“Thank you again, Iris. You’re saving me hours of aggravation right now.”
Iris looked up from the spray bottle she was capping off as Celine walked back out to the dining room. She shrugged a little. “No problem,” she said. “It’s my job.”
“Still, I appreciate it,” Celine said. “I was planning to do energy wards, then herbs and basically spend all night here after we close. Plus, you’re better at herb work than me.”
The small smile on the younger woman’s face made Celine even more glad she’d taken the money from petty cash to hire Iris for an hour. After the spirit – which they had all but confirmed was Roland – had gotten in, she had prioritized protecting the place from him again. Clearly Iris had been doing the same thing over at her shop for months now. She’d arrived with the exact solution she wanted to use and a plan that barely needed any adjusting.
While Celine had always liked Iris, she hadn’t actually talked to her for more than a minute at a time since last year when Iris had gotten over-eager about the curse. While she knew Iris and Roman had put their grudges to bed, Celine hadn’t been quite sure where she stood with the other woman right now. But Iris had been nothing but professional since she arrived.
“Alright, start on opposite ends?” Celine suggested. “Everything should be accessible, just let me know if I forgot to open anything. Oh, and try not to get locked out. We don’t open for another three hours, so the doors will automatically lock when they close.”
Iris nodded and picked up her spray bottle. “I’ll ring the bell if it happens, but I’ll try to avoid it.”
She gave the spray bottle a quick test spritz and a cloud of vapor came out. Celine caught the familiar scent of rosemary and bay and was once again grateful that Iris had opted for water over smoke cleansing.
Iris headed toward the other end of the dining room while Celine walked toward the back office. She sat down in the desk chair and closed her eyes, trying to relax enough to start the visualization exercises she needed to do in order to set the energy wards. The large rose quartz crystal she’d left here the past few nights had spent last night charging in the light of the full moon. She could feel the slight thrum of its energy as she rested her hand on it and began channeling her own energy into it.
It wasn’t long before she was in the zone, that trance-like state that made it easier for her to visualize the energy connecting her and the crystal. With one last gentle breath, she opened her eyes and stood up. She picked up the quartz and walked back toward the storage room.
New Winslow House of Pizza thankfully only had one floor. Usually, she and Roman grumbled a little about that because it meant the storage space was minimal. But this morning she was grateful she didn’t have to craft a two story bubble of energy on a few hours’ sleep. Roman had gotten home around one last night and his jittery energy had kept her up even after he had finally fallen asleep. So more of this morning’s protective energy was fueled by coffee than she cared to admit.
An hour later they were finished and she and Iris were seated at the first table in the dining room, splitting the pack of Danishes she’d picked up at the general store on the way here. “I think it worked,” Celine said. “The air feels calmer than it did even this morning when we got here.”
“Good,” Iris said, wiping a bit of icing off the side of her mouth. “I recognized the energy as soon as I got here. It was faint, but that was definitely Roland.”
“Any signs of him around your place since he was here?” Celine asked.
“None,” Iris replied. “My wards are pretty strong, but they’re not as good as I want them to be. So I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”
“Let me know if you want to do something like this for your shop,” Celine said.
“Thanks. I might take you up on that.”
“Speaking of cleansings and your work,” Celine started, taking a second Danish from the box. “I actually wanted to talk to you about something else.”
“Yeah. Olivia Walker.”
“What about her?”
“Have you talked to her about her ability?”
This piqued Iris’s interest. “Olivia?” she said. “What ability? I mean beyond keeping Keegan’s open. That’s supernatural in itself.”
“She’s a medium.”
Iris’s eyes widened. “No way!”
“Or at least she could be if she decides to focus on that talent. She told me she’s been seeing spirits since last winter.”
“This town just breeds us, I swear,” Iris said with a laugh.
“Cursed town in the middle of New England?” Celine said. “I’m surprised there’s not more.”
“So what’s her plan? Do you know?”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” Celine said. “She told me the other night that she wants to learn how to use it. She’s been helping spirits as best she can, but she wants to find out if professional mediumship is something she’d want to do.”
“I could bring her along on a case,” Iris said thoughtfully. “I’ve got one going at The Countess that seems pretty cut and dry.”
“I told her I’d talk to you, so I’ll get you her number before you go,” Celine said. “And I also want to hear about this Countess case.”
Her eyes widened. “Wait. That’s the one in Petersham isn’t it?”
Celine knew she was acting like an overexcited child, but the Petersham bed and breakfast was a looming presence that had fascinated her for years. “Hang on,” she said, picking up both of their coffees. “If you’ve got time, let me refresh your drink. Then I want details!”