Julia was looking through a book marked with unusual symbols when a knock came on her dressing room door. She clapped the book shut and it disappeared under her cushioned sofa in the blink of an eye. The door opened and in came her and her brother's manager, looking nervous. Well, more nervous than he usual did.

"What do you want, Oliver?" she snapped.

"Mi- mi- m-miss you have a-a-a v-visitor" She turned to her mirror, and started to fix her hair, wondering if she should put it into a braid or leave it down.

"Send him to Angel, you know I don't like to talk to fans." She looked at him through the mirror. "Besides, I'm not allowed. Remember?" She turned back to her hair. Oliver began to play with his tie, knowing what he was about to say would anger her.

"W-w-well I t-t-t-talked t-to your br-bro-brother and he says he w-will give you permission this once" Julia turned from the mirror and stood up, she was a good head shorter than the man was, but that didn't stop him from cowering at her presence.

"His permission?" Oliver's knuckles were turning white from twisting his tie.

"I-I'm only the m-messenger." Julia sat down, and began to consider who this visitor might be. Finally she turned back to the mirror.

"Yes, I suppose you are, I deal with my brother later." The manager gave a sigh of relief. "Send them away, anyways. I'm not in the mood."

"B-but, the gentleman is q-quite eager t-t-to meet you." Her image turned from a bored expression into a smug one.

"Gentleman, huh?" He nodded. "What? Is he here to court me like the rest?" Oliver shrugged. The image smirked. "Well, I suppose I should at least let the chap try" It said.

Oliver started to head out, when Julia turned around.

"Oh, and Oliver?"


"Do something about that st-st-st-stuttering. It annoys me" He nodded before exiting, glad to have escaped. There was something about that woman that wasn't right.

Julia was still fiddling around with her hair when the door opened to revel a well dressed man about his early twenties, with dark brown curly hair, gentle honey brown eyes, and a humble smile. She didn't turn when he addressed her.

"Good evening, Miss Rainer."

"I'm sorry, Oliver didn't give me a name, Mr.?"

"He's not a Mr." A child's voice chimed in. Julia spun around and looked down at a fiery red headed girl with curls. She looked about five and had freckles decorating her high cheekbones and round nose, which at the moment was sticking in the air. The little girl gave off an air of importance. "He's a Count, Count Florence"

"Your daughter is so…cute." Julia grimaced inwardly. The count smiled.

"Oh, Ruth's not my daughter." She glanced at the child, disgusted with it. "She's my niece. My sister couldn't take her to tonight's show, so I volunteered. She just loves magic shows. Although not for the normal reasons, she."

"I don't think you can really do magic." Piped in Ruth, having had enough of her uncle's jabber. Julia perked up a bit.

"Oh you don't? Well, would you like to see something that's truly magic then?" The child crossed her arms with a stern face.

"I don't believe in magic."

"When I'm through, you'll believe." She looked up at Count Florence "Would you like a quick show? I'll even let you stay on stage."

"That's very generous of you." She smiled.

"Anything to make a believer."

Ruth stood in front of Julia expectantly when everything was set up.

"For my first trick…"

"Wait!" Wailed the five-year old. "Where's your brother? You're only the assi-assistant." She played around with the last word. In a sickly sweet voice Julia responded.

"Well, the assistant may make things look pretty, but I also have a few tricks up my sleeve and they don't require Angel. O.K. sweetie?"

Ruth didn't answer.

"For my first trick, I will eat fire!" Ruth's eyes widen, but her mouth remained silent.

Julia cupped her hands together, and raised them to her lips, whispering a few words of gibberish. She then brought her cupped hands to the child. Opening them slowly a tiny flame danced in the palm of her hand. Ruth opened her mouth as if to say something, but nothing came out.

"Now blow on it to make it grow, gently though." Instead she ran behind her uncle, clutching his arm.

"You do it." She whispered to him. Julia raised her hands to the count. He studied her hands. Then gently blew, when the fire grew to the size of her palm he stopped.

"Doesn't that burn?" She shook her head. "It's cold fire, isn't it?" He asked as he reached out, only to yank his hand away when he burned himself.

"No such thing." She played with the fire for a little while, switching it from hand to hand, throwing it in the air. Until the little girl regained her courage.

"I thought you were going to eat it."

"Sorry, I have a tendency to play with my food." She remarked before swallowing the fire. A burning sensation traveled down her esophagus and into her stomach. Julia blew smoke out of her nose with a smirk. "So?"

"It was o.k."

Closing her eyes Julia tried not to lose her temper, although, the little girl was pushing her limits.

For the next hour, she changed the color of her hair, levitated, made a dove appear from nothing, transported herself to one end of the theater and back, turned the dove into a rose, made the child's uncle disappear and reappear, made rain inside the theater (to the disappointment of the custodian), and finally made a porcelain doll come to life. To her annoyance though, the girl turned them all down or came up with an explanation. Finally the child was getting tired and wanted to leave. The count smiled gently at Julia.

"Well, you gave it a try. Don't worry though, she's just stubborn. She gets it from her mother." He chuckled. "Oh, by the way, I'm hosting a masquerade ball next week" He handed her an invitation. "Please, come. You can bring your brother."

"I'll think about it." He took her hand and gave it a small kiss.

"Good night, Miss Rainer." With that, he and his mule walk away. Once out of sight Julia went to her secret trap door and collected her earnings for the day.