The phone rang for what seemed like hours, allowing her anxious brain to continue its spiral between staying on the call or hanging up and pretending this had never happened. But she had made it this far. There was no way she was giving up her one chance to ask this guy everything that was building up in her mind.

Finally, after eons of waiting, the call was answered with a rough ”hello? ”. He sounded tired. Why that mattered to her to the point that the thought fluttered through her consciousness, she wasn going to think about right now.

She had planned out what she was going to say to Eoin. She was going to demand the truth, demand that he explain himself. Be assertive! At least, that had been the plan. Once the man in question picked up the phone, reality came out quite differently.

”I have questions, ” she squeaked across the line to him, ”lots of them. ” Like that mattered at all. Good job being assertive there, Ash.

”Ashling? ” he asked, sounding genuinely surprised. ”Is that you? ”

His response stunned her a bit, temporarily knocking back the awkwardness she had been feeling and bringing her anger at him and the general situation back to the forefront. ”Do you have many women calling you with serious, potentially life-changing questions? ”

He laughed then. He laughed at her! Though it didn sound like a malicious or condescending laugh that she could tell over the phone, it still rocketed her irritation up another level. ”What is so funny? ”

”Im sorry! Im sorry! Im not laughing at you, ” he breathed through giggles. Yes, the man who claimed to be a magical druid only an hour ago, was giggling. Maybe he was crazy. ”Im just so relieved you called and seem calm enough to make jokes. ”

”It wasn a joke, ” she muttered, ”it was a sarcastic quip. ”

”Ah, yes, of course, it was. ” Bastard. ”I am glad you called, though. Honestly, I was worried I would have to brave your brothers again to try to talk to you. ” She didn blame him. Declan had looked ready to murder someone when he ripped him away from her. And her other brothers would have helped hide the bodies.

”They are fully prepared to ignore that tonight ever happened and chalk it up to two insane people trying to con us, ” she responded. She was mad at her brothers seeming lack of interest. She knew the whole thing sounded far-fetched but was it the right thing to just completely dismiss it?

Eoin hummed in response. ”But you
e not? ”

”No. ” It was a whisper, like saying it too loud would breathe life into the very idea. She had not verbalized it so clearly to Seamus when he had come to talk. But it was true. She wasn so ready to cast the entire idea of druids aside, as wildly insane as it might have sounded.

”I am so glad to hear you say that! ” he exclaimed, and he did sound glad, relieved almost. ”That means you did feel it, didn you? The spark or shock from before! ”

”Yes. I felt it. ” Saying out loud felt like a weight was off her shoulders. ”What was it anyway? Ive never felt anything like that before. ”

”It was your magic, Ashling. Yours responding to mine, instinctively. I felt your magic the second I walked into your office this afternoon. I knew right away that you were the one I was looking for. ”

She sat up straighter, pulling her feet up to sit cross-legged in anticipation. ”About that! Why are you looking for me anyway? ” She would come back to the whole ”magic ” thing in a moment. This seemed like the first, most pressing order of business.

She heard him sigh across the line. ”That is a long and complicated story, Ashling. I want to tell you, but maybe over the phone isn the best idea. ”

Frustration rippled through her again. Oh no! He was not getting away with not telling her anything again! ”You can honestly expect me to believe a word you are saying without any sort of background or context or anything other than ”you have magic, Ash! ”. Thanks, Hagrid, but I am going to need a bit more than that! ”

He was laughing at her again. God, this was quickly becoming a habit. ”Did you just make a Harry Potter joke? ”

”You need to stop finding the jokes in the middle of my angry rants and focus on the whole sentence! ” she fumed at him.

”Ok, ok. Im sorry. ” He didn sound the least bit sorry. ”I want to tell you everything, Ashling. Just in person where I can see you and your reaction to the whole lot of it. ”

”Ok, well, when then? ”

”Are you going to be at your office tomorrow? ”

”Yes, I work every day besides weekends and holidays. ” She cringed at herself. She could have just said yes. Why didn she just say yes?

”Then its settled! I will be at your office tomorrow morning, and I will answer any of your questions. I am an open book! ” She could practically see his chest poof out in exaggerated bravado.

”Fine. I will be there at nine oclock. ” She paused for a moment, suddenly reluctant to end the call. ”I do have one question for now, though. ”

”And what is that? ” he asked, sounding a lot more settled than when he had first answered the phone.

”Hypothetically speaking, for now, contingent on whether I end up believing you or not, when did you learn about your magic? ”

”Ive always known, ” he answered quickly, ”Our garrán teaches the children early on what our magic is and how to use it properly. The earliest I remember is at six, my father teaching me about magics connection to the earth, where all druids get their power from. ”

Ok, there was a lot to unpack in that one response.

Suddenly tired, she decided on the easiest question for now. The rest could wait until tomorrow and the consumption of a considerable amount of caffeine. ”Garrán? ”

”Literally translated, it means grove. ”

”Like a grove of trees? ”

”Yes. It is the equivalent to covens for witches or packs for shifters. ”

”Do those exist? ”

He chuckled. Not the full laugh from before, but a more tired, relaxed sound. ”Tomorrow, Ash. I will answer all your questions tomorrow. Its late, you should sleep. ” Her nickname sounded nice in his voice. He was right of course. She was half asleep sitting up.

”Ok. You should rest as well. See you tomorrow? ” she asked, wanting to make sure he was serious.

”See you tomorrow, ” he confirmed for her. ”Good night, Ash. ”

”Good night. ”

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