Chapter 1: Death
“Radical change is coming and you cannot live always in the shadow of the past.” -Golden Threads
Chaos magic takes the stage once more, unsettling Zade, Charles, and Zeb. But with as fantastic an act as it is, rejecting it would lead to more questions than Charles can give answers to.
Everyone chattered as the day dawned, warm and hot in Las Vegas. Zade grinned as she watched quite a few people pass through the auditorium. None, she thought smugly, were as impressive as her own audition. Then again, none of them could use real magick.
There was a break before the last few auditions in order to change for the rehearsal and show that would occur afterwards. In her red velvet cloak and pitch black dress studded with shining rhinestones, Zade felt like the queens she was named after. And, in a way, she was kind of royalty. Maybe her father would let her add a tiara to her costume? A silver one with rhinestones and pearls. Or maybe rubies to match her cloak with black onyx and silver wire. So many options!
So lost in her musings, Zade hadn’t realized the final three had walked in until they said anything.
The one that had spoken was a girl, likely the same age as herself, with deep red hair and light copper skin that matched the two boys she was with. The taller of the males had light blonde hair, clearly dyed. The slightly shorter one had hair that was nearly white, also dyed. All three had sparkling green eyes. Beautiful by anyone’s standards. Zade stared at the tallest of them, the one with blonde hair, fascinated by the way his hair curled just a little at the tips.
“Mind if we use one of the dressing rooms?” The girl asked. Her voice brought to mind the cool oasis of a vast desert. They all carried bags with them, clearly for their costumes. “Our clothes are made from sensitive materials, so we didn’t want to get dressed in the bathrooms.”
That made sense, Zade supposed as she shook herself, reminding herself that she had enough troubles in love without adding this mysterious beautiful blonde to them. She certainly wouldn’t want her own dress to touch the floor of a public bathroom. Or any bathroom really.
“Of course,” Charles said, eyes fastened on the three. He seemed… nervous? Zade couldn’t think of any reason her father would need to be nervous around them. They were just random people after all. It was audition day, they had seen plenty of acts. These three, while gorgeous, were just the last one.
“Zade, show them to your dressing room please.”
“Wait!” She blinked. “MY dressing room?”
“That is what I just said, yes.” Charles said. “Quickly please.”
Stunned, Zade complied. Why couldn’t they have used Sofia’s dressing room? Or maybe one of the ensemble’s? Why hers ? Were they special?
Zade instantly dismissed that thought. It was probably just because hers was closer to the stage. Yeah, no doubt that was why.
She returned to the stage once she unlocked the door and let them in. Zeb and Charles were whispering to each other. Sofia and Mac were looking on, eyebrows furrowed. They were as confused as Zade was. Why the fuss over these three? Did Charles know them somehow? Did Zeb?
A few minutes passed, no more than five maybe, when the three returned to the stage. Zade’s jaw dropped, as did many others no doubt.
The girl’s torso was completely bare, only a bra like top covered in gold coin type decorations covering her chest. Her arms were bare as well. A skirt sat low on her hips, a scarf of some kind with the same coins tied over. A slit in the skirt made itself known as she went up the steps onto the stage. The whole outfit was dark red.Both of the boys were also dark red, both of them wearing what were known as harem pants with gold coin scarves tied around their hips. Both were shirtless. All three carried cloth fans, folded and each in a different color. The white haired boy carried a pair of burnt orange fans. The blonde held red, and the girl held yellow.
What really caught Zade’s attention were the tattoos.
Pitch black against their light brown skin, the tattoos swirled over their upper bodies, stopping just along the collarbones and below the wrists. The intricate swirls reminded Zade of the designs she had on several of her tank tops.
“Henna,” she heard Sofia whisper to someone, probably Mac if his noise of agreement was anything to go by.
If there was any meaning to the designs, Zade couldn’t find them. But they were undeniably beautiful, just like the wearers.
Music started, something Middle Eastern, a hypnotizing drum beat that brought deserts and stars to mind.
