Household Magic

Household Magic 3

Susan and Andrew's house was situated in a cul-de-sac, set against an average suburbia not far from 24-hour civilization. The clothes that had taken it upon themselves to escape their shops were almost to their destination, just ahead of a homeward Erin.

About half-past midnight now, the single outfit carrying a bag and wearing a slicker flew casually through the drizzle, which had tapered to mist as the enchanted outfit made its approach. It hovered down to Susan's doorstep, tiny droplets falling off of the vinyl slicker like perspiration. The mist was thick. Even if a nosy neighbor was spying on the front door at the time, they wouldn't have seen the magic clothes clearly enough to convince themselves of what was happening.

Susan and Andy were both sleeping soundly upstairs. For the second night in a row, Susan's wardrobe and other items in the house subtly conspired to work up Susan and Andy's more intimate appetites. Susan's curiosity about that particular aspect of the enchantment still hadn't struck--she chalked it up to innate confidence stemming from her new favorite book.

Susan and Andy's bedroom door slowly shut itself as the front door clicked open. After the outfit stepped inside, the leather gloves hovered away from the outfit's sleeves and headed toward the kitchen, one of them carrying the bag of clothes. As the vinyl slicker unbuttoned itself to reveal a curvy gray sweater, the whole outfit hovered up, pulling the denim legs out of the boots. The boots jumped up and spun around, shaking off the excess water that had beaded up on them. As they walked themselves into a nearby coat closet, a hanger floated out and hovered steady, waiting for the slicker to join it.

The sweater and jeans followed the gloves and bag of clothing into the kitchen once the slicker and boots were put away, and not a second later, a car could be heard pulling into the driveway.

* * *

Erin had a long evening. Rather than spending the night camping in the damp weather, she decided she'd go home. Thankfully she hadn't helped herself to the cheap beer her friends had gotten--she would have been stuck, damp and cold back at the site.

It was close to 1 a.m., but Erin was just happy to be home. As she walked up to the front door, she noticed the wet prints on the otherwise dry concrete beneath the eave. Strange, she thought, that there seemed to be the two prints at the door, but nothing preceding them. She shrugged the detail off and told herself that her parents must have gone out.

Erin carefully unlocked the door and went inside, taking her shoes off at the door. She unzipped a hoodie and threw it toward a hook on the wall, missing and knocking down one of her brother's baseball caps.

"Oops," she whispered, shrugging and continuing through the living room toward the kitchen. The moment she disappeared around the corner, Susan's fuzzy slippers stood by themselves at the top of the stairs. They walked down the carpeted steps in pillowy footfalls, inaudible to Erin or her parents sleeping upstairs. When the slippers reached the floor, Erin's hoodie rose up and hovered off the ground. A sleeve reached down and clamped around the baseball cap, placing it back on the hook it fell from. The hoodie waved a sleeve at the slippers and hovered up the stairs and around the corner into Erin's room.

Erin walked back out through the livingroom and looked into the entryway. She thought she heard something, but when she reconfirmed that she'd locked the door, she relaxed. Something low in her vision caught her attention. It was a pair of pink fuzzy slippers. Erin thought they were kinda garish, but still a little sexy in their own retro way. Why didn't she notice them when she came in?

Whatever. Erin had the same size feet as Susan, and they looked comfortable. They also looked barely-worn! Maybe she could swipe them without Susan realizing. She'd just hide them until she went back to college.

Erin pulled the cuffs of her jeans up and pulling her her tube socks down over her ankles and off her feet, one after the other. She balled them up and walked into the den, haphazardly throwing them into the laundry room. Back in the entryway, Erin slipped into the slippers barefoot.

Very comfortable. They were even softer than they looked. Erin looked down in satisfaction as she headed back into the kitchen. The slippers were amazing! She felt like she was walking on air. She was so distracted by them that she didn't notice that her hoodie was no longer in the hall at all.

In the kitchen, though, something happened that she couldn't ignore. The two pieces of bread she placed in the toaster were up and sitting on a plate. Her jar of apricot spread (she was the only one in the house that ate it) was sitting on the counter in front of the plate of toast, a butterknife laid across the top of the jar.

"Cute, mom. I know you're down here," Erin said. "Nice slippers, by the way." While Erin tried to call out Susan--who was, of course, asleep in bed--Erin's discarded tube socks tumbled into the den and unrolled, filling out to the shape of Erin's feet, starting with the toes. Once the socks filled up to the ankles, they walked quietly over to Erin's sneakers, nudging them. The sneakers hovered into the air and over the carpet as the coat closet opened to let them inside. Once they were, it shut again.

