I feel a little like whining, but I’m not going to do it. I’m not that far behind. And, yet, I do know that I have just lost a day behind me and will lose two days (I know that Thursday and Sunday have commitments) in front of me, I will go on. I will be victorious! Because I have lots of words in my mouth and can type really quickly. Ha! (Unfortunately those words may not pertain to this story and will therefore not make sense.)
I guess, me dears, that this may be where things gets a little hairy…or is that harry? Is harry scarier than hair? Anywho, I may begin writing garbage…more so than before, 😉 and may decide not to publish it here. However, I will publish the bits that flow so that you have some kind of an outcome and if I feel subversive enough I may abuse you and publish even the awful, and I mean really awful stuff, because I do feel that’s in the offing.
I don’t believe in giving up when there’s still a lot of chance to succeed. And, if you type 130+ wpm and have a sick imagination, well the world is your shellfish.
Disclaimer: by now, you should probably know that this is unedited, unproofed and very much written from my fraying cuff.
Current word count: 34,941, where I should be: 36,674…carp
Under Aurora’s direction, her granddaughters prepared several potions. Phoebe mostly enjoyed the activity and the scents that rose in the kitchen, but just before the potion was completed Aurora tossed a sprinkling of some green herb she refused to identify, which almost made Phoebe gag.
“Why won’t you tell us what that is?” Phoebe asked, waving her hand in front of her face. “It smells horrible.”
Aurora washed her hands. “It’s principally used for dark magick and I think it’s best if you don’t know about it yet. Beatrice believed that Serena should know all of these things and look what’s happened to her.”
“But Serena was practicing dark magick in her teens. We’re not likely to suddenly go bad,” Chloe said.
Aurora shook her and pressed her lips together until they whitened. “Yes. That was very ill-advised. You two are still young enough to be susceptible and I would rather not risk it until you had passed your trials.”
“Trials?” Phoebe asked.
“Not to worry. It’s something we all go through. On your twenty-seventh birthday, you have an initiation with your elders. It’s kind of like a witches version of debutante event.”
“I don’t remember that for Philo.”
“Because you wouldn’t have been invited,” Aurora said to Phoebe. “It’s only the initiate and the elders. That way there’s no prejudicing.”
“Why would there be prejudicing?”
“Well, personally I’ve never encountered it, but it happens when an outsider wants to insinuate dark magick into the proceedings.”
“Of course,” Philomena said. “Clear as mud.”
They funneled the potions into small apothecary jars and then began preparing the candles for the ritual. Chloe, who loved dealing with candles of any type, always took the initiative during this part as it was the one magickal activity she felt she was any good at.
Chloe worked white candles and herbs and oils through her fingers while chanting. Her brown eyes were alit with love. It was at times like this that Phoebe always wished that whatever had come between them hadn’t or if Chloe would come out and say what it was that Phoebe had done. Why did it all have to be such a mystery?
She loved her sister and would do anything for her. So when did it get to be that it wasn’t reciprocated?
“That may have been what happened with Serena,” Aurora said after a few moments.
At the mention of Serena’s name, Phoebe felt the same old anxiety work it ways through her. “Do you know where Serena is, Gran?”
Aurora dried her hands on a dishtowel, her eyes averted. “I’ve lost track of her.”
“Considering that you always know what all of your children and grandchildren are doing, that doesn’t sound possible,” Philomena said, her eyes narrowing.
Aurora turned her face away from them and shook her head slightly. “It shouldn’t be. I don’t know how it’s possible. It’s as if Serena has somehow become very powerful. It has felt like she has acquired powers that aren’t her own. At first I thought perhaps she had stolen them from other witches that she knew, but now I think she may have acquired them from elsewhere.”
“What’s that mean?” Phoebe asked.
“I think she has delved so far into darkness that darkness has begun to aid her in return.”
“And to echo Phoebe, what’s that mean?” Philomena asked.
“She’s gone to the dark side and there may be no return and that it will probably have an everlasting effect on us all,” Aurora said in one breath and as she spoke her face grew pale, her eyes frightened.
Phoebe stared at her grandmother and a sense of dread filled her. What would it mean if Serena went to the dark side? Hadn’t she already when she put that spell on Kaden? Serena and Chloe had been hanging out together. Was Chloe totally unaware of what was going on?
Chloe was studiously working with the candles, almost too studiously, ignoring the conversation going on around her. That was definitely odd. Especially since Chloe was never one to stand by quietly.
Phoebe couldn’t help herself. “So do you think that Serena’s acting alone, Gran?”
