Eddy stepped back from the sign that she had just hung up outside the open door and thought about what had brought her to this point. Edwina Roxanne Dupuis was a woman of exquisite taste. Even if she was the only one who thought so. She had conjured up the idea of a neighbourhood coffee and tea house almost 3 years ago and it was only now getting its finishing touches. It seemed appropriate that opening day was actually Halloween. It was Edwina’s favourite holiday. She also felt that the name Edwina didn’t fit her character on any day so she always went by Eddy.
“Eddy do you want to use orange tablecloths or burnt umber. And what in heaven’s name is the difference? They both look the same to me.”
The voice that had just interrupted her reverie belonged to her not so silent partner Joshua. They had met and become friends while both were attending university. Years went by while they pursued their individual careers. Unfortunately, neither was satisfied and when they met up again in a coffee shop, they were each looking for something new. From that coincidental meeting came the idea for The Witch’s Brew.
“Burnt umber Joshua. If you can’t see the difference then you are colour blind.”
Joshua stood for a moment looking at the two tablecloths, one in each hand. His head went back and forth trying to discern a difference. Instead he just shook his head. Fortunately, each had a label so he was actually able to tell which was which.
“There is no difference,” he whispered quietly to himself. They might be partners but she was still the boss.
A little louder he said, “The place looks fabulous! You’ve done a great job Eddy.”
The woman in question came in to the coffee shop proper and she was smiling. “We did a great job Joshua. I may have been the driving force but you provided the money and the moral support. I’ll never forget that.
Joshua smiled. Maybe she’d start to look at him a little differently. There was more to him than friendly support and a buck or two. He had been nursing a crush on Eddy since the day they met more than 10 years ago. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow them to explore a relationship. Maybe now it would. She just had to see him as more than a business partner.
“I’m curious, why did you choose Halloween as the opening day?”
“It’s my favourite holiday. It’s nice when people are able to let go of convention, and be something they are not. Or perhaps it’s when their real characters are allowed to shine. We have no idea who and what people really are unless they tell us.”
As she spoke Eddy moved behind the coffee bar and started to polish an already gleaming counter. She didn’t look at Joshua as she talked and he wondered if the words she used were meant for him specifically.
“Okay boss lady, what do we still need to do before tomorrow’s grand opening? Geez, do I have to wear a costume?”
Eddy stopped fussing and looked at Joshua. “Of course you have to wear a costume! It’s Halloween! And all that’s left to do is put out some flowers and put on a couple of pots of coffee.”
Joshua looked slightly alarmed. “I can handle the coffee, but a costume?”
“Oh and everything is going to be free tomorrow morning, just up until 12 o’clock. I can’t think of a better way to get people to come into our shop. It’ll cost a few dollars but I think it will be worth it in the end when people realize what a great place it is. Are you okay with that money man?”
“Sure Eddy what ever you want.” He seemed somewhat distracted, “I could go as a pirate. They’re macho. What are you going as?”
“Well as a witch of course.” Eddy’s laughter brightened the room immensely. “Don’t worry Joshua I promise not to turn you into a toad, unless of course you use orange tablecloths instead of the burnt umber!”
The two friends shared a good-natured chuckle. There was only one problem: the two people in the room were not exactly what they appeared to be. Each one had a secret they were hiding from the other.
The day was finally over and with a satisfying click the front door was closed and locked. One individual was already sprawled over a couch, his shoulders sagging with relief. The other was slowly patrolling the room picking up the odd cup and saucer.
“We did it Joshua. And I think it was a huge success. Now I am so tired I could cheerfully sell this place for a dollar.” With that Eddy sat down in the nearest chair, her chin slowly sliding towards her chest.
The figure on the couch stirred for a moment, his hand raised and a very small voice uttered only one word: “Sold!”
After a moment the two laughed quietly. Several more minutes went by before Eddy forced her head to rise up and survey the newest hip spot on the street. The Witch’s Brew was a success!
“Wake-up Joshua, there is still a ton of work to do. We have to tidy this place up and get it ready for tomorrow morning. And we have got to hire some staff. . . .” Eddy’s voice continued on. She was outlining the necessary steps for the successful run of their joint venture. While she straightened up, she continued to talk. She assumed that Joshua was listening. But he was not.
Some movement had caught his eye. From his comfortable perch on the couch he could just make out a piece of black wool that seemed to be undulating from behind a coffee bag. He was mesmerized. For the life of him he could not understand why someone would have draped a piece of wool on the shelf. Maybe he was still sleeping. But that piece of wool seemed to be beckoning him.
With a quick glance to be sure that Eddy was otherwise occupied, Joshua slowly approached the wayward wool. He was pretty sure he was over tired and hallucinating which is why he didn’t want to let Eddy know what he was doing. After only half a dozen steps he could actually reach out towards his vision. A fraction of an inch away from the piece of wool he stopped, inhaled deeply and thrust his hand forward.
“Ahhhhhhh! Oh my….!!!! Call 911! It has eyes!” In his hurry to get away from the apparition, Joshua backed into a chair and sat down, hard. The chair tilted back and he was on the floor with his legs in the air. His mouth opened and closed repeatedly as he tried to speak. All that came out was a guttural “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”
Eddy raced to his side and knelt down, concerned. Her eyes followed the direction of his finger that was pointing in desperation at the path from which he had just fled. A small black figure raised its head and stared pointedly at the two people in the middle of the floor. The demon in question then opened its mouth and uttered one syllable “Meow!”
With no regard for her fallen partner’s about to be bruised ego, Eddy burst out laughing hysterically. She patted Joshua on the shoulder and then move towards the shelf.
“So that’s where you’ve been hiding Sebastian. I wondered where you’d been.”
The aptly named Sebastian was cleaning his whiskers when he was unceremoniously picked up. Eddy cuddled the tiny black kitten with the big-name and turned to face poor Joshua.
“Did I forget to tell you that The Witch’s Brew has a mascot? Sebastian this is Joshua. Joshua meet Sebastian.”
Joshua could do nothing more than stare at what he thought was a demon. It is doubtful that the small kitten weighed more than a pound or two. He was completely black except for those mesmerizing green eyes and a very tiny pink tongue.
Eddy was nuzzling the furball and her voice was muffled. “I know you love me Joshua, and I love you too but you have to love my cat as well.”
Stunned, Joshua stood up. “I do, you know, love you. I always have. I didn’t know you knew.” He approached Eddy and put his arm around her and the small kitten. “Yes, your little demon is lovely and what a wonderful idea for the shop. I guess every Witch needs her familiar.” The two chuckled, comfortable with themselves and with each other.
“Well, I guess we have a lot of work to do and we had better get at it.” Joshua left the two after a few moments and continued on with tidying the café while Eddy continued to cuddle Sebastian. It was almost as if the two were in deep conversation.
“I think it’s going to work. But no magic Sebastian, you have to remain a cat. And I have to make sure he never finds out that I am a real witch.”