Just then, Erin came around the corner. She saw her sneakers and hoodie gone and her socks laying in front of the door. She laughed quietly, looking up the stairs. She was fast! Erin thought. She must have bailed when she made too much noise. You'd think that silly little games like that would get old, but I guess now that I'm out of the house during school, I could cut her some slack. Erin gave up and laughed it off, going back to the kitchen.

As she was eating her toast, the clothing store bag on the table caught her eye. So someone went shopping! Once Erin was done eating she wandered over to the bag.  There were a couple of t-shirts inside, some cute socks, a really nice sweater, a pair of jeans, and--were those leather pants? Erin pulled out the semi-glossy black material.

"Geez, I didn't think she had in her," Erin muttered, looking over the leather pants. "I'd probably borrow these too, if I thought they'd fit me." She turned them around to look at the back. Certainly too much room. Erin had a nice enough booty, but it couldn't fill these hips. "Probably not until I have kids--if I have kids." Erin chuckled. She walked back over to put her plate in the sink to find it gone. She looked over at the sink. The plate was already in it.

Erin didn't remember doing that, but she had to have. There certainly wasn't anyone else in the kitchen. She walked back over to where she was standing.

"I so don't remember diverting to the sink, or even picking that plate up. I must be really tired." She turned around and looked back at the table. Everything was back in the bag. "Yeah. Going to bed now." She walked out of the kitchen and shut off the light, heading straight upstairs and into her room, closing the door behind her.

Without even turning on the light, she threw her clothes off, first pulling her shirt over her head. She kicked off the pink slippers and unbuttoned her jeans, slipping them halfway down and landing on her bed like she was diving on it. She pulled her pants off the rest of the way and slipped haphazardly under the covers, throwing her arms out and letting out a sigh.

"Oh, I should've been in this bed three hours ago-ohhhh," she whispered, yawning out the last syllable. After a deep breath and a long sigh, it was less than two minutes before she was asleep.

As soon as she was, the pink slippers stood up on their toes and jumped up, landing next to each other like feathers. They bobbed at Erin's clothes. Erin's shirt and bra picked themselves up and held her shape for a moment before dropping in the hamper without a sound. As the slippers walked toward the door, Erin's jeans began inflating. They stretched out on the floor, then the knees bent and set the cuffs of the legs hovering about 2 inches above the floor, parallel with it.

The hips of the jeans swung upward and walked to the door, which opened quietly on its own. As the slippers were about to follow Erin's jeans out into the hall, they turned back toward Erin. Her sheets tucked themselves up around her. She stirred, made a comfortable noise, and kept sleeping.

* * *

Susan woke to the smell of cinnamon buns. She opened her eyes and looked at the clock. It was eight-thirty; too early for Andy to be back from golf, and for Erin to be up. As she sat up in bed a pair of sweatpants danced over to her.

"Just what I wanted." Susan yawned and held her feet up and the sweatpants pulled on over her feet. They slid up her smooth legs and  stretched over her hips as she stood up. "I hope everyone's been behaving themselves."

As if on cue, the pink slippers came through the door and walked toward Susan.

"Ah, there you are." Susan snapped. "Come to momma." The slippers immediately jumped in front of her, turning in midair so that she had but to step into them. "Robe, please?" Susan whispered. "Terry, not silk today." Her red terrycloth robe drifted off its hook and hovered out of the bathroom, the sleeves pulling the sash and robe open. Susan smiled and held her arms behind her as the robe slid on and wrapped around her, tying itself. The slippers marched her forward, and she let her clothes carry her down the stairs again without a care.

When she got into the kitchen, there was a mop bucket hovering just off the floor as a mop scrubbed a small area, dipped itself ion the bucket, strained itself, and began scrubbing the floor again. A pan of cinnamon buns was on top of the counter, sitting on panholders.

Susan watched a coffee cup hover out of the cupboard. the cream joining up with it and dumping a little into the cup while both were in mid-air. When the cream returned itself the the fridge, The coffee pot poured hot coffee into the cup as a small spoon dumped in two heaps of sugar and stirred.

Susan was about to reach for the cup when her slippers pointed her to the table. The chair slid out as Susan's outfit walked her over to the table. Her sweatpants sat her in the chair as the chair pushed itself back in. Susan laughed. "Boy, you're not going to let me do anything by myself today, are you?"

