Thursday, June 28, 2007
We were both quiet as we walked past the greenhouses, lost in thought and enjoying just being together. “Was Owen the boy you were talking about in the kitchen?”
“Yeah, he was. Mum and Uncle Cormac were just as upset when he was sent away as I was. I woke up late one night to hear them talking about it, Cormac loves Owen as if he were his own son.”
“Do you think Owen would be jealous if some crazy kitty made out with his girl?”
“I don’t think so, but I’ve been wrong before.” I shrugged. “Why?”
“Why do you think, silly?” The words were said gently, and the smile she wore relieved my unease, before she kissed me and scattered my thought to the four winds.
“Um…You were going to show me your garden?”
Pushing her hand in through the hedge behind us, Caitlin found the latch that opened the door into the secret garden, and taking my hand, led me in.
“She gave you an acre and you walled it up?” The trees in the garden were large enough to obscure any view all on their own, and must have added to the difficulty in solving the puzzle of the maze. With the annuals gone, though, the maze had no walls so we walked straight through.
“Of course,” she answered wryly, and the smile she wore cut the sarcasm as she continued. “Actually we started with just the hedge, and in the beginning it was rather short. Mum made us keep it short until we showed her that we could be responsible and that we wouldn’t use the space to get into trouble. Once the hedge started growing, though, we added the wall behind it to control its growth and so it wouldn’t take over our space.”
“And the maze?”
“That was the fun part.”
In the grin she flashed me; I saw for a brief moment what she must have been like as a little girl: part mischief, part wonder, and all amazing.
“Every year we changed the path and the arrangement of the plants,” she went on, unaware of my wandering thoughts. “We used mostly annuals, with some perennials in movable pots, and, as you can see, just enough trees to make it interesting. Every year we also make a special room, and it’s never in the same place twice. When we were young it was a covered sandbox, and then a tree house/fort thing, and now it is this.”
While we were talking we had reached the far end of the maze, and as she finished she stepped aside and let me see what had become of their sandbox.
It reminded me of the open pagodas you see in pictures of Japan, with an elaborately decorated roof line, four carved pillars to hold up the roof and a minimalist approach to furniture. There were no walls, just a only a knee high retaining wall across the back that mostly served as a back rest/headboard for the mattress that was placed in front of it. The area around it had been paved in river rock with thyme and other creepers filling in the gaps.
“In warmer weather we hang mosquito netting to keep the bugs out.” Caitlin explained, as she walked around to the side and showed me the two large sea chests hidden by the deck above it. “The mattress is usually put away in the winter. Mum must have brought it out to let it sit in the fresh air; she knew I’d want to show this to you. What do you think?”
“I think it’s amazing,” I answered honestly, taking her hand and leading Caitlin up on to the deck. I had noticed that someone had spread a comforter over the mattress and piled pillows on it as well. “I’m in this perfect place, with this beautiful girl, and we even have privacy; what more could I ask for.”
“For what?” she asked, looking a little doubtful as I pulled her into my arms, just holding her as I took the time to get used to being able to.
“My turn.” And I kissed her like I meant it. She started, as if I’d surprised her, and then started kissing me back. I was busy pulling her blouse loose from where she’d tucked it into her jeans. Still kissing her, I ran my hands across the silky soft skin of her stomach and then up the side of her ribs, not looking for bruises or scratches, just reveling in the feel of her, in being allowed to hold her, to touch her, to be with her. Somehow I knew that Caitlin was right, we would be in each other’s lives, and we would figure out how that would work, but now was not the time to worry about that.
I know what you’re thinking. Corny, Sappy, Romantic. And you’re probably thinking that if she starts telling me about having hot steamy sex outside in January in England during a cold snap, you’ll be fitting me with a straight jacket. Well, I’m here to tell you.
It. Didn’t. Happen.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
You are The Moon
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.
The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.
The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I have been Mused and yet am nothing
Hoping for the chance to begin to become
To start daring searching questioning
Without knowing what to find
Or even what to seek
Believing only that the seeking and the finding
I have been Mused fearing nothingness
Yet having feared I remain and so
Turn to those who think me nothing
Wish me to be nothing
Or feel nothing
And am amused.
I will be Muse and become Inspiration
Knowing that being Muse is nothing
And so breathing life into my hopes my dreams
Asking neither to define or defend
Simply the opportunity
Friday, June 22, 2007
Your Score: Semicolon
You scored 23% Sociability and 64% Sophistication!
