16 - A Witchy Thing to Do - Minako
Casey Miller lit her red candle and closed her sea green eyes. She pictured herself in the arms of a man, laughing, having fun. She intended the man’s face to be blank, for she didn’t want to focus on a certain person she doesn’t even know. She just imagined being happy in love.
Casey took a deep breath. "O Venus, queen of love," she started chanting. "Smile upon me from above. Bring forth a man that is right for me, and happily in love, let us be." She blew out the candle. Once again, she pictured herself and her faceless prince charming being happy. Being truly in love.
After a while, she gathered up her materials and started cleaning up. She looked at her watch and realized it was pretty late. She still got that exam tomorrow, and she hasn’t even studied. She sighed. She put her materials back into a large box and pulled out a textbook from her backpack.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. "Come in," Casey invited.
The door opened and in came her father, Al. "Hi, honey. I thought I smelled candles in here."
Casey smiled sheepishly. "You did," she informed him.
Al smiled. "Mind telling me what was that all about?"
Casey hesitated. "I don’t know, Dad," she said. "You might kill me if I told you."
Al frowned at her. "Come on now," he said soothingly. "You know I’m not that type."
Casey gave him a small smile. "OK, but brace yourself." She took a deep breath. "Dad, I…"
"You’re…?" Al prompted.
"…performed a love spell," Casey finished, holding her breath.
"A love spell?" Al repeated. "Are you kidding?"
Casey shook her head.
"Casey, I told you and your brothers many times to wait for the right time to do that spell," Al said in an exasperated tone.
"But, Dad, I’m totally desperate," Casey said pleadingly. "I just have to do it."
Al frowned at her. "Casey, what could possibly be the reason you’re so desperate to do the spell? Are your friends outdoing you when it comes to boyfriends?"
Casey shook her head. "Dad, I just feel that it’s the right time for me, OK?" She smiled. "And besides, you did this spell when you were my age, too, right?"
Al sighed heavily. "Yeah, and look where it had gotten me," he said. "In this room, with you."
"Dad!" Casey said, punching him on the arm.
Al laughed and gave his daughter a kiss on the forehead. "Brace yourself, honey," he said. "It would take more than magick to make love work."
"You and Mom made it," Casey said.
"We did," Al agreed, "and we’re still working to make our romance even more beautiful."
"Good luck, sweetie," Al said, kissing Casey once more on the forehead. "It’s gonna be one hell of a ride."
He was sitting on a blanket, surrounded by food. It was then he realized he’s on a picnic. But with whom? He doesn’t see his family around. Is he on this picnic alone? Then he heard the sweetest laughter. He turned his head to see who it was, but all he could see was a girl with a hat, sitting by the pond, whose back was facing him. He stood up and walked toward her.
"Look, Isaac," she was saying gleefully, "I caught a big one." She was fishing.
He approached her and sat down beside her. She looked at him with a warm smile. A smile appeared on his own face. He leaned down and gave her a sweet kiss. "I love you," he whispered in her ear. He had no idea why he said it, but that’s what he was feeling right then.
She wrapped her arms around him. "I love you, too," she said softly. Her eyes told him she does.
He closed his eyes. She pulled away from him, but he still didn’t open his eyes. He was trying to absorb the moment. He couldn’t remember how long it has been since he felt so happy. He opened his eyes and she was gone. He felt something in his hand. He opened his palm and stared at a piece of paper. It has seven numbers.
Isaac Hanson opened his eyes and found himself staring at the ceiling. It was a dream, he realized. Strange, he still felt the wonderful sensation he tasted while he was kissing the girl in the dream. He could still smell the aroma of their foods; he could still feel the cold water splashing on his feet; and he could still hear the sweetest laughter he ever heard his entire life. He just wanted to kick himself when he realized he couldn’t recall the face of the girl. "Damn!" he grumbled to himself.
Isaac looked at the wall clock. It’s six-thirty in the morning. He got up from his top bunk and jumped off it. He tiptoed to the bathroom and closed the door behind him. He took a shower and searched his mind for the face of the girl… of his dream. As he dried himself off a towel, he remembered the last part of his dream—a piece of paper with seven numbers on it. That must be the girl’s phone number. He quickly wrapped himself with the towel and hurried to his bedroom. He turned on his desk light and grabbed a Post-It note. He remembered the number. Three, six, nine, he thought with a smile as he scribbled down, nine, four… nine, four… "Damn!" he said loudly. He forgot the last two numbers.
There was a couple of tired moaning from his brothers. "Isaac, what the hell are you doing?" Taylor, the brother born next to Isaac, said sleepily.
"Yeah, Ike," Zac, the third brother, groaned. "If you can’t sleep, bother someone else."
Isaac sighed and dressed himself. He went to the patio with the Post-It note at hand. He decided to watch the sunrise as he tried to recall the last two numbers of the supposed phone number.
"Hey, Casey, did you hear?" Odessa Gilbert asked at lunch.
Casey opened her soda. "Hear what?"
"Hanson’s in town," Odessa said.
Casey rolled her eyes. "Odessa, of course they’re in town. They live, what, just twenty miles away from us?"
Odessa frowned. "You know, you could at least be happy for me," she said icily. "I mean, I totally dig them, and, I’m glad that they’re finally home, but you just have to ruin it for me, don’t you?"
Casey smiled apologetically. "I’m sorry," she said. "OK, I’ll pretend to be interested that they’re back home. Are they going to perform around here?"
Odessa shrugged. "I’m really not sure." She bit into her apple. "Don’t you like Hanson?"
Casey nodded her head. "I do," she said. "But I don’t totally… you know…"
Odessa nodded understandingly. "I know. So, if ever they’re gonna do a concert around here, will you join me?"
Casey smiled. "As long as I won’t pay for the tickets."
Odessa grinned. "Good, because I already bought them! And I got backstage tickets, too."
Casey was shocked. "You’re kidding!" she exclaimed. "Oh, you sneak! You told me they’re not gonna do a concert."
"Well, that’s because I wasn’t sure of your reaction," Odessa said.
Casey smiled. "Well, I guess I’m obliged to go."
Odessa laughed. "Thanks. It will be this Saturday, so don’t make plans, OK?"
