The Rose

By Lady Cat

Chapter One

It was storming outside. The thunder so loud it shook the whole house. Inside, in a back bedroom, a woman was groaning, sweat pouring from her. There had been no time to get a doctor, so a mid-wife was brought there. The woman had been given a potion by the mid-wife to help ease the pain and help with the delivery. It helped somewhat, but the mid-wife could tell something was wrong. Upon examining the woman, she found the baby was turned to a breach position. Giving her another drink of the potion, the mid-wife put her hand up the birth canal and turned the baby around. After another few minutes, she told the woman to bear down and push. Soon the head came out, then the rest of the body. After cutting the cord and cleaning the crying baby, the mid-wife gave the baby girl to a very exhausted mother.

While the mid-wife had been cleaning the baby, she noticed a mark on the inside right thigh of the baby. It was in the shape of a rose. In all her years of delivering babies, she had never seen anyone born with a mark like that. As soon as she could, she was going to look up the meaning of the mark.

The mid-wife stayed there all night. She had made the father stay in the other room. It was a quirk of hers to do so. The next morning, as the baby was waking up, the mid-wife looked at the little girl. She was perfect in every form, her hair jet black and curly, which wasn't uncommon as she had her father's hair. But when the baby opened her eyes, they were not the normal blue that newborns often have. They were a golden yellow color and seemed to glow with a light of their own. The mid-wife knew this would be no ordinary baby.

The mother woke up, still weak, but feeling better. She looked over at her daughter and smiled. There was a knock on the door. The mid-wife said it was okay for the father to come in. After kissing his wife, he got his first look at his newborn daughter. He thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.

"Cynthia, you have given me the most beautiful baby a father could ever ask for. I have a name for her already - Storm. What do you think?" She looked at her husband and nodded. It would indeed be an appropriate name for her as she was born during the middle of a storm.

Cynthia and her husband, Damien, owned a bookstore in the town. The town was not very large, but they always managed to have enough business to keep them going as often tourists would come through and buy a book or two at their store. Of course, that was not all that was in the bookstore.

In the very back, where no customer went, were shelves that were lined with jars and boxes of all shapes and sizes, filled with incense, flower petals, crystals, candles, spices, herbs and other items which were used by a very select group of people. Cynthia and Damien were the local high priest and priestess of this group. They called themselves the coven of the White Witch.

Chapter Two

For the first two years of her life, Storm was doted on. She would usually get whatever she asked for, yet, Storm did not act spoiled. It was when she had turned two that she gained a sister. This one took after her mother, with hair the color of ripened wheat and eyes as blue as the ocean itself. She was named Joy. Storm didn't know what to make of the newcomer at first, but it wasn't long before Storm would help her mother. When she turned four, another girl was born, hair the color of fall leaves on the maple - a beautiful auburn with striking brown eyes. She was named Felicia. By now Storm thought she was already grown, her mother praising her for being such a big help with her younger sisters.

The mid-wife had been searching through her books at home, trying to find the meaning of the rose mark on Storm. She knew Storm would be no ordinary girl as the other two did not have the mark.

One of Storm's characteristics was noticed by her father. Whenever a change in the weather would occur, such as a thunderstorm, she did not become afraid as her younger sisters did. Storm relished it, her eyes glowing with anticipation. She would often go to the window, wanting to be out in the middle of it. Whenever lightning would flash, her eyes would glow, especially when the lights would go out.

One day the mid-wife came by. She told the parents that Storm may be the prophecy come true. Now the parents had known of a prophecy that one day there would come one that would lead the coven, whose power would be that of the elements. The mid-wife told them that three centuries ago, on a night such as when Storm was born, the coven had met in the glade not too far from the town. It seemed that one of the members had turned to the dark side, using her gifts to worship Satan, doing animal sacrifices and plotting to rid the coven of the High Priestess and take over the coven.

The High Priestess got wind of the plot and called a meeting of the entire coven. Ergesh (her coven name) or Julianna, was made to stand in the circle. The High Priestess told the coven of her plot and presented the evidence. She was reluctantly asked was this accusation true. She looked at them with disdain and said yes it was true. She accused the coven of being wishy-washy, that people were afraid of them and that the coven should use that to their advantage. She also knew that if she had been successful and had gotten rid of the High Priestess, her power would have doubled. The Council had no choice but to banish her to a nether world, where she was to remain for all eternity. She looked at them with anger in her eyes and vowed that one day she would be set free and would get her revenge on them and their descendants. A seal was placed at the entrance that would keep her from leaving. The seal could be broken only by someone opening that same seal with a key made of silver.

The mid-wife said that if that seal was ever broken, Ergesh would be very hard to stop as her power would have built up over the centuries. The only one that could possibly deal with her would be someone that possessed the powers of the elements.

Chapter Three

Storm was now 16 and so far had not shown an interest in learning the ways of the White Witch. Whereas, Joy and Felicia, now 14 and 12, were totally engrossed to the point they were now attending meetings and were able to do minor spells and potions.

