68. Big News
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content warning: mention of memory problems, amnesia

"This isn't really BBQ weather," Kaylee commented as the six of us set out after school towards Melanie's place.

The wolfgirl shrugged, "Any weather can be BBQ weather if you put the effort in."

The cute redhead rolled her eyes and responded, "Ok then, this isn't fun backyard weather."

"She's got a point there," Cerys agreed. "We're not going to be hanging out in the backyard though. I figure we'll probably be chilling in the basement like usual? Melanie's the only one who has to go out in the backyard, when it's time to cook dinner."

The young blonde seemed to be in a good mood. In fact she almost seemed excited about something, like maybe she was really looking forward to the meeting tonight. Either that or she was just really happy about BBQ burgers and stuff.

Paige asked, "Are we going to do food first then meeting? Or meeting first, food after?"

The wolfgirl shrugged, "You're the boss so it's up to you isn't it? But if you're asking for input, I figure since we're doing an official meeting with a circle and everything then we should do the meeting first. We can hang out a bit and play some video games until Brooke and Melody show up, then we'll do the official meeting stuff, and after we've finished the club business we can have food and chill out and make it fun."

"That works for me," our club leader agreed. "Everyone else ok with that?"

There were a few nodds, and nobody had any complaints or anything, so that was the plan. When we got to Melanie's place we all headed down into the basement, and she brought a cooler full of drinks down for us. Then everyone got comfortable and stuff, while Cerys put on the TV and booted up the game console.

I ended up on one of the sofas in between Kaylee and Nina again, while Cerys and Paige sat on the other sofa. Melanie was on her big beanbag chair again, and started playing one of her games with her girlfriend while the rest of us watched and maybe talked a bit.

We didn't have too long to wait before the shape-shifter got there, but Brooke didn't arrive until another fifteen minutes after that. So it was almost five PM when we were ready to begin the meeting, except before we could start we had to get the circle ready.

It turned out the easiest thing was to move some furniture around, and both Melanie and Nina did that since they had the supernatural strength. I did too, but I wasn't sure if anyone other than Nina knew that. And I was still uncomfortable about it anyways, so I was glad nobody asked about it.

With the sofas and the beanbag chair moved into a new position everyone helped set up the new tea lights in a big circle around the seating, then Melanie took a few minutes to go around and light them all with magic. And finally Paige went around and slowly raised the circle.

I stayed well away from all that, safely in the middle of the circle on one of the sofas with Nina and Kaylee. Brooke and Melody were on the other sofa, and both Cerys and Melanie sort of squeezed onto the beanbag chair together. That didn't look as comfy, like it was great for one person but it wasn't big enough for two.

Once Paige finished raising the circle she sat back down next to her girlfriend then smiled as she looked around at all of us, "Welcome to our second Club Luna meeting of the school year. This might just be me, but I think it feels good to have a proper circle set up again. I like the idea of the informal get-together either before or after the meeting, but I think I prefer our meetings to be a little more formal, and the circle helps with that."

"Me too," Kaylee agreed. "Hanging out together afterwards for dinner or snacks is fine, or even going out for coffee or something? But I like the formal meetings better."

Brooke commented, "I'm less picky? But the circle is a good idea, and I have no problems with going back to formal meetings."

I didn't really have an opinion either way, and it seemed like none of the others did either. So Paige got on with the rest of the meeting.

Our leader looked at me and Cerys and asked, "Which of you wants to go first?"

The young blonde looked at me while I tried to shrink into my hoodie again, so she smiled "I will."

"Ok Cerys," Paige responded. "I know this is probably still a delicate subject, but I'm sure we're all curious how you're doing? I've noticed you look a lot better lately. Happier too? I'm also wondering if you've tried getting back into doing magic again?"

Before responding, the retired witch exchanged a quick glance with her girlfriend. Melanie looked uncertain, maybe a bit wary, but Cerys seemed almost excited again, like she had some big news to share with the rest of us.

She looked to Paige and replied, "I'm definitely feeling better these days. I haven't tried messing with magic yet, but maybe in a week or two I'll be ready to start? Something's coming up soon that's kind of a big deal, that should take care of all the problems I've been having since the concussion."