Casey rolled her eyes. "I won’t."
"Ike, honey, are you OK?" Diana asked worriedly before her sons’ concert.
Isaac nodded. "Yeah, why do you ask?"
"Well, you’ve been listless for the past few days," Diana explained. "Are you sure you’re feeling fine?"
"Yeah, don’t worry about me," Isaac assured her.
Diana sighed and walked away.
Isaac put his hand in his pocket and felt the crumpled Post-It note with the mysterious phone number. It’s been four days. He still doesn’t remember the last two numbers. And worse, he never had the dream again.
"Come on, Ike," Taylor called. "We’re on in five minutes."
Isaac nodded. "I’ll just get my guitar in the dressing room." He headed to the dressing room and got his guitar. He went out and hurried to join his brothers. He turned around the corner and bumped into a couple of fans.
"Oh, my God!" one squealed. "It’s Isaac Hanson!"
Isaac forced a grin. He wasn’t in the mood to get squealed at that moment. "Hi," he said politely.
"Calm down," the other one hissed.
Isaac looked at her. She looked vaguely familiar.
She smiled. "Sorry. She’s really like this."
"It’s OK," Isaac said. What is so familiar about this girl?
The ecstatic one was hyperventilating. "Oh, my God," she said.
Isaac laughed. "Take it easy," he told her.
The calm one smiled. "Hear that, Odie? He told you to calm down. Isaac Hanson told you to take it easy!"
The hyper one took deep breaths. "OK, OK, I’m calm." She grinned at Isaac and offered her hand. "I’m Odessa Gilbert."
Isaac shook it. "Nice to meet you."
The calm one offered her hand, too. "I’m Casey Miller."
Isaac grinned at her. "Nice to meet you." He paused. "Uh, sorry, but I gotta go. I’ll see you later?"
Casey Miller nodded. "We’ll be here."
Isaac smiled and walked away. Who is that girl? he asked himself.
"OK, OK, thank you guys," Zac said with a grin as he signed the last autograph book.
The Scream Squad, as he would call them, gave him and his brothers what they do best, scream.
The trio covered their ears and laughed.
The guards went and led the group of fans out.
Isaac sighed. He didn’t see the girl anywhere. She must have left already.
"What’s wrong?" Taylor asked.
"Well, I met this girl," Isaac revealed.
"Uh-oh, a new ‘I-met-this-girl’ chapter," Zac said jokingly.
Isaac scowled at them. He went to the bathroom. He knew better than to tell them. Sure, he had lots of stories starting with the I-met-this-girl line, but this story is completely different. He sat down on the counter and tried to recall where he’s seen the girl.
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door. "Ike, I need the bathroom." It was Zac.
"He’s probably sleeping in there," Isaac heard Taylor joke.
Zac laughed. He knocked on the door again. "Ike, don’t forget to tell us your dreams!"
Dreams! That’s it! Isaac remembered now. She was the girl in that dream! What was the girl’s name again? Aha! Casey Miller. He jumped off the counter and unlocked the door. He went to find the phone book.
"Who are you looking for?" Zac asked before closing the bathroom door.
Isaac smirked at him. "This girl I met," he said, running his finger through numerous Millers.
Casey focused on the water. She cast a spell that will enable her to receive psychic abilities.
"Casey! Telephone!" her brother, Joshua yelled from downstairs.
Casey jumped at the sound of her brother’s voice. She was so startled that she kicked the bowl of water. She went down, stomping hard on the stairs. "Thanks a lot, moron!" she said angrily.
Joshua seethed. "Watch it, shrimp!" he warned.
Casey narrowed her eyes at him and picked up the phone. "Yes?" she asked abruptly.
"Uh, hi, Casey?" It was a guy.
"Yeah, it’s me," Casey said, trying to calm down her nerves.
"Oh, it’s me, Isaac," the guy said.
Casey halted. "Isaac who?"
"Isaac… Hanson?" the guy said.
Casey burst out laughing. "Yeah, right!" she snorted. "And I’m Madonna. Whoever this is, that’s a good one. You got me going there. Good night."
"Wait, wait, it’s me, honest."
Casey frowned at the phone. "Oh, yeah? Prove it."
"Sing," Casey commanded. "Sing Rain. I totally like that song."
The guy on the other line cleared his throat. "OK, here goes," he said apprehensively. "‘Rain falling down out of my eyes, and now I’m wondering why, you had to say goodbye, and leave me baby, all alone in my life.’" He paused. "Well?"
Casey was quiet. It really sounds like Isaac Hanson. She heard the song Rain once in the Internet with Odessa, and she fell in love with it. And this guy just made her love it even more. "That was beautiful," she said softly. "Are you really him?"
Isaac laughed. "Yeah, it’s me."
Casey was confused. Why is he calling me? Then she suddenly remembered that night. There is the slightest possibility it could be him, right? The Casey slapped her forehead. Isaac Hanson is that man?
"Dad, can I talk to you for a minute?" Casey asked timidly.
Al looked at his wife, Mary, who shrugged. "Sure, hon," Al said. He got up from his wife’s arms and walked to his daughter. "Let’s go to the study."
They went to the study. "What’s up?"
Casey took a deep breath. "OK, remember that spell I cast a few days ago? Well, I think it worked."
Al smiled. "Oh, that’s wonderful, sweetie," he said, hugging her. "I’m so proud of you."
"Don’t be so proud, yet," Casey said with a nervous laugh.
"What?" Al asked confusingly.
Casey faced her father seriously. "Dad, I think the spell worked on Isaac Hanson," she said in a hushed tone.
"Who’s he?" Al asked.
Casey rolled her eyes. "He’s in that Hanson band, Dad!" she said impatiently.
"Oh," Al said, still not sure who Hanson is. "Well, what could be the problem?"
"Dad, he’s a celebrity," Casey explained. "And he and his brothers made a pact not to have a girlfriend yet. And what if he finds out I’m a Witch? And Dad, I don’t even know him!"
"Casey, calm down," Al said. "What makes you think that the spell worked on this Isaac boy?"
"Dad, he called me," Casey said flatly. "And I met him once this afternoon at the concert. I didn’t even give him my phone number."
