The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 22, 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:16 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 453
Dibs! :whip
I'm pretty angry with Kathy, rooting through Willow's stuff and taking her pills was a huge violation of her privacy! :gnome Her Mom and Tara shouldn't just let her get away with that, Tara should set her straight.

Quote:
“I’ll leave tomorrow. Thank you for your hospitality. If it is not snowing too hard, Tara could just bring me to the train station now.“ Willow appeared to be zoned out. Her eyes staring at the wall.

Mrs. Maclay walked over to where Willow was sitting and sat down in a chair beside her. “What are you talking about. I thought that you were staying until after New Years.”

“I understand why you wouldn’t want someone like me around your family. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come…”

“Willow, are you hearing me say you should leave.” Mrs. Maclay took Willow’s hands in a manner similarly to how Aunt Gertie had done. “Willow, look at me. I am sorry that I invaded your privacy and looked at your medicine. I don’t know what prompted me to do it. I guess I just wanted to know what kind of medicine you were on so that I wouldn’t accidently put any herbs in your tea that could counteract it.”

“You don’t hate me?”

“Why would I hate you?”

“Because I am mentally ill. My own mother hates me because of it AND I could go crazy. Tara could do so much better than me. “

Poor Willow, so convinced that Tara's family will hate her and cast her out because of her mental illness!

Quote:
Mrs. Maclay looked up at Tara who was standing behind Willow. “Is that what you think, Tara? Are you just biding your time until you can find someone better, more together?”

“No, Mama. I love Willow. I don’t think I could meet anyone better. I think she’s my soul mate. She’s my everything; my other half.”

“Willow, I don’t care if you have to take medicine to stabilize your moods. From what I’ve heard in dribs and drabs, you’ve had a rough life. If you need medication, you need medication. If you had Diabetes, we wouldn’t have a problem. We’d just refrigerate your insulin and help you keep count of your carbs.” said Mrs. Maclay.

“It’s different.” It seemed to Tara that Willow had snapped out of her fugue. “You don’t want me to leave?”

“No, Willow, I don’t want you to leave. Nobody wants you to leave, and if someone did, the rest of us would argue with them. You belong here as much as anyone else.”

Aww, I love the motherly way in which Mrs Maclay treats Willow. And Tara's love declaration is beautiful. :flower I just hope that Willow will soon be able to truly believe that she is "the One" for Tara.

Quote:
Willow paused again, Tara made eye contact with her mother, and tried to communicate that went too well I think

Willow indeed reacted surprisingly calm to the revelation that Tara and almost all of her relatives are "real" witches or wizards. She was probably so relieved that Mrs. Maclay didn't "freak out" about her mental illness that she took everything in stride. Let's see if her calmness will last until the end of the Solstice celebration...


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 22, 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:44 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 237
Topics: 8
Location: Pacific Northwest
I started reading this a while back and then got sidetracked, but I am glad to have picked it up from the beginning.
I am still early on, so comments are for the very beginning (hope that is ok).
I feel every lesbian 'of a certain age' had a Kate when we were young and so confused and so enraptured with our friend (and they with you), only to realize later "OHHHHHH"

Love the time frame- I am a little younger I think but I still grew up with The Cure, Echo and the Bunnyman and all the rad 80s alternative music, I still love Crowded House and The Smiths.

I was a bit taken aback by Tara at first meet, she seemed so mean and not like Tara, but was so glad to see that she made it right. This deep look into Willow's insecurities is intriguing, poor poor Willow is almost crippled by them, it's good that Tara is so persistent and sweet. And Anya, with her Anya personality, is a perfect roomie for Will. Looking forward to reading more!

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You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 22, 2020)
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:45 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 85
@Shirrey Echo and The Bunnymen were my go to teen band, my sister loved The Cure and we both adore Crowded House!

A great update. I didn't think Kathy's trouble would come so soon! Poor Willow, imagining more rejection because of her mental health. Good job Mrs. Maclay was on hand to reject that notion so thoroughly and welcome her to the family. Looking forward to the Solstice!


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 22, 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:51 am 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 185
Location: Wales
Really glad you've continued this, I love this story!

_________________
- I am a poster girl with no poster, I am 32 flavours and then some -


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 22, 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 3:39 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 720
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Will’s redemption: Congrats of the Dibs. I was doing happy dances when I saw your comment. I’m not sure that Kathy will ever understand how what she did was wrong. She’d heard her mother ask Tara what Willow took, and she thought she was helping by providing the information. I don’t think that her intentions were too malicious. In this world, Tara’s mother is incredibly nurturing. She and Tara have a special bond, and she can tell how important Willow is to Tara. I think that Willow probably is more shocked than she let on, but as you suggested, you don’t judge me about having manic depression, I’ll just go with any flow you suggest. Willow will struggle some, but the warmth of the Maclay women is SO strong, that she will put aside the scientist for a bit and allow herself to be a believer. Thanks for reading.

Shirrey: Yes, Kate is very strongly based on mine, though she’d never recognize herself even if she was in this fandom. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy more.

Northernlass: Yup, you are a bit younger, but I’m glad you can appreciate my allusions to music. Thanks for reading.

Leftindust: Thanks, I hope that you continue to love it. Thanks for commenting and reading.

The prayers are from: https://www.learnreligions.com/about-yu ... rs-4072720. I got the idea for Willow’s power from JustSkipIt’s[/i][b] Paths Diverged/Divulged . Her stories have been mixed up in my head as additional cannon. I didn’t see this story going this way initially…I am a seat of the pants writer

thoughts in italics

Learning to Laugh, continued Part 39

Willow was glad that Tara had told her to wear many layers. It was very cold outside, and once that they’d reached the sacred space, the warmth from walking had quickly dissipated. Willow was sitting on one of the two wheelers that the older women had driven to the location. She watched as Willow’s grandmother and aunt began to put items in various places in the well-worn area.

“Grandma and Aunt Gertie are getting the circle ready to cast. They are putting candles in the four cardinal positions and will soon begin the blessing. Once they are done, Mama and I will enter the circle and we will all close it. You and I can go stand closer while they cast the circle, the prayers are really pretty. Once we go into the circle, you may not be able to hear us…I don’t know what it is like to be outside the circle, I’m always inside… We’ll do some solstice prayers, start the fire and then uncast the circle. Feel free to come in then, I am sure you’ll appreciate the warmth. There are a few warm blankets on Grandma’s four wheeler. Use them if you need to.”

“OK, I think I’ll be ok,” replied Willow.

Willow looked down and saw that there was a knife attached to Tara’s belt. “What’s that?” asked Willow.

It is my athame. It’s sort of like a sacred knife. I was given it by my mother and grandmother when I was 13.”

“I wonder why 13 is such a common age for ‘coming of age’ ceremonies. I think Jr. High School students are not the most enlightened people.”

“It probably has something to do with puberty. I am guessing that girls became “women” when they were around 13 and were getting ready to be married.”

