"Kismet?" Lenora called from the front room.
Shoving his romance novel under the table, Kismet stood up and resettled his robe as he walked through the beaded curtain and into the front room. "What's up?" he asked, joining her behind the counter.
"You've a customer," she said, nodding towards the back of the store. "And he's one of the pretty ones."
Kismet gave a long-suffering sigh, but glanced in the direction she'd indicated anyway. Dark curly hair, broad shoulders, strong profile, tidy suit, yup, he was one of the pretty ones. Not that it made any difference at all. "What's he paid for?" Kismet asked.
Lenora shrugged. "Fifteen minutes."
"Mhm," Lenora said. "He also mentioned that he's never been before."
"Oh," Kismet said with far more bitter humor than he'd intended, "I just love the first-time disbelievers who I need to prove myself to."
Lenora tsked. "Don't be like that," she said. "He's a paying customer."
Kismet huffed, but put the bitter attitude away for later, double-checked his hair in one of the fancy mirrors hanging around, and went to meet the newcomer.
The man turned as he approached, looking briefly startled as he took in the young man standing in front of him.
"Hello," Kismet said, bowing slightly. "I am Kismet the Sage." His parents may have named him Saige Thomas Lindson, but they hadn't anticipated this line of work. "I am told you seek a reading?"
The man nodded. "Tim Valasky," he said.
Kismet bowed again. "It is a pleasure," he said. "If you will follow me?" He swept his hand in a grand gesture that ended indicating the door to the back room.
The beaded curtain made a faint clicking noise as they passed, the sound sending little shivers down Kismet's spine—he loved that sound. The room had been changed slightly since he'd left. Lenora had slipped in and changed the lighting around, making it dimmer, with the barest hint of red in the light. She had also changed the multi-colored tablecloth for the black velvet that Kismet used to read cards.
Dramatically making his way around the table so that his robe spun out just so, Kismet surreptitiously checked his seat for pins, whoopee cushions or small crystal balls before seating himself. Lenora was a mischievous one when the mood struck her, and Kismet couldn't break the illusion by standing up again to remove the object from his chair.
"What would you like the reading to focus on?" Kismet asked, picking up his cards and shuffling them.
Tim grimaced as though he wanted to say 'you tell me'—which Kismet was painfully sick of hearing—but instead he sighed. "Love, I suppose."
"Ah, you are recently single?" Kismet asked, which was generally a good guess with someone trying something new, especially if that someone was as good-looking as Tim Valasky.
Tim shook his head. "No, I'm constantly single," he said. "But if I could get some advice on how to change that…" he trailed off.
Kismet smiled at him, biting his tongue on several comments. "Let us see what the cards say, shall we?" he asked, placing the deck on the table between them. "Cut the cards," he said.
Mr. Valasky looked at the cards as though they might bite him, but he reached out and split the deck nearly in half before pushing them back across the table slightly.
Kismet flipped the top card over and began the reading. Tim Valasky hadn't had any serious loves for a long time, possibly since high school—or it might have been college, sometimes it was hard to tell those two apart. His last love had ended on a sour, but not angry, note, and he had been drifting ever since.
All hope was not lost, however. Perhaps Tim was presently single, but soon he would meet—or he had met recently—his next love and, if he were careful, it would prove to be a long and fulfilling relationship, both sexually and emotionally. But he needed to act quickly, because he had only a very small window of time during which he could win the attentions of this person.
Ending the telling, Kismet rubbed his eyes, which were burning from studying the cards in the half-light. Blinking and finally able to see beyond the table, he looked up at Tim Valasky and smiled. "Are your questions answered?" he asked.
Tim nodded slowly, "I believe so," he said. "Thank you, Kismet," he added before showing himself out.
Kismet watched him go, then snickered at himself, flicked the lights fully on again and pulled his book out to resume reading.
Kismet watched his latest customer walk out the door. She hadn't heard quite what she wanted to hear, so her back was stiff and she almost quivered as she walked. At least she'd had the sense not to blame the messenger.