Al thought for a minute. "Well, I guess the spell did work on him."
"What will I do?"
"Don’t you like him?"
"Dad, I told you. I don’t even know him."
"Well, then get to know him," Al said. "That spell you cast is just to attract a lover, not really make him love you. If both of you get to know each other and realize you’re not really each other’s types, then the spell could no longer do anything about it."
Casey was quiet. "I guess you’re right," she decided. "He asked me to go to the movies tomorrow. Is it OK?"
Al nodded. "Sure. Be careful, though."
"I know self-defense," Casey said.
"Patch Adams will do," Casey said.
Isaac nodded. "OK." He bought the tickets and went into the auditorium where the movie is being showed. "It wouldn’t be on until five."
Casey nodded. "OK," she said. "So, Isaac, what made you call me?"
"Well, I don’t know," Isaac said truthfully. "I mean, forgive me for saying this, but somehow, I really feel attracted to you."
Casey smiled. "Thank you," she said. "But we met only once. Am I that attractive?"
Isaac grinned. "I guess so," he said. "I mean, I just felt like I have to know you. It’s like I’m under some kind of a spell."
Casey turned slightly pale. "A spell?" she coughed. She laughed nervously. "Funny."
"I hope you don’t think I’m being superficial here," Isaac said. "I mean I really want to get to know you."
Casey smiled warmly as the lights dimmed. "I do, too."
"You’re going out again?" Mary asked Casey incredulously.
Casey grinned. "Yeah, this is the third time."
"Casey, I’m happy for you, really," Mary said. "But…"
"But…?" Casey prompted.
"Does he know you’re a Witch?"
Casey bit her lip. "No, not yet," she confessed. "But it’s not like we’re serious, you know? We’re just sort-of going out."
"Your father told me you cast the spell," Mary said. "A love spell bears pretty serious results."
"I know, Mom," Casey said. "But I don’t wanna ruin this. I like him a lot. I don’t wanna ruin anything before it actually begins, you know?"
Mary smiled understandingly. "I know," she said. "But if it does get serious, you’re gonna have to tell him."
Casey nodded. "I will, don’t worry," she said bubbly.
Mary went out of the room.
Casey took out her diary and started scribbling. Dear Diary, she wrote, Mom gave me a motherly advice: to tell Isaac about me, the real me. She’s right, and I know that. I wanna tell Isaac about me being a Witch, but I feel like I can’t, you know? I mean, I don’t know what he would do, or what he would think.
Diary, I think I’m in love with him, and if I tell him about the real me, I’m afraid I might lose him.
"Wow, a third date?" Taylor asked. "And the girl lives about twenty miles away? Ike, this is getting serious."
Isaac smiled at his brother. "You think?"
Zac nodded. "Definitely. I mean, you’ve never gone out twice with the same girl before, even if she lives across the street. You totally dig this girl, don’t you?"
Isaac smiled mysteriously. "Maybe."
"Kissed her yet?" Zac asked mischievously.
Isaac narrowed his eyes at his little brother’s reflection in the mirror. "It’s none of your business."
Zac laughed. "You didn’t, huh?"
Isaac sighed. "Not yet," he said. "That’s because she’s special. She’s not to be taken lightly."
"Ohh," Taylor said. "That’s heavy, Ike. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re in love." He paused. "Are you?"
Isaac fell silent. Love. He did say he loves Casey in his dream. Could it be possible that he’s feeling the same way in reality? Is she feeling the same way?
"Ike," Taylor said again.
Isaac went back to earth and looked at his watch. "Oh, I’m gonna be late. I better go." He grabbed his keys and went out of the room.
Taylor and Zac looked at each other. "Love."
"This is beautiful," Isaac breathed. They were at the top of a lighthouse owned by Casey’s family.
Casey grinned. "I thought you’d like it here. I always come here when I feel desperate or down."
Isaac glanced down at the city beneath them. "This is so picturesque."
"I know," Casey said quietly.
Isaac gazed at her looking down at the city. She looked so beautiful that night. She was wearing nothing fancy, just a pair of khakis, a long-sleeved shirt and sneakers. But he gazed at her as though she was wearing a fancy evening gown.
Casey caught him gazing at her. "What are you looking at?" she asked playfully. "I don’t have spinach on my teeth, do I?"
Isaac laughed. "No." Then he stopped laughing. He just smiled at her. "You look beautiful tonight."
Casey smiled. "Thanks."
Isaac looked away. "Casey, do you believe in love at first sight?"
Casey was starting to feel uneasy. "Um, yeah, I guess I do," she said carefully.
Isaac looked at her again. "I guess what I’m trying to say is…"
Casey looked at him expectantly.
"…is… I like you so much," Isaac finished.
Casey exhaled. "Well, I like you, too, Isaac," she said.
Isaac smiled, but inside he wanted to kick himself. He’s got the chance right there. "Mind if we don’t say a word for the next couple of minutes? I’m trying to make a memory."
Casey just smiled. "Not at all," she whispered.
They stared at the city beneath. Soft breeze blew and the stars were twinkling.
Isaac reached for her delicate hand and squeezed it lightly.
Casey squeezed his hand back and just smiled. She put her head on his shoulder and enjoyed the rest of the silence beside him.
"Thanks again for taking me down at the lighthouse," Isaac said.
Casey grinned. "Anytime. Only a few people know about it being my secret hiding place. Including you."
Isaac laughed. "Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone."
"OK, so see you around?" Casey asked.
Isaac leaned down and gave her a soft kiss. They both smiled when they pulled away. "Do you think we could see each other more?" Isaac asked.
"I don’t see why not," Casey said. "Call me." She got out of the car and headed to the house. Before opening the door, she turned around and waved to Isaac.
Isaac waved back. When she got in, he started the engine and drove home, feeling exactly what he felt when he kissed Casey in his dream. He felt so contented. After about twenty miles, he parked his car in the garage and went into the house, whistling.
Taylor, Zac and their younger sister, Jessica, were watching TV in the living room when he came in. "Well, well, well," Taylor said, "look who dropped by."
Isaac just flashed him a bright smile and went to his bedroom.
"What is up with him?" Jessica asked in a puzzled tone.