Her father asked Storm why wasn't she interested in learning as her sisters did. Like any normal teenager, she felt it was old hat and outdated, not "cool" as she often told them. Try as they might, they could not get her to learn. Soon they gave up, hoping that one day she would change her mind.

Four years passed. Joy and Felicia were dating. Storm would often find herself at home. It was rare that a young man would ever call to ask her out. Storm would see her sisters go out on dates and would often look at herself in the mirror, wondering what was wrong with her. Her mother would hear her crying in her room.

"Why don't I ever have any dates? Am I that ugly?"

Her mother would hold her and tell her she wasn't ugly. In truth she wasn't. Her jet black hair framed an oval face, setting off her golden eyes, which were framed by long lashes. She was slightly plump, but not overly so. Her body having a nice shape. Joy and Felicia, on the other hand, were svelte and thus they were noticed first.

Storm put herself into learning the business. It was a good thing she did. It was just after Storm's 22nd birthday that their parents were killed in a freak car accident. The car was totaled, but there were no marks on them.

After about 10 years, Storm thought it would be a smart move to put in a small coffee shop. It would be a nice place to go and have a cup of espresso and read in relative quiet. While Storm ran the bookstore, Joy and Felicia would run the coffee shop. Storm had thought at one time about getting rid of the shelves in the back, but her sisters persuaded her to keep them.

The mid-wife was now getting very old. It was a rare occasion when the girls would see her come in the store. One day she made one of her rare visits. She told Storm she wanted to talk to her. Storm asked Felicia to watch the bookstore while they went to the back to talk. When they were seated the woman asked Storm if her parents had told her anything about her birth. Storm said no they hadn't and asked why. The woman said that when she was born, she had a mark on her right inner thigh in the shape of a perfect rose. Storm had noticed the mark but never paid any attention to it. The woman went on to explain the meaning of the mark. Storm was confused. She couldn't believe that she would be the chosen one, not having shown an interest whatsoever. The woman said she should take it seriously and be prepared. She also told Storm of her dream of Ergesh being set loose and that it would take everything Storm had to stop her. The old woman also told her of another dream she had. That Storm would meet her soulmate, one who would be as she, and that her sisters would also meet their soulmates.

Storm looked at the old woman as if she was crazy. Storm told her that no one wanted her as she was ugly. The old woman just smiled. "You are not ugly. You are far more beautiful than you know. You are being kept apart from the others in preparation for your soulmate." Storm still did not believe the old woman. The woman said to remember her words, that all would come true in time.

Chapter Four

Luke Bronson was needing to get away from life. It had been one disappointment after another as far as his personal life went. At the age of 38, he owned a string of successful tattoo parlors which were located all along the east coast and soon to expand to the midwest and beyond. He himself had tattoos on both arms and recently had one done on his right thigh.

He had broken up not too long ago. She had tolerated his tattoos only because of the money he had. His two business associates had often wondered what he had seen in her. When he had the last tattoo done, she had told him it was all she could stand. She had told him that quite frankly they were ugly and did nothing for him.

Luke was a man that would have stood out anywhere. He was very tall and well muscled, with long red hair which he wore in a ponytail, a red mustasche and beard, which he kept trimmed, and a blue bandana, which emphasized the green in his eyes. He didn't look like the typical business man, preferring to dress in denims. He had a laid back manner, never one to be in a hurry. He had one hobby she disliked as much as the tattoos - motorbikes - claiming they were too noisy. He thought now would be a good time to get away from things for a while. His two associates, Zach Taylor and Bo Adams, asked if they could travel along with him. After making sure that the business would be taken care of, they set out on their bikes in the early morning. Luke was loving the feel of the wind on his face as he rode down the highway. He thought to himself he was going to have to do this a little more often.

They had been on the road about a month, stopping just long enough to fuel, eat a meal or freshen up. It was late summer, the weather still a bit warm. They had stopped at a rest area to check their map, wondering where to go next. They decided to take the first turn they came to. About 3 miles down the turnpike, they saw a sign that said 6 miles to Shasta Lake. On the way there they stopped in town in front of the bookstore to ask about a grocery store. It seems the lake had cabins so they decided to spend a few days there.

Felicia saw them enter the coffee shop. The first thing she noticed about them was how tall they were. Of course, everyone was tall next to her. Then she noticed their looks. "Where did these guys come from?" she asked herself. They had a look on their face as if they were lost. "Excuse me, can I help you?"

Bo turned around and smiled. Felicia couldn't help but notice that he had the sexiest blue eyes she had ever seen and long wavy blond hair. "We were wondering where the nearest grocery store was."

Felicia gave them directions as he told her they were going to the lake to spend a few days. She asked them would they like to rest a spell and have a cup of espresso? They all thought that was a good idea. Felicia seated them. Joy came over and asked them what they wanted. Zach ordered a cappuccino while Luke and Bo ordered espresso. Zach smiled at Joy, who couldn't help but smile back at him. Zach was also tall, with light brown hair and hazel eyes.