She was a nice lady, one of the regulars, and Kismet had wished he'd had better news for her, but…he was only a vessel, yada, yada, yada.
The shop was so slow this afternoon that Lenora had slipped out for an extended lunch and left Kismet there alone. Normally he didn't mind, but he'd finished his book, completed his homework, and was bored out of his mind.
He was almost bored enough to clean out the glass case under the counter.
But not quite.
Sighing to himself, Kismet rested his head on his hand and leaned on the counter.
Maybe he'd get another one of the pretty customers today. That would at least provide a bit of amusement, something to day dream about, as he wondered at their lives and made things up about them based on the small window to their life his cards and other Tellings showed him.
Like that man from yesterday—what was his name? Tom? Tim? Was he going to figure out who his love was? Would he be successful at courting this person? Was she a woman? Or a man?
Would T-pretty come back in for more advise in a few days?
Kismet snickered at himself. Regulars returned up to once a week. Random people off the streets? They never came back.
The bell over the door jingled, and Kismet glanced up, pasting on a friendly smile as a 'welcome' strangled in the back of his throat. It was 'T-pretty'.
Kismet cleared his throat and tried the welcome again, this time tacking a 'back' onto the end of it for good measure.
The man hovered awkwardly inside the door for a moment, looking like he wanted to say something.
"What can I help you with today?" Kismet asked, in his friendliest voice, his smile turning genuine.
The man- Tim, it was Tim, wasn't it?- cleared his throat and smiled weakly back. "I didn't realize you'd be at the counter," he said.
Kismet shrugged. "Even psychics do mundane things from time to time," he said, hoping the joke would go over well.
Tim gave a weak chuckle to match his weak smile and stepped closer to the counter. "Ah-I was wondering if I could get another reading?"
"Of course," Kismet said, his smile softening. "If you will wait inside for just one moment," he gestured to the back room again. Tim went into the room and Kismet smiled at the noise of the beaded curtain as he pulled out the 'in back; one moment please' sign and set it on the counter top.
A few delightful clack-clacks later and Kismet was seated across from Tim. "What would you like the reading to focus on today?" Kismet asked.
Tim ran a hand through his hair. "Well, I think I've figured out who my next love is, but I've no idea how to approach him, or even if I've gotten it right."
"Him?" Kismet asked, his smile turning a bit sly. All told it didn't matter to him or to the telling if the subject was gay or straight, but Kismet always took extra joy in helping out homosexuals like himself.
Tim blushed and muttered something.
"It makes no difference," Kismet said, brushing Tim's embarrassment away. "Would you like to try a different method today?" he asked. "I may be able to get more specific information if I use a different medium."
Tim smiled. "That's fine," he said.
Standing again, Kismet put his cards on the shelf and removed one of the crystal balls, setting it carefully on the table.
"Love again," he said softly, staring into the crystal. His breath frosted the surface for a moment, and then the telling began.
Tim had indeed found his love, and in identifying him properly, he'd extended the window of chance and increased the likelihood of success. The love interest was so unlike Tim had expected, he didn't know how to approach this person, but a cautious start was advised, so that was not a grave concern at this point.
Tim was also worried what others might think when they found out who he was interested in.
"You need to trust those you love more," Kismet said as he drew his eyes away from the crystal ball. "They will love whomever you love."
Tim grimaced. "I don't doubt that they will. I'm more afraid they'll laugh."
"Why would they laugh?" Kismet asked, pressing his fingertips together over the crystal ball.
Tim cleared his throat and glanced at his watch. "Look at the time," he said. "I need to get going."
Kismet gave him a bland smile. "Don't forget to pay on the way out."
Tim hesitated at the doorway. "Aren't you running the counter?" he asked.
Kismet shook his head. "My co-worker is back from lunch now," he said, leaning back in his chair and watching the man leave.
"She's bad luck," Kismet told the man sitting across the table from him. "It's not the Goddess that keeps putting her in your path," he continued, "but something else, something that wants you to fail."
The young banker across the table from him folded his arms across his chest. "What do you know about it?" he challenged.
