A Witch's Choice; Part 1 by Cycy Smith

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And there weren't many grandmothers who would coyly ask if that nice young man she had seen Rowena kissing on the doorstep would like to stay for supper whilst at the same time offering her only granddaughter a very potent potion meant to spark desire in even the shyest of men. No she was definitely lucky but that didn't stop her wishing, just occasionally, that she had a little more space between her and her doting family. A little more distance in which to live her own life without their constant, if well-meaning, interference.

Even more worrying was the look she saw more and more often in her mother's eyes, the serious note behind her grandmother's teasing. The subtle reminder that her grandmother wouldn't be around forever and it was her duty to ensure that the family line was continued, her duty to find a suitable male as the father for the next generation.

And wasn't that the problem? Rowena wondered, returning to her original grievance. She loved Sean and he loved her but while her family might accept him as her daughter's father they would never accept him as any more than that. Witches do not marry. They don't marry male witches and they certainly don't marry humans. A man might be accepted into a witch's life as a father of a child or as a lover, might even be allowed to remain in her life if he showed a particular desire to be a proper father to his offspring but he would never share her life in the way human couples shared theirs. A witch remained for the most part alone, except for her relations or her witch friends. The rigours of the craft were too demanding for anything else and a man, especially a human, would never understand. Rowena knew all that, had grown up knowing it, but that didn't change the way she felt. She wanted more than a casual relationship, a love that rapidly cooled as the man realised it would never go any further, that he would never truly be a part of his woman's life, that she would never, in any real sense, be ‘his'. Sean meant more to her than a casual lover. She wanted to entwine her life with his until there was no telling where she ended and he began. She wanted to be his partner in life, to share each small detail of her days with him, to forge a strong and enduring relationship based on mutual love and respect.

It was impossible. She knew it was impossible. But that didn't make the feelings go away, hadn't made it any less hard when she had seen the confusion and heartbreak in his eyes at her refusal when he proposed to her. Hadn't made it any easier to form the word ‘no' when everything in her was screaming ‘yes, yes.'

Frustrated, and trying to stem the rising tears that threatened to spill over, Rowena strode across the room and threw open the window, sticking her head as far out as possible and taking deep, gasping breaths of sea air. The view from her window showed the beach and the wide expanse of sea beyond it, while the kitchen door opened out onto a winding dirt path that led through a small copse of trees and through the meadow to the main house.

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