Taylor and Zac exchanged glances. "Uh, Jessie," Zac said, "did Mom talk to you about the birds and the bees yet?"
Jessica looked confused. "Birds and bees?"
"She doesn’t know the talk yet, Tay," Zac said.
"Well, Jessie, I think it’s time for you to hear the never-ending talk…" Taylor began.
"Eat this," Casey said playfully a few weeks after. She and Isaac seem to be going steady now, or at least she thinks so. She handed him a plate of home-cooked French fries.
Isaac smiled suspiciously at her. "What’d you put in here?"
Casey gave him a toothy grin and pretended to think. "Let’s see, dead man’s toe, dead frog’s leg and dead mosquito’s wing."
Isaac laughed and ate the fries. "Casey, I got to ask you something," he said seriously.
"Shoot," Casey said, eating a fry.
Isaac looked into her green eyes. "Casey, are we… you know… together?"
Casey stared back at him and smiled slightly. "What do you think?"
Isaac’s face broke into a smile. "We are?"
Casey shrugged. "If you want us to be," she added.
"I do want us to be," Isaac said, giving her a kiss.
Suddenly they heard voices booming from the front door. Casey rolled her eyes. "Those are my brothers. You’ll meet ‘em in a few seconds."
True to her word, three young men entered the living room. "Hey, shrimp."
Casey turned to Isaac. "Ike, these are Joshua, Cory and Shawn. They’re my adopted brothers."
Cory laughed. "Yeah, we adopted Casey when she was left upon our door that cold wintry night." He walked to Isaac and shook his hand. "Nice meeting you, Isaac."
"Hey, have you met Love Hewitt yet?" Shawn asked.
Isaac nodded. "Yeah, she’s hot," he said.
"What about that Baby Spice?" Joshua asked.
"Yup," Isaac replied. "She’s short, though. She’s shorter than my brother, Zac."
"Oh, the drummer?" Isaac nodded. "I want to learn how to drum. Do you think he could spare me a few lessons?"
"I’ll ask him," Isaac said.
"Well, it’s great meeting you, Isaac," Cory said, standing up to leave the room. He turned to Casey. "Casey, where’s the book? I need to do a spell tonight."
Casey panicked. She hasn’t told Isaac about her and her family being Witches, yet. She looked at her brothers pleadingly, trying to send them a message not to say another word.
"A spell?" Isaac asked.
All at once, Casey’s brothers looked at her.
"A spell check," Casey quickly corrected. "He was talking about the dictionary." She looked at Cory. "The dictionary is under my bed, Cory."
Cory stared sternly back at her. Casey could tell he was disappointed at her for not telling Isaac about their background. She looked at her two other brothers. They’re looking at her the same way.
She sighed and smiled at Isaac. "Ike, you wanna go to a picnic tomorrow?" she asked.
Isaac grinned. "Love to." He looked at his watch. "Oh, I gotta go." He gave Casey a quick kiss. "I’ll call you."
Casey smiled and nodded.
"Nice meeting you guys," Isaac said with a wave, walking to the front door.
"We’ll be seeing you," Joshua said.
The front door closed and Casey watched Isaac’s car speed away.
"Why didn’t you tell him yet?" Cory asked Casey seriously.
Casey faced him. "Tell him what?"
"Don’t play dumb, Casey," Joshua jumped in. "You promised us you’ll tell him."
"Did I say when?" Casey said slyly.
"We’re serious," Shawn said impatiently. "You’ve been going out for about a month now. He deserves to know."
Casey sighed. "But I don’t know how he’ll react."
"You have to tell him," Cory said.
Casey looked at them. Cory, being the oldest of the four, always seem to say and do the wise things. Born next to him, Shawn is the fun brother, always including his siblings in all the fun things he do. Joshua, the third sibling, is the annoying one, always has, always will. He always teases his siblings any way he can.
Looking at each of them, Casey realized they’re right. In their own way, they made her understand that Isaac needs to know, whether he like it or not.
Isaac whistled while he fixed himself a snack. He couldn’t wait until tomorrow. Their first real date as a couple. He hoped nothing will go wrong.
"Hey, Ike," Zac greeted when he entered the kitchen. "When will we meet your girlfriend?"
Isaac laughed. "How did you know she’s my girlfriend?"
Zac rolled his hazel eyes. "Please! You’ve been spending almost all of your free time with her for about a month. What did you expect us to think?"
"Fine, you’ll meet her tomorrow," Isaac said with a sigh. "We’re going on a picnic, you know."
"Aw, how peachy!" Zac said. He got some chips from the counter. "She doesn’t happen to have any younger sister, does she?"
Isaac shook his head. "Nah," he said. "Oh, one of his brothers was wondering if you’d give him a few lessons with the drums."
Zac shrugged. "Sure, whatever." He walked over to his brother and patted him on the back. "I’m happy for you, man, really."
Isaac gave him a confused, yet amazed smile. "Thanks, Zac," he said. He finished his snack. "I’ll just go take a nap. If Casey calls, wake me."
"Not if she enjoys talking to me," Zac said.
"Cute," Isaac said sourly. He went to his bedroom and found Taylor using his laptop. "Hey, Tay."
"Yo, Ike," Taylor said without looking up from his computer. "Hey, when are we going to meet your girlfriend?"
Isaac laughed. "What? You and Zac think alike now?"
Taylor grinned. "Well, it’s just that you know—"
"I know, I’ve been going out with her for about a month now," Isaac interrupted. "Tomorrow, you’ll meet her tomorrow." He yawned. "She might call. Be sure to wake me."
Taylor stood up to leave. "I will." He went out of the room.
Isaac stretched before jumping onto his top bunk. He’s so sleepy. He’s falling now.
He was surrounded by delicious foods. He looked around for Casey. He knew she’s in here. He heard the sweetest laughter. He smiled as he stood up. He went to the pond, where he saw Casey once, but found nothing. Casey wasn’t there. Puzzled, he walked about the area. He kept hearing Casey’s laughter but he couldn’t find her. "Casey?" he called.
"She’s not who you think she is," a voice whispered.
Isaac jumped and turned around. No one’s there. "Who’s there?"
"Casey is special," the voice continued.
