Bridal Bedlam: Sabrina, The Teenage Witch #23

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9780671028183: Bridal Bedlam: Sabrina, The Teenage Witch #23
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Sabrina's Aunt Vesta drops by the Spellman household with a shocking announcement: After a whirlwind romance, Vesta has decided to try a life of marital bliss -- with a mortal! But Vesta hasn't told her fiancé that his future wife is a licensed witch. If he finds out her supernatural secret, he might get a major case of the pre-wedding jitters. So Sabrina gives her aunt a crash course on doing chores the mortal way, using both hands instead of the point of a finger. Meanwhile, Aunt Zelda and Aunt Hilda are planning the most normal nuptials ever -- they hope -- to fool the groom and his mortal friends, even though they doubt their impulsive sister will actually make it to the altar. But pretending to be mortal isn't Vesta's only problem. She's afraid that an old curse on the Spellman family will doom her to be unlucky in love. Now, Sabrina's on a quest to save true love -- but will a magic-less Aunt Vesta make it to her own honeymoon?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Diana G. Gallagher lives in Minnesota with her husband, Marty Burke, three dogs, three cats, a cranky parrot, and a guinea pig called Red Alert. When she's not writing, she spends her time walking the dogs, puttering in the yard, playing the guitar, and going to garage sales looking for cool stuff for her grandsons, Jonathan, Alan, and Joseph.

A Hugo Award-winning artist, Diana is best known for her series Woof: The House Dragon. Dedicated to the development of the solar system's resources, she has contributed to this effort by writing and recording songs that promote and encourage humanity's movement into space. She also loves Irish and folk music and performs at local coffeehouses and science-fiction conventions around the country.

Her first adult novel, The Alien Dark, appeared in 1990. She and Marty coauthored The Chance Factor, a Starfleet Academy Voyager book. In addition to other Star Trek novels for intermediate readers, Diana has written many books in other series published by Minstrel Books, including The Secret World of Alex Mack, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. She is currently working on original young adult novels for the Archway Paperback series Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Pocket Books series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Bleary-eyed, Sabrina Spellman stumbled into the kitchen. Last night she had played foosball at the Slicery with Harvey and Val until closing, then watched a horror video at Harvey's house. Granted, popping home after two A.M. had been pushing the curfew envelope, but her aunts had been asleep and probably hadn't noticed. Besides, there were only so many Friday nights and sleep-late, do-nothing Saturday mornings in a teenager's life. The fun binge had definitely been worth the risk of annoyed guardian reprisal.

"You've got mail!" Salem announced brightly. Sprawled on the central counter, the sleek black cat stretched with a satisfied groan.

"Is it that late?" Sabrina stopped short and yawned. The mail didn't usually arrive until noon. She didn't see any letters stacked on the table by Aunt Zelda's laptop, and the computer screen was dark, but an acrid odor wafted past her nostrils. "Something's burning!"

"I figure you've got about five seconds to take delivery before the message self-destructs," Salem said dryly.

"Oh, boy! How come the toaster didn't ding?" Sabrina leaped toward the smoking toaster, which doubled as the Other Realm Postal Delivery System, and hit the release lever. An envelope with charred edges popped up and burst into flame.

"Hot mail!" Salem jumped back as Sabrina doused the fire with a quick point, then flipped the smoldering letter onto the counter. He sniffed the burned paper from a safe six inches. "Smells like bad news."

"Where's the fire!" Aunt Hilda raced through the door holding a fire extinguisher. Her hair was disheveled and her open bathrobe flapped as she put on the brakes and slid across the floor.

"Looks like somebody lit one under you!" Salem chuckled.

"Are you cooking again, Hilda?" Zelda paused in the door and waved her hand in front of her face to clear the gray haze.

"It's okay." Sabrina patted the blackened envelope with a pot holder. "T-mail crashed and burned, though."

Clutching her chest, Hilda slumped into a chair. The fire extinguisher hit the floor with a thud.

"You'd think after three hundred years I'd get over my fire phobia."

"No witch ever gets over fear of fire." Zelda sank into another chair with a heavy sigh. "It's a self-preservation thing."

"Speaking of self-preservation, the cat's hungry." Salem sat down and stared at his food dish, his tail twitching.