It was near closing time for the bookstore, so Felicia made sure everything was put away for the day. The coffee shop usually stayed open for a couple of hours after. She joined them just as Joy was serving them their orders. Joy had asked, out of curiosity, how long they were intending to stay. Luke replied perhaps for a few days, to stretch their legs and rest as they had been riding for the past month.

Storm came into the shop as she had taken care of some business at the bank. She saw the bikes parked out front and wondered who they belonged to. She saw her sisters talking to who she surmised were the owners of the bikes. She could see they were having a good time talking, but that was how it always was.

Chapter Five

As she neared the table, Storm could hear Felicia tell them that they and their sister ran the bookstore and coffee shop. Storm came up asked who they were. It hadn't occurred to Joy to find out. "Where are my manners? My name is Joy, this is Felicia, and this is Storm."

"This is Bo, I'm Zach, and this is Luke."

As Luke shook Storm's hand, he couldn't help but stare. He was thinking what an unusual name. He couldn't help but notice her unusual eye color. Never had he seen eyes like that, as if they glowed from some unknown source. Her jet black hair only made them stand out more. It was sometime before he let go of her hand.

Storm wanted to go somewhere to hide. No one had ever looked at her before like that and it was making her feel uncomfortable. She excused herself and went to the back of the store, thinking the less she was there, the better it would be. Luke couldn't help but wonder why she left so quickly. It was as if she was ashamed to be there.

They stayed another few minutes. When some customers came in, the girls excused themselves. When Luke went to pay, Joy told him don't worry about it. She noticed though that he looked to the back, like he was expecting someone to come back out.

After the shop closed, the girls cleaned up and prepared for the next day. Storm had stayed in the back. When Joy and Felicia joined her, they were talking about the strangers.

"They seem like nice guys."

"Yeah, and so tall."

"Well, everyone is so tall compared to you," Joy said with a smile. Storm didn't say anything. She was thinking about the way the red-haired one, Luke, had looked at her. She was also thinking back to what the old woman had said to her. She said to herself, "no way."

The guys checked into their cabin. It was a three-bedroom cabin, with a standard kitchen-dining room, living room with fireplace, and 2 bathrooms, with a small porch facing the lake. After unpacking and putting away the groceries, they sat on the porch to watch the sunset. It had been a long day on the bikes and it felt good to stretch their long legs. Conversation was slow, each wanting to relax and enjoy the view.

Luke couldn't help but notice the color of the sunset. It was the same as Storm's eye color. Funny he should remember her name, having only just met her.

"I'm getting hungry," Bo said. "Who wants to cook?"

"I'll cook us something," Luke volunteered.

"Well, whatever you cook, try not to put too much of a burn on it," Bo said with a laugh while ducking a playful fist from Luke.

Chapter Six

Storm was having trouble sleeping. She had tried everything she could think of. Nothing seemed to help. She got up and walked to her sisters' rooms. They both were sleeping very peacefully. Then she felt something on her arm. It felt like fingers closing around it, leading her through the house to the kitchen to a hidden door. The door opened and Storm found herself in a small room. On the shelves were numerous jars of incense, herbs, flower petals, candles, and what looked like shiny stones (They actually were different colored crystals). Looking around she saw a table in the corner that had what looked like a well-worn ledger on it. The ledger opened on its own, revealing what she knew was her mother's handwriting.

She began reading the ledger, the pages turning on their own. The contents, as she could figure, were notes on spells and potions. Beside each one were written instructions on what they were to be used for and when to do them. As she read along, she found it hard in some places to read as they looked to be worn and used quite often. When the last page had turned, there was a folded piece of paper with her name on it. As best as she could tell, the handwriting looked as if it were just written. Storm picked up the note and read it.

"Storm - we brought you to this room in the hope that you have changed your mind. The ledger contains everything you need on how to use the items in this room. Your father and I will always be proud of you no matter what you do. Do not doubt the old woman's words. She knows more than you know. Turn to page 15 of the ledger, there you will find the recipe to help you sleep. We love you, Your loving parents"

Storm read the note again. She thought to herself, "Well, now is the time to start." For most of the night she slowly read the ledger through, sometimes having difficulty making out the faded print on some of the pages. At about 4 in the morning, she began to feel a stiffness in her neck. She turned to page 15 and found the recipe to sleep. She read it through and began looking for the ingredients, measuring them into a bowl:

"Let's see, 2 tsp. of lemon balm; 1 tsp dried chamomile; 4 tsp. dried lemon grass; 1 tsp dried spearmint, and 1 tsp grated orange peel." After she mixed them she went to the kitchen and brought the tea kettle to a boil and put 2 tsp. in a cup and poured the water over it. She slowly drunk the tea . The next thing she knew, Joy was shaking her. "Wake up, Storm! It's time to go open the shop!"

Storm woke up and looked at the time. She didn't remember going back to bed. But she felt better, more refreshed and ready to face the day.

"You and Felicia go on and open up. I'll be there as soon as I can."

Joy and Felicia took the car into town. Storm didn't mind walking. It would give her a chance to think more on what the old woman had said and what was written in the note. After taking a quick wash up and dressing rather quickly, she was out the door.

