Chapter 1: I.
The shuffling of the paper was disturbed when he cleared his throat, earning her full attention again, even if she found him actually distracted with his notes. It didn’t take long, though, for the reporter to raise his blue eyes to her and smile.
“I believe that would be all,” he said, then extended her a hand, “Thank you very much for talking to us, Mrs. Foxx.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Carter. Thank you for giving us your time,” she replied as they rose. “Just one thing”
“Yes, ma’am?” he got his pen on his breast pocket.
“The name is Goode now, I’ve been legally divorced for a while,” she said, a small smile on her lips, eyes on him.
Carter chuckled, head tilting a little. “As you wish, ma’am.”
Footsteps announced Queenie, “Should I accompany Mr. Carter and his crew to the door?”
Her head turned just enough, “That would be really good, Queenie. Thank you. And thank you again, Mr. Carter,” she gave him a small nod.
“Mrs. Foxx,” he replied.
“It’s Goode, Mr. Carter,” the black witch said. “Come on, I’ll show you out.”
The Supreme sighed as she watched them leave.
Benson’s black boots stopped beside her, “I guess it was too good to be true. At least he was disrespectful. Mostly.”
“It could have been worse, yes,” said the headmistress. “I guess I should have expected that.”
“What? The name thing?”
“It’s not just that, you saw those questions about Hank and about my mother.”
“I’m going to play positive and say that maybe young witches are curious and this has nothing to do with them thinking we’re all freaks for being witches and single.”
Cordelia half grinned. “I guess that’s what Salem felt like.”
“At least we’ve got Netflix,” deadpanned the younger witch.
“You should really be careful with all this concentration. You see, this one time we had a young student impale herself on the gates while testing her transmutation,” Myrtle smirked as she joined the witch queen at the balcony of the master bedroom.
The redhead lit up a cigarette, “You know, I can almost hear the gears turning on your mind, dear. What is it?”
“I’ve worked to make my girls comfortable and safe for almost a year, now I’m afraid I’m the one harming the image of this coven and hurting innocent girls in the process.”
“Have you seen the interview that aired last night?”
“The one with that horrible looking man? Mike? Dennis? Cary?”
“Ah, yes, he reminds of Trump,” she rolled her eyes, “What about it?”
“Questions came up. Questions about marriage and children.”
“A single witch on her thirties. It’s not unheard of.”
“It isn’t, but I’ve gone public, I’ve made myself known. I’m a Supreme, it isn’t common to have one of us without someone at their side.”
“I believe a single woman is an improvement since your predecessor. Fiona had one different man on her arm each year.”
“But there was always someone.”
Smoke escaped from the old woman’s lips, “I’m afraid this has gotten far too deep into your head, darling. I didn’t believe ‘single’ would ever be a synonym for ‘issue’ ever again, yet here we are.”
“Times have changed, people didn’t”
“‘People’, now that’s a synonym for ‘issue’. However, you’re still the leader of all witches, this shouldn’t be a concern.”
“Witches have been accused of sexual deviance before.”
“And homosexuality has been called a ‘disease’”
Goode faced Myrtle. “How many girls will I fail to protect because their parents are prejudicial towards witchcraft, aunt? How many will I fail because of my pride?” she took a deep breath, ran a hand through her head, licked her lips. “I can’t do that anymore, I can’t take this. Something must be done.” she headed towards the door.
“And just what are you going to do?” Snow’s voice stopped her.
She looked over her shoulder. “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
Chapter 2: II.
Kyle Spencer cleared his throat, drawing the attention of the witches.
“Mr. and Mrs. Duncan and their daughter, Mistress Supreme,” he announced.
The trio entered the room not hiding their wandering eyes; the young woman towards the witches, her parents towards the house itself.
“Good afternoon,” greeted Cordelia with a smile. “I’m Cordelia Goode, the Supreme of witches, and headmistress of this academy. These are Zoe Benson, Madison Montgomery, Queenie, and Myrtle Snow, my council. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
The man smiled widely. “I’m Brian Duncan, this is my wife, Sara, and my little girl, Brianna.”