Her coffee cup hovered over while a small plate shuffled out of a cupboard. A sticky cinnamon bun pulled itself out of the pan and dropped onto the plate. It followed behind the coffee cup. Susan felt fingers massaging her shoulders through the robe as she sipped her coffee.

"Mmm..." She said. "I could really get used to this." The cinnamon bun floated up in front of her as her coffee mug pulled itself out of her hand, careful not to spill it. "Hey," Susan said, laughing. Icing dripped down off the cinnamon bun, which rotated to catch it. "I think I should do this myself." She reached out to grab the pastry, but it bobbed away. It returned when she put her hand down. She laughed again. "Okay, fine--we can try it," she said, "But if you get any icing on me..." She trailed off, watching the pastry approach again.

It was a little strange watching the bun bob around in the air, waiting to be eaten. When she sat up, it seemed to understand the action, and it steadied and approached her mouth slowly. Susan carefully opened her mouth and leaned forward, tearing through the dough when she bit down. She took far too big a bite and let out a muffled laugh through her full mouth. She waved her hands away, nearly crying from laughing so hard. Once she managed to chew enough of it, she covered her mouth, realizing she was having a little too much fun.

"I know that Erin can sleep through anything," she said quietly, but it would be my luck for her to pick today to get up bright and early." She looked at the pastry sill hovering in front of her. "Hey, you can try this trick again later, but for now I'd just like to eat with my hands, okay?" The bun sailed down to her plate, and when she reached for it again, it didn't move. "Thanks," Susan said, smiling.

Upstairs, Erin was--in fact--awake. She heard her mother get up, which only stirred her for a second. Now, 10 or 15 minutes after it happened, she was woken up again by the sound of laughter from downstairs. Normally things like this wouldn't bother her, but this morning her eyes were wide open.

"Last time she laughed like that, Ryan's tongue was stuck to a frozen spoon," Erin said, remembering one of the more entertaining days to have a younger brother. She sat up, finally giving in to the idea of being awake before noon. "Who knows?" Erin said. "Mom might even have breakfast down there waiting." She laughed at the thought, knowing Susan gave up on any kind of morning routine as soon as Erin and her brother had learned to drive. Still, it did smell an awful lot like cinnamon rolls. When Erin stood up and hunted for a pair of shorts and a tank top to slip on, she noticed the pink slippers she found downstairs were no longer in her room from last night...

Susan heard footsteps coming down the stairs. She looked over at the mop bucket, which placed itself on the floor as the mop slid inside and came to rest. She stood up, pacing over to her hovering coffee cup as it refilled itself. She grabbed the mug and pot just as Erin stepped into the kitchen.

Erin thought she had a mental slip. She saw it from behind, but it looked like the coffee pot was floating in midair a split second after she turned the corner to see it, but before she (thought?) she saw Susan's hand grab it.

"Mom!" Erin said, making Susan jump a little bit when she did. Erin giggled. "Ah--sorry."

"Up a little early, aren't you?" Susan said, putting the coffee pot back.

"Well, you found something very funny," Erin yawned. "Cinnamon buns?"

"Yeah," Susan said, walking back to the table. "Just us girls this morning, so help yourself." Erin got a plate out and grabbed two oversized pastries, taking a napkin next. When she headed toward the table, she saw the pink slippers on her mother's feet.

"So..." Erin started, narrowing her eyes as she sat down at the table. "You didn't expect me up, but you made a pan of cinnamon buns?" Susan laughed it off.

"Yes, Erin, I made the whole thing for myself." She rolled her eyes. "I'm lucky you woke up, actually--I would have eaten them all."

"Testy," Erin said, taking a huge bite of her breakfast. "Still angry you had to dig your slippers out of my room this morning?" Erin asked. Susan panicked for a moment and looked down at her feet. Erin looked under the table. "Yup, those ones." Erin said, smiling. "Sorry about that. They looked comfy."

"Sorry...for what?" Susan asked. Erin raised an eyebrow at her.

"For making you fish them out of my room this morning," Erin said. "You did, right?" Susan just blinked. It was too early for this.

"Uh, yeah." Susan finally said, far too late to sound credible. "Yeah, I did. Don't worry about it." Erin knew she was lying, but she didn't pursue it. She did, however, realize that the bag on the table was missing.

