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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Wish - Chapter 11

XI

That's me sausage ya daft maggot!” Talya roared in a pretty good imitation of Irish brogue.
One of Liam's cousins – who was about 15 – stuck his tongue out at her before stuffing the sausage in his mouth and chewing it. Through his full mouth, he informed her: “Then ya should've ate it!”
Jumping to her feet, Talya grabbed onto the boy's shirt collar and started shaking him. “It's me birt'day, I'll have ya know!”
That girl fits in like she's family,” one of Liam's older sisters remarked with a grin.
Wait!” Liam shouted out so that he could be heard over the general din his family always made. “It's your birthday?!”
Yeah, what's it to ya?!” Talya questioned, still affecting their accent as best she could.
It's just that my birthday is in two days!” Liam blurted out.
We always have a big dinner on someone's birthday,” a cousin reminded Talya. In the nearly two months that the girls had been staying in Ireland, they'd been present for several birthdays. The family was so large that there was at least two birthdays to celebrate every month.
And dancing!” Several girls added excitedly.
The family all loved music and played an astonishing variety of instruments. Whenever the mood struck – and whenever there was something to celebrate – they'd pull out their equipment and start playing. Anyone who wasn't playing at the moment danced. The interesting thing was that since everyone could play something, they all took turns so that everyone could dance too.
Talya dropped the accent so she could not have to think about how she was talking. “I wasn't sure that we'd still be here, but I'm glad we are! My mom is in Japan right now anyway, so it's just more fun to celebrate Irish style! But you know what I really want to do right now?”
Everyone fell silent so they could hear her better.
What?” Liam's oldest sister asked curiously.
I want to go shopping!” Talya informed them. “It's been at least a week since I've had a chance to dress Sarita up and take her picture!”
Soirse sighed, pretending to be put upon even though she was amused. “Then I guess that means that the Caughey Clan is about to mob Dublin.”
This should be interesting,” Talya remarked with a smirk.
Because the Clan lived in the countryside not too far from Dublin, they visited the city often. It was not unusual for groups of three to six of them to borrow a car and “run into town.” Even so, Talya had to wonder how Soirse planned to transport everyone in the Clan to Dublin if they wanted to go.
Soirse smiled as if she had read Talya's mind. “Good thing we own a bus!”
Talya laughed. “I should have expected that!”
The majority of the clan really did crowd into the bus and ride into Dublin. They split up after that, Talya and Sarita joining a group consisting of two of Liam's sisters, one of his girl cousins, and – of course – Liam. Liam looked half miserable to be the sole boy in a gaggle of girls, but his grumpiness faded when Talya impulsive grabbed his hand to drag him into a shop and Sarita took hold of his other one.
Liam stared at her hand in his with a feeling like he wanted to hold it forever. Her magic was warm to his touch. Soft... It seemed to flow over him and wrap him in a blanket of happiness. Indigo smirked at him knowingly from Sarita's shoulder.
Talya bought fabric, findings, accessories and anything else that captured her fancy. She also made frequent sketches of anything that might make a cute costume. By the time the shops were closing, all six of them were practically starving.
The bus had returned with the majority of the Clan hours before, so Liam's uncle was waiting with a van to drive them home. He had spent the majority of his day waiting in a pub, but he had resisted the temptation to drink. Instead, he'd watched his favorite team win a game with all the other cheering fans in the pub.
Talya had hired a delivery vehicle to basically follow her all day collecting her purchases. It now followed her back to Clan Caughey's family home. The driver felt a proud smugness that he'd seriously overcharged the American, but it had allowed him to have an easy day. Little did he know that Talya knew what he was doing and didn't care. In her opinion, having him at her beck and call all day was well worth the expense.
The moment she returned, she secluded herself with a bunch of girls who liked to sew and wanted to help her. Sarita laughed as the door was firmly shut in her face. She turned to Liam with a smile.
Talya considers me a curse when it comes to actually sewing her costumes! I am terrible with a sewing machine and inevitably ruin everything!” Sarita informed him.
I thought she wanted to eat?” Liam muttered in confusion.
Didn't you see?” Sarita asked with an amused smile. “She had a bunch of food brought in there so she could eat while she worked.”
AND DON'T YA DARE GET A CRUMB ON ANYTHING!” Talya shouted out in warning. A loud and indistinct roar indicated that her helpers were more than capable of matching her in both bossiness and volume.
We should probably leave them alone,” Liam suggested.
Yeah,” Sarita agreed, following him to where delicious smelling food was being steadily devoured by the Clan.