“I believe we spoke on the phone,” Zoe smiled at Brianna and her father.
“Shall we begin?” suggested Cordelia.
Myrtle took a seat at Cordelia’s left, instead of her usual spot on the right, which had Benson raising an eyebrow. The redhead sat beside Madison and immediately pulled out a cigarette, shooting Mrs. Duncan’s attire a long look before turning away. “How did you learn about the academy?” she asked lighting up her smoke.
“Oh! A friend of mine, Claire, she saw you on the news!” Brianna held her own hands tight as she beamed at Cordelia. “She told me everything about it, after…” her cheeks became tainted with pink, “After what happened to me.” she lowered her eyes.
Madison rose an eyebrow, “What happened?”
“You see, we go to church every Saturday for years and Brianna loves the hymns, she knows them since she was four. Well, this particular Saturday, our pastor asked her to go forward and sing for us. Next thing we knew the curtains were on fire,” the man smirked, “I always knew she had a strong faith, but not like that.”
“She scared everyone,” spat Mrs. Duncan glaring at her amused husband, she kept her arms tightly crossed around her form. “This Claire girl was the only one willing to talk to us and all she did was talk about this witch nonsense. Brian and Brianna insisted we come, but I have yet to see a good witch on the Lord’s book.”
Madison rolled her eyes.
“I told my wife Claire was right, but she had to see it for herself.” Mr. Duncan explained.
“I can assure you, Mrs. Duncan, that our academy doesn’t teach religions of any kind.” the Supreme didn’t falter on her smile or on her calm. “We’re here to help gifted girls like your daughter to understand and control her powers.”
“And trust me, fire is much more fun when you learn how to use it the right way,” Madison smirked at the young redhead.
Sara Duncan shifted on her seat. “I don’t know, I want my girl going to church and not scaring off the boys with this… With this witch thing!” she protested.
“Brianna will be able to have a much more normal life if we’re allowed to help her,” said Zoe, “And I’m sure that, like me and many other witches before, she’ll find someone who loves her just as she is.”
The door was willed open and smiling Mallory and Misty came in with trays on their hands.
“Excuse us,” said the Cajun.
“We got everyone drinks,” Mallory announced, while Day set tea before the Supreme and her council.
“Mallory, Misty, these are the Duncans, their daughter is a young witch, Brianna, she would like to join our coven.” introduced Cordelia.
“It’s nice to meet you.” smiled Mallory.
“You’ll like it here, the girls are nice and Miss Cordelia is an awesome teacher,” Misty added.
A wave of heat painted the Supreme’s face a hue of pink, she felt the need to clear her throat.
“About the marriage thing,” said Mr. Duncan, “You used to be married, didn’t you, Miss Supreme? I believe you had another name,” asked Mr. Duncan, his wife tensed once again. “Yes, I think I saw it on that Carter show.”
“I used to, yes,” Cordelia replied.
“What happened to him?” Mrs. Duncan pressed, one eyebrow raised.
“He wasn’t a good man,” Day said, she shifted closer to the headmistress, she gave the Supreme’s shoulder a squeeze. “He tried to hurt our coven.”
“He’s dead,” Queenie said.
“We didn’t kill him, though, if that’s what you’re asking,” Madison said, lighting up her cigarette.
Brian chuckled, “No, of course not.”
His wife watched the witches closely.
The young Duncan shifted on her feet, “Well, so…” Brianna began, “When can I start?”
The group went their separate ways as Mallory headed back to the kitchen with the trays, while Zoe and Misty showed the academy to the Duncans.
“Do you think she’ll stay?” Queenie asked Cordelia.
“Her father likes us, she might stay.” the Supreme observed.
“Well, I’m glad her mother isn’t, she knows shit and her fashion sense is a nightmare.” Madison rose from her seat.
“I almost went blind at that poor excuse of an outfit,” agreed Myrtle.
