In the morning, Iain woke alone, just as he had at Graeme’s flat. He stretched and yawned, throwing off the covers. He wasn’t expecting a note from Cate, however. They were expected at church and then for dinner with her family. He was glad he kept spare clothes at Cate’s so he wouldn’t need to go back home first.
He stood up and crossed the room to her wardrobe. When he tried to open it, he couldn’t get a grip on the door. He didn’t recall Cate having a lock on it, but he supposed it was possible. Not wanting to emerge starkers, he went to pick up last night’s clothes, which Cate had thoughtfully folded for him on the chair, his wallet, keys, and phone balanced on top. His hand passed straight through them, and he hollered.
He half-expected Cate to come running at the commotion, but instead, all he heard was, “Iain? Is that you?”
“Yes!” He called back. “I seem to be having a bit of trouble. Mind giving me a hand?”
There was no answer. Iain glanced at the closed bedroom door and wondered how he was going to escape—or even if he wanted to, given that he had nothing on. He tried the door, but like his clothes and the wardrobe, he couldn’t touch it. While he was pondering an answer to his problem, the door opened.
“Iain?” Cate asked. “Iain, where the bloody hell are you?”
Iain stood in her path. “I’m right here,” he said.
Cate’s gaze went straight through him. “Iain, this is not funny. We need to get ready to leave.”
“Cate?” he whispered, shaking all over. This was not good. Not good at all.
Her expression turned angry, and she flounced out. Iain ducked around her just before she slammed the door. He glanced down at himself and sighed. It figured being invisible couldn’t possibly happen in his clothes. Cate, meanwhile, was busily stomping about her flat and yelling about how irresponsible Iain was being and how he could have bloody well told her he wasn’t going to church with her that day. Several times he tried to stand in her path, but she always managed to find a way not to see him.
Of course she didn’t see him; he’d gone invisible.
Iain huffed, and Cate stormed. Eventually, she pulled herself together and finished dressing for church. She picked up everything she needed and shoved it into her bag. As she stood by the door, Iain panicked. He couldn’t go out like this, with his bits exposed to the world. What if he was only invisible for a short time? Or only inside Cate’s flat? On the other hand, he didn’t want to be stuck there all day and night.
He spotted his new shoes by the door and wondered how Cate had not noticed them. Taking the chance they’d gone invisible right along with him—which was a distinct possibility, given all the other weird things about them—he stepped into the shoes. Unlike his clothes, they slid right on, and he sighed with satisfaction. His solace was quickly replaced by distress at the idea of going about nude in public with only his shoes for protection. He contemplated taking one off and using it to shield his privates.
“Too bad this spell or whatever it is couldn’t have happened when I was at least wearing pants,” he muttered.
A half second later, he was sporting a hideous pair of vivid green boxers with orange polka dots all over them. He cringed, but at least he wasn’t completely naked anymore. If he suddenly reappeared, say, at church, no one would be likely to ring the police. He looked up at the ceiling frowned.
“I don’t suppose you’d be willing to supply some trousers?” he asked. When nothing happened, he heaved a sigh and waited by the door for Cate to open it.
She was still muttering to herself about what a potato-headed tosser he was when she finally flung open the door with a lot more force than necessary. He slipped out under her arm as she reached back to shut the door. Exhaling with relief that he hadn’t gotten caught in it, he traipsed after her down the stairs and out to her car.
As she climbed into the driver’s seat, it hit him: How was he supposed to get anywhere else when he couldn’t drive and Cate wouldn’t know to let him into her vehicle? He growled in frustration and stomped away as she drove off. Despite not knowing who or what was responsible for his present condition, he turned his face toward the sky and shook his fist.
“What the hell am I supposed to do now?” he hollered. “I am stuck in a car park in my sodding pants, and I can’t even drive anywhere!”
For several minutes, he raged, until an elderly woman passed by. She appeared to be able to see him, as she stood there on the curb staring at him. He stopped shouting and turned his attention to the women.
“Er…sorry. Bad day,” he apologized.
The woman continued to stare for a moment, then shook her head and muttered, “Thought I heard something.” She moved off, leaving Iain standing alone on the curb.
“This gets better and better,” he seethed.
The woman glanced back, shrugged, and continued on her way. Iain groaned. There was only one thing to do—start walking.