She hadn't made enchiladas in years. How hard could it be, though? It was practically the easiest thing to make.
But of course Caroline burned the chicken, so right off the bat, she knew she was off to a bad start. Caroline stood in the kitchen, staring at the pan of burned chicken she's set on top of the stove. It wasn't terrible, really. It was still edible. But it wasn't exactly what she'd want to serve to people. Her eyes traced the spice rack, searching, as if some paprika or pepper would make it better. Barbeque sauce? Maybe that could save her? Or maybe all the enchilada sauce would just mask the burned flavor? Unless she burned the enchiladas too.
It was a difficult situation. She wanted to appear put together and collected, which burned chicken would be the opposite of, but she also really did not want to go back to the store.
She could just snap her fingers, make it all better. Caroline twisted her mouth to one side of her face while she thought about it. Maybe. Maybe just a little less burned.
"No." Caroline sighed. "Maybe I'll just add a lot of mushrooms. That'll hide the burn taste."
She didn't have mushrooms. She had peppers, which was not at all the same thing, but it would have to do.
"It won't do, you know," said Frankie. The slippery black cat looked at her with big green eyes.
"Well, it's just going to have to," Caroline said as she chopped up the peppers. "It's been forever since I've made enchiladas and I used magic that time."
Frankie groaned loudly and sprawled across the counter, knocking over the cumin and dried dill. "It's only been a month and I'm already miserable. Why does it have to be our coven that requires a whole year living as a mortal for full initiation? It just seems behind the times."
Caroline cut into the second pepper and seeds sprayed everywhere. "I know. I know. But we have to do it. And mom says she learned some really valuable lessons while she was doing her year without magic."
Frankie stretched out both front legs. "Like what? How miserable mortals are? Lesson learned. Can we go back now?"
Caroline pointed a finger at the cat. "You know you have to lie low when everyone gets here."
"Yes, I'm just a dumb normal cat who can't form complex thoughts. I know."
"Oh, come on," Caroline said. "This is my first time hosting non-witches. It's going to be a long year if I don't make some friends."
Frankie jumped on top of the refrigerator where he sprawled dramatically. "It will be long for me either way. All alone. Sole familiar."
Caroline sighed. Yes, this year was going to long and sad. She was worried she'd forget how to do basic spells and her sisters would make fun of her when she returned. She was worried she'd be lonely or that she wouldn't a good job at her job in the bookshop and would get fired and then wouldn't be able to pay her rent, which was never something she'd had to worry about before.
But, there really wasn't anything she could do about that right now. All she could do was make the enchiladas and hope her guests didn't notice the burned chicken.