The fans unfurled, revealing veils attached. The trio began to dance. Just like the music, they started off slow and picked up their pace. The coins on their hips jingled, adding to the ambience. Slowly, it became clear to Zade that these were not ordinary performers.
They were like her. They had magick . And they were using it too.
Fire began to spark, picking up with the tempo of the music. The inferno grew, forcing murmurs of concern from the assembled viewers. As the music reached its peak, it became a swirling vortex that reached up towards the ceiling. Zade wondered if it would affect the catwalks or platforms.
Suddenly, the song ended and the fire vanished.
“They’re gone!” Someone gasped.
A short whistle came from the back of the room and Zade whirled around.
The trio were standing at the very back, near the emergency exits.
“Yoohoo.” The girl wiggled her fingers at them.
Everyone began to clap and cheer, awed by the illusion. Zade felt unsettled by it. What was that ? She wondered as the three bowed. Was that chaos magick? If so, how did they have such a control over it? No one she knew about could control it as good as they could. The one time she had tried, she nearly died!
“Wow!” Tad said enthusiastically. “That was almost as cool as your audition Zade!”
Zade relaxed a little, smiling at her friend. At least one person still thought her audition was the best. Maybe they came from somewhere different, where such things were more freely taught.
“I think it’s safe to say,” Charles’ voice carried over the din of everyone’s questions. “That you’re hired. All three of you.”
“What’re your names?” Sofia asked.
“Cala Al-Amin,” the girl said.
“Jason Al-Amin,” the blonde said.
“Sora Al-Amin,” the third said.
“We’re triplets!” They chorused in perfect unison.
Ok , Zade thought begrudgingly. That was kinda cool . There hadn’t been any twins, let alone triplets, in her hometown. And she hadn’t met any of either in Vegas. Well, until now at least.
“We’ll be right out after we change.” The trio left to put their street clothes back on.
“Pretty awesome, huh Zade?” Mac grinned at her. “Do you know how they did that?”
“Not a clue.” She begrudgingly admitted. “But it was interesting.”
The three returned, wearing casual jeans and shirts. The tattoos were covered now, though edges could be seen peeking out at the edges of their sleeves and under the collars. Instantly they were swarmed by cast and crew, except Zade of course. And Tad, her best friend was loyal like that.
Jealousy chewed at her as she spotted an enthusiastic Jackson chatting with Cala and Mac with Jason. Sofia was chatting with Sora for some reason. A lot of the others were also butting in, questions floating around.
“How old are you?”
“Where are you from?”
“What sort of dance was that?”
Not even ten minutes passed before Charles hopped on the stage and called everyone to attention, reminding them to get in place for rehearsal.
“Cala, Sora, Jason, if you would like front row seats-” he began.
“No thank you,” Jason interrupted. “People already paid for those seats. And we’re all tired,” he added, resting his hands on his siblings shoulders. “We really just want to get to our hotel and rest.”
“And do paperwork,” Sora added, quippy and quick.
“What hotel?” Zeb suddenly asked, dark eyes fastened on the trio.
“Luxor,” Cala said, tucking red hair away from her face. “Next door.”
Zade gaped. Did they have family money or something? All she had been able to afford before her audition and hiring was a cheap motel on the outskirts of the city.
“If you want, you can move here,” Charles said. “For free. All new hires can, until you find a more permanent residence.”
“That would be lovely actually,” Sora decided. His siblings didn’t protest, though judging by the look Jason gave him, they would be talking later.
“We’ll go get our things.” Cala said, effectively stopping either of her brothers from starting anything in front of the others. “You guys go get our stuff, I’ll check us in,” she directed them.
Mac called for everyone to get to places and the trio vanished in the melee.
Chapter 2: Reversed Wheel of Fortune
“A seemingly unstoppable series of events has occurred and they are not in your favor.” -Golden Threads
Zade and Dela check the cards as the triplets celebrate and Charles’ past comes back to haunt him. Literally.
