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Rated: E · Chapter · Fantasy · #2270208
A girl comes to learn the hidden truths of herself and her family.

Ronie stared out her bedroom window through the mirror on her vanity. She wasn’t aware of what was going on outside the window. No. She was more lost in her own thoughts. Her twelfth birthday was looming ever nearer. The “rents”, as she had recently started calling them, wouldn’t make much of a deal of it (assuming they were home for it.) She blinked and took a deep breath. To make matters worse, she came into her womanhood while at school. Was her mom there to help her sort it out? No. She was instead stuck with her eldest brother who the school called to take her home as both parents were too busy to be bothered. Still, Ronie was okay with that. She and her siblings all realized (well, mostly all) that they only had each other to rely upon. Slowly, she blinked, as if dazed. She reviewed the events of a few hours prior. She had been called to the front to work a math problem on the dry erase board when halfway through the problem, her friend Maddox tapped her shoulder and whispered in her ear about the red stain on the seat of her blue jeans. He, then, offered his button up shirt to tie around her waist. With a rising blush, she took it and wrapped the sleeves around her waist, knotting them below her navel. She shot an embarrassed and horrified look toward her teacher who smiled knowingly and gently ushered her to the principal’s office. The teacher left her there to make the call. The more rings there were on the other end, the more she felt the tears welling up inside her. After trying to no avail several times, she sat there and waited.
Sighing heavily, she slowly blinked. Her eyes itched with rawness from her palms being shoved into them. She pulled her knees up under her chin and wrapped her arms around her lower legs in a protective gesture. She rested her left cheek on her knees and focused on her breathing.
She barely registered the sound of knocking on her door. Shifting slightly to look in the direction of her door, her bleary eyes noticed her eldest brother and sister standing there; each wore a different expression. Her brother seemed concerned while her sister looked proud.
“You all right now, Wennie Pooh,” Conway asked her gently before taking a small step into the room. Ronie blinked slowly again, the sting stabbing her eyes.
“Of course, she’s not alright, Conwart,” replied Me-Me sardonically, “She became a woman today and mom is nowhere to be found. It’s a good thing she has her big sister to help her.”
“Calm down, Me-Me. I merely meant is she calm enough to think about and understand what is told to her,” he responded. He moved his gaze from one sister to the other, gave a small nod, cleared his throat softly, before he stepped toward the bedroom door once more. He closed the door quietly behind himself. “I’m sorry that mom wasn’t here for you, Rons. I want you to know that she wishes she could be here for you. Mom and dad do love us. They stay away from us to protect us.”
Armes crossed her arms over her chest and shifted her weight to her right leg so she could tap her foot. The expression on her face clearly conveyed the dubiousness she felt about Conway’s words.
Ronie watched with detachment as her eldest siblings seemed to be verbally quarrelling. Part of her very much believed what her brother was telling her, yet there was this part of her that felt like her sister was also right. She had so few memories of her parents, but they were mostly happy ones. Still, there were more memories without them. Conway and Armes were the only real parental types she had ever known. In fact, for most of her childhood, she and her youngest brother, Gavin, called them mom and dad. A few moments passed before she realized there was silence. Turning her attention toward her siblings once more, she noticed they were both staring at her.
“What,” she said in response. She had meant for her voice to have a higher, more irritated tone, but her word came out sounding flat and small. She released her legs and let them gently set on the floor as she let out a small sigh and went on, “I’ll live through this embarrassment. I just want to know why it had to happen while I was at school and not when I got home or even before school?”
Conway slowly lowered himself to his knees so that he was eye level with her. With his own hands on his knees, he smiled his reassuring smile (the one that always made her feel comforted) and spoke in his most gentle voice, “We can no more know the hour of our death, Wennie pooh. Such is life. There will be more moments where we are caught off guard. Some may be the worst moments of our lives and others may be the best, but it’s about whether we get back up after the worst or let it defeat us. Wennie pooh, you are strong. You will always rise. Even when you think you can’t.”
After he finished, he smiled that smile once more before rising to his feet. He reached out and placed his hand on her head the way he did when she was younger. Giving her a gentle pat, he turned and walked back to the bedroom door.