“I can’t imagine getting married when I was 13.”

“I think it was more when you were almost middle aged by 15 or 18. You needed to start birthing the babies so you could see them into their adolescents.”

“I guess, I still think I was still a kid when I was 13.”

“Me too.”

Willow heard the beginning of the chanting and she and Tara moved closer to where the older women had set the circle.

Aunt Gertie entered the circle and “Let it be known that the circle is about to be cast. All who enter the Circle may do so in perfect love and perfect trust.” Willow wasn’t sure, but it looked like Aunt Gertie looked at the candle in her hand and it lit itself. I must be imagining things, Willow thought to herself.

Gertie walked to the candle at the candle at the East point. She said,

Guardians of the East, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of our Coven.
Powers of knowledge and wisdom, guided by Air,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance,
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.


Once again, it appeared that the candle spontaneously lit. Well, I guess they were telling the truth about their powers. I wonder how they do it?

Willow noted that the candle at the South, was bright orange. Aunt Gertie handed the candle to Tara’s grandmother and she chanted.

Guardians of the South, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of our Coven.
Powers of energy and will, guided by Fire,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.


The candle became lit again without the aid of the other candle, a match or lighter. Tara’s grandmother handed the candle to Aunt Gertie.


Gertie walked to the blue handle that was at the West orientation.

Guardians of the West, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of our Coven.
Powers of passion and emotion, guided by Water,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.


The candle was transferred again, and Tara’s grandmother went to the candle at the North.

Guardians of the North, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of our coven.
Powers of endurance and strength, guided by Earth,
we ask that you keep watch over us
this morning within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.


Gertie and Grandma announced that the circle was cast. The circle is way brighter than would be expected based on the luminosity of the four candles.

Mrs. Maclay walked to the edge of the circle.

The two older women asked Mrs. Maclay “How do you enter the circle?”

Mrs. Maclay responded, “In perfect love and perfect trust.” She then entered the circle.

Tara squeezed Willow’s hand, released it, and walked to the edge of the circle. The two older woman asked once again, “How do you enter the circle?”

Tara responded, “In the love of the Goddess,”

Willow wasn’t sure, but it looked like there was a thin area of shimmering air where the circle was located, it became thicker as both Tara and Mrs. Maclay entered the circle. Fortunately, the circle was not soundproof. She heard the four women praying. Willow looked to the horizon and saw that the first rays of light were starting to emerge.

The four women moved to the eastern part of the circle and began to chant.

"The sun returns! The light returns!
The earth begins to warm once more!
The time of darkness has passed,
and a path of light begins the new day.
Welcome, welcome, the heat of the sun,
blessing us all with its rays."


They then each went to one of the four cardinal points. Once the four women were situated, Willow heard them begin to chant.

O! Mighty goddess, in silvery ice,
watching over us as we sleep,
a layer of shining white,
covering the earth each night,
frost on the world and in the soul,
we thank you for visiting us.
Because of you, we seek warmth
in the comfort of our homes and hearths."
They each rotated to the next clockwise position.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the bright sun soon to come.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way,
for the world to awake once more.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the longest night of the year.
See the gray skies overhead, preparing the way
for the sun to finally return,
bringing with it light and warmth."


The four women then went toward the middle of the circle where there already was a pile of sticks. The four women began to chant in a language that Willow did not understand, as they chanted, the sticks began to smolder and then burst into flame. It seemed to Willow that the fire almost reached the tree-line, but when she looked again, it was a typical looking small bonfire.

Aunt Gertie then walked over to where Willow was standing and took her ritual knife slashed two vertical and two horizontal lines in the mist of the circle. Sort of like a door, thought Willow.

“How do you enter the circle?” the older woman asked.

“In the love of the Goddess,” Willow replied, I think that is what Tara said.

Gertie reached out her hand through the space that she had made the door/square and brought Willow into the circle. She then made the same four lines. Willow looked back and it seemed that the area that she had entered was the same as before Gertie had made her ‘cuts’. It is way warmer in here than I thought it would be. Willow noted that the women had removed their outerwear and were standing in their ‘street clothes’.

Tara motioned to Willow to come stand next to her. Willow of course followed the guidance and went and took Tara’s hand. She didn’t know if she was allowed to talk; so she remained silent.

The older three women walked over to Willow and said, “Welcome to our circle Willow. We usually open the circle, but the Goddess was communicating to us that the circle was where you belonged,” said Aunt Gertie. The older woman walked closer to Willow and whispered, ““I think you are going to be a spectacular addition to our coven. We’ve been needing someone with your affinity to join.”

“Thank you,” squeaked Willow. Affinity? What is she talking about?

A confused Willow looked at Tara, trying to determine whether she’d expected this to happen. “This is a first for me,” whispered Tara to Willow.

Meanwhile, Willow noticed that the older two women were going around the circle counterclockwise.

“The circle is open.” The two women raised their athames. Tara and Mrs. Maclay responded by raising their knives in a similar manner.

Willow could feel the cold returning to the area. The four women put on their coats again.

Tara walked over to one of the four-wheelers and grabbed two camp chairs. She set them near the fire and motioned for Willow to join her. “Somebody’s got to stay with the fire until this evening,” said Tara. “I was thinking that you and I could take the first shift, seeing that we are already here?”

“Ok,” replied Willow. She took one chair from Tara and they put them next to the fire. Finally a little time alone.

After everyone had gone, the older women on the four-wheelers and Tara's mother walking, Tara grabbed an apple out of her pocket and offered it to Willow, “I thought you might be hungry.”

“I’m ok,” answered Willow automatically.

“I have one for myself too.” She pulled another out of the opposite pocket.

“Ok, I’ll take it then.” Tara handed the apple to Willow.

“I wish you’d answer honestly, instead of making sure that you aren’t taking something away from me,” stated Tara.

“I’m sorry, it’s habit. If you’d ever meet Sheila Rosenberg, you’d discover that every question, especially about food, was a possible trap.”

“A trap?”

“Yeah, she’d ask if I was hungry, I’d say ‘yes’, and she’d get all huffy and frustrated because she ‘had to’” Willow made quotation marks with her fingers. ‘make food.’” I learned that it was better to say I was ‘ok’ and make myself food, rather than deal with her.”

“Totally different than my mom. As you have probably already noticed, Mama loves to feed people.”

“She does seem to enjoy it.”

“I think that she really does.” Tara took a bite from her apple.

“So, is that how the ceremonies usually go?”

“Pretty much. I was sort of surprised when Aunt Gertie made a door in the circle and brought you in.”

“I thought that it looked like a door.”

“Yeah, Aunt Gertie really likes you. She’s made a couple comments about the two of us being ‘made for each other’. Her aura reading can sometimes be sort of strange. She always told me when I’d bring one of my boyfriends home that the two of us didn’t have the proper links. I’d just nod and go about my business. But this morning, before you came downstairs, she tried to explain how the ‘strings’ she sees link people. She said that it was like ours combined and coiled around each other.”

