If you have a spare five minutes and want to feel warm and cosy inside, here’s a short, feel-good story for you…
Melanie’s shoulders sagged as she gazed around her gran’s cellar. “Just this room left to clear out. Then Gran’s cottage can go on the market.”
“Come on, you.” Her best friend Lizzie squeezed her arm. “We’ll have it done in a jiffy.”
“Oh, Liz,” said Melanie, the tears starting to flow. “It breaks my heart having to sell this place, but now I’ve lost my job, I can’t afford the upkeep.”
“Chin up, lovely.” Ever-cheerful Lizzie smiled sympathetically. “It’s just a house. You have a lifetime of memories of your gran. That’s what matters. Besides, the flat you’re renting is perfect for a single girl.”
“Thanks for the reminder,” Melanie said drolly. She was having a bad year. First, her wonderful gran had passed away, then she’d broken up with her long-term boyfriend, and, to top it all off, her pet cat, Missy, had got run over.
Two hours later they were still boxing up her gran’s belongings when she spotted a pile of small glass phials tucked in a corner, each filled with coloured liquid. Trust Grandma Maude to keep a hoard of lotions and potions, she thought, remembering fondly how her gran had always believed in magic. She used to tell Melanie about spells she and her friends had cast that had miraculous and sometimes hilarious consequences. Melanie had loved the stories as a young girl, but as she’d grown into a teenager, she’d rolled her eyes at Gran’s far-fetched tales.
Tears threatened to fall again. I’d do anything to listen to one of her stories now. She placed the bottles in a box and realised they’d been sitting on top of an old book. Curious, she blew off the dust, and opened the cover.
“Ooh, what’s this?” Lizzie crouched next to her, black bin liner in hand.
“Spells to bring good fortune,” Melanie read from the inside page. “Hmm, definitely for the skip.”
“No way!” Lizzie pulled the book from Melanie’s grasp, and looked pointedly at her. “We’re keeping this one. I know someone who could do with a dose of good luck.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Melanie tutted. Just because I was made redundant and split up with Jason doesn’t mean I need to resort to witchcraft.”
“And don’t forget your cat got run over.”
Melanie pulled a face. “I could hardly forget, could I? Anyway, all that magic malarky is a load of rubbish. Just something Gran used to do with her friends for a laugh. It doesn’t really work.”
“We’ll see,” said Lizzie, nestling the book in the box marked ‘KEEP’.
“That wine tastes a bit funny.” Melanie wrinkled her nose and peered at her glass.
“It was on offer at Nice Buys,” Lizzie replied. She took a sip from her own glass. “Tastes okay to me.”
Melanie shrugged. “After all the clearing out we did today, I’m just grateful for a drink.”
Lizzie plonked herself down at Melanie’s kitchen table, just in time to see a sleek, dark creature sneak through the open front door. “Ooh, look! That moggy’s come to see you again. I think she wants to move in.”
“Oh, not her again,” said Melanie, her harsh words contradicting the reassurance she felt as the black cat curled her soft warmth against Melanie’s ankles, and purred.
“I thought you’d be pleased,” said Lizzie. “Since you lost Missy, you could do with a new feline friend, and it would be good to give a stray a home.”
“No way,” said Melanie. “I can’t bear to fall in love with another pet, only for something to happen to her and it break my heart again.”
Lizzie patted her hand. “With all that negative thinking, you’ll create your own bad luck. Maybe you should give your gran’s spell a go…”
Melanie nearly choked on her wine. “I’ll do you a deal,” she said, wiping her chin. I’ll consider keeping the stray if we agree there’ll be no more talk of magic.”
Lizzie bent down and scooped up the cat, who nuzzled her furry head under Lizzie’s chin. “I knew you couldn’t resist,” she grinned.
Melanie pushed the vet’s door open with one hand, while juggling the cat carrier in the other.
“Ah, who have we here? Melanie and Maude, I take it? The question is, which is which?”
Melanie looked up into the brownest eyes she’d ever seen. Wow! She wasn’t expecting him. The handsome young vet introduced himself as Rob, Doctor Green’s son, who had taken over the surgery after his dad’s retirement.
She explained Maude, whom she’d decided to name after her gran, was an adopted stray she’d brought for a check over. Rob was so gentle with the cat and—much to her surprise—seemed interested in her owner too. Before she knew it, she’d told him all about her recent run of bad luck.
“I think you need cheering up,” he said, as he gave Maude a clean bill of health. “How about I take you out for dinner tonight? My treat.”
Feeling chirpier than she had in months, Melanie practically skipped all the way home. Perhaps her luck was changing after all. Despite the sorry state of her bank account, she decided to stop at her favourite boutique. Grandma Maude was always richer in love than money, but she’d left Melanie a small amount that she’d kept aside. A new outfit for her date tonight might be just what she needed to pull her out of the doldrums.
There was a lovely lady working in the shop, who she hadn’t seen before.
“I have just what you need for a romantic night out,” the lady said, and pulled out a beautiful black dress that Melanie instantly fell in love with.
“Do you know, love,” she said to Melanie, “I could do with someone as smiley and cheerful as you to work here. The girl who used to manage the shop for me has left to have a baby. Would you be interested?”
Melanie jumped at the chance. A new pet, a hot date, and a job in her favourite boutique, all within twenty-four hours. With money coming in, she might not even need to sell Gran’s cottage. Her luck was definitely changing.
A car’s horn beeped, and Melanie peered out the window. Rob had arrived exactly on time. She caught her reflection in the glass. She had to admit, she looked and felt amazing in her new dress. Stopping briefly to pick up her handbag from the kitchen counter, she spied her gran’s old spell book. She’d keep the book in memory of her beloved grandmother, but there was no point in every trying a spell—it was all a lot of old nonsense. You made your own luck. Today was proof of that.
It was gone midnight when Lizzie received a text message from Melanie saying what an amazing night she’d had with the handsome young vet she’d met that day. He’d even asked to see her again at the weekend. Lizzie smiled. After her terrible year, Melanie deserved some happiness. She’d felt a bit guilty yesterday about mixing up a magic potion she’d found in Melanie’s gran’s book, and slipping it into into her best friend’s wine. But she knew the spell would bring Melanie good fortune, because, unlike her friend, she believed magic really did work. And today was proof of that.