“The look on Father’s face!” Sora gasped as he threw his bags to the floor of the new hotel room. A suite with a Jacuzzi tub big enough for the three of them, a balcony, and two California King beds. There was also a mini fridge, a coffee pot, and a microwave.
“The look on our dear sister’s face.” Cala said, a savage grin on her face.
Jason headed straight for the mini bar, pulling out three little bottles of tequila with a grin.
“To our success,” he toasted.
“Success!” The other two chimed. In perfect unison, they all downed it.
Sora shook his head and threw open the balcony door, letting the hot wind blow in.
“I almost feel as though I’m back in Tel Aviv,” he sighed, flinging himself in a chair.
“Mm,” Jason agreed as he leaned against the doorway, half in half out. “I miss the heat.”
“I miss the markets,” Cala sat on the bed near Sora, tilting her head back as more dry wind blew in, stirring her hair. “Fresh spices.”
“Old Katz’s baba ganoush.”
“Pita bread in the bakers stalls.”
Sensory memories plunged them into childhood, childish cries of delight and the taste of fresh pita bread in their mouths. It was a wonderfully intimate moment for them, remembering the place they had left as children to go live in London with their mother’s family.
“We’ll go back one day.” Sora’s eyes flicked to Cala, tired amusement in his jade iris’.
Jason smiled at his siblings and closed the balcony doors as the wind stopped.
“Shall we feast?”
A perk of the deal to stay at the hotel for free meant they could order a decent amount of food, so long as it wasn’t too expensive. They couldn’t get lobster thermidor but they could get three orders of bacon cheese fries and grilled cheese sandwiches without too much worry. (Not that they would get it anyways since they were all allergic to shellfish.) Jason went to a store to get ice cream, coming back with a gallon of chocolate ice cream with chocolate fudge swirl and the fixings for Shirley Temples.*
That night, bellies full and pleasantly buzzed with more alcohol, the trio fell asleep in the same bed as if they were children. It had been years since they had, not since the night before they turned thirteen.
Zade looked over the cards, unnerved by the draw.
The Tower, Death, and Justice. All cards of change. Negative change with all of them showing up at the same time. Just like the triplets that auditioned today. Change in three.
She frowned and shuffled them back into the deck, spreading the cards into a Celtic cross.
The same three cards again, several other cards in the reversed position too.
This wasn’t good. Zade bit her lip and looked them over anxiously. A reversed Hierophant meant restrictions and bad choices had been made. She wasn’t sure why that was in the spread. She had made excellent choices! Well, except for one she hadn’t made yet. Jackson had texted her again, asking her to stay at his place for the night. But Mac was already coming over to hers so she needed to let him know she wasn’t free.
The reversed Page of Cups made no sense. Her inner child was a rare sight.
Zade sighed wistfully at the thought being allowed to act like a child. Being in such a well known magic show, doing the main illusion no less, was draining and didn’t leave much time for being a child. The only time she could fathom acting like a child was on the camping trips but even then there wasn’t much time what with the drive, setting up camp, and scuba diving. (Though she often left setting up her tent to the last minute and would just use her magic instead.)
Reversed Fool didn’t make much more sense either. Dangers? The girl with the Lamborghini hadn’t reappeared and she was doing just fine after her near death experience with the chaos magick. And really, the only one affected by those moments had been herself.
Though, she had to smile as the thought crossed her mind, her near death experience had gotten her parents back together. So she guessed it might mean that. A warning to stay away from chaos magick rather than to dabble in it again.
With a sigh, Zade swept the cards back into the deck and shuffled them back into a horseshoe.
No answers again. Maybe she needed a new deck?
Zade sighed once more and put them back in their bag. She would call her mother tomorrow and ask for a draw, see if she could find anything better.
Dela frowned at the cards. She couldn’t sleep for some reason and had decided to consult the cards, to see if anything bad might be keeping her awake.
She was right.
Tower, reversed Hierophant, and Death. Not a happy draw. She swept them back into the deck and tried again.