"I'm pretty sure I already told you all about the headaches and dizzy spells?" she continued, though her tone sounded surprisingly up-beat considering the subject matter. "I can't remember if I mentioned the memory problems or not, which is kind of funny when you think of it. Anyways those are the reasons I haven't tried doing any spells since it happened. Trouble concentrating or focusing, and trouble remembering the spells. But hopefully all that will be fixed very soon."

Paige frowned, "Damn, I'm sorry Cerys. I didn't know you were having memory problems ontop of everything else. You still look and sound happy though, so I take it you're optimistic about the future? Can I ask what you have planned, or how you're expecting things to improve?"

Cerys grinned and nodded, "Melanie's not sure I should tell you all but I wanted to be open and honest, and I wanted all of you to know in advance. So um, here goes..."

Her smile faltered as she took a deep breath. Then she announced, "I begged and pleaded with her for like a month, and she finally gave in and gave me what I wanted. The next full moon peaks at around ten o'clock Wednesday morning, and by the time that happens I will be a werewolf!"

"What?" Paige gasped.

Kaylee grimaced, "Seriously?"

The rest of us just stared in surprise.

"Seriously," Cerys nodded. "It's already a done deal, so don't bother trying to talk me out of it."

She got to her feet then pulled up the right side of her t-shirt, revealing some pink scars in the shape of a large animal bite on her fair skin.

Melanie finally spoke up, "Me and Cerys are going to be off school Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe Thursday as well, depending on how she's feeling. I'll be with her the whole time, I'll keep her safe and help her through the change. And I'll post something to group chat afterwards when I get the chance, so y'all will know she's ok. I don't expect any problems though, I've been through this stuff myself. And I got some help and tips from my wolf tutor."

Cerys pulled her shirt back down then joined her girlfriend on the beanbag chair, the two were kind of cuddling and I thought they looked really cute together. And after my surprise faded, I felt happy for them, that they were going to be even closer after the full moon. Like they'd have a special bond, being werewolfs together. Maybe they'd even be like their own little wolf pack.

"How is turning into a wolf supposed to help cure the effects from a concussion?" Kaylee asked.

Melanie replied, "For one thing werewolfs heal faster than humans? And actually shifting heals things even faster. The first time she changes is going to heal any mundane injuries or sickness. And when she changes back it's going to recreate her human form, that'll heal anything else. So basically all those long-term side effects will be gone by Wednesday. Cerys will be fully healed and in perfect health."

She suppressed a sigh as she added, "And she'll be a werewolf, she'll have supernatural strength, her senses will be enhanced, and all that other stuff."

"That's super interesting," Melody spoke up. "Like how shifting heals your wounds? That's something shape-shifters can do too. If I got injured or sick or something, I can just shift to a healthy shape. Although to be fair it's easier said than done."

Nobody else had any questions or comments, so Paige took over again. "Thank you Cerys, and Melanie. I'm sure we're all surprised, and there's probably going to be more questions later, but thank you for telling us up front. And please do keep us updated next week when it happens."

I was already cringing in anticipation as our club leader turned her attention to me, "Now on to Cass. Sorry to put you on the spot, but we're your friends and we worry about you. Can you update us on how things are with you?"

"Um," I mumbled as I once again tried to shrink down into my hoodie, "I guess the important thing is the influence and stuff is all gone? Socha can't mess with me anymore, and I'm back to being me again?"

"Thanks Cass," Paige replied. Then she looked to my little sister and asked, "Nina can you elaborate on that?"

My sister gave me a supportive look, and even reached out to hold my hand. Then she addressed the others, though she still spoke quietly and I could tell she was feeling awkward. "Last month our parents and I repaired the inner circle of containment and binding runes at the same time we restored the second circle. We agreed not to bother with the outer circle at the time, which turned out to be the right decision."

