Her hazel eyes were judging me again. God, I wish I could read minds instead.
Adrianne spun her fork into her spaghetti, letting the tines scrape against the china. I cringed from the sound. She pointed her forkful of noodles at my face. “I think you’re a witch.”
I laughed to cover my nerves. “You’ve said that before.” Under the white tablecloth, I crossed my fingers and prayed we would breeze through this conversation one more time.
A small, teasing smile played at the corner of her painted lips. “I really think you are.”
I shook my head. “I’m not a witch.”
She shrugged. “You might be a witch.”
I picked up my white wine. “I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that. I could pay off my student loans.” With one deep gulp, I finished off the glass.
She swallowed the bite in her mouth and leaned toward me. “Come on. I might die if I don’t get to see him tonight! Do you really want that kind of guilt on your hands?”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re so dramatic.”
She placed her fork beside her plate and reached over to squeeze my hand. “Please try.”
My shoulders caved. “OK.” I shoved my chair back a few inches and crossed my legs on top of my seat. I closed my eyes, shook my long brown hair off my shoulders, and blew out a deep slow breath as I made circular O’s with my fingertips. Slowly, my hands floated down till they rested on my knees. I began to moan. “Ohhhhhmmmm…”
Adrianne threw her napkin at me, drawing the attention of the surrounding guests at Alejandro’s Italian Bistro. “Be serious!”
I dropped my feet to the floor and laughed as I scooted closer to the table. “You be serious,” I said. “You know that’s not how it works.”
She laughed. “You don’t even know how it works!” She flattened her palms on the tablecloth. “Here, I’ll make it easy. Repeat after me. Billy Stewart, Billy Stewart, Billy Stewart,” she chanted.
I groaned and closed my eyes. “Billy Stewart, Billy Stewart, Billy Stewart.”
She broke out in giggles and covered her mouth. “You’re such a freak!”
I raised an eyebrow. “You call me that a lot.”
“You know I’m only joking. Sort of.”
Adrianne Marx had been my best friend since the fifth grade, but sometimes I still had trouble deciphering when she was joking and when she was being serious.
I picked up my fork again and pointed it at her. “It’s not gonna happen, so don’t get too excited.”
She let out a deep breath. “I’m not.”
I smirked. “Whatever.”
Our waiter, who had been the topic of our conversation before Adrianne began gushing about her new crush on Billy Stewart, walked to our table.
“Can I get you ladies anything else?” His Southern drawl was so smooth I had nicknamed him Elvis over dinner. He was a little older than the two of us, maybe twenty-three, and he had a sweet, genuine smile. His hair was almost black, and his eyes were the color of sparkling sapphires. I had drunk enough water that night to float the Titanic just so I could watch him refill my glass.
I looked at his name tag. “Luke, do I look like a witch?”
His mouth fell open. “Uh, I don’t think so?” His response was more of a question than an answer.
Across the table, Adrianne was twisting strands of her auburn ponytail around her finger. I nodded toward Luke. “See, he doesn’t think I’m a witch.”
Luke lowered his voice and leaned one hand on our table. “You’re too pretty to be a witch,” he added, with a wink.
I smiled with satisfaction.
Adrianne laughed and pushed her plate away from her. “Don’t be fooled, Luke. She has powers you can’t even dream of.”
He looked down at me and smiled. “Oh really?” He leaned down and lowered his voice. “How about you let me take care of this for you”—he dangled our bill in front of my face—”and later, when I get off, I can hear all about your powers?”
Heat rose in my cheeks as I took the check from his hand, and when I pulled a pen from his waistband apron, his breath caught in his chest. I flashed my best sultry smile up at him and scribbled my name and phone number on the back of the bill. I stood up, letting my hand linger in his as I gave him the check. “I’m in town on a break from college for the weekend, so let me know when you get off.”
He smiled and backed away from the table. “I will”—he looked down at the paper—”Sloan.”
I took a deep breath to calm the butterflies in my stomach as Adrianne followed me toward the front door. She nudged me with her elbow. “You should win some kind of award for being able to pick up guys,” she said as we passed through the small rush of dinner customers coming in.
I shrugged my shoulders and glanced back at her with a mischievous grin. “Maybe it’s part of my gift.”
“Witch,” she muttered.
The icy chill of winter nipped at my face as I pushed the glass door open. When we walked out onto the sidewalk, I stopped so suddenly that Adrianne tripped over my legs and tumbled to the concrete.
Billy Stewart was waiting at a red light in front of the restaurant.