Reversed Justice, Reversed Wheel, and Death again. Dela began to get a little nervous. She hadn’t exactly been focusing but her thoughts when drawing were often on Charles and Zade. Why would such cards surface for them? Perhaps she should call them to check in. Normally she would do so on Mondays and Fridays but with cards like these, it wouldn’t hurt to call sooner.
Charles grimaced as he picked up the phone. “Dela, love, now isn’t a good time,” he said, looking at the paperwork for the triplets. The name Al-Amin stared up at him in bold script from three separate pages, followed by the names Jason Tetsu, Cala Astra, and Sora Barak. Names he had thought he would never see again.
“-and the cards are telling me that bad things are coming,” Dela was saying as he shuffled the papers.
“Dela, love, I have to go,” he said abruptly. “I’ve got paperwork to file for the new hires and then I have to check some technical things with Mac.”
Dela was silent for a moment. “Alright dear, I love you.”
“I love you.” He hung up and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes.
“Father?” His eyes flicked open at the soft voice. “Father.” He sat up and looked down, stunned to see Cala, four years old again with her brothers at her side, ready for bed.
“Father,” said Jason this time. “Aren’t you going to tuck us in?”
Charles closed his eyes and shook his head. “This isn’t real,” he muttered. “This isn’t real.”
“Charlie,” their mother’s voice broke in. “Won’t you come to bed?”
His eyes flew open to see… nothing. The children were gone, their mother an impossible phantom. He shuddered and put the papers in the appropriate folder for new hires. This could wait until tomorrow. He needed sleep to deal with all of this.
Sleep and a good amount of whiskey.
Shirley temples are sprite and maraschino cherry juice mixed together, often with cherries added. Vodka may also be added.
Chapter 3: II of Wands
“The transformation of vision and ambition into planning and progress. Starting to move into a way forward.” -Golden Threads
Things begin to move forward. Cala looks at her cards. Mac meets Jason to discuss the “illusion” the triplets pulled off. Zade has a fit over her mother’s reading.
Cala woke up on the edge of the bed, Sora’s fluffy white hair in her nose. She snuffled and sat up with a yawn, noting that it was only five, and yet, the sky was dark gray instead of pitch black. She stretched and yawned, shuffling off to the bathroom to piss and take a drink of water.
Her hands wet, she padded back to the main room, rifling through her bag to find her tarot cards.
The deck was old and worn, the edges crinkled with time. Smoothing her hands over the cards, she got back into bed, shuffling them as she thought about the plan. Revenge was often said to be useless, or, when being approved of, best served cold. She disagreed. Revenge was about to be served in white hot flames and for the whole world to see.
She laid out three cards.
Justice, Death, and Wheel of Fortune.
Cala smirked and picked up the Justice card, flipping it between her fingers,
Oh yes, Justice was coming for her father. Her father and her dearest half-sister.
“Cala?” She glanced over to see Jason’s tired green eyes blinking at her. “Cals, wha’ ti’e izzit?” He slurred.
“Not time to get up yet,” she whispered, reaching across Sora to brush some of his hair from his eyes. “Go back to sleep Jay-Jay.”
“Only if you do,” he challenged.
Cala smiled and returned the cards to the deck, putting it on the bedside table before snuggling under the covers. “Love you Jay,” she whispered.
“Love you Cals,” he mumbled.
“I love sleep,” Sora quipped, voice muffled by the pillow.
Cala snickered as Jason groaned and rolled over. Mornings like this, she thought, were what made having two brothers one of the best things in life.
Zade tapped her foot as her mother picked up. It was early in Vegas but her mother would be awake in Tennessee with the two hour time difference.
“Zade,” her mother’s voice was relieved. “Sweetheart, I was just about to call you.”
“Can you do a reading for me?” Zade blurted out halfway through her mother talking about her most recent customer.
Dela paused in surprise but agreed. “Just let me get my cards.” There was some creaking noises, a muttered curse when she stubbed her toe on the table, and finally she was sitting down with them. “What should I look for dear?”