"So wow, you made cinnamon buns, started mopping, and stashed away those clothes you bought," Erin said. "Busy morning, hmm?"

"The clothes?" Susan said, assuming that Erin was talking about her shopping from yesterday. "How'd you know about that?"

"Well, there was only a bag in here stuffed to the brim with high-ticket items," Erin said. "And I gotta say on the leather pants--very nice," She grinned, stuffing more cinnamon roll into her mouth. Just as Erin said leather pants, they slipped past the doorway behind Erin. Susan gasped. "What?" Erin asked, turning around to see what she was looking at. There was nothing in the doorway. "Mom, what's up?"

"Nothing," Susan said, "I just thought that I--" She trailed off when she heard a sound coming from the entryway.

Erin, already turned around, walked out of the kitchen and through the living room. She stopped in her tracks when she looked at the staircase. "Mom, how do you get these here without me seeing you?"

Susan followed Erin in, seeing a bag full of clothes sitting in the middle of the staircase. The leather pants were slumped over, half hanging out of it. Susan took the bag and stuffed the pants inside.

"Sorry, my fault," Susan said, turning toward the den. Erin stepped in her way.

"No, mom." Erin said with a suspicious smile. "You were in that kitchen from the second I walked in to the moment I walked back here to the stairs." Erin looked down at the bag. "There's no way I missed that on my way down the stairs--I would have tripped over it."

"And I'm sorry for leaving it there, Erin." Susan said sternly, trying to dodge Erin's suspicion.

"Cut the crap, ma," she laughed. "The point is that you had no time to get that bag here, unless you're the flash and I didn't even see you leave the room."

"Well," Susan tried to respond, "I think that--"

"And last night," Erin continued. "What was the deal there?" Susan looked genuinely confused now. "Quit playing, Mom, you're caught!"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Yes you do. I steal your slippers--which you also left in front of the stairs by the way--and you hide my sneakers and hoodie. Nothing better to do at 1AM?" Erin laughed. Susan couldn't keep up. Everything acting on its own was starting to make her explanations impossible to sell, especially to Erin, who was probably the sharpest in the house. "So where are those sneakers, anyway?" Susan shook her head.

"Sorry Erin," Susan said. "I really don't know where your sneakers are." And with that, the coat closet helpfully popped open as Erin's sneakers leapt out, landing in the hall. Erin squeaked at the sight and hid behind her mother.

"M-mom?" Erin asked, staring at her sneakers, which were now taking small steps in place.

"Stop that!" Susan said, pointing a finger at the footwear. They went motionless. "Now, you could have let me explain before you scared the hell out of her."

"Uh...are you talking to my shoes?" Erin asked, peeking over Susan's shoulder.

"Honey, I'll explain in a second," Susan said, placing the bag of clothes on the floor. "You followed me home, didn't you?" She asked the bag. The empty leather pants lifted their flat waistline out of the bag a little. Erin jumped again.

"Wait, are y-you--" Susan clasped Erin's hand, which was hanging on Susan's shoulder.

"I know this has to look really strange," Susan said to Erin, "but if you can just keep yourself calm for now, I can explain in a second, I promise." Susan looked back at the bag. "What else is in there?" The cuffs of a couple knee socks slithered up and peeked out of the bag, along with two shirts and a couple pairs of panties.

"You're--are you a witch?" Erin asked. Susan laughed.

"Not quite, dear, but something almost as good." Susan paused. "I'll show you more if you can promise to keep a secret." Erin nodded slowly as Susan raised an eyebrow. "I'm serious, Erin. You can't tell anyone. Not your best friend, not Ryan, not even your father." Erin nodded more vigorously, anticipation in her eyes.

"I promise, I promise," Erin said. "Show me." Susan stepped back away from the bag.

"Okay, everyone out--let's have a look at all of you." The leather pants began lifting themselves out of the bag, hovering to about where they'd sit if they were being worn. One floppy hide pantleg stepped out of the bag, followed by another. "Enough moping," Susan said, "I'm not angry with you. Now fill out those pants!" Erin watched in silent awe as her mother commanded the clothes like a drill sergeant. When Erin looked back at the pants, they were doing as Susan asked.

Her mother had told them to "fill out," and now it looked for all the world like they were inflating, becoming the legs and hips of an invisible woman. Erin put a hand up to her face as she watched the creases in the leather shrink and disappear, and now the invisible hips and thighs inside fit snugly and comfortably, giving the pants an incredibly stacked shape.

