I went over time a bit — I set my timer for 30 minutes, this took about 39. This is a second attempt at the magic story I started in October.
The house on Cherry Blossom Lane had always seemed like something out of a dream. A two-story white colonial with black shutters and rose bushes clustered under the windows.
Elizabeth Webber hadn’t grown up here, but she had dreamed about it. Had desperately wanted it once.
But she hadn’t been welcomed here any more than she had been at her own home across town.
Still, it was to this house that she had come today.
Elizabeth switched off the ignition and tossed her keys into her purse. Then stared down at her palm.
The mark had appeared the month before—she couldn’t be sure exactly when but she had looked down one morning as she made lunch and there it was.
The small pentagram was tucked in the soft skin between her index finger and thumb.
She had never met her mother, but she knew Gracie Devane-Webber had had the same mark.
Elizabeth stepped out of the car and walked up the path, slowly. Deliberately.
But the door was thrust open before Elizabeth had even reached the steps. A tall, rail thin woman with dark hair and dark eyes stood there.
Of course Anna Devane had known her niece was on the front step.
Anna always knew everything.
Her aunt rushed forward to embrace her, throwing her arms around Elizabeth in an easy, natural expression of affection that always felt alien to her.
“Anna,” Elizabeth said as she drew back. “I came—”
“Because of this.” She turned Elizabeth’s palm over and sighed heavily. “Oh, my love, I was hoping you had escaped this. I cannot understand how any of this is happening—”
“I’m not the only one?” she asked, her heart pounding. “But—but Nona said—”
“I know.” Anna put an arm around her shoulders. “Come in. I’ll explain everything.”
Elizabeth accepted the mug of coffee her aunt handed her and sipped it as much as she could.
She hated coffee, but her aunt had never really known that.
“I wondered if I should call you when Nadine found the mark last month,” Anna admitted as she took a seat across from Elizabeth in the large, open, sunny kitchen at the back of the house.
“But we weren’t sure where to find you,” Anna continued. “You, ah, haven’t kept in touch.”
“No, I haven’t.” Elizabeth tipped her head. “Only Nadine?”
“So far, which leads me to wonder…” Anna hesitated. “If perhaps I escaped the curse because I am the eldest. We had hoped Gracie and Maria…had been enough sacrifice…”
“But they passed it on to us.” Elizabeth chewed her lip. “I don’t understand. Nadine and I didn’t get the mark until we were thirty years old. And I already—”
She closed her eyes. “When Cameron was born, you…you said he was the first boy in five generations. And then…” She looked down at her phone, at the wallpaper with the two smiling faces, and then slid the phone towards her aunt.
“And then I had Jake.”
Anna took the phone, looked down at the little boy, then raised dark eyes to her niece. “You had another son.”
She swallowed. “You didn’t…tell us.”
Anna cleared her throat. “I know that you…had difficulties before you left. That…things ended badly—I know mistakes were made…Elizabeth, he looks quite like—”
“He does.” Elizabeth waited a long moment. “And that’s why I’m here. I don’t know how the curse is going—we don’t know anything. It’s never…my boys are much older than Nadine and I were when we lost our mothers. And older than Nona was when she lost her mother. They’re ten and seven, Anna.”
“You must be worried about your boys, Elizabeth. But…perhaps there’s…I don’t know—”
“If the curse didn’t…manifest itself until now, I might have as little as a few months or as long as three years.” Elizabeth took her phone back. “Or days. We can’t know. So I came to Port Charles so my boys would—I need for Jake to know his father.”
“I—” Anna paused. “You’re sure Jason is his father, then? You won’t need—”
Elizabeth could see the doubt radiating from her aunt, the worry that Elizabeth was lying to herself.
And she mentally flipped the switch.
She didn’t want to know how little her aunt trusted her. How little she believed her.
“If Jason wants tests, that’s his prerogative.” Elizabeth lifted her chin. “I know what Robin told him.”
“I—” Anna paused. Her eyes darkened. “It was a lie, then?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll deal with Jason on my own. What worries me is Cameron. His father…” Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t know where he is. I doubt if he’d even be interested.”
“Of course I’ll look after him, but we won’t have to worry about that. We’ll find a way to make all of this go away—”
“I didn’t—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I can’t be sure of that. And you’re…I’m not sure if this is the right place for Cameron. I just—I don’t have many options. It’s the only way to be sure he’ll still be able to see his brother.”
“If this is about Robin, she would never take what happened out on your son—” Then Anna closed her mouth.
Because they both knew that was a lie.
“However Jason feels about me, I know he’ll be good to Jake.” Elizabeth rose to her feet. “I know you say we’ll solve this. But I can’t—that’s what Nona told my mother. And she was dead within weeks.”
“We didn’t understand the magic as well.” Anna stood. “But I’ve spent so much time studying. I trained Nadine and Robin—I would have trained you if your father had allowed it—”
“I trained myself.” Eventually.
After it had nearly destroyed her life.
“I have to go see Jason. To tell him about Jake.”
“Elizabeth, I know so much more about your magic now.” Anna touched her arm. “You were the first empath in the family in generations—we didn’t know how hard it would be—I should have pushed your father to let me in—”
“Dad wouldn’t have—”
“You only got into all that trouble cause you couldn’t control—”
“Anna—” Elizabeth held up her hands. “I get it. You’re sorry. I’m sorry, too. And yes, of course, we need to find a way to break the curse. I’m sure Nadine wants answers, too. But right now, I need to make sure my boys are safe. That they’ll be cared for.”
Her boys were the only reason she got out of bed in the morning. The only thing that kept her from screaming.
From giving up.
“Of course. Elizabeth—”
“I just wanted you to know I was here. In town. And that…I had the mark. I’ll—I’ll be in touch.”