Armes loudly scoffed at her brother’s words. Part of her reaction was out of jealousy. He was never that way with her. Granted, they were only two years apart in age, but still. He treated their younger siblings with more care. She always felt like there was a side of him that he kept hidden from the rest of them as though he knew more about what was going on with their parents than the rest of them. As her temper flared, the electronics in Ronie’s room stuttered: anything plugged into an outlet sprang to life, then, fell silent once more. She huffed at the momentary interruption, then, turned to her sister, “Baby sister, you know our eldest brother isn’t always right, right?”
Ronie stared at Armes with a straight face and replied flatly, “He usually is, Me-Me. I think you are just somewhat jealous of the fact that Conway is more affectionate toward Gav and myself. I get it, though. It’s frustrating how accurate he can be. I wonder...did he know this would happen today and if so, why did he let me go to school?”


Aggravation was apparent on Armes’ face at her little sister’s astute observation. The electronics stuttered once more. She huffed again, “Whatever. I just don’t think you should put so much trust into what Mr. Goody-two-shoes tells you. If mom and dad cared so much about us, why would they abandon us like they did? He says it’s to protect us, but what are we being protected from and is it worth sacrificing a relationship with us? It all sounds fishy to me. Just who are our parents really?”
Ronie listened half-heartedly to her sister. She had wondered such things herself. Chances were they all had at one time or another. Sighing inwardly, she smiled and threw her arms around her sister, embracing her tightly. “Thanks for being there for me.”
Armes tensed up for a moment, then, wrapped her arms around her sister also. She relaxed and just enjoyed the moment. “Wanna help cook dinner,” she asked Ronie. Her sister loosened her embrace and smiled nodding her head. Both girls stood up. Armes turned toward the door first, followed by Ronie.
It wasn’t long after she and Armes had entered the kitchen and started preparing the dishes for dinner when Conway and Gavin walked into the room. In her peripherals, Ronie noticed that her older brother walked over to the cabinet and took out two glasses. He proceeded to make two drinks and set one before their other brother. Gavin seemed distracted before Conway set the glass down. He picked it up and took a drink. Afterward, he asked if they wanted more help making dinner. Both she and Armes answered, but their answers were different. Ronie agreed to the help, but Armes denied the offer. There was a moment when no one took any actions, then, Conway smiled and set his half-empty glass on the counter.
“What do you need me to do,” asked Conway.
There was a clatter as Armes thrust the knife she was using to cut veggies down and growled in anger, “I said we didn’t need any more help! What do I have to do to get you gremlins to understand that?”

Dinner was the usual affair except for Conway congratulating his little sister on reaching womanhood. Ronie sat in embarrassed silence as he tried to explain how it was nothing to be embarrassed about and that she needn’t worry about it ever being discussed again. To try to divert attention from her womanhood, Ronie told them about another strange event that had happened to her when she was walking to school.
“So you know that old homeless guy that hangs around the church and wears that ‘The End Is Neigh’ sign around his neck?”
The other’s nodded their acknowledgement, having seen or heard him many times over the years. “What about him,” asked Me-Me uninterestedly.
“Well, today when my friends and I walked past him, he grabbed my upper arm and declared ‘The abominations must die!’ It was so weird. I mean weirder than normal from him”
The color drained from Conway’s face, “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”
“What? Why does it even matter, Conny?”
“Because I didn’t see-,” he coughed lowering his voice. “It matters because he might be dangerous. What did your friends do? Don’t tell me they left you on your own? You know what, I’ll be taking you to school from now on and I’ll be making a police report about that bum.”
“Chill out, Conwart,” snorted Armes, as she paused midway with a fork before her mouth, “No harm, no foul. You’re precious Wennie pooh survived the encounter.”
Ronie starred her mouth gapping first at her oldest brother, then, at her sister.
“That’s not the point, Me-Me. If it were you or Gav, I would react the same way. So don’t make this about yourself,” retorted Conway.
Ronie didn’t think she had ever seen her brother so shaken in her life. A small part of her was secretly freaked out because of his reaction. Mostly, she was angry at being treated like a child. It wasn’t her fault Creepy McCreeperton decided to choose her as his unwilling target. Ronie found herself recalling the incident. She shuddered noticeably and hugged herself to try to stave off the cold chill. The truth was that it had shaken her. She shook her head to clear out those thoughts and caught Conway watching her with concern. When he noticed he looked away and asked Gavin something about his classes, avoiding looking at her the rest of dinner.
Sometime after dinner, Conway was sitting in a chair near the fireplace reading a book when the phone began to ring. Marking his place with a bookmark, he set his book down and stood to head for the phone. As he reached for the receiver, Armes appeared snatching it up before he could answer.
