“The LaCharta, created by Laura Lamarca, consists of a minimum of 3 stanzas with no maximum length stipulation. Each stanza contains 6 lines. The syllable count is 8 per line in iambic tetrameter and the rhyme scheme is aaaabb ccccdd eeeeff and so on. “La” is Laura Lamarca’s signature and “Charta” in Latin, simply means “poem”.”
Welcome to the monthly Fairy Tale writing prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. This month’s prompt is to write a fairytale about the following picture:
Daphne was tired of being stuck as a laurel tree. Thousands of years ago, she had begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from Apollo’s lust; he turned her into a special tree.
Long ago she had sworn to be a virgin forever. She had begged her father to allow her to remain a free nymph. To not have to marry and birth him grandchildren. He was a kind god and had allowed his beloved daughter to remain pure.
Daphne had always loved the woods and found serenity within the forrest. But after many years being stuck in it, the woods had become a cage to her. The laurel tree she was locked in was a prison and Daphne quietly loathed Eros who had sent Apollo after her in love, when Apollo had mocked Eros.
Eros had hit Apollo with an arrow of gold so he fell in love with Daphne. Like wise, Eros hit Daphne with an arrow of lead, so she would despise Apollo and be repelled by him. Nevertheless, Apollo visited Daphne to this day, swearing his love towards her millanias later. Her hate for Apollo had mellowed over time, although, she wouldn’t admit this to Apollo yet.
He came often to admire her beauty even as a tree. He used some of her thinner branches and leaves to weave himself a crown of laurels, to remind himself of his love for Daphne; that this love still grew within him daily. He would replace a worn out and dried crown with a fresh one each time he visited.
Though Apollo had many duties, he seemed to be appearing more often to see Daphne this last half-millennia. She drew her womanly figure out of her laurel tree to see him whenever he came. She had become more excited to see him over the last few hundred-years. Daphne looked forward to talking with him each visit.
A friendship had developed and the sworn virgin Daphne was feeling things she had never felt before. Had Eros changed his mind and hit her with a golden arrow after all this time? Or had it been so long, his arrow of led had faded and no longer effected her. If so why did Apollo’s arrow of gold not fade? Why did he still love her?
She had wondered this out loud today and Apollo laughed at her thoughts. His attractive face was timeless and beautiful.
“It’s love Daph. It doesn’t fade if it’s real. If it’s true love it’s always there. At times I’ve been frustrated with you, about our situation and you being stuck in a laurel tree. It frustrates me you wanting to remain chaste. But even when I find I’m angry at you, the next time I see you we talk and my anger disappears. It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a tree, I love you anyways.”
Daphne smiled through the tree.”Look at you declaring your love to me through thousands of years unchanging. Though you yourself haven’t been chaste at all. It surprises me with all you have to do, that you come and see me without fail, these days often.”
“Well, I think you’re returning my feelings finally; you’ve mellowed and I see you blush when I visit.”
“Trees don’t blush Apollo.”
“Ah Daphne, you do indeed blush. I always take good care of you, so I know you well. I’ve played you many songs on my lute and I ensure the sunlight hits you just right. I keep the plague and disease from you, though it effect the humans and other parts of nature. I heal you if such disease affects you. But what I can’t do is change your form and release you from the laurel tree, if you still detest me.” Apollo sad this last line sadly.
“You’ve tried?” Daphne asked. “I wouldn’t have wanted you to, even a few hundred-years-ago. But I grow weary of this form and it’s obstacles. I grow weary of a forrest I cannot move around and maintain. I wish to be a nymph again.”
“Yes, dearest I know. I want that too.”
“Would you force me?” Daphne asked Apollo. “Take me into your bed right away, no gentleness? Would you impregnate me right away?”
Apollo shook his head. “Daph, after all these millenias you know me better than that. I’m not the lust-filled boy-god who would’ve had you without a second thought. I’ve spent thousands of years trying to get you to like me, to see beyond my faults, such as my lust. It’s not merely lust I feel for you. I love you, the real you. The nymph I’ve gotten to know so well. That’s why I have your crown upon my head. Why I play you beautiful music and take special care of you. I’d take specialcare with you in my bed as well,” Apollo added with a sly grin.
“I know, but I’m afraid, Apollo. I’ve been a laurel tree so long. And before that I wanted to be on my own, no man or god to tie me down. You’ve grown on me, inch by inch, each passing year. The lead arrow in me is gone. I’m not immune to you anymore. I feel strongly for you, something I’ve never felt before. I think it’s love, is it? You would know you’re the god of truth?”
Apollo trailed his hand down Daphne’s body in the tree.”You feel it, I know. Yes, I do see the truth, in your eyes, in your relaxed form. At last you love me too. You never even came out of the tree in your female form for many years. Perhaps now I can you heal you?”