"I know," Isaac said, still looking around for the voice.
"She’s special in a way you don’t know," the voice continued.
"What do you mean?"
"She has a secret," the voice said. "A secret you may or may not understand. A secret that may drive you either to condemn her or accept her."
"I love her," Isaac said. "I can accept whatever secret she may have."
"Can you?" the voice challenged.
"Then brace yourself. If you truly love her, as you say right now, then we can have the assurance you’ll take care of her."
Isaac bolted upright from his slumber. Some dream!
The telephone suddenly rang. He jumped off the bunk and dove for the phone. "Hello?"
"Hey, it’s me," Casey’s childlike voice floated through the line. "How are you?"
Isaac laughed. "Hey, I’m good," he said. "Um, do you want me to bring something tomorrow? Maybe I could have my mom fix us some brownies or something."
"That’s OK, Ike," Casey said. "I’ll bring the food. You may not know it, but we’re a family of cooks."
"Yeah, right," Isaac snorted. "Anyway, I wouldn’t feel right about it. I promise I’ll bring something I’ll whip up."
"You’ll whip up?" Casey asked with a laugh.
"Yeah," Isaac said. "Hey, I can do it. You just might be surprised."
"I might," Casey said.
"Um, listen, is it OK if you meet my family tomorrow before we go to the picnic?"
"Sure, I’d love to," Casey said. "So see you tomorrow at twelve?"
"Be there for you, babe," Isaac said.
Casey laughed. "What?"
"Sorry," Isaac laughed. "I’ll see ya."
"Bye!" Casey said, making smooching noises.
Isaac laughed. "I don’t have to do that, too, do I?"
"Don’t have to," Casey assured him.
"Nah, what the hell, I want to!" Isaac made kissing noises, too, which made Casey laugh so hard. He was still making the noises when Taylor and Zac entered the room. He looked at them horrifyingly. "Uh, Casey, I gotta go. See you tomorrow." He hung up and looked slowly at his brothers, who were trying to hold back their laughter. "Shut up," he warned.
Taylor and Zac quickly backed out and closed the door before them. Isaac could hear them laughing all the way down the stairs.
Isaac exhaled and collapsed on Taylor’s bunk. Then he remembered the dream he had. What is the meaning of that?
"Hi," Casey said brightly. "I’m here to ask you to date my little sister. Will you do that?"
Zac Hanson looked at her in puzzlement. "Huh?"
Casey laughed. She extended her hand. "I’m Casey Miller. I’m with Ike."
A wide smile spread over Zac’s face. "Great to finally meet you." He looked around her. "Where’s Ike?"
Casey smiled mysteriously. "I turned him into a frog," she said teasingly. The she stopped herself before she could say more. She decided to change the subject. "It’s so nice to finally meet you, Zac Hanson." She shook his hand. "You’re so tall for a thirteen-year-old. I think you’re the same height as my best friend, Odessa."
"Oh, really, is she hot?"
Casey patted his head. "You can’t date her," she told Zac. "She’s too old for you."
"Oh, man," Zac said, disappointed.
Isaac appeared behind her. "I see you’ve met my pet," he said to Casey.
"And he’s very obedient," Casey added.
Zac made a face at both of them. "Very funny," he retorted. They all went into the house.
"Uh, I hope you don’t mind but I promised Odessa you’d sign this for her," Casey said sheepishly. She handed Zac an autograph book. "Ike already signed it so that just leaves you and Taylor."
Zac nodded. "I’ll go get a pen." He ran upstairs.
Isaac and Casey went into the living room where the rest of the family was watching TV. "Hey, everybody," Isaac said. "This is Casey Miller."
Diana Hanson stood up first with a baby pressed against her chest. "It’s nice to meet you, Casey," she said with a warm smile.
Casey grinned. "Likewise, Mrs. Hanson."
Walker walked to her. "So you’re Casey," he said with a smile. "The one who put my son under a spell."
Casey turned slightly pale. "A spell?"
"Kidding," Walker added.
Casey laughed nervously. "Oh, I get it," she said.
"These are our other foster children," Walker joked.
The kids all narrowed their eyes at him. "Ha ha, Dad," Avie said in a touchy tone. She waved at Casey. "Hi, Ike’s girlfriend!"
Isaac turned red. "They all know," he whispered to Casey.
"Oh," Casey mouthed back. She smiled at Avie. "Hi, Avie. And Jessie and Mackie."
Jessica and a younger version of Zac grinned at her. "Hello," they chorused.
Someone came up behind them. It was Taylor and Zac. Taylor shook Casey’s hand. "Hi, Casey," he said. "Is it OK if we return the autograph book when you guys get back?"
"Why?" Casey asked curiously.
"Well, Taylor accidentally tore out a page," Zac explained, "and we are trying to glue it back on."
Casey smiled. "I guess so," she said. "Odessa’s gonna freak when she hears Hanson glued her torn paper back on."
"We better go," Isaac said.
"Well, be careful, kids," Diana said. "Ike, careful driving." She smiled at Casey. "I want to chat with her again."
Casey beamed at her. "And vice-versa," she said.
Isaac and Casey went out of the front door. "Your family’s great," Casey gushed.
"Thanks," Isaac said. "Shall we?" He held out his arm.
Casey locked her arm into his. "Let’s."
Isaac was sitting on the blanket surrounded by delicious home-cooked meals. He smiled. This time, it’s reality; it’s not a dream anymore. He heard the same sweet laughter, and it’s coming from his ladylove, Casey. Like in his dream, he saw Casey by the pond, fishing. She was wearing the same bonnet. "Look, Isaac, I caught a big one," she called, laughing still.
Smiling, Isaac walked over to her and sat by her side. Casey put the jumping fish into the bucket and smiled at Isaac.
Isaac remembered something. "You know, I dreamed of this exact situation about a month ago."
Isaac nodded. "Exactly. Only when I woke up, I kind of forgotten your face," he said sheepishly. "When I saw you at the concert, that’s when I realized it’s you in my dream. By the way, where’d you go? I thought you told me you’re gonna be there after the concert."
"Well, Odessa got paged by her mother," Casey explained. "I had to go back with her." She grinned at him. "Well, something tells me you’re psychic."
