Sean stopped us just as we were getting into the car, his arms piled high with sweets. Like dad, he chose to stay behind for the séance. He hadn’t spoken much of the day mom died, but Sean found closure for that on his own.
In a way, Sean made getting over mom seem easy, but I knew the truth. No matter how disciplined, a person could only take so much pain. The agony of losing your mate was said to be the worst in existence. Just the thought of Asher fading was unbearable. Never hearing the husky sound of his voice in the morning or feeling his hair through my fingers as he showed me how loved I was with his lips and tongue; it was a fate I wouldn’t wish on any wolf.
Some part of Sean seemed to be at peace when I told him that mom looked happy, that the smile she had was genuine and warm. I wasn’t sure if I’d have some talent for spirit magic like Cordelia or if my skills were elsewhere, but I liked to think that Sean wasn’t alone as he crossed the grassy courtyard to join his patrol friends.
As Asher pulled away from the curb, the car was engulfed in silence that felt much too loud. Watching dad and Flora, then talking to Sean, it distracted me from why we had come. I still had news to break to my grandma, news I hadn’t yet processed myself.
f I was surprised grandma had a witch for a sister, I wonder how she’d feel. Then again, I was horrible at guessing her reactions.
“Whatever it is you’re all keeping from me, you might as well spit it out. The silence is making my ears ring.” She huffed, pinning me with her stare as we locked eyes through the passenger mirror.
Drawing things out would only grate on her nerves, so I eased into it the only way I knew how.
“The séance went…well. Mom showed up, and she gave us a list of ingredients we need to undo the binding spell. Cordelia has them all, but there’s one on the list we don’t have.”
I took a deep breath, and then another. Maya encouraged me from the darkest depths of my mind, reminding me of all our glorious accomplishments as she left me to tell grandma alone.
“We needed the blood of the witch who casted the spell, but she…she’s d**d. The only substitution is blood from a direct relative—like a sister.”
Grandma blinked, “…what do I have to do with this?”
The decades old wisdom that was etched into every fine line and blemish on her face began to fade. Its loss made her look younger, more unsure of the world and her place in it. I had only seen a handful of pictures from grandma’s childhood, and not one featured another sibling.
“You have a sister, grandma…she’s the one who bound my powers.” I hated the look of uncertainty on her face as she connected the dots. The one person who had an answer for everything was now speechless. “Did you know about her? Did you know she was a witch?”
This time we all sat complacent as silence filled the car like gallons of ice water. Higher it inched, but quiet we remained. The tension had grown so thick that Breyona had no choice but to crack the window open to s**k in a deep breath of fresh air.
By the time the tires crunched over the gravel of the house Cordelia and Rowena were occupying, we were all ready to fling ourselves from the car. Grandma got out first and put her hand on the hood to steady herself.
Fear struck my heart like lightning, because not once in my life had I ever thought grandma looked her age. The light that filled her made her youthful but standing there with her eyes closed and head bowed, she looked like a tired wom an who was just now realizing she’d spent her entire life in the dark.
“We’ll be right inside.” I told Asher and Breyona, nodding up at the house when neither one moved.
Once the screen door rattled against the frame and clicked in place, grandma began to speak.
“Pa kicked her out when I was nine…they had a huge fight. I don’t remember what it was about anymore. It felt like it would never end, then suddenly Evelyn was gone.
They wouldn’t tell me what happened, only that she chose a new family. I remember hearing ma cry a lot. Thinking back on it, I’m not sure she ever stopped.” Her voice held no weakness, only unequivocal strength as she squared her shoulders and took a deep breath.
“I had no clue she was a witch. I don’t know why she wouldn’t have told me all those years ago, why our parents would’ve…I’m left with all of these questions, and there’s no one left alive to answer them.”
There was nothing I could say or do to fix things, so I wrapped my arms around her and inhaled the sweet scent of lavender and confectioners’ sugar.
I decided this was worse than being shot at in the middle of a crowd, worse than being hunted down by a power-hungry vampire king or ran off the road by witches.
There wasn’t a single one of us not entangled in this mess…not Breyona with the vampire for a mate or Asher, the Alpha who named a tribrid as his Luna.
Mason and Sean suffered the d***h of their mates, while Dad was staring at the second chance he never thought he deserved.
“I’m so sorry to throw all of this on you, grandma.” I mumbled against the scratchy fabric of her cardigan. “…and I’m sorry we pulled you away from the bake sale to steal your blood.”
She chuckled and pulled away. Humor danced in her eyes but did nothing to cover the confusion and hurt she clearly felt. Grandma was never one to hide her emotions.
“You were a bit forceful about it. Almost dislocated a hip when that mate of yours shoved me into the car-” She smiled roguishly and wound her arm around my own.
“Would it help if I asked nicely?” I teased, then cleared my throat. “Grandma, would you kindly allow us to draw some of your blood for a magical reversal spell that will unlock my mystical powers?”
“That didn’t help at all.” She shook her head, and an unsure smile played on her lips. “…I’ll let you have my blood, but would you mind if I watched in on this…spell?”
“Of course you can stay.” I replied, leading the two of us up the porch stairs. We stopped at the screen door, “…you know since your sister’s a witch, that means you’re one too.”
“Nonsense, I can’t be a witch.” She frowned, “…that mean’s ma would’ve been one.”
“Mom said something about your baking-that no one was that good. I thought she was joking at the time, but she might be onto something.”
I shrugged and held the screen door back before following her into the house. “It’s just a theory, you could always ask Rowena or Cordelia if it’s possible.”
“Ask if what’s possible?” Rowena’s warm voice traveled down the hallway to where we stood.
Two seconds later I caught sight of her auburn hair as she rounded the corner. She had changed out of her sundress speckled with dainty red flowers for something more comfortable.
She potted grandma and let out a happy gasp. “Oh it’s so nice to meet you again. I can’t thank you enough for the lavender!”
I waited for grandma to ask, and when she didn’t I quickly changed the subject.
“It’s nothing important.” I shook my head, “…how’s things coming along for the spell?”
The clear note of worry in my voice caught Rowena’s attention and held it long enough for our previous topic to flee the room.
“We’re actually all ready for you. Asher and Breyona are back there too.” Her smile was understanding. “You haven’t asked how this spell is supposed to go…I take it your nervous?”
“That’s an understatement.” I laughed lightly and followed her down the hall. Grandma’s soft footsteps trailed behind us. She was silent, but that only meant she was listening to every word being said. “So how does this work? I’m not going to catch on fire and b**n the neighborhood down, right?”
The thrifted coffee table Mason and Sean carried in for Rowena just a few days ago was pushed against the wall, leaving a wide stretch of open floor. There were no sigils painted onto the slats of dark hardwood, only a shag carpet sat on top.
Cordelia stood nearby but was occupied as she dipped pieces of thick black thread into a metal bowl. The faint scent of oils wafted into the air, carried by the breeze rushing in from the opened patio doors.
Now that we were getting closer to removing this binding spell, I swore I could feel something in the darkest depths of me stretching-waking up after such a long nap.