This is the last bit I’ll be publishing of nano today unless some weird inspiration and dynamic writing creativity take over (pretty sure that’s not going to happen).
I’m caught up with about 40 words extra; maybe they’ll procreate when I walk away, one can but hope.
Current Word Count: 33,386
After the band left the kitchen, tension sizzled from the off-handed remark Aurora had tossed out on her arrival. Aunt Philo smacked her hand on the table as if she had been trying to hold back a flood of words, but couldn’t. Her riot of red curls danced around her face. Immediately everyone’s face turned toward her. But she eyed only the woman who she had thought was her mother.
“What kind of woman just enters another person’s house and then drops a bombshell like ‘I’m not your mother?’” Aunt Philo asked, her voice deceptively steady.
Aurora stood and walked to the kitchen counter where she poured herself another cup of tea from the ornate china tea pot. She took a very long time adding sugar and milk, lightly stirring it with her teaspoon. “Oh, please, Philomena. Is this the time for dramatics?”
Aunt Philo guffawed. “You’re kidding, right? I can barely think about anything else right now. And, yes, I do know that’s selfish. After all we’re surrounded by bloody red fog, literally. But, do you have any idea of what an announcement like that does to a person?”
“No. But I’m sure you’ll enlighten us. You always do.”
“What is wrong with you? All that I’m asking is for a little, I don’t know, kindness? Is that too much to ask?”
Aurora rolled her eyes. “Priorities, Philomena. Don’t lose sight of the red fog.” Obviously evading the issue.
Phoebe shook her head. “You and I share the same mother,” she said to Philomena. “Gran said you were my sister yesterday. Remember?”
“What? That’s crazy? How can that be? Caroline would have said something,” Philomena said. “Not to mention the fact that Alex mostly acted like I didn’t exist. You know, when I think about it, I’m lucky I function as well as I do.”
Raymond cleared his throat, held his hand up as a silent wave, and quickly left the kitchen, understanding that though he had always been a part of the situation, it was very much beyond his assistance now. Chloe looked torn between following the drama or following her grandfather. She stood, but then quickly sat back down, placed her elbow on the table and then rested her chin in her hand.
Aurora stared at her cup and saucer and then raised her eyes to Philomena. “It’s true. Alexandra is your mother.”
Philomena laughed without humor, her mouth open as she scanned the faces of Phoebe and Chloe before returning her indignant and disbelieving gaze to the woman she had always thought was her mother. “That’s impossible. She would have been sixteen when she had me.”
“And that’s impossible how?” Aurora asked dryly. “Make no mistake. I was there. Well, not actually for the giving birth part. Or the part where she became quite large. We thought it best if she went to cousins in the mountains for that. And, let me assure you it is quite possible for a sixteen year old to give birth. Ill-advised or not.”
“But Caroline has never said anything,” Philomena said, her voice taking on a hint of disbelieving sadness. Her face red.
“I confess to using a spell,” Aurora said.
“A spell,” Philomena repeated softly. “To make her forget. Did you use one on Beatrice and Alex?”
“Oh, I didn’t have to, but Caroline has always been one for talking and she was younger so it seemed necessary.”
So many questions rifled through Phoebe’s head. Who was Philomena’s father? Why the pretense? How had Aurora pulled off that she was Philomena’s mother for so many years, and why? Finally, Phoebe just asked, “Why?”
“Why, what, child?” Aurora asked.
“Why the pretense? Why not just let it be known that Aunt Philo…er…Philo is your granddaughter and not your daughter?”
“We had a bit of a situation at the time,” Aurora said.
“There’s always a situation,” Chloe said. Which was undeniably true.
“Suffice to say that Alexandra was part of a Romeo and Juliet situation if you’ll excuse the drama,” Aurora said, then stopped.
“Go on,” Philomena said.
“Your grandfather and I thought it would not be safe if it came out that your father was a Brewster,” Aurora said to Philomena.
“A Brewster?” Phoebe asked. “What in the world is a Brewster?”
Aurora sat down and her usually stiff shoulders slumped ever so slightly. “Well, obviously they’re witches.”
“Well obviously,” Philomena muttered. “Because that makes sense.”
“Now, now. Don’t be disgruntled,” Aurora said.
Philomena raised her eyebrow. “Really? You take the cake, grandmother,” she said. “I can also see that you’ve shut down on the subject. So I guess we move on to dealing with red fog.”
Philo glanced at Phoebe and Chloe. “You realize that in the matter of a day I went from being a little sister to being the big sister. This freaking family.”
“Fog, Philomena.” Aurora set her cup and saucer on the table.
“I don’t guess you know how I can get my visions back?” Philo asked, her voice softer.
“Ah, that’s better. You’re getting your priorities straight again. Of course, I know how you can get your visions back again.”
“Well, the quickest and most unpleasant way is to take Phoebe’s boyfriend out of the picture,” Aurora said waving her hand.
Phoebe leapt up. “What? That’s crazy.”
Suddenly a plate that was sitting on the table went skittering to the other side. All four women watched until it stopped just before it went over the edge.
“Which is why I wouldn’t suggest taking that approach,” said Aurora still watching the plate. “Telekinesis isn’t usually one of our powers.”
She eyed Phoebe thoughtfully. “Have you ever done that before?”
Phoebe wrinkled her nose. “That wasn’t me.”
Aurora laughed. “It was. I could feel the power coming off of you.”
Chloe nodded. “Me, too. It went with you getting mad.”
“I just love this,” Aurora said. “Red fog. New powers. Returning old powers. That’s what makes Thanksgiving week so wonderful.”
Philomena folded her arms across her chest and stared at her grandmother. “Yeah, I’m sure that so many people across the country say thanks for just those exact things on Thanksgiving.”
end of day 20 (unless a miracle occurs–we like miracles)