The Guild – Chapter 104 – Caroline

    I lay on the bed, hair loose and spread out over the sheets as I stare up at the ceiling. My feet hang over the side of the bed but don’t touch the floor. I twitch my fingers, moving them against Kaedes head. He lays facing the opposite edge of the bed, head next to mine, leaning against my left ear. I’m pretty sure he’s falling asleep.

    I feel his breath on my cheek, it tickles but it’s also comforting. I’m tempted to turn my face and kiss him while he sleeps but my thoughts are interrupted by the vibration of my cell phone in my pant pocket. I reach into my pocket, tapping the screen to light it up. I haven’t checked my phone in a while. I left it here while I was in Africa and I usually leave it in my room because training with water would just kill it if I had an accident.

    I frown at the screen. Twenty four missed calls in the last month; From Mom. I jolt upright, yanking my hair out from under Kaede with a sharp cry. He inhales sharply, waking up, looking around.

    “What? What happened? Are you ok?” he asks, rubbing his eyes and scratching his head.

    “No! I am not ok! I completely forgot about my parents and I’ve only just noticed  they’ve been calling my phone nonstop for the past three months!” I shriek, shoving the phone in his face for him to see. He takes the phone, scrolling through the call log and messages.

    “All three of us left without saying a thing to our families. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re on a missing persons’ list,” he muses.

    “I don’t like that. Logan’s gone… and this is very much going to be our lives now. Shouldn’t we at least let them know? Ease their minds and clear up the confusion?” I ask. I know I worry a lot, but this suddenly doesn’t fit right with me.

    He taps the phone, pulling up Chrome and looking at local news from back home. He turns the phone to me, showing me a picture of our missing persons’ report. My stomach drops. “Please tell me we can tell them now,” I beg.

    He puts the phone down and smiles. “I don’t see why we can’t. I’m sure they’d come to understand. It didn’t take me long to come to terms with it,” he says.

    “Yea, but you’re a different kind of person than my parents. You’re very rare, in my opinion,” my lips twitch with the backhanded compliment.

    He smirks playfully. “I know. I’m one of a kind, right?”

    I grin, biting my lip. “Yup.”  

    “I’m sure they’ll understand. Your parents are nice. And they know you’re with me. Perhaps they’ve been talking with my parents, considering the both of us just dropped out of school suddenly,” Kaede points out.

    “That’s not a good thing. What if they think you kidnapped me or something and we got eloped?!” Suddenly I’m nervous, but I gotta do it. We all do. “Andrei should probably tell his family too, no?” I ask Kae.

    “Andrei’s not really on good terms with his family, last I heard. That’s why he moved in with me. We could suggest it though. I think it’d be nice if we all went together so they know nothing’s wrong,” he suggests.

    “That’s a good idea. Let’s go ask them! Right now!” I say, jumping off the bed and grabbing my phone. He rolls off the bed to follow, caught off guard with my sudden energy.

    I dash out the door and rap my hand on Kaitlyn’s. I wait a moment until Andrei answers. I’m fairly certain he’s moved in. He’s always answering the door. “Hi!” I smile.

    He looks at me skeptically. “What do you want?” he asks. I know he’s faking seriousness. Perhaps he was fooling around with Kat again. I pretend I don’t know.

    “Do you guys have a moment? Kaede and I had an idea!” I say, leaning forward, hoping to talk to Kat too.

    “Sure, I guess,” he looks over his shoulder before letting me in. I step inside and walk over to the bed. Kat’s half sitting up, rubbing her eyes. Maybe they were napping too.

    “So,” I say, turning around as Andrei walks towards me followed by Kaede. “I think it’s been put off too long. Kaede and I are worried -”

    “Well, Caroline is the one mostly worried. But continue,” Kaede corrects me. I narrow my eyes at him, not noticing that he followed me in.

    “Well, anyway. We haven’t really told our parents where we are and I have like a billion missed calls from them and Kaede found missing persons’ reports from our area, no thanks to our parents. We think we should go and tell them, you know, we’re safe and ok. Stuff like that,” I suggest with a smile plastered on my face.

    Andrei eyes me, crossing his arms over his chest. I silently admit to myself his posture is cool and slightly attractive. I chew the inside of my lip, waiting for a response. I glance at Kat and see her looking alarmed and a little guilty.

    “I’m not really on speaking terms with them since I moved in with Kae, and I’m probably not on a report considering I disappear often. I don’t think it’s necessary. If you guy wanna go, I can’t stop you though,” he dismisses.

    “Come one Andrei. You should at least let them know you’re ok and maybe check in on your sisters. Don’t you think they’d want to know you’ve moved?” I prod.

