The heels of Aidan’s boots and Celia’s shoes click in perfect time as they stride down the long hallway. Wooden doors at regular intervals break up the boring beige walls. Simple black numbers differentiate repetitive plain doors. Florescent lights flicker. Overall, a bright hallway, the flickering sends the message that it will be a whole lot dimmer if maintenance doesn’t stop by soon.
At the very end of the hall, the girls turn to the last door on the right. Celia lets Aidan enter first.
A well-appointed, very neutral room greets them. An old cedar armoire stands imposingly on one side and hides a television rather than clothes. Large windows take over the top half of one wall, although closed blinds hide the view. A once-loved and recently donated brown recliner cowers in the corner.
The bed is the most dramatic eye catcher. All white and chrome; machines surround it. Tubes dive under the light blue blanket that breaks the blinding white of the sheets.
Aidan stands next to the woman attached to those tubes. She rests her hand on the woman’s hand. “Hey, Mom. How was your day?”
Of course, the woman does not answer. For five years, she hasn’t answered. Aidan will not give up on the sleeping woman, not while she feels her mother’s presence so completely at random moments. Her mother is still here, still alive. Her brain works fine, the doctors said. There is no medical reason she should be locked inside her mind. Aidan touches her mother’s cheek, runs her fingers through graying hair and prays desperately to see her mother’s blue eyes looking up at her. The daily ritual never varies.
The girls take their customary places across from each other at the small table beside the bed. Aidan reaches over and pulls a deck of cards from the drawers beside her mother’s bed.
“Why would you ask James to do a background check on Mr. Morgan?”
Celia flinches. “Had a hunch. Did he find out anything interesting?”
“He checks out. He would have to, wouldn’t he, to substitute?” Aidan shuffles slowly.
“But what, Celia? What hunch? Or are you just curious?” She offers her cousin an out. Because, of course, she is not telling Celia everything either. Aidan is not ready to talk in depth about Mr. Victor Morgan.
Aidan deals. Celia picks up her cards one at a time.
“We’re going to Kelly’s party next week.” Celia says into the quiet room.
“You’re not going to fight me on this?”
“Nope. No point. I’ll just use my energy to find a window to crawl out of next Saturday night. Or, I can make a date with Corey and get out of it all together. Either way, I’m not fighting with you.”
Celia grins over her cards. “So you do like him.”
Aidan focuses on her hand. She refuses to answer. But her ears turn pink and Celia pounces.
See the girls through the fire. Listen to them. They talk about teenage stuff. They share with Adair all the things she’s missing in her daughter’s life. And, Aidan is right. Her mother is still alive in her frozen body. What they do not know is that Adair is busy using all her strength to hide her daughter from the Evil that haunts the world.
Two things you should know here.
One: Adair’s mother, Aidan’s grandmother, Alina…well, she thought she was breaking free of her Destiny. Aidan’s bloodline was pure Witch growing more powerful with each generation. Their Destiny clearly lay on the white side. They were definitive players on the board. Except His Nemesis played one of his stronger pieces against Alina and she caved, falling heavily on the black side. Now, with a muddied bloodline, Aidan has black veins running through her white piece.
Right now, she can go either way.
Free will and all.
Two: There is a reason Aidan’s bloodline remained pure and unbroken after centuries. A very long time ago, before even I was born, one of Aidan’s ancestors elicited a promise from an Immortal to protect her children and all who came after. Until Alina’s treachery, he did a bang up job. Now, Adair’s faulty information contributes to shielding her daughter from him as well.
I can see bits of Aidan’s future. She is going to need her protector soon. Adair is weakening.
She has weakened enough for the Immortal to find Aidan.