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Voeux

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Magalie was in the kitchen when the silver bell over the door chime. Customers. With a sigh, she looked regretfully at the tarte she had been experimenting with and brushed her hands on a kitchen towel. She stepped towards the door separating the kitchen from the front of the shop, when the voices stopped her.

They were speaking English. Which wasn't altogether unusual, especially since all of the publicity she had drummed up when she was worried about silly things like going out of business, but still, she liked to know about her customers before she served them. It helped with the wishes.

"This is the place I told you about," said a female voice. "My mom brought me last summer. Isn't it amazing?"

There was a pause, and Magalie liked to imagine her companion looking around and being suitably impressed with their surroundings.

A male voice answered, pleasantly deep, and said, "It's pretty fucking great."

The woman laughed.

Magalie stifled her own laughter and decided that this was the best moment to make her entrance. She strode from the kitchen, not in the least bit surprised to find the pair kissing.

"Bonjour," said Magalie.

The woman broke away from the man with a slightly embarrassed smile. The man smiled broadly, like someone who had thoroughly enjoyed themselves and was looking forward to doing so again at the nearest opportunity. Magalie lived with that smile every day and knew it very well.

"Bonjour," said the young woman. "Est-ce que nous pouvons s'asseoir où nous voulons?"

Magalie winced, just a little. The girl's French was grammatical enough, she supposed, but the accent was simply more than she could bear.

"English, please," she said firmly. "And yes, of course. Sit anywhere you please."

The man looked down at her, waiting for her to choose. Magalie approved of the gentlemanly behavior, approved still more when the woman chose a table just before the window display as it demonstrated her good taste. Magalie watched as he pulled back one of the chairs for the woman, pressing a kiss to the top of her head before he settled himself in his own chair.

They were really very sweet, Magalie thought. Perhaps they wouldn't need much in the way of wishes.

"Have you been to La Maison des Sorcières before?" she asked, ignoring the fact that she already knew the answer. Being polite to customers was important, no matter what Aunt Aja thought.

The young woman nodded and said, "I have. Last summer, with my mother." She shot a wry look across the table at the young man. "I was...different then."

He picked up her hand and twined their fingers together. "You were always beautiful to me."

She laughed and looked up at Magalie again. "My mother insisted on giving me a makeover not long after our visit to your shop. She said she'd had enough of my moping. I'm sure you don't remember us."

Magalie didn't, not really. So many people came in and out of the shop, and it had been a year. Still, something about the girl was familiar. Perhaps…

"Did your mother have paint stains on her shoes?" she asked. Those, Magalie remembered, because no native Parisian would ever dream of leaving their home wearing such things, not even if they were an artist. And the woman had come in with someone Magalie had assumed was her daughter. She seemed to remember wishing them happiness. And better fashion sense.

It was her best guess, and if she was wrong, well, these things happened.

But the girl's face lit up and she grinned first at Magalie and then at her young man. "See," she told him, gloating a little. "This place is magic."

At that, Magalie smiled. She did like this young woman. "Shall I bring you menus?"

The young man shook his head. "Wasted on me." He gave Magalie a charming smile, one she was certain had talked many a young woman into doing things she knew better than to do. "I don't speak French."

"Logan," the girl hissed. "You're not supposed to admit that."

"Grace, we're speaking English," he said. "I think she might have guessed." He looked expectantly up at Magalie. "You did guess, didn't you?"

Magalie laughed then, no longer able to help herself. "I did suspect," she admitted. "But I wouldn't have actually said so."

"See," said the girl, Grace. She looked up at Magalie. "If we can, we'll just have the chocolat chaud. I've dreamt about it for a year."

"She even talked about it in her sleep," Logan said. "I can confirm this."

Magalie was utterly charmed by the pair of them. She would wish good things for them, despite their apparent lack of need for them. "Chocolat chaud will be no problem at all," she said. "Just give me a few moments in the kitchen."

She did not wait for their assent, but sailed back to her domain, already imagining what she could bring them.

She warmed milk infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. She stirred in chocolate, smiling as she contemplated what she could wish for this young couple. She knew well now the power of wishes and it wouldn't do to wish them too much, but maybe she could wish that they would continue to know the kind of happiness that they had today.

That wouldn't be too much, would it?

Magalie stirred and Magalie wished and when the chocolat chaud was ready, she brought it to them in a chipped pale blue chocolate pot with mismatched cups, because life was not made up of perfect things.

She set their tray in front of them. "Enjoy."

She left them to enjoy the chocolat chaud on their own, pausing in the door of the kitchen only to make sure that some unprecedented disaster had not occurred.

Logan had crowded their chairs closer together and Grace was pouring them cups, trying not to spill despite the laughter that was coming from both of them. Magalie watched until they'd taken their first sips and sighed happily over them.

Her wish for them would come true, Magalie thought, as she turned away.

It already was.