I’m so excited to bring you the final part of my Halloween-inspired romance novella, The Problem with Love Potions!
Don’t miss Part Four.
We have two of the ingredients we need, but we definitely saved the hardest for last. A relic of a broken heart? What does that even mean?
“Any ideas for the last ingredient?” I ask as we step back into Aiden’s jeep.
“Yeah, actually,” he says. “I think I might have the perfect thing.”
“What did I tell you?” I ask, rolling my eyes. “Perfect at magic.”
Aiden smiles, but it feels hollow this time. Something changed on the walk back here. I mess with the aconite so I don’t have to think too hard about it.
By the time we get back to the dorm, it’s seven o’clock, which doesn’t leave us much time to find the relic. Not to mention: if it doesn’t work, we’re screwed. I’m screwed. I keep my head down in the lobby and up the stairs, lest Rob or Taylor find us before we have the chance to make the antidote.
We arrive back in Aiden’s room, and he locks and bolts the door.
“What about your roommate?” I ask.
“At home doing laundry,” Aiden says. “Come on, get the travel cauldron from the closet.”
I spend the next few minutes following Aiden’s instructions, adding this and that to the cauldron and stirring at regular intervals. While I do this, Aiden rummages through the closet. He finally finds what he’s looking for just as it’s time to add the last ingredient: the relic.
“Here.” Aiden says, holding it out to me. It’s a dried flower, sealed in a Ziploc baggie. A rose. “Relic of a broken heart.”
I take it, turning it over in my hand. It’s beautiful. “What is it?”
“A flower I was planning to give someone,” Aiden says shortly. “Needless to say, it didn’t work out.”
“I’m sorry,” I say.
Aiden scoffs. “Sure. Whatever. Just finish the potion.”
I look down at the cauldron, eyes watering. I thought that things were going okay with Aiden and me. There was a minute there when I thought we were even having fun trying to solve this. But now it’s back to senior year of high school, of the cold shoulder and cold eyes.
I finish the potion. I stick it in the mini fridge. I set a timer for four hours. I text Rob and Taylor to meet me in Aiden’s room at that time.
Aiden has flopped onto his bed, and he’s scrolling through his phone. I teeter on my toes. Am I supposed to leave? Stay? I don’t know what to do with him when he’s like this.
“Aiden?” I say.
“Thanks,” I say cautiously. “For everything.”
“What?” Aiden swings to his feet, glaring at me.
“What’s the deal with the flower?” I ask. I gather enough courage to sit next to him on the bed and place my hand on his shoulder. He flinches away. “Aiden. I thought we were getting along,” I say. “It was nice, really nice. Wasn’t it?”
“Oh my God, the stupid flower was for you,” he snaps.
I draw back. “What?”
“You don’t even remember, do you?” Aiden asks. “Of course, you don’t.”
“Aiden, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m talking about the dance,” he says, exasperated. “I asked you to the dance, and you stood me up.”
I just stare at him. I have no idea what he’s talking about.
“Come on. We were eating lunch together, and you were complaining how you didn’t have a date.” Aiden gestures like he can’t believe I don’t know what he’s talking about. “I said you could come with me, and you said sure.”
When he says that, it’s like I’m back in that crowded, smelly cafeteria, seventeen and full of insecurity. Aiden was this amazing soccer star, great at magic and way out of my league. When he said he’d go with me, I assumed he was joking.
I said yes to some chess nerd who asked me in my very next class and went to the dance with him instead.
“Oh my God,” I whisper. “Aiden, I had no idea you were serious.”
Aiden glares at me, but it’s mostly pain I see in his eyes, not anger. “Why would you think I wasn’t serious?”
“You’re so far out of my league!” I burst out. “You’re smart and talented and…I don’t know. Back then I didn’t think you would’ve liked me like that.”
Aiden stares at me, mouth slightly open. “You’re serious?”
“As a love potion gone wrong.”
That gets me an almost-smile.
When I put my hand on his arm this time, Aiden doesn’t pull away. “Is that why you shut me out senior year?”
“God, Aiden, I’m so sorry,” I say. I don’t want to cry, but my tear ducts have other ideas. “I’m such a jerk.”
“This isn’t your fault,” Aiden says, running both hands back through his hair. “I should’ve just talked to you. I should’ve explained. But I was hurt.”
“Heartbroken?” I ask. My heart shatters when Aiden nods. “I don’t want to be your heartbreak,” I say. I take a deep breath. “I never wanted to be just your friend, either. Not really.”
Aiden faces me fully. “You never said anything.”
“Guess we both screwed up,” I say.
Aiden puts his hand on mine and shifts closer. “Maybe it’s not too late.”
I smile. “You’re serious?”
Aiden rests his other hand on my cheek. “As an antidote to a botched love potion.” Aiden kisses the grin off of my face, and doesn’t stop until the alarm goes off, letting us know it’s time to cure Rob & Taylor.
Aiden gets to his feet and holds out a hand. He pulls me close when I take it. I giggle. “Maybe I should’ve given you a love potion after all.”
Aiden grins down at me. “You never needed to.”