Author Note: My time line might be off a little in this chapter. If it is, point it out please. Sorry for it being such a long time between updates. Here's to everyone who has continued to read. You've all been patient. Thank so much! Enjoy and please don't forget to review!
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"What the hell is that?" Mary-Lynnette gestured widely to the black, steaming metal cup with maroon engraved runes etched around the base.
Poppy's eyebrows pulled together in scowl as she lifted the cup and eyeballed it. She plopped down on one of the high stools surrounding the island in Thierry's kitchen. She placed the goblet shaped cup on the counter and slid it towards Mary-Lynnette. "You tell me what it is."
There was so much steam coming from the cup it looked like a small fire had ignited inside. Mary-Lynnette fanned her hand, trying to disperse the smoke-like steam, only have water droplets from the misty fog cling to her skin instead. "How should I know? God! Is this fog going to stop?" she asked, trying to pull away from the concoctions inside.
"Well, when you drink it the vapors will stop."
Mary-Lynnette scoffed. "I am not drinking that!"
"Tell me what it is Mare. Try to sniff out the ingredients-I'm trying to test a theory."
Poppy hadn't failed her yet, so she wasn't about to start second guessing her now… at least not too much. Looking skeptically down at the glass, she leaned forward, letting the thick white fog billow around her before inhaling deeply. Her eyes fluttered shut as the sweet aroma that hadn't been there before washed over her. She suddenly felt like she was at home, on a cold snowy day, sipping a hot chocolate, so thick it was almost syrupy, with cinnamon, whipped cream and… rum?
"Cinnamon, cocoa, cream, sugar and…" she said, before taking another whiff. As she spoke, each flavor seemed to settle on her tongue. Together the flavors worked, but individually it wasn't so pleasant. Cinnamon burned her tongue, while the cocoa was bitter and almost chalky. The sugar was sweet grit against her tongue and the cream was so thick she wondered if taste buds could drown. The last flavor she smelled was smooth and tart at the same time, like a piece of butter rum candy and a slice of unsweetened grapefruit. "There's something else, but I don't know what it is. It kind of tastes like butter rum with a twist of grapefruit if that makes sense."
"That 'something else' is the spell that's going to tell you the gender of your babies," Poppy said and pushed the cup closer with the tip of her finger. "You have to drink it quickly. It's not hot enough to burn you, so don't fret, but when I mean quickly, I'm talking guzzle that sucker down, otherwise it won't work."
"What was the experiment in me smelling it first?"
"I wanted to see just how heightened your senses are. You are carrying vampire babies after all. It stands to reason that your normal senses would be doubled. As a human, you would have been able to smell some of those, but you wouldn't have been able to practically taste the ingredients from that one smell. I have another theory about something else, but that one will have to wait," Poppy paused and gave Mary-Lynnette a 'hurry up' gesture. "Bottoms up!"
It was overwhelming. Something she would've enjoyed merely months ago made her gag with every gulp. The sweet tartness was all consuming and for a moment, she could see why some vampires stayed away from human food. With over developed senses they could taste every little ingredient… one extra pinch of salt could make a meal unbearably salt and the same applied with sugar. As she took the last bit, the syrupy flavor clung to the back of her throat like layers of mucous trying to suffocate her. The liquid came back up, but she managed to force it down.
Poppy, with vampire speed, went to the refrigerator and pulled out an unlabeled bottle of red juice. The instant the bottle dropped in front of her, Mary-Lynnette darted for it, unscrewing the top, and knocking back the contents. She moaned with relief as the subtle smoky flavor replaced the sticky sweetness in the back of her throat.
When the liquid contents in the bottle were almost gone, Poppy placed another one in front of her and without even thinking Mary-Lynnette repeated the process, drinking the second bottle all the way to its very last drop. She was licking the rim of the bottle like a cat lapping cream when Poppy's scream startled her.
"You're turning purple!"
Licking away the remnants of whatever those second drinks were, Mary-Lynnette frowned as she watched Poppy slam a hand over her mouth, shaking her head in horror. Curiously, glanced down, only to see the once porcelain colored skin she and Ash had treasured so much indeed turning purple. It was like a disease, spreading without a care, down her forearm to the very tips of her fingers. Swiveling in her chair, she leapt to her feet and darted towards the upper-body length mirror in the hallway.
She her face reflecting back at her, she pushed a rather pudgy cheek as the purple continued to spread. It wasn't a deep purple, it was more of a mixture of blue and pink together. Still, it wasn't everyday somebody turned purple. "I'm guessing this wasn't supposed to happen?" She managed to whisper, never taking her eyes from the mirror.