Luke woke up to the smell of coffee and bacon cooking. Stretching his long well-muscled body, he went in and took a shower. He kept thinking about yesterday at the coffee shop. He had never in all his life met anyone like her. She had run from him as if she were afraid of him. He shook his head as he put his hair back from his face and put a blue bandana around his head. He put on black jeans and shirt, socks and biker boots. Seems he might take a ride into town. It had been a while since he had read a good book.

Bo and Zach were already eating when Luke sat down. Bo had been talking about possibly riding around the countryside, checking out different areas around the lake. Zach was thinking more along the lines of possibly heading into town and checking out a couple of places there. Bo made the remark that maybe it was a certain bookstore in town. Zach just looked at him and smiled. Bo thought, "Come to think of it, that's not such a bad idea." A vision of long auburn hair and big brown eyes coming into mind. After clearing the dishes, they left for town.

Chapter Seven

Storm was walking along the side of the road towards town. The day was perfect, sunny and not too warm. She was lost in thought and did not hear the Harleys behind her.

They saw someone walking ahead. As they got closer, Luke recognized the long jet black hair. They slowed down and were soon beside her. Storm turned her head and soon was falling headlong onto the ground, having twisted her foot on a stone. They stopped immediately. Luke quickly got off his bike to help her up.

"I'm sorry. Are you okay?" he asked.

"A little shaken, but otherwise I feel alright," she replied.

"How's your foot?"

Storm tested her foot. It was okay. As she began brushing the dust from her pants, she noticed a rather long cut on the palm of her hand. "Funny," she thought to herself, "why didn't I feel it?"

"It seems I cut myself on a stone when I fell," she said.

Luke got a small kerchief from his saddlebag and dabbed at the cut, then wrapped it around her hand. Storm looked at the ground.

"Thank you. I'll take care of it when I get to the store."

"You know it is rather dangerous to be walking out here. You see what happened."

"I've done this before and never had any problems."

Bo and Zach were sitting there looking at the two of them and smiled, watching the attention he was giving her. Bo interrupted to say they were going on seeing that "everything" was okay. They sped off to town, leaving the two of them there.

"Why don't you ride with me into town. The sooner we get it taken care of the better."

"Really, it's okay. I'll be fine."

Luke wasn't about to have any of it. "I'm taking you into town. End of discussion," he said a little more forcefully than he wanted.

Storm didn't say another word. Luke got on his bike. Storm got on behind. Luke told her to wrap her arms as best she could around his waist. He slowly took off and took his time going to town. When they got to the bookstore, Storm got off slowly and walked into the store, Luke right behind.

Joy was behind the counter and saw them come in. Zach had told her what happened. "There's a small medicine cabinet in the back," she said with a smile.

Storm showed him where it was. Luke wet a towel and began washing the cut.

"It really isn't necessary for you to do this," she said, her eyes looking down, not used to the attention being given her.

"Yes it is," he said as he took a cotton swab and put some iodine on it. "This might sting a bit, but it won't last long." He dabbed a some on the cut. Storm winced a little, but soon the sting was gone. Luke took a roll of gauze and wrapped the palm of her hand and then tied it. It felt a little stiff but he had wrapped it good so that dirt would not get in. "That should do for a couple of days."

"Thank you."

They walked out of the back. As the store was not too busy, Joy said to go ahead and grab a cup of coffee. Felicia was behind the counter serving another cup to Bo and Zach. Luke and Storm sat at one of the tables. Bo had told Felicia what had happened. Felicia brought each of them a cup of espresso.

Storm picked up the cup with her other hand but almost dropped it as she was shaking. Luke caught the cup and helped her take a small sip. Storm was embarrassed. "I should get to work. After all, Joy's been running the store and probably needs a break."

Just then the old woman came in. She saw Storm sitting at the table. She also noticed Luke sitting there.

"Good morning, granny. How are you today?"

"I'm fine child. What happened to your hand?"

Storm told her what happened. The old woman told her that she really shouldn't have been walking along the road. There was no telling what could have happened. Storm introduced Luke to her. The old woman had been looking Luke over. "Yes," she said to herself, "this is definitely the one."

Storm excused herself and went into the bookstore to relieve Joy, who promptly came into the shop and sat next to Zach.

"I hope you don't mind a nosy old woman, but how long have you been here?"

"My friends and I got here yesterday. We're staying at a cabin at the lake. I heard her call you granny."

"I'm not their real granny. I was a mid-wife at one time and helped deliver all three of them. They're kind of special to me. I like coming here and they treat me as if I was their real granny."

She got up and excused herself. She took her usual cup of coffee with her and left, smiling as she went out the door.

Chapter Eight

Joy got her a cappuccino and sat next to Zach. She liked the smell of his cologne and inched closer to him. Zach was liking the light scent of lilac that Joy wore. She went to reach for a napkin, her hand lightly brushing against his fingers. She felt a spark jump. He looked at her. Joy looked down and blushed.

