“So how are we delivering the pies?” I ask looking at my Dad. “I mean I can box them, but we’re pretty far from Kain’s, aren’t we? And I have no idea where,” my voice trails off. I don’t know what to call Cecil, do I call him by his first name or should I call him grandfather. Dad called him Dad so I suppose I could call him grandfather.
“You worry about packaging the pies up, I’ll go get some transportation for us,” Dad says as he heads out the door.
“Right.” I look at the pies.
Six aluminum pie plates sit on the table. One pie has already been devoured and a second is a quarter gone. The other four, the four to be delivered, sit untouched on the warm wooden surface. We wrap those up in plastic wrap and then Layla donates towels to wrap them in and keep them warm.
Then we wait. No one really wants to talk and even Theo keeps silent, though I suspect that has to do with the glare Katha gives him every time his mouth opens. At last we hear the clip clop of horses on the path and I realize I’m still in my suit from last night. How am I supposed to ride and carry a pie in a skirt? I will have to sit side saddle. But apparently Dad had thought of that for two of the horses had saddle bags.
We nestle the pie into the bags before mounting up. I probably checked them more times than I needed.
“Morgan, they are fine,” Dad assures me. “Mount up it’s a ways to get to where I grew up, but your Grandfather should be there by now.”
I nod and no sooner do I settle into the saddle then Dad leads us off at a gallop. I am going to be sore by the end of the day given the time we stay at this pace. I can’t blame Dad though, for I feel the same urgency. I just want these pies delivered before we return to Peace Island.
I am more anxious than nervous, at least I was until I saw Cecil’s house. I’ve been in those Mc Mansions they were sprouting up around my Grandma B’s house and I’d felt they’d looked grandiose, but this place, this place looms. We ride up the driveway and stop at the path to the porch. Theo quickly hops off his horse to hold the reigns of Dad’s and mine. Carefully un-packing two pies, Dad and I head up the five steps onto the large veranda.
Breathe. Be Strong.
Dad raps his knuckles upon the door and I hear it echo in the hallway beyond. It sounds loud and foreboding, just the way Cecil did when he was my instructor for the test. But I passed the test, so I can pass this test too. I take another breath.
“I guess he’s not back from the Entrance Halls yet,” Dad sighs.
He starts to turn away but then stops. I can tell he’s listening. It isn’t long before I can hear the footsteps in the hall as well. Dad turns to face the door just before it opens.
“What do you want?” Cecil looks grumpily at us. “Didn’t think you’d have the gumption to show up here after embarrassing me at the Council meeting last night.” His glare is nearly murderous. “ Van Helsings our enemies, bah,” he mutters as his eyes dart between us.
“Hello to you too Dad.”
Cecil and Dad lock eyes. I can feel the animosity growing between them, which is not going to help me and I need help right?
“Grandfather,” the familiar term comes out though I mean it not to. I hastily continue on as his stare breaks from my Dad and turns to me. It is as imposing a stare as his voice was during the Trails. “I baked you some pies,” I hold out the pie I have to his astonishment. The rest of my words come tumbling out. “It’s not much I know, and I know we’ve never met before though we should have and I know there isn’t anything I can say to sway your judgment of me, but please at least take these as a token that I mean no harm. I swear when all this war is over I’ll be back and you can teach me everything I need to know. Please forgive me for my parents’ sin and judge me not for my ignorance. I swear none of it has been intentional.”
I know there are tears in my eyes as I say this. I cannot read Cecil’s expression. It is unfathomable.
“No.” Cecil turns from us and slams the door in our face.
For a moment Dad and I stand in shocked silence. Then my father’s rage breaks out. He pounds upon the door and starts yelling at his Father.
~Dad!~ It is only by shouting at him mentally that he hears. As he turns from his outburst I speak, softly, quietly, “It’s not worth it. We’ll leave the pies on the porch for him.”
“That’s a waste of good pie,” Dad grumbles as he sets his pie down next to mine.
“I don’t know,” I glance back as walk to the horses. I think I see Cecil watching us from a window. If instinct is right those pies will be inside as soon as we are out of sight. “He could surprise us.” I smile through the tears at Dad. He looks puzzled by me. “After all I’ve been something of a surprise myself.”
Dad stops and I feel his worry drop from him. “That you are kid,” he ruffles my hair, “that you are.”
We mount up and are off; galloping once more.
Something has happened to my daughter since I first met her. She has quickly grown from a shy and insecure individual into one of quiet strength. Quiet strength, my own phrase reminds me of Queen Helena. Is it right to compare my own daughter who is but half a Faerie to the Queen of our race?
Yet as I glance back at her in our race to Kain’s I can’t help but do so. She has grown stronger every day. And, I suddenly realize, more Faerie. If I wasn’t so certain who her mother was I would have a hard time believing that Morgan wasn’t 100% Faerie born.
I don’t know what I have done to be blessed by such a daughter, but I thank all the deities I can think of for her.