1.42: Magick Hands

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“You did what?”

Shane held his arm out for Lilith’s inspection. “It’s an ouroboros,” he offered.

“I can see what is! But what made you want to get a tattoo?” she asked, still surprised.

“Don’t you like it?”

“Well, it’s…different. He did a good job, at least. I just don’t get why you wanted a tattoo to begin with.”

Shane raised a shoulder sheepishly. “It came up in conversation when I asked Joel about his tattoos and what they meant. He explained how each one had some personal significance to him, and I thought it would be neat to have one that characterized our island heritage–the legends, you know? Something to symbolize our roots. And he has tools for making tattoos… you’re not mad at me are you, Lil?” He couldn’t tell if she was upset or just genuinely surprised.

Lilith examined the large tattoo on his forearm a few moments more. “No silly man, I’m not mad at you. I guess if this is your version of a mid-life crisis, I should count myself lucky!”

 

 

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A couple of years had now passed, and the Meadowstone household was busier than it had ever been. Lilith was able to mostly care for the quads herself during the days now, so Shane spent time in his orchard again, and on his new project of enlarging the existing structure of the house. He planned to add a second level, with Carrick’s and Jace’s help.

“We live in a mansion already, compared to the rest of the island, you know,” Lilith pointed out. Not that she didn’t love her house, but it was already so far removed from the camp she’d grown up in and the rest of the camps in the village that it would have never occurred to her to make it bigger.

“That’s not necessarily true. The Riverhavens have a fairly solid structure now.”

“Thanks to your help and influence,” she laughed.

 

 

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The Riverhaven camp consisted of an open-faced shelter, but it too was still far and above the living accommodations found elsewhere in the village.

 

 

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Ayala frequently watched the quads while Lilith prepared dinner for the family–which was a large enough task in and of itself, for a family as large as theirs. After dinner, they relaxed around the fire, doing homework, or playing guitar. Or playing with the quads. Or reading to them, as one or another of them was always begging for. Personally, Ayala thought she’d be perfectly happy to never read Frank I’m Not ever again.

 

 

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Having little spare time on her hands anymore, Lilith gave her guitar, which had belonged to Shane’s mother, to Carrick. Shane and Carrick picked many a tune from the old strings together, and Ayala loved to dance to the music–she’d loved dancing ever since she’d taken the after school dance class when she was a girl.

 

 

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Ayala was beginning to be sorry she’d come. Rhea had said they should go hang out ‘with everyone’ tonight up at the faerie ring. Having nothing better to do, she’d agreed, but now she was feeling rather displaced. Apparently, Rhea’s idea of hanging out was ignoring Ayala and draping herself all over Carrick.

Every time she looked, Rhea was sitting closer to Carrick, and now his fingers kept fiddling with the ends of her hair. This is SO not cool.

So now she plastered a small smile on her face to make it look like she was just chilling, keeping her sullenness to herself. Gazing into the fire, she missed Natalia and Nicola. Wonder if Nicola found a magick man with magick hands yet. Her eyes swept back over the people around her. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves. When her gaze settled on Dustin, she quickly looked away. His eyes had flicked to hers exactly when she looked at him. Returning her gaze to the fire, she idly listened to the heated conversation between Jake Riverhaven and Nick Hale over the island’s best fishing spots.

That was a conversation that her brother would ordinarily be right in the middle of, but he and Rhea seemed to be in their own little world. She tried to ignore the giggles behind her. She really had no desire to talk to Bronwyn, either. Not that Bronwyn paid her any attention anyway. She was quite wrapped around Nick, her newest flavor of the month.

 

 

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Dustin’s movement drew her eye again when he stood up from the bench, stretching. And again she shifted her gaze quickly when when his eyes moved to her. But then he crouched before the fire, directly in her line of sight. She sighed. Ever since he’d confronted her about her dislike of him, she’d realized how childish it was of her. Ok, so she didn’t dislike him. Now she just felt awkward around him.

He stretched out his fingers, as if to warm them. She gasped when he put his fingers right into the flames. Hearing her little sound, Dustin turned his head sideways, casting a little smile at her before looking back to the fire. From the ashes and into the flames, flowers sprang up toward his fingers as she watched in wonder. No one else seemed to notice. Or maybe they were just used to this? Some of the Riverhaven brood had inherited their father’s abilities with magick, though she’d never seen it displayed like this.

He withdrew his fingers at last, and the flowers disappeared, a little gout of fire taking their place. Her mouth snapped shut when he looked sideways at her again; she’d been gaping.

“Well guys,” he said, addressing everyone, “I’m headed back to camp.” Goodnights were called as he walked into the dark, away from the flames he’d just touched.

 

 

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“Daddy guess what?” Jace said around a mouthful of his dinner.

“What son?” Lilith had gone in to begin nursing the quads before tucking them in their cradles. Shane, Jace, Carrick, and Ayala remained at the fire.

“I have a girlfriend!” said Jace, rather proud of himself.

“Way to go, buddy! Who is the lucky lady?” This from Carrick.

“Natasha!”

“That’s great son,” Shane smiled. “I hope you’re treating her right.”

“Yes sir I am.”

“Apparently Carrick’s got a new girlfriend, too,” Ayala said, overly casually. Carrick shot her a look, plainly telling her to shut up.

“Who are you dating, Cary?” Shane asked, interested.

“Oh it’s Rhea Swift, Daddy,” Ayala said sweetly, before Carrick could open his mouth. Shane choked on his food.

Carrick glared at her. “Ayala!”

 

 

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Throwing the rest of his food into the fire, Carrick grabbed Ayala’s arm and hauled her around the corner of the house. “What was that about?”