"That's so freaking cool!" Erin said, stepping beside Susan to get a better look at the pants. "But, I mean, how are--"

"Be patient," Susan said aside to her. She looked at the leather pants, wiggling their hips back and forth. "You're not as cute as you think you are," Susan said to the pants, grabbing them by the waist and pulling. The pants spun clockwise and turned around, facing backward. Susan tapped them on the butt. "Go on, and don't get into any trouble." The legs of the pants bent a little, bobbing their butt as they walked into the den. Susan looked down into the bag. "Come on now, I meant all of you. You followed me home, so you may as well find your places in my room."

The two t-shirts hovered out first. One was meant to be a baggy sleepshirt and the other a tight-fitting tee, but as the tight tee filled out its pronounced bust, the big shirt fluttered a little. Draped over what looked like the same form as the smaller shirt, the loose shirt's collar slumped.

"Look," said Susan, laughing. "I think it's jealous." Erin looked on as the well-defined shirt turned dramatically toward the loose fitting one. It bounced up and down, just slightly, as if to show off its endowments to the other. The forms inside behaved like the real thing, reacting as if they were under the everyday jurisdictions of gravity and motion.

The larger shirt, tired of being upstaged, held its short sleeves into the air. The tee filled out to a cylindrical shape with shoulders attached at the top. When the sleeves came down again, they did so very slowly, and mother and daughter watched as the tee's waist puckered. At the same time, the bust billowed out, and the short sleeves filled tightly.

"Wow," Susan said to the shirt, her eyes wide. "I guess you showed her." The larger shirt bumped the smaller one out of the way, boasting its gigantically curvy form as it headed for the stairs, to which the smaller responded by bumping it back on the stairs. The bigger shirt turned around. "Ladies, ladies," Susan said laughing, "you're both very pretty--now behave and go find your new roommates in the closet."

The tees obeyed Susan and hovered upstairs as the knee socks jumped out, already filled with shapely calves and feet. One pair was black, while the others were patterned.

"You're not directly controlling what they do, are you?" Erin said. "You actually have to speak to them." She crouched to get a closer look at a pair of purple and green striped socks. "Kinda showy, Mom," Erin said, looking at the living socks. "Where were you actually going to wear these?"

"Well, I didn't buy them," Susan said, turning back to the bag. "Come on now--all the underwear." A pair of black satin panties floated out, taking the shape of feminine hips. A pair of cotton patterned briefs and cotton bikinis in primary colors hovered out behind them, filling to the same shape. A red pair danced itself in front of Susan and Erin. Erin reached out to them slowly, but they shot away from her and up the stairs. "They're fidgety at first," Susan said to Erin, but they're kind of endearing once you've been around them a little while.

"So, what do you mean you didn't buy them?" Erin asked, watching the socks walk up the stairs step-by-step as the underwear hovered carefree to the next floor and into Susan's room. "They ACTUALLY followed you home?"

"I can only assume," Susan said. "Hopefully they weren't too close behind after I did my shopping yesterday; I can guess what kind of scene that must have made." Susan turned back to the bag again and got louder. "Let's go, everybody. You don't need to make your own entrances. Hop to."

The cocktail dress and evening gown hovered out from the top of their straps, both looking like thick draped ribbons in red and black. The cocktail dress pulled away from the bag and twirled, filling out with at first by centripetal force, but when the spinning stopped, the chest and hips became more defined. It hung in space, slowly hovering over to Erin. She stepped back as the cocktail dress approached her.

"Hey, mom--mom?" Erin slinked behind Susan again, and Susan turned and put her arm around Erin's back.

"Go ahead," Susan said. "It looks like it's curious." Erin gave Susan a quizzical look. The evening gown in front of Susan resolved from a flat tube to a soft, round hourglass, mimicking the shape it held when Susan's body was inside it.

"Curious about what?" Erin asked, stepping toward the dress.

"I don't really know, honestly," Susan said. "Everything seems to be rather obedient, but some things tend to have more flamboyant or assertive personalities."

"So you're really NOT controlling these things," Erin said, reaching a hand out toward the cocktail dress. It stepped forward and rubbed the side of its waist against her hand. She pushed on the outside of the fabric, which gave just enough to give Erin the sense that there was something actually occupying it. "What are they?" Erin asked, passing her hand between the dress straps and waving it around.

