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The Count of Three

By J. M. Jones

Copyright 2018 J. M. Jones

Smashwords Edition

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Table of Contents

The Count of Three

About J. M. Jones

Other Titles by J. M. Jones

The Count of Three

"You ready?"

"Give me a second."

"I've already given you several seconds, so if you don't mind..."

"Aren't you nervous about this?"

Brion glances at the vial resting on the table in front of him, then shrugs. "Better to know than not, right? If I have been in love with someone this entire time, then now I know. If not, then I get to make fun of you when you realize you're in love with Professor Witz."

"I am not in love with Professor Witz!" Alex snaps.

"If you were looking at it from my desk, you wouldn't say that."

Alex glowers at Brion, which would be terrifying if not for the large purple cushion wedged between his legs and the chair. Another half dozen pillows have been thrown to the floor, overwhelming in number, but oddly comfortable when it comes down to it.

If the study room weren't decorated in various shades of neon, Brion might wonder why so few people come here. Spelling the pillows and chairs into less offensive colors would be an easy fix. Or it should be, but when he attempted to do exactly that last month, the pillow turned an unsightly shade of yellow and refused to be spelled back.

Alex narrows his eyes, then slowly reaches for his own vial. "Fine. Are you ready or not?"

"I know you're terrified, so we could wait a bit longer," Brion says, smirking.

"Why am I friends with you again?"

"Is that a yes, we should wait?" Alex scowls, shoulders hunched around his ears, and Brion laughs and picks up his vial. "Just remember that we aren't actually drinking it. Not unless you want to give up your love for Professor Witz, of course."

"I spent just as much time working on this potion as you have," Alex counters, but his protest is half-hearted.

Brion can't find it within himself to hold the lack of enthusiasm against Alex. His gaze drops down to the vial instead, and he watches the churning liquid inside it.

A day ago, the potion was a murky brown, something akin to swamp water on a stormy day. Just the thought of drinking it made him nauseous, and both him and Alex had picked at their food last night with that in mind.

As soon as they added a strand of their hair to the vials this morning, the difference became noticeable. The potion swirling around his vial now is a deep red, something that reminds him of garnet and the blanket Alex keeps at the foot of his bed. Flakes of gold run throughout it, and Brion holds back a laugh at the sight of them. Inanimate objects can't have a sense of humour, but magical items do border that line between animate and inanimate.

Meaning they do have a sense of humor, in a way. Magical items can pick out anything that people carry in their subconscious, then reflect those things back at them as clearly as possible. Like flakes of gold in a potion meant to make Brion forget his love for the man sitting across from him, because gold flakes remind him of the spots of brown throughout Alex's otherwise green eyes.

Home is the first thought that comes to mind when Brion carefully wafts the scent towards him. The warmth wraps itself around him, followed by hints of sweat and those leather gloves Alex likes to wear. None of it comes as a surprise, but feeling that truth so intimately is new. New and a touch terrifying, like Brion should down the potion now, before he convinces himself to do something stupid first.

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