Winchester Legacy Series: Hocus Pocus
Caleb was in the front seat; his two prisoners in the back were silent. They were supposed to stay with him for five days, but after the stunt they pulled he wanted to bring them home immediately—enough that he borrowed the Ames Corporation private jet to return them home. He couldn't bring himself to feel guilty about it; he and his father sat on the board but rarely involved themselves in the large corporation. Caleb was going to suggest a private jet for Tri-Corp. He still owned shares in the company and did consulting work. Private jets did come in useful.
"Uncle Caleb? Are we almost there?" asked one of the two guests in the backseat of the rental.
"Yes, and your fathers are going to meet us. They're not going to be happy. I'm not happy," Caleb growled back, keeping eye contact through the rearview mirror. That silenced them again. He also read their thoughts, and they were starting to understand there were going to be repercussions for their actions.
The expression sight for sore eyes came to mind when he entered New Earth even though it had only been forty-eight hours since he had been to the farm. The dogs came to greet them. Caleb opened the door for the girls and they scooted out, dolls held tight with their heads down. He pointed them to go first, seeing Josh's car and Sam's were in the drive.
He entered the house last; the girls had gone to each of their fathers for protection. Jocelyn was clinging to Joshua; Mary was trying to use her father's height to her advantage.
"Do you want to share with us what is going on?" asked Joshua.
Caleb was wearing a knit hat in the heat of a warm spring. He didn't dare remove it, still didn't with the audience of Dean, Sam, and Joshua plus the boys. JT, Max, and James were coming down the stairs, having heard him pull up. He was only lucky that Ben was not at home.
"You need to fix this," he said as he pulled off the hat to reveal vivid pink hair. It looked horrible with the olive skin tones.
Dean had to sit down as he convulsed in laughter. Sam smiled, then his mouth dropped open. The boys looked stunned, JT the only one wise enough to school his features. James and Max reacted much like Dean.
Joshua pulled Jocelyn away from him at an arm's length. "What did you two do? I told you to stop doing that spell on the hamsters."
Josie nodded, pulling on her most innocent expression. "You did not say we could not do it on Uncle Caleb."
"Holy sh-" Max began, then cleared his throat as his father gave him a stern look.
"What spell?" Sam asked, taking stock of his daughter but directing the question towards Joshua. "Mary's doing spells?"
Mary enthusiastically nodded her head. "It's fun, Daddy."
"Joshua—" Sam started.
Caleb could see the girls were trying to divert attention away from him. "Hello, back to the guy with pink hair." Caleb glared at Max when his comment caused the teen to snort.
"He started it." Josie pointed at him.
Caleb was dumbfounded. He had volunteered to take them to New York City for the spring break for a few days. It was supposed to be an adventure for them. How did that warrant the involvement of his hair? "They're terrors. No more American Girl store—ever." Caleb crossed his arms. He hated that store.
"No!" Mary began to chant, and Josie joined in. The cacophony made the men wince, but they also were hesitant to stop the two little tyrants.
"Calm down," James said, restraining Mary while Max stopped his sister. The atmosphere quieted down.
Dean seemed to come to himself, squared his shoulders. "What happened?"
Caleb sighed. He hadn't wanted to come to the farm with pink hair. There was a huge embarrassment factor. "I wouldn't have called if Esme was around. But she and Mac are on their, what, fifth honeymoon." Caleb shook his head. He was happy for his father and Esme, but they seemed more of a unit than independent from each other. It was annoying. "Those two need to stop."
Joshua rubbed a hand down his face. "Thank you for the image burned into my mind now."
Caleb shrugged his shoulders. This was all Joshua's fault, so he was fine with causing the other man discomfort. "All I know is that the Wicked Witch of the West and her Dark Apprentice did something, and now my hair is pink. Pink!" He pulled at his hair in frustration. "I tried to wash it out, then I tried to get them to fix it." Caleb narrowed his eyes. "They didn't know how to."
"He was mean to us." Jocelyn had her arms crossed; Mary mimicked the same action.
Joshua also crossed his arms over his chest. "What did you do?"
