"You are a very lucky man."
Twenty-five-year-old Wyatt Cain looked up from the cross-word puzzle he had propped up against his knee to look the Mystic Man in the eye. Cain had been on the Central City Police Force for five years after completing his two years of training, and he had been less than honored to be chosen as one of Mystic Man's personal guard while he was in the city. It made him feel like a glorified babysitter. The older man, just entering his fifties, was a bit of a celebrity, but he by no means warranted five of Central City's finest as bodyguards in the Tin Man's opinion. Aside from the occasional purse-snatcher or mugging, the OZ was a safe place. And with the…entourage, Cain supposed they were called, that the Mystic Man had around him at all times—devotees and fans—there was little threat of violence.
Of course, it occurred to him, maybe the cops were there to protect Mystic Man from the entourage.
"You think so?" he asked.
"Oh, yes, son." The Mystic Man chuckled as he sat down in the chair across from Cain at the little breakfast table in the magician's luxurious townhouse. The table was set with fresh fruit and bread. There was a choice of coffee or tea, and all the fixings that some folks liked to add to their drink. Cain never saw the point of messing up a perfectly good cup of coffee. He wasn't much for tea.
Cain snorted and went back to his crossword. What was an eight-letter epithet for a statement of disbelief? Bullshit.
Mystic Man grinned at the young cop seated before him. "You don't believe me."
"Given as you just said I was lucky and then didn't elaborate, I assumed you were just talking to yourself." Cain looked up again when his charge laughed right out loud at his answer. "Something I said amusing?"
"You're a skeptic!" Mystic Man said between guffaws. "It's been so long since I've come across one, I almost forgot they still existed."
"I'm not the type to go believing something just because I'm told it's so." Cain shrugged. "Mark of a stupid man, if you ask me—not asking questions. Probably why I'm not headed for a promotion anytime soon."
"Perhaps not, but I stand by my word: you, Wyatt Cain, are a lucky man."
Cain could see that he wasn't going to get out of this until he asked what the man meant. Out of sheer bull-headedness, he slouched back in his seat, pencil tapping against the side of his mouth as he contemplated the clue for number 14 down—"A sudden brief surge of electrical power or a minor malfunction of an apparatus."
Making quite a to-do about putting his crossword puzzle down, Cain straightened back up. "Alright. I'll bite. Why am I lucky?"
Mystic Man smiled softly, but Cain noted that his eyes were more serious than he had seen in the two weeks since they had met.
"Mr. Cain, not many men are so blessed as to have two great loves in their lives. That makes you a very lucky man indeed."
"I'd take loving just the once so long as it's for life," Cain muttered.
"Unfortunately, that is something I do not see in your future," the older man sighed. "The lucky ones are always those that have the hardest road ahead, and that is equally true for you."
Cain grunted and returned to his puzzle. Two-down: a three-letter word for skin that is red, irritated, or sensitive. Easy—raw. R-A-W. Once he filled the letters in, Cain looked up.
"Any idea who these great loves will be?" he asked, only half paying attention.
"You're a smart man, Mr. Cain. I trust you'll know them when you find them. Or when she finds you, in the second case."
"Whatever you say, Mystic Man."
Two weeks later…
Cain's sister was getting married to some farmer out in the Papay fields, so he'd asked for a few days leave to go and stand with his family. The ceremony was brief, and Ruth seemed happy enough with her new husband. Truth was, though, the moment Wyatt had stepped into the clearing ringed with ribbons and flowers where his sister was to say her vows, his eyes found one of the bridesmaids. She stood with Ruth and the other women of the wedding party in her pale blue dress with white sash. Her honey-brown hair was pulled back with a matching white ribbon. Wyatt thought that smile was the sweetest thing he'd ever seen in his life.
At the big pot-luck dinner afterwards he managed to score and introduction. Her name was Adora. They danced together the whole night. A month later, Wyatt asked Adora's father for her hand.