Isaac laughed. "I wish." Then he became serious. "I had another dream yesterday, just before you called."
"And what would that be?"
Isaac looked into her sea green eyes as he started telling her. "Well, it’s the exact scenery, right? I knew it had to be. I heard your laugh and I searched for you, but you weren’t here by the pond or anywhere. Then I heard this voice."
"A voice?" Casey asked, beginning to feel nervous.
Isaac nodded. "It’s a guy’s voice, I think. Anyway, he told me you’re special. Then I said, I know. Then he told me you’re someone special in a way I don’t know. That you have a secret that may drive me either to condemn you or accept you." He stared at Casey.
"Well," Casey began, "I—"
Isaac smiled widely. "But I told him that I love you and I can accept whatever secret you have."
Casey stared at him. "You love me?" she asked.
Isaac hugged her. "I love you," he repeated softly. "Do you love me?"
Casey hugged him back. "Isaac, I do," she said. "But I do have a secret."
Isaac pulled away and looked at her expectantly.
"Isaac," Casey began again, "there’s no easy way for me to say this, but I’m a Witch."
Isaac fell silent and just stared at her. "A Witch?" he snorted. "There’s no such thing."
Casey frowned at him. "Isaac, there are Witches, and I’m one of them."
"Does your family know this?"
Casey sighed. "Isaac, we are all Witches. It traces back to our ancestors."
Isaac was in awe.
"But we’re good Witches," Casey added. "If you’re doubting."
"Did you cast a spell on me?" Isaac asked quietly.
"Did you cast a spell on me?" Isaac repeated.
"No," Casey said quickly. "I mean, yes, I did cast a spell, but—"
"You what?" Isaac asked angrily. "So all this time I am under a spell?"
"No," Casey said. "I didn’t mean it—"
"You didn’t mean it?" Isaac repeated. "Then why did you do the stupid spell?"
"It’s not stupid," Casey protested. "Would you listen to me?"
"No, you lied," Isaac said coldly. "It’s as simple as that."
"Isaac—" Casey begged.
"I’m taking you home," Isaac said, standing up and fixing their blanket, putting the untouched foods back into the giant basket.
"Isaac, listen to me," Casey begged, tears stinging her eyes.
"Please get into the car," Isaac said coldly. He went to the driver’s seat.
Casey wiped the tears from her eyes using the back of her hand and got into the car. "Isaac, listen to me," she pleaded.
"Please, Casey," Isaac interrupted. "I’m really angry right now."
Fresh tears rolled down Casey’s rosy cheeks. "You said you’ll accept me whatever my secret may be," she said in a pained voice.
Isaac didn’t respond and continued driving.
"Hey," Diana said brightly as Isaac entered the front door. "You’re home early. Where’s Casey?"
"I took her home," Isaac said indifferently.
Diana looked puzzled. "Why? What happened?"
"Nothing," Isaac said. He went upstairs to his room.
Diana fell quiet.
"Casey?" Shawn asked, knocking on his sister’s door. There was no response. He could just hear a few sobs from inside. Shawn turned the knob and entered the room. He was surprised. Casey’s room was usually clean, but now it was cluttered with her Witch stuff—candles, incenses, herbs, and even the Book of Shadows. "What is going on here?"
"Get out, Shawn," Casey said beneath the covers.
Shawn sat down by her bed. "Why are you doing this, Casey?"
Casey got up from her bed and flashed her red tear-stained face to her brother. "I hate being a Witch!" she screamed.
Shawn shook her. "What are you talking about?" he said rigorously.
"I told Isaac, all right?" Casey cried. "And now he truly hates me!"
Shawn comforted his sister. "There, there," he said soothingly. "He was just probably surprised."
"He was," Casey sobbed. "He thought I put him under a spell that made him love me."
"Does he love you?" Shawn asked.
"He said he does, right before I told him," Casey said tearfully.
"Then he’ll understand, eventually."
Casey sobbed. "He didn’t even let me explain that the spell I cast was not meant for him. I tried telling him, Shawn. I did."
"I know, I know you did," Shawn said comfortingly. He put his arms around her shoulders. "It’ll be OK."
"It won’t , Shawn," Casey contradicted. "Don’t you see, I love him. I finally had the chance to have someone but this stupid Witchcraft ruined it for me."
"You’re wrong," Shawn opposed. "Your Witchcraft brought you him. Don’t ever forget that."
Casey looked at her brother. He’s right. Witchcraft brought her Isaac. She remembered what her father said: "That spell you cast is just to attract a lover, not really make him love you. If both of you get to know each other and realize you’re not really each other’s types, then the spell could no longer do anything about it."
Casey began to think. Her family’s right. Her religion has nothing to do with Isaac resenting her. If she wants him back, even to just explain herself, she doesn’t have to use her magick. Isaac has got to see she’s not using her powers against him.
Casey got up and started cleaning up, picking up her Witch stuff and putting them back in order. "Thanks for talking to me, Shawn," she said quickly to her brother. "I’ll talk to you later."
"What?" Shawn asked confusingly.
"Later," Casey repeated impatiently.
Isaac sighed as he turned to his side. He’s now facing the blank wall.
He couldn’t believe Casey didn’t tell him before. It’s not even her being a Witch that bothers him. Actually, he thinks Witchcraft is cool (but he’s not considering into converting). It’s just that he feels like he couldn’t trust her. How does he know if he’s just feeling love for her because she cast a spell on him? How does he know?
"Isaac?" Taylor’s dear voice broke the silence.
Isaac turned around and saw Taylor and Zac. "Yeah?"
"What happened?" Zac asked softly.
Isaac sat up. "I guess we had a fight," he admitted.
Isaac looked at them suspiciously. "I’d tell you guys, but you have got to promise not to tell, and I mean it."
Taylor and Zac exchanged glances. "We promise," they chorused.
"I mean it," Isaac repeated more firmly. "No slipping out of your tongue, or hinting, or talking to animals and diaries about it."
Taylor and Zac nodded seriously.
Isaac took a deep breath. "OK," he said. "Make sure no one’s outside and shut the door."
Zac walked to the door, peered outside and locked it.
