Who: Heidi MacDonald, Jennie Hopkins
Where: 4 Badger Den Road
When: 16 October 2001, evening
Maybe it wasn’t the most sensible of ideas to visit someone you’d stolen from… but Heidi wasn’t exactly known for being sensible. And it wasn’t as if she was wearing the shoes she’d picked up off Jennie’s lawn — those were at home, pushed to the very back of her wardrobe, and she only wore them on nights out when she wasn’t in Helga’s Hill. She wasn’t stupid.
Seeing the candle lit up in the window, Heidi had eagerly knocked on Jennie’s front door this evening, keen to know what was in her stars. Sure, she was all for making her own destiny, but it helped to know a little of what was coming, right?
“So tell me,” she interrupted Jennie, who was poring over the cards spread out on the table between them. “Is Christian Cavanaugh going to fall madly in love with me at the Curl and the Flame premiere party?”
“Unlikely,” Jennie replied, without missing a beat. She didn’t need to consult the cards to know that, but she didn’t bother pointing that out to Heidi. She took a few more moments to actually ponder the cards before them. “No…” she said, no more thoughtfully. “No love on the horizon. More like some trouble.” She tapped the relevant card, then flicked her eyes to the one next to it. “Trouble that could have been avoided. Trouble you brought upon yourself… Have you recently taken something that didn’t belong to you? Or someone?” Normally, coming from Jennie, that question would have been delivered with an arched brow and a knowing look. But at the moment she was businesslike, professional — just looking for more information that would help shed some light on the situation that confronted her client.
When Jennie mentioned trouble, Heidi’s first thought was of work, and her heart plummeted at the thought of another disciplinary. She’d been trying so hard to follow the rules! The suggestion that the trouble might involve a man was something of a relief to Heidi, who scrunched up her nose as she thought.
“I don’t think so,” she said dubiously, casting her mind back over her latest conquests. True, any one of them could have been married, but it wasn’t as though she’d stolen them from their wives… Not for longer than a night, anyway. “Is there any way I can avoid this trouble?” she asked worriedly.
Jennie frowned down at the cards. Their meaning seemed to keep shifting in and out of focus. Like it was changeable. “It depends…” she muttered, partly to herself. Depends on what, though? she puzzled. On what it was? On whether someone found out? Then a thought occurred to her… And she decided to get answers to some questions of her own.
“Oh!” she said, looking intently at the cards. “It was an object… More than one object… A set of some kind?” A pair? she wanted to ask, but no, too obvious. “Not riches or gold, but valued by their owner…” She peered up at Heidi then, trying to keep her own expression blank while hoping Heidi might betray a flicker of recognition or guilt. It was just an idea, but hey, it was worth asking. You could get away with a lot of things if you said them in an appropriately mystical tone.
Heidi’s eyes widened slightly as she realised what Jennie was picking up in the cards. Busted. She didn’t realise divination cared about little things like that. She dropped her gaze to the cards, unable to meet Jennie’s eye, wondering how the hell she was going to get out of this one. Her automatic reaction was to deny everything, but then she thought about her Hit Witch training, and how she’d learnt that the most believable lies always contained elements of the truth.
“I did borrow a matching necklace and earrings set off Lexie,” she said slowly, constructing her story. “Well, she doesn’t know I took them. Borrowed them, I mean, because I’m going to give them back. Could that be it?”
Damn. Jennie had felt a thrill of victory at Heidi’s guilty look, but Heidi’s somewhat plausible story left her somewhat deflated. But then, she was acting awfully guilty over just some borrowed jewelry. Whether Heidi was the shoe thief or not, Jennie got the definite impression she had something to hide. She pressed on with the reading, interpreting the cards with a more biased view than usual.
“Could be. But I think it’s something more. Because see, here?” She tapped a card meaningfully. “Whatever it is, it’s triggering a sort of—fork in the road. The decisions you make now, about what you do with whatever it is you’ve taken, it opens up two paths before you.” She flipped the last two cards, revealing two rather stark options for the future– one a lovely lady with a blossoming flower, the other a menacing figure of death. Oh, that had worked out nicely. “I think you can see what I mean.”
This was all more or less true. The cards could equally have been referring to the possibility of changes coming up at work, or in her love life. But Jennie had a feeling, and that was how you filled in the dots, in this sort of thing.
Heidi was fairly sure that the death card didn’t actually mean, well, death… but it was hardly reassuring to see it come up. There was still no way she was going to confess all to Jennie, but…
“What do you think I should do, then?” she asked, like it was just another one of their normal readings and she’d come to Jennie for guidance. Had Jennie actually worked out that Heidi was the shoe thief? Or was she unaware of what the cards were referring to?
“The good news is, nothing’s set in stone,” Jennie pointed out pragmatically, again indicating the two wildly different cards. “You’ve triggered the possibility of negative consequences, but you still have the opportunity to make it right. Like returning those earrings… or whatever it was.” She sat back to let that sink in, then grinned. “Good thing you came to see me, right?”
Jennie felt a minor pang of professional guilt for letting this reading veer a bit off course… but then, the beauty of Divination was that even if you did a poor job of it, most people only remembered the parts that proved relevant, and forgave or forgot the rest.
She knows, Heidi thought, but managed to return the smile (even if it was a bit forced). “Yeah,” she said. “Well. You’ve… given me lots to think about. And I’ll remember that bit about the negative consequences.” She took out her purse and placed Jennie’s usual fee on the table.
“So… thanks,” she added, standing up and trying not to look as if she wanted to escape, even though she did. Who knew a simple tarot reading would’ve turned out to be so damning? She wasn’t sure exactly what she was going to do with the shoes now — surely she couldn’t simply return them after all this? — but she couldn’t keep them if it was going to lead to negative consequences. Ugh, what a headache.
“Anytime!” Jennie replied, smiling brightly and pocketing the coins. “Hopefully I’ll have better news for you next time. I’m working on a new spread that I think will really bring a lot of clarity to some questions of love and sex.” After all, as much as she’d enjoyed needling Heidi, she did want repeat business.
Now, it would be interesting to see if those shoes somehow found their way home…