The black parasol was dipped and folded as its owner stepped inside out of the obnoxious sunlight. She peered around the thin store that reached deep into the block it sat on, at the shelves of books that towered above her, and toward the thinly framed creature whom wobbled on a precariously placed ladder.
“Excuse me,” Wednesday announced her presence, and the woman startled from her work. She turned, a hand poised against the book she had just replaced.
“Hello,” the store owner greeted before she slid down the ladder rails and approached the customer. “How can I help you?”
“I need a book,” Wednesday said. “It's a rare monograph of pre-classicism period summoning rituals. And no, I do not wish to spend never-ending hours sifting through the inaccuracies and grossly imagined fabrications that the human race has turned the internet into.”
The store owner blinked twice before a kind smile found her lips. She stepped around Wednesday and toward the checkout, which doubled as a desk piled high with volumes.
“And the name of this study?” she asked once she held a pen over paper.
“Carmina in animabus pereunt,” Wednesday offered with a perfectly trained accent. The bookkeep wrote swiftly, both the Latin and English name Wednesday noted.
“I'll put my feelers out,” the brunette woman replied, the smile still lighting up her features.
“You have antennae?” Wednesday excitedly asked. There was barely a brow raised, yet her tone rose by half a note.
“Oh, no. It's a colloquialism, a common phrase of speech.”
The gothic woman visibly deflated, but she should have known better. Normals were simply too far spread in the world that it was hard to find anyone of interest.
“Of course,” she replied with a sullen disposition.
“I'll let you know should someone with such stops by,” the woman promised.
Wednesday lifted her gaze back up and her lips curled. “I'd appreciate that. Interesting folk don't make themselves easily noticed.”
The brunette paused her speech for half a moment. “Can I have your cell number?”
“Why would you want it?” Wednesday asked.
“So I can text you when your book arrives.”
“Ah. We have a problem there. I don't carry a phone with me. I have a butler to take my messages though. You can call the house.”
A moment was taken to scribble down the strangely long phone number, and the store owner then plucked a business card from her desk. “Perhaps, given time, you might find me interesting,” she suggested as she offered the card to Wednesday. “Or you don't have to. That's your prerogative.”
Wednesday's eyes darted to the card she now held in her black lacquered fingers. “Wormwood,” she mused aloud. “What a lovely name.”
“I inherited it so I can't take all the credit,” the woman Wednesday now knew as Matilda laughed.
Wednesday only showed her appreciation for the joke with a tiny, brief twerk of her lips. Where most people would take her reaction as awkward and stifling, Matilda only continued to smile.
“Wormwood,” Wednesday hummed. “Uses include quelling stomach pains, excellent for the gallbladder, and possibly linked to treating liver disease. It's also used to increase sexual desire.” Her gaze flickered up and down Matilda’s form pointedly. She wasn't expecting the woman's response.
“And with enough time and treated correctly can be brewed into an intoxicating beverage. Side effects include dizzying hallucinations and an all round amazing experience. You should try it.”
“You, or the absinthe?”
“That's up to your own volition,” Matilda replied. This time Wednesday smiled, haunting as the expression was. As normal as this woman had first appeared, Matilda was quickly becoming fascinating to the Addams’ spawn.
“Suppose I say yes,” Wednesday started, earning a larger grin from the brunette. “And you quickly find that my melancholic personality is too much to endure. You yourself become drenched in my dejected aura so much that another day on this wretched earth would be beyond harrowing. You become so loathing of everything, including yourself, that you couldn't bear to take another step in any direction but that of your own grave, despite knowing that even there you cannot escape me. What then?”
Matilda, eyes wide with emotion from listening to the pure poetry spilling from Wednesday's lips, didn't miss a beat. “I've experienced worse.”
“You should know my last bedfellow angered me so, that I chained him to his own bed.”
“Then tell me what he did wrong so I might learn from it.”
Wednesday studied Matlida’s expression for a very long moment. There was simply something different about the woman, something alluring and enchanting, something Wednesday hadn't come across before. Past lovers were usually fleeting and frequent, she had never found one worth keeping. They either couldn't appreciate her as she was, or were too easily walked all over. Wednesday liked a partner with… with tenacity.
“You have my number,” she said instead of answering the posed question. She turned on her heel so Matilda wouldn't see her smile wider. She made her way for the door. “Ask for Wednesday.”