***

Liam's mother was the type to buy him a new outfit every year on his birthday and expect him to wear it for the day. She made an effort to buy something he would like, but also insisted that it was a bit formal. This way, she knew he'd have something nice to wear if suddenly asked to attend a wedding or other such event. Plus, she simply loved to see him looking good!
Knowing this, Talya had asked if she could see Liam's new outfit before it was wrapped up to present to him. Soirse complied with an amused smirk. Talya had grinned and rushed off.
So it was that Liam found himself wearing a nice “casual” outfit that most boys probably wore to church. The pants and vest were a dark gray that was not quite black, and the shirt was a dark but vibrant blue. He had a matching dark blue tie and socks. His shoes were actually black since the shade of gray wasn't available.
I feel like an old man,” Liam grumbled. This wasn't because he disliked the outfit – he was used to the tradition by now – but because he felt like he should be difficult simply because he was a teenaged boy. His uncle guffawed as he pounded him on the back.
Liam gave a long suffering sigh a few minutes later when his mother smothered him in a tightly squeezing hug in front of the whole family. “Ah! Such a handsome lad!”
Ma!” Liam protested, wriggling free.
Don't you dare stain those new clothes, m'lad!” Soirse warned sternly.
Yes ma,” Liam muttered. But his mother wasn't paying him any attention.
Look at you!” She gushed before pulling Sarita into a hug. “Don't you look just gorgeous!”
Sarita blushed and returned the hug. Soirse twirled her around so she could get a good look at the dark blue dress. It was a little longer than knee length and had fluffy underskirts in dark gray. Her neckline and shoulders were accented in dark gray and she had dark blue ribbons in her hair. Lastly was a dark blue silk flower on her right wrist.
You are a miracle worker, my dear,” Soirse murmured to Talya, who grinned happily.
Dressing Sarita up is my very favorite thing to do in the whole world!” Talya informed them all again.
Talya herself wore a rather plain but pretty dress in dark gray with blue accents. Her long black hair was wound up in a big soft bun at the nape of her neck. It was like she was acknowledging the fact that she was a girl, but downplaying it because she was more of a tomboy.
Just when Liam had a chance to wonder why Sarita's clothes matched his – as did Talya's – he noticed that almost all of the girls in his family had decided to wear outfits in either dark gray or dark blue – often both.
Must be the fashion this year,” he theorized under his breath.
Except that the girls were up all last night sewing those outfits,” one of his cousins informed him via a whisper to the ear.
Girls are weird!” Liam exclaimed. His boy cousins all nodded in agreement.
That night – after dinner – the family gathered together outside behind the large house where they usually did. It was designed so that people could sit or dance next to a big bonfire. A few tables were scattered here and there so they had a place for drinks and snacks.
Liam's favorite uncle – the one that stayed with him in America since he had no children of his own – grabbed a fiddle and struck up a lively tune. It was in the style of Riverdance, which several of the middle aged and younger adults still loved to do. They patiently tried to teach a basic jig to the teenagers as other adults formed a band.
Sarita was used to learning new dances, and joined in without protest. Talya stood back and took pictures of her. The look of bliss on her face made it clear that she didn't feel like she was missing out on the fun.
After Sarita was comfortable enough with the dance, the adults formed all of those dancing into a sort of cross that revolved around an invisible center. It was vaguely similar to an American line dance such as the electric slide. Except that they often held hands or had their hands on the person next to them's shoulder.
Liam noticed that his family kept subtly arranging things so that he was dancing with Sarita. “Must be my birthday present,” he whispered to himself. The fact that no one was teasing him reinforced his theory. “They'll likely make up for it tomorrow,” he muttered.
Since the girls all matched, they created and practiced a routine. Both Liam and Sarita were included in the dance. Liam was having too much fun at first to realize that he was the only boy in the dance, but when he did notice, Sarita grabbed his hand and spun in circles with him, so he didn't care.
Not to be outdone, the boys created their own routine. After a while, it became like a competition – boys against girls. Talya filmed the whole thing.
Too noisy,” Indigo grumbled from Talya's shoulder where he had taken refuge from all the activity.”
But Sarita's sure having fun,” Talya pointed out.
That she is,” Indigo agreed with a smile. He started purring softly. A noise that only he could hear – like a voice made up of rustling leaves – called out to him, making him sit up at attention. “I'm going to go do something else for a while,” he informed Talya.
She just barely registered him speaking to her, she was so intent on filming Sarita. “Hmm...? Oh! Have fun.” Indigo flew off.
Soirse came over to stand by Talya not too long after that. “I was so sure I'd see what it is that Liam's destined to do when I read Sarita, but I saw nothing. Don't get me wrong, he was there, but not in a way that I could see his destiny. Can you think of any reason that Liam's magic would be needed in America?”
Talya shrugged. “Maybe it's because America doesn't seem to have enough magic.”
Hmm...” Soirse hummed in thought, fairly sure that wasn't it. “Well, I'm just glad that he has such good friends in America. Please continue to look after him for me.”
Talya stopped looking through the view screen of her camera to grin at Soirse. “Of course! He's the boy my best friend is interested in the most right now! Her happiness is my happiness.”
Which is why you spent close to two days painstakingly making her a dress that would match m'lad's,” Soirse murmured with a laugh. “You knew it would make her happy to dance with him like that.”
Talya nodded with a grin. “Plus, it's adorable to watch the expressions on his face when he looks at her.”
That it is!” Soirse agreed in a near roar. Then she strode out onto the dance area. “Liam, m'lad! Come dance with your mother!”
Ma!” Liam protested but gave into her demand. It seemed even worse that Talya was filming the whole thing! Even so, he knew his mother would not tolerate any disagreement on his part. This naturally brought on a round of heckling from his cousins.
Shut it!” Soirse roared. “Or I'll be dancing with the lot of ya!”
The boys all found that they suddenly had better things to do. Most of them asked a girl to dance. The rest grabbed an instrument and joined the band.
Later on, Sarita and Liam were pulled aside by one of his aunts and her husband. The couple taught them a new dance. This one was also lively, but intended to be danced as a pair – rather than as a line. Sarita had a blast!