“Anything good?” Zade asked hopefully. “I tried last night and they kept coming up with negative cards. I think my deck hates me,” she tried to joke.
Dela was silent but Zade could hear the cards swishing as they were shuffled.
“Oh baby, I’m not seeing anything good,” Dela sighed. “Negative change, and something bad. I got Justice Inverted for some reason, just like last night.”
“Last night?” Zade frowned. “You did a drawing last night?”
“I couldn’t sleep,” Dela said, a little defensive. “So I did a quick read for you and your father. Justice Inverted popped up then too. I tried to tell him but-”
“Wait, but you didn’t call me?” Zade demanded. “You did a reading on me but you didn’t call me, even when it was negative as hell?”
“I thought you would be on a date with Mac or Jackson,” Dela tried to explain. “I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“I don’t care!” Zade snapped. “If you do a reading on me and find that it’s bad, you should call and tell me! Or, hey, maybe text!” She hung up and threw her phone down on her bed with a huff. Why didn’t her mother call her? She fumed as she stomped to the shower. It was her life in question! If the draw was negative, she deserved to know. Just because the cards weren’t specific or anything didn’t mean she didn’t want to know. She deserved to know!
She’d talk to her father about it after the first half of rehearsal.
Mac grabbed the papers for the new hires and headed to the meeting room, finding only the blonde of the triplets there with a large Starbucks drink in front of him. (A “venti” as it was known, which drove Mac insane every time he had to order.)
“I’m Mac Kent,” he introduced himself. “I’m the technical director.”
“Jason Al-Amin,” he said with a dazzling smile. “Lovely to meet you.”
“Uhm,” Mac frowned and shuffled his papers. “I was under the impression I’d be meeting with all three of you.”
“We were supposed to all check out an apartment after this meeting.” Jason’s tone was apologetic. “But our agent called and said that the couple who was supposed to view it before us cancelled so our options were either see it now or wait a week.”
Mac nodded. Vegas apartment real estate was competitive.
“If you truly require that Sora and Cala be here,” Jason continued. “Then we can always reschedule this.”
“No, that’s not necessary,” Mac quickly said. “So long as you have all the details.”
Mac sat down next to him and pulled a pen out as Jason began to explain.
The whole illusion relied on precise timing and everyone being too distracted by the “fire” to notice the three of them sneaking along the back of the theatre. The trio had practiced in an old theatre in London. Even though the setup was different, the idea was the same.
“Wait,” Mac frowned at the drawings. “This theater setup was way different than the stadium, how did you guys manage to shift the trick dimensions?”
Jason merely sipped his drink, soft brown-pink lips quirked in a smile around the straw. Mac was suddenly aware that the blonde was wearing lip gloss as he spotted a pink imprint on the green straw as Jason set it down and started talking about how the fans acted as a distraction technique for the projections starting up. Now aware of the lip gloss, he couldn’t stop staring at Jason’s mouth, the way the pink contrasted with his light brown skin.
“Ahem.” Jason cleared his throat. “Mac, are you paying attention?”
Mac shook himself and blinked a few times. “Y-yeah! Sorry, I was just-”
“-a little distracted?”
He flushed at Jason’s teasing tone. “No!” He said a little harshly. “Let’s finish this up, I’ve got other stuff to do today.”
Jason didn’t seem to take offense, instead just nodding and giving the rest of the information in short, succinct answers. Mac felt a little bad for snapping. He just felt more than a little weird about his own reaction to the fact that Jason clearly wore makeup outside of performances. It made him wonder if the blonde was naturally pretty - a word he hardly, if ever before now, ascribed to other men - or if it was artificial.
He decided such thoughts were better forgotten and that he would visit Zade during lunch.
Chapter 4: Knight of Cups
Knight of Cups: “A man who is in touch with his emotions and intuition and is channeling them into action. It can signal an arrival or an invitation into something that will be cause for celebration.” -Golden Threads
Sora left wardrobe and casually wandered around the back halls of the theater, humming and grinning. Cala and Jason were still getting measured, having arrived a little later than he had since they were each scheduled ten minutes apart.