“Cadwallder residence,” she cooed into the mouthpiece, making a silly face at her brother as she waited for a response.
“Um…uh… Is Ronie able to talk,” came young female voice on the other end, “Oh! Um…this is Jenna.” She sputtered.
Armes laughed, “I figured that out before you finished your sentence, honey. I’ll let her know to pick up her phone.” She pulled the receiver away from her ear, holding it to her chest and took a deep breath before shouting, “Ronie, phone for you!”
She brought the receiver back up to her ear and listened for her sister’s voice. After a few seconds, there was a rough clatter indicating the receiver had been picked up.
“I got it, sis, thanks,” Ronie said into the mouthpiece.
“Sure. Just don’t forget your time limit. The ‘Old Timer’ here is miming for me to remind you,” Armes replied.
A small giggle came from the other end. Ronie couldn’t contain herself, “I remember.”
Seconds later there was a soft click of the receiver being replaced on the phone. “Hey,” Ronie said not wasting any time greeting the caller.
“Um…hey, Ronie. I was just wondering how you were doing. I mean, after what happened in class today and all.”
A small smile appeared on Ronie’s face. She could always count on Jenna to worry about her just as she always counts on Maddox to protect her and Meghan to remind her to dream and believe in the unseen. She was about to express the need for lack of concern when there were a couple of beeps in the background.
“Hold on, Jenna, I’m getting another call,” she told her friend before pulling the receiver away from her ear to hit the button to change lines. “Cadwallder residence, who may I ask is calling,” she said into the receiver.
“Are you able to speak,” came the husky voice she had come to recognize as Maddox’s.
“Yeah. Hold on, Jenna’s on the other line, I’ll connect them,” replied Ronie. She pulled the receiver away from her ear once more and hit button to merge the calls.
“Cool,” he responded, “I’ve got Meghan on the other line too. So, we’re all here.”
There was a momentary clamor on the lines as each exchanged greeting. When everyone went silent, they all laughed. Meghan’s laugh reminded Ronie of the wind blowing through a windchime; it was light and airy, like tinkling glass. Maddox’s laugh was strangely melodic, but Ronie probably liked it best of all her friends’ laughter. Jenna’s laugh reminded her of a gentle stream; quiet, but steady. When the laughter died down, Ronie spoke first, “To answer your question, Jenna, I am fine. Yeah, it was embarrassing, but everyone will forget about it soon. Right?”
“Absolutely, Rons,” cooed Meghan. Jenna agreed softly, seemingly distracted and Maddox was enthusiastic about his agreement.
“Were you able to get all your assignments,” asked Jenna.
“Yeah, but I don’t understand the math any more than when I was in class.”
Jenna tried her best to explain how to work out the problem to Ronie for the next ten minutes. By the end of it, Ronie had a clearer idea of how to solve the problem.
“Oh,” chimed Ronie suddenly, “Remember that homeless guy earlier today and what he said to me?” She paused for a moment, then, went on, “I told my siblings about it.”
“You did,” Maddox asked hesitantly, “How did they react?”
“Well, Gavin and Me-Me just thought it was creepy, but Conway freaked out! He said he was going to start taking me to school himself from now on and that he was going to file a police report against him.”
“Well, who knows what he would have done had we not been there,” stated Meghan, “I’m surprised no one has tried to get rid of him before.”
“You too, guys?! It seems that the only ones not seeing monsters everywhere are Gavin and Me-Me.”
“Have you decided what you want to do for your birthday next week,” Meghan asked attempting to change the subject.
Ronnie scratched her nose pausing to think, “I’m sure Conway has something planned.”
“RONIE,” groaned Meghan loudly into the phone. Ronie had to pull the receiver away from her ear it was so loud. When she moved it back, she replied meekly, “You know I don’t really care about celebrating my birthday. I mean, mom and dad would always come visit each of us for our birthday and make it something special just for us, but lately they come like once a year for only one of our birthdays. It’s bad enough I can barely get them on the phone now, but what’s the point in having a birthday when your own parents won’t show. It just reminds me that my mom and dad aren’t around. Though, the way Conway talks about it, he makes it seem like they will be here. I don’t know, though. I don’t want to hope for something that might not happen.”
“Well,” started Maddox, “we’ll be there for you no matter what happens.” The girls chimed up in agreement to his statement.