Congratulations! You are the semicolon! You are the highest expression of punctuation; no one has more of a right to be proud. In the hands of a master, you will purr, sneering at commas, dismissing periods as beneath your contempt. You separate and connect at the same time, and no one does it better. The novice will find you difficult to come to terms with, but you need no one. You are secure in your elegance, knowing that you, and only you, have the power to mark the skill or incompetence of the craftsman. You have no natural enemies; all fear you. And never, NEVER let anyone tell you that you cannot appear in dialogue!
|Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
|You Should Spend Your Summer in the Mountains|
You're quiet, introspective, and a great thinker.
You need a summer vacation that gets you away from the crowds and the heat.
So retreat to the mountains, where you can clear your head.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
We left our neighborhood, heading north through Hampstead, along tree lined streets paved with cobble stones, past the magnificent Kenwood House, past the Heath with its ghosts of highwaymen long gone, and into the farmland surrounding the city of London. I can never give exact directions to Caitlin’s mother, Bronwyn’s house. I have accused Dr. John of never taking the same route twice, and he cheerfully admits as much. But Laura, who tells me that you need to know such things, has also told me that you know Bronwyn, so you know her house, and most likely how to get there.
Anyway, we drove up to her house, which sits on thirty acres bordered on one side by a meandering stream, and on the opposite side by the road which is the only approach. The hedgerow that borders their property is backed by a line of tall thick bare to the bones trees, possibly some kind of larch that in the summer must look like some kind of magical green wall.
The house where Caitlin grew up is big and rambling and can’t be seen from the road. Everyone was silent inside the car as we drove up to it. And I must admit, as much as I love looking at houses and architecture, my eyes were glued instead on the family standing in the entry shading their eyes from the sun’s glare, waiting for their darling girl to come home so they could assure themselves that she was safe.
Caitlin was out of the car before it even stopped and in her mother’s arms in a heartbeat, and it was only then that she gave vent to all of the fear and pain that she’d felt since she so bravely ran at those Hell Hounds. Safe in her mother’s arms, with her father holding both of them, she cried and shuddered and at last healed.
Standing beside the car rather self-consciously while Dr. John and Laura unloaded the car’s boot, my musings were interrupted by the rapid approach of a dark gray bundle of fur which jumped up into my arms and shifted in mid-jump into a very small version of Caitlin.
“Are you Caitlin’s Gracie?” she asked, placing her hands on my shoulders and seeing how far she could lean to one side or the other.
“I guess I am,” I answered, watching as Dr. John and Laura made their way into the house with the first of their bundles. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Angharad,” she answered with a giggle. “I’m five.”
“Are you Caitlin’s?” I asked, grinning at her to let her know I was teasing.
“No. She’s my big sister. She only acts like she’s my momma.” She laughed. “Are you a momma?” She was looking down now, one small hand resting on the mound of my breast, and I realized that shifters must be naturally flat, or at least flatter than I was. Go figure.
“No, I’m not,” I replied, tempting fate before making it worse by adding, “but someday I hope to be.”
“Oh.” Evidently that required some thought, but after a while she looked up again and, smiling wistfully, said, “Do you wanna come in? It’s gonna take them a long time to get all cried out, you know.”
“Why don’t we help Laura and Dr. John bring their packages in?” And jumping down, she took my hand as we each carried a bag into the house.
Taking the time to show me the closet for my coat and scarf and gloves, and where to stow my boots, Angharad led me into the kitchen with me carrying both our bags, and then ran off yelling back that she’d just be a moment.
Having told Dr. John and Laura that we’d gotten the rest of their bags, I watched them disappear into what I later learned was the library; which meant that I was alone while I stood and looked in awe at the house that would become my second home.
That first trip, with no one looking over my shoulder, I indulged myself and looked to my hearts content. Everything about Bronwyn’s house was sunny and inviting that cold January day. The kitchen was large and well arranged with a fireplace against one wall and enough cabinets and countertops to give me a serious case of storage envy. Putting Laura’s bags on the counter I poked around, smelling the stew simmering on the stove and the bread in the oven and the collection of loaves cooling on the hearth.
“You can light the fire if you’d like,” the voice startled me and turning around I found Bronwyn had come in and was unpacking Laura’s bags. “I’d like to thank you for looking after my girl.”
“Am I really a witch?” It just slipped out. Honest. Slapping a hand over my mouth, I looked at Bronwyn stunned.