“Sounds nice. As I’ve said before, I know that we were made for each other. You are my ‘other half.’” Willow took Tara’s hand. “The fire is really beautiful. It was cool to watch you all light it. I was afraid that the trees were going to get lit when the fire surged.”

“Yeah, the first time you see that, it is kind of amazing.”

“Have you always been able to light things up with just your mind?”

“No, I had to be taught. Fire isn’t my best element. You should see Uncle Giles, do it. Mama said that when he was little, he set several things on fire by mistake.”

“So how do you do it?”

“It’s kind of hard to explain,” Tara paused, “You sort of have to start at the beginning, learning to center yourself, harness the energy of the earth, and then imagining what you want to happen.”

“So is that what you are doing when I find you sitting on the grass with your eyes closed?”

“Sometimes.”

“What did Aunt Gertie say to you?” asked Tara.

“She welcomed me to the coven and said that I had a power that had been missing from the circle. She said something about affinity.”

“Oh…” said Tara.

“Is that a good ‘oh’? or a bad ‘oh?’” asked Willow.

Tara looked at Willow with what appeared to be a puzzled expression on her face. “Um…I don’t know. It’s definitely not bad. I just never thought about you joining the coven. Shouldn’t she have asked you first, not stated it as a fait accompli. Do you want to join the coven?”

“Your Aunt said that I was needed.”

“That doesn’t answer the question.”

“I guess…I hadn’t thought of it. It’s not been even 24 hours since I found out about this all.” Willow gestured around the circle. “I know that I felt a pull toward the circle, but I thought that it was the ever-present, ‘I want to be as close to Tara as possible’ tug.”

“You feel that too?”

“All the time.” Willow squeezed Tara’s hand.

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 6, 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:39 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 453
Dibs! :whip
Great description of the ceremony!
Quote:
“I think you are going to be a spectacular addition to our coven. We’ve been needing someone with your affinity to join.”

So Willow has magical abilities as well that have just been dormant until now (the power to wield fire like Willow in JustSkipIt's storyverse)? The magic really is a huge plot twist in your story, I'm curious how it will change the girl's life once they return home.
I'm really looking forward to Willow meeting Giles and Jenny.

Quote:
“I wish you’d answer honestly, instead of making sure that you aren’t taking something away from me,” stated Tara.

“I’m sorry, it’s habit. If you’d ever meet Sheila Rosenberg, you’d discover that every question, especially about food, was a possible trap.”

“A trap?”

“Yeah, she’d ask if I was hungry, I’d say ‘yes’, and she’d get all huffy and frustrated because she ‘had to’” Willow made quotation marks with her fingers. ‘make food.’” I learned that it was better to say I was ‘ok’ and make myself food, rather than deal with her.”

Grrr, I really hate Sheila! :fit

Quote:
“I know that I felt a pull toward the circle, but I thought that it was the ever-present, ‘I want to be as close to Tara as possible’ tug.”

“You feel that too?”

“All the time.” Willow squeezed Tara’s hand.

Awww! :flower :bigkiss


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 6, 2020)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2020 2:01 pm 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 85
Loving how you're moving the story forward and how welcoming the Maclay clan are to Willow.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 6, 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:30 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 720
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Will's Redemption and NorthernLass: Thanks so much for the feedback. It makes my day when I see someone comments. It also makes me want to write more.

Note: My idea of Willow's powers comes from JustSkipIt's Paths Diverged/Divulged and a story I wrote for the 2020 Celexacon Anthology (Lots of good stories if anyone wants to purchase it. Sapphire Books). A lot of my ideas for covens comes from Amber's witch series.

It is the day before the Solstice, and I felt that I had to get this done. I hope to have Christmas 1985 occurring close to 2020, but I have a lot planned for these days between the two holidays, so I suspect that Christmas will last into early 2021.

Learning to Laugh
G
Taranwillow4ever
Josh, Mutant Enemy, Amber, and Sapphire Books make money on all of it. JustSkipIt, I think did it for the joy as do I. The prayers have their internet addresses as citations.

Part 40
***
Willow was glad that she and Tara had gotten the opportunity to spend some solitary time while watching the fire, because as soon as they returned to the house, they were caught up in the frenzy of the holiday preparations. There were multiple people in all of the rooms and the sound of everyone talking at times seemed deafening to Willow. She spent much of her time working parallel to Tara; helping her mother prepare the food. The only exception was when Mr. Maclay asked Willow to go outside to his shop and help him finish a present that he was making Mrs. Maclay.

“What can I help you do sir?” asked Willow as they entered the shop. Willow looked around and was surprised to see so many different power tools arranged neatly by type.

“I need to make some of the decorations for the side of the cabinet. You said that you were pretty good on a bandsaw. I’ve traced them out, can you cut them, and then we can both work on sanding them down.”

“Ok,” responded Willow. Is this a ruse to get me alone and tell me something? Of all those people in the house, no one is crafty? It doesn’t make sense.

Mr. Maclay handed Willow some wood with scrollwork and a pair of safety goggles. Willow put them on and turned on the machine. Can’t talk much with the bandsaw on ‘ she assured herself.

The details were not particularly difficult, and Willow was able to make fairly quick work of cutting out the patterns. As she looked at the leftover wood, and idea for small presents for others came into her mind. “Could I use some of the scrap wood to make something?”

“Sure, I didn’t have any plans for it. I’ve got a bunch more scraps over in that bin.” He pointed to a place that was overflowing with scrap wood.

Willow picked up some of the pieces she’d cut and began hand sanding the pieces.

“If you want to do your own project, that is fine,” said Mr. Maclay.

“No, I’m good. I said I’d help you.”

“I really just wanted the company.” He watched Willow continue to conscientiously sand the decoration. “I’ve got some detail sanders if you don’t want to do your project by hand.” He pointed to an area of hand tools.

“Oh, Ok. I’m going to run back to the house quickly, I’ll be right back.” Willow went back to the house and found Tara. After giving her a quick kiss, she asked, “Where does your mom keep her cookie cutters? I got a good idea for quickly making some presents for some of your family.”

Tara looked intrigued and showed Willow where to find them. She grabbed several cookie cutters, kissed Tara again, and went back to the shop.

Willow took a half-moon cookie cutter and traced the design several times on a piece of thin wood. She did the same with several other cutters and began cutting out her homemade decorations. Mr. Maclay continued to sand and apply the decorations to the ornate cabinet.

They sat there in silence for a period of time. Maybe this isn’t an interrogation? She thought to herself. As if she had been daring the universe, Mr. Maclay asked,

“You seem really comfortable in the shop. Did you and your father used to do things like this?”

Willow struggled to keep herself from laughing. “No, sir. My father was probably the most unhandy man you could ever meet. I don’t know if he could tell a screwdriver from a hammer. If something needed to be put up on the wall, my parents always hired someone. I used to like to watch the handymen do stuff, and often they’d give me a piece of wood to practice hammering or screwing? Say something different, quick you are pausing too long …using the screwdriver.”