Kismet shook his head. "Only what the spirits tell me," and what common sense tells me, he added silently. "I merely interpret their advice."
"Exactly," said the banker, a regular named Jonathon. "So what do they tell me about being able to win her over?"
Kismet gave him an empty smile. "Be earnest, honest and stubborn. Never give up. It won't be a pleasant journey, but if you persevere, you'll get what you want."
"Now that wasn't so hard, was it?" the banker said, sneering slightly. He hated that he came here, Kismet knew, but Jonathon the banker had somehow agreed with himself to keep coming until Kismet's advice failed.
Kismet took great pleasure in giving him only true advice, knowing the banker would keep returning, even though he hated Kismet, hated the idea of the mystical and hated that he needed the advice.
Kismet hated him, too.
The man swirled out and Kismet sighed and settled back into his chair, relieved the banker was finally gone. Listening to the last few clicks of the beaded curtain and letting it sooth him ever so slightly, Kismet heard the bell over the door jangle.
Normally he didn't pay any attention to it if he was in the back room, but today he'd been jumping at every jingle and ring. It was just the banker leaving, Kismet thought to himself. I don't know what I'm expecting.
Tim wouldn't be back today. Only in the most dire of spiritual emergencies did even the most avid believers return more than once a week, there was no way that a newcomer was going to return three days in a row.
But there were only so many gorgeous gay boys that Kismet got the chance to set up with other, albeit unknown, gay boys, so he was really curious where Tim was going to go with the advice he'd gotten, and he wondered who had caught handsome-Tim's eye, if he was as attractive as Tim was, if it was going to be a romantic story or—
Realizing what he was thinking, Kismet laughed at himself. Maybe he wrote fantasy romances about the people who came into his shop, but this was getting out of hand. Tim wouldn't be back today.
Reaching for the new novel hidden under his table, Kismet was ready to settle in for a few more hours of reading when he heard Lenora's voice drifting through the door.
"…I'll let him know you are here," she said.
Kismet sighed and let his hand fall. Another drop-in customer, great.
Lenora poked her head through the curtain. "It's the pretty one from yesterday and the day before."
"What?" Kismet asked, his eyes widening. "You sure?"
Lenora huffed. "Of course I'm sure," she said. "Do you have a few minutes to meet with him today, or…"
"No, no, it's fine, send him in," Kismet said. "If he can afford three days in a row, we'd better do our best to try and keep him."
Lenora laughed. "And he's easy on the eyes."
Kismet shook his head. "Only you care about that," he said.
The curtain clattered.
"Why, hello again," Kismet said with a smile. "I did not expect you to return again so soon."
Tim looked uncomfortable. "I thought it might help," he said.
"Well, what are you looking for today?" Kismet asked, gesturing at the seat across from him.
Tim sighed as he sat down. "I'm not sure how to approach this guy," he said. "It seems like we live in different worlds. You said to be cautious, but I'm worried I'll be too cautious, and miss my chance entirely."
Now who's being mystically evasive? Kismet thought, but didn't call him out. "If you have one specific question," he said, "Perhaps we might try the runes?"
"Oh, of course," Tim said, leaning forward in his seat as Kismet reached for the small bag under the table.
Holding the bag over the table, Kismet looked at Tim. "Your question, phrased simply and concisely, please."
Tim thought for a moment. "How shall I best approach the one I am interested in?"
Kismet nodded and tipped the bag of runes over, scattering them across the table.
He stared at the runes, pondering their meaning for a long moment. "A traditional method might work," Kismet said at last. "Flowers, for example."
Kismet didn't pretend that he wasn't waiting for Tim to show up the next day. But it was like one of his romance stories; now that the characters were starting to get together, he simply couldn't put it down, couldn't bring himself not to wonder how Tim's romance was going.
He was adjusting a few of the display racks in the front room when Tim showed up again, this time carrying a bouquet of flowers. Not roses, nothing too fancy, but some simple blue flowers, offset by their green stems and leaves, a few sprigs of white decoratively included.
Tim stuttered when he saw Kismet. "I-I don't-" he stammered.