“Yes, sweet girl. You are.” Putting down whatever she had just picked up, Bronwyn walked up to me and hugged me, holding me until she felt me relax and then started stroking my hair. “It’s not a bad thing,” she assured me as she explained. “It’s rather like most things in life; it is what you make of it. What you do with it makes a thing good or bad.” And oddly enough, I believed her. “Now, let me take a good look at you. You look just like your mum.”
“You know Dee?”
“Yes, I do.” She smiled as she said this, and it seemed to me there was a great deal of mischief behind that grin. “Your mum made her very own pilgrimage to London a little over twenty years ago.”
“Twenty years ago?” I was stunned, but then again I’m also very good at math. “But that would mean…”
“That you were conceived here,” she finished. “Yes, you were. And before you ask, no I don’t know who he was. I have several suspicions, but Dee never told me. I am sorry; it must have been rough for you, not knowing.”
“Is my dad a witch?”
“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were. But more to the point, your mum is.”
“Why didn’t she tell me? Help me? Teach me? Didn’t she think I might need to know this?”
“Of course she did. That’s why she sent you to Laura and John. That’s why she was so insistent that you go to the college you did, and as early as you could. She knew that they were there and would keep an eye on you for her, and when you were ready they would be in a position to be able to teach you what you need to learn. After you graduated, Dee was worried about you and wrote to them. But they had already decided to invite you to join them here. The truth of the matter is that Deirdre didn’t feel she was the best person to teach you. But she knew that Laura and John could teach you, they’d been offering to do just that for years.”
“You did?” I asked turning to the kitchen’s entrance, not surprised in the least to find Laura standing in the open doorway, her arm draped around Caitlin’s shoulders.
“We did.” Laura smiled. “We would have invited you sooner, but we wanted to make sure you finished school first. We had a feeling this trip might change things for you.” I was so stunned I could barely think. Their generosity and help had started before she knew me. But how?
“Sweetheart, I’ve known you your whole life,” she said, reading the thoughts I hadn’t even spoken, and then she dropped her second bombshell. “Dear girl, I’m your godmother.”
“She asked me first,” Bronwyn muttered under her breath so we could all hear. Realizing just how petulant she’d sounded, Bronwyn started laughing at herself before explaining, “I was rather pregnant at the time and couldn’t be there.” She laughed again, this time a deep rich sound as she laughed at the vagaries of fate. “I did visit her long enough to meet you, but not long after, I had my own babies to take care of, and then a husband and then a farm and a business, and no money or time for trips. So I shouldn’t be too upset that your mum made a life for herself.”
“But why didn’t she tell me I was a witch? She didn’t even try to teach me,” I was baffled, frankly. I was happy to have heard what they told me, and yet I was hoping they could explain the inexplicable.
“I hate to say this babe,” Laura began, looking terribly serious. “But you grew up in hostile territory. If she’d said anything at all to you about witchcraft or talents, her grandfather and his favorite flunkie would have found out. And trust me when I say that as bad as things were, they could have been so much worse.”
“Favorite flunkie?” Bronwyn asked, stirring the stew, slicing the bread, and getting lunch ready to serve.
“He was so happy with everything this schmuck did for him; my great-grandfather gave him his only daughter.”
“How bad were things?” Bronwyn asked; wrapping her strong arms around Caitlin’s shoulders and pulling her daughter back to lean against her, as if what had happened to me was somehow a threat to her.
“When I was fourteen, my great-grandfather and his favorite flunkie somehow found out that I’d started having my period. They waited for it to pass, and then they both raped me, trying to get me pregnant.” Looking down, counting the ceramic tiles on the floor, the number of bricks in the fireplace hearth, or the leaves in the pattern in the rug, the last thing I wanted to see was their expression as they reacted to what I’d said.
There was nothing funny in what I’d said, so when I started chuckling weakly, I just figured they would think I’d lost it. And again, they proved me wrong.
“What?” Laura asked, pulling me into her arms and hugging me. There was no pity, no condescension, no worry that I was loony in her voice. It was just her voice and she was interested in what I had to say.
“The Major almost blew a gasket when he found out I wasn’t a virgin.” I smiled, but even I knew it wasn’t a nice one. “But since he was raping me at the time, I didn’t care what he thought.”
“Who?” I had buried my face against Laura’s shoulder, so didn’t see who asked the question, not that it really mattered.