"Just ordinary clothes," Susan said, "But they've been enchanted." She looked in the bag again, and it was empty. "Is that all?" She asked, looking around. The other coat closet door folded open, and the sweater and jean set walked out wearing the black leather boots. The gloves came out separately, unattached to the outfit. One of them waved at Susan. Erin laughed a little as Susan waved back. The glossy black slicker came out as well, but hung out by the closet door.

The cocktail dress bobbed in front of Erin and started up the stairs while the evening gown slinked behind it. Erin felt a tap on her shoulder as she watched the two dresses. When she turned around, she didn't see anything. Susan laughed.

"It's the gloves," Susan said. Feeling another tap, Erin turned again, faster this time. In the next second she felt her butt goosed. She jumped forward, letting out a yelp. Now Susan was really laughing. Erin turned to see her mom give the other glove a high-five.

"Not cool at all," Erin said, scowling at the gloves. Both gloves held their hands up for a second, then one extended out, hovering patiently in front of Erin at a comfortable distance. "No, I get it," Erin said, breaking into a grudging smile. "You were just playing around." She shook with the disembodied glove, rubbing the the soft leather at her thumb and forefingers before letting it go.

The friendly little pinch Erin received left her mind to wonder what else a pair enchanted gloves were prone to do, and after her snap reaction, she wanted to give a friendly signal back. She had no idea if they could 'see,' but she winked at them anyway. She looked back at Susan, who was occupied inspecting the sweater and jeans outfit.

"Is this my shape, or are you, um...optimizing the clothes?" Susan asked. The sweater threw its arms up in the air and posed, then pointed a sleeve at Susan. The shape of the form beneath didn't change.

"I think they're saying that's all you, mom." Erin said. Susan walked around the outfit.

"Wow. I'm glad you guys followed me home, then. I can't believe I didn't buy you." Susan felt the jeans around the butt and thighs. "Yeah, this really is the perfect cut." Erin's eyes drifted back to the gloves, which had now hovered up the stairs. As if they were trying to get Erin's attention, one of them pointed toward Susan and Andy's master bedroom, while the other pointed in the opposite direction, toward Erin's room.

They were asking Erin where they should go.

Erin felt giddy. Were those gloves really thinking what she was thinking? Erin's face got red. Whatever. They got the signal enough to toss the ball back in Erin's court, and she made a decisive response. Nudging her head in the direction of her room, one glove made the 'OK' signal, and both gloves hovered down the hall into Erin's room.

"Go into the laundry room," Susan said, jolting Erin out of her exchange with the magic gloves as the jeans and sweater in front of Susan started walking through the den. The boots remained, apparently knowing that the laundry room was no place for leather boots. "No, not you," she said, grabbing the sweater's sleeve. The jeans walked on. "Those jeans need to be washed, that's all." The sweater turned toward Susan, wrapping its sleeve around her while invisible fingers at the end of the other sleeve grasped her hand. "Hey," Susan said, laughing.

The sweater started to lead Susan in a dance while the clothes on Susan's body complied, sending her into graceful motion with the sweater.

"Mom, what are you doing?" Erin giggled, backing into the living room to allow the dancing pair the whole entryway.

"They love playing around like this," Susan responded, still hand-in-invisible-hand with the sweater as she was whirled around by her clothes. "If I can't let them play while anyone else is around, I may as well oblige them now." Erin crossed her arms.

"I think I deserve a couple answers now, don't you?" Erin asked. For a second Susan had to think about just how much she wanted Erin to know. The book was out. There were plenty of spells that didn't sound like they should be in the hands of anyone likely to go on a rampage in the near future, and Susan's 19-year-old daughter was a prime example. Erin was an intelligent girl, but she could get very nasty and competitive. No, the book was out, and probably any spells with it. It was time to make something up. Susan's dancing clothes and the enchanted sweater slowed as she spoke.

"There was this--gypsy, or homeless woman, or something," Susan started, already proud of herself. "She looked like she could really use some...anything." Susan frowned, letting go of the sweater. Her clothes had stopped dancing her around, and the sweater drifted up the stairs.


"So, I was--walking out of lunch with a couple of the girls, and I gave her my food--and two $20 bills I had. I looked at her and said--'I hope this helps for a while.'" Susan sighed, looking down a bit.

"And, and?" Erin was anxious. She wanted the rest of it. Susan began to believe she could fool the know-it-all.