Bo was looking into Felicia's eyes. He thought they looked like a doe's eyes, big with long lashes. Felicia had to admit that Bo had the sexiest blue eyes she had ever seen. The two couples were looking at each other, the girls not really noticing the customers coming into the shop. One of the customers cleared his throat. The girls went to wait on them. Bo and Zach weren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Luke had gone back to the store to see how Storm was. She was busy ringing up a customer. She did have some trouble handling a book as it was pretty good size and the bandage making her hand rather stiff. She saw the book being taken out of her hand and put into the bag. She turned and saw Luke beside her. Storm closed the bookstore at noon and asked the girls what they wanted for lunch. It was a habit of hers to get lunch for her and her sisters. Felicia felt like a sandwich. Joy said she felt like a salad. Bo and Zach offered to get lunch. Luke asked Storm what she wanted. She didn't really feel hungry, but Luke said he would bring her something back. She told him of a small restaurant down the block where she would always go. Twenty minutes later they were back. The girls set up and soon everyone was eating.

The old woman was in her chair, eyes closed, concentrating her energy. She could see the relationships developing. Then she saw something that made her shake. She awoke with a start. It had been the same dream she had for years. Trouble was coming and was going to test them all to the limit.

Joy opened the store back up a little after one. The guys said they were going to ride back to the cabin and be back later to take them to dinner. The afternoon went fast and soon it was time to close. The girls freshened up in the back of the store. At seven the guys came back. The girls suggested a place not too far from there. It was a steakhouse that served a good New York strip.

The girls drove their car home, the guys following, all agreeing to take the bikes instead of the car. On their way to the restaurant, Storm again felt the wind through her hair. As she hung on, she closed her eyes, letting it wash over her. The couples enjoyed themselves. There was a dance floor and live music. Storm was especially enjoying herself. She looked up at Luke and smiled as they were dancing. Luke saw her eyes glow with that inner light that he had yet to figure out where it came from. They left just before the restaurant closed.

When they got to the house, the girls invited them in for a nightcap. Storm went out on the porch. A light breeze was blowing. She could tell a change was coming. Luke stood next to her, her face glowing in the dark as her eyes were closed. "What are you thinking about?" he asked.

"Nothing in particular. There's a change in weather coming. It should be here in a couple of days."

Luke looked at her puzzled. "How do you know?"

"I just do," she replied.

The two couples inside were dancing very close to music that was playing on the radio. Bo looked down at Felicia, her eyes closed as she was listening to the music, her lashes looking like fluttering butterfly wings. He tilted her chin and put his lips to hers, putting his arms around her, holding her like a precious jewel. Joy and Zach had their arms around each other, looking in each other's eyes. Zach tried to hold back, not wanting to give in. Then Zach bent his head, his lips touching hers. They kept on dancing.

Luke was still looking at Storm, her eyes closed. She felt her body being turned. When she opened them, she saw green eyes in front of her coming closer. Then a pair of warm lips were on hers. A pair of strong arms enveloped her, holding her close to his body. Slowly she wound her arms around his neck. A soft moan escaped her. Luke pulled her tighter against him, his tongue now winding around hers.

Chapter Nine

The girls opened up the shop as usual, except this morning seemed different. Everything seemed a lot clearer than it had before. Joy and Felicia were talking about their dates inbetween customers. "Whew, I don't know if I can handle Bo. He's definitely not of the ordinary. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see was long blond wavy hair and sexy blue eyes. He's got me hot and I've only known him a couple of days."

"It's the same with Zach. Those hazel eyes of his make my knees weak every time I think about them. And can he kiss! Whew! Seriously, Felicia, what do you think they would say if they knew we were witches. That could scare them off."

"You're right it could. You know how people perceive witches - hook nose, all bent over, putting curses on people. They could be the same way. They may even think we did a witch spell on them." The girls went back to waiting on the customers, their day just a little less brighter now than it was.

Storm was busy checking in the new books she had ordered. After pricing them she began putting them on the shelves. Her hand was still a little sore but she was able to move it a bit. Like her sisters, she too was thinking about last night. She hadn't had much experience, but she could tell Luke was well traveled. She thought back to the kiss they shared. Even now it made her warm and tingly all over. She had wanted to mention to him the tattoos on his arms. She was curious as to what they meant. Storm didn't know much about tattoos, but she could tell a lot of work and time had gone into them. Perhaps she would get a chance to find out. She also wondered what would he say if he knew that she was a witch. Would he have the same misconceptions that most people had?

The guys had finished eating breakfast at the cabin. Usually they would joke about something, but this morning they ate in relative silence. Each of them still had last night on their minds.

"I think I'm going to stay a while longer," Luke said, breaking the silence. "You can go on back if you want."

"What makes you think we're leaving?" Zach asked with raised brows. "Bo and I are just as hooked on Felicia and Joy as you are with Storm." Luke knew Zach was right. He was very much hooked on Storm. Luke could tell she was inexperienced but was a quick learner. It had taken everything he had not to take her to a dark spot and make love to her. The thought was sending a warm feeling through his body.