“Yes, I think so. Our love is powerful beyond the mistakes of the past.” Apollo held his hand to Daphne’s cheek and she felt a warmth surge throughout her entire body, tree and nymph.
“Apollo, I feel your powers. My tree limbs, my leaves, they’re melting away.”
He said nothing, to busy concentrating on healing Daphne. She closed her eyes enjoying his hand on her cheek and the warmth suffusing her body. Daphne fell into a deep sleep and when she awoke again she was a nymph.
She looked at her hands, her face in the river. Her beauty had returned and her father would be proud, for he would have grandchildren soon. She looked around her for Apollo and found the god fast asleep. Healing her into her natural form had drained him greatly of his powers. She snuggled against him laying down beneath his arm, and they both slept.
When they awoke, three-hundred-years had passed. Apollo had had to regenerate his powers so he sealed himself and Daphne together, hidden from human and god eyes alike, so he could sleep and be with Daphne in the future.
He felt her shaking him awake. “Apollo, get up. You need to wake up, we’ve slept many centuries. You’re needed to do use your skills and gifts.”
Apollo lazily opened his eyes and grasped Daphne pulling her down for a deep kiss. It was the first between them and one of only many. They were a devoted couple from then on in, for as long as gods and humans existed.
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.
“John” Nina said. They were holding hands while he drove the Mercedes.
Nina bit her lip, “I thought we were going to The Hourglass for dinner with Rianne and your brothers. We’re not driving anywhere near the harbour. Otherwise, we would have been at the restaurant already. Where are we going?” John looked and Nina and she couldn’t tell what he was thinking about but he was looking at her thoughtfully.
“I like your hair like that,” John complimented Nina. “Oh, um, thanks hon. But you haven’t told me where we’re headed. We’re out in suburbs somewhere, I don’t recall the neighbourhoods we’ve been driving through.” John couldn’t help but smile.
“Well, you wanted to go out for dinner and to look for a way to stop Talise from hurting us. I thought the best place we could go for dinner was actually to my parents house.”
“Your parents?!” Nina squeaked. “Already?” John chuckled.
“Mom and Dad are great Nina and they’re interested in meeting both you and Rianne. It’s been over three months for us so I don’t think it’s too soon for you to meet them considering how I feel about you. Plus, you wanted to have us altogether to attempt to find someway to defeat Tia. My Dad is a Professor in English. He specializes in fairytales and folklore at Adare University. I thought with his background, he would be an incredible help to provide us with some information that could help us defeat Tia.”
“Oh I see,” Nina said. ” I still wish you’d told me before now thoug. I don’t appreciate you springing something like this on me. However, it makes sense that your Dad probably has a bunch of books on fairytales and knows the best places to look first for information on sea witches. Perhaps, there are stories about them from back in Adare’s history.”
“Exactly,” said John, “I also have a worrisome feeling that nothing terrible has happened around me in over three months Nina. The curse isn’t broken, it’s merely on hold. I think if something bad were to happen, it would be less likely to happen at my parents. I have always found their home to be a bit of a safety zone where the curse is concerned.” Nina nodded at John.
“Sounds fair, John. I still wish you’d told me we were going to your parents and not to a club after dinner. I would have worn something, um more appropriate.” John grinned.
“Your outfit is gorgeous, Nina. You always look good, even in my sweat pants with no makeup.” Nina blushed at the compliment.
“If you say so,” she said rubbing John’s stubbly cheek with the back of her hand. Nina looked dubiously down at her outfit. She had chosen a low cut black peplum top with a sweetheart neckline and tight dark jean skirt with a little flounce. Her legs were smooth and bare and accented by a pair of periwinkle blue patented leather four -inch heels. It was smart thinking on her part, bringing a black cardigan to wear over the peplum top, but the cardigan regretfully, didn’t button up and Nina felt exposed.
John parked his Mercedes in front of a large house with burgundy siding and a white wrap around porch. It had been raining again, as it did in Winter and pretty much any season in Adare. The ground was wet and Nina’s high heels aerated the lawn as she walked, sinking into the grass at many points. A paved driveway led up to the entrance of John’s parent’s stunning house. Unlike John’s modern house on the beach, his parent’s house was elegant and old surrounded by thick foliage around the yard. Their home was a throwback to Adare’s history and Victorian architecture.
John didn’t bother knocking on the front door, he turned the doorknob and walked inside. A sizable entrance area held a bench, closet, and coat hooks, in a warm interior.
“I grew up here,” John said smiling wistfully at Nina. “It feels like home, as soon as I walk in the front door.”
