For King and Country – Chapter 18 Excerpt

Senta sighed and opened her eyes.  She had been dreaming a very nice dream.  She and Baxter had been making love on the beach under the warming rays of the sun.  Bryony had been there too, sitting on a blanket nearby, having a picnic.  The sorceress rolled over and saw Willie Watson lying on his back next to her.  His mouth was open, and drool was running down his chin.  He let out a deep snore.  She lifted her leg and kicked him hard in the side.

“Get out!” she yelled.

“What?  What are you going on about?”

“Get out!  Get out of my house!”  She kicked him again, knocking him completely out of bed.  “I don’t want to see you anymore!”

The sorcerer climbed to his feet.

“What’s the matter?”

The sorceress went from the bed to standing beside it in one fluid motion.

“I’m tired of you.  Get out.”

“Fine,” he grumbled, looking around for his clothes.

“Now.”

“I have to get dressed!”

“Now!”

She reached up and plucked an immaterial glamour from around her head and threw it at him.  He blinked out of her presence.  His clothes were still on the chair near the door.

Waving toward the bathroom, she used magic to turn on the spigot to the bathtub.

“He might need these clothes.”

Senta glanced at her daughter, standing in the doorway.

“Nobody needs clothes in the middle of the forest.”

She started toward the bathroom but stopped and looked back at Sen.  Realization hit her like a punch in the face just how much her daughter resembled her when she was thirteen years old.

“By Kafira, you know you are such a beautiful girl.”

“Who are you and where is my mother?” snarked the girl.

“Don’t brass me off.  I’m in such a good mood.”

“You didn’t sound like it when you were yelling at that ratbag.”

“I mean since he left,” explained Senta.  “Come into the bathroom and talk to me while I have a soak.”

The tub was still only half filled, so Senta left the faucet running as she climbed in.  Her daughter followed her into the room, picked up a box of Mrs. Pilfer’s Carbonated Bath Salts, and poured them in under the running water.

“This way I don’t have to stare at your crinkum-crankum the entire time.”

“If you didn’t come to look at my best bits, why are you here?”

“Magic,” said the girl.

“Excellent.  I shall give you your new spell after I get out of the bath.  What else has been going on in your life?”

“My birthday is coming up.”

“I am aware.  Was there something special you wanted?”

“Not really.”

“How is your father?”

“You should know.  Haven’t you been shagging him?”

“What?  No!  Oh, I mean your other father.”

“My dad is fine.  I’m probably going to go to Yessonarah with him.”

“Absolutely not!” said the sorceress, sitting bolt upright and sloshing out some of the water.  “That trip is way too dangerous for him!”

“So, I can go but he can’t?”

“Well, you can take care of yourself,” she said, sliding back down into the warm water.  “What time is it getting to be?”

“It’s past lunch.”

“Do you want to stay for tea?  I have a special guest coming.”

“Bessemer?”

“Yes.  How did you know?”

“I can feel him.”

“Then why don’t you go down and tell Cook to prepare an extra-large tea.”