Petunia “Petty” Blossom happened to have an extra gleam in her twinkling eyes on that particular morning. Much to her sisters’ chagrin.
First, spring had come to Ever After, Missouri (they only had winter in December), and the fairy godmother sisters had set about their duties bringing the town to lush and vibrant life. To any nonmagical person on the outside looking in, the sisters looked like a trio of kindly grandmother types who had run slightly wild in their youth, but who now baked cookies, enjoyed gardening, and collected cats.
The sun was high in the clear blue sky, and fat birds singing their songs of young love dotted their unfortunately naked cherry tree. Several squirrels waited patiently, clasping their tiny little paws together as they looked back and forth between the fairies and the tree. Petty hoped she wouldn’t have to disappoint them.
“I don’t know what you’re smiling about, Pets. We’re all going to hell in a rather thorny handbasket.” Bluebonnet sighed and slapped her wand against her hand as she tried, and failed, for the fourth consecutive time to bring a bloom to the cherry tree that dominated the backyard of their gingerbread-style cottage.
“Decidedly cherry-free, I might add.” Jonquil crossed her arms over her chest and scowled.
The scents of magic and their herb garden flooded her awareness and she grounded herself in the moment. She allowed herself to feel the magic of the green grass and rich, loamy earth beneath their cedar deck, and she recalled childhood memories of her sisters.
When they first got their wings.
Their first wands.
Learning to be magical.
And she filled herself with all the love she could summon.
Love for her magic, for her darling charges, and, of course, for her sisters. Petty bumped her ample hip into Bluebonnet’s and a zing of magic crackled from the wand and produced exactly one perfect bloom.
“How did you do that?” Bluebonnet frowned.
“Stop frowning, Bon-Bon. It’ll give you wrinkles,” Jonquil said.
“You’ve already got wrinkles.” Bluebonnet stuck her tongue out at her sister, but then quickly checked her compact to see if she had, in fact, developed the ever-dreaded wrinkles.
“So what? I’m not afraid of my age. I just know how terrified you are.” Jonquil returned the rude gesture.
“Sisters. You know, we could argue until kingdom come, which is going to be soon if we don’t do something. Or, we could get to the talking about how I brought a bloom to our sad, little tree.” Petty pushed her glasses up on the end of her nose. They were more a fashion statement than anything, but she liked the effect.
“Yes, fine. Let’s get to that.” Bon-Bon rattled her wand again and then looked around. “Oh dear, I hope the neighbors didn’t see.”
“Stop shaking the poor dear. You’re going to give him motion sickness,” Jonquil said.
“I am not.”
“Yes, you are. If you’d just—” Jonquil reached for the wand.
Bluebonnet was not about to have any of that nonsense. She jerked the wand away, but it slipped out of her grasp and when it hit the cedar planks of their deck, it shattered into toothpicks.
“Look what you did!” Bluebonnet cried.
Petty could see that things were about to go decidedly south, and that wasn’t something they had time for.
“Love!” Petty shrieked.
Both of her sisters turned to look at her.
“Excuse me, what?” Jonquil asked as she tucked her silver-white hair behind her ear.
“Yeah, what?” Bluebonnet added. “Love?”
Petty nodded. “Yes, exactly. That’s our answer.”
Jonquil sagged down into a deck chair, unmindful of the dirt now on her bright-yellow dress. “We can’t even bring spring to Ever After. How is love our answer?”
“It’s the problem and the solution,” Petty continued. “The world is running out of love. That’s why we’re running out of magic.”
“That sounds like hippie woo-woo to me.” Bluebonnet wrinkled her nose and leaned against the cottage door.
“We’re fairy godmothers, but the magic of love is hippie woo-woo? This is why we’re going extinct. Honestly.” Petty shook her head. “No, seriously. I’m telling you that’s how I made your magic work. I thought about how much I love you.”
“And you only got one bloom?” Jonquil cackled.
Petty narrowed her eyes. “It was the best I could do because we’re all low. So much strife, hardship, and fear. Those things both drain love and make it stronger. For us, I fear it’s drained our compassion, our empathy, and yes, our love.”
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