"Nothing!" Caleb protested. The two little girls were treated like angels by the men, though they had been warned by the women it would backfire. "Me, mean to them? Please."
James was standing by his cousin but had tilted his head, staring at Caleb's hair. "Shouldn’t we take a piece of your hair and study it, maybe put it in the Tomb?"
Caleb put his hand up in a stop position. "No. Go away. Bunch of heathens, all of you. JT's my only heir now."
"Hey, I didn't say anything!" Max stated.
"You want to take my picture." Caleb pointed to his head, reminding the boys of his psychic ability. "I know!"
Max lifted a shoulder in surrender and smirked. It had been exactly what he was thinking for future blackmail purposes. In the end Caleb would have them training for hours. He was not a pushover when it came to his nephews.
"Boys, if you are going to stay, sit down and be quiet," Dean ordered, making eye contact with each boy before focusing again on Caleb. "Damien, you need to calm down. You're scaring the girls."
Caleb noted that Josie and Mary looked nonplussed. "They're scary!" Caleb began pacing to contain himself.
"Joshua, can you make some sense of this?" Sam asked.
Joshua sighed. "Jocelyn learned a simple spell that takes only a few ingredients and changes the color of things."
"She practiced on her hamsters," Max added, then quieted again when Dean cleared his throat.
"I told her to stop," Joshua said to Jocelyn. She did not flinch at the accusation.
"And Mary?" Sam cocked his neck towards his child.
"Mary is welcome at the coven. She plays with the other children, and I am guessing she learns things," Joshua explained.
"I taught her the spell," Jocelyn said proudly as she held hands with her best friend. "Mary likes pink, too."
"I don't want her learning about witchcraft." Sam ignored Jocelyn.
Mary stood on her tiptoes to bring the attention to her. "I like it, Daddy. It's fun, and they're all nice."
Sam shook his head, then rubbed one of his eyes. He was going to give in to Mary; he always did. "I wish you had told me."
"I should have discussed it with you. But Josie and Mary spend so much time together that I guess it was inevitable," Joshua added.
"Maybe they should take a break from each other." Caleb knew Sam's experience with Ruby was ruling his reaction. Joshua's coven had helped them out many times, and Joshua and Esme were examples of good witches.
"No! Daddy," Mary exclaimed, eliciting a second round of whining from the girls.
Caleb watched the conversation and was becoming frustrated at being ignored. "My hair is still pink," he reminded the girls' fathers of his predicament over the high pitched yelling.
This time it was JT quieting the girls. "Why don't you two sit down? Do you want something to drink? Chocolate milk?"
Mary wiped under her nose with her hand. Jocelyn gave a baleful nod. They took their seats and accepted the chocolate milk in silence.
"I think I would call it magenta, more than pink." Max snapped his fingers. "Or wait—fluorescent pink. I wonder if it will glow in the dark?"
"Watch it, Max," Caleb reprimanded his nephew.
"You already disinherited me."
Dean bent down to be at the girls' level near their chairs. "Can one of you tell me why Uncle Caleb's hair is pink?"
Mary licked her lips before answering, "We wanted to do blue, Uncle Dean. Blue for boys, pink for girls."
James stifled a laugh with a cough. Caleb still recognized what it was.
"Okay, thank you, Mary, but Uncle Caleb's hair is black." Dean tugged playfully at Josie's darker hair.
"There's some white, too," Josie added.
"Because of you two." Caleb pointed at the young offenders.
Mary looked at her best friend, then lifted and dropped her shoulders. "He kept saying 'one minute'."
"We counted to sixty, and he said wait a minute," Josie explained, kicking her legs back and forth. "We did not like that girl."
"We like Maureen," Mary said as if this was clearing up the situation.
Caleb tried to remember when he told the girls to wait a minute and who Maureen was.
"What are you exposing my daughter to?" Joshua said with accusation in his voice.
"Who's Maureen?" James asked before anyone else could.
"The cupcake lady!" the two girls replied in unison.
Caleb rolled his eyes. It all came back to him. "She owns the bakery where the girls buy their cupcakes." He had committed a travesty against the girls and Maureen by flirting with the clerk at American Girl. He had even scored Ella's phone number but didn't recognize the girls had been upset about it.