***

The next day, Sarita and Talya packed up their belongings. Both Talya's mother and Sarita's father were going to be home from their respective business trips and had requested that the girls come home. They were surprisingly excited to see their parents again!
I think I might even have missed Thomas!” Sarita exclaimed with a laugh.
Oh you totally missed him, and you know it!” Talya teased her, lightly pushing in her nose.
Liam poked his head in the room they were sharing. “Me mam just told me that she decided to save some money by sending me uncle and me back to America with you.”
So she decided to listen,” Talya responded with a soft giggle. “I told her she should. My mom's private jet costs the same to fly us back if it's just us or if you come with us. It seemed just wasteful for you to fly there separately.”
Liam stepped more fully into the room. He was actually a bit surprised to hear that. Even knowing that Talya was rich, he hadn't expected her family to own a jet.
She said that she was tempted to keep me here as long as possible – since I'm her only boy and she says she likes to dote on me, although I don't notice it. But my uncle reminded her that he might need some time to make sure everything is ready – paperwork filled out and whatnot – for me to go to school when it starts.” Liam shrugged, not knowing what paperwork might be needed.
Well that's cool!” Sarita stated. “We'll have a bit of time before school starts once we get back.”
Only two weeks,” Talya murmured unhappily. “Summer goes by way too fast!”
Especially when we're having fun,” Sarita added with a smile.
I could almost live here for the rest of my life,” Talya stated with a dreamy expression.
Sarita giggled and decided to do the teasing for once. “That's easy! Just marry Liam when you grow up!”
What?! Marry?!” Liam blurted out incredulously.
Talya winked at Sarita. “Well... his mom did say that there was a man in my future...”
Who gives you lots of fat and happy babies. Sounds like Clan Caughey to me!” Sarita announced.
Talya and Sarita stared at Liam with mischievous smirks for a moment as he literally took a step back. “Ma said that?!” His mother was almost never wrong when it came to her visions.
Knowing that they were teasing him, both girls plastered innocent expressions on their faces. “Mmm-hmm,” they murmured in confirmation.
Talya was struck by inspiration and cackled softly. “She told me that I'd know him the first time I kissed him.” As she said this, she grabbed Liam's face, and then planted a soft kiss on his lips. Sarita had just enough presence of mind to take a picture with her phone, considering it only fair since Talya was always taking her picture.
Liam inhaled in astonishment, not sure what he was supposed to do. Talya released him with a laugh. “I guess you aren't the one after all!”
Sarita laughed too, deciding to steal Talya's joke. “Yep, Soirse said that I'd know the man in my future the first time I kissed him, too.” She ironically had more practice at kissing than Talya did, and so decided to use her skills.
Liam felt his heart stop when Sarita wound her arms around his neck and press her lips to his. He slowly wrapped his arms around her back. Her kiss was almost magical, sending a tingling warmth through him.
Talya was tempted to jump and squeal in excitement, but held herself in check so that she could get pictures. Sarita was tempted to keep kissing him all day, but she pulled back a moment later. One look over at Talya made her laugh.
Liam blushed when he looked over at Talya and realized that she had taken pictures. Clearing his throat, he let go of Sarita and stepped back. She hadn't opened her arms, and so was pulled forward into him. He steadied her with a bigger blush.