Ronie hung up the phone feeling lighter. She realized how lucky she was to have friends who were so loyal. She still had a smile on her face when she heard the knock on her door. Getting up and walking over to the door, she opened it to see Gavin. An eyebrow arched as she looked at him. She had expected it to be Conway. “What’s up, one-eye,” she asked him jokingly.
Gavin sneered at her for a moment, then, looked concerned, “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
Sensing the seriousness of his question, she stepped aside to let him into her room. “Come in. What’s wrong, Gav?”
He stepped into the room and took the door from her, closing it behind himself after looking out the door and down the hallway both ways. “He had another episode. Before dinner.”
Ronie’s concern dissipated. “Is that all? Conny has been having those for as long as we can remember. He also told us not to worry about them.”
“I haven’t forgotten, but you can’t deny that they have been happening more frequently as of late. Rons, I’m worried. He’s our legal guardian. If anything happened to him, what do you think would happen to us,” argued Gavin.
Ronie started to open her mouth to speak, but no words came. She didn’t want to think of what would happen. Finally, she sighed deeply, “Even so, there isn’t anything we can do about it. He told us not to worry about it. He’s right about that too. What good would worrying about something we have no control over do?”
Gavin shook his head, bouncing his brown curls about, “You’ve always been this way, Rons. Obeying blindly. I don’t know how you cannot worry about him. I can’t ignore his behavior and I can’t pretend that something isn’t going on when it is.”
“’Obeying blindly’!? There is very little Conny askes of us concerning himself, Gav! I do what I’m told because I don’t want to be a cause of worry for him. Do I worry about him? Yes, but again what can I do about it?! He has a medical condition.”
“You can speak up with me and try to get him to take better care of himself,” exclaimed Gavin, his voice sliding up a few octaves in his frustration, “Sometimes you have to rock the boat to do what is right or achieve anything good.”
With that said, he pulled open her door and stomped out. A stronger gust of wind than she expected rushed over her. Ronie blinked. The conversation caught her off guard, but the fact that she thought she felt something soft whap her across her face perturbed her. A shiver went down her spine and she rubbed her upper arms as though trying to warm herself and found that she was covered in goosebumps. As quickly as the cold spot had appeared, it disappeared. Thoroughly weirded out, Ronie closed the door. She stood there for a few minutes trying to make logical sense of what she had just experienced. Eventually, she wrote it off to the stress of her day and went back to doing her homework.
When she finally finished, she closed the textbook and put them away into her backpack. She didn’t know which distracted her more; the argument she had with Gavin or the memory of the feeling of whatever hit her face. She auto piloted as she gathered her clothes for her shower. She kept replaying the moment she felt it in her mind’s eye until she had reviewed it so many times, she determined that it had to be her imagination. Dismissing it for good this time, she continued her shower and instead thought about her up-coming birthday. She found herself hoping her parents would be there despite what she had told her friends earlier.
The next morning she woke up and went about her usual pre-school routine with the addition of her new bathroom task. After all was complete, she hopped down the stairs with her backpack hanging off one shoulder. When she reached the ground floor, she made her way to the kitchen where she dumped her bag on the floor near the breakfast bar. Conway was standing in front of the stove wearing his “Cooking is King” apron. He slid a pancake on top of two others that were already on a plate and placed it before Gavin. There was already a glass of OJ waiting for her. Gavin barely gave her a sideways glance. Ronie sat down without a word and took a long drink of the juice. Setting the half-empty glass down, Ronie looked to Conway, “Hey…I was wondering if you knew for sure that mom and dad will be here for my birthday”
Conway chuckled and turned to look at her after he flipped a pancake over, “Are you looking forward to it this year?”
“Not really. I just want to ask mom why she didn’t answer when I called. It’s not like I call from school all the time,” she lied.
Conway’s eyebrow arched, but he smirked knowingly and turned back to the stove. “By the way, Conny, have you seen the doctor recently about your seizures becoming more frequent,” Ronie added as she glanced over to Gavin who perked up. As she watched, Conway moved slowly while he searched for a suitable answer to give them. Finally, he turned to them with a plate in his hand and a smile on his face. “I’ll schedule one in the next couple of days, if that will ease your minds.” He looked from one to the other. Gavin nodded his approval as he looked to Ronie. He gave her a slight smile before stuffing the last piece of pancake into his mouth. “Sounds good to me,” she replied, “Just try to be more careful. We don’t know what we’d do if we lost you.”