It seemed that Mr. Maclay had noticed Willow’s pause and had a mischievous grin on his face. “Isn’t it a shame that a good descriptive verb has been perverted?”

Willow looked at Mr. Maclay and didn’t know what to say. “I guess, sir.” I cannot be having this conversation with my girlfriend’s father .

It seemed that Mr. Maclay sensed Willow’s discomfort and went back to sanding a piece of wood. Willow looked at the shapes before her and began using a series of sandpaper to make the wood smooth. Willow was getting back in her groove when Mr. Maclay interrupted again.

“Tara says that you don’t talk to your parents.”

“It’s more that they don’t talk to me, but yes sir.”

“And it’s just because you don’t like boys romantically?”

“That was the final straw for my mother.”

“What about your father?”

“My father pretty much follows my mother. He doesn’t like to argue, and my mother can be quite difficult if she is unhappy. If it was between me and my mom, he always chose my mom.”

“Presenting a united front is important, it is one of the keys of my wife and I surviving five kids. But if Anne ever made a decision that would separate me from any of the five of them, we’d have difficulties. Especially the girls, girls need their fathers…”

Willow could tell that Mr. Maclay was rethinking the sexism in his comment, “all kids need their fathers… their parents, “he rephrased his comment. “I can’t imagine being on my own at 20. I was in the Army and my mother and father wrote me every week.”

“You get used to it. If that is the way, it is. I try not to think about it too much. My parents were never ‘normal’ parents. Their work always came first. I was an afterthought…” This acknowledgement made Willow feel sad.

“I have trouble believing that is true,” responded Mr. Maclay. “From what I see of you, you seem to be a nice young lady, with a smart head on your shoulders, and a caring heart. My Tara’s in love with you and says you are the ‘one’,” he made air quotes. “Other than who you choose to date, I can’t see what parent wouldn’t be proud to call you their own.”

“I suspect that they don’t tell anyone that they’ve disowned me. I am sure that there are lots of stories about how busy I am, and how I can’t accompany them on their various trips because of my own interests.”

“Where are they now?”

“They could be anywhere in the world right now, but the last card I got from my father was from New Jersey, so I am guessing Princeton…”

“Your father does write you.”

“If you count, -Dad” as writing, yes, once or twice a year. This year it wasn’t’ even ‘love Dad.”

“I’m sorry, Willow. You don’t seem to deserve that kind of thing. Maybe your father will come around?”

“I have more hope in him, than I do my mother. It has been over 18 months, and there have been three cards. I suspect they may pop up for graduation unless they are able to determine an appropriate excuse to miss it.”

“I wish I could talk some sense into them.”

“I’d love to see that, sir.” Willow went back to sanding the ornament in her hand.
***
Willow had gotten into ‘the zone’ and was surprised when Tara opened the shop door. She had a large bulky hat, mitten, and scarf in her hand. “Do you want to go to the circle, or stay here with Dad?”

Willow looked at her watch, “Oh, it has gotten late. I lost track of time. Definitely, I want to go.” She glanced at the sawdust and half-finished ornaments in front of her.”

“Mr. Maclay, is it ok if I come back tomorrow and finish these?” she gestured to the ornaments.
“Definitely, you are welcome whenever. It’s nice to share the space with someone,” he replied.

“Thanks,” Willow answered, as she put on the hat, scarf, and mittens.

“See you later, Dad,” said Tara as she opened the door.

After the exited the shop, Willow asked, “Does your Dad ever come?”

“Not that I remember. He happily attends the party, but I think the circles are just too much for him.”

“It seems too odd that he doesn’t believe.”

“Belief is a big part of magic. Unless you are a very strong practitioner, you can’t use it unless you believe in it.”

“Do you think that’s why I never knew?”

“What, that you had magic powers?”

“Yeah, I still have a hard time believing, but your aunt and grandmother were so adamant. Your Aunt Gertie must have told me five times that she wanted me to join the circle today.”

“They’ve never been wrong before…”

Tara and Willow were the last to get to the clearing. Willow looked around and saw several people that she did not recognize. She figured that the lone unidentified man was Tara’s uncle, Giles, but it was hard to determine through proximity who was Belle and who was Jenny. She figured the youngest looking of the bunch was Heather. Aunt Gertie and Tara’s grandmother were already casting the circle. Willow could hear their quiet praying and noticed once again that the candles were lit without out the help of matches or lighter. Once the circle was cast, they lined up to enter it. Giles, Heather, and Jenny entered first now I know who is who , followed by Mrs. Maclay, Belle, Andy and Tanya, and Trinity. Tara took Willow’s hand and they entered together, followed by Alison, Kyle, and Kathy.

Similar to the morning, it felt as though the circle was an invisible wall and it was significantly warmer inside. People peeled off their outerwear and put it in a pile on a stone. The group circled the fire in the order that they had entered.

Everyone, other than Willow and Heather began chanting:

"The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down."

The food is put away for the winter,
the crops are set aside to feed us,
the cattle are come down from their fields,
and the sheep are in from the pasture.
The land is cold, the sea is stormy, the sky is gray.
The nights are dark, but we have our family,
kin and clan around the hearth,
staying warm in the midst of darkness,
our spirit and love a flame,
a beacon burning brightly
in the night."

As the earth grows colder,
the winds blow faster,
the fire dwindles smaller,
and the rains fall harder,
let the light of the sun
find its way home."

"Great sun, wheel of fire, sun god in your glory,
hear me as I honor you
on this, the shortest day of the year.
Summer has gone, passed us by,
the fields are dead and cold,
all of earth sleeps in your absence.
Even in the darkest times,
you light the way for those who need a beacon,
of hope, of brightness,
shining in the night.

Winter is here, and colder days coming,
the fields are bare and the livestock thin.
We light these candles in your honor,
that you might gather your strength
and bring life back to the world.
O mighty sun above us,
we ask you to return, to bring back to us
the light and the warmth of your fire.
Bring life back to earth.
Bring light back to earth.
Hail the sun!"
https://www.learnreligions.com/about-yu ... rs-4072720

Then a basket filled with paper, sticks and various writing tools was passed around. Willow followed Tara’s lead and took a few pieces of paper, an equal number of sticks and a bright red pen out of the basket and handed it to Alison.

“We write down something that we want to ‘release’ or get rid of. Something that we want to leave behind us as we enter the new beginning of the sun returning,” instructed Tara. “Then we wrap the paper around the stick and throw it into the fire.”

