Rosalyn touched the basil leaf, releasing a delicate, earthy scent into the greenhouse’s humid air. A contented sigh tumbled from her lips before a bell chimed. She knew the sound all too well, and it was mixed with hope, duty, and pity as she would have to leave her magical herb garden and return to the stuffy shop. “Just a moment,” her clear mezzo-soprano voice rang out, harmonizing with the bell’s dinging. Stripping off her dirt-covered gloves, she turned. A young woman stood at the entrance between the shop and the greenhouse. “How may I help you?”
The woman’s eyes flitted around the plants before landing upon Rosalyn. “Hello, my name is Lucy. I would like your help.”
Tucking a strand of burgundy hair behind her ear, Rosalyn nodded. “Of course, I'll help you. Are you searching for anything in particular?” She studied Lucy: mousy brown hair, clear blue eyes, fair complexion, average height, a little too thin. Rosalyn had an idea why she might have come to Rosalyn’s Herbs and More Shoppe.
Lucy appeared like a bird ready to fly away at the first sign of a cat. "I heard you help people. I wanted to ask for a…a love potion."
"Love potions and spells don't always work, but I can prepare a spell for you. It'll be $5.00." Lucy handed her the cash, and then Rosalyn motioned to her herbs and flowers. "Tell me your favorite herb and flower."
"Basil and lilacs."
"I'll see what I can do. And, your favorite color, Lucy?"
"Give me a moment." Rosalyn gathered herbs, including some dried lilac petals. She stuck the herbs into a blue silk cloth bag. "Can I have a piece of hair?"
"Just one. Pluck it out."
"O-okay." Lucy did as told and handed it to Rosalyn, who stuck it in the bag and tied it off.
"As I said, nothing is guaranteed, but if it doesn't work, you can return for a refund. All you have to do is place this beneath your pillow, speak aloud what type of man you want, and in your dreams you will see him. When you awaken, go about your normal activities, and you will find the man whom you'll love." She didn't mention that he might not love her back, but the love spell was to find love and nothing more.
"Have you ever tried it before?" Lucy asked.
Rosalyn didn't answer right away. She thought of her own failed attempt, and the sandy-haired man who tormented her dreams. "Yes, but it seems I have more luck finding love for others than myself."
Lucy grew pensive before clutching the bag to her chest. "Thank you."
The woman left Rosalyn to her thoughts.
A month later, Rosalyn once again tended her herb garden when the incessant bell tolled. "Yes, I'm in the back."
Lucy appeared at the doorway, and Rosalyn was surprised to see her. Lucy's entire demeanor had changed; her hair was blonder, her eyes brighter, and she wasn't as thin. "Hello, Rosalyn."
"Hello, Lucy. You look well." The herb witch chuckled. "Did the spell work?"
Lucy held out her left hand, and a diamond ring glittered upon it. "Quite, but that's not exactly why I came. I wanted to thank you, of course, but I wanted you to meet someone."
It wasn't the first time someone had tried to set Rosalyn up when they heard of her dismal love life. "Oh, I don't think so. A thank you is good enough for me."
"Come in here, Alexander," Lucy called, despite Rosalyn's protests.
A sandy-haired man entered, and he gave Rosalyn a smile. "Hello, I'm Alexander...Lucy's brother."
Rosalyn stumbled backwards. Her jaw dropped open, and she stared bug-eyed at the handsome yet rugged man.
Alexander was the man from Rosalyn's dreams.