Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 18

Well, duh!

OK, things will look better now when our main characters figure out what was obvious all along … but how long until the next calamity strikes?

Wizards of Winds and Waves
Chapter 18

Back in the guest quarters, the mood was glum. Pierre shut himself in the bedroom, and nobody else said much of anything. I had dropped a bombshell that nobody was particularly happy with, but I knew that if the ceremony had gone ahead as planned with Pierre, the consequences would have been bad. I didn’t know what those consequences would be, but I knew disaster would come. I knocked on the bedroom door. “Pierre, let me talk to you.” I heard a moan from inside and let myself in. Pierre was face-down on the bed, the pillow damp with tears.

“How could you just rip my soul to shreds?” he asked.

“I had no choice. The forces wouldn’t let me do otherwise.” I approached the bed and sat down in the chair next to it. “Look at me. I’m crushed, too. I was so happy to have a father like you, so devoted, so full of life, so totally different from the man I grew up thinking was my father.” He turned his head toward me, and I reached out and stroked his cheek. “Now it looks like that other one, the one who hated me, really was my father. And even when the rope burned up, I was so glad that you could still choose to be my father. Having to stop the ceremony was about the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

“Harder than coming back from the dead?”

“Yes, harder than that. That, I did because I love you. This, I had to do in spite of how much I love you.” I reached for his face with both of my hands and looked into his eyes, which were swollen, with heavy, dark bags underneath. His face was so deeply creased, I wondered whether it might crack. His skin, for all its weathered appearance, was surprisingly soft and smooth beneath the dampness of tears.

Suddenly, he leaned forward and took my face in his hands, pulling my face to his. Before I knew it, our mouths were locked together, and he was kissing me fiercely. I was kissing back, in more complete joy than I’d felt in a long time. Pierre pulled me onto the bed, and we rolled together, arms around each other, stroking each other’s bodies, faces, hair, pressing against each other as hard as we could. That tingling feeling in my lower parts was back, stronger than that night Pierre nearly took me, stronger than ever.

“Oh,” I gasped. “So this was what the magic forces wanted.”

“Yes,” Pierre puffed. “And this time, we know it’s us, not the Others pushing us to destructive action.”

“Speaking of which,” I said, pulling back slightly, “I assume it still is potentially destructive.”

“Yes. We need a proper joining ceremony first, and before that, you have to pass the training. Without the joining ceremony, you’d be almost certain to lose all of your powers, or if you didn’t lose them all, you’d lose most. And without the training, the joining ceremony doesn’t work.”

“Oh, and one other thing I’m guessing. If you had become my surrogate father, sex would be incest, right?”

“You are right. It would have destroyed us both. A chosen parenthood is just as strong as a hereditary one, for that purpose.”

“So there really was a good reason for not having you as my father.”

“Well, at least I now have a whole lot to look forward to.” Pierre leaned his head forward and kissed me again.

After a while we went out to the sitting room, hand in hand. “I see you two have kissed and made up,” Runyon commented.

Jackson came to the door. “Since the ceremonies were, uh, delayed, you have missed dinner in the dining hall. However, Rhonda did manage to save some food for you.” He pushed a cart full of covered dishes into the room. “It’s not much, since we weren’t expecting company, but I hope it suits you.” We set the table and uncovered the dishes.

“Macaroni and cheese!” Pierre exclaimed, before tearing into the dish with gusto. “Hmm, tastes like somebody’s secret family recipe,” he added, winking at me. Sure enough, it was very much like my own. I wondered whether that meant some relative of mine was working in the kitchen.

The next day, I saw everyone to the parking garage. “I’ll be back soon,” Edna said. “I’ll be enrolling on the next big enrollment day – Jackson has my name on the list. I wonder if I’m the oldest person ever to come to school.”

Pierre gave me one final, deep kiss. “I won’t be away long, either. I want to do the joining as soon as possible.”

I returned to the office, where Rhonda came to greet me. “First, let me give you a short tour of the place, and then I can introduce you to your new roommate.”

“Before we can do that, I have some loose ends to tie up,” I said. “Is there a telephone around here?”

Rhonda showed me one in the outer office, and I called my instructors and the university office. “I’m sorry, Professor Jones, something’s come up … Yes, that was my apartment that burned down last night … Can you give me an incomplete and let me finish the course in the fall term?” Since I had been a model student with a high grade-point average and no troubles so far, all of my instructors were glad to give me incompletes for the spring term, provided I promised to return to finish things up in the fall. I gave the school registrar Pierre’s address and telephone number as my new residence.

“Now,” I said, hanging up the phone and turning to Rhonda, “let’s have that tour.”

Rhonda showed me around, taking me to the large ceremonial hall, the dining room, various classrooms, and the gym. Near the gym, she showed me a passage that went to an exit onto the beach near the cove, used when students went out for recreation, especially sailing. She explained that water wizardry was the specialty of this school, but that other schools had other specialties; for example, there was a school in Kentucky for horse wizards, and one in Michigan for automotive wizards. “I’ll have to remember that one next time my car breaks down,” I commented.

Finally, we entered the library. “Now it’s time to meet your new roommate,” Rhonda said, approaching a girl seated at a table with her back to me. The girl turned around, and I couldn’t help flinching. Her face was covered with hideous burn scars, a pink-streaked mess. “Sarah, meet Betsy.”


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