Paislee crept upstairs later that night. She had so much to think about, and the last thing she needed was a confrontation with her mother.
Meria on the other hand, was already in bed with Daniel.
“I’m ready.” She said to him.
“And I know you’re telling the truth, but I feel weird about taking your virginity while your mother and grandmother are down the hall.” He kissed her forehead. “Can you forgive me?”
“Of course I can.” She curled closer to him. “I’ll miss you tomorrow.”
“Why would you miss me?”
“Daniel, you can’t be here when Emil shows up.”
“Why not? I can’t just stand by and watch you get hurt.”
“And you think I can watch you get hurt?”
“You know I can take care of myself.”
“Against humans and mortals. Emil is a Demon now. And we don’t know what he’s capable of. Please, promise me you’ll stay away from the house until I call you.”
Daniel turned over and looked at her for a long while. “I’ll do this for you. But afterwards, we revisit the topic. Agreed?”
“Absolutely.” She kissed him. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too.”
The next morning was stressful for everyone. Ahmeline and Terahni stood over the stove in the kitchen, waiting for the binding potion to change scent. Daniel and the twins went into the minor kitchen to eat and hide from the ugly truth. Their mother was choosing a man over her daughters and this time it would be final.
“Gryn said it wouldn’t take long, he should be here in an hour or so.” Paislee poured all of them some orange juice. “The potion should be ready by then.”
“That’s fine. After that it’ll just be a bunch of busy work.” Meria sighed. “Do you think being acquainted with us was fated?”
“What do you mean?” Daniel asked.
“Well, what are the odds that my sister would date a man who became a demon?”
“Like maybe we were meant to deal with him?” Paislee asked. “Yeah, I’ve been wondering the same thing. And it would surprise me if that were the case. Bright side?”
“Since he was so freaked out abut me being a witch, he didn’t learn anything about us or our houses magickal defenses. We should be fairly well shielded.”
“You’re just glad that you have somewhere to direct your anger.”
“Shouldn’t I be happy about that?” Paislee smiled.
“Happy about what?” Flora walked in, and grabbed an apple. Daniel filled her in. “Paislee, you should ABSOLUTELY be happy about that. Speaking of, how are you handling everything? This is one hell of a whirlwind.”
They all sat down at the table.
“Honestly? I’m more depressed about mom than about Emil. We had fun together, he made me happy. But it was easier to handle him being a demon because I knew our relationship was already over. First he refused to accept me, then I find out that he’s cheating. And to top it all off, he’s a demon? I mean, I’m sad and all that any of this happened. But it isn’t my fault that he is who he is. A man like that, I don’t think I’d want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
“And Gryndle?” Daniel asked. “What about a demon already made? Could you be with him?”
“Yeah sis. What about Gryn? The last couple of days have been fun right?”
Paislee looked at everyone and narrowed her eyes. She knew an ambush when she saw one. “He’s kept me busy. Gryndle’s a really-”
“Don’t say he’s nice Pais.” Flora laughed. “You like him. Admit it already.”
“Ok, yes. I like him. I-”
“Like him enough to date?”
“Do you guys want me to tell you how I feel or which one of you will win the bet?!” Paislee stood up and walked into the parlor. The other three followed her. “Don’t you all think it’s a little too soon to plan my wedding? Gryndle and I are just friends. He’s nice. I need nice right now.”
“You’re lying.” Meria tugged on her sister’s hair. “You’ve thought about it. We all know you well enough to know that you don’t make decisions slowly. We just want to know if he’s your next target.”
“He’s not a target. He’s a person, and one of our friends.” Paislee looked outside.
“Uh oh…” Flora said. “She’s holding back. She REALLY likes him.”
“We’ll finish this later.” Paislee walked toward the front door.
“Oh man.” Daniel pretended to whine.
“Don’t worry Daniel.” Flora said. “She’ll admit that she’s falling for him. Gryndle’s finally got her full attention.”
“Crap.” Meria hissed. “He’s outside right now.”
Daniel responded with a shrug. “He probably heard everything we just said.”
“Yes! He did!” Paislee yelled back. “Way to be!”
Once the door closed behind her, Gryndle noticed that three pairs of eyes were glaring through the window. “We have an audience.”
“Are you surprised?”