Kismet smiled. "Back for more?" he asked.
Tim smiled. "Yes," he said, looking relieved.
"Well, then, enter my shadowy alcove and we'll see what advice I can provide." Although it didn't look like Tim needed advice about the flowers, since he'd managed to pick them out himself, and there were only so many ways that one could give flowers, after all. I do wish someone would bring me flowers, though, Kismet thought to himself as they slipped past the beaded curtain. He puttered with the lighting for a moment, only when he turned back around he realized that he'd left his novel out on the table, and Tim was now reading the back of it.
"Ah-" Kismet started, reaching hesitantly for the book.
Tim handed it over. "Even psychics read mundane things from time to time," he said.
Kismet laughed and settled into his seat. "It helps relax me between speaking with the spirits," he said.
Tim smiled and set the flowers on the side of the table, leaning forward. "Can we use the cards again today?" he asked. "I want to know how it will go."
"Of course," Kismet said, turning to pick those off the shelf. The cards were shuffled and cut, and the telling began.
The traditional method of giving flowers was a good beginning, but the traditional would need to be mixed with something new and unique in order to hold his interest's attention. Equally, while Tim's timidity was endearing, he'd need to be a bit bolder or he'd miss his chance entirely because his interest had not yet realized that Tim was courting him.
"Hmm," Tim said when it was over. "I don't suppose there's any suggestions for what 'something unique' would be?"
Kismet shook his head. "Lenora might suggest a love potion." He smiled at a sudden thought. "Or a lust potion."
Tim looked worried. "What would you suggest?" he asked.
Kismet chewed his lip. "Something specific to them, perhaps?" he asked.
"I don't think I know him that well yet," Tim said, sighing. "Any other ideas?"
Kismet thought harder. What would I want if it were me? He wondered. He couldn't think of anything. "Nope, no more ideas, sorry," he said, shaking his head. "Maybe if I knew the guy…" he hinted.
Tim sighed again. "If I knew enough to tell you more, then I'd know enough to pick out my own 'something unique,'" he said.
"Too true," Kismet agreed.
He walked Tim to the door, wishing him the best of luck.
It wasn't until he got back to the back room that Kismet realized Tim had left his flowers.
Biting his lip in indecision for a moment, Kismet picked up the bouquet and searched through it for a card. There was a small one, with a picture of a heart on the front. The back had a drawing of another heart and Tim's name.
"Not much to go by," Kismet muttered, carrying the flowers into the front room.
"He brought you flowers?" Lenora asked.
Kismet frowned at her. "He left them here, if that's what you mean," he said. "He'll probably be back for them as soon as he realizes he forgot them, though."
Tim didn't return for his flowers, and Lenora insisted on putting them in a vase at closing time, claiming that, if they didn't, the flowers would die, and then, if Tim returned for them, he'd be more upset than if they'd put them in a vase to keep the flowers from dying.
It was Kismet's day off. He didn't have too much of a life, though, so he'd come in to the shop anyway. He wasn't dressed in the robe; just a pair of jeans and a gray shirt, his hair fluttering about normally, rather than hidden under the wig.
"...That's what she said, Jillian," Kismet said—he always thought of himself as Kismet when in the shop, even when not working.
Jillian, the girl behind the counter today, shook her head. "Your mother's a wise woman," she said. "You shouldn't have to be a psychic to know you should call home more often."
"You know as well as I that a psychic would be the last person to know something about himself," Kismet replied. "I can't see myself in Tellings. No psychic can."
Jillian shook her head at him again, but turned her attention from him to an actual customer, ringing her up with a minimum of fuss.
"Just because that excuse is traditional doesn't mean that it's a good one."
"Just because it's traditional doesn't mean it isn't true," Kismet argued back. "A psychic too in tune with the world around him will lose sight of himself."
Jillian rolled her eyes. "That's only because you're lazy." She glanced over Kismet's shoulder. "May I help you?" she asked, presumably to a customer.
"Yes, uh, I was looking for Kismet…" the voice trailed off.
Kismet, recognizing it, turned around as slowly as possible to see Tim standing there.
