The Lantern Fairies


It was far too late for Laurel to be awake, but there was no going to sleep now. She'd already been lying in bed for two hours, too long to hope she'd just fall asleep by herself. With the night orb beaming starlight into the corner, Laurel could just make out the protection and sleep aid spells painted painstakingly on her bedroom ceiling. A load of good they'd done.

She sighed loudly, half hoping it would wake Jorrell snoring softly beside her. He grunted and rolled over. Laurel lingered a moment more under the covers, then slipped into her slippers and padded out into the hall, past the bedrooms where her children slumbered and into the kitchen.

Laurel pulled down the tin with her sleep-inducing tea blend and put clicked the kettle on. Then she settled in by the back window to watch the lantern fairies flit between her hydrangeas. They floated from one flower to the next, dipping their glowing blue heads inside and emerging covered in golden pollen. When they flew away, they left luminescent footprints on the petals.

It had become her routine, to wake sometime in the wee hours and watch the world wake up. There was something she loved about watching the sunrise by herself, even though she felt horrible and drained for the rest of the day. the sleep tea didn't seem to do anything anymore. Maybe she'd grown immune to it. Or maybe her magic was just waning. Either option was possible. Jorrell wanted her to go see a specialized sleep witch, but Laurel didn't like idea of using a spell on herself every night. The precision had enhanced in the last decade, but still. There was always a chance she'd get used too to it and administer it wrong.

No, she'd stick with her habits, her comfortable spaces.

When she got up to pour the boiled water over her tea blend, Laurel opened her leather-bound message book. Six new messages had appeared in the front pages since she'd last looked that afternoon, all requests for her party decorations. Laurel had great decorating skills. She could materialize streamers and tables and music just like what the client envisioned, or even better. It's what kept her at Pop-Up Parties & Co. for so long. She was good at what she did. Of course, the whole notion that the parties were pop-up was a little misleading. The parties materialized, not pop-up.

Laurel ignored them all - that was for the daylight - and flipped to the next page. There was a new message at the top of her personal messages page.

Dear Mrs. Laurel Gordon, The Broom Crafters Academy would like to officially welcome you to the incoming class...

Laurel blinked at it several times before she really understand what she'd read. Wow. She'd actually done it. She had applied on a whim, a shot in the dark. But now she'd gotten in. She'd thought for a long time how wonderful it might be to just make brooms all day. It sounded divine, crafting the handles, lovingly enchanting the straw, carving spells into the wood.

She'd have to decline the position of course. She couldn't handle the studying and Pop-Up Parties & Co. at the same time while caring for the kids. Mikael had just started practical charms and was having a hard time. He'd need help. She hadn't even told Jorrell she was applying to this.

Laurel sighed and closed the message book. She'd respond later, when there was light outside. For now, she'd just watch the lantern fairies and revel in the dream of crafting brooms.

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