Drew thought about what it would be like for his whole extended family to regularly visit the Tennant-McKindys for half of a second and felt devoutly grateful that that didn’t happen. Merlin, Circe, and Agrippa, could you imagine? Drew liked his family, but getting together once a year for Christmas was the right amount to see all of them at the same time. He got the impression, for example, that Aaron and Uncle Bennet were not supposed to be in the same room for longer than a few hours per year.
Other than that, Mal’s summer seemed good. Cooking, hiking, beaches, all that stuff. Sometimes the Tennant-McKindys traveled (Dad was very big on family vacations), but this year they hadn’t gotten around to it. Mr. Shinkle said he needed extra help in the summer when the tourists were around so Drew had been working at Deep River Records more full-time than part-time, and Dad had had some conferences for counseling or whatever, and the timing just hadn’t worked out.
“That looks perfect,” Drew agreed. He transferred his belladonna to its new pot. Belladonna wasn’t one of the ones that killed you if you just touched it, he was pretty sure, but he was still glad for his dark green Romanian Longhorn gloves. They’d been a gift from Jessie, who assured him they were ethically sourced from a pre-deceased dragon, and that the horns and blood and liver and claws had all been used, and the heart had gone to a wandmaker, et cetera, which he appreciated. Drew cared about that kind of thing—you didn’t want dragons being killed over a pair of gloves—but mostly he was glad to have a good pair of work gloves that protected you from poisoning and burns and stuff.
Belladonna safely repotted, he led the way toward the corner Mal had pointed out. The belladonna would be pretty happy here, he thought, and they could surround it with some other sun-loving plants to make a beautiful and deadly spot in the greenhouse. For his homework assignment, Drew was going to propose they create the opposite of this greenhouse—one that was full of plants with healing properties. That way if you got poisoned here, you could just hop on over to the next greenhouse for an antidote.
Although they should probably keep some antidotes here too, just in case. At least a couple of bezoars. They were multipurpose.
Mal’s next question made him laugh. “Uh, I wouldn’t say normal.” A normal summer would’ve involved a lot less of Kit pleading with him, although she probably still would’ve badgered him to watch the same movie over and over again. It just wouldn’t have been The Princess Bride and she wouldn’t have done it while glaring encouragingly at him from the other side of the couch. “The main thing that happened this summer was that my cousin,” he nodded his chin toward Kit, who appeared to be attempting to kill Elliot Phippen with a Devil’s Snare (this was definitely not Drew’s problem and he was not going to intervene. If Professor McCloud wanted to have dangerous plants so badly, she could deal with this), “tried to force me to get back together with my ex by teaching me about the power of love via movie marathon. Which, nothing against Darlene, she’s great, but it’s not happening. So that got old really fast.”