"He's not in today," Jillian said, giving him her most helpful, yet empty, smile.
"He's…not?" Tim asked, staring directly at Kismet.
Kismet smiled. "It's my day off," he said. If he hadn't wanted to see the customer—or hadn't been so obviously recognized by him—he'd just have pretended he wasn't himself.
"Oh," Tim said. "I didn't realize."
Kismet smiled at him. So long as the man didn't ask for a Telling, Kismet was happy to see him. "It's alright."
"I just wanted to give you this," Tim said hesitantly. He held out a small rectangle, wrapped in a bag from the bookstore down the street.
Kismet didn't accept it immediately. "Why?" he asked.
"To- to say thank you, of course," Tim said, glancing away.
Kismet reached out slowly. "It went well?" he asked, taking the package.
Tim's eyes darted to the flowers, still sitting on the counter, and back. "I'd like to think so," he said.
Kismet didn't notice the glance, busy unwrapping his gift. "A book," he said, more than happy with his find. "Ooo, I haven't read this one yet, thank you."
Tim smiled. "I hoped you'd like it. It's one of my favorites, and I knew you read that genre, so…" he trailed off.
"Could you two…?" Jillian asked, waving a hand to the far side of the store.
Kismet nodded and led Tim to somewhere that they wouldn't be blocking the counter.
"So it's your day off?" Tim asked, as they hovered in front of a display of china fairies.
"One of two," Kismet said, hugging the book to his chest.
"So you won't be in tomorrow, either?" Tim asked.
Kismet shook his head. "Fortuna StarCircle is our other Teller, and as she taught me everything I know, I'm sure she'll be able to help you with whatever you might need."
"Yes, but," Tim hesitated, "she's not you." He looked dubious, although that wasn't too surprising, since most of their customers had a preference for one Teller or the other.
Kismet shook his head. "She's like a second mother to me, though, if that helps."
The hesitancy about Tim's face cleared up a bit. "I'll think about it," he said.
Conversation lapsed for a moment, and Kismet studied the tiny fairies on the shelf behind them. If only…
"May I ask about your hair?" Tim said in a bit of a rush.
Kismet reached up to brush at it. "I used to wear it very long," he said, "but it was a pain to decorate every day, so I had it cut off and made into a wig, which is what I wear to work."
"It looks good short," Tim said. "More nor- I mean, less myst-" he cut himself off again and licked his lips.
Kismet laughed. "It's okay," he said, "I understand."
They fell silent again for a moment, and then Tim made his excuses and left.
Kismet watched him leave, and then slipped into the currently-empty back room to stow the book with his others. A fit of envious curiosity came over him, and he pulled down one of the crystal balls, attempting to get a good look at Tim's crush. The spirits wouldn't show him anything, but then, he hadn't expected them to.
Lenora was behind the counter when Kismet arrived with lunch the next day.
"That pretty-Tim came by again today," she said offhandedly during a lull in their conversation.
"He did?" Kismet asked, forgetting to hide his surprise. "That's every day this week."
Lenora looked at him sharply. "Did he do a Telling yesterday?" she asked.
Kismet shook his head. "He only came by to thank me with a book, but it was my day off, so…" He shrugged.
"He's buying you gifts?" Lenora asked, glancing at the flowers.
"Why did he come in today?" Kismet asked, trying to change the subject.
"He wanted a reading with your aunt," Lenora said, allowing the topic change.
Kismet felt oddly disappointed to hear that. Apparently Tim's need for psychic help wasn't limited to getting it from Kismet. "What about?" he asked.
Lenora shook her head. "You know I don't know these things. And I'm not allowed to share if I do."
Kismet sighed. Lenora was right.
There was a breath of incense-scented air, and the curtain that blocked off the back room fluttered open. It wasn't beads now, no, Kismet's aunt hated the beads, and always switched the curtain to a burgundy silk when she was working. Kismet didn't mind switching them back, and it was a simple way for customers to tell who was working, if they'd forgotten, so it was a win-win situation all around.