Willow watched as the others completed their papers. She noted that when Giles threw his into the fire, the fire became brighter. it must be his fire power Willow realized that most people were throwing their sticks, so she wrote “doubt”, “manic depression”, and “insecurity” and wrapped the paper around the sticks. Tara and she threw their sticks in simultaneously, and the bonfire burst up to the treetops and then settled back to the way it had been moments previously. Willow looked around to see if anyone else had seen this happen and was somewhat surprised to see that nobody seemed phased. Everyone chanted, "

May the blessings of light be on you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunshine shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and warm himself at it, and also a friend. And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in the two windows of a house, bidding the wanderer come out of the storm.” – Traditional Irish Blessing
https://www.wildgratitude.com/winter-so ... ebrations/

Then, everyone began singing a variation of silent night.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... t=0&sim=11

After the song, Aunt Gertie said, “We have at least one new member, and I wish to test their powers. I ask that everyone but Giles, Jenny, Heather, Willow and Tara remain in the circle.” She went to the area near the four wheelers and cut open a door. Once everyone else had exited, she closed the circle once more.
“Heather and Willow, I sense power in both of you. We are going to ask you to do a few things. Don’t worry if you can’t do some or all of the things. For some it comes easily, for others it is a process,” said Tara’s grandmother.

“Heather, you are the daughter of Giles and Jenny who have fire and water power, so I am going to test you for those first,” said Gertie.

She took a few sticks and placed them just outside the fire. Willow saw Heather take a deep breath, let it out, and then she began concentrating on the twigs. Nothing happened for a few minutes, but soon small puffs of smoke began to come out of the pile, but no matter what she did, the fire did not ignite.

“We’ll work on that,” commented Tara’s grandmother. “Now, see if you can make it snow. There should be plenty of moisture in the air.”

The girl took another deep breath and closed her eyes. Rather quickly, small flakes of snow began to fall within the circle. Willow looked outside the circle and saw that there was no snow. I guess that is her power .

“Ok, Heather, now I want you to try to make this feather float off my hand,” guided Aunt Gertie.

Heather took another breath and focused her attention on the feather. They all waited for five minutes, but the feather remained solidly in Aunt Gertie’s hand.

“We can work on that too,” commented their grandmother, “…and finally, she held up a rock that was about as big as a babies head. “Can you crack this?”

Heather focused on the rock, nothing happened. After a few minutes, their grandmother looked at the rock and a small fissure appeared on it. “Can you make the crack go away?”

Heather stared at the fissure. Willow could see the perspiration on her forehead. The girl was concentrating, but nothing was happening to the rock.
“Ok, so it seems that water is your primary and natural power. Your parents will help you develop your rudimentary skills. “Congratulations on your entrance to the coven. “

Giles, Jenny, Aunt Gertie, and Grandma hugged Heather. Gertie then walked back to ‘the door’, opened it, and allowed Giles, Jenny and Heather to exit. She then closed it again.”

Gertie turned to Willow. “Usually, we don’t have other members in for the initial tests, but I wanted you to have an idea of what we will be asking you to do.”

Willow gulped. What if they are wrong, what if I can’t do anything, what if I am a failure?? She released Tara’s hand that she’d been holding the entire time other than when Tara went to hug her cousin.

The older women noticed her concern, “Don’t worry, we know that you have power. You aren’t going to fail.” How did she know that was what I was thinking about.

“Let’s try the fire first, Willow.” Tara’s grandmother pointed to the pile that they’d made for Heather. “Center yourself, and imagine the sticks bursting into flame. Silently ask the Goddess to give you the power to light the flame.”

Willow took a deep breath and looked at the sticks. She imagined the sticks igniting. Please Goddess, help me not to make a fool out of myself A small tongue of flame appeared on the sticks and one ignited. Cool, fire power.

“Well, that shouldn’t be a surprise based on the red hair,” commented Gertie.

“Can you imagine a wind gently fanning the flames and making it bigger?” asked Grandma.

Willow concentrated on the flames to no avail. The small flame continued, but it remained the same.

Willow must have looked upset, because she felt a warm hand touch hers, all of the sticks burst into flames.”

“Just as I thought. Tara dear, please don’t touch Willow until we ask,” said Grandma.

“S…Sorry, it is hard to resist.”

“We know, the healer in you wants to help,” replied Gertie. “Willow, try to make it snow.”

Willow took a centering breath, and imagined soft flakes drifting in the circle. Possibly one flake appeared, but Willow wasn’t sure if it was her imagination.

“Tara, take her hand,” ordered Aunt Gertie.

Willow felt the familiar warm hand touch her own. Flurries began to fall in the circle. As soon as Tara released Willow’s hand at the nonverbal demand of one of the elders. The snow disappeared.

“Interesting…” commented Grandma.

“And last but certainly not least, Willow imagine a small crack appearing in this rock.” Gertie held up the baby head sized rock. Willow thought about a crack like Tara’s grandmother had made. She concentrated and the rock split in half, one piece falling very close to Gertie’s foot.

“Sorry, are you alright?” exclaimed Willow.

“Yes, dear.” She bent over and picked up the rock, placing one piece in both hands, and placing her hands together.

“Imagine the rocks fusing together again,” commanded Tara’s grandmother.

Willow tried hard to remember how the rocks fit together. She imagined the two pieces being made into one. She tried multiple ways. ok, I suck at being a healer

“Tara?” she heard one of the elders say.

Willow felt a warm touch on her arm and the two pieces pulled together and fused.

“Just as I suspected,” exclaimed Aunt Gertie.

“What?” asked Tara and Willow simultaneously.

“Willow’s power is primarily as an augmentor.”

“What is an augmentor?”

“An augmentor is someone who is sort of like a boosts the power of another.” Gertie turned to Willow, “you look exhausted, Willow. Do you think you have the energy for one more test?”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied Willow.

“I have very little water power,” shared Tara’s aunt. The woman began to concentrate and a few flakes of snow drifted in the circle. “Now Willow, put your hand on my arm.”

Willow did as asked and the flurries became more numerous.

“Now Tara, you try the same thing.”

Tara started making snow.

“Willow, take her hand,” commanded Gertie.
Willow did as asked, and the snow within the circle increased exponentially.

“You two were made for each other. You superaugment Tara. I’ve only met one other dyad that had this kind of affinity. I told you that your auras were complementary,” boasted Aunt Gertie.

“It really is cool, Aunt Gertie,” said Tara. “but I feel like we’ve got to get back to the house before they send out a search party and the party is over.”

“Ok, sweetie,” answered her grandmother, “Gertie and I will close the circle, and then we can all go back to your house. Willow, do you have the energy to walk? I could walk and you could take the four wheeler.”

“No, ma’am. I am fine.”

Willow and Tara stood as the elders closed the circle, extinguished the fire, and got on their vehicles to go back to the Maclay homestead.

Once they were out of sound range, Tara asked Willow, “You ok, you look exhausted. I never imagined that they were going to test you tonight. If I had, I might have warned you.”

“I don’t think you could have given me a real idea. It was fine how it is. I just think I’ll probably have to go to bed early. I am beat.”

“You did so well.”

“That’s because I’ve got the best augmenti in the world.” Willow leaned into Tara and they kissed for a few minutes until the cold began to seep into their bones and they quickly left the area.