“I’m done and off to my room,” Montgomery said. “That was enough for a day”
“Me too,” said Queenie.
Cordelia nodded and watched them leave, her gaze lingering.
“Cordelia,” begun Myrtle.
“You saw that. You can’t deny it,” she faced the older woman.
“You have to think this through,” said Snow when the headmistress rose.
“I do have to think,” a weak smile appeared on Cordelia’s mouth.
She left the room without another word.
Chapter 3: III.
The door opening created a cold breeze that made Goode feel exposed.
The intruder who had disturbed whatever delicate peace she was hoping to find at the greenhouse took a moment at the door. “I thought I’d find you here.”
Day’s voice made her turn, not so cold anymore, a small smile appeared in her lips when she saw the two mugs the swamp witch had brought with her.
“Thought you’d like one,” said the Cajun as she sat the tea on the work table before the older woman. She sat on the bench nearby and blew at her drink.
“Thank you,” Cordelia focused on the liquid.
“Are you feeling alright?” prompted Misty.
The Supreme smiled, “Am I this easy to read?”
“I pay attention,” the swamp queen tilted her head, “Do you wanna talk?”
The headmistress shifted on her feet, she met the younger woman’s eyes. “I think I’m hurting the coven.”
Both the other witch’s eyebrows rose, “I doubt you could do that if you wanted to.”
Goode’s shoulders went down a bit, her smile growing. “I wish you were right.”
“Is this about that marriage thing?”
Cordelia faced her.
“I do pay attention,” reminded the Cajun, “I hear that lady wasn’t exactly nice.”
“She was taking care of her daughter.”
“Oh, I have seen mothers like her before, Miss Cordelia. This kind of care isn’t nice. It’s not good for your head.”
The Supreme licked her lips, then bit them down a bit. “She still has a point. Witches have been accused of having intercourse with swine. How can she be sure this isn’t true?”
The swamp witch furrowed her nose at the mention of sex with pigs. “And what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugged, sighing, “I don’t know what to do. The reasonable thing would be to go out on a date.” she eyed a rose, touched its petals.
“And you don’t want to do that.”
“The new school year is coming, I have a lot to do to prepare, I don’t have the time or the mood to go dating-- Ouch!” her digit bled after a brush with a thorn.
The Cajun jumped out of her seat. She took the Supreme’s wrist. “Let me see,” she analyzed the wound, “You’ll be fine. No man needed. Here.” she kissed the injury, when Goode looked, there was nothing there. The only evidence left was the blushing of her features and the long gaze she exchanged with the Cajun, who laid a hand on her cheek. “Anything else I can do for you, Miss Supreme?”
The headmistress grinned, then tilted her head, “Well, it depends, are you single?”
Misty opened her mouth to answer, but the door opened and cut her off. Mallory rushed inside.
“Hey, I was looking for you!” she said, “Sorry, did I interrupt something?”
“Not at all,” beamed Day, she eyed the vase on the younger woman’s hands. “What do you have here?”
“This is what I wanted to talk about.” Mallory sat the vase on the working table. “This lady down the street is moving away, she gave me those violets, I could feel her love for them, so I just had to keep them, the thing is…”
“They won’t survive the winter.” Supreme and Cajun said. Mallory blinked.
“Exactly,” she sighed, “I wondered if there was anything we could do. I thought maybe feeding it off with magic through the cold days.”
“It would require a lot from you, you’re a student and a rising Supreme, I can’t allow that.” objected Cordelia.
“Would tire out a single witch, yes, but what about two?” offered Misty.
“I still can’t have Mallory do that, Mist”
“I’ll do it,” said the Cajun.
“Not on your own”
Day shot the mistress a look, “Join me, then? We’re both fully grown witches.”
The Supreme found both women watching her expectantly. “Fine”
They smiled widely.
“Thank you, Miss Cordelia,” Mallory said.
“Come,” the headmistress caught one of Misty’s hands and buried it in the dark soil, along with her own. “Repeat after me.”
