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Your Local Wizards

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Nita spent half an hour getting ready for the date, and approximately another half an hour berating herself for taking so much time. It’s just Kit! she thought, as she flung yet another unsuitable top down on her bed in frustration. You didn’t used to think about what you wore when you saw him.

Of course, now he was her boyfriend. It had been a month or so now but she still blushed a little at the word. She’d probably never get back at him for making her say it a second time.

But the nerves she was fighting were less about Kit being her boyfriend and more about this being their first real date. Between school and errantry and wanting to give their respective families some time to adjust, they just hadn’t had the time before now. They had found their fair share of free moments for talking, and for kissing (which was pretty great), and for just hanging out, but the other day Kit had told her he wanted to take her out on a real date, dinner and a movie or something.

So here she was standing in front of her closet with approximately half the contents of said closet strewn across her bed and desk and absolutely no idea what to wear, and it was driving her crazy.

In the end, Nita decided on a simple black skirt and a tank top she’d bought last month because its pattern reminded her of fractal sequences they’d been studying in math. She fished a pair of sandals out of the bottom of her closet (it was getting too hot for real shoes), put her wallet, keys, phone, and wizard’s manual (just in case) into her purse, and headed downstairs to wait for Kit.

For all her agonizing, she was still ready ten minutes before Kit was supposed to show up. She’d just finished one book and didn’t have time to get into another, so she settled down on the living room couch and turned on the TV. On screen, a tall thin man with dark curly hair and impossible cheekbones pulled on a scarf and popped up the collar on his well-tailored coat. Nita smiled and thanked the Powers that PBS showed BBC reruns. BBC America wasn’t included in the cable package. Illegal downloading was probably in violation of the Wizards’ Oath. And it wouldn’t help the overlays if an American wizard popped over to Ireland on a weekly basis to watch British TV with a friend of hers.

“I thought he had a different coat last time. Brown, and longer?” Kit was standing in the entrance to the living room, having arrived with impressive stealth—or maybe Nita had just been engrossed in the action onscreen. She hit the mute button on the remote as he came over and plopped down on the couch next to her.

Nita rolled her eyes. “Wrong show,” she said. She leaned into him, any remaining nerves banished by the way he shifted his arm up and around her shoulder so she could nestle in closer. This was warm and comfortable and right. How could she have been worried? He was her boyfriend, but really, that was just another word for partner—and they’d been that from the start.

“Does British television consist entirely of funny-looking men with memorable outerwear?” Kit asked.

Nita laughed. “All the good bits,” she said.

“Does this mean I have to go find a quirky jacket in order to retain your attention?”

“That’s one option.” She looked up at him and her smile matched his. “You could also just kiss me.”

“Seems more cost-effective.”

“Kit!” she squealed in mock-indignation, pushing away from him, but he caught her hand and drew her back toward him and kissed her, and she didn’t complain in the least.