Sora paused and glanced to the side, shooting a smirk at Cam. “Thanks,” he said, turning to face the brunet. “It’s not one you would know,” he added.
“Try me,” Cam challenged.
“ Arabia , by Hanine .” Sora smirked as Cam realized he didn’t know either the song or the artist. “A favorite of ours.” He twirled a finger to indicate his siblings.
“Guess I’ll check it out.” Cam drawled, leaning against the wall.
Sora leaned next to him, ruffling his white hair as he looked at Cam. “You should check out more music like ours. It can be… an experience.” His lashes fluttered a bit.
He did truly believe it though, he wasn’t just saying it to flirt. There were some songs he couldn’t listen to without crying. Not from memories associated with the song or anything, but because it was such beautiful music, the artists pouring their hearts into it and by extension, creating an intense experience for the listener.
“What kind?” Cam leaned in, like he was daring Sora to move back.
Sora didn’t move, instead smirking at the brunet. He could feel Cam’s breath fanning over his face. “Any kind you want,” he whispered. “I might even be persuaded to give you a private dance if you like.”
Cam’s pupils dilated, to Sora’s delight.
“Well I might take you up on that one day,” he breathed.
The radio on Cam’s hip crackled and Sora pulled away, smoothly shifting so his back was against the wall. “Guess you should answer that,” he commented, checking his nails.
Cam groaned and nodded, answering Mac’s second call.
“There’s a problem on level three rigging, come take a look.”
“See you around,” Sora murmured, winking at Cam as he left.
He stayed against the wall for a moment, playing with his phone while he waited for his siblings. Or perhaps someone interesting. Whoever came first.
As it happened, Jackson needed to put his acoustic back in his dressing room. Zade had borrowed it again and while he didn’t mind, he wished she would put it back when she was done. Sora was leaning up against the door, hips rocking slightly as he jammed to the music playing in his head. Jackson half expected him to start dancing right there in the hallway.
Sora glanced at him from under dark eyelashes. “Hey.”
Jackson shivered at properly hearing his voice. Back in the auditorium, over all the din, he hadn’t properly heard the combined Israeli-London accent that the triplets had. Now that he could, he would describe it as a desert covered in mist.
“You’re Sora, right?”
“Ye p .” Sora popped his lips around the letter. “You?”
The white haired male smirked. “Is that a question or an answer?”
Jackson laughed and shifted the guitar on his back, drawing Sora’s eyes to it. Jackson noticed and tapped it. “You play?” The brunet asked.
“No.” Sora shook his head. “I play the Nay .” At Jackson’s confused look, he sighed, having obviously explained the instrument a thousand times. “It’s like an Arabian flute. In Farsi, the name translates to ”reed”. Incredibly difficult to master. But a good player can produce an amazing array of sounds.” He said it like he was reciting a script.
“Oh. Never heard of it.” Jackson shrugged.
“Of course not,” Sora said, not unkindly. “You’re American.”
“Sora!” Cala and Jason were finished with their measuring. “Come on! We need to get to the viewing.” Cala was struggling to repin her hair back into the updo that had been knocked astray by her shirt being roughly pulled off and on.
“Coming!” Sora hauled himself up from his slouch and stretched, shirt riding up to show off a peek of his sharp hips and pale brown skin. “See you around.” He said to Jackson before heading to meet his siblings.
Jackson set the guitar back in its holder and pulled out his phone, googling nay music. Four videos and a string of articles popped up. Curious, he clicked over to YouTube and typed in the same keywords. Clicking on the first video, he didn’t expect much. An ad loaded first so he grabbed a soda from the mini fridge and had just popped it open when the music began.
He cocked his head to the side, stunned at how emotional the music was.
While a guitar could be played without emotion and still sound amazing, this instrument was clearly the opposite. Whoever was playing it was… sad, but sweet. Hopeful. His soda now forgotten on the vanity, Jackson sat down, engrossed in the story the music was building. It wasn’t a story he himself knew, but one made of pictures.