    He puckers his lips in stubbornness. “They probably think I’m off time jumping,” he says casually. That’s right. They did know he had magic from an early age. Maybe they aren’t as worried as my parents are.

    Kaitlyn sits up. “Andrei, you should see them. Tell them you’re alive. I’m sure they would be happy to see you.”

    Andrei grimaces but I can see he’s tempted, because of Kat’s support. “You say that now…” he grumbles.

    “Come on, if we go together I’m sure we’ll be safe. And this will ease our parents’ worry about our whereabouts. Who knows, maybe they’ll be accepting of our magical abilities and we could maybe even have them come to the Guild for a visit,” I suggest. I’m sure my parents would find that very interesting.

    Andrei looks very frightened by this idea and takes a step back. “My parents already know about my magic, so if that was supposed to convince me, it didn’t work. I don’t want them coming for a visit,” he says.

    Kat climbs off the bed and stands next to him, speaking quietly. “Andrei, don’t say that. You should cherish the time that you have with your family,” she looks down sadly. “You never know when they’ll be gone.”

    “It’s been the other way around for me though. They never know when I’m going to be gone, and to them, I’m like the failure of the family. I can’t hold a regular job like my parents. We just… don’t get along,” he persists.

    She pouts. “It’s different now. You’re so much more than that. You can show them.”

    “Show them? What?” he asks, still skeptical.

    Kat smiles. “How amazing you are.”

    He exhales, amused. “Nah, they won’t see it like that. They’re business-minded Kat. Besides, if I saw them, you’d be here, alone,” he pouts.

    “She could come with us! You could introduce her to your parents! Wouldn’t it be fun?” I cut in excitedly.

    Andrei’s eyes grow wider and he doesn’t exactly look thrilled about the suggestion. Kat also looks surprised and I angrily place my hands on my hips.

    “Oh, stop being so childish. You’re coming and that’s final. You can’t ignore them forever. Besides, I’m sure they’ll love Kat,” I huff. The colour drains from Kat’s face, her hands covering her lower belly like she’s checking if it’s still there.

    “Oh, pish posh. Kat, you’re not showing and you know it. They don’t have to know that if you don’t want them too. Just say hi and get to know them. You’re both so worked up about nothing,” I chastise them. “We’re  all going and that’s final, so get something nice on and let’s go.”

~*~

    I feel a bubbling excitement in my stomach as I wrap my hand around the door handle. we decided to visit my parents first, just to make Andrei and Kaitlyn feel better about going. maybe, if we give them a good experience, they won’t be so nervous about visiting Andrei’s.

    We step through the door in the lightly falling snow. with each step I take? I hear a soft crunching sound. it brings back many memories of Christmas spent with my family and I suddenly realize, with all of the magic and crazy things that have been happening that we’ve managed to somehow forget the holidays.

    The door of the Tim Hortons shop shuts behind us and I draw my scarf a little tighter to keep out the cold. It is already late March, but in Canada, it can still be cold.

    For Kaede, Andrei, and I,  this is home, but for Kat, it’s still unfamiliar. She looks around, wide-eyed. I wonder if the cold of Canada affects her as a guardian of fire. She’s only got her oversized sweater on.

    I look around the street, gaining my barrings.  According to one of my parents’ messages, they haven’t moved yet. My family moved often when I lived with them.  Both my parents work in logistics for the Canadian military, so we get moved around often.

    I lead them across the street and into the neighbourhood. We get a good fifteen-minute walk from here to the house. We leave a trail of footprints in the snow as we walk and as it continues to snow it begins to coat our hair too, making us look like we all turned eighty. The neighbourhood is quiet when it snows. It’s such a pretty walk.

    Kaitlyn pulls up beside me and it makes me smile.  Finally, some girl time. I glance over my shoulder to see the two boys chatting quietly to themselves.

    “How are you feeling? Cold at all?” I ask her. Her hair is a striking red compared to the white snow around it. It’s stunning.

    “A little,” she admits. “I’ve never seen snow before. It’s very… wet.”

    “It is frozen water, and with you being so hot I bet it melts when it touches you,” I grin.  “I know you’re thinking this is a little scary and all, but really, my parents are really nice,” I assure her.

    She looks at me curiously. “I believe you. After all, they raised you. I just… I don’t know how to act around parents.”

    “It’s nothing special. Honestly. I guess you could picture it as you would the headmistress.  She’s like a mother to you, isn’t she?”

    Kat sighs. “I’ve never seen her that way but Andrei said the same thing. I don’t know.”