“Not particularly.” Gryndle looked at his Paislee, feeling more attached than he was used to. “Perhaps we should discuss the business at hand before any personal conversations.”
“That sounds like a good idea. So mom’s potion should be done within the hour. She’ll be mortal by noon. After she’s in the cab and down the street, we’ll work on the rest of our defenses and potions.”
“I assume you want me to lure him to the back yard?”
“That would be best. If you can’t get him there, we’ll just widen the illusion.”
“Will you be able to do it?”
“What? The illusion? Of course we will.”
“Not the spell. Killing him.”
“If he’s a demon, he’s in our jurisdiction. If he’s trying to kill us, then he’s fair game. I don’t really have to rationalize this too much.”
“But emotionally, you’re attached.”
“Not as much as I could have been. I think I’ll be fine.” Paislee stared off into space for a second. “Now, maybe we could take a walk?”
“Alright, we’re just waiting for the mix to cool.” Ahmeline poured the potion into a mug. “Here sweetheart.”
Daniel was up stairs getting his stuff and Flora was putting some of the ingredients away.
“Mom,” Meria started. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“My heart isn’t in the magick, I’m not sure if it ever was.”
“But this is part of who you are.”
“You know why I’m doing this. I don’t need magick. But I do need your father.”
“For once, mother.” Meria touched her mother’s hand. ” Just once, stop referring to him as our father. He’s not ours. He’s your husband. That’s it.”
“He’s your father, Meria. Whether you talk to him or not, his blood is yours.”
“Never mind.” She looked at the mug on the table between them. “It’s cooled enough.”
“Where is Paislee?”
“She’s still outside with Gryndle.”
“But it’s been a half hour.”Tera complained.
“Oh I’m sure she’ll be spending more and more time with him.” Meria said, making Flora smile.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Now she’s indulging his fantasy? He’s fun to have around, but I don’t want a demon for a son!”
Paislee walked through the kitchen door. “That’s not your decision!”
“So what, you’re going to date him because I disapprove?” Terahni stood up, prompting Flora and Ahmeline to leave them and Meria alone.
“Why can’t you see me as an adult? I’ve been making decision for myself for years. So has Meria. We do what we want.”
“And you think you’re capable of making these decision for yourself? Emil wasn’t a bad enough idea?”
“You liked him when you thought he was human! He cheated on me as a human! He tried to kill Charlotte as a human! Your bias towards humans is natural, but don’t impose those views on me!”
“And you couldn’t even find a human worth having! Not like your sister. She’s found a good man to take care of her.”
“You will not use me against Paislee.” Meria stood up. “You want to be mortal. Fine, be mortal. Yes. I picked Daniel and he picked me. Because we’re in love, not because he’s human, we’re together.”
“And I am so proud of you for it. But Paislee, you’re now picking a demon?”
“I haven’t picked anyone. And you like Gryndle. Why is his demon blood an issue now?”
“I thought it was cute, he was like a lost puppy. But to indulge his obsession is dangerous. Anything could happen to you. He’s a demon. You can’t trust him.”
“He’s been a friend to this entire family and the Clans for years. He’s never taken a life, not human or otherwise. And right now, Gryndle has been more tolerant and honest than my mother.” Paislee’s fingers started to singe. “Magick isn’t a priority for you. Neither is your family. You don’t want this life for yourself. So take your damn potion and go back to that jerk you married.”
“Don’t talk about your father that way!”
“He’s not my father. When are you going to figure that out? He hasn’t said two words to either of us in years. We owe him nothing. And once you take that potion, I may owe you less.”
“How dare you!”
“What? Admit to myself and to you that you’ve disappointed me? That I can’t depend on you for anything? I love you mom, I really do. So does Meria. You know that we love you, and that this is hurting us. But you don’t care. You came here, dropped a bomb on us, outed Flora, insulted me and now you’re insulting Gryn behind his back. On top of which, Meria and I should be focusing on dealing with Emil and all you want to do is fight about my relationship with you and your husband? We can have that discussion at a later date. But right now, you need to take the potion and leave.”
“I’m so disappointed in you.” Terahni picked up her mug, and drank it. Once she’s swallowed the last of it, Terahni’s de bhua flickered and disappeared again. “It’s time I was going.”
