Pocket Watch Witches Ep. 23


It took me an hour of playing with Cogton before he settled down. Instead of returning the stuffed mouse, he jumped to the top of my bookcase and curled up with the toy. That left me free to lock myself in my workshop. I’d already finished the two copies of the thief’s gambit Daniel requested before I’d resigned at the factory. As far ahead of schedule as I was, I could have taken the day to relax, but my time with Jim energized me. I blew through half the enchantments on the pirate’s sail. 

My custom spells took longer than the standard enchantments I did at Shaw’s every day. But none of them took nearly as long to cast as the first time. I’d based my eight-week timeline on how long it took me to make the original set. I’d known that these new watches wouldn’t take as much time as the samples I sold Daniel. Those took longer because I had to create the sigils for each spell as I worked on them. That put the most challenging part of the work behind me. Without my factory job eating up most of my day, I devoted most of that time to Daniel’s order.

I forced myself to take a break after the first six enchantments. When I came out of my workshop, I saw the sun had set, and the light of nearly full moons came through my living room window. I didn’t feel up to cooking, so I grabbed my coat and went out for dinner. The cold wind made me wish I’d worn an extra layer. Thankfully, Jim’s warming spell came easily. I enjoyed the moonlit walk much more, with my bubble of heat keeping the chill at bay. 

Molly waved at me from the kitchen door as I walked into her restaurant. I waved back and walked to the same table Jim and I sat at when I brought him. I reminded myself not to tell Molly I’d missed lunch. As much as I appreciated her and Leon, I felt guilty over the amount of free food they gave me. I’d never done anything to deserve it. They’d never explained what endeared me to them. At first, I hadn’t asked because it felt like prying. After a while, I thought it would be awkward to bring up. 

“How are you, love?” Molly asked, setting down a glass of water and a plate with more mini pies than I could finish on my own, even after missing a meal. 

“I’m doing well. How are you and Leon?” I asked. 

“We’re excellent. Our daughter is visiting from New Braxton,” she told me. 

“That’s great. How long is she in town for?”

“Just a week. She’s helping in the kitchen right now, but she’d love to meet you before you leave,” Molly told me. 

“I’d like that,” I said. 

“How are things going with that young man you brought in last time?” she asked. 

“We’re having dinner together again tomorrow night. I really like him,” I admitted. 

“You’ll have to bring him back soon. Oh, looks like we’re in for a busy night.” A party of eight walked in, and Molly went to greet them. 

I ate my fill of pies but still had four left on my plate. Molly hustled from table to table, so I didn’t bother her for a box. Three more groups came in since she’d brought my plate. The eight people she’d left me to take care of drained their wine almost as quickly as Molly could refill it. I listened to the musician while I waited for things to calm down. They hadn’t gotten the same man as the last time I came in, but this one knew some of the same songs. I tapped my foot and hummed along to a traditional Prasinish song about a soldier missing his husband while at war.

A woman with Molly’s green eyes and Leon’s black hair set a take-out container on my table. She’d also inherited her father’s narrow face and her mother’s turned-up nose. The smile she gave me was all her own. “Dimitri, right?” 

“How did you know?” I asked. 

“Mom told me which table you were at,” she said. “I’m Gail.” 

“Nice to meet you,” I said. 

“Likewise,” she answered. “I thought they’d been exaggerating, but you look so much like him.” 

“Like who?” I asked. 

“My uncle, mom’s brother,” she told me. Was that why they treated me so well? I literally looked like family?

“Molly never mentioned him to me,” I said. 

“I’m not surprised. They were close. He died a few years back, though,” she explained. 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. 

“Mom didn’t smile for months after that. Not until you started coming to the restaurant,” she said. “I know you didn’t plan to look like her brother, but it is more than that. You’re as kind as he was. You helped her more than you knew. Thank you.” 

“It’s not hard to be kind to her. Molly’s a sweet woman,” I told her, and she smiled. “I suspect your parents have done more for me than I’ve done for them.” 

“All the same, we appreciate you,” she said. 

“Thank you for telling me.” I hadn’t done much, but it makes me happy to have helped Molly in whatever way I could. 

“I should get back to work,” she said, standing from my table. “Your meal is on me.” 

“You don’t have to—” 

“You know how stubborn my parents are. I’m just as bad,” she told me with a wink. 

I packed the leftover pies into the box Gail brought me, then flagged Molly down. 

“Can I get you something, love?” she asked. 

“No, I’m all set. I met Gail. She seems great,” I said. A proud grin spread across Molly’s face. 

“Thank you. She told you the pies are on the house, didn’t she?” 

“Yeah,” I confirmed. 

“Good. Come back soon and bring your man with you,” she encouraged me. 

“I will,” I agreed. 

I tried to remember the first time I’d met Molly on my way home. Our first meeting didn’t stand out in my mind. She’d always been especially kind to me. It struck me as odd compared to my other restaurant experiences. But I just assumed that was how she treated everyone. Her good cheer drew me back until I’d become a regular there. I couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t greet me happily. It was hard to imagine her going months without smiling. I got home to Cogton’s enthusiastic head butts. He followed me to the kitchen. I put away my leftovers, then picked him up and carried him to my bedroom. I fell asleep with him curled up next to me. 

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