Eden is so desperate to win the affection of Dan from work, who she’s been lusting after and fantasising about for months, that she’s willing to try almost anything – even a mystical spell given to her by a mysterious woman in a fancy dress store. Though skeptical, she follows the instructions and mutters the spell. Will it work? Will Dan becomes smitten with her as promised, and make all her fantasies a reality?
I’d like to say that I felt the magic that was brewing that night, that some part of me sensed the inexplicable mystical events that were to follow, the events that would lead me right into the delicious manifestation of my most sensual fantasies. I’d like to say that, but I’d be lying. On the night it all began I felt nothing more out of the ordinary than a desperate sense of hope that Terry’s suggestion had sparked in me.
We walked purposefully along the busy high street, dodging the after work crowds, me driven by the very promising prospect of a solution to my problem, Terry driven by, well, I don’t really know what – but he was one of the nicest guy’s you could ever meet and one of those people who would do anything to help anyone, so maybe driven by a sense of niceness. The store we were rushing towards would close in thirty minutes, and we were a good fifteen minutes away, not even accounting for the high volume of foot traffic – people like us, rushing to get to shops before they closed, or to get home, or just to get out of the freezing cold and into somewhere warm.
“Come on, walk faster,” Terry prompted.
“It’s alright for you, your legs are about a metre longer than mine!” I complained. Well, it was hardly much of an exaggeration – at nearly six foot five he was a whole foot and three inches taller than me and his long stride equaled at least two of mine. This was probably the most exercise than I’d had in years, despite my regular visits to the gym – I was so hot inside my winter coat that even the frosty winter air couldn’t touch me. We hadn’t slowed down since sprinting out of the council offices at five on the dot. Well, my heels didn’t allow me to actually sprint, but I moved very quickly anyway, every muscle in my legs clenched to hold me steady and avoid going flying on the icy patches.
“Stop whining woman, this is for your benefit remember,” he looked back at me and grinned his cute boyish smile – the same one that had women falling into his bed every weekend. Every woman except me that is. After five years of working together I was immune to his charms, though we had discovered we got on great as mates. So great in fact, that he’d made it his mission to help me solve my, er, problem, since I’d confided in him earlier.
Terry was taking me to visit a fancy dress store with a particularly interesting owner. Apparently this shopkeeper had a very special talent that would help with my problem, so I had every intention of paying a visit without delay, even though my naturally doubtful side kept trying to pipe up with boring old questions like what the fuck do you think you’re doing? and why the bobbins are you giving this woo woo nonsense the time of day? I had no answer to the questions other than no bloody idea and well why the frig not? I mean, what good did inaction do? Huh? No good at all! That’s why I was telling that voice in my head to simmer down and going along with Terry’s plan.
It had only been during our lunch break earlier that I’d told Terry how much I was attracted to Dan from the Accounts department at work. I’m not really sure why I confided in Terry – I mean, we were good mates, but I’d never spilled all my deepest secrets to him before. I blame the pint I’d had with lunch in the pub for my loose lips. One minute we’d been talking about the footie results and the next I’d been telling him how much I fancied Dan – thought thankfully I’d stopped short of telling him about my ever escalating fantasies of me and Dan enjoying sex in various public places and precarious positions. That may have been a confession too embarrassing to come back from. No, I had simply admitted that I’d developed a huge crush on the guy.
The problem was, Dan was about five levels out of my league. If this had been high school he would have been the leader of the popular group and I would have been one of the misfits. Not that I subscribe to those traditional ideals of beauty or gave a shit what anyone thought of me – usually – but, I don’t know, he was just fucking hot. I couldn’t get him out of my head, ever since I’d first noticed him during the boring autumn accounts meeting in the summer. Seriously, the thoughts that had been dancing around in my mind during that hour while Pete droned on about targets and margins were anything but boring – thoughts involving the boardroom table, a silk tie, and this new guy from accounts who I later discovered was called Dan. I was so horny after that meeting and the fantasies I’d been indulging in that I’d had to visit the ladies and pleasure myself, all the time thinking of Dan’s strong mouth, his icy blue eyes, the way his stubble gave a slightly disheveled effect to his otherwise neat and businesslike appearance. I’d had to bite my lip to stop myself from making noise when I climaxed.
