I have good news! Yesterday morning an official-looking white envelope stamped with the University of Birmingham crest arrived though my letterbox and promptly sent my nerves into absolute meltdown. Knowing that this letter could ultimately determine the course of my future, I was both anxious and excited as I tore the envelope open, took out the letter and read:
‘I am pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a one-year research scholarship to enable you to carry out advanced study and research on your chosen topic. The scholarship will comprise of tuition fees and a maintenance allowance and will be paid monthly in advance…’
I squealed out loud, ran into the spare bedroom to tell Alex and then headed straight into the front room to call my parents. Although I was desperate to tell Leonard too, I made the decision not to mention the letter to him in case he asks any more questions about the nature of my research. I only hope that I can hide my excitement from him. And the letter has sparked great excitement on many levels; not only can I plan seriously for the coming year without any financial worries but I spent the entirety of yesterday afternoon wondering whether the charm that is hidden beneath the books on my desk has contributed to the success of my scholarship application. A lively imagination and an inclination towards wishful thinking are a dangerous combination and my rational mind has been conflicting with fantastical dreams about powerful magicians and weird-and-wonderful magical charms. I have assured myself that it’s just a happy coincidence, that’s all. But the 'Spell of Attraction' certainly appears to have had an effect on Luke, hasn’t it? Or is that just another happy coincidence? Either way, I have resolved to pay more attention to the contents of The Omega Course, particularly the more ambitiously named spells that would prove very useful indeed if they produced similarly positive results! Maybe I should concentrate on these more audacious magical experimentations in future. I have dabbled with texts involving the spirits of the dead before (both the 'Spell of Attraction' and the 'Spell for Success and Good Favour' concerned Daniel) but I have shied away from rituals requiring the participation of greater spirits such as demons, angels and, dare I say, even gods. Perhaps the arrival of this letter is the confidence booster that I desperately need....
Naturally I was in a fantastic mood when I arrived at Elmfield House yesterday morning and my cheerfulness was infectious as the three of us laughed a great deal all day. Luke commented that the armature for the saxophonist piece looked like an emaciated pelican and he suggested that I bring fresh fish to our sessions in future. I playfully shooed him away and told him to 'go and sit in the corner and write some morbid poetry' while Leonard complained that he was ‘the only elderly pelican allowed in the house’. I love it when King Laugh is in the workroom - as Leonard says – and the sessions seem to flow much easier when we are enjoying ourselves.
We took a break around lunchtime and Leonard left the house to fetch bread from the local shop, leaving Luke and I alone together in the workroom. I provided Luke with an update on the current state of my health (he will be running his own drop-in surgery and mental health clinic at this rate!) and during our conversation it transpired that Luke has kept electronic copies of every photograph that Leonard has ever taken of me, which sounded creepy and stalker-ish at first but since Luke prints out all of Leonard's photographs then it made perfect sense. Leonard has taken many photos that I have never seen and so I gave my email address to Luke and he has promised that he will send copies of his favourite ones to me.
Luke and I took advantage of Leonard’s absence and we enjoyed another moment of indulgence together, after which Luke took a photograph with Leonard’s old Polaroid camera of the two of us seated on the workroom floor with his arm wrapped tightly around my shoulders while I leaned back against his chest (I was listening to the struggling, irregular rhythm of his heart). I found this photo stuffed into my bag when I arrived home. Luke has drawn a decorative border of tiny number eights – although on reflection I think they are infinity symbols - around the frame and at the bottom he has written the date and the words ‘antes mudado que muerto’ in his messy and disjointed handwriting. When I look at the photograph I realise that I am falling in love with him. And the thought that he might love me too is terrifying.