“A boy I knew: a sweet, shy boy whose childhood was almost worse than my own. Cormac used to bring him home to us as often as he could. He and I would spend hours huddled together against the monsters in the dark. Then one night, we were huddled and we started kissing and cuddling and we didn’t stop. Not long after that, his parents sent him away to a boot camp school somewhere. I never saw him again.”
“I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time of it.” Caitlin walked up to where I stood with Laura and wrapped her arms around me, whispering, “Those bastards try anything and I’m taking a baseball bat to their willies.”
“Don’t worry, they both know better now,” I assured her as Bronwyn handed Caitlin a basket of bread to take to the table. “Besides, the Major is so old now, all the Viagra in the world couldn’t make that soldier stand and salute.” And taking the handful of silverware wrapped in napkins, I joined Caitlin in the dining room.
I had just finished putting one at each place when Bronwyn came out carrying a large tureen of stew followed by Laura with the teapot and Caitlin carrying the condiments. As if by magic, no sooner had Bronwyn placed the stew on the table than Dr. John and Angharad walked in with Caitlin’s da.
“Gracie, this is Caitlin’s Da. Brychan, this is Gracie O’Shaunnessy.”
“Pleased to meet you, sir,” I said, shaking his hand and seeing where Caitlin got her white blond hair.
“Call me Brychan,” he said with a smile that was almost identical to Caitlin and Angharad’s before he poked fun at his friend. “You’ve probably sir’ed him enough for a lifetime.” We had walked to the table and Brychan pulled out a chair for me, kissing my cheek as he pushed me in, saying “Thank you for taking care of my sweet girl.”
Sitting at the table, listening to the conversations going on around me, I was swamped by a wave of exhaustion as everything that had happened since coming to London washed over me, and the thought of food was one thought too many.
“What’s wrong, you don’t like my cooking?” I was looking at the table in a food induced stupid when Bronwyn’s question finally made it through the fog. The denials were on my lips when I looked up and saw the grin she was wearing, a grin that everyone else at the table also wore.
“That’s not it.” I answered lamely, blushing brightly as she laughed, a rich warm laugh just like her daughters’. “It all looks delicious, and if we hadn’t just eaten more food for breakfast than I usually eat all day, I would probably be making a big pig of myself. But I can’t face food right now.”
“Me neither,” Caitlin sighed, looking longingly at her favorite dishes. “May we be excused?”
“Certainly, why don’t you show Gracie the maze?” She smiled as she turned to me and said, “I think you’ll like it. Granted, it’s not much to look at in the middle of winter, but its still a pretty special place.”
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Enjoy (it's another long one, but it sets up things coming up).
“Who’s Owen?” Caitlin asked when she knew I was awake. Her voice was soft and low in the quiet of my room, even the traffic sounds seemed far away, as we lay blanketed in the stillness.
I opened my eyes to stare into hers. We were lying on our sides, facing each other, and lying close enough that I could see her features as she stared back at me.
One small hand was clutching the blankets around her shoulders. The other reached out and started playing with my hair: twining strands of my hair around her finger and massaging my scalp. “You keep calling out his name in your sleep: last night, and the night before, and then again just now.”
“He was my best friend,” I said, looking down, lost in thought and the pain that thinking about him always made me feel. I felt as if we’d let him down, even though I’d had even less say in what happened to him than I’d had in what happened to me. That is, none whatsoever. “He was my first love, my first everything. We were children together, and we would huddle together hiding from the monsters in our lives. We discovered love together, and would have grown up together if the people he lived with hadn’t taken him from me.”
“You’re worried about him?” Her hand cupped my face, bringing my eyes back up to hers.
I’m not sure what I expected, whatever it was it wasn’t the respect, the concern, and the love I found, looking into her eyes. Seeing it though, I felt safe to answer.
“I am. I keep getting the feeling that he’s in trouble.” I shook my head, looking at her with the sorrow painful in my heart. “I don’t know why I’m feeling this way. It’s been years since I’ve seen him.”
“Do you think you’re just worrying, or do you think there might be cause for concern?” The way she asked, I knew she wasn’t doubting me but rather asking if I knew something but wasn’t aware that I knew it. If that makes sense.
“I know those he lived with didn’t care about him. And if they are anything like my mum’s parents, becoming an adult just increases the danger.”
“What about his family?”
“We were his family.” This came out in a snap, startling us both. Taking a deep breath, I tried again, “If they had truly cared for him, Cormac wouldn’t have had to keep bringing him to stay with us as often as he did, or for such long stretches. Or if they cared for him and knew they couldn’t take care of him, they would have let him stay with us for always. He always came to us with bruises on his skin and such pain and loneliness in his eyes.”