    “Parents are basically people who look after you and take care of you when you’re not well. They also worry about you even when there was nothing to worry about in the first place. Did the headmistress ever do that with you?” I ask.

    “Probably,” Kat shrugs.

    I slow to a stop and look up at the familiar two-story house, with white batten board and blue shutters. a wintery wreath still hangs on the hook on the door. I bite my lip with anticipation and climb the porch stairs. My hands shake as I reach my fist out and knock on the door.

    I listen carefully for the sound of footsteps. I hear the click of the lock turning and I step back as it opens slowly. A tall woman with golden blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, and a thick light blue knitted sweater answers the door. I can’t move, I’m so excited and nervous so I just stand there with a dumb smile on my face. My mom’s mouth drops open and her hand comes up to cover it. I think I see tears glistening in her eyes.

    “Hi mom,” I say with a shaky voice.

    “Doug! Come quick!” She calls back into the house before stepping out onto the porch in her slippers and wrapping her arms around me tightly. “Oh God, Caroline. Where have you been? We’ve been so worried!” her voice trembles as much as mine. I know what she’s feeling. Mom and I are practically twins.

    “I’ve missed you too mom. I know, I’m sorry. I have so much to tell you, but first… can we come in?” I interrupt her hug, trying to gesture to the three friends behind me. She pulls away, wiping her eyes on her sweater sleeve.

    “Oh, you have friends, and Kaede too! He’s safe just like you, oh thank God. Please, come in, warm up.  I’ll make everyone some tea,” she says stepping aside from the doorway.  I turn and smile back at the others and move into the house. Everyone files in, taking off their shoes and coats and hanging them on hangers I pass them from the closet beside the door.

    Inside is warm and toasty from the gas fireplace. My mom was always on top of the most current house trends. This winter, it looks like she’s gone with a frosty blue and white look. Andrei and Kat seem to hover by the door and I practically have to take them by the hand and drag them into the living room. I lead them to a couch and am about to make them sit when my dad comes down the stairs.

    He hasn’t changed a bit; trimmed light brown hair, a mustache and clean shaven. He’s wearing a grey sweater-vest and a collared blue blouse with dark brown cords. As soon as I spot him I leap away from the couch and crash into his arms expecting him to catch me, and he does.

    “Caroline!  My girl! you’re alive! Oh, thank God you’re alive. Your mother had me convinced you were dead! Oh, it’s so good to see you again, and Kaede too. And are these some new friends?” e asks, holding me in a bear hug. I’m so glad they didn’t think I ran off to elope.

    “Of course I’m alive! Dad, I’d never die on you without saying so first,” I giggle. “You haven’t met Andrei before. He’s Kaede’s roommate and this is his girlfriend, Kaitlyn,” I introduce them as I drag him over to the couch to meet them.

    Kaitlyn waves sheepishly, perched on the edge of the couch cushion taking up as little space as possible.

    “Hello, I’m Douglas, Caroline’s father, and I guess you’ve met my wife, Stacy. It’s nice to meet you,” my father smiles as he takes a seat in the chair across from everyone on the couch. He motions for the Kaede to sit. Only three can fit on the couch, so Andrei and Kaede sandwich Kat while I take a seat next to them in a chair opposite my father.

    “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Andrei. I’ve heard so much about you, before… well. Caroline. When your mother’s done with the tea, you’ll tell us all about where you’ve been and why you haven’t spoken a word about it to us?” he asks with a hidden urgency in his voice, but I can just tell these things.

    Shortly after, my mom comes in with the tea and passes the cups around. I hold the cup snuggly in my hands, relishing in the warmth. I’m admittedly a little nervous about telling my parents. It’s not every day you tell someone you have magic and you were off learning how to use it. Mom pulls up a seat beside me and I look to dad, who’s watching me intently, waiting.

    “So, Caroline. I’m sure you have a very good reason for not answering your phone and not telling us you have stopped attending classes,” my father starts sternly. I spot Kat anxiously gripping Andrei’s arm at my father’s tone. “Would you care to enlighten us now?” he insists.

    I gulp, rapping my fingers on my cup. “Well, mom, dad,” I say, looking between them both nervously. “I’m not exactly sure how to explain it. I didn’t leave on purpose or anything,” I see them tense and I know I have to clarify or they’ll be jumping to conclusions. “I was in danger, all of us were, at the time. So Kaitlyn here, she took us somewhere safe and … well. I guess it’d be best to show you.”

    I set my cup down on the coffee table and stand, moving a little ways from the chair. I chew the inside of my lip anxiously, holding my hand out and summoning the water in the form of a fish. I hope that makes it a little less off-putting. I watch as my parents’ eyes grow wide at the wiggling watery fish in my hand. the shock on their faces is evident, but their approval is not so clear.