So... er...” Liam stammered. “Am... Am I...”
Sarita laughed, letting him go and walking over to Talya. “Your mom didn't actually say any of that! We were just teasing you.”
Oh...” Liam replied in disappointment. He had no idea what to say next, so he stepped back towards the open door. “I... I should go pack.”
Sarita exchanged concerned glances with Talya. They really hadn't intended to hurt his feelings, but it seems they had. Talya nudged Sarita as if saying: Go on!
Liam, wait,” Sarita insisted, grabbing his hand so that he couldn't walk away. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel bad.”
Liam noticed that Talya was ready to take more pictures and decided to turn so he faced away from her. Squeezing Sarita's hand, he cleared his throat again. It was hard to talk even though he wasn't looking directly at her!
When we get back to America,” he began. “Will... Will you go to the movies or something with me?”
I'd love to,” Sarita admitted with a smile. She kissed him on the cheek. “Now go pack. I'd hate for you to miss our flight!”
Liam nodded with a happy grin. It took some effort to let her hand go, but then he ran off. The moment he was in his room with the door closed, the hall filled with sisters and cousins who crowded into the room with Sarita and Talya.
Tell me you got that on film!” Liam's oldest sister demanded, holding Talya's hand. “I couldn't hear him properly through the wall!”
Did you – the girl who likes girls – actually kiss him?!” A boy demanded incredulously of Talya.
What do you see in my cousin?” A different boy asked of Sarita.
Sarita laughed. “How did you guys know any of that?”
In a house full of magic, you think we haven't figured out how to spy on each other?” Liam's youngest older sister asked with a laugh.
There's never a private moment around here!” A girl assured her.
I'm gonna miss you!” Liam's oldest sister informed Talya, hugging her tight. “You're just like family!”
You too!” Other sisters and cousins informed Sarita.
It's a good thing that their flight wasn't actually until the next morning, because the long goodbyes delayed the girls' packing for hours! Even Sarita started to feel like she was saying goodbye to her own family. For Talya – who had never had siblings – the experience was more than a little excruciating.
I promise I am going to come visit every summer from now on!” Talya vowed emotionally, hugging Liam's sisters over and over. Eventually, they finished their packing, and then the whole family gathered for an impromptu goodbye party. Indigo returned from his communion with their spirit tree at some point, and then curled up on a chair and slept despite all the noise.
This family sure parties a lot,” Sarita whispered in Talya's ear.
Soirse overheard her anyway and raised a glass of beer into the air. “We're Irish! Of course we party!”
They all stayed up very late, which worked out in their favor when they boarded the jet still bleary eyed from exhaustion.
Funny,” Talya murmured dryly. “We can go back to sleep and when we wake up at home, it'll still be morning!”
More or less,” Liam added with a big yawn.
They all buckled in for take off, but when it was safe, Talya and Sarita stood up.
We're going to sleep in the bed, but if you're tired, that couch is pretty comfortable, and those chairs recline,” Talya informed Liam and his uncle.
Sweet dreams,” uncle wished them, kissing them both on the cheek. “Liam and me'll be just fine out here.”
Wonderful,” Sarita murmured with a yawn. Hand in hand, she and Talya went back to bed.

Go To Chapter 12 

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