Poppy wasn't too far from her and the curly red-head looked beside herself with worry. She shrugged and shook her head. "I don't know. It was only supposed to tell us the sex of your babies."
Mary-Lynnette exhaled a deep shaking breath. "Well, maybe it did."
She closed her eyes and turned from the mirror. "Pink and blue make purple."
Poppy raised an eyebrow, looking puzzled. Her lips parted as if she were about to speak, but then she stopped and shifted her weight from foot to foot. Settling one hand on her hip, she tapped the finger of her other hand against her chin. "I-I'm not following you."
"Pink for girl, blue for boy, and I suppose since I'm having twins it made purple… could you imagine if one side of me turned pink and the other blue? I suppose I should be thankful the spell was thinking outside the box."
Poppy's eyebrows shot into her hair. "Why didn't I think of that? I'm supposed to be the witch here…" she stopped and then gave Mary-Lynnette a small smile. "Ash always did brag about you being so smart."
Mary-Lynette returned the smile and dropped her hands to her belly. "Poppy." The red-head tilted her head waiting for her to continue speaking. "I'm having a boy and a girl."
"I know. It's kind of amazing. Do you think you're ready?"
Mary-Lynnette hugged her midriff and nodded. "I'm a little younger than I would've liked, but I think I am ready."
"Good! Now, we just gotta figure out how long this is going to last."
Her heart dropped to her stomach. "How long what's going to last? My pregnancy?"
"No, though I'm fairly certain it won't be as long as a human gestation period, that's actually not what I'm worried about."
"What are you worried about?"
"You're still purple."
"Oh, well… y-you don't know how long it will be?"
Poppy shook her head and her shoulders slumping with the exhaled breath she released. "When's Ash going to be back?"
"In a few hours, and if he finds out I let you do magic on me he's not going to be pleased. He was against this you know. He said something about you being uninitiated or something."
Poppy let out a 'bah' and tossed her coppery mane behind her shoulders. "I'm perfectly capable. Just because I haven't been studying for thirteen years and am coven-less doesn't mean I can't control my powers."
Mary-Lynette swallowed the suddenly very large lump lodged in the back of her throat. "How long have you been studying?"
Poppy shrugged nonchalantly. "I'm been studying seriously for the past six months."
"Six months?" As Mary-Lynette spoke the words she almost felt the need to cry.
"But I've known for about two years that I've been a witch. I was practicing then on and off. Not that I can actually do stuff though, well that's where the fun comes in."
They were in the living room, sitting on the couch, laughing when Ash came in and promptly screamed like a little girl. Both women were so startled by his reaction that they screamed back. James rushed in, looking wildly around for the danger, but when his eyes landed on Mary-Lynnette he darted a pained expression over at Poppy before backing away from Ash.
Mary-Lynette placed a hand over her rapidly beating heart as she scowled over at Ash. "Why did you scream? Is there a spider?"
"Why does you look like that?" Ash practically growled as he turned to Poppy. "Why does she look like that? What did you do Poppy?"
Poppy clucked her tongue and raised her hands up in the air in surrender. "Why do you always assume it's me?"
He bared his lengthened fangs, his cheeks flushing red with anger, "Because it is always you!"
"Hey, that's not technically fair—" James started.
"Oh shove it you pompous ass! You're girlfriend isn't the one that looks like deranged Easter egg."
"The first two spells worked fine." The redhead shrugged helplessly, not bothering to deny it anymore. "Two healthy children and this last spell was supposed to give the sex of them, not make Mare change colors. Of course, it could mean ya'll are having a boy and a girl. We're just not certain if that's exactly what her turning that color means. It's just a guess."
"She's purple!" Ash cried out helplessly.
Poppy sucked some air in through her teeth and un-tucked her legs out from under her, getting to her feet. "I'll go get Thea," she said, before quickly darting out of the living room.
"I think this is okay," Mary-Lynnette started. "I don't feel different and I think I might be purple because blue and pink make a purple… you know? So that means we're having a boy and a girl just like Poppy said. Right?"
Apparently their rationality from earlier was not working on Ash as he jabbed his pointing finger rapidly at the floor. "No! This is not okay. Didn't I say? Didn't I tell you she was uninitiated? What if something's wrong? What if she did something? What if—"
Mary-Lynnette quickly walked up to him and silenced him with a finger pressed against his lips. "I feel fine, Ash. If something was wrong I'd tell you. Aside from the fact that I'm starving, everything has stayed the same."
"You look like a purple oompa loompa, everything is not the same." Ash snarled.
Mary-Lynette's jaw tightened and she cocked her hip to the side, folding her arms across her chest. "Did you just call me short?"