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 20, 2020)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 7:52 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 720
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
I promised some more on Christmas, and there is only an hour and 15 more minutes of Christmas (in NC. It's already Boxing Day in the UK). Maybe I'll get to Christmas before IRL New Years, we will see.

Learning to Laugh
G
I like to imagine different lives for Willow and Tara, Joss et al. own it all.

Part 41

Willow hadn’t thought that the walk to the circle was that far when they went there the first time, but this time, she found each step to be more difficult than the last. While in the circle and in it’s magic, Willow hadn’t felt tired, but as soon as the circle was closed, a heavy weight of fatigue descended on her. I can’t be this tired, there is still a party to go to and I need to finish the ornaments for Tara’s grandmother and aunt.

As they went past the shop, Willow said, “I need to finish something. It should only take about ten to fifteen minutes. You go to the party and I’ll join you soon.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?” replied Tara.

“No, I’m good. A little tired, but good. I made some small presents for your grandmother and aunt. I want to finish them.”

“Ok, I’ll grab you a couple small bags to put them in. Love you, join us soon. “ Tara kissed Willow’s cheek and continued walking toward the house.

Willow entered the shop, turned on the light and went back to the bench where she had been making the ornaments. It seemed that Mr. Maclay had cleaned up some of the sawdust, so Willow did her sanding over the garbage can, so that it wouldn’t make a mess. When the moon ornaments were totally smooth, she put them in her pocket. Then she returned the sandpaper to where Mr. Maclay had gotten it, took another look around the shop to make sure that there wasn’t anything else to clean up, turned off the light, closed the door and started walking to the house.

As she entered the house, she was greeted by a cacophony of sounds and sights. There was a pile of coats on a chair, every light was on, and it seemed that almost everyone was in the kitchen. Willow took off her coat and boots, but them on top of or beside Tara’s. I just want to go to bed. But I can’t so, I just need to take a deep breath and push the fatigue down. Willow followed her own instructions, put a smile on her face, and walked into the kitchen.

“We were wondering if Tara had left you out there!” commented Trinity.

“No, I just needed to finish something.” Willow looked around to find her favorite Maclay. She saw her across the room talking to her Aunt Belle. It seemed that they were lost in conversation because Tara didn’t seem to notice her until Willow was almost at her elbow.

Tara’s smile widened at seeing Willow. “Aunt Belle, I don’t know if you have been formally introduced, this is my girlfriend Willow Rosenberg.”

“So nice to meet you,” said Belle as she took Willow’s hands in her own. “Can’t say that I am surprised that Tara found herself a beautiful, talented girlfriend.”

Willow blushed, “Thanks.”

“Tara was telling me about your tests. Pretty cool that you are an augmentor. I’ve heard about witches who had these types of dual powers but didn’t think that I’d meet anyone. Take it for my niece to find the one witch in all the world.”

“It’s a lot to take in.”

“I am sure. How are you even standing? I was exhausted after my first tests. I think I slept for 14 hours straight.”

“I am kinda tired, but all the energy in the house, is helping enervate me, responded Willow.

“Enervate? She’s got a great vocabulary too! Tara you’ve really won the lottery haven’t you?” exclaimed Belle.

This time it was Tara’s turn to blush. “I know that I am lucky. As I said, I had absolutely no idea that Willow had powers. We’ve got to figure out where they came from.”

“Well, most likely they have been latent in her relatives, but were activated by the power of our family. You know that the Wilde’s have had powers as far back as we have been able to trace,” stated Belle.

Willow saw that there were two small bags in Tara’s hand. “Are those for me?” asked Willow.

“Yeah.” She handed over the linen bags and a marker to write the name of the recipients.”

“Thanks.” Willow took the ornaments out of her pocket.

“Can I see?” asked Tara.

“Sure,”

Tara took one of the ornaments in her hand. “It’s so smooth. Grandma is going to love it.”

“I hope so,” answered Willow as she took the ornament back and put it in the bag. “Where do I put them?”

“You’ll see a pile under the tree. Just put it with the others… Aunt Belle, do you mind if I go show Willow?”

“No, definitely not, I should probably go talk to your sibs. Don’t want them to accuse me of having a favorite niece or nephew.” Belle winked at Tara.

“You are totally the favorite, aren’t you?” said Willow when her aunt was out of earshot.

“I don’t know. I think because I am the most active in the coven, that she feels a special bond with me.”

“Yeah, why is that? It seems like you and Andy are the only two that are really ‘into’ it.”

“I don’t know. I think that it just came more naturally to us than it did to Trinity or Kathy. Kyle has always been like Dad. He doesn’t really believe. It drove him crazy when Alison got interested.”
Willow and Tara entered the living room and Willow put her small bags on top of the other bags under the tree.

“Are you hungry?” asked Tara.

Willow scrunched up her face, thought a moment, and then said, “Yeah, I guess I am.”

“Let’s go back to the kitchen then and get some food. I was waiting for you.”

They were turning around to go, when Aunt Gertie exclaimed from her seat in the room, “Tara dear, can you and Willow get me something to drink? I am parched, and I don’t want to lose my good seat to anyone.”

“Sure, Aunt Gertie, what do you want?” asked Tara.

“Some hot cider would hit the spot!”

“One cup of hot cider, got it,” answered Willow.

The two of them maneuvered themselves around the people in the kitchen and got a mug of cider for Aunt Gertie. “I didn’t see grandma, but if Gertie has cider, she’ll want cider.” Said Tara as she got another mug of the beverage.

True to Tara’s prediction, as they were handing Aunt Gertie the mug, Tara’s grandmother exclaimed from another seat in the room, “Oh, hot cider would hit the spot.”

“We figured, Grandma.” Tara went over and gave her grandmother the second mug. “Willow and I are going to go get some food now? Is there anything you need?”

“Some of your mother’s cookies on a plate would be great. If it is not too much trouble.”

“No trouble at all Grandma,” answered Tara.

After getting two plates of cookies, and giving them to the older women, Willow and Tara were finally able to go to the kitchen to get themselves something to eat. More people had moved to the living room to talk to the elders who were holding court in the only two comfortable chairs in the room. It was just Tara’s mother, Jenny, and Belle in the kitchen.

“You two haven’t eaten yet? Willow, you must be starving. I remember after my first circle, I was ravenous,” commented Jenny. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Heather eat as much as she did when she came back.”

“I am pretty hungry,” said Willow as she put a large helping of Mac and Cheese on her plate. She then added some salad beside it.

“Do you want some ham?” asked Tara.

“I’ve never had ham.”

“You’ve never had ham?” exclaimed Mrs. Maclay. “Why not?”

“I never kept kosher or anything like that, but the message not to eat pork kinda got ingrained in me.”

“Of course, I’m sorry. I’ve been offering you pork every morning, and you’ve been politely refusing. I’ll stop.”

“It’s ok, ma’am. Some day I am sure I will try it. It smells good, I just hear my father and the Hebrew Teachers voices when I think about it.” Willow sat down next to Tara and began eating.