“Don’t worry.” Caitlin wrapped me in her arms, chasing away my sadness with her next words. “You and me, we’ll go look for your Owen for you.”
“I’d just be happy knowing that he is safe. It’s probably too much to ask that he is still single and waiting for me.”
“Babe, believe me. You…are completely worth waiting for. Besides, we’ll never know unless we look for him.”
“What about…” I couldn’t say it. I didn’t even have the words to express what I was trying to think.
But she seemed to know. “What? You mean, what about us?” She grinned at me, having entirely too much fun at my expense. Shaking her head, she sighed. “Babe, you are stuck with me. Do you think some boy is going chase me away? Don’t worry about it, we’ll figure it out: how we fit in each other’s lives. But never forget this; we do fit in each other’s lives. I knew the moment that you had landed, I knew the moment you woke up that first morning, and I knew I would meet you that day where ever you’d decided to go on your walk, and I knew this before you’d even left your bedroom.”
“Well, if you’re sure.” I made sure I sounded as uncertain as I could, and laughed when she threw her arms around me and gave the top of my head a nougie. “You think we could, look for Owen? I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“We might not know where to start, but I’ll wager that Uncle John and Laura are old hat at this sort of thing. And speaking of Uncle John and Laura, I think we should get up and take our bath if we’re going to be ready to go to mum’s when they come back.”
“Before we do that, though, I’d like to take a look…” I couldn’t say it; I couldn’t be the one to remind her of what she’d been through.
“My sores?” she asked, looking in my eyes and seeing my dilemma. “Front or back?”
Smiling at me in understanding, Caitlin lay down on her stomach, stretching as she did so, laughing richly as she caught me watching her.
Waiting until she had gotten comfortable, I brushed her hair off of her shoulders to look at the wound where the beta hound had tried to snap her spine. The bruises were an ugly mix of colors: purple, green, and yellow, in two splotches on either side of her spine, but on careful examination the skin was not broken. Thinking she might be nervous, I rubbed my hands up and down her arms and then over her shoulder blades, careful to avoid the wicked looking bruises.
“Don’t mind me if I start purring,” she chuckled lazily. “Just let me know if I start to drool. That’s kind of embarrassing.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell,” I assured her, before continuing. Rubbing my hands down her shoulder blades to her ribs I found more bruises, and realized that even in cat form she must have been underweight. I rubbed my hands down her sides and lower back, and only discovered some seriously ticklish spots that would need to be looked into more closely later on. Just below where her back stopped being her back and started being her bum, I found two more bruises, one on each side. Again the skin wasn’t broken, it looked like a rash of sorts, maybe road rash, but I’m not sure. Then I realized that the bruises on her ribs had the same texture.
“The alpha.” She answered the question I hadn’t even thought. “When he tried to mount, those are where he put his front paws. His pads felt like sandpaper.
“I’m sorry. I only wish I’d been faster.”
“Don’t be. You got them off me, if they’d gotten you it would have been much worse, and I wouldn’t have been able to help you the way that you helped me. Now, the front?” and she rolled over so slowly that I knew that she knew she didn’t have any clothes on and that she was letting me look as long as I wanted.
What I found myself staring at and could not look away from was the look in her eyes: there was knowledge in those golden green eyes, and longing, and a fierce, tender protectiveness. Protectiveness? For me? That would require more thought than I could give it at that moment. So I put it aside and continued my exploration of her wounds.
That look in her eyes kept drawing me back, however, and it was several minutes before I could bring myself to stop staring into those brilliant green eyes and search for more bruises and signs of trauma. Feeling nervous myself, I started with her arms, rubbing my hands up and down, looking at each finger and short but well groomed nail. Their were no bruises on her collarbones, and her breasts were, as I think I mentioned earlier, small and perfect, and her ribs were also too prominent for girl or cat, and it was on the lower ribs that I found another bruise.
This one had not broken the skin, or thankfully the ribs beneath it. The skin over her stomach was clear of bruises and felt as soft as silk, and I paused my search for bruises to nuzzle my face into that soft skin, and just feel thankful that she was here, and that they had been stopped before they could do their worst. I think she knew my thoughts for I felt her hand brushing my hair and stroking my scalp. Not to direct me, or suggest anything, just to let me know that she knew and was glad to be here too.