Leaning against the counter, Sabrina absently glanced around as she fanned the still smoking but cooling letter. The kitchen, like the rest of the house, was a disaster. They had all been too busy the past week to pay much attention. Aunt Zelda was compiling the scientific research she had accumulated over the past century into a reference book she hoped to have published. Aunt Hilda had started War and Peace again. After eighty-nine attempts, she was determined to finish it this time. Sabrina was a teenager. Housework was not on her list of things to do under any circumstances.

"Any time," Salem snapped impatiently.

"Sorry, Salem. Coffee before kibble." Hilda raised her hand to start the coffeemaker brewing.

"Who said anything about kibble?" Salem bristled indignantly.

"I'll settle for instant this morning, Hilda," Zelda said.

"Good idea. Magic Mocha or Cauldron Chocolate?"

"I don't know." Zelda frowned thoughtfully, tapping her chin. "I rather like wizard walnut."

"Meanwhile," Salem drawled, "the starving cat files a complaint with the Other Realm Familiar Humane Society. Inspectors invade. Citations are written. Fines are levied -- "

"All right, Salem! I'll get it." Rolling her eyes, Sabrina pulled a cat-food tin from the cupboard with a lazy point. Being hauled before the Witches' Council for familiar neglect was not how she wanted to spend the day. She flicked her finger to pop the cat-food top, but nothing happened.

"Or Swiss Witch." Hilda's finger dangled limply.

Zelda brightened. "With nutmeg?"

"This is a joke, right?" Salem eyed Sabrina narrowly. "Or is your finger on the fritz?"

"My finger was okay a second ago!" Scowling, Sabrina pointed at the can. It rose into the air and obediently zipped into her hand. Relieved, she grabbed the pop-top tab to pull. Simultaneously the electric can opener by Salem's dish raised its blade mechanism and whirred. Taking the hint, Sabrina slipped the tin under the blade and pressed down.

Salem collapsed with relief as the can opener removed the lid. "Don't bother with a spoon. Just dump it."

Sabrina upended the can into Salem's bowl and yanked her hand back as the ravenous cat dived in. She tossed the tin into the trash, then cautiously picked up the burned letter by a corner and blew on it. Bits of charred envelope drifted away, but the letter inside it was only slightly singed.

"Swiss Witch with nutmeg it is." Hilda flicked her finger at the table. Two empty mugs appeared. "That's not what I ordered."

Sabrina started as the trash compactor door banged open and closed.

"Here, let me try." Zelda aimed her finger at the mugs.

"Instant Swiss Witch coffee, please,
with a pinch of nutmeg seed."

Hilda peered into the mugs. They were still empty. "Instant nothing? This isn't Say No to Caffeine Day or something equally annoying, is it?"

"Not that I'm aware of." Distressed, Zelda glanced at her finger, then aimed at the coffeemaker on the counter.

"Boil, bubble, toil and trouble,
brew a pot of coffee -- hot."

Hilda arched an eyebrow as the coffeemaker gurgled and steaming, dark coffee started dripping through the basket into the glass pot. She turned as the trash compactor door banged open and closed again. "Is it just me or do you get the feeling that something isn't quite right here?"

"It's not just you, Aunt Hilda. The trash compactor is really upset."

"Maybe it wants some trash," Zelda said absently.

"Of course! I'd better feed it before it lodges a complaint with the Department of Abused Appliances." Dropping the letter on the table, Sabrina retrieved the cat tin from the trash basket and tossed it through the compactor's open door. A definitive clank sounded as the door banged closed. It immediately opened again. Sabrina whipped the lid off the can opener magnet and threw that in. "Chew it this time!"

"I don't think there is a Department of Abused Appliances." Rising, Hilda took the empty mugs to the counter. Even though the coffeemaker was only halfway through the brewing process, she pulled the pot off the warmer and poured. Coffee continued to drip through the basket and sputtered as it hit the warming plate.

"No, I don't think -- mail!" Zelda jumped up as the toaster began to smoke. She hit the release button, then gingerly pulled the pop-up paper from the slot and opened it. "But apparently our appliances do have a 'work incentive clause' written into their purchase agreements."

"What about a 'failure to work properly' clause?" Hilda asked. "This thing is supposed to stop dripping when I pick the pot up, isn't it?" The puddle of dark liquid on the hot plate sizzled when she put the pot back.

Nodding, Zelda dropped back into her chair and kept reading.