"I can only relay to you what I am told," Fortuna StarCircle was saying as she walked her current customer to the door. "I have no control over what the spirits tell me."
The man with her, tall and disappointed, frowned as he thanked her for her time and went on his way.
Fortuna shook her head as he left. "I don't think he'll be coming back again," she said. "He never really did believe, and foggy Tellings…" she trailed off.
"Did you meet with Tim Valasky today?" Tim asked.
His aunt laughed at his bluntness. "I do believe I did," she said.
"What did-" Kismet began.
Fortuna shook her head and held up her hand. "You should know better than to ask, child," she said.
"But you tell me when-"
"When you don't know the person, and are not getting emotionally involved in their story," Fortuna finished.
"But I'm not-"
"Do not lie to me, Saige," Aunt Kathleen snapped.
"Sorry, Aunty," Kismet said, doing his best to look contrite like he used to when he was a kid.
His aunt sighed. "There wasn't much I could add to his story," she said, putting a hand on Kismet's shoulder. "He just needed a bit of advice he couldn't get from you. Do not worry about it, and I'm sure you'll see him again soon."
"Yes, Aunty," Kismet muttered.
Saige found himself riding an elephant. He was dressed all in red with gold trim and the world was hot and humid all around. There were dancing girls dressed in red and gold, swaying on either side of the elephant, forming a parade that led him towards—something. Ahead, the forest path that they had been following opened up into a glade. A stream cascaded over a waterfall and into a clear pool. A high rock stood next to it, and a man stood on that. The elephant drew closer, and Tim smiled up at its rider.
"What the fuck?" Saige asked, breaking out of the dream and glancing around his bedroom. It was faintly lit from the streetlights outside. "Tim," Saige muttered, "out of my dreams." He fell back onto the pillow and into sleep.
Wind whipped his hair as Saige stood at the edge of a cliff, the sea crashing into the rocks below. Turning slowly from the fierce view, Saige faced the man behind him. Tim watched him, a slight smile on his face. He held out a hand, and Saige accepted it, only to be pulled gently away from the cliff. Tugging him closer, Tim buried his face in Saige's neck, mumbling words that were lost to the wind and the waves.
"Again?" Saige asked the semi-darkness as he awoke. "Couldn't it at least be a wet-dream?" he wondered with sleepy logic, rolling over and burying his face in the pillow.
His throat felt as dry as the sand surrounding him, and Saige convulsively swallowed as he watched the soldiers returning, hoping that one would be with them, but trying not to hope too much, unless…there was the familiar horse, its faded spots unmistakable, its rider dirty but safe. Saige let out a sigh of relief that was nearly a sob of joy as the rider made his way to where Saige waited. Leaping off the horse and into Saige's arms, Tim kissed him, deeply and with the passion that only a year apart can bring.
Saige forced himself awake yet again. "That's enough," he muttered, stumbling his way out of his bed and into the kitchen. He grabbed the salt-and-pepper shakers, staring blankly at them until he remembered what he was trying to do and put the pepper back. Saige carefully made his way back to his bed and sprinkled the salt over his pillow. The rough crystals wouldn't be very comfortable, but they would keep the spelled dreams away for the rest of the night.
The dreams hadn't returned.
When he got into work, the first thing that Kismet did was check the sale-log for yesterday. A dream-spell was listed there, sold not too long before Kismet had arrived with Lenora's lunch.
There was the soft whisper of silk, and Kismet's aunt appeared from behind the curtain.
"You sold him a dream for me," Kismet accused.
His aunt smiled. "I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Like hell you don't," Kismet grumbled.
"Language, dear," his aunt said as she whisked past him. "Psychics don't swear where other people can hear them."
Kismet sighed, but otherwise ignored her and entered the back room for his shift. He switched the curtain and ran his hand through the beads just to hear the clicking noise. It really was soothing. He didn't understand why his aunt didn't like it.
"Kismet?" Jillian asked, stepping into view through the strings of beads. "Your first appointment is here, do you need a moment, or shall I send him in?"
Kismet glanced at his watch. "It's a bit early, isn't it?" Usually there was a bit more time for him to get ready and set up the room.