"Casey’s a Witch," Isaac said confidentially to his brothers as they sat down on the floor.
"A Witch?" Taylor repeated. "But they’re just a myth."
Isaac shook his head. "Her whole family is, too," he said. "Good Witches, though."
"I thought they’re all bad," Zac said.
"I don’t think she’s one of those Witches," Isaac said.
"So, is that why you two fought?" Taylor asked.
Isaac shook his head. "Just part of it," he said. "I mean, I can accept that she’s a Witch, but then she told me she cast a spell on me."
"She cast a spell on you?" Zac repeated.
Isaac hesitated. "Well, she didn’t exactly say she did," he said. "But she said she cast a spell…I don’t know. I just feel like I can’t trust her."
Taylor nodded understandingly. "Ike, you gotta admit, though, you just assumed she cast a spell on you."
"I don’t know, Tay," Isaac said. "I mean, come on, you also have to admit, I rarely go out with a fan. I don’t even know her when I called her."
"Then why did you call her?" Zac asked.
"I don’t know," Isaac said again. "I told you, maybe I was under a spell."
"Maybe not," Zac said. "Maybe you really have feelings for her. I mean, she doesn’t really seem like she’s the type to use magic on people."
Isaac shrugged. "I repeat, I don’t know." He stood up and jumped onto his bunk. "I need to think. Don’t tell anyone."
Taylor and Zac stood up as well and went out of the room.
Isaac began to think about what Zac said. Maybe he’s really not under a spell when he said he loves Casey.
"Hi, Taylor, it’s Casey," Casey said softly the following night. "Um, is Ike available?"
"Oh, hi, Case," Taylor said carefully. "I’d go see, OK?"
Casey heard him put down the receiver. She waited nervously. If this doesn’t work out, she hoped her next plan will.
After a few minutes, someone picked up the other end. It was Taylor. "Casey, I’m sorry, but he can’t talk right now."
Casey bit her lip. "Well, OK," she said, not being able to hide the pain in her voice. "Thanks, anyway."
"Wait, Casey," she heard Taylor said.
"Um, you wanna talk?"
"Thanks for the concern, Taylor, but you can ask your brother about the details," Casey said. "I need to do something. Thanks for the offer, though. I appreciate it."
"Well, OK," Taylor said. "If you want to, though, me and Zac are available."
Casey smiled. "That’s kind and sweet of you, considering we met only yesterday." They both hung up. Casey dialed another number. "Hi, Odie, I need you. Can you come over?"
"Sure," Odessa said. She became concerned. "Is something wrong, Case?"
"I’ll tell you when you get here," Casey assured her. "Please come immediately."
After a half an hour, Odessa knocked on the front door. Casey opened it. "Thanks for coming," she said.
"What’s going on?" Odessa asked.
"In my room," Casey instructed. They went to Casey’s room.
"What’s up?" Odessa asked.
"Odessa, I told him about me," Casey replied.
Odessa’s brown eyes grew wide when she realized it’s about Casey’s being a Witch. "What’d he say?"
"He went ballistic," Casey said quietly.
"Oh, honey, I’m sorry," Odessa said, hugging her best friend.
"It’s OK," Casey said. "But I need him to listen."
"Did you look through the book?" Odessa asked.
Casey shook her head. "I can’t use my powers," she said. "He thought I put him under a spell, and if I use magick, I’ll just prove him right."
Casey frowned. "Of course not," she said. "You know me. I don’t do spells on people just like that."
"So what are you going to do?" Odessa asked.
"Teach me to play guitar," Casey responded.
Odessa stared at her blankly. "What for?"
"I’ll sing to him," Casey said privately.
"Sing?" Odessa asked. "Casey, you’ve never sung before. And you’ve never touched a guitar. And how in the world will this get him back?"
"Don’t you see?" Casey asked excitedly. "If he sees that I’m making a human effort to make him listen, he’ll stop assuming I used my magick on him."
Odessa frowned. "Are you sure about this, Case?" she asked. "I mean, you’re risking humiliation here."
Casey glared at her. "Gee, thanks for your support," she retorted.
"I didn’t mean it that way," Odessa said. "I mean, what if he thinks you’re just trying to make him fall into a trap or something?"
"Well, it’s a risk I’m just gonna have to take," Casey said bravely. "I need to explain myself. Will you help me?"
"You know I will," Odessa said. She paused. "Hey, I know this song from an Irish band. It fits in this situation. Luckily, I know the chords, too." Then she frowned. "Unluckily, it wouldn’t sound too good with a guitar alone."
Casey frowned as well. "Fine, I’ll get someone to play other instruments."
"Come over tomorrow night and I'll teach you the chords," Odessa promised.
Casey hugged her best friend. "Thanks a lot," she said graciously. "I just hope the other instrumentalists will be there, too."
"Sure we’ll do it," Zac said the next day, a Saturday. He, Taylor and Casey are in a diner in uptown. Casey revealed her plan to them and she asked them to be a part of it. The two brothers also told her that they know about her being a Witch.
Casey smiled. "Thank you," she said. "How is he?"
"He’s moping around the room," Taylor said. "He just gets up from his bed to eat and shower. He’s miserable, Casey. Did you put him under a spell?"
Casey shook her head. "I would never do that, not to anyone." She took a deep breath. "OK, here’s the thing. I did cast a spell, but not for him. I mean, I cast it to attract a boyfriend. I didn’t intend it to be him. Believe me. I don’t even know him, for crying out loud."
"So, you think this is gonna work?" Zac asked.
"I hope so," Casey said, showing them her crossed fingers. "It’s so tempting to use, you-know-what, but I’ll just prove him right by doing that."
"OK, so what is this song?" Taylor asked critically, examining the music sheets. Odessa gave them to Casey that morning. "I’ve never heard of this song before."
"It’s by an Irish band named The Kelly Family," Casey explained. "Odessa and I think it’s perfect. What do you think?"
Taylor skimmed through it. "This is good," he murmured. "And it is perfect."
"So, tonight is the first practice?" Zac asked.
Casey nodded. "I’ll pick you up real quick tonight. Be sure to tell your parents you’re going to Odessa’s."
"She’s got instruments there?"
