Bella fixes French toast for breakfast to salvage stale bread, and, having seen Charlie off to work, hops in her own car and makes for Alice's house. She arrives at nine-thirty, and goes up to the doorbell and rings it.
"But," she says, "not soon, and not easily."
"Well," Bella says. Her voice is just a touch trembly. "Here we are."
"Yep," says Alice.
Her legs are tired from the hike, still, but she walks up to the door anyway, and rings the bell.
"Ooh, muffins," says Alice.
"Can I take a few home?" Bella asks. "I'm not feeling well at the moment and that would be unjust to the muffins."
Hilary stands back to let Alice in; Alice reaches out to stop the door from swinging closed.
She really isn't feeling well.
"Basement?" he suggests.
He leads the way to the appropriate stairs, and then down them, shutting the door at the top.
"Do we bother magicking you into the pillar, or just - sit anywhere?"
"Basement's soundproof," he says.
Bella sits against a non-permeable pillar.
"Dry run," she says.
And makes a wish.
"Dry run meaning...?"
She tilts her head. "This is interesting."
She drags her fingernails across her forearm. Hard.
"This is very interesting."
"Yeah," he murmurs. "It sure is."
Bella runs over the scratches - and harvests squares, invisibly - until suddenly a weird look passes over her face and she stops and squeezes her injured arm. "One minute," she says, "and twenty seconds."
"That," says Alice, "was really hot."
"Predictably so," Bella remarks dryly. "I'm not sure I know what lye is. You've - er - handled it before? Can you do the conjuring?"
He makes a wish. Result: a small white plastic jar which, when opened, contains a not particularly dangerous-looking white powder.
"I'll wish on the count of three - and you'll probably have to hold my leg down," she says.
Alice sits down to her left and a little in front of her.
"One. Two. Th -" Bella's face twists up in the way that indicates a square messing with her brain. "Wait," she blurts.