The smile on his face seemed off, but he patted her head and continued making pancakes. Armes walked into the kitchen as Conway placed a plate with a short stack of pancakes on the bar next to Ronie. She scoffed, “I can’t eat heavy before cheer practice. You know that Conwart.”
He laughed and smirked, “That’s today, is it? My apologies. I should know your schedule by now, shouldn’t I?” As he spoke, he grabbed a grapefruit and sliced it in half. He placed one half on a saucer and placed it before Armes. He removed the lid from the sugar container and scooped a spoonful of it, sprinkling the grapefruit with it. The other half, he took and placed inside a Tupperware bowl and stored it in the fridge.
Ronie found herself lost in her thoughts about the shadow behind Gavin last night as she ate her breakfast. Conway tapped the bar in front of her to get her attention. “You’re going to be late if you don’t hurry” he paused giving her another weird glance, “are you sure you want to go to school today? I can call in for you if you don’t.”
“Are you crazy? If I stayed home, you’d have to also. I don’t want you missing school because of me. Besides, how bad could it be?” Ronie snatched up her book bag and prepared to leave. “Thanks for breakfast, Conny.” She gave him a quick hug and hurried out of the kitchen toward the front door. She thumped her bag down and grabbed a jacket from the coat rack next to the door. After donning the jacket, she slung her bag over her shoulder and stepped out into the morning air closing the door behind her. The chill nipped at her cheeks and nose causing her to pull her jacket tighter around herself.


Maddox’s cell phone chimed with the sound of a received notification. He picked up a strange looking red berry and popped it into his mouth before grabbing his phone and checking who had messaged him.
“Meet me in the usual place at the usual time. -C,” he muttered.
A soft sigh escaped his lips as he wondered what he wanted. He ate the remainder of his berries before his phone rang this time. He groaned thinking it was C at first, then, realized that it was Meghan. He answered it and soon found himself in a group call with the other two. He was kinda glad to hear Ronie’s voice. When he wasn’t near her, he felt wrong. During their conversation, she mentioned that she had told her siblings about the homeless man. Maddox felt his stomach clench. After hanging up with the girls, he paced up and down the halls of his home a bit. When that wasn’t passing the time fast enough, he grabbed a book off the bookshelf and tried to read it. Still, that didn’t work. He found himself focused on a picture of Ronie, tracing the shape of her face with his finger. He sat that way for the remainder of time before his meeting. Snatching up his brown cashmere coat, he slid his slender arms into it and fastened the buttons before tying the belt snuggly around his waist.
He used an ability he called Fae Step to get to the meeting spot that had been designated. The meeting spot was next to an old mausoleum. A few feet away stood a white marble angel statue. Its wings folded behind it and hands extended in welcome. Maddox paced impatiently. His eyes kept darting back to that statue as if it were going to suddenly spring to life and attack him. It was then that he was knocked down from behind. He scrambled to his feet attack at the ready to find a figure clad in darkness hovering in the sky before him. Wings outstretched and fists clenched, the figure glared down at Maddox. His heart thumped wildly in his chest.
“How the Hell did that man get so close to my sister, Maddox?! Are you trying to let her get found?” Conway’s voice was ominous and ethereal.
“No! It just happened before I realized it. He had never come near us before. To be honest, he rather just appeared like you.”
“Get it together or I’ll make someone else her guardian, you got it? Cause if she dies, in our next lives, I’ll make certain that you aren’t around her.”
With his last threat, Conway turned and flew off leaving Maddox there with the words echoing in his ears. Maddox growled in frustration and drug his claws across the face of the marble angel. “Stupid pigeons.” With a huff, he left the clearing and headed to the Cadwallder residence. There was faint pop as he appeared in a tree outside Ronie’s bedroom. He looked in through the window, but he didn’t see her. She was nearby, though, because he could sense her energy. He got comfortable on the branch and studied the bark as he waited for her to reappear. He had sat there for nearly thirty minutes before she came from a side room. She was dressed in her pastel blue pajamas and drying her hair with a towel.
Maddox sighed at the sight of her. His relief was physical. He leaned back against the tree trunk and closed his eyes. His magic cloaked him from her eyes, though, with the fact that she had started to have true sight he wondered if she would spot him. He decided that he would cross that bridge if he came to it. Otherwise, he relaxed and let sleep start to take him.
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