"She looked me deep in the eyes and asked if I was a mother, and I told her yes. And she said something I couldn't understand, and then, 'bless the nurturing woman and lighten her load, for hers is the heaviest all her life.'" She almost blew it right after she finished. She was one finicky neuron away from bursting into laughter. Acting wasn't her forte, but this was her Oscar-winning moment. Erin was stunned by the story, but she believed her.

Of course she did. After all, as far as she knew, there was no other explanation.

"Hey, no way..." Erin said, thinking back to the night before. "My toast pretty much made itself last night--at least, I thought it did for a second before I chalked it up to me being too tired to remember." Susan nodded.

"It works a little too well," Susan said. "Your father was starting to think he was losing it."

"So he's seen--"

"No, he hasn't seen anything," Susan said, cutting Erin off. "And now that you're in on this, you have to help me keep it that way." Erin laughed.

"Yeah, right. I'm somehow going to keep everything in the house from jumping to life. This is some real life fuckin' magic!"

"Erin Hayley!" Susan exclaimed. Erin laughed.

"I'm sorry, Mom, but you've got to admit--"

"Listen," Susan cut her off. "Everything is actually pretty obedient if you explain yourself. When your father came home the other night, there were a million things going at once. I just basically said that my husband would freak if he saw anything floating about, and the situation took care of itself."

"Right, 'cept the part where dad thought he was losing it." Susan grinned at her.

"They're really smart about it," Susan said. "They cut everything really close sometimes, almost as if they know what the person's going to do." She laughed. "It still makes me nervous, but I just have to learn to trust them."

"They and them?" Erin asked.

"Things!" Susan said. "You know--anything that comes to life."

"Right, so trust them?" Erin asked. "This is some kind of gypsy curse, so how do you know--"

"Blessing, Erin." Susan said, cutting Erin's complaint short. "I believe I said 'blessing'."

"You believe the Gypsy said 'blessing'?" Erin asked, holding back a smile from pushing her mom's buttons.

"I know the Gypsy said 'blessing'!" Susan spouted. "I believe I told you that she used the word 'blessing'."  Susan puffed. "Anyway, the point is--I'm guessing they'll be obedient to you too, now that you know about this." Erin's eyes lit up.

"Really?" Erin asked. Susan nodded. "So, things will just do whatever I ask them to?"

"In the house," Susan said. "It won't follow you back to the dorms or anything." Susan made a mental note to read a little bit more about the spell in the book.

"Of course not," Erin said. "If this is a product of your blessing, it would stay at your house." Erin thought about it. "But--the clothes that followed you home?"

"Well, we know it sticks around when I'm gone because of your father," Susan said. "But apparently it follows me around, too."

"You're so lucky," Erin said. "You know what you could do with this, mom?"

"Don't you know anything about folk magic?" Susan said. "Greed negates it. Besides, it's so oddly self-aware that I don't think you could exploit it if you wanted to." The first part was corroborative bullshit, but Susan imagined she was right about the spell itself.

"So can I try something?" Erin asked.

"Sure," Susan shrugged. "If they haven't already cleaned up breakfast, start there." The two walked through the living room back into the kitchen. Everything was as they left it, except for the coffee pot, which was topping of Susan's cup.

“So wait, did you tell it to do that?” Erin asked. Susan shook her head. “So it's just automatic?”

“Most things are,” Susan said. “But all you usually have to do in order to direct it is ask.” Erin smiled.

“May I have a cup of coffee, then?” Erin said. A cupboard opened the next moment, and a coffee mug floated out and turned itself upright.

Erin walked over to the counter to get a better look at the animated vessel. The creamer came out of the fridge again, as the sugar bowl joined the mug in the air. A teaspoon dumped three lumps of sugar into the mug and landed back in the sugar bowl, which placed itself back on the counter. The cream followed, turning the tannin-brown of the coffee a caramel tan.

“Wow, how did everything know how I take my coffee?” Erin asked. Susan shrugged, back at the table and sipping her coffee now.

“I don't have any idea,” Susan admitted. “I don't even bother trying to figure out the mechanics of it.” When Susan had finished the last of her roll, her plate hovered into the air and toward the sink. Erin, following her floating coffee cup back to the table, grabbed the plate to see what would happen. When she grabbed it, it began pulling her hands with it.

“Hey!” Erin laughed. “Look, it's trying to—whoa!” Erin was pulled toward the sink. She couldn't get very good footing on the tile floor, and the force controlling the plate was strong.

