drawl clipped. “What’s the emergency, Tony?”

“No emergency. I’ve been calling your name and knocking on your door forever.” Tony pushed his stocky form in the room. “You didn’t answer, so I decided to knock a little louder.” He looked Phineas over. “You look kind of flushed.”

Phineas ignored his comment. “What do you want?” 

Tony handed a gold-filigreed envelope to Phineas. “This just arrived.”

Phineas could feel the compulsion to open the envelope the moment it touched his fingers. He knew it was a common spell used by many witches to ensure their instructions were carried out. Nearly finished with his master’s degree in forensic magic, Phineas could easily have neutralized it, but he was curious why Miriam Drake, matriarch of the Drake witch family, would send him such a summons.

He tore open the envelope, pushing his spectacles up his nose to read the message aloud. “Your presence is required at a gathering of the Drake family of Witches to be held on All Hallow’s Eve, October 31st at eight o’clock, PM. Please use all discretion when arriving at the Drake ancestral home in Atlanta, Georgia. We are located in the midst of a mundane community and wish to keep a low profile with our neighbors.” Phineas raised an eyebrow at that and laughed.

Tony smiled and shrugged. “Well, can you blame them?”

“I suppose not. I grew up near there and couldn’t help but hear the stories. The Drakes seemed to have the occasional problem at the old plantation with a spell or two getting out of control.” He scratched his chest and a touch of humorous sympathy appeared in his eyes. “Although, they have done a pretty good job of covering it up when it happens.”

Tony was about to leave when he hesitated. “Hey, can you pay me back the twenty I lent you last week? No rush, but I’m in a hurry to get to the library and there’s no ATM machine nearby to get cash for lunch.”

“No problem. Hold on a minute.” Phineas dug into his pocket and while he was pulling out a bill, half of a woman's thong slipped out.

Tony laughed. “What’s that?”

Phineas smiled but a suggestion of annoyance colored his voice. “That…is none of your business.” He handed Tony the twenty-dollar bill, quickly attempting to stuff the panty back into his pocket. “Be seeing you, Tony. Thanks for dropping off the invitation.” He succeeded in hiding the thong except for a small loop of apricot-colored elastic poking out of his pocket.

Tony ignored him. His eyes were riveted on the apricot loop. He yanked on it, pulling the entire thong out of Phineas’ pocket. Tony guffawed when he realized what it was. “Dang, Phineas, are you sneaking girls into your room again? Is this Belinda’s? I thought you broke up with her seven months ago.”

“It’s not Belinda’s, you ass. Give it back.”

“Tell me who.” Tony’s face had a slightly hurt look on it. “Shit, I always let you in on the juicy details of my—”

“It’s none of your damn business—”

Tony, eaten up with curiosity, ignored the warning in Phineas’ eyes and voice. He pointed a finger at the small garment, intoning, “REVELIUM OWNUM.”

Suddenly a ghostly figure of a woman appeared, wearing an identical copy of the thong and a matching bra. She held the faint outline of a tube of lipstick and seemed to be looking into an imaginary mirror while carefully applying a dusky-rose color to her sensuously curved lips. She had her back arched and her forearm was pressing against the side of one of her soft, rounded breasts, giving the men a glimpse of ample cleavage. Long brown hair hung past her shoulders in a cascade of curls, stopping just short of her waist. The strings of the thong rode high over her lushly curved bottom, accentuating cheeks that begged for a man’s hands. Unaware of her audience, the woman continued to stare intently into the mirror, her exotic violet eyes studying the application of her lipstick, before pressing her lips together several times to check if it was evenly distributed.

Phineas and Tony both stood there, mesmerized.

Tony cleared his throat and gave Phineas a considering look. “Ah, bud…isn’t that your stepmother?”

“Cassandra? Yes, it is,” Phineas bit out between his teeth. He quickly gestured and intoned, “REVELIUM FINIS.” The ghostly figure disappeared.

Tony’s eyes glowed with appreciation. “Oh, man, she’s fine.”

“Yes, she is,” Phineas added with a quiet grimness. “And I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your mouth shut about this.”

“Not a problem.” Tony grinned at Phineas, slyly. He gave him a playful clip on the shoulder. “Hey, if she were my stepmom, I’d be stealing her panties, too.”

Phineas cleared his throat. “It’s not like that. They just happened to be in my laundry.”

Tony chuckled. “Yeah, sure, buddy.”

“Don’t be an ass.” Phineas reached over and with a quick tug, removed the thong from his friend’s hand and walked over to a small dresser, pulling open a drawer and tossing the small garment inside. He shut the drawer and turned back. “It got mixed in with my stuff.”

“So, ah, why are you carrying it around in your pocket?”

“You can’t help but be a dick, can you, Tony? I found it and shoved it in my pocket when you started pounding on my door. End of story.” Phineas gave him a dismissive stare. “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”

Tony stood there with a big grin on his face. “Yep. I have to get ready for the Drake party.”

A faint look of surprise crossed Phineas’ face. “You got an invitation, too?”

“Yeah.” Tony wagged his eyebrows, his face forming into a mock leer. “Do you think your stepmother would go out with me if I asked her?”

Phineas went completely still and a dangerous look crept into his eyes. “She’s not your type.”

Tony opened his mouth, about to send off another teasing jibe but then changed his mind. He gave Phineas a speculative look. “Never mind, I think I’ll go practice the vanishing spell Professor Barnes assigned to us today.”

“Yeah, good idea.” Phineas put a firm hand on Tony’s shoulder and pushed him out the door. “Why don’t you start on it right now?”