"Yes. Her sisters are in a band, too."
Taylor raised an eyebrow. "Hmmm, sisters, huh?"
Casey laughed. "Thanks, you guys."
Isaac rolled over to his side. It’s been five days. Casey never called again. Maybe she’s found a new specimen on her Witchcraft experiment. His brothers had been disappearing off to some place. Maybe they think he’s a complete freak for falling in love with a Witch.
Suddenly, the door opened and his two laughing brothers came in. They halted when they saw his gloomy face.
"Don’t mind me," Isaac told them. "I’m fine, really."
"Um, Ike," Zac said. "This may be the wrong time to ask you this, but remember that autograph book, um, you-know-who had us signed?"
Isaac nodded. "Yeah, what about it?"
Zac looked at Taylor. "Well, we sort of forgot about it," Taylor said. "Then when Casey phoned—"
"Casey called?" Isaac asked, sitting up. "Why didn’t you tell me?"
"Well, sorry, I didn’t know you’d be in the mood to talk," Taylor apologized.
Isaac sighed and rubbed his eyes. "Forget it," he said tiredly. "What about the autograph book?"
"Well, her friend has been bugging her about it," Zac said. "And since we can’t drive, and we don’t know where this lighthouse is, we were wondering if you could take us there."
"Lighthouse?" Isaac asked. He thought the lighthouse was Casey’s secret hiding place. Why would she want to meet his brothers there?
"Yeah," Taylor said.
Isaac sighed. "Fine, what time?"
"Um, about eight tonight?" Taylor said.
Isaac nodded and fell back on his bed. "Wake me up then."
"Hurry up, OK?" Isaac said as he turned off the engine. He decided he’ll wait on the car.
"Are you sure you don’t want to come inside?"
Isaac shook his head. "Just hurry up," he said.
Taylor and Zac ran into the lighthouse.
Isaac watched them go in and waited. He could still remember that quiet moment he had with Casey the first time she brought him there. One night weeks after that, he found her there, depressed. He had called then; Casey’s dad told him she’s at the lighthouse. And indeed, she was.
After a while, Isaac looked at his watch. It’s been ten minutes. Handing over an autograph book could never take that long. He stepped out of the car and headed to the lighthouse.
He went in. It was pitch-black. Where are his brothers? "Tay? Zac?" he called. He went upstairs and it’s still dark. He made a move towards downstairs when he heard music.
Isaac tilted his head to where the music was coming from and a spotlight is slowly glowing. He realized it’s focused on Casey—who’s strumming a guitar. He didn’t even know she played a guitar. He noticed his brothers accompanying her in music.
Casey started singing.
If I would tell you how much you mean to me
I think you wouldn’t understand it
So I wait and wait, until this day comes
When you will understand it
But I can’t help myself, and I can’t stop myself
I am going crazy
And I can’t stop myself, cannot control myself
I am going crazy
And I love you, I want you, I want to talk to you
I want to be with you
And I love you, I want you, I want to talk to you
I want to be with you
Isaac stared at Casey. She has a beautiful singing voice. And she’s singing to him. Listening to the words of a song he’d never heard before, he realized she’s trying to make him hear her and realize she loves him.
Casey smiled as she continued singing.
I cannot change it, I’m sure not making it
One big hell of a fuss
Zac accompanied her in harmony.
I cannot turn my back, I’ve got to face the fact
Life without you is hazy
And I love you, I want you, I want to talk to you
I wanna be with you
And I love you, I want you, I want to talk to you
I wanna be with you
Kiss me, thrill me, don’t say goodbye
Hold me, love me, don’t say goodbye
Oh, oh, oh… Don’t say goodbye
But I can’t help myself, I can’t stop myself
I am going crazy
I cannot turn my back, I’ve got to face the fact
Life without you is hazy.
And I love you, I want you, I want to talk to you
I wanna be with you
And I love you, I want you, I want to talk to you
I wanna be with you
Oh, oh, oh…
Oh, oh, oh…
Kiss me goodbye
Casey strummed the guitar and gave Isaac a slight smile. She put down the guitar gently and walked toward Isaac. "Hi," she said.
Isaac smiled back. "Let’s go for a walk."
They went out of the lighthouse and strolled. "I really like the song," Isaac said. "And you have a nice voice. Why didn’t you tell me you’re into guitars, too?"
Casey smiled. "Actually, I’m not that crazy about guitars," she said. "I just did it because I was hoping it could make you listen."
"Well, I was enlightened," Isaac admitted. "The song opened my mind."
"Yeah. Casey, I’m not mad about you being a Witch."
Isaac shook his head. "It’s just that the spell…"
"Isaac, I did not put you under a spell," Casey said. "I did cast a spell, but only to attract a boyfriend. Believe me, I did not intend it to be you. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even like you that much."
"But if you did, would you do a spell on me?"
Casey shook her head. "No. Witches are forbidden to interfere with people’s lives. The best a love spell can do is to get you together with a person who can love you, if he or she chooses to. We can’t meddle with people’s decisions."
Isaac was quiet. "I’m sorry. I’m such a jerk."
Casey smiled. "You’re not. You just thought I made you love me."
Isaac smiled. "So that means I love you still."
"Same here," Casey said. And they kissed.
"Let’s go," Isaac said when they both pulled away. "You dragged my brothers in this?"
"I had to," Casey said with a smile. "Did you really like the song?"
"Definitely," Isaac said. They walked over to the car, where they found Taylor and Zac waiting.
"Well, well, well," Taylor said teasingly. "Who are these two approaching us, Zac?"
Zac pretended to look through a pair of binoculars. "Why, it’s the two lovebirds!"
Isaac and Casey laughed. They all got into the car. "Did you remember to lock the lighthouse?"
"Yeah," Zac said. "The instruments will be all right, right?"
"Yup!" Casey said bubbly.
"So, Casey," Taylor said casually, "the plan worked. What say, you do us a tiny favor?"
"Sure," Casey said. "Anything. Well, almost."
"Well, I’m kind of attracted to Odessa’s sister," Taylor said. "And she…"
Isaac sighed. Here we go again!
*Note: The song, I Can’t Help Myself, used in the story, is by the Irish band, The Kelly Family.