"I'm going for a ride," Luke said as he headed out the door. Bo and Zach were right behind him. A good bike ride with the wind blowing on their faces was just what they needed. They took off and went down a narrow trail they had spotted when they first got there.

They stopped at a glade near a stand of oak trees. They started to climb the small hill when Zach spotted something. Looking down at the glade, they saw something that puzzled them. They were looking at the outline of a circle that appeared to have been there for quite sometime.

"I wonder how long its been there and who or what put it there?" Bo asked.

"There's no telling how long its been there. Now who put it there would be something worth finding out," Zach said.

Luke was looking at the scenery. He could see the town a short distance away. The trees showing a faint beginning of changing color. It was very picturesque. The perfect spot to bring the girls.

"Why don't we bring the girls up here for an outing? I think they would enjoy it," Luke said.

Bo and Zach agreed. They stayed there for about an hour, enjoying the view and fresh air. It was towards noon time when they headed back to the cabin to grab some lunch and make plans.

The girls closed the store and coffee shop early. They headed home as they were somewhat tired. After cleaning up and eating a light supper, Joy and Felicia each relaxed with a book. Storm was in the little room off the kitchen going through the ledger. She had decided to heed the old woman's advice. There were places in the ledger Storm did not understand. Storm was going to have to ask the old woman what they meant.

The next morning she told Joy and Felicia she was going to see the old woman. The old woman seemed to know she was coming because she was at the door waiting for her.

Chapter Ten

"I was wondering when you were going to come. I take it you're ready to begin your training?"

Storm nodded her head.

"Good. I'm not going to try and teach you everything at once. I will teach you what you need to know."

Storm had brought the ledger with her. The first thing she told Storm was that what she had read from was called a "grimoire." She explained it was a book of rituals generally written by the individual based on traditions that have been handed down for generations. The spells/potions were those her mother had used often. The old woman emphasized more than once that at no time were these spells used to harm another individual, for to do so was to bring harm upon yourself. The old woman went through each spell and potion. It was late in the afternoon when they had finished going through the grimoire. She said that they would begin practice on the potions and spells in the next few of days. She wanted Storm to have a while to think about what the book contained.

Storm went home, her mind in a whirl about what she had learned. There was so much to learn and so little time. When she arrived she saw the bikes parked in front of the house.

The guys had come by early that afternoon to ask the girls did they want to go on a picnic as they had found a spot not far from the lake. Luke had been disappointed she wasn't there. The girls had told him where she had gone. When she entered, Luke stood up, glad to see her at last.

Luke looked at her hand, seeing the bandage needed changing. Storm took him to the bathroom and opened the medicine chest. He looked at the cut. It was beginning to heal nicely. He put on a fresh bandage. "I had some things I had needed to talk to granny about. You know how it is when older people get to talking, they don't seem to know when to quit," Storm said with a smile.

"Storm, the guys want to take us on a picnic tomorrow."

"Well, I don't see why not. The shop is closed on Saturday. Is there anything we need to do or bring?"

"No, we'll provide everything. Just bring yourself," Luke said. "We'll pick you up about 10 o'clock. Is that okay?"

"It's fine with me. I'll be ready."

Joy and Felicia each agreed.

Chapter Eleven

The guys left to get everything they would need. There was a lot to do. The girls were excited. To have a day away from the house would feel great. Joy and Felicia were busy picking out what to wear. Storm was still thinking about what she had learned. She hoped she would be able to learn them right.

The next morning, Joy and Felicia were up early. Storm was the last to get ready. She was nervous and couldn't decide what to wear. Felicia said she would pick out something for her while she showered.

Storm took her time showering. She had found a bottle of what looked like shampoo in the back room. It smelled of roses, her favorite scent. She washed her hair, making sure the rose-scented shampoo got to every strand. After drying herself, she massaged lotion all over her. It was what her mother had used on her own skin; Storm remembering how soft her mother's skin always felt.

She took particular care in brushing her hair. Storm thought about wearing it in a ponytail but decided to leave her hair as it was. Felicia had picked out a peasant blouse that was worn off the shoulder, jeans, and black sandals. She put on just enough makeup to highlight her eyes.

The guys were right on time. Joy and Felicia lit up when they saw Zach and Bo. They guys had left their hair loose, which made them look sexy. Storm couldn't believe how different Luke looked with his hair loose.

The guys were all smiles when they saw the girls. Joy and Felicia had decided to wear tank tops, jeans and sandals. Luke saw how Storm's hair seemed to shine when she stood in the sun. When she got on and put her arms around him, he could smell the faint scent of rose. This was going to be a special day.

It wasn't long before they reached the spot. They had decided to set up as soon as they got there. They took their time, none of them in a hurry. The girls packed up the leftovers when they had finished.

Storm was enjoying the view from the hill. She never knew how beautiful the valley was until today. As she stood there, she felt a hand close around hers. "I never knew it was this beautiful," she said.

Luke's arm went around her waist, drawing her close to him. They were alone as the others had decided to go for a short walk. Along the way, Zach showed Joy the circle in the glade, asking her if she knew how it got there. Joy at first didn't know whether she should tell him or not, but decided to go ahead.