Gran shrugged. “Probably not.”
“And, with that, here goes nothing,” Philomena said.
Within moments of their performing the spell, the blood red fog disappeared completely. It didn’t slowly dissipate. It just vanished.
“That’s anticlimactic,” Chloe said.
“But we’re finally free of it,” Philomena said taking a deep breath. “Now let’s just figure out how to stop that from ever happening again.”
Phoebe stood in the doorway watching the three musicians jam. She had never seen anything like it. They were so in tune to each other. If they had a misdirection, all three stopped as if an invisible conductor swiped his hand through the air.
Kaden closed his eyes as he sung. She would have loved to have seen what he saw as he sang. His voice was raw yet beautiful. It was like he could have sounded like a pop star but gave over to a rougher, darker edge that honed his voice with emotion and depth.
They ran through a couple of their own songs and then they began one she knew, Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe. She quietly took a deep breath. It was one of her favorite songs and to hear Kaden sing it was unimaginable.
“Did I say that I need you?” he sang and then he looked at her as if he had known that she had been standing there the entire time.
Her breath caught in her throat. His eyes seemed to say multitudes. They expressed so many emotions. But was it for real?
He continued to sing the song and his eyes never left hers. This, this, this, she thought. Just for this, I could fall in love with this man.
She closed her eyes at last, just as a defense while she listened to him sing the rest of the song. If she never had anything else, she would have this.
When the song ended, there was silence for a moment.
“I’m hungry,” Jared said with a discordant strum of his guitar.
“News?” Tito said.
Kaden look up, directly at Phoebe. He smiled at her and she felt her heart skip. She did a little finger wave at him and then felt stupid and rolled her eyes. He grinned at that.
“The fog’s gone,” she said.
“Fucking A!” Jared said. “We can leave the house?”
Phoebe nodded. “Coast is clear. Or at least I think it is.”
Kaden set his guitar in its case and then stood up and stretched. She watched his shirt lift to show his firm abdomen and the slight trace of hair pointing downwards. The sight tightened something in her stomach and she was whisked back to the morning and being with him.
After Tito followed Jared from the room, Kaden folded Phoebe into his arms. “I’ve been wanting to do this for hours.”
He kissed her temple and then swayed gently with her. “Everything’s good now?”
“I think so. You’re still staying for Thanksgiving, right?” she asked.
“You know I couldn’t call out to change plans,” he said, his voice trailing off.
She squinted at him. “Can’t you call now?”
“I’ve got stuff, Phoebe.”
“Stuff. Wow. Really? Stuff? That sounds really important and professional and made up.”
She stepped back and looked up at him. She was not going to play a victim. She wanted to be with him but that was not an end all. She was not going to knock herself back because he was just living up to his true self.
She shook her head and smiled a sad smile of disappointment. “One of these days, Roarke, you’re going to stop running but it might be too late when you do.”
“For what? Apologies? Forget it. It’s not like I didn’t know who and what you were. I’m not unhappy. Just disappointed. But guess what. People survive disappointments. I’ll survive all of this. Just go back to your rock and roll world and have a good life.”
He tried to grab for her arm, but she moved too quickly.
It was for the best. Although maybe he should have decided to tell her that tomorrow morning, before his flight, after they had spent the night together and he had made love to her a few more times. He didn’t kid himself that he was going to forget her easily. He knew he wouldn’t. The romantic in him, and there was one, said that he was going to remember her hazel eyes for a very long, long time. Not to mention her spunk. Just seen those hazel green eyes alight with fire, even if it was animosity toward him, was kind of turn on.
He pulled out his phone and was glad to see he finally had reception. He confirmed his flight for LAX. He would be home late afternoon and get his life back on track. That knowledge both rejuvenated and depressed him.
He fell back into the bed where she had nestled into his arms just this morning. The emptiness that filled him was new. He couldn’t remember the last time that a woman had impacted him at all. This was a first.
Phoebe was glad to be back in her own home, in quiet, with just the echo of the ocean in the distance. Yes, a part of her, a really big part felt like sobbing. Was she in love with that idiot rock star?
No, no, no. Lust. Everyone mixed up the two, so obviously she did as well. You couldn’t be in love with someone you had known for a week. After all, what did she know about him other than he was nice to look at, gave great sex, and made incredible music?
She shook her head and picked up Cat and hugged her. Cat purred against her ear.
“Humans are very silly, Cat,” she said.
Cat said nothing. She never commented on the obvious.
end of Day 22