The air crackled around Mallory as Goode and Day chanted in their best Latin, the hairs of her arm stood, the violets grew fuller and their color became stronger. A tremor shook the young witch’s body and she felt her feet touch the floor once the other two went silent, unaware she had been lifted in the first place.
Misty shivered before she met Cordelia’s gaze. “Thanks, Miss Cordelia”.
The headmistress smiled, then turned to Mallory. “I’ll leave you with some homework. I want you to research the meaning of violets, the historical one and the magical one, as well as their properties. Let me know what you find.”
“Okay,” grinned the young witch.
Goode faced Day, “Thank you for the company. I have to go now, I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.”
The Supreme made her way out.
Chapter 4: IV
Grand Chancellor Ariel Augustus sat in the living room of the academy. His dark eyes studying the clear decoration of the room, it matched the other rooms he had seen. All of them flooded with natural light that just bounced off the white walls.
The sight of the butler accompanied by Supreme Cordelia Goode created an interesting contrast as black seemed to be the color of choice on the mansion.
“Grand Chancellor Augustus,” smiled Goode.
“Mistress Supreme,” he replied and watched her sit across from him.
“Would you like something to drink? Coffee? Water? Tea?” she offered.
“Ah, no, thank you,” he dismissed with a hand.
Cordelia turned to the expectant butler. “Tea for me, Kyle, please.”
He nodded and left.
“San Francisco is quite distant from New Orleans, I wonder what made you take such a trip,” she tilted her head.
Ariel smiled, “I was in town, actually, taking care of business. As you’re aware, the new school year is coming, but this one is not a regular one. I believe you’re familiar with the proceedings of the MWA. I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t since your predecessor wasn’t one to attend to it.”
A smile appeared on the features of the headmistress, it didn’t reach her eyes. “Fiona wasn’t interested in such matters, yes, but I’m well aware of the Meeting of Witchcraft and Arts.”
“Then I’m sure that you understand its importance, especially as a new Supreme.” Augustus prompted.
Her smile widened, “Oh, yes, Chancellor. I’m very glad to have one happen this year, there’s much to be discussed about the education of our witches and warlocks, I’ll be happy to hear about how the academies are doing and how we may help them get better and safer for our students.”
“Excellent,” said the chancellor. “I found it appropriate to make the invitation in person. Though, I have a question, if you’ll allow.”
“Please, go ahead.”
“Publicity has forced us to expand in the number of academies. This year’s Meeting will be held at Hawthorne’s and, as you might imagine, our space is quite limited for the number of new instructors that will be visiting us. We’re asking for confirmation on the invitations. Now, I know the Meeting will take place only in a couple of months, but we like to prepare. Surely, there will be places for our Supreme and her council, but I need to be aware of your companies.”
“I’ll have my council confirm their presence as soon as possible, but not many of them will have a plus one with them. With the exception of Ms. Benson, she might take her partner.”
He nodded, taking out his phone and writing down. “So, she’ll be the only one with a plus one. You know, I always worried about that, with your mother, she always had someone different at her arm, I wondered if she would ever come up with one of them at her arm. I take you’ll be going alone.”
“No,” she declared, “No, I’ll be taking my partner as well.”
Augustus blinked a couple of times, “Oh,” he started typing down his phone again. “Very well. Hm, do you believe anyone else on your council will take a companion?”
“I highly doubt it,” she replied.
“Well, then,” he stood up, “I’ll have the details of the Meeting sent to you as soon as possible.”
She rose to her feet. “I’d appreciate that.”
There were footsteps
“It was good to see you, Mistress Supreme.”
“Likewise, Chancellor,” she stated. “Coco,” she called the passing woman.
“Yes?” asked the witch.
“Would you accompany Chancellor Augustus to the door, please?”
“Grand Chancellor,” he corrected with a smirk.
Vanderbilt tilted her head a bit, giving him a look, but kept her smile. “Of course. Come with me, please.”
Kyle reached the living room shortly after the pair had left. “Mistress Supreme?”