“What? Why didn’t you want Dad to know  you’re dating Rhea?”

He dragged a hand through his hair. “You know our parents have some history or something with Rhea’s parents. I didn’t see a need to bring it up until I know how serious it is.”

“If you’re not serious about her, why are you even with her? I hate that you keep taking my friends!”

His jaw dropped. “Taking your friends?”

“Rhea’s the only friend I’ve had since Natalia and Nicola left. And I know you banged Natalia before she left. And now Rhea too!”

“Look, don’t call it “banging”. And it was her idea. She had to have told you that too, if she told you we were …together, the night before she left. I didn’t realize it bothered you, and I can’t help that. And I can’t help that it bothers you I’m dating Rhea, either. I didn’t ‘take’ her from you. We all hang out together, what’s the big deal?”

Ayala wrinkled her nose. “Yeah and it’s kinda gross watching her put the moves on you.”

 

 

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“And it’ll be just as gross having to see some guy paw on you when you get a boyfriend,” he pointed out. “But we’re going to be adults in the not too distant future. I wouldn’t get in the way if you found someone you wanted to be with. Unless he mistreats you, then me and Dad would just have to kick his ass.”

She smiled a little finally, ruefully. “I’m sorry. I guess you’re right. I just don’t feel like I have anyone anymore.”

His look softened. “Jake likes you, you know.”

“Jake?!”

“What’s wrong with Jake?”

“He’s like, your best friend.”

“So?”

“So I never thought of him like that.”

Carrick had always looked up to Jake since he was a kid. “He’s a good guy. He’s about to graduate and start building his own camp, so he’s not some dumb schmuck kid either. Anyway, I’m sorry me dating Rhea bothers you. Just try to chill. We’re all still friends.”

 

 

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Another Friday night brought another uncomfortable social gathering for Ayala. Rhea took no pains to waste any conversation on Ayala, virtually ignoring her in favor of latching herself onto Carrick any opportunity she got. Not only was it a little sickening, but Ayala couldn’t help but be stung by it.

Ayala had nothing in common with Nick Hale at all, and frankly disliked Bronwyn whenever she came around. Being older than the rest, Dustin wasn’t always around, and she felt awkward around him anyway. This often left her in Jake’s company. Not that she disliked him, but Ayala also didn’t like feeling like she was being thrown to Jake just because everyone else her age was a couple already. She felt displaced.

 

 

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The next day, when Carrick disappeared from camp, Ayala knew better than to go looking to hang out with Rhea, and frankly didn’t want to anyway. Ayala took her grumpy self off to dance in the woods above the ocean. She sank into a graceful plié and then moved into an échappé. Who needs friends like that anyway? She spun into a tight pirouette. Carrick did me a favor after all. That brought her to a stop. Maybe Rhea had only used her to get closer to Carrick. She wondered what Carrick would think of that. Hmph. He’s not thinking outside his pants much, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

She resumed her dancing, thoughtfully. I wish Natalia had stayed and dated Carrick instead. Nat would’ve never dumped me just because she started dating someone.

 

 

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Nope, definitely not a little girl anymore.

“You’re a very good dancer. Why are you out here dancing all alone?” Dustin’s voice broke into her reverie. She nearly stumbled from a demi-pointe. “Oh don’t stop,” he protested. There was an admiring light in his eyes. Or maybe it was just the sun reflecting off his eyes. The angle of sunlight across his face made the blue of his eyes distinctly noticeable, even from this distance.

 

 

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Why should I feel so embarrassed? I
am a good dancer. She squared her shoulders. “No reason,” she replied. “Carrick and Rhea are off doing whatever it is they do.” She wrinkled her nose. “So I came out here to dance, and get out of camp for awhile.” Which was true. She’d helped Mother with her little sisters some that morning, but, feeling fretful, she’d felt the need to get away.

He’d shrugged off the pack he’d been carrying and set it on the ground next to him after taking a few steps into the clearing. “Can’t blame you for that. It’s a gorgeous day.”

“Where were you off to?” she asked.

He nudged the pack with one foot. “I wanted to gather some herbs, and then probably do some fishing. Doing the same as you, basically; I just wanted to get out of camp and feel the sun on my back for awhile.” He bent to pluck some leaves from a plant with his fingers.

Looking at his hands, she was reminded of the flowers in the fire. “Hey,” she began, as he straightened up again. “How did you do that, that night, with the flowers in the fire?”

 

 

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“Magick.” He grinned, spreading his hands out before him. They were ordinary hands. Ordinary, but nice, she caught herself thinking, if there’s such a thing as nice hands.  “I just…you looked bored, I guess I just did it to cheer you up.”

“Oh.”

He picked up his pack again, gesturing toward the beach from their vantage point. “I was on my way to the lagoon down there. Want to walk with me?”

After a moment’s hesitation, she smiled. “Sure, why not?”

 

136720280kuytku7yf459721Story/Author notes: Some parts of this chapter seemed kinda draggy to me, sorry if it came across that way to you too. Some things, like Shane’s tattoo, will figure into future generations, so they needed to be included. Also, I wanted to show that the house is being added onto again, and that the toddler’s are progressing for the Perfect Children roll. Legacy stuffz, y’know. Most of the plot is going to revolve around the teens for now, as you hopefully can see =)

 

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I don’t really have a “favorite” for the heiress yet…probably won’t decide that for certain-certain until they age into teens, to see what they really look like.

 

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Huge thanks to Sunny for Shane’s ouroboric dragon tattoo! You’ll be seeing more of her work at her blog soon, so be sure to check it out!

Got some funny bloopers, I’ll put those up on the bloopers and outtakes page when I get up tomorrow. See ya next time!