    “I have water magic… I’ve been away, learning how to control it. You know, all those times when my room was getting wet and we couldn’t figure out why?” I look to my mom, hoping she’ll understand. She watches me and nods slowly. “Well that was me, I was attracting the water to me.”

    My mom looks speechless so I turn to my dad. “Please, say something.”

    He runs a hand through his short brown hair and sighs. “Caroline, sweety. Was that why you left? And you didn’t feel you could tell us?” he says. My jaw trembles with the nerves I’ve held back.

    “I was just so worried and busy that I didn’t even think to check my phone and then there were times when I didn’t have service and to be honest, technology and water do really go well together. Youknowhowwaterfrieselectricaldeviesand…”

    Kaede taps me on the arm to stop me from running away with my words. I feel tears in my eyes from all the pent-up emotions. “Oh mom, dad. I missed you so much! Please don’t be mad! Really, I’m ok and I’m going to keep studying, even if I have to do it at the place we’ve been staying at. It doesn’t mean I can’t visit you or anything like that at all!” I burst out emotionally, running time mom’s side and hugging her dramatically. When I manage to teary self away I turn to dad and do the same.

    My mom turns to my friends with a smile, wiping her eyes of the happy tears. “So, you’re friends, do they do Magic too?” She asks curiously.

    I return to my seat with a nod, grabbing my cup. “Yes, they do,” I reply.

    “And Kaede?” my father adds.

    “No. Kaede is just Kaede,” I smile, looking to him happily.

    He grins proudly. “The same old technological wizard, Kaede,” he smirks.  

    “And what do your friends do, with their magic,” my father asks.

    Kaitlyn looks at Andrei, then at me. I nod encouragingly. She holds out her hand, and a small candle-sized flame appears. She studies my parents closely, holding her breath.

    They silently gasp but quickly, their expression turns to one of awe. “So, fire, and water.  You must be good friends!” My mother teases. I smile with an affirming nod.

    “Actually we are!” Kat gives me a small smile then Kaede and I both look to Andrei. He stares back, face blank.

    “What? I can’t exactly show mine like you guys can,” he says with exasperation.

    “Sure you can. you never stopped showing off to me when we were in school,” I prod.

    “Wait, Andrei has had magic while you were in school?” my dad inquires.

    “Actually, “ Kaede holds up his finger as he interjects. “Andrei has had magic since he was seven years old. It’s quite an interesting kind of magic too. He can-” Kaede is suddenly cut off as Andrei rolls his eyes and is suddenly off the couch. another second later, he’s standing before my parents, both with a fresh pot of tea to pour into the cups he’s placed in both their hands.

    I watch as their faces shift, trying to comprehend what just happened. Andrei had moved incredibly fast.

    “So your magic is speed?” my dad confirms.

    “Not exactly,” Andrei replies. “It’s time. I speed up the kettle and made a new pot of tea for you, while slowing down your time and speeding up my own, making it look like I had done things at super speed,” Andrei attempts to explain. My dad nods, understandingly.  

    “And he can jump back in time,” Kaede bursts with excitement. everyone’s head snaps to him and Andrei and I both glare hard. I know Andrei wanted to keep that part mostly a secret but… I guess it’s too late now. Kaede shrinks on the couch, a little embarrassed.  “Sorry.”

    “Wow. That’s quite the ability,” my mom says with a  smile. She sips her tea and places a hand on my arm, rubbing it softly. For the next hour or so, my parents ask us questions about our time away and making sure we were safe. They were very receptive to the news and honestly, this surprised me a bit. I really did expect them to freak out a little more.

    Overall I think it was a good first experience for Kat. When I told my parents we had to go they were sad, but I assured them I would keep in contact more regularly and perhaps they could come for a visit, once we asked cliff about the rules and regulations regarding such a thing.

    With a heavy heart, I wave goodbye at the door, a bag of my own things in one hand and a box of treats from my mom in Kaede arms.

    On the street, I turn to the others with a smile. “That wasn’t so bad now, was it?” I ask with a smirk.

    Kat smiles. “No, it wasn’t. They’re very kind.”

    “Thanks!” I say with a smile.

    “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Kaede grins. I pinch his arm with my free hand.  “That was a compliment! What the heck!” he asks, pulling his arm away.

    “Well, I’m just glad. now, let’s visit Kaedes and then we can go to yours, Andrei!” I suggest, leading the way back to the Tim Hortons.  

    “Yippee…” I hear him grumble behind me. Ever the optimist.

By Kayla West

One thought on “The Guild – Chapter 104 – Caroline

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