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 25, 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:06 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 453
Dibs to the last two chapters! :whip
Quote:
Willow took a deep breath and looked at the sticks. She imagined the sticks igniting. Please Goddess, help me not to make a fool out of myself A small tongue of flame appeared on the sticks and one ignited. Cool, fire power.

“Well, that shouldn’t be a surprise based on the red hair,” commented Gertie.

“Can you imagine a wind gently fanning the flames and making it bigger?” asked Grandma.

Willow concentrated on the flames to no avail. The small flame continued, but it remained the same.

Quote:
Gertie held up the baby head sized rock. Willow thought about a crack like Tara’s grandmother had made. She concentrated and the rock split in half, one piece falling very close to Gertie’s foot.

So Willow obviously has quite strong earth power and some fire power (plus being an augmentor)?

Quote:
“You two were made for each other. You superaugment Tara. I’ve only met one other dyad that had this kind of affinity. I told you that your auras were complementary,” boasted Aunt Gertie.

As far as I understand it Tara augments Willow as well (proven by Tara's touch strenghtening Willow's fire and enabling her to let it snow and "heal" the rock) but Willow can also augment the powers of others which Tara can't, am I right?

I like that finding out about her powers has obviously boosted Willow's confidence and that she can interact with Tara's close and extended family with more ease and without feeling self conscious.
I'm looking forward to their christmas celebration.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 25, 2020)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:03 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 720
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Willow's Redemption: Thanks for the comment. Yes, Willow's power is mostly earth and a little bit of fire. She can augment the others, but she can REALLY augment Tara. In my world of witchcraft. Everyone can be taught to do the basic elemental magic (make a fire, make it snow or rain, make there be a breeze, and crack a rock), you can just do it easier if you have a particular elemental power...

Well, I didn't get Christmas IRL by New Years, but I am trying to post at least one episode a week, so we should be to Christmas within the next two weeks.

Learning to Laugh
G
I don't gain anything but the pleasure of writing and seeing that people read what I write. I love comments and they make me want to write HINT, HINT.

Solstice Continued
(Part 42)
As Tara and Willow were getting up to put their trash away, Tara’s uncle came and sat down at the table.

“It’s so good to meet you Willow. I’d like to say that I’ve heard a lot about you, but that alas would be a lie. This one,” he gestured to Tara, “rarely tells me anything anymore. I used to be her favorite uncle and she’d spend hours helping me at the bookstore, not it is just. ‘Hi Uncle Giles’.”

“Uncle Giles, you are still my favorite uncle on Mom’s side…” said Tara as she patted him on the shoulder.

“I am your only uncle on your mother’s side,” replied Giles as he repeated the gesture.

“Makes it easier to have a favorite,” teased Tara. “How is Heather doing? I haven’t seen her.”

“I think she went and fell asleep on mom’s bed after she was done eating. I’ll have to wake her up soon. I think we will be distributing the presents soon.” He paused and looked at Willow, “Tara’s dad told me that you are some wiz with computers. He couldn’t stop talking about your skills with the bandsaw too. Nobody in this family has shared his love of woodworking. You definitely earned a few points with him.” Giles took off his glasses and started polishing them with his shirt. “Not, Not that you need points with him. He’s a nice guy and likes almost everyone…Oh, dear. Tara help me get out of this one.”

“I don’t know what you are trying to communicate Uncle Giles…” replied Tara with a twinkle in her eye.

“I am just trying to segue into a question for Willow, and I am blundering hopelessly.”

“Why don’t you just ask the question?” inquired Tara.

“Ok…Tara’s father said you were a wiz with computers. I just got a new computer system and I can’t understand how to use it at all. It’s supposed to help me with inventory and such, but I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong, or I didn’t buy the right programs, or what. Would you be willing to come by before you leave and give it a look? Maybe give me a few lessons? That is if you are not too busy…”

“I’d be happy to help,” answered Willow in the most perky tone that she’d had since returning from outside. “Do you know what operating system it is using. I’ve just finished a class in COBOL. I could probably write a few programs that could do just what you need.” She turned to Tara, “if, if that would be alright with you. I don’t know if you had anything planned.”

“No, our schedule is pretty clear until Christmas. Kelley asked if we could possibly babysit tomorrow or the next day so they could finish their shopping. We could drive to Syracuse and I could babysit, and you could work on the computer, unless there is something you need me to do at the shop too, Uncle Giles.”

“I always have work that you can do, but it’s up to you. Why don’t you call Kelley and find out when she wants you, and you can schedule around it. Call me tomorrow morning and we’ll decide what works the best. “

“Sounds like a plan,” answered Tara.

Giles excused himself and said he was going to wake up Heather.

“… and you thought that your knowledge of COBOL couldn’t help anyone in my family.”

“That is really weird, but definitely not the weirdest thing that has happened today. I am starting to wonder if all this is a dream.”

“Do you want me to pinch you and prove that it’s not?”

“No, I’ll pass on that. A kiss though, would be ok.”

Tara leaned over and brushed her mouth on Willow’s.

“Hey, no PDA in the kitchen,” announced Andy.

“Like I haven’t walked in on you and Tanya hundreds of times in various places,” exclaimed Tara.

“Just ragging you, sis. I am so glad to see you happy. Gramma said that everyone should gather in the living room.”

“Ok” said Tara and Willow simultaneously.

“Raincheck?” asked Willow.

“Definitely,” answered Tara.
***

Tara nudged Willow, whose eyes were starting to droop. “You’ve just got to stay awake a for a little bit longer, as soon as everyone opens their gifts, you can go to bed.” Tara whispered in Willow’s ear.

“Ok,” said Willow sleepily. She sat up more and tried to pay attention to the conversations around her rather than looking at the fire and imagining that they were alone in the warm room. Both Aunt Gertie and Tara’s grandmother were in their favorite wing chairs and holding court over the rest as usual.

“Kathy dear, would you pass out the presents from under the tree?” asked her grandmother in a tone that was not really a question.

“Sure, Grandma,” replied the youngest Maclay.

Willow felt happy that she’d been able to add something to the pile of presents under the tree. She noted that it seemed the elders seemed to have the largest pile in front of them, while everyone else seemed to have one or two. Willow was surprised to discover that there was a present under the tree with her name on it. Mrs. Maclay had suggested that Tara and she save the presents they had brought for Christmas. I wonder what it is and who is it from? Willow looked at Tara to determine if it was from her, and Tara raised her shoulders in a message of ‘I don’t know…’Tara had told her that they all took turns opening their presents so that everyone could appreciate both giving and receiving. Gertie opened Willow’s present first.

“Oh, Willow this is so beautiful. I am going to hang it in my window so I can see the moon whenever I want,” exclaimed the old woman.

“I’m glad you like it, it was just a little something,” said Willow blushing at the woman’s exuberance.

Tara’s grandmother replied with similar excitement which made Willow feel good.

