"Aaaaaahhh!" Caleb hears Jester squeal and giggle across the room and turns to see her jumping and clapping. Molly sits at her feet, laughing and gathering his tarot cards from where Jester's feet kick as she dances around. She takes off, jumping onto the bed, where Yasha had been braiding Nott’s hair before Jester’s bounce nearly knocked her right off the mattress. Beau catches her mid-air and places her back on the bed.
Caleb smiles and shakes his head, his gaze drifting back to Molly, who shuffles his cards in his lap. He looks up and meets Caleb’s eyes, then breaks into a grin. Molly raises his hand to wave him over, so Caleb closes his book, knowing he’ll remember his place, and crosses to sit with him.
“What’s she so excited about? Good tarot... Thing?”
“Reading, yeah. I suppose. She wanted a love reading and I won’t lie, I sort of…” He leans closer to Caleb and whispers, “Fudged the reading a little to tell her what she wanted to hear.”
“Do you do that a lot?” Caleb asks.
“Only with strangers and love readings. People who ask for love spreads only want to hear the good things, anyway.” Molly shrugs. “I can rig the deck to pull certain cards if I want to.”
Caleb chuckles. “Well she seems happy, so I don’t see what’s wrong with that.”
“How about you, Mister Caleb? Want me to do a spread for you? All above board, no fudging, I promise.”
“I, uh, I don’t need a love reading, I don’t think.” Caleb blushes, and it’s true. The past couple days, all he’s been able to think of is hearing Molly tell Yasha he thinks he’s in love with Caleb. He knows that, he doesn’t need the cards to tell him. He just doesn’t know what to do about it.
“Okay, then a simple three card spread,” Molly smirks at him like it’s a dare. “It’ll tell you about a current situation you’re dealing with, or something you’ll deal with soon, an obstacle standing in the way of resolving that situation, and offer a little guidance. Nothing too wild, nothing too invasive, no bullshit.”
Caleb laughs. “No bullshit? That’s a big promise, coming from a deck of cards claiming to know so much. But ja, okay. Go ahead, do your best. Read me,” he dares Molly right back.
Molly claps his hands together excitedly and reshuffles the cards again. “Okay so-” He places three cards face down in between him and Caleb. He taps the first card with a manicured claw. “The first is the situation.” He flips the card, revealing a black and white sketch of two people embracing on a background of stars, with flowers and constellations drawn on their bodies. Molly laughs and covers his face. “Uh, The Lovers.”
Caleb laughs with him. “I thought this wasn’t going to be a love reading?”
Caleb raises an eyebrow at Molly, and Molly shrugs, fiddling with the moon pendant hanging in the middle of his chest. “Okay, well, sure, The Lovers can mean a lot when it comes up in a love spread. But it has other meanings, too. It can signify the beginning of a relationship, or any beginning, an opportunity you don’t want to miss. You have a choice to make. Might have to… take a leap of faith? I don’t suppose you know what situation the cards could be pointing toward?”
Caleb swallows. “Maybe.” He knows what situation he could use guidance with, for sure. “What’s the next card? The, ah, obstacle?” He gestures to the remaining face-down cards.
“Sure, the obstacle.” He flips the middle card, showing an upside down illustration of a tree with two swords piercing the roots. Caleb reaches to right the card, but Molly puts a hand over his. He looks up into Molly’s eyes and bites his lip. “No, they mean different things if they’re reversed, it’s fine that it’s upside down.” Molly gives his hand a squeeze and smiles. They’re sitting pretty close, and if Caleb wanted, he could count Molly’s eyelashes right now. He squeezes Molly’s hand back and smiles, but he doesn’t let go. “O-okay, so, pretty straightforward obstacle. You’re being indecisive.” Caleb’s eyes widen. Maybe these cards know more than he gave them credit for. “Maybe you’re afraid, or confused. So that’s what you’d have to get past.”
“Ja, okay,” Caleb says, quietly.
Molly tilts his head to the side and furrows his brow. “Maybe I could help? With whatever you’re afraid of, or confused about.”
Caleb shakes his head, giving Molly a smile. “No, I, ah, I think I just need some time, with some information I… something I realized.” He glances back at the girls, still chattering away on the bed. “What about the guidance? What do the cards think I should do?” He knows what he wants to do, but isn’t so sure now is the time.
Molly narrows his eyes and gives him sort of a confused look, but flips the third card to show an ornate drawing of a human riding a dragon, eight wands suspended in the air around them while they battle each other. “Okay, eight of wands, could mean good news is on the way, or that it’s time to put the past behind you and act on your plans as soon as you can?” Caleb tenses, feeling like his breath has left his lungs and he can’t get it back. “Um, basically it’s saying to act quickly, don’t hesitate.”
"Oh? That's it?" Molly squeezes his hand again and leans closer, looking concerned. "Caleb, I didn't mean to bring anything up that might be painful, the reading doesn't necessarily mean anything. Sometimes the cards don't know what they're talking about. Hey, don't take it too seriously." He reaches out the hand Caleb isn't still holding onto and puts it on his shoulder, but Caleb doesn't look up. "Caleb, I didn't mean to upset you, I-"
"You didn't, Molly." Caleb looks up. "The cards are right. I've been stalling, with no reason." He looks back at the girls again, then stands, pulling Molly to his feet with their joined hands. "Come with me?"
Molly nods, and Caleb leads him out the door.
Caleb moves quickly when he wants to, and right now, he wants to talk to Molly, alone. They get outside, into the quiet night, and he faces Molly and realizes he doesn't want to talk after all.
"Caleb, you're acting very strange, and I-"
Caleb cuts Molly off, leaning down to press their lips together.
Molly gasps into his mouth, his hand flexing against Caleb's. Caleb wraps his other arm around Molly's waist and smiles into the kiss as Molly moves his free hand to his hair.
They break apart for a moment and Molly moves both hands to cup Caleb's face. "Caleb, what… you never said anything. I thought-"
"I know, I was afraid. I thought you could never look at me, well, the way you are now."
Molly chuckles and kisses him lightly. "I've been looking at you like this the whole time, darling."
Caleb smiles and leans in to kiss him again.