Nina gave me an apologetic look and held my hand tighter before continuing, "We're pretty sure Cass's memory problems were actually an intended side-effect of re-doing the runes, and if we'd re-done the outer circle as well those problems might've been worse. Two weeks ago our mom talked again with a fae expert in enchantments about that stuff, and he confirmed what we were afraid of. The shard from Socha is directly linked to Cass's mind, so tampering with it will hurt her. We definitely can't remove it."

The others were all silent for a few moments as that sank in, then Cerys gave me a sad look as she asked "What sort of stuff have you forgotten? And have you got it all back now?"

I shrugged slightly then mumbled, "At first it was almost everything since the hospital? I haven't got it all back, but I've remembered a bunch of stuff in the last few weeks. Maybe most of it? There's still some stuff I'm foggy on though."

Kaylee sounded upset and worried as she responded, "Cass I'm so sorry, I didn't realize it was that bad. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"I don't know?" I replied softly. "Thanks though Kaylee."

Paige asked, "I know this is probably hard to talk about, but can you still use demonic magic?"

I blushed as I replied, "After I remembered that I'm um, part demon, I also remembered how that kind of magic works. I haven't tried using it though? I didn't think it was a good idea to experiment."

Nina added softly, "It's still safe for you to use demonic magic Cass. It's the only kind of magic that won't damage those runes inside you."

"Thanks Cass, thanks Nina," Paige stated. "I guess if anything else comes up, let us know? Or if there's anything the club can do to help. We're here for you."

Then she continued, "So the next thing on the agenda is from Melody. What did you have for the group?"

The shape-shifter smiled, "Hopefully you haven't already solved this one yet, but I have another potential case for Club Luna to look into. Assuming ghosts and hauntings are something you girls are interested in?"

Brooke Paige and Kaylee all smiled, and our former leader commented "Definitely. It's actually been a year since the last time we had to deal with any ghosts."

"We haven't heard of any recent hauntings," Paige added, "So tell us what you've found out?"

Melody seemed happy that nobody beat her to the news this time. She looked excited as she announced, "So there's a restaurant and bar down on Main Street called Potter's Tavern, and apparently they've had some ghost problems before? Then it was quiet for a while, but it looks like the ghosts are back. I heard some people talking about it the other day after class, they were there last weekend and one of the waitresses told them about it."

"Probably a coincidence," Melanie spoke up, "But that's the bar where Mitch and James picked up their second victim? That's where I tracked their scent from, working back from the parking lot where the guy was bit. What sort of stuff's been going on there? Like are people seeing ghosts while they have their dinner or something?"

The shape-shifter shook her head, "All I heard about was objects moving on their own, like dishes falling off shelves and breaking. So what do you all think? Is this something worth investigating?"

I noticed that Brooke Paige and Kaylee were all frowning by that point. Like they'd started off being maybe excited or at least interested, then something changed and they became more wary.

Then Kaylee spoke up and explained why, "Club Luna visited Potter's Tavern two and a half years ago. There was a ghost haunting the place, but we laid it to rest. That's why the haunting ended and things went quiet."

Paige added, "Once a spirit's been laid to rest it can't come back."

"Unless it was specifically summoned," Cerys pointed out. "It'd take a necromancer though, and they'd need some link to the spirit."

She added, "The other possibility is it's a new ghost, new haunting."

"That seems pretty unlikely," Brooke responded. "Actually both of those options seem unlikely."

Our club leader looked thoughtful for a few moments, then she decided "We should still check it out though? Even if all we do is drop by there for dinner one night and ask around? Maybe use magic sight to check for any sign of spirit activity."

Cerys suggested, "We're all doing BBQ here tonight, but how about we meet over at Potter's Tavern for dinner tomorrow?"

Paige reminded us that she and Brooke were both busy Saturday night, but the rest of us were available. So we made plans to meet at the restaurant for dinner at six the following evening. That was also the last of the official club business, so after that Paige dispelled her circle then Melanie and Cerys put out the candles and gathered them all up.

The furniture was put back where it belonged, then we all got on with the social part of the evening. Melanie went out to the backyard to do the BBQ stuff while Cerys got out the condiments and paper plates and napkins and everything, and we all settled in for dinner and video games.

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