I found three more bruises: one on each hip bone, and oddly enough one last bruise on the top of her left foot where that dolt of an alpha had stepped on it. That left one last place that might have a wound on it, and I really did not want to see what kind of damage had been done to down there. I had more knowledge of what could be done to a girl than most. But when she bent her knees and opened her legs for me, I almost wept. There wasn’t a single mark or red spot anywhere.
Kneeling between her legs, I lay down with my face once more nuzzling the silky soft skin of her stomach and wept. Caitlin held me while I wept, stroking my hair and whispering sweet nothings I could barely hear and would never remember, held me until my tears stopped and my breathing slowed. When I looked up at her, she kissed my tears away before kissing my breath away.
I’m sure we would have done much more, but the grandfather clock chimed the hour and scared the two of us into the hiccups. The hiccups led to the giggles, and the giggles got us out of bed and into the bathroom. The bath we took was long and full of scented, oiled water, and almost made us not ready when Dr. John and Laura returned with the news that we would eat lunch at mum’s house.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
|Your Linguistic Profile:|
60% General American English
5% Upper Midwestern
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I dream again of mountains: tall, august, and proud
I see them in the distance, in dark approaching clouds
I feel the chill of altitude, a whisper of arctic air
The majesty of tall peaks, the lure that draws me there.
I could no more ignore this summons, though unable to reply
Than deprive myself of oxygen, or fail to see the sky
I dream again of mountains, they beckon day and night
I live my life in flatlands, seeking alpine light.
The light in mountain valleys, clear and cold and pure
That silhouettes the lone peak, my siren's truest lure.
And all around the high peaks, like lovers standing by,
The grand majestic ranges that dare embrace the sky.
I dream always of mountains, and heed my siren's call
Luring me to the mountains, forever in their thrall.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I guess we were going to have that talk after all. Damn. I wasn’t ready for this, I didn’t know what to think after all we’d gone through. I didn’t know how I felt. I didn’t even know how to start talking about all we’d been through; which in a way is a place to start.
“I have a lot of questions I want to ask,” I began when the silence started to get uncomfortable and before she could interrupt me. “And there are probably twice as many that I should ask if I could only think of them. So let me start with one off the top of my head. Are you a were-cat?”
“No.” She shook her head as she laughed. In relief, I suspect. “I’m a shapeshifter. It’s an inherited talent, not a disease or a curse. Mum and da are both cats.”
“So. No meowing at the full moon?”
“No.” And for some reason it was her turn to blush. “But put enough Guinness in me and I’ve been known to strip naked and howl.”
“Oh really?” I grinned at the mental image her confession had raised. “I’d like to see that.”
“I’d say we could do it on the next full moon, but you might want to wait until the nights get a little warmer.” She paused for a while, being otherwise occupied with a knife and fork. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” I replied with a confidence I didn’t feel.
“I’ve always known I was a shifter. Did you always know you were a witch?”
“Me? A witch? I’m not.” Caitlin had shocked the ability to speak, or to even think in complete sentences right out of me.
“You’re not what?”
“A witch.” For some reason, the very thought terrified me, all out of proportion to what she’d just said. I couldn’t be a witch, I wasn’t a witch. But somehow I still had doubts, which made me ask. “Am I?”
“Uncle John and Aunt Laura both say that you are, and they’d know.” She shrugged, cutting her steak in two and giving me a piece, clearly running out of steam.
“I’m a witch?”
“Before we go any further, I should probably add that there are at least two groups in among those loosely called witches who actually deserve the name. The first are wicca, those who see it as a philosophy, or a craft, if you will.”
“And the second?”
“Also see wicca as a philosophy, and they also practice the craft. But they also perform magick.”
“And I’m guessing that since you thought I needed to know this that you think I belong in the second group?”
“Oh, I’d say that was a pretty safe bet.” She grinned as she looked around the room. “That’s some collection of plants you’ve got here. Amazingly healthy for January, wouldn’t you say?”
I looked around the room also, trying to see what she saw, and missing it completely. There were two large, lush African violets on the dresser, potted trees flanking the fireplace, and an assortment of herbs lining the mantle, all of them healthy and green. “They all look fine, what am I not seeing?”
“What you’re not seeing is how each of these plants was at death’s door when Mum gave them to Laura, who said that she wanted to try something, to see if they could be revived.”
“What did she do to get them so healthy?”
“She gave them to you.”
