Magic of the Moonlight
FOUR - freaky fortunes
The last person I wanted to see was Dr. Meadows. I thought she'd been so eager to help Brandon find a cure for being a werewolf, only to discover that she'd been planning to exploit his condition. But Ivy and Abby were so excited to get their fortunes told again and reveal the whereabouts of my true love that they were successful in dragging me back to Penny for Your Thoughts.
"She might be ultrabusy," I said as we reached the storefront. Many cars were parked at the meters; we were lucky to have found a place. "It is the weekend."
"Stop being so negative," Ivy said. "We can wait."
"Yes, I'm totally geared up to see her!" Abby said, opening the door. "I can't wait to find out what she has to say about me. I mean, about Celeste."
"I just don't think I should be going in," I said. "Last time she gave me a freaky fortune and I got stuck in a snowstorm and was met by a pack of wolves."
"It's not supposed to snow and, believe me, this time I won't let you out of my sight," Ivy said in an overly protective tone. "You won't be seeing any wolves unless they are in the books she has for sale."
Abby pushed me inside. There were several customers looking at the holistic merchandise.
We wandered around the store, but Dr. Meadows wasn't at the counter to greet us. Instead we were met with the sounds of tribal drums over a gentle ocean surf and the scent of burning incense.
"Last time she was spot on!" Abby said, fingering a basket full of crystal rocks. "I wonder what she'll say about me this time."
Dr. Meadows was still nowhere in sight.
"Well, looks like she's busy in the back," I said. "Maybe we should go."
"What are you so afraid of? What could be so bad about her telling you you'll marry Nash?" Ivy asked.
I wasn't concerned about that - I felt I could choose my own romantic fate.
I was afraid Dr. Meadows would try to pump more info out of me than I would have expected to glean from her. However, maybe she thought I was pulling a prank when she found out the creature on video was a costumed hoax. I wasn't sure how she'd react.
Ivy held a pair of dangling blue crystal earrings, and Abby was examining amethyst bookends.
"I think these are really beautiful," Ivy said, holding her find up to one ear when Dr. Meadows came out from the back room and noticed us browsing through the store. She gave us a quick wave and rang up the other customers' purchases. When she was finished with them, we were her only other patrons. She greeted us with an inviting smile.
"Hello, girls." Dr. Meadows beamed happily. Her voice was soft and calming. Her long gray hair was in a ponytail and draped over one shoulder. Crystals and beaded jewelry tapped together like a wind chime. It seemed hard to think this woman wanted anything but the best for her customers. But I knew better.
"Hi, Dr. Meadows," Abby exclaimed like she was greeting her favorite aunt.
"Hello, Dr. Meadows," Ivy said eagerly.
I didn't say anything and pretended to be preoccupied with a book on massage. I didn't want to give any money to the psychic who was too quick to try to expose Brandon and only wound up giving attention to Nash's foolish prank. I also was wary of sipping her antioxidant tea. I wasn't sure what she might slip into my drink that might make me reveal the identity of the real werewolf.
But I think this private tea and face time with Dr. Meadows was one of the reasons my friends wanted to come in the first place.
"What can I do for you today?" the mystic asked.
"We came here to see who is Celeste's true love," Abby said. "We think we know who it is, but we wanted to know your thoughts."
I knew who, but I wasn't giving my thoughts to anyone - especially in front of Dr. Meadows.
"I'd rather not have my reading done," I told her. "I'm not interested in finding out who I should be going out with," I said. "But please feel free to do readings for my friends."
Dr. Meadows led us into her inner sanctum. But she seemed keen on me. It was as if she was trying to get a vibe from me from across the darkened room.
"I'm sure, Celeste, that your reading will be fine," Dr. Meadows said with a gentle tone. "Just give me a chance."
"Come on," Abby said. "It'll be fun."
"That's why we're here," Ivy said.
"That's why you came," I mumbled softly so only she could hear.
"Fine, do mine!" Ivy said.
She hopped into the reading chair while Abby sipped her tea and I bit my tongue.
Dr. Meadows still gazed at me but then turned her attention to Ivy. Dr. Meadows took my friend's hand and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath in and exhaled.
"There are secrets that you want to know, but you may be the last to find out."
Dr. Meadows opened her purple shimmery lids and waited for Ivy's response.
"I didn't like that one," Ivy said, acting like her fortune was a pair of designer jeans that didn't fit. Dr. Meadows didn't offer a money-back guarantee, but that didn't stop Ivy from trying.
"I want another reading," she said. "I didn't like that one."
"A reading is a reading," Dr. Meadows said. "You can take it or leave it."
Ivy was in a huff. She frowned like a child.
Dr. Meadows saw a repeat customer, and she was smart enough to know that if Ivy left dissatisfied, it wouldn't be good for business. She took her hand again and Ivy's face lit up.
Dr. Meadows closed her eyes. "Friendship is as important to you as love. There will be an obstacle before you and a friend, but ultimately it will bring you closer together."
She turned to Abby. "What are you hiding?"
"I'm not hiding anything."
"Did you say something behind my back?" Ivy accused.
"Girls." Dr. Meadows tried to appease them.
Ivy was still not pleased. "I still don't like it, Dr. Meadows."
In frustration, Dr. Meadows grasped her hand again. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath in and out.
"You will receive an unexpected gift," the psychic blurted out.