“Yeah, I wouldn't do that if I were you,” Susan laughed. “Once they're already doing something, it's pretty difficult to get them to stop, unless you ask nicely, of course.” Erin wasn't about to give up, despite Susan's warning.

“It won't hurt me will it?” Erin asked, failing to stop the plate. “Or let me get hurt?” She started to slide across the floor as Susan shook her head.

“I don't think so, at least not based on my experiences,” Susan replied, “But I wouldn't--” Instead of trying to pull it back, Erin stepped between the plate and the sink. She began turning it over and pushing her back against it. “Erin, what—” Susan thought she was crazy. Halfway between the table and the sink, she had worked the dish far down enough that she leapt atop it, effectively sitting on the upside-down plate.

“Whoa!” Erin exclaimed. “I'm—it's holding me up!” She gripped the plate beneath her as it bobbed closer to the sink.

“Erin, be careful!” Susan said, standing up. “Don't--” As the plate approached the sink, Erin could feel her shorts and tank top moving around on her.

“Hey, what gives?” She let go of the plate and was lifted into the air. “M-mom?” Susan stated laughing.

“I warned you,” Susan said. “Just relax—like I said, they won't hurt you.” The plate placed itself in the sink while Erin felt herself drifting back toward the table.

“You've h-hovered like this?” Erin asked, eyes wide. She had an awed smile on her face.

“Kind of,” Susan said, reluctant to tell her daughter the flirty details of being dressed by her clothes the day before. By now, Erin's chair pulled itself away from the table and met up with her floating body. Once she was in the chair, it set itself back down on the floor and pushed in a comfortable distance from the table. Erin's remaining cinnamon roll hovered off of her plate and floated in front of her.

“Uh...thanks,” Erin said, attempting to grab the pastry. It moved out of her reach just as it did when her mother tried the same thing. “Hey, what--” She put her hand down and watched as the pastry approached her again. “Am I being played with?” Erin asked, looking at Susan.

“No,” Susan said, shaking her head. “They're just being helpful. Take a bite.” Erin smirked.

“I can't let them feed me.” Erin opened her mouth, and as the pastry approached, she pulled away and closed it again. “There,” Erin said, sticking her tongue out at the roll. “How do you like it?” Erin immediately felt something tickling her sides. She giggled and pulled her chair away from the table.

“What?” Susan asked. The pastry hung steadily in the air.

“I—I just got tickled by something!” Erin said. Susan shook her head.

“Well, you did start it,” Susan said. “I wouldn't escalate it any further.” Erin looked over at her, raising an eyebrow. However this force worked, it was playfully responsive, first with the gloves and now with Erin's challenge.

“Okay,” said Erin, “let's try it.” She opened her mouth again, inviting the pastry. It hovered toward her, and she took a decent-sized bite out of it. She let out a laugh between chews, finally swallowing and opening her mouth again. The roll reoriented to give her an easy place to bite, and she repeated the action. “Priddy impressif,” Erin said with a mouthful of cinnamon roll. Susan watched as she swallowed and opened for another bite.

“You caught on quicker than I did,” Susan said. “I was so sloppy at it that I asked them not to feed me.”

“Are you kidding?” Erin said, taking another small bite. “I could get used to this!” She looked over at her coffee. “Sip, please,” she said as the coffee cup lifted itself into the air. The mug got close to her and tilted just enough for her to slurp a sip out of the rim. “mmmm...” Erin melted as the hot coffee slid down her throat. The mug replaced itself as the pastry returned. “Mom, you've got to admit this is pretty awesome,” Erin said, looking over at Susan before turning back to the roll and taking another bite.

“Well, don't get too used to it,” Susan replied. “Remember, we can't play around like this in front of anyone.” Erin nodded her head, rolling her eyes as she chewed.

“I got it, mom.” Erin replied. “Your gypsy blessing is safe with me.” Erin laughed as she finished her breakfast. The mop continued its work on the floor as the few dishes in the sink washed themselves by hand—or rather—glove.

Susan sighed. She had a few errands to run in town, and Erin would be left to her own devices for a few hours until Andy got home from golf. While she was a little nervous about Erin's interactions with the power, she figured her gypsy story was good enough that Erin wouldn't suspect another source of the unexplainable magic. Susan thought it less safe to keep dragging the book around everywhere she went, so she began thinking about a decent hiding place to keep it safe and sound at home.

What she didn't know is that the seemingly-sentient enchantment she activated the afternoon before had its own plans in mind...