The jinni raised its eyebrow.
It seemed on the verge of saying something else, but stayed silent for a moment longer. Jinn were not required to give advice, and were not inclined to, especially to humans.
The jinni smiled. "Your wish is my command."
"You found it where?" Olivia asked incredulously.
Heidi shook her head. "In our attic. It was the weirdest thing. The lamp just disappeared after."
Olivia frowned. "Sounds like you dreamt it, dude."
"That's what I thought," Heidi said. "But when I woke up I had this, like, burn mark on my hands. From where I was holding the lamp, when it lit up and stuff."
"Well, that's definitely weird," Olivia allowed.
Suddenly, there was a loud THWACK, and Olivia's head jerked forward.
"Ow." She put a hand up to the back of her head. Behind Heidi and Olivia, Ashley Davidson and her group of miniskirted followers were hiding snorts of laughter behind their manicured fingernails.
"Fag," someone from the cluster hissed.
Heidi froze. Olivia rolled her eyes. "Come on, don't pay any attention to them."
"You did what?" Heidi shrieked into the phone. Her roommate jumped and glanced up, her expression a mixture of irritation and concern.
Olivia laughed. "Calm down. It was just one night. One time."
"Yeah, but..." Sorry, Heidi mouthed as she noticed her roommate pulling out a pair of headphones. "I mean, O, you've never done any drugs. Not even weed. You barely drink. Now you're telling me you dropped acid?"
"I know, it's kind of crazy." Olivia sighed, but it was a sigh of content. "And maybe I shouldn't have done it with someone I just met. But hey, I survived. And it was so much fun, Heidi. You should try it."
"Maybe." Heidi chewed on a fingernail. "That stuff can change you, though."
"Yeah," Olivia agreed. "Even now, I'm still kind of feeling it. Not it, but the ghost of the whole thing. Like as I was walking home last night, I suddenly got this sense that everything had a soul. The mailboxes, the signs, every blade of grass. Everything around me was alive in its own way."
"That does sound awesome."
"And time, oh man." Olivia giggled. "It felt so different. Everything was more spread out. I had this sense that you and I hadn't seen each other in years."
Heidi smiled, though she knew Olivia couldn't see it. "It's only been two months, silly."
"I know. But still." Olivia paused. "I mean, what if we're completely different people by the time winter break rolls around?"
Heidi turned. She blinked. "Olivia?"
Olivia grinned. She spread her hands out wide, purse dangling precariously on one wrist. "It's really you." Her eyes widened, and she shook her head as she looked Heidi up and down. "You look... amazing."
"I think you win the competition on that one," Heidi said. The tall, dark, and handsome woman standing next to Heidi nudged her. "Olivia, this is Sasha. My girlfriend."
Sasha beamed and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you."
"Beyond wonderful." Olivia returned the expression and the gesture. She looked back at Heidi. "How long have you two been together?"
"About four months now," Heidi replied. She directed her eyes meaningfully down toward Olivia's left hand. "I'm guessing you have some news as well?"
"Oh." Olivia held up her hand and wiggled her ring finger. "Yeah, Dave proposed. About a month ago. I'm still getting used to the whole fiancée thing."
Heidi and Olivia stared at each other for a moment.
"It was nice to see you," Heidi said, finally.
"Yeah." Olivia paused. Seeming to decide something, she pulled out her phone and handed it to Heidi. "I got a new phone a while back. Put your number in and - let's catch up sometime. Okay?"
Heidi looked at her for a second before answering.
"And just like that." Heidi snapped her fingers. "Boom. Gone. Didn't even have the courtesy to say goodbye, just left money on the table for her part of the check."
"Oh my god." Olivia was nearly doubled over in laughter. "That's insane!"
Heidi took a sip of her coffee, then placed the mug back on the table. She shook her head. "I'm telling you, O. It's horrible out there. Even the gays are being horrible to each other."
"I always thought dating women would get rid of problems like that." Olivia's eyes twinkled.
