Don’t Laugh

“Promise you will not laugh,” Juniper said.
“Open this door. I’m freezing my tutti frutti out here,” Rowena answered.
“Promise not to laugh first.”
“Girl I ain’t playing. It’s cold and my feet are pinching in these new curled toed boots. I don’t know what I was thinking. They cute though.” Rowena did a little tap dance and joy sprinkled into budding crocuses in the frost tipped ground in front of Juniper’s door.
Silence. Then a faint sniffle.
“JuJu honey what’s wrong? I promise not to laugh.”
“Promise you’ll turn into a bullfrog if you so much as giggle,” Juniper said.
“I pinkie promise.”
The round ornate door opened slowly on its own. Rowena stepped into her mentee’s underground lair. Carved into a gentle slope hillside, Juniper’s lair was typically pin neat. Today everything was higgledy-piggy. Framed prints askew, spider plant broken on the floor, and her Doris Day vinyls splashed across Juniper’s hi-fi.
“Hell’s bells JuJu. Where are you, Honey? It looks like a herd of squirrels through a rave in here.” Rowena surveyed the disarray.
An adorable tan squirrel in a bridal gown complete with lace veil and train crept out from beneath the sofa. “Scurry a group of unrelated squirrels is called a scurry. But you never have a group of unrelated squirrels since squirrels are fiercely territorial. A family of squirrels is a dray,” the flocked rodent said with Juniper’s voice.
Shimmering Day Glow green, Rowena collapsed into laughter. The bushy tailed creature leapt around in an endearing circle of fury.
“Went, Went. You promised!”
Rowena wiped the tears from her eyes. She croaked and then snapped her fingers thrice. “Sorry but you could have warned a witch. Tell me what spell you used this time to try and please someone because you don’t think you’re enough.”
“Basic glamour 3A Elphaepha,” Juniper said. “I wanted to be the cutest thing ever but not this.” Her fluffy tail twitched.
Goosebumps raised up and down Rowena’s arms. She sniffed the air. “And?”
“With a spritz of Love Potion No. 5 behind the ears.” The squirrel hung her head in her darling tiny claws.
A heavy swirled wand appeared in the master witch’s fingers. Rowena made a figure eight with her wand. Limb by limb, Juniper transformed back into herself. The twenty-something apprentice sat in crumpled heap of a white wedding dress. Juniper bursted into tears in Rowena’s arms.
“Enough of that. When is your date due to arrive?”
Juniper popped up and looked at the messy room. “I really did a number of this place. He’ll be here in fifteen.”
“All right, I get the room tickety-boo and make myself scarce. Tomorrow we will go over mixing earth spells with selkie enchantments, okay honey. I can tell you you are perfect the way you are but I can’t believe it for you but I will say wearing a wedding dress isn’t the best way to snag a warlock.” Juniper ran to her bedroom, ran back to give her friend a quick hug, and ran back to her bedroom to get dressed.
Hand on her hip, Rowena watched her scurry away. With a decisive clap the room became cleaning itself. Rowena took off her curled toed boots and walked home barefooted remembering being young and being young and excited. Pink and scarlet, a folly of geraniums sprouted in every step.

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