I had tried to get Dan’s attention a few times at work. I even took to wearing my contact lenses instead of my glasses, and I let my curly black hair down from its usual ponytail sometimes too. It didn’t work. I hardly ever got more than a polite smile from him. I was dying for him to notice me. Having said that, I was dying for any half decent man to notice me really. It had been a while.
Well Terry professed to have just the answer – though this one seemed like the strangest of a long line of peculiar ideas he’d come up with in the last couple of years. From visiting spiritual mediums to try and get a message from his dead aunt, to doing some weird body tapping thing to shift negative emotions, Terry was nothing if not odd – but lovely with it, and always with the best intentions. To be honest, he always seemed happy and his life seemed pretty charmed, so I guess he must be doing something right. I was open minded enough to go along with his ideas until such a time as I saw a reason not to, despite the fact that this one took quite a big stretch of the imagination to go along with.
We rounded a corner from the busy high street and found ourselves in a quieter more eclectic mix of shops down a small lane. Terry zoned in on the fancy dress shop and I followed along behind. We burst through the door, panting, just in time. Terry took the lead, approaching the counter, his imposing frame hunched over as he caught his breath. The woman behind the counter rose from a seat and greeted him with a smile of recognition. She’d been expecting him. I assumed because he’d phoned in advance and not because she was psychic on top of her other gifts – though who knew?
Graceful and slender, she wore a black velvet dress with lace trimmings that gave her a vague air of Mortitia from the Adams family. Her grey streaked black hair and green eyes only added to the resemblance. I decided I liked her. I can always tell straight away if I’m going to like someone or not – this woman seemed straight up – no layer of bullshit, no mask. I hated people who wore fake masks, putting on an act and pretending to be something they’re not, desperate to fit in. I had a great bullshit detector – it was currently silent.
“Eden, this is Valerie, Valerie, Eden.” Terry waved his hands between us by means of introduction. I smiled at Valerie. She was dainty but she looked like you wouldn’t want to mess with her – strong of spirit, I guess you could say. Her face looked wise, and very spritely for someone who, according to terry, was somewhere between fifty and sixty. I wondered how Terry knew her. He seemed to know a varied array of colourful people – some from worlds I didn’t even know existed.
“What a unique name,” Valerie said in a smoky voice. “Religious parents?”
“How did you guess?” I asked. “I considered changing it but hey, it’s different. I like different.”
“Different is good. Don’t change to fit in. Though I don’t think you need me to tell you that.”
“I think Valerie may be able to help you with your man problems,” Terry stated, though we all knew why I was here. I didn’t say a word, just waited for Valerie’s response.
Valerie looked me up and down and then asked, “Do you have a man in mind?”
“I do,” I answered, and then cringed at my choice of words.
“Do you have the one hundred pounds?”
“Yes, she does,” Terry answered for me. Yes, not only was I taking a punt on Terry’s somewhat madcap idea to help me hook Dan’s affections, but I was paying for the privilege. Maybe I was bonkers after all, and not just open-minded as I kept trying to tell myself.
“Okay then, well follow me,” Valerie said and walked from behind the counter, the black skirt of her long dress wafting around her legs as she went to the main door of the shop and flipped the sign to closed, turning the lock, and then disappearing through another door behind the counter.
Terry and I looked at each other and then followed.
I walked through a haze of incense smoke – I have to admit it smelled nice in a hippy kind of way – and for a moment I thought the chanting I could hear was coming from Valerie. Then I realized it was coming from an old CD player in the corner. The room she had led us into was small, dim, and empty of furniture but for one large wooden table pushed against a far wall, covered with all manner of paraphernalia for whatever it is that she does. Books, decks of cards, containers and bowls, I noticed some bags of what looked like weed but might have been herbs, and lots of candles. Valerie struck a match and lit one of the candles, a large stout red one, and then placed it on the floor in the centre of a large round woven rug.