"Maybe it's still under warranty." Sliding into another chair, Sabrina tried to point up some hot chocolate. A mug and a packet of instant cocoa mix appeared. "Okay, what's going on? I seem to have a minor magic finger malfunction."

"It's not your finger, Sabrina!" Zelda looked up in shock. "Our appliances got a Witches' Council injunction against us!"

"Injunction?" Hilda set one of the mugs in front of Zelda and sat down. "For what? We hardly ever make them work!"

"That's the problem!" Zelda dropped the court order. "The Witches' Council has suspended all our instant cleaning and cooking spells until our appliances accumulate enough annual work hours to qualify for a luxury overhaul at the Mars Mechanical Maintenance Resort!"

"You're not serious, are you?" Hilda asked.

Sabrina stared at the cocoa packet. "I'm not sure I remember how to boil water."

Salem licked the last speck of Pretty Kitty Salmon Delight from his bowl. "Does this mean we have to keep the can opener busy?"

"Very serious." Sighing, Zelda picked up her coffee mug. "Our appliances have until midnight next Friday to meet the hours-worked requirement."

"And if they don't?" Hilda winced as she glanced around the kitchen. Dirty dishes filled the sink and a pile of unwashed clothes spilled out the laundry room door.

"If they don't, then we'll be in breach of contract." Zelda looked at Hilda and Sabrina pointedly. "Then they can go on strike indefinitely or opt to be repossessed."

"So we have to actually use them? Like in cook and clean the mortal way for a week?" Pouting when Aunt Zelda nodded, Sabrina picked up the charred letter. "This is one of the downsides of being a witch that nobody ever talks about, right?"

"Right." Sighing, Hilda sipped her coffee. "Well, I suppose it could be worse. It could be our turn to host the monthly meeting of the Witches Living in the Mortal Realm Support Group."

"Uh-oh." Sabrina scanned the singed note again to make sure she had read it correctly. "Aunt Vesta's dropping by this afternoon to discuss a 'family emergency with potentially disastrous domestic consequences for all.' Quote, unquote."

Zelda and Hilda exchanged a quick glance, then abruptly stood up.

"You start on the dishes, Hilda. I'll tackle the living room."

"Me? Dishes?" Hilda glanced at the dishwasher they had recently purchased to keep up appearances. Mortal dinner guests almost always offered to help clean up.

Zelda looked back when she reached the doorway. "Sabrina. Laundry!"

"But -- " Sabrina protested. She had planned to spend the day doing nothing more strenuous than trying to decide whether to catch a movie or hang out at the Slicery with Harvey and Val again that night. "Since when does Aunt Vesta care if our house is clean? Isn't a potential family disaster more important?"

"Vesta's idea of a domestic disaster is breaking a nail and not being able to match her polish spell exactly." Hilda rolled up her sleeves. "Our definition is having to spend another century defending our decision to live in the mortal world!"

"Vesta simply doesn't understand the satisfaction of achieving anything the hard way," Zelda said.

"Meaning the mortal way," Sabrina clarified.

Zelda swept her arm across the kitchen. "And if Vesta sees this domestic disaster, we'll never hear the end of it."

"It's a little hard to defend doing things the hard way when our appliances have taken legal action because we've been using magic for routine chores." Hilda's gaze zeroed in on the dishwasher.

Good point, Sabrina thought. Her flamboyant Aunt Vesta didn't realize that life in the Other Realm, where everything was possible with a flick of a finger, was boring. Although laundry wasn't exactly exciting, doing it supported the arguments in favor of leading a mortal life. Not that Aunt Vesta would ever approve or understand. Why would any self-respecting witch want to work if she didn't have to?

Good question!

At the moment, though, Sabrina and her aunts didn't have the luxury of choosing between mortal drudgery and magic.

"Does anyone have a clue how the washing machine works?" Sabrina hated to admit it, but she had gotten used to using magic for anything that remotely resembled housework, too.

"How hard can it be?" Assigned to do dishes, Hilda cautiously opened the dishwasher and peered inside. "Did this thing come with a technical manual?"

"Just stuff the clothes in, Sabrina. Then add detergent and set the dial," Zelda explained patiently. "It's automatic after that."

"Stuffing, dialing, sorting, and folding are not my idea of automatic." Grumbling, Sabrina gathered up the clothes outside the laundry room door.

Hilda pointed a dirty plate from the sink into the dishwasher rack. "I hate doing dishes by hand!"

Copyright © 1999 by Viacom Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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