Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Chapter Five Hundred and fifty-five : A big celebration for two

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE

Tuesday evening — 7:25 p.m.

Honey rolled into her apartment from the Castle driveway. She knew from the driveway that no one was here. Jacob had called her when they were just leaving the doctor’s office.

Sandy was battling for her life at St. Joe’s.

Honey understood. She really did.

It’s just that tonight was her night. It was her night to be the center of attention. It was her night to share the fancy champagne M.J. had brought home from France. It was her night to celebrate.

Honey’s procedure was scheduled! She was going to walk again, maybe!

There would be no celebration for Honey. Not tonight, probably not ever.

M.J. had dropped her at home before going to check on Maggie at Nelson’s house. He was now heading to the hospital to see if he could help.

Honey had nodded at his suggestion. She’d even made mouth noises that she was absolutely fine to be alone. She was going to take a bath and go to bed early.

After all, today had been a big day.

She was leaned over the bathtub when a thought came to her.

Sandy would have made her cake long before she fell down the stairs. In fact, Sandy had told her this afternoon that it was ready and waiting in a secret hiding place that only Sandy and Honey knew about.

“In case those fairies come back,” Sandy had said over the phone. “We want to make sure that you have some cake.”

Honey’s eyes welled with tears.

“Oh Sandy, I love you,” Honey whispered.

Somehow, she knew that Sandy had heard her. She knew what Sandy would say — eat the cake while you can!

“And drink some champagne,” Honey said out loud. “To celebrate Sandy’s triumphant healing and my new adventure.”

Grinning at herself, Honey rolled her way to her little apartment’s tiny kitchen. She took a bottle of champagne from the refrigerator and went out into the Castle.

The building was so eerily quiet that Honey almost went back into her warm apartment. She rolled into the main Castle living room. In this light, this room — now empty of all inhabitants — looked every bit the creepy medieval Castle. She was midway through the living room when Abi stepped out of her apartment.

Abi grinned at Honey. With a snap of her fingers, a fire started in the large marble Castle fireplace. Suddenly, the room was bursting with energy and light. It was such a happy greeting that Honey smiled automatically.

“You’re not at the hospital?” Honey asked Abi.

“Oh,” Abi said. “I set off digital devices on a good day. I love Sandy, so it’s likely that I would likely burn the place down today.”

Abi grinned at Honey.

“Plus, I wanted to be here to help you celebrate,” Abi said.

“Is Edie here too?” Honey asked.

“Edie has taken the babies to her home on the Isle of Man,” Abi said. “They will be out of mind there, which will allow everyone to heal.”

“She took your babies too?” Honey asked.

“Oh no,” Abi said. “Zoe and Zaidy are asleep in the room.”

Abi gave Honey a knowing grin.

“You must be worried about Maggie,” Abi said.

Honey nodded.

“I want to hold onto Maggie, hold her tight,” Honey said. “But she’s so bright and sparkly. She wants to run and meet everyone. She believes everyone loves her because she loves everyone. She’s …”

Honey’s eyes became a little misty.

“It’s hard on us when they are so independent,” Abi said.

Honey nodded.

“I understand there is some cake?” Abi asked.

Honey tipped her head to the side.

“Are you a fiend for sweets, too?” Honey asked.

“A fiend?” Abi asked. “You mean like the fairy envoys? They really did eat a lot sugary things.”

Honey nodded. They fell silent.

“To answer your question, I am not,” Abi said. “I wanted to celebrate with you. Although, I am not sure that I understand the celebration.”

“Let’s get some cake first,” Honey said. She held up the bottle. “And we have champagne!”

“Sounds like a plan,” Abi said.

“M.J. brought it all the way from France!” Honey said. “It was for … well …”

Honey’s face dropped. She didn’t want to feel disappointed but she did.

“I’m so sorry, Honey,” Abi said. “It’s only me.”

Honey smiled.

“You are enough,” Honey said. She smiled. “I can always go hang out with Nelson and a bunch of sick kids.”

Abi grinned at Honey, and Honey actually started to feel better.

“Shall I get the cake?” Abi asked.

“What?” Honey asked. “Do you know our secret hiding place?”

“Of course,” Abi said.

“But …” Honey started.

Abi lifted a shoulder and smiled. Honey grinned at her smile.

“I’ll get the glasses if you get the cake,” Honey said.

“Deal,” Abi said.