“Sit,” she instructed and Terry folded his legs and took a place on one edge of the rug, taking a cushion from the array scattered on the floor in the corner to use as a seat. I followed suit and sat opposite him, so the candle was between us. I don’t scare easily, and I’m pretty open to anything, but for a moment I had a bit of a quiver wondering just what I’d signed up to. For all I knew I could be about to partake of some mind altering chemicals or be a sacrifice in a strange satanic ritual. I reminded myself to ask more questions in the future before I got myself into these situations. But I was here now and committed, so I was going to see this thing through. Terry smiled at me reassuringly. Valerie had her back to us and was fiddling with something on the table. After a few moments she turned, holding a large burnished metal bowl in one hand and a small jar, or maybe it was technically a vial, in the other. She sat crossed legged between Terry and me and placed the items before her, using a pipette to transfer what appeared to be oil of some kind from the bowl into the jar.
“Why do you want this man Eden?” She asked without looking at me as she sniffed the mixture in the jar and added a drop more oil.
“He’s beautiful. I’ve never been with someone that gorgeous before, and without help, I probably never will,” I answered honestly. “I think he’ll be good in bed,” I added, though I didn’t explain that at twenty-seven years old, I’d also never had an orgasm with a man before. Plenty on my own, but never with a man.
Valerie paused for a second from her preparations. “So do you want good sex or a good relationship?”
I thought for a second. A good relationship would be lovely but I couldn’t deny that my mounting need for good sex was eclipsing everything else. I wanted that orgasm. But then, it would be kind of nice to have someone to wake up to afterwards too. Hmm, tough question.
“Ideally I would have both,” I answered, perhaps unhelpfully.
“Okay, let’s see what we can do,” Valerie said. She leaned towards me and before I had a chance to react, she’d yanked a strand of hair from my head.
“Ouch,” I complained, though Valerie seemed to either not hear me or not care, as she didn’t react at all. I looked over to Terry with alarm but he was watching Valerie intently as she burned the strand of my hair over the candle that flickered in the middle of the rug, muttering something I couldn’t quite comprehend. She then proceeded to place the burnt strand of hair into the tiny bottle of oil, seal it with a small cork, and hold it out to me.
“Rub this oil into his skin and say these words ‘Farum nis corba tula tetum’ then he will be yours,” she said as I took the bottle.
Two things went through my mind at that point – firstly, what the hell does being ‘yours’ mean exactly? Secondly, how the hell was I going to rub oil into his skin while saying some magic spell without him noticing? I didn’t dare ask either question out loud, the intense gaze of the woman (witch?) before me had a kind of finality to it, I felt dismissed. As I mumbled my thanks and climbed to my feet I realised what seemed strange about her – for a woman of her age, her skin was flawless. Unnaturally so.
Terry looked ridiculously excited and recited the words, committing them to memory, and confirming to Valerie that I would do as told.
“To break the spell, just say the words backwards,” Valerie instructed as we left the room. I hadn’t even thought about breaking the spell – and I couldn’t help but wonder, as we navigated the now slightly quieter streets towards to bus stop to go our separate ways home, why I would possibly want to break the spell.
I spent most of the next morning at work loitering in both the shared kitchen and the main corridor of our floor in an attempt to get close to Dan, the small bottle of magic tucked in my trouser pocket. I’d figured that my best hope would be to catch him in one of those two places, since both we worked in different departments and our paths crossed much less often than I would have liked.
I’d had to make numerous excuses to the old bags in my department about why I kept leaving my desk and staying away from it for so long – I was making a phone call to the vets about my poorly kitty (I don’t have any pets), then I was running to the loo because of a poorly tummy – must be the dodgy chicken I ate the night before, I explained, not wanting to raise alarm about potentially spreading bugs.
Eventually, just before lunchtime when I’d been lingering in the kitchen for a good ten minutes making cups of tea for all five people in my department and delivering them one at a time, running out of ways to stretch the break for any longer, in came Dan.
“H Dan!” I chirped, maybe a little too brightly. “How’s it going?” I added, trying to tone down my enthusiasm a little. I was just so bloody relieved that an opportunity had finally presented itself to apply the lotion, and a little nervous too, if I’m honest.
God he was gorgeous. So very nearly perfectly groomed. I liked that in a man – smart white shirt tucked into smart grey trousers, with the sleeves rolled up to make it look kind of casual. His long but not long (if you know what I mean) dark blonde hair was gelled up into almost a quiff, his blue eyes lazy but not in a squiffy way, in a just got out of bed after a long hot night (and God I wanted to drag him back into it) kind of way. He looked like he’d walked right out of a men’s magazine – exactly the kind of guy I always said I would never go for – assuming them to be far too preoccupied with the way they looked to be able to let loose and relax or have anything of significance to talk about. But, I don’t know what it was about Dan, I sensed there was more to him than all that. Nah, that’s a lie, I just fancied the pants off him. Who needed an explanation? The body wants what the body wants. And my body wanted him.
“Not bad thanks,” Dan answered, rinsing out his mug and looking at me sideways as if he’d never seen me before.
“Eden, from the marketing department,” I offered, though we’d been in several meetings together. Geez, this stuff really was my only hope, I clearly hadn’t made an impression on him at all.
“Oh yes,” Dan said dismissively, putting on the kettle and busying himself making a cup of tea.
“Would you mind helping me with an experiment?” I blurted, before I could loose my nerve. I was waving the little ointment bottle around.
He arched one eyebrow, and opened his mouth but couldn’t seem to find any words.
“Oh it’s nothing weird or anything, I just have this new moisturiser from one of those home party thingies my sister made me go to, I wanted to rub it on a man’s hand and see if it’s as effective as it claims to be. She reckons it only works on women but I said that’s impossible, skin is skin right?”
Oh shit, it didn’t sound anywhere near as plausible out loud as it had when I’d come up with the idea this morning. I sounded like a nutter. I really should have run it past Terry first.
“Um,” Dan was staring at me as if I were mad and without even thinking what I was doing I rushed forward and grabbed his hand, dousing it with the ointment and rubbing it in before he had time to pull away.
“Well, okay then,” he muttered.
His hands were warm and surprisingly soft. I relished the opportunity to touch him, my heart speeding up as I massaged the oil in. His hands were big too. I glimpsed up at him, resisting the urge to stand on tiptoes and kiss those lips. I was so caught up in the moment I nearly forgot to say the spell, but quickly muttered the words I’d carefully memorised under my breath.
“Huh?” he said.
“I didn’t say anything,” I lied. “How does that feel?”
“Um, yeah, smooth I guess,” he said, pulling his hand away from me and still giving me the kind of look you might give to an animal that could bite at any time. He lifted a hand to his nose and sniffed.
“Smells funny for a moisturiser. Smoky.”
I had to turn away and busy myself with the tea making to stop myself from laughing as he thanked me and left the kitchen. He hadn’t even bothered to finish making his drink. I could have shriveled into the floor and died of embarrassment. What on Earth had I done? That was clearly completely ineffective. Aside from the thrill of touching his hands, massaging them with my own, the oil and magic spell had clearly done nothing. And now Dan would surely remember me – for all the wrong reasons!
Nearly an hour later I was wondering if I could use that fake food poisoning excuse to just go home for the afternoon and maybe never come back. I was gutted about the hundred quid I’d wasted on that rubbish, sure, but I was more devastated about how much I’d actually started to believe that this might work, only to make a complete fool of myself. I didn’t want to ever bump into Dan again. I could get a transfer to another department, or failing that just quit. I’m sure there were plenty of vacant positions for a digital marketer and part time witch.
“Well?” came a hopeful deep voice from behind me. Terry’s face dropped as soon as I looked up from where I’d been slumped at my desk, pretending to write something in a notebook. “Not good news then I take it?”
“Terry,” I spoke quietly so the old nags in the office couldn’t hear – they were always eager for gossip. “I just made the biggest fool of myself ever and that stuff didn’t do shit.”
“Are you sure it was that bad? It probably just felt it.”
“Terry, I rubbed a stinky potion into his hands without permission. He couldn’t get out of there quick enough.”
“Oh Eden,” I could tell he was trying to keep a straight face. “I’m sorry, but maybe it just takes time to…” he noticed the daggers I was giving him and changed tact, “Let me take you out for a drink after work to say sorry.”
“I just want to crawl into my bed and never come out. I don’t think I ever want to be seen in public again actually. Terry, I know you mean well but seriously, next time you get the urge to help me by any means that aren’t scientifically proven just…what?” I asked shortly, noticing the strange looks Terry was giving me, his eyes frantically looking behind me. I turned around.
Oh shit! Dan had just strolled into the room and appeared to be making a beeline for my desk. Why oh why did I have to have the only desk facing the rear window instead of the door? And what the hell was Dan doing in here? I mean, Terry had a legit reason for dropping by all the time since he worked in sales and I worked in marketing and the two departments were basically intertwined, but the accounts dudes never showed their faces around here. We only ever saw each other at inter-department meetings and staff socials.
“Oh my God he’s probably come to tell me he’s suing me for improper conduct or indecent touching or something,” I whispered and placed what probably looked like a crazy smile on my face as Dan approached.
“Hi Dan,” I said, all casual, like this was an every day occurrence. Miss casual and breezy, that was me – except I was freaking out on the inside.
“After another hand massage are you?” I added. Oh dear lord what was wrong with me? Why was I so incapable of engaging my brain before I spoke?
“Ha,” he laughed. Yes – he actually laughed, and then gave me a beaming smile. “Well, that does sound rather tempting, but, err, maybe somewhere more private,” he winked.
What? Did I hear him right? My face flushed. I cast a look at Terry and saw my shock reflected in his face.
“No actually, and sorry to interrupt your conversation,” Dan continued, not even looking at Terry who had backed away and was pretending to examine a nearby poster on the wall advertising the upcoming Christmas dinner, “I know this is might seem a bit forward, but I wondered if you might be free for dinner tonight?”
“Yes, dinner. I thought maybe we could go to DeLuca’s or to that new Thai place if you prefer something a little more exotic. Totally your choice.”
Huh? Dan was asking me out. He was really, actually asking me to go out with him. And I was sitting here catching flies with my jaw hanging open; staring at Dan like an imbecile while Terry gave mouthed something completely intelligible behind him.
“I’m sorry, I know, I’m too forward aren’t I? I should have waited. I’m not usually so… you know… I just, after seeing you in the kitchen earlier, I just had to ask.” Dan was waffling. Was he actually nervous? He was asking me out and he was nervous… oh my God, the potion, the spell, it had worked!
“Oh no, it’s fine. I don’t mind forward, I like forward, I love forward in fact. What I mean is, yes. Yes, I’d love to go out with you for dinner tonight. Anywhere, I don’t mind where. I’ll eat anything.”
Oh sweet sunshine, shut up Eden, I admonished myself.
“Great, that’s great.” Dan said, looking delighted. “Well, how about I pick you up at seven? Can you text me your address? Here’s my number,” he leaned over and wrote his number down on the notepad I’d been pretending to write on, and then with much looking back and smiling, he left. Just like that.
My hand flew to my mouth to stop me from actually screaming. Had I imagined all that? Terry hurried back over to my desk.
“Well, I guess that means I’m forgiven huh?” he winked, and I just laughed, still speechless.
Terry made to leave then, driven from the room by sarcastic comments form the nosy old bats in the admin area, something about this being a workplace and not a dating agency. They could talk! I’d seen them ogling the buffed up delivery guy who came in every week, not that I was in the mood to point that out right then – I was floating on air. I giggled at Terry as he left the room making some kind of vile snogging actions with his tongue. Nothing could ruin that moment for me – not even the slight niggle I felt inside that I swiftly pushed away before I could identify it.
I’d put all niggles and doubts well away by the time we’d arrived at the restaurant, neither the Italian or the Thai place in the end but a last minute change of plan to a Mexican restaurant, because I’d mentioned in the taxi that I like burritos. Dan was attentive, funny, and bloody handsome as fuck in jeans, a blue shirt, and a black suit jacket.
When he turned up at my door I was glad I’d opted for my one and only little black dress (my one and only dress if truth be told), despite having spent an hour dithering over whether I’d look like I’d made too much effort. I had squeezed my feet into my only pair of heels and even put on makeup and straightened my hair so it was sleek and shiny. I might well have transformed myself into the kind of girl I’d always sworn I’d never be, but it was so worth it to see the look on Dan’s face when I’d opened the door to my little flat. He’d been speechless, and was still gazing at me adoringly across the restaurant table two hours later while we finished our last glasses of wine.
The conversation hadn’t stopped flowing all evening, Dan had seen to that. He’d asked me about everything from my hobbies to my family. I’d managed to get him talking a bit about himself too, though he was reluctant and kept trying to defer the conversation back to me. I’m not sure I could recall much of what we talked about anyway – I was so mesmerized by him, by the fact that I was here with him, and that he seemed smitten by me. And damn, those eyes. They had been boring into me all night as if they could see straight through to my soul. I finally knew what it meant to be ‘undressed with his eyes’, and I’d decided I wanted to be undressed for real.
I’d been fantasising about it all evening, my body humming lightly with a delicious buzz, every sense heightened. I watched his mouth as he spoke and all I could think about was kissing those lips, licking that tongue. When he excused himself to go to the bathroom, I very nearly followed him in there, and just the thought of dragging him into a cubicle, unzipping his trousers, it made me wet between the legs. I was squirming in my seat but didn’t have the guts to actually do it. The restaurant was pretty busy after all.
“You look deep in thought,” he said, startling me from my fantasies.
“Oh,” I laughed self-consciously. “Just thinking what a lovely evening it’s been.”
“Me too, it really has. I don’t know why we never went out together before. I couldn’t believe it when you told me you’d been working at the council since before I started there. How on earth have you stayed off my radar? You must have been avoiding me.”
If only you knew how hard I’d tried to get your attention… but I pushed that thought away. “Well, I guess when the time’s right, if you believe in that kind of thing.”
“Destiny,” he said. “That’s what it feels like. I know, again, it’s very forward to say, but it feels like we were meant to bump into each other in the kitchen today, I was meant to ask you out. You know, like it was written in the stars or something…”
Or something… I thought, but I said, “Shall we get out of here?”
“Of course, sorry, getting carried away. I’ll get the bill and ask them to call us a cab. It is getting late, you must be tried.”
“Well actually, I was kind of hoping I could come back to your place for a night cap.” I said, with no reservation at all. The man of my dreams was sitting before me smitten, my knickers were damp with my lust, my whole body was tingling and desperate to be touched. There was no way I was passing up this opportunity.
“Oh yes, yes of course,” he replied, his eyes glinting.
We made out in the back of the cab like teenagers, unable to keep our hands off each other. Dan threw some notes at the driver and then we stumbled up the stairs to his second floor flat, holding hands and giggling, pausing every few steps for a snog. On the second flight of stairs, we were so carried away, had a neighbor not emerged from a door right beside us, bringing us back to our senses, we might have actually screwed there and then – me lying on the stairs with my legs spread, Dan kneeling between them rubbing his erection against my crotch through his jeans as he nibbled my neck and groped my breasts through my dress.
We managed to make it through the front door and close it behind us before we turned on each other again, clashing together and ripping at each other’s coats, which were quickly discarded on the oak floor…
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