“Me? This can’t be anything I’ve done. I’ve only been here three days, she’s had them…”
“Five days, and they were only moved in here the day before you came. I know this because I helped her move them in. Let me ask you a question.”
She paused until I had given my agreement, which took a while with my hands full of buttered biscuit and trying not to drip honey on my new flannel sheets. The sheets had been one of my Christmas presents from Mum and Cor, sheets that just happened to match perfectly the duvet cover on the down comforter currently spread across our laps.
“How many plants do you have at home?”
“Have you ever had a really bad day, and had it all just fade away when you’re around plants—trees especially?”
“How did you know what to do when we were fighting those hounds?”
Again I stopped and stared at her, startled. “I didn’t… I don’t know… I think I need to talk to Dr. John and Laura.”
“I think we both do,” she agreed setting her fork down with a sigh. “Can I be there when you do?”
“I guess.” I shrugged, feeling completely out of my depth. “If I can be there with you.”
“You’re on,” Caitlin agreed readily. Giggling, she lay back down and wrapping her arms around her tummy, she said, “I can’t move. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much food at one time before.”
“I can see why Dr. John thought you needed it though,” I told her, pausing for a long stretch and a yawn. “I’m guessing that if you stay in your cat form for a long time you can’t eat enough for both the cat and the girl. Not enough calories for both metabolisms.”
“You could be right.” She looked at me, and I could see the light bulb going on. “I’d never thought about it. Of course, to be honest, this has never happened to me before. I usually don’t spend whole days in my cat form. It just never occurred to me.”
Caitlin had gotten up and placed her now empty tray on the desk, and mine on the dresser, and was now wandering around the room looking at everything. Her movements graceful and loose, like a cat when it feels safe to explore its world. Stopping to look at the books in the bookcase, she looked over at me with a grin, and I squirmed when I realized that I’d been watching her as she looked at everything: touching some things, and pulling some of the books off the shelves to read the backs before putting them back exactly where they came from.
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled into my blankets, not looking at her. “I’ll stop staring eventually. I just can’t get used to you here. I mean first you were Shadow, and that was amazing all by itself, but then she turned into you.” I looked up into her eyes, shrugging helplessly.
“Hey, I’m not complaining. I like watching you when you’re watching me. I can read every thought as it shows on your face.” The mattress shifted as she climbed back on the bed and wrapped herself around my back, brushing the hair out of my face so I could see her. “You can watch me whenever you want. What I was grinning about was your choice of books: exactly what I would have chosen for a young witch just coming into her powers.”
“Really?” I don’t know why I was so desperate not to be.
“Then I am?” It seems the only person I can lie to is me, and even then not for long. It was a losing battle. And deep down even I knew it.
“I think the past two days have pretty much proved it,” she answered the question I asked, and the fears I’d not voiced. “I think it’s totally cool. I get to watch a witch learn her craft. How awesome is that?” She sat back with her arms still around me so I could see her face and believe her.
Everything in my past told me not to trust her. But its hard to be afraid with a beautiful girl wrapped around you, holding you, and looking at you with that smile that makes you feel like you might actually be special to someone (other than say your mum and dad, or in my case Mum and Uncle Cormac).
“How much sleep do you think we got?” Caitlin asked, generously changing the subject to something I could actually face. Lying down, she did another one of those full body stretches that ended with a satisfyingly long yawn. “Why am I still so tired?”
“Cause we had a rather stressful night?” I suggested. “Why don’t we take a nap? Laura told me not to expect them for several hours, and to rest and take it easy this morning.” And cuddling back under the covers she was sound asleep before she had a chance to reply.
Watching her sleep, feeling the pull, I smiled content. I was safe, for now. I was happy. I was lying in bed with a beautiful girl I was beginning to have feelings for. For the first time in many years, I believed that things would only get better.
When I’m wrong, I am really, really wrong.
And boy was I wrong.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007
|Your Inner Color is Purple|
Your Personality: You're a dreamer and visionary. You believe you were put on this earth to do something great.
You in Love: You're very passionate but often too busy for love. You need a partner who sees your vision and adopts it as their own.
Your Career: You need a job that helps you make a difference. You have a bright future as a guru, politician, teacher, or musician.
Monday, June 04, 2007
A fragrant mist wafts on the breeze and
Clouds of blossoms puddle near my feet
Hollyhock and crepe myrtle,
Open on my street.
Oceans of pollen float by unseen
Sounding the heraldry of spring.