“Take the tea to my office, Kyle. Thank you.”
He complied and the Supreme was left alone with her thoughts.
Chapter 5: V
No, surprisingly enough, I'm not dead.
Here, have this.
It probably was the light escaping from under the door that betrayed her, because as soon as she saw Misty enter her office with sandwiches and juice, she knew she had been busted.
The Cajun closed the door behind her and didn’t wait for permission to sit across from the Supreme after she had set their late snack in front of her.
“Thank you,” Cordelia muttered, a hint of heat on her cheeks.
“I didn’t see you at lunch nor at dinner, all I saw was Kyle looking worried as he came in and out of here with tea,” said the swamp witch, “I thought you should at least eat something solid if you wouldn’t have a proper meal.”
“You didn’t have to, Misty.”
“Maybe, but I did anyway,” she relaxed only after the Supreme took the first bite out of her sandwich.
Cordelia sighed, laid her elbows on the table and sipped her juice. “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
“Ariel Augustus was here this morning, he is our Grand Chancellor. He came to invite me for a meeting we have to discuss how the academies are doing, money, changes, publicity, and all of that,” she said, “The meeting will be at his academy this year, Hawthorne’s, on San Francisco. He wanted me to give him an idea of which one of us would be there, and he wouldn’t stop commenting on my mother’s less than ideal behavior regarding these things,” she took a breath, “I told him I was taking a partner. I just straight out lied to my Grand Chancellor.”
Misty blinked, “He sounds important, why would you do that?”
“He’s a petty man in a position of power. The worst part is that he’ll be responsible for inviting everyone to the Meeting.”
“He’ll tell everyone.”
“And I’ll be lucky if this becomes known only among witches and warlocks.” she declared. “I can’t just call and say it was a mistake, he heard me loud and clear, I made sure of that. Now our whole reputation might go down the drain.”
“What are we going to do?” the Cajun asked.
“I have no idea.”
Misty started pacing around the room. “How long until the meeting?”
“A couple of months, why?”
Day stopped at the desk, “I’ll do it.”
Goode paused, “Do what?”
“You asked if I was single, I am. I can do it.”
“Misty, I didn’t mean it, you don’t have to do this.” she rose.
“We need to, Miss Cordelia,” insisted the swamp witch.
“I made a mess, Mist. You don’t have to clean it up.”
“But I can and I want to, we can do this together. ”
“And then what?”
“We pretend to break up.”
“Just like that?”
“We can do it, Miss Cordelia.”
“Think about it, it’ll help you and it’ll help the coven.”
The Supreme sighed, “You don’t have to be dragged into this chaos.”
“You were there for me when no one else was, you cared when no one else did. Let me pay you back.”
“You have nothing to pay me back for, Misty. God knows I failed you--”
“You never stopped looking for me,” she intervened.
Goode’s eyes widened. “How do you…?”
“The girls talk, Nan told me too. I was brought back because of you, because you cared.”
“Let me help. I’m asking you to do this for me, Cordelia.”
Cordelia sighed, then sat back down on her chair. “We would need rules.”
Day sat down, “Of course.”
“First of all, this wouldn’t leave this office. No one could dream about what we’re doing here or this would blow up in our faces. Second, we’d need to be convincing, so we’d have to be seen together.”
“We could get married.”
The headmistress faced the swamp witch. “Misty!”
“We don’t have to do anything, but getting married will make everyone believe.”
“Even if we were to get married, we can’t do it now, it would need some time.”
“We have time, we can do it, Miss Cordelia.”
“I don’t want things to be weird between us.”
“Then let’s make rules for it.”
The Supreme blinked a couple of times, she pressed her fingers on her eyes. “This is too much information for a single day.”
“You know we could make it work.” said the Cajun.
Goode sighed. “I need to think about this, Misty. This is risky.”
She saw the swamp witch nod. “Alright. Think about it.”
The headmistress drew another breath. “I need some sleep. Come on, it’s late. Let’s go to bed.”
Misty was right behind her when the lights of the office went off.