A vast desert and a lonely traveler wrapped in black silk, leaving only their brown eyes and hands exposed. A tanned hand clutched the reins of a camel, tugging the animal along. Bags hung from the camel’s back, a sword hilt sticking out from one. The traveler wanted to go home. They carried presents in the bags, for their family. Gold and other jewels jingled with each step of the camel. Finally, over the dunes, a city of tents could be seen. The traveler hurried, despite the weariness in their brown eyes. Cries of delight sprang from the first person that spotted the traveler. Some exited their tents to wave. From one tent, two small children exited, followed by an adult, a baby in their arms. The traveler handed the reins to one of the others, pulling the bags off as the children reached them. The traveler greeted their children, pulling the smaller one into their arms as the bigger one tried to lift one of the bags. The traveler seems to laugh as they pull the bags over their shoulder, the small child curiously poking the sword hilt. The traveler is at peace with their children in their arms and their lover approaching. The lover’s eyes were green.
Jackson jerked out of the story as someone knocked on the door, calling his name.
“Jackson!” Drew called again. “Dude, come on. We gotta run audio.”
“Coming!” He called, clicking out of the browser. With a shiver, he vowed to listen to more of the music.
“Who was the guy?” Jason asked as they waited for their Lyft.
“Jackson.” Sora leaned against the cool bricks of the theatre.
Cala tapped his ankle with her foot. “Can you-?” She turned her head to let Sora fix her hairdo. “Isn’t Jackson in the house band?” She asked.
“Lead singer if I recall correctly.”
Jason glanced at his brother, raising an eyebrow. “Already picking your new toys?” He asked dryly.
“You wanna trade?” Sora retorted as he finished fixing Cala’s hair.
The Lyft pulled up and Cala rolled her eyes at her brothers. “Petty fights later. Apartment finding now.”
Honestly debating between Jackson and Cam for Sora’s main love interest. Lemme know which you would prefer in the comments.
Chapter 5: Queen of Wands - Reversef
Queen of Wands - Reversed: “You are either surrounded by or embodying an aspect that represents all of the negatives of a determined, bold character. What internal insecurities are making you act jealous, angry, or resentful?” Golden Threads
Later that same day, after the grueling first half of rehearsal, Zade beamed as Mac approached and kissed her cheek. To her relief, Jackson was busy tuning his guitar and didn’t see. Sofia was chattering with Mel, some inane girly thing Zade couldn’t bring herself to pay attention to, so she was grateful Mac was there to distract her.
“Good rehearsal?” She asked sweetly.
“Yeah. No glitches this time,” he said.
Zade grinned, pleased until she spotted Mac’s eyes straying. Glancing over her shoulder, she spotted Jason entering, his brother and sister alongside him. Mac seemed uncomfortable when he met Jason’s eyes, looking away quickly. Jason didn’t seem bothered as he settled into one of the nearby chairs, Cala between him and Soren? Sorrel? Zade didn’t remember the third one’s name.
It wasn’t important anyways, she decided.
“Mac, weren’t we going to lunch?” She prodded him.
“Huh? Oh right!” Mac shook himself. “Yeah, come on. I was thinking maybe that new vegan joint? Just to see if vegan tastes as bad as I remember,” he joked.
“Vegan is a perfectly good diet,” Sofia interjected just a little loudly, frowning at Mac. “It just needs proper spicing and a good cook.”
Cala slipped over and added, “The problem with a lot of American vegan places is they don’t look to cultures with a wide variety of meatless dishes and adapt from there.”
Sofia’s eyes lit up as Cala continued. “Arab and Greek meals can be veganized so long as the cheese and meat is removed but American vegan restaurants in big cities like Vegas often don’t look to such cultures for inspiration. Instead they just keep trying to change American food to a new medium it was never designed for.”
Mac and Zade stared at her, stunned that she was so passionate.
“You’re vegan?” Zade finally asked.