Honey spun in place and went to the counter. Using her hands, she pressed up on the counter to get glasses from the cabinet. She collapsed back into her chair. When she turned around, Abi was sitting at the table.

The cake was in front of her.

“Hey, that’s not fair!” Honey said.

“I would have gotten the glasses to, but you said that you would,” Abi grinned. “I did not wish to get in your way.”

Shaking her head, Honey wheeled her way back to the table. Abi cut generous pieces for both of them and set them on plates that appeared out of nowhere. Honey struggled with the champagne bottle. She gave it to Abi who opened it easily. They were soon eating cake and drinking champagne.

“This is lovely,” Abi said. “I am so delighted to be here to celebrate with you, dearest Honey.”

The cake had white frosting and was white cake on the inside. Sandy had placed raspberries between the layers along with some of the raspberry jam they had made together last summer. The cake was magnificent.

“Do you know — will Sandy survive?” Honey asked.

“I don’t see why not,” Abi said. “No one can be sure, of course. Life is precarious in even the strongest among us. But Sandy … I believe that she will be fine.”

Honey nodded her head.

“And Nash?” Honey asked.

“He has some things to learn, as does his friend Teddy,” Abi said. “It will be fine. You will see.”

Honey nodded and turned her attention to her cake.

“You care a lot,” Abi said.

Honey nodded.

“I didn’t have much family growing up, certainly not anyone that really cared about me,” Honey said. “My mom was always busy with her men. My sister was cruel, evil, really. And …”

Honey shrugged.

“This is the best family I’ve ever known,” Honey said. “They cared for me when I was injured. I don’t think I would have survived it without Jake and Sam, and then meeting Jill and Sandy and Tanesha and Heather!”

Honey nodded.

“I love M.J., more than I can say,” Honey said. “But it’s those women — you, Val, and Delphie, included — that make my life work.”

Abi smiled at Honey’s words.

“Will you explain to me what we are celebrating?” Abi asked. “Please go slowly as all of this is very new to me. I don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it when Jacob told me about it.”

“Jake told you?” Honey asked.

“He was excited to celebrate with you,” Abi said. “I know that he’s disappointed not to be here.”

Honey’s eyes welled with tears, which she swiped away. She smiled at Abi.

“Well, I was injured,” Honey said.

“How were you injured?” Abi asked. “I know that I should know this information, but somehow, I do not.”

“Oh,” Honey said with a nod. “Okay. Um … Let’s see. Jake and Jill had just gotten together. Valerie had returned from LA and decided she really wanted to be with Mike. Jake had been injured but had healed up. Val wanted to have a party to show off Mike and celebrate her renewed life here in Denver. Jake invited me.”

“Of course,” Abi said.

“Well, it wasn’t as clear then,” Honey said. “Jake’s dad, Sam, was in the fake marriage with my mother.”

“Really?” Abi said, leaning back in her chair to listen.

“Crazy, right?” Honey asked. “He had just ended it. My evil older sister was with Jill’s ex-husband.”

“The one killed by Perses,” Abi said.

“That’s the same night,” Honey said.

“Oh,” Abi said.

“They planned to steal Katy — kidnap her — for some crazy reason or another, I can’t remember,” Honey said. “But Paddie’s auntie and her team — M.J.’s on that team — were here to stop them.”

“Sounds like a wild night,” Abi said. “Where were you in all of this?”

“I …” Honey said. She blushed. “Jake gave me a credit card and told me to get a ‘really nice dress.’ That’s what he told me. So I did. It was super expensive, but he said he didn’t care.”

“It was blue …” Honey said with a sigh. “My hair was up and I even put on make-up! I danced with some of the movie stars that were there and some Lipson people. I …”

“It sounds wonderful,” Abi said.

“It was,” Honey said.

“What happened?” Abi asked.

“My sister,” Honey said softly. Her emotion welled and her eyes filled with tears. “She …”

Honey pointed to the landing just below the long stairs to Jill and Jacob’s loft.

“Right there,” Honey said. “She tried to kill me. She almost did, but Jill … I would have died …”

Honey sighed. She cleared her throat.

“I was in the hospital for a long time,” Honey said. “Paralyzed. She’s cut right through my spine. My sister, that is.”

“Oh dear,” Abi said. “How awful. I have seen this before. It’s a terrible injury.”

Honey nodded. She ate some cake to avoid looking at Abi.

“I’ve been like this since she hurt me,” Honey said, looking up at Abi.

Abi nodