Usual disclaimer: it’s still a draft with no proofing.
Current word count: 26,162
That evening after dinner, Aunt Philo and Phoebe went to Aunt Philo’s library, a warm maple paneled room with built-in bookshelves completely filled with books of all kinds, hardback, spiral bound, paperbacks, many of them haphazardly placed. Phoebe always felt the desire to begin straightening when she entered the room, but long ago had accepted that Aunt Philo had a method to this particular madness.
She curled herself into a dark green overstuffed chair, which had always been her favorite. She had spent many wonderful hours in this chair reading and imagining herself in other lands or flying or traveling through space.
Aunt Philo paced slowed around the room, her hand touching things as she moved as if drawing balance or strength. She looked out the window into the darkness. A screech owl called from the nearby woods.
“We need to do something about Kaden’s curse,” Aunt Philo said. “And we need to figure out how to get my visions back. I found something in the book. I think it was written by your grandmother.”
Phoebe noted how Aunt Philo always referred to her mother as Phoebe’s grandmother. That was another estrangement that she had never been able to fully understand. While her grandmother wasn’t the most demonstrative woman in the world, she had always struck Phoebe as caring. Yet she while she seemed protective and caring of Aunt Philo, there was always some reserve in her behavior which she didn’t have with her other three daughters.
“You want me to call her?” Phoebe offered.
Aunt Philo grinned. “I guess that was transparent. “
The very first words her grandmother said when Phoebe called were: “I was expecting your call. But I was expecting it a good deal before now. Did you girls really think you could handle these events on your own?”
“So you know everything that’s been going on?” Phoebe asked and glanced at Aunt Philo who was sitting on the edge of her desk, her arms crossed.
“Of course, I do. Our bags are already packed and we will be there first thing tomorrow morning. Tell your sister, Philomena, to have our room ready,” her grandmother said.
Phoebe frowned. Sister Philomena? Phoebe didn’t correct her. That just seemed like an odd thing to say. Certainly even if she were getting forgetful, she would call Aunt Philo Phoebe’s sister, would she?
Aunt Philo raised her eyebrow when Phoebe ended the call. “So, let me guess. She knows everything that’s been happening and they left yesterday for here?”
“Pretty much. They’ll be here first thing in the morning and you’re to have their room ready.”
“Ha! Already done.”
Phoebe bit her lip. “She called you my sister.”
“Yeah, she said have your sister Philomena get the room ready.”
“That’s a little odder than usual.”
“That’s what I thought. It’s kind of a strange thing to forget.”
Aunt Philo didn’t dwell on the comment though and Phoebe knew better than to try to listen in on her Aunt’s thoughts. She had tried that once, only once, with very bad results. Aunt Philo was one of the few people who knew immediately when Phoebe was trying to listen in and she could close down her thoughts like a heavy door. That closing down had resulted in Phoebe having the worst headache she had ever experienced.
“Joy. It’s just occurred to me that they’ll probably be staying through Thanksgiving,” Aunt Philo said.
Phoebe laughed. “You can always stay in my guest room.”
“Right and come home to find my house supposedly organized? Uh, no thanks. I appreciate the offer though.”
Kaden was waiting for Phoebe to emerge from the library. Today had reassured him that the world was and always had been normal, except for that interlude with Serena, but he didn’t expect to ever see her again. Now he just had to tell Phoebe that he was going to try to book a flight for tomorrow back to the west coast so that they could go about the business of getting their next album recorded.
He was itching to get back into the studio. He had new ideas about how they could change their sound for this album. Even though it had sold well, their last album had sounded a little too much like the previous one. He didn’t want their sound to stay safe.
She looked up at him with those large hazel eyes and smiled like she was glad to see him. He found he really liked that smile, even if he did think that maybe she and the rest of her family were a bit crazy.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
The smile left her lips when she heard the tone of his voice. “Sure. What’s up?”
“The guys and me have to get back to the coast. We’ve got to get back to our lives,” he said.
“But there’s still that curse on you.”
“Yeah, Phoebe, I don’t believe that.”
“But you saw what happened in California. You saw what happened to me and you saw what happened here.”
“Yeah, it seems to happen when you’re around. No other time.”
Her jaw dropped. “So we’re back to this. You think it’s me?”
“I’m not trying to hurt your feelings . . .”
“And you aren’t. I’m a big girl. My feelings aren’t going to be hurt by you being stupid.”
She jabbed him in the chest with her forefinger and looked up at him. “Yes. You. No doubt in my mind that you just see what you want to see.”
“And no doubt in my mind that you see things that aren’t there.”
She sputtered and then pushed at him. He didn’t budge and she tried again with more force and he still didn’t budge. She stamped her foot. “I’ve imagined nothing except for maybe the fact that somewhere inside of you there’s a nice man. The truth is you’re just a hollow pleasure seeker.”
“A hollow pleasure seeker. Maybe I am. What’s wrong with experiencing pleasure in life? My impression is you don’t know how to do that. The biggest adventure you’ve had in probably the past few years was flying to San Francisco. Am I right?”
“You’re egotistical. And, wrong. Pleasure doesn’t have to be adventure. I have lots of pleasure.”
“When was the last time you had sex?”
“None of your business. See, that’s part of your problem.”
The words died on her lips as she looked at him. They were both breathing hard and the anger was giving way to something else, something that made his blue eyes molten. He reached out and pulled her against him, lowered his head and kissed her. The hardness of the kiss transformed to something gentler as they clung to each other.
end of day 17.2