“I think it would be a lovely house to grow up in –judging from the outside. I enjoy the Victorian architecture. I can see your Mom and Dad put a great deal of work into preserving this house. What are your parent’s names again, John. My mind is a bit fuzzy?”Nina said. She was admiring the walls half covered by wooden panelling and the dark wood floors, refinished until they gleamed. The walls were painted in beiges and sand coloures. The furniture was antique but not the veneered furniture that was available to much of the population of the latter 1800’s because it was made in factories. Nina observed the Eric’s wood furniture was truly wood, handmade, and beautifully restored.
Nina felt John watching her as she observed the entrance and hallway in the house he grew up in. John stepped close to Nina brushing her hand, reminding her of the strong connection they had together. John observed Nina’s wide-eyed stare as she looked at the beautiful details of the historic home and than back into John’s bright eyes.
John cleared his throat,”my Mom’s name is Edith and my Dad’s name is Jack. I think I told you about them before when I talked about growing up in Adare with Jasper and Jordan. Mom’s a nurse these days.”Nina nodded and took John’s hand, nervous to meet the family John spoke of fondly.
“John is that you?” A woman with a dark brunette bob and blond highlights stuck her head into the entrance. Nina could see the resemblance she had to John and all his brothers. John had his mother’s bright sapphire eyes and easy smile.
“Yeah Mom it’s John and I brought my girlfriend, Nina with me. I kind of sprung it on her actually.” Edith walked into the entryway and shook her head at John.
“Jonathan, you told her in your fancy sports car on the way over didn’t you? You didn’t mention the dinner to her a few days ago like I told you to, did you?” John sighed, appearing uncomfortable under his Mom’s disapproving gaze.
“No Mom, I forgot.But Nina is happy to come over here and meet you guys. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to have everyone together. Also, I wanted to talk to Dad about Tia and sea witches. Nina thought it was a good idea too.” John commented.
Nina looked at Edith who was giving her a once over. Again, Nina felt under-dressed in her bar outfit. Nina walked forward in her blue heels, stumbled over some other shoes on the floor and eventually held her hand out to Edith on steady feet. Edith smiled at Nina warmly and Nina instantly felt more comfortable.
“Nina,” Edith said, “I’m so happy to meet you. I have heard all about you from John and his brothers. They’re huge fans of you, you know. You have stuck around a long time. Longer than any other girl John has been with, since the unfortunate event with Tia. John tells me he has been completely honest with you about Tia. I have to hand it to you, you are a loyal girl and handling the situation well. Especially considering you’ve been recovering from a concussion. Are you feeling okay now, dear?”
Nina held her hands together and smiled her best ‘like me’ smile at Edith, ” I have been doing great Mrs. Eric…”
“Call me Edith, everyone does.”
“Oh sorry,” Nina said. “I wanted to tell what a wonderful job your son has done taking care of me when I was injured. It’s been great getting to know him better and I hope we can come up with someway to break John’s curse and defeat Tia.”
“Jordan said Tia is out for blood,” Edith remarked. “She wants John’s heart or yours, Nina.” Edith waved a wooden spoon from the kitchen in aggravation, “that cold-hearted sea Bitch, she’s caused my son so much misery Nina. I hope you can help him break his curse. You’re the best chance he has ever had. He loves you.” John went still when his Mom said John loved Nina. Nina was absolutely positive John was in love with her and she felt the same way about him. But right now wasn’t the time for either of them to profess their love.
Edith hugged Nina hard before hugging John and patting his butt, as if John were a boy. John made a face at his Mom and she smiled:
“Go find your brothers and father, John. They are in the library. Send Rianne back to have some wine with Nina and I. I could use some help setting the table and finishing up dinner in the kitchen.”
John went off to his Dad’s library, promising to give Nina a tour of his parent’s home later. Nina started chopping the ends off of baby carrots and cracking off the ends of the asparagus for a vegetable dish, made with butter and thyme.
Rianne hugged Nina when she came down to the kitchen. It had been a week or so since she’d seen Rianne.
“Nina you look so good! It’s been such a long time since we’ve had a chance to talk. You know, only you and I. This whole situation is out of this world. Are you okay? Has Tia tried anything again or has anyone else been affected by John’s curse?”
“Things have been so great Rianne. I see John all the time and life has been normal. The curse hasn’t been affecting John oddly enough. He always feels when something horrible is about to happen, but he hasn’t felt anything in over three months. We haven’t heard anything from Tai, thank God.”
Nina gabbed to Rianne who was working on whipping the mash potatoes, using her left hand as her right arm still ached. Edith came back from the wine cellar in the basement with a couple of bottles of red wine and began to pour them each a glass of Zinfandel.