Terahni walked out of the kitchen. Meria sat Paislee down at the table. “This is for the best. She didn’t respect her gifts. She never did.”
“I know. And I know that she’s going to do what she wants, just as we are. But that doesn’t mean I have to be supportive.”
“That’s also true. You and will just have to-” Meria tried to touch Paislee but couldn’t. Paislee’s skin was too hot and Meria could see the flames lick her cheeks. “What?”
“No!” Paislee stumbled to her feet and tried to run to the front door.
“What did you see!?” Meria helped Paislee get there.
“Emil’s here. Now!”
“Regroup for a sec. I’ll go ahead.”
Leaving Paislee to lean against the wall in the hallway, Meria ran outside and saw Daniel hugging her mother goodbye.
“Mom! Get back in the house! Daniel you too!”
They both stood there looking at her, but Flora and Ahmeline immediately began to pull them closer to the door. Gryndle, who was was looking over the backyard, came running from the side of the house on all fours. His tail was unwrapped and shirt off revealing claws and scales running up his arms and torso.
Terahni didn’t make it to the front step before a force pulled her to the ground. Both her legs snapped and she let out a shriek. Daniel picked her up and ran into the house, he felt something whisper at his back, but realized the air bent around him as Paislee and Meria erected more shields.
Paislee ran out tossing potions at everyone but Gryndle. “Daniel, take mom through the Fey door. They can help her there.”
“Take care of my girl!”
“I can handle myself!” Daniel heard Meria scream right before he passed through the wall.
“Plan?!” Ahmeline yelled to Paislee.
“Get the barriers up around the property and work on a blocking potion inside. His telekinesis might be too powerful. Flo, throw as many illusions as you can around him when he appears. I want him to think the world is spinning under his feet. Then when you’re done, go find Charlotte and keep her safe. Meria, what do you think. Capture? Or kill?”
“His powers had to come from somewhere. We should find out more before we try and destroy him.”
“Damn. Capture then. Gryn-”
“I’m not leaving you.” He was crouched a few feet in front of her and Meria, prepared to pounce.
“I don’t want you to. Try and sense any specific demon blood if you can. The more we know about him the easier this will be.”
“Oh nothing about this will be easy Paislee.” Said Emil as he walked up the path. “Imagine my surprise when I got Hell and found out that you’re family is famous there! They all hate you in Hell.”
“We’re well aware of that fact. And we’re damn proud of it.” Paislee snapped. Flora’s illusions went up. The twins and two demons stood in the eye of a tornado. There was no manor for Emil to find.
“That wont keep it hidden forever.”
“Why are you here?”
“My Brethren filled me in. Your family has been the curse of Demons in this city for generations. I have many allies in Hell.”
“What happened to you Emil?”
“I came into my own is all. And it feels great. So whose legs did I break? I wasn’t looking. Was it Daniel? Your grandmother? I was aiming for you baby.”
“You will not address her so!” Gryndle growled.
“The traitor. Now that I know what you are, I’m a little confused. Why would a demon so powerful choose to consort with these whores?”
Gryndle started to leap, but he felt Paislee’s hand on his shoulder. Emil took another few steps. “Oh sure, and you let her hold your leash?! This is shameful.”
“I would gladly let her hold my leash. The Aynton’s lord over demons like you!”
The grin on Emil’s face vanished, replaced by a snarl of his own. “I hope I have the chance to choke the life from you.”
Paislee looked at her ex and was never more glad that she didn’t giver her heart to him. “Why are you here?”
“To cause you pain Paislee. And I’m not done. Not by a long shot. If you come with me now, I’ll take good care of you.”
“Over my dead body!”
“What about you Meria?”
Meria responded by dousing him in water. He looked at her, the water dripping from his hair, and the water pulled itself from his body, falling to the grass.
“One of you will join me. It’s only a matter of can go find your mother somewhere.”
“You will not touch another member of my family!” Paislee yelled. She grabbed Meria’s hand and screamed. “Now!”
Fire and water shot from them respectively, wrapping Emil in a ball of swirling energy. But before they could converge, Emil managed to dispel the enchantment, sending himself flying back.
The three of them followed him out of the illusion so that Ahmeline could fortify the grounds behind them. But Emil was gone.
ALMA © 2013