It seemed as cheesy a line as any handpicked message from a fortune cookie.
Ivy was ecstatic. "I knew it! See?"
She rose with a huge smile on her face and stood in front of Abby. "A present! I can't wait. And it isn't even my birthday!"
Abby returned her tea to the tea service, and Ivy took her seat.
Abby happily sat down and Dr. Meadows took her hand.
"Someone will confide in you and you must be sure to keep their confidence close to your heart."
"Ooh! Juicy!" Abby squealed.
Ivy looked perturbed. "You better tell me what they say!" Ivy said.
"What if it's you who tells me the secret?" Abby said.
"But I don't have anything to tell," Ivy said, thinking.
Abby was happy with her reading and didn't ask for a second or third.
"Now your turn, Celeste," Abby said. "Let's hear it. Will you marry Nash?"
"Ssh!" Ivy said. "You aren't supposed to say! Talk about keeping confidences? You just blew it!"
"I'm going to pass today," I said politely to Dr. Meadows. But Ivy and Abby dragged me out of my seat and sat me down in the reading chair.
"For you, today, it is free."
I tried to avoid eye contact with Dr. Meadows, but she grabbed my hand before I could go and closed her eyes. I was anxious about what she might say and would have covered my ears if only she wasn't holding my hands.
"Beware of a bite under a full moon. It will complicate your love life." I tried to pull away but her grip was fierce. Suddenly she let go.
I stood up, a little shaken.
As she rang up my friends' fortunes, I headed for the door.
"Wait, Celeste," Dr. Meadows called.
I stopped and reluctantly turned around.
The psychic came over to me and leaned in. "I was wondering - about the problem you were having last time? I'm still here to help."
I could see her hunger for paranormal information and felt a bit of sorrow for the holistic doctor. She had been correct about the readings she'd given me before but wrong about who the werewolf really was. I yearned for answers to Brandon's condition and anything that might help him. But his father would be coming to town and I trusted him more than her.
"I know your number," I said, and left before she could grab my hand again.
As we watched the Wolverines basketball game, Ivy and Abby were still hyper from their caffeine consumption and having new fortunes told.
I couldn't focus on the game, jotting down stories in my notebook or even daydreaming about Brandon. Beware of a bite under a full moon. It will complicate your love life. What had Dr. Meadows told me now? Would I be bitten, too, by a wolf? Or maybe by Brandon? I hadn't wanted my reading done in the first place. Her new words haunted me.
Apparently Ivy was distracted by her fortune, too.
"I can't wait until I get my present," Ivy mused. "I wonder who it will be from and what it will be."
"Well, someone is going to tell me something and I have to keep it a secret," Abby said as if her fortune were better.
"Not from me - " Ivy said.
"Yes, from you," Abby retorted. "Didn't you hear her?"
"But we tell each other everything." Ivy spoke forcibly.
"I know, but not this time." Abby swung her hair around with an attitude.
"I can't believe you." Ivy folded her arms and turned away.
"Dr. Meadows told me that's what would happen," Abby said, trying to console her.
"You have to tell me," Ivy ordered.
"But you have to," she insisted.
"I don't even know what it is!" Abby exclaimed.
I continued to stew over my reading. Beware of a bite under a full moon . . .
What did this mean? Who was going to be bitten? And why would it affect my love life? Now I was afraid of a wolf bite - more than I had been before. Or maybe she meant metaphorically. Bitten by love?
"And what did yours mean?" Ivy asked, now turning back. "'A bite under a full moon'? Maybe Nash will give you a love bite!"
"Or maybe someone else will," Abby said.
"It has to be Nash," Ivy said.
"Dr. Meadows didn't say who it was. It could be anyone."
"Maybe it's Brandon!" Abby teased.
"Ooh!" Ivy said, making a face.
"He does have dreamy eyes," Abby said. "And he is kind of a hero."
"Just 'cause he found your dog doesn't mean he can replace Nash," Ivy barked. "Besides, he's a Westsider - "
Abby shook her head. "Dr. Meadows didn't say where her dream guy lived."
"She didn't even say it was going to be a guy. It could be an animal," Ivy said.
"Or a werewolf," Abby teased.
"Well, we don't know since she didn't say," Ivy said, resigned.
"C'mon, guys," I said. "I told you we shouldn't have gone to that psychic. She's just playing with our heads. She doesn't know what she's talking about."
"Then I'm not going to get an unexpected gift?" Ivy asked, upset.
Normally I would have laughed, but I was too consumed by my own fortune.
"Let's watch the game," Abby finally said.
I continued to hang out on the bleachers with my friends as they rooted for their boyfriends. Heidi Rosen cheered her heart out, waving her pom-poms at Nash when he scored.
"She makes me sick!" Ivy said. "Did you see that? She's a total tramp!"
"I really don't mind," I said.
"He likes you," Ivy said. "You know that."
I didn't want to think about Nash or continue to watch the game. I was exhausted from the fortunes and my imagination spinning out of control, wondering who or what was going to bite me. I grabbed my backpack and purse and rose.
"Don't leave," Abby said. "The game isn't over."
"You have fun," I said. "I'll call you guys later."
"This Heidi Rosen thing is really getting to Celeste," I heard Ivy say to Abby as I headed down the bleachers.
"Yes, we are going to have to fix it!" Abby said.
"Or fix Heidi!" Ivy declared as only a best friend would.