"The glade was a meeting place. The circle is part of a ritual used by a group of witches or coven."

"Witches!? Let's get away from here!"

Joy knew she was going to have a hard time telling him she was one of those "witches." But she wasn't going to let that spoil her good time.

Felicia and Bo were near some acorn trees, his arm around her. Bo was telling her about some things he had seen while traveling on his bike. Felicia laughed the whole time.

Towards late afternoon, a cool breeze came up. Storm knew rain was coming and shivered in anticipation of the approaching storm. Luke had felt her shiver and thought she was getting chilly.

"Maybe we had better leave. You're starting to shiver."

Storm didn't tell him that it was not that she was chilly, but that she was waiting on the approaching storm. By that time the other couples had returned. They loaded up the bikes and left for the cabin. They took the food in and then covered their bikes, setting them up on the porch. Luke started a fire; soon it was blazing.

"Are you sure your bikes will be okay?" Storm asked.

"They're covered up good, they'll be okay."

Chapter Twelve

The girls set out the leftovers in case someone was hungry. Bo and Zach ate as if they had bottomless pits. Bo and Felicia could not stop looking at each other as the guys ate.

Zach had just finished eating. Joy couldn't take her eyes of him; just watching him eat was exciting to her. She wondered if she would have to make the first move. Zach had told her earlier about his wife and how she had died in a car accident. She knew he might be hesitant, but she felt he was attracted to her, and she knew she wanted him.

After they had finished eating, they went and sat on the sofa which was on one side of the fireplace. Joy sat very close to him, resting her hand on his thigh. Zach cautiously draped his arm around her. It had been a long time for him and he was missing the touch of a woman. The feel of her hand on his thigh was stirring his desires. The sound of rain coming down interrupted his thoughts. Zach could feel her shake ever so slightly. He didn't know Joy had a fear of storms, which was unusual for a witch.

Felicia and Bo had also gone into the living room and sat down on one of the love seats there. They were looking into each others eyes as they sat next to each other. Bo gingerly put his arm around Felicia as she rested her head on his chest. She could hear his heart beating and when she wrapped her arm around him she could feel the intake of his breath.

He did not believe what was happening but he didn't want it to stop. Felicia slowly rubbing her fingers along his rib cage which caused his breathing to become slightly faster. Bo was running his fingers through her hair as he rested his head on the top of hers.

There was a big flash of lightning, followed by a loud clap of thunder which shook the cabin. The lights suddenly went out. Joy visibly jumped and curled her body into a ball as close to Zach as she could. Zach tightened his arm around her saying, "It's okay baby, I'm here."

Felicia dug her head more into Bo's chest upon hearing the thunder. She wasn't afraid of it, but she didn't like the loud sound that the thunder made. She wrapped her arms tighter against Bo as he wrapped his arms around her.

"Lightning must have hit a power line. Looks like the fireplace will be the only light for awhile," Zach said.

Joy started to shake again. He pressed her hand to his chest, then kissed her forehead. She started to relax. She looked up into his beautiful hazel eyes. He kissed her softly on the lips and held her til she stopped. He whispered in her ear, "Please stay with me in my room." Joy nodded. Quietly they slipped to his room.

Felicia was clinging to Bo, who had a protective arm around her. "Are you frightened?" Bo asked. "Not of the lightening, but the sound of thunder does get to me" Felicia replied. Bo kissed her lightly and said "Well, why don't we go to my room where we can stretch out on my bed. This way I can keep you protected from the nasty thunder" as he grabbed her hand and led her to his room.

Luke and Storm had been sitting on the other couch, his arm draped around her. When there had been the flash of lightning, her eyes lit up. Luke could see her eyes glow in the dark. Storm got up and went over to the window, watching the lightning with fascination. Soon a pair of arms encircled her. Storm leaned back against his chest. The whole time he wondered where did the glow come from. Storm turned and faced him. The next flash of lightning saw him bend and kiss her, parting her lips, his tongue finding his way to hers. Luke knew he should wait, but it was too late.

Chapter Thirteen

Once inside the room, Zach pulled Joy into his arms. "It's been so long since I've wanted anyone," he whispered. He leaned down and kissed her. Joy traced his lips with her tongue, enticing him to open his. She entered his mouth, Zach pushing his into hers as they explored and tasted each other. Joy broke the kiss, but not before she gently sucked his tongue.

Joy's hands made their way under his shirt, running them up his back, feeling his muscles ripple at her touch. She moved her hands to his belly, then up his chest. Zach removed his shirt. Then he helped Joy out of hers. Joy leaned in and took his nipple in her mouth. Zach moaned softly. She nipped and sucked till it was hard, then went on to the other. Zach reached around and unhooked her bra and let it slide to the floor. Joy loosened his belt and unbuttoned his jeans, feeling his hardening manhood. She hooked her fingers inside the waistband and pushed them down, running her hands over his firm backside. She then stepped back and removed the rest of her clothing.

