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  • At The Tip of The Quill

In The Nick of Time (or: Why Bath Ideas Are The Best Ideas)


It was Friday night. The best night. Friday nights were the one night a week where overworked and underpaid family law attorney June K. Halloway took exactly one hour for herself to soak away the worries and stress of the workweek.


June's tub was perfect for a good soak too. It was one of those vintage clawfoot tubs, wide and long and curved, with polished brass waterworks. Modern tubs just could not match the worn comfort of cast iron soaking tubs, what with their cold plastic, hard angles, and mass cookie-cutter molds. At least, that's what Nori thought.

Nori Cove looked up from her perch on top of the brass toothbrush holder to where her twin brother hung suspended from the door of the mirrored medicine cabinet. He had built up just enough momentum from kicking off the bathroom wall he could now force the cabinet door open a good inch. Nori rolled her eyes, "How many weeks do you think you can keep getting away with the same prank, Douglas Fern! She's going to figure out she's not the one leaving the cabinet door open!"


Douglas ignored his sister and, with a final shove and a war-whoop of triumph, rode the cabinet door as it swung open another two or three inches. The victorious sprite skip-hopped his way across the bathroom counter and swung himself up onto the toothbrush holder next to his twin. He flashed her his most charming smile - which worked for most fey, but most certainly not his sister. Usually. "No, she won't, Nori. She's not figured it out for months. She's far too busy doing that dumb work thing she doesn't pay us any attention at all. You'll see!"


The pair was forced to truncate their argument due to the sound of June's familiar footsteps coming up the hallway. Nori yelped in alarm, "She's home early! She's never home early!"


Even though they could have easily slipped through the sink faucet not a human's foot away, the thought never seemed to even cross their minds. Instead, the mischievous pair of water sprites made a mad dash across the sink toward the refuge of the waiting tub.


Nori took the more practical route and hop-hovered from sink to back of the commode then glided onto the rim of the tub. Her brother, however, elected to shove a bar of soap off the counter and into the sink, where he surfed the slick surface to the other side, flipped himself up into the air, tumbled end over end a few times, then landed on the edge of the tub to bow in overdramatic fashion. In his mind, he should have been given a hearty round of applause. His sister awarded him with an eye roll.


The pair completed their sprint across the rim to hide inside the folds of the sea-green and gold shower curtain just as one weary homeowner trudged inside. June automatically reached to her left as she entered the bathroom and closed the medicine cabinet with an annoyed mutter as she fished the errant bar of soap from the sink. Douglas flashed Nori a grin of triumph. His sister still didn't look impressed. Maybe he really did need to change up his pranks.


The oblivious human padded across the tiles of the bathroom floor to turn on the bathwater. June gave a happy sigh of anticipation as steam from the hot faucet started to drift up from the waterfall, then turned away from the tub to finish her personal pre-bath prep. In the lul and boredom of the wait, Douglas' mind raced through 3,947 different prank ideas, but most of them they'd already done and he really wanted to impress his sister this time (just don't tell her that.)


Nori noticed June had forgotten to add a bath bomb to the bubbles and 'accidentally' nudged a royal blue ball into the steamy water with a little clap of glee. Douglas knew it was Nori's favorite color, but that didn't help him with any new prank ideas... or did it? With a sudden flash of inspiration, the cheeky sprite knew exactly what he was going to do. Now... to hurry up and wait!


It seemed to take forever, but, at last, June settled herself into the soapy sea of hot water, lay back, and closed her eyes. Douglas nudged his sister, "I dare you to top this." With that, the sprite slid from the folds of the shower curtain, dashed right up to June's ear, and softly whispered, "I need to refill the blue bath bombs."


At first, Nori shot her brother a death glare at the brazen move, but, to her surprise, June murmured, "Oh yah... I need to refill the blue bath bombs before next week."


Nori's lips twitched as Douglas whispered again, "I need more milk."

In near perfect echo, June declared, "Crap. I need more milk. I meant to buy more yesterday."


Not to be outdone, Nori caught a ride up the faucet via a wave of steam from the bath, skipped across a few soap bubbles, and perched near June's other ear. Against her better judgment, the sprite whispered a few words of creative magic. As June relaxed in the hot water, the magic took hold, and her eyes fluttered open with an excited, "That's the perfect response to the Marley brief!" Pleased with herself, the human settled back into the water with a contented sigh. Perhaps next week's hearing would go more smoothly than anticipated after all.


Nori's look of smug satisfaction didn't last long. Douglas had already started his next creative suggestion to their captive audience with a bit of extra magic of his own.


Back and forth the competitive sprites tossed ideas, suggestions, and imaginative prompts at the woman in the bath. The human's laughs of glee and delight echoed off the bathroom tiles as her mind exploded with fantastic ideas. Within a half-hour, she had solved all the problems in her own little universe, remembered all the tasks she needed to accomplish, composed perfect replies to every active case she was working on, and even came up with the most hilarious idea for a creative story to tell at her niece's birthday party next month.


However, the sprites realized they pushed their magic a little too far when June suddenly shoved herself up out of the water with a gigantic splash of bubbles. The cascade of waterdrops showered off her body to form chaotic pools all over the floor, as the normally quite orderly human sloshed toward the door with an excited, "I've got to write all of this down!"


Nori shot Douglas a panicked look. He winced. They were going to get into sooooo much trouble if the elders found out how much creative magic they used on one human in one night. But! He wasn't about to get in trouble if he could help it! The water sprite snatched his sister's hand and tugged them both up into the air where they raced toward the bathroom door via the momentum of falling drops of water.


Douglas reached the bathroom door seconds before June crossed the threshold into the domain of the carpet sprites. With a quick flick of his wrist and a command of enchantment only the steam could hear, the water sprite cast his final spell.


As Nori watched June hurry down the hallway and very much out of their domain, she turned to her brother in panic, "What are we going to do now?!"


Douglas flashed that charming grin of his at his sister as he tossed a lock of green hair out of his turquoise eyes, "Don't worry, Sis. I caught her in the nick of time. She'll have forgotten most of it by the time she finds a pen!"


For once, his smile worked. Nori laughed and gave her brother a double thumbs-up. Douglas grinned again. Looks like he found their next great prank after all.


Next Friday night was going to be g l o r i o u s.

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