Jillian shrugged. "He's early, but I can ask him to wait."
Kismet rubbed at his face. "I'll be quick," he said. "Who is it?"
"Um," Jill said. "Some guy by the name of Tim Vala-something."
"Tim Valasky?" Kismet asked sharply. "The guy who came to see me on Saturday?"
Jill nodded. "That's who he is. I thought he looked familiar. At least you're in this time."
Kismet sighed, glancing around the room. It wasn't quite ready—it still had too much of his aunt's paraphernalia lying around—and he wasn't quite ready—not having slipped on his robe or his wig yet. But Tim was here, and Tim had been in his dreams, had, in fact sent said dreams to Saige—which meant he knew Saige's real name. Kismet cursed. How had he not realized that before? Either Tim was turning into a grade-A stalker, or his aunt had given Tim that as well as a dream.
Either way, Tim should be able to live without Kismet being in costume.
"Send him in," Kismet said.
"But you're not-" Jillian began.
Kismet glared at her. "Just send him in, okay?"
Tugging at his hair, Kismet nervously started tidying up his aunt's paraphernalia. She used so much, but then, her customers seemed to like it.
The beaded curtain clicked.
"Uh, hey," Tim said uncomfortably from near the door.
"Hello," Kismet said, giving him a strained smile. "Welcome back."
Tim smiled back weakly and scrubbed a hand through his hair. "Yeah. Uh, how are you?"
"Tired," Kismet said. "I slept poorly last night due to a plague of dreams that just wouldn't leave me alone."
"Dreams?" Tim asked, looking a bit less uncomfortable.
"Yes," Kismet said, folding his arms. "Bespelled dreams that all seemed to have only one thing in common. You."
Tim laughed nervously and rubbed at his neck. "Your aunt-"
"Gave you my name and told you this was a good idea?"
"Your advice was to try something unique," Tim said, shrugging.
"The spirits also advised you to stop being so shy, but you didn't listen to that, now did you?"
"Sending you dreams with me in them was shy?" Tim asked.
"You could have said who the flowers were for. Or why you were really giving me the book," Kismet snapped.
"But- I didn't know how you would take it!" Tim protested. "And I-I kept hoping you'd figure it out."
Kismet snorted. "Psychics can't see themselves."
"Oh," Tim said, his shoulders slumping. "I didn't know that."
They were silent, standing awkwardly on opposite sides of the large table.
"I can't see how this ends," Kismet said at last.
"What?" Tim asked, looking up at him.
"This-" Kismet gestured between them, "-whatever it is, I can't see how it ends. It's too close to me."
Tim frowned. "Didn't you see it the first day?" he asked. "When you said that my relationship would be a long and fulfilling one, both emotionally and-" he cut himself off, but it was clear they both recalled the exact wording.
"I guess I did See it," Kismet wondered. Although unclear at the time, it was the closest that Kismet had ever come to Seeing himself. "Why did you come in here that day anyways?" he asked.
Tim shuffled his feet. "My horoscope said to try something new if I wanted to find love. I saw your shop, and figured seeing a psychic was about the 'newest' thing I could do."
"Taking off early, are you?" Lenora asked, leaning on the counter.
Kismet smiled at her. "I have a hot date tonight," he said.
"Anyone I know?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
Kismet nodded. "It's Tim-pretty who's been stopping by every day this past week."
Lenora clasped her hands and smiled a big smile. "I thought he had an ulterior motive for coming here," she said.
Kismet smiled. "I guess that makes you the psychic, and me the counter-clerk."
Lenora laughed. "Any day. You get paid far more than I do."
Kismet laughed along with her, looking up when the shop-bell rang.
"Siage?" Tim asked hesitantly.
Kismet smiled back. "Hi," he said, suddenly shy.
Lenora laughed again. "Go on then, you two," she said, making a shooing motion towards the door. "Have fun."
Kismet walked towards Tim, holding out his hand as he got closer. "We will," he called over his shoulder as they walked out of the shop. And they would. He'd gotten his aunt to See it.