As Willow watched the others open their presents, she saw that most of them were practical presents or books. Willow looked down at her box which was different from Tara’s. Tara’s package looked decidedly bookish, but Willow’s was thinner and longer. When it was her turn, Willow slowly opened the packaging and discovered a decorated leather sheath with a small, pointed, double bladed knife with a black handle. Willow looked closer to the handle and saw that there was a Celtic symbol on one side. It is beautiful. It sort of looks like the knife that Tara had on her belt.

“It’s an athame, every witch needs one,” announced Aunt Gertie.

Willow felt dumbfounded. This present did not seem to be comparable to the other presents that were being opened around the group. She looked to Tara, but she appeared as confused as Willow.

When everyone was done opening the presents, the usual pandemonium of the Maclay household resumed. Willow was about to try to disappear upstairs to go to sleep when she felt a familiar tug on her arm. It was Aunt Gertie.

“Do you like it?” asked the older woman.

“Yes…Yes, it is beautiful. Are you sure you meant to give it to me? I don’t really understand.”

“I didn’t really understand either until tonight,” said Aunt Gertie. “As soon as I met you, I knew that you were supposed to have it. It was my sister’s. Not Tara’s Grandmother, but a sister that died a long time ago.”

“If it’s a family piece!” she tried to hand it to Gertie, “I can’t take your sister’s knife.”

The older woman pushed Willow’s hand away, “It belongs to you. We want you to have it.”

“I…I don’t understand. You’ve just met me…”

“It belongs to you.” The old woman released Willow’s arm, patted it and walked toward the kitchen.

Willow looked around for Tara. She saw her talking to Giles and Jenny. All of a sudden, the fatigue from the day cascaded onto Willow. She trudged upstairs, grabbed her pajamas, put the knife in her backpack, grabbed her kit, and went into the bathroom to change and get ready for bed.

Willow fell asleep when her head hit the pillow, but she awoke again when Kathy turned on the light in the room.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t imagine you’d be asleep already.”

“It’s ok…”

“What’s ok?” asked Tara as she entered the room.

“I woke Willow up when I turned on the light.”

“You were asleep?” exclaimed Tara.

“Yeah, all of a sudden I felt really tired. I figured I’d just wake up again when you came in.” Willow sat up and tried to look alert.

“It’s ok, sweetie. You should go to sleep. Kathy, turn off the big light. Can’t you see ok with your bedside light?”

“Yeah, sorry.” Kathy turned off the overhead light. “I got the bathroom first,” she said as she left the room.

Tara sat down on the floor next to Willow. “So how are you doing?”

“Fine. I’m just tired, and a little overwhelmed, but overall fine. I still haven’t made total sense of it all. The magic, the fire, the rock, the knife, your aunt and grandmother. They talk to me like they’ve known me for years rather than days. It’s just weird.”

“Yeah, I gotta admit it is. I never imagined that you might have powers. I figured that you’d watch our rituals, chalk it up as something different, and move on to the more traditional holidays. It’s weird, especially Aunt Gertie, her comments keep sounding like you being here was predestined or something. Like she’s just been waiting for you to arrive…”

“Yeah, it is odd And that knife…”

“Athme”

“Yeah, athme, sorry. She told me that it was her sister’s, not your grandmother’s, but a dead sister’s. I shouldn’t be the person she gives it to. It should go to you. Maybe we can trade.” Willow began looking in her backpack for the knife and sheath.”

“No, No. Willow. They are not something that you can trade. Your athme is given to you by an elder. It’s yours, and yours alone until you die and then your family gives it to another…I had another great aunt?”

“I guess…that is what I think Aunt Gertie said…”

“I’ll have to ask Mama tomorrow. I’ve got to say, this holiday has been quite different than I expected.”
She yawned, “We need to get some sleep. I arranged for us to go to Syracuse tomorrow, I’ll drop you off at Uncle Giles’ shop, and I’ll babysit. Uncle Giles bring you to Tom and Kelly’s when you are done. “

“Sounds like a plan and a very normal day. I think after today, that is what I need.”

“Yeah, me too.” Tara embraced Willow and gave her a kiss. Of course, this was exactly when Kathy came back into the room. Tara released Willow and left the room to do her bathroom ‘stuff’.

Willow was barely aware of Tara coming back. She felt a light kiss, and heard the other girl settling into bed.

“Goodnight, Tara.”

“Good night, Willow. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“You guys are gross,” quipped Kathy.

“You’re just jealous.”

“Maybe. Good night you guys.”

“Good night,” replied Tara and Willow.

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (January 2, 2021)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:14 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 85
Great updates. It's really interesting that Willow's main power is the ability to amplify the power of others, and the anthame was a nice touch. This story has moved so far from a college romance, and these chapters open up a whole world of possibilities. Happy 2021!


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (January 2, 2021)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:34 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 453
Quote:
“Ok…Tara’s father said you were a wiz with computers. I just got a new computer system and I can’t understand how to use it at all. It’s supposed to help me with inventory and such, but I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong, or I didn’t buy the right programs, or what. Would you be willing to come by before you leave and give it a look? Maybe give me a few lessons? That is if you are not too busy…”

“I’d be happy to help,” answered Willow in the most perky tone that she’d had since returning from outside. “Do you know what operating system it is using. I’ve just finished a class in COBOL. I could probably write a few programs that could do just what you need.”

Yay that Willow has the opportunity to help a family member with computer problems, it will certainly raise her self esteem even more. I kind of hope that she and Giles will form some sort of friendship.

Quote:
When it was her turn, Willow slowly opened the packaging and discovered a decorated leather sheath with a small, pointed, double bladed knife with a black handle. Willow looked closer to the handle and saw that there was a Celtic symbol on one side. It is beautiful. It sort of looks like the knife that Tara had on her belt.

“It’s an athame, every witch needs one,” announced Aunt Gertie.

Willow felt dumbfounded. This present did not seem to be comparable to the other presents that were being opened around the group. She looked to Tara, but she appeared as confused as Willow.

When everyone was done opening the presents, the usual pandemonium of the Maclay household resumed. Willow was about to try to disappear upstairs to go to sleep when she felt a familiar tug on her arm. It was Aunt Gertie.

“Do you like it?” asked the older woman.

“Yes…Yes, it is beautiful. Are you sure you meant to give it to me? I don’t really understand.”

“I didn’t really understand either until tonight,” said Aunt Gertie. “As soon as I met you, I knew that you were supposed to have it. It was my sister’s. Not Tara’s Grandmother, but a sister that died a long time ago.”

“If it’s a family piece!” she tried to hand it to Gertie, “I can’t take your sister’s knife.”

The older woman pushed Willow’s hand away, “It belongs to you. We want you to have it.”

“I…I don’t understand. You’ve just met me…”

“It belongs to you.” The old woman released Willow’s arm, patted it and walked toward the kitchen.

Wow, what a great gift! Now I'm wondering if Willow might be a granddaughter of the late sister, making her and Tara second cousins? I have to admit that I can't remember if Willow's grandparents were ever mentioned in your story.


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