All birthdays are magical, but Morgan’s was especially magic. While other kids got toys or movies and games, Morgan got enchantments. On her third birthday, she got a rabbit that could disappear into any hat. When she was six, a unicorn came to live in her closet for an entire year. Her favorite gift happened at twelve, when a brownie cleaned her room. He was supposed to last a year, but gave up from exhaustion after six months.
With ordinary parents and an even more ordinary sister, Morgan wasn’t quite sure who to thank for the magical gifts. She always wrote a blank thank you note and stuck it in the mail box. In the morning, it would be gone.
This year, Morgan would be sixteen on Friday. But this year would be different.
It didn’t feel different when she woke up. Her hair was still blond, her eyes were still blue. She was still 5’8, captain of the volleyball team and varsity cheerleader. Even her pajamas were the same shade of pink, not faded by a single wash.
But unlike every morning, there was a boy.
A boy on her bed. At six in the morning.
She opened her mouth to scream or at least politely protest that he leave, but not a sound came out.
“Happy birthday, Morgan.” He pulled a ruby rose from his sleeve and extended it to her. She took the icy flower and ran her fingers over the intricate carved jewel. ”Roses are traditional for birthdays, you know.”
She didn’t know. She laid it down next to her, rubbing her index finger over the stubbly jade thorn.
“Do you remember me?” He watched her carefully, his eyes the same color as the rose’s stem. His cheeks were as sharp as glacier cliffs with a serious chin. He wore jeans and a t-shirt like a normal boy, but the way he held his shoulders back and his arms above his knees looked like a regal portrait pose. Not that she had seen any royals outside People.
“I suppose you don’t. You were so young.” He held out his hand. “Come on, Morgan. It’s time for your birthday present.” His eyes twinkled as she looked hesitantly at his fingers, like they might become snakes any moment. ”This year, things are a little different. But I think you’ll enjoy it.”
She knew it was crazy. But the magic had never failed her before. Laying the rose on her pillow, she took his fingers.
To be continued…
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