Joy gently pushed him till they reached the bed and he sat down as they gazed into each other's eyes. Joy said, "You're a beautiful man, Zach. Let go of the past." He put his arm around her waist and pulled her close. With the other hand he massaged her breast, rubbing his thumb lightly over the sensitive tip, watching as it hardened. He then took it in his warm mouth, the sensation causing Joy to take a quick, deep breath. Running her fingers through his long hair, she pulled him away from him and knelt in front of him. She looked up into his eyes as she ran her hands over his bare, muscular thighs. Just for a moment, she avoided his ever growing desire, her fingertips running through the soft tangle of curls surrounding it.

When she finally wrapped her fingers around his manhood, she took him in her mouth. Zach jumped at the feeling of her warm tongue dancing over the tip of his member. The sensations she caused quickly brought him to the brink.

He grabbed her and pulled her up, wrapping his arms around her. He lay back on the bed, taking her with him. He then rolled over till he was on top of her, their naked bodies pressed together. He gazed into her beautiful blue eyes, then kissed her long and hard. He nuzzled her neck then slowly worked his way down her body, stopping to take each breast in his mouth, sucking till the pink tips were hard and erect. He ran his hand down her belly and found the point of her desire, expertly manipulating her. He inserted two fingers in her as his tongue replaced his hand. Her breathing was ragged. She moaned and called his name softly as she reached her climax. He felt her muscles contract around his fingers. Moving back up to meet her gaze he saw one tear escape from her eye. She watched as he put his still damp fingers to his mouth, tasting her inner being.

He held her till her breathing returned to normal. She grabbed his hair and pulled until his lips met hers. She moved her lips to his ear, "I want to feel you inside me," she whispered. With his eyes locked on hers, he positioned himself between her legs and slowly entered her. His size was incredible. She felt every inch slide in to her. He started thrusting slow at first. As she adjusted to his size he moved faster, Joy meeting each thrust with one of her own.

She felt his body start to shake, his eyes closed. She heard a low growl start in his chest. She felt herself climax for the second time as his body shuddered, releasing his seed deep inside her. He buried his face in the hollow of her neck and moaned softly. Joy wrapped her arms around him till they both calmed.

He rolled off her on to his back. She spoke no words to him, but covered their bodies with a sheet and snuggled up against him. He wrapped an arm around her. She couldn't see he was fighting to control the emotion that welled up inside of him. She fell asleep to the sound of his heartbeat, the storm that raged outside forgotten.

Chapter Fourteen

Bo led Felicia through the darkened house until they reached his room. They entered and Bo led her over to the bed and sat her down on it as he went over to the night table and pulled out a candle and lit it.

He turned to Felicia and walked over to her. He hunkered down in front of her until their faces were just inches apart. Felicia looked at his features in the dim lighting. She especially loved the way his blond hair just fell past his shoulders in a wild look. Bo had his eyes closed as she reached for his hair with her right hand, entangling it in his hair. With her left hand she tilted his face towards hers until she was able to kiss him softly.

Bo felt what she was doing and kept his eyes closed. She teased his lips with her tongue until they parted, giving her access to the warm, moist inside. She ran her tongue over his as their kiss intensified and they became more passionate.

Bo started to straighten up, slowly bringing her up and leaning her back On the bed, with him on top. He had one arm around her as he pulled her towards him and molded her body to his. He wound up with one leg between hers and she could feel as he rubbed his thigh against her intimate part. She moaned softly as he applied more pressure to her with his thigh.

Felicia very slowly let go of his hair and ran her hands very gently down his shoulders and then up his ribcage until she was able to put her hands under his shirt and ran her fingers over his manly chest. She teased him gently with her finger nails until he released her lips and sighed deeply. She took the opportunity to then kiss and suck on his neck as she methodically ran her hands down his body, opening and removing his clothes as she went along.

Once Bo's clothes were open he stood up and removed them. He then laid next to Felicia as he slowly unbottoned her clothes and very gently ran his fingers over her skin, making goose flesh appear where his fingers had just been. He followed his fingers with his lips as he sucked gently on her exposed skin. He finally had her undressed and proceeded to tease her to no end.

As they teased each other they wound up tantalizing each other with their tongues at the same time. When they both felt as if they would explode, Bo pulled her up and positioned her so that he could enter her.

Felicia was on the verge of losing control when Bo entered her and all he heard was her sigh as he embedded himself completely with one slow, but steady stroke. When he was all the way in, he gave her a few minutes to adjust to him and wrapped her legs around his waist.

He then increased his speed, which she matched stroke for stroke. As they reached their earth shattering climax, Bo softly bit into her neck to stop himself from yelling, while she whimpered softly as the both went over.

Bo keep on until he had made them both see the stars and the planets two more times.

Just as they were descending from their high peak for the third time, there was a clap of thunder that made the one they heard earlier in the living room sound mild in comparison. Felicia jumped slightly in Bo's arms. He slipped over onto his side as he pulled her towards him and she hid her head in his chest.

He slowly pulled a sheet over them as they stayed as they were, not worrying about what was going on around them, but enjoying each others warmth and company.