Edith made a toast: to what’s good and right in this world. May the good times always overcome the darkness and the people who thrive in it.” The ladies clinked their wine glasses and Nina set the table, as Edith made finishing touches on her dinner talking to Nina and Rianne and causing them to laugh outloud.
When it came time to eat, Edith called her sons and her husband to the dining room. Carissa, Jordan’s girlfriend from the fundraiser at Mergers, was present but Edith hadn’t called her to have wine and them with supper. Nina had the distinct feeling Edith disliked Carissa. Jasper received an elbow to the ribs from Rianne, however, when he asked Jordan:
” Oh so you’re still with Carissa? It’s been a long time. This guy usually last a month tops, Carissa.” Carissa glared at Jasper and Jordan shrugged. Carissa stomped on Jordan’s foot and he smiled and pulled her close to him by her small waist.
“Carissa’s a good friend,” Jordan said. Carissa looked like she might kill Jordan until Edith told everyone to calm down. Edith showed everyone where to sit and they all sat down and said grace holding hands.
Delicious food was passed around such as whipped mashed potatoes and turkey roast. They’re were a variety of cooked vegetables and a salad, plus, –perogies, cabbage rolls, and nalesniki. John’s Mom was half-Ukrainian, Nina learned. Everyone was silent while they enjoyed Edith’s delicious feast. As the woman began to finish their meals, having eaten less food than the men, Carissa who was not to be put down by Edith or Jasper, spoke:
“So, Nina and John. Jordan has filled me in on your problem with Talise. I saw her talking to Nina the night of the fundraiser. Do you really believe she’s a sea witch and that she cursed you John? Is she literally out to get Nina’s heart?”John looked stunned that Carissa knew so much and he glared at Jordan who shrugged.
“I’ve known Carissa as long as you’ve known Nina and Jasper has known Rianne, why shouldn’t she know?”
“Because” John said, ” you shouldn’t get her involved in this. It’s another person Tia could potentially hurt or I could if the curse returns.” Jordan swore under his breathe and John looked like he was going to punch him. Nina held John back.
“It’s fine guys. Maybe, Carissa will be a big help. The more support we have the better and if Carissa is involved with Jordan, she should know what’s going on because it’s pretty out there.” Nina said calmly and John shot her an annoyed look.
” I guess….” John said and Jordan confirmed Carissa’s questions and filled her in about Talise. Carissa laughed at first. She couldn’t quite believe what Jordan told her until she saw the scar beneath Nina’s hair still red and angry. Rianne showed Carissa her broken arm, scarred where the bone had broken through her skin. Carissa still wasn’t convinced by everything they all told her, but she agreed to keep what was said a secret to protect everyone involved.
“So Dad,” John said, “Part of the reason we organized dinner at home tonight was to get your opinion. Tia is a genuine sea witch and you know a lot about the folklore around Adare and about fairytales in general. We thought you might have some insight into our problem.”
Jack scratched his head and removed his glasses from his face. He was a handsome man for his age, with greying dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. Nina could see where John got some of his looks but thought he looked more like his Mom. Jasper resembled his father more and Jordan shared features from both his parents.
Jack looked at John and then curiously at Nina. “May I ask you young lady, why you have chosen to stay with my son. To date him and be with him after such an injury he tells me Tia “the sea witch,” caused. You could have been killed. Not to mention, the curse and John’s strange nightmare? I think these are all indicative signs you should stay away from him.”
“Oh….” Nina mumbled hurt, ” Why would I leave him. I love him. I’m in love with him.” Nina reached over and squeezed John’s hand. John appeared slightly stunned at Nina’s admission.
“I’m going to break this curse for John. I don’t know if you believe in love at first sight. But when I met John at the Martini bar under my condo building, I felt something I never felt before. Even though that first night, was scary and dangerous, it was worth it to be with John and meet him.” Edith smiled at Nina, the smile of a woman happy and pleased with her son’s choice in love. She took Nina’s hand (the one that wasn’t holding John’s hand) and squeezed it supportively.
” You’re too good to believe, Nina, that’s what Robert is saying,” Edith chimed in. “Curses are notoriously difficult to break, especially, by a sea witch who is harnessing black magic. Tia hates you dear, you’re in her way. You need to be strong in your love and in yourself, if you want to help John defeat Tia.” Jack nodded at his wife and a subtle smile passed his lips as if he was thankful for Edith’s insight.
“Indeed, Nina you are one part of the puzzle. But John needs to sacrifice himself for you. That’s what Tia said when she cursed him. That part of the curse worries our family. Can you two be together and John still remain alive? Not to mention, the dream John keeps having of Talise and her dagger. It has me extremely worried. Tia wants to destroy you and claim John. She’ll be after you at all costs.”