“No, I like pizza too much.” Cala sighed. “But I don’t like when vegan is dismissed just for being tasteless when it doesn’t need to be.”
“I know an amazing place,” Sofia said excitedly. “Wanna try it?”
“Sounds wonderful,” Cala said. “Perhaps tomorrow? My brothers and I already ate.”
“Where were you guys? You vanished from wardrobe earlier.” Mac’s eyes wandered again.
“Apartment hunting. We’ve narrowed it to three apartments.”
“Where?” Zade was intrigued. Apartments for three must be difficult.
Sofia, Zade, and Mac all stared at her, eyes bugging out of their heads. All three apartments were some of the most expensive in Vegas. Tesoras was a $1,150 minimum a month for a basic one bedroom. Zade didn’t even want to imagine the price for a three bedroom.
“I personally like Xander but we’ll see.” Cala wandered back to Jason. The third (Sorkin?) was chatting with Cam, leaning against the wall with a flirty smile.
Zade recoiled at the realization. A side effect of growing up in the south and being regularly lectured on sins. It wasn’t her fault, she reassured herself. Just an old holdover.
“Let’s go.” Mac tugged at her arm. “Maybe something other than vegan.”
Zade shook herself and smiled at him, letting him pull her off. The triplets sexual orientation wasn’t her concern after all.
A few days later, the triplets announced that they had moved into their chosen apartment and would be hosting several parties to ensure they met everyone in the cast and crew.
“Wardrobe is invited first.” Cala said, her green eyes flicking over the group. “Then rigging plus lighting. Automation is after that. And lastly, the main cast and house band.”
“Gifts not required,” Sora chimed in. (Zade had finally sucked it up and asked Mac.) “But always appreciated. Nothing over twenty dollars please. Then we would have to hold another party!”
Jason lightly smacked his younger brother. “What he means to say is: don’t feel obligated to make it expensive,” he said firmly. “We’re doing this for fun, not for gifts.”
“The party was amazing!” Lil gushed to Zade the following Thursday as she made sure the dress was still fitting right. “They are such good cooks! It was the best meal I’ve had in a long time! Have you ever had fusion?” She continued to chatter on about how good the cooking was and how the triplets were amazing interior decorators.
“It was like I was in Greece!” She enthused. “But also Israel. I think they might have missed their calling.”
Maybe, Zade thought sourly, they would decide on a career change. Soon.
“I think I want something a little more exposing,” she said aloud.
Lil paused mid gum pop and looked at Zade in surprise. “You sure? That’s not your usual style.”
“Well I don’t want to look like a slut!” Zade scoffed. “I just want something that’s a little more eye grabbing is all. You know, show off my hips a bit.” She waved at hand at her midriff. “Maybe something like one of those two piece homecoming dresses.”
“Oh!” Lil perked up. “Like Cala’s audition outfit!”
Zade pressed her lips together. “Yeah,” she forced out. “I guess. But less-” slutty.
Lil clapped her hands and squealed, cutting Zade off. “Oh I can’t wait! I’ll start drawing up some stuff!”
Zade left wardrobe, scowling as she wandered the halls back towards her dressing room.
“Hey Z!” Zade instantly brightened, smiling at Tad.
“Hey!” She gave him a hug. “How’s the auto rehearsal going?”
“Taking a break. The catwalk engines are overheating,” he pretended to wipe sweat off his brow as Zade giggled. “I’m going to the triplets party tonight,” he continued. “I don’t really want to go, but hey! Free food. Plus my wife wants to.”
Zade was quiet, a scowl on her face as she listened. Tad noticed and patted her arm.
“If it makes you feel better, I don’t really want to go,” he repeated.
“Really?” Zade instantly smiled.
“Yeah. Not a fan of ethnic food. Besides, those three are weird. Who the hell can afford an apartment at Gramercy before their first paycheck?”
Doing writing sprints with friends is so much harder when you're not actually writing and are instead looking at Vegas apartments. @ My FBI Agent: No I am not looking to move to Vegas, I am just looking so I can properly write about them.