"She makes special ones—an M for Mary and a J for Josie," Mary started and Josie finished.
Magnolia Cupcakes was the girls' special place right after American Girl. However, if the girls were going to get him in trouble for flirting, then he would get them in trouble, too, petty as it may seem. "Maureen also knows that you’re the Scholar and Josh is a witch."
This time it was Dean shaking his head. "Girls? We talked about this before."
"But we're not supposed to lie," Mary pouted.
"Girls," Dean said with more of a warning tone that he was not going to be swayed by Mary's similarity to young Sam.
"Sorry, Uncle Dean," Mary relinquished.
"Sorry," Josie added quietly.
"Can you fix this?" Caleb pulled at his hair.
"Yes, it's simple," Joshua stated. "Max, go to the car and get my bag, please."
Caleb clasped his hands together and cracked his knuckles. That got Max to leave in a huff.
"You taught Josie something and not how to undo it?" Sam was reaching his hand out to touch Caleb's hair when Caleb smacked it out its trajectory. No one else was getting near his hair. Maybe he was lucky Mac wasn't around. He would have been his father's science experiment.
"No, she knows," Joshua answered.
Josie had the good judgment to wiggle in her seat. Caleb felt no sympathy.
"We want you to be nice to Maureen," Mary came to the defense of her friend. "She likes you."
He had talked to the woman. She was attractive and always gave him a cookie when he brought the girls in. His nieces thought this was enough to play matchmaker. "This was all a plan?" Dean started was guffawing, and his kids were joining in the merriment. If the Guardian was laughing, then it was okay for everyone to laugh. "Shut up, Deuce."
Max returned with Josh's satchel and noticed Dean's chuckling. Max beamed a wide smile.
Joshua did not return the smile when he accepted his bag. "I think you owe Uncle Caleb an apology. What you did was not very nice; especially after all he does for you."
Caleb was surprised because it was infrequent that Joshua reprimanded the girls—that anyone did. The younger boys always complained that the girls got away with murder.
Mary and Josie looked saddened, their bottom lips quivering. "We love you, Uncle Caleb."
"I'm sorry," Mary added.
"I'm very sorry, too," Josie stated, then with a sidelong glace to her father said, "Are we going to be punished?"
"Yes," Joshua replied, then turned to get a bowl from the cupboard.
"Will you ever take us to American Girl store again?" Mary's eyes glowed with tears.
Caleb crossed his arms. He was not going to give in to them. They would not play him. "I don't know. I think you have to earn it."
"What if we make you cookies?" Josie asked, batting her eyelashes at him.
Carolyn, or Esme when she was visiting, helped the girls to bake so it would be edible. "It's a start."
"Why don't you two wait for us upstairs?" Sam said to the girls.
They headed up the stairs with their heads bowed. The remaining men watched them go. Joshua handed the bowl to Caleb. It contained murky colored liquid with a pungent scent of cinnamon.
"Am I still disinherited?" Max asked from his position near his best friend, JT.
Caleb rolled his eyes. "Talk to me after you've run ten laps."
"What if we make you cookies?" James added, showing his dimples.
JT pulled his brother up. "You guys need to know when to shut up," he grumbled.
"There's a double standard," James whined, protesting being pushed outside.
"Of course there is," Caleb replied matter-of-factly. He could never imagine getting the girls to run laps. "Get going."
At the kitchen sink Caleb poured the mixture over his head. Josh hadn't said anything so for good measure he rubbed it in to make sure he had covered all his hair. "Do I leave it in or just rinse?"
Caleb fumbled for the hot and cold knobs but was not about to ask for help again. The lukewarm water ran through his hair. Standing, Deuce threw him a towel. He wanted to run to the bathroom and check out the color, but instead he pulled a strand forward to see his normal, natural color. No hint of pink.
"When do you think you'll let them off the hook?" Sam pointed upstairs. The girls were probably in James's room awaiting their fate.
Dean snorted. "Knowing him, the first time they send Damien a picture that they drew."
Caleb did have quite an
art collection started by Max. He would never admit he saved them
all. "Don't forget the cookies, Deuce."