"You'd think," Heidi agreed. "But Jesus Christ. They can be just as bad as men."
"I don't know. Men can be pretty darn bad." Olivia groaned. "Rachel's going to start dating soon. I can feel it. Dave is less nervous about it than I am. I'm just... dreading it."
"She's only twelve."
"Which means thirteen is right around the corner. She has friends who've had boyfriends already."
Heidi raised an eyebrow. "Yikes."
"Tell me about it." Olivia sighed. "What should I do, Heidi? I've forgotten all of this stuff."
Heidi gave her a look. "First of all, that's ridiculous. You haven't. And secondly, you can always send her to Aunt Heidi for some help." She looked away as she took another sip of coffee. "Though of course, my advice might be best suited if she ends up batting for the other team."
Olivia grinned. "For both of our sakes, I really hope she does."
"She looks so beautiful."
Olivia nodded, her eyes moist. "She really does."
In the middle of the dance floor, Rachel twirled, the skirt of her white dress blooming open around her. The man holding her hand pulled her back into his embrace, and the couple swayed back and forth, staring into each others' eyes.
"They really love each other," Heidi noted.
"They do." Olivia wiped her eyes. "I'm so sorry. I've been a mess all day."
"Hey." Heidi put an arm around Olivia's shoulders. "Of course you have been. It's okay."
"It came so much quicker than I thought it would."
They stared out at the dance floor, silent, watching Rachel and all of her friends swaying in time to the music.
"Remember that dream you told me about?" Olivia asked suddenly. "The one with the jinni?"
Heidi frowned. "Yeah?"
"Do you ever think about that?"
"To be honest..." Heidi sighed. "I think about it a lot."
"Yeah?" Olivia said. "Me too."
"Really?" Heidi asked, surprised.
Olivia nodded. "There's one thing I've wanted to tell you about it, for a while now."
"You messed up."
Heidi snorted. "Okay, how?"
"Because," Olivia replied. "You wished for immortality. Not eternal youth. So if and when you find your soul mate,
you could be so old and withered you might turn into a cricket."
"Well." Heidi tugged at one of her grey curls. "I don't think you're completely wrong about that."
They were silent again.
"Do you still think it was real?" Olivia asked. "After all these years?"
"It still hurts, sometimes. But it gets easier as each year goes by." Olivia bent over slowly, placing the bouquet of daisies on the damp grass. She brushed some dirt off the front of the tombstone. "I miss him, but only about once a week, now."
"I miss him too."
Olivia stood back up, groaning a little as the stiff muscles in her back complained. "Do you?"
"You two had a wonderful life together."
"Fifty-three years." Olivia shook her head. "Sometimes, I still can't believe it."
Heidi paused. "So how old would he be, today?"
"One hundred and fifteen."
"Do you..." Heidi hesitated. "Was he your soul mate?"
The question hung in the air like a hook in the deep ocean, waiting for the right fish to come along and take the bait.
Heidi shivered, pulling her cardigan closer around her small body.
"He was my lover," Olivia said. "He was my husband. But, no, I don't think he was my soul mate." She looked up at
Heidi. "I think that's you."
Heidi swallowed. Her mouth was dry. "When I made that wish, I thought I would find a romantic partner. That's who I've been looking for this entire time."
Olivia shrugged. "Well, I guess that's not always how it works."
"I..." Heidi sighed. "I'm sorry, O. I was selfish. Now you're stuck with me."
"What?" Olivia laughed, and Heidi started in surprise. "I'm stuck with you? Honey, you're stuck with me." She let out another peal of laughter. "Good Lord, you're still so blind sometimes, Heidi."
"So you're not upset?" Heidi asked cautiously.
Olivia shook her head. "Come on." She held out her hand. "Let's see if we can find another lamp and get our youth and beauty back."
Heidi took Olivia's hand and squeezed it. "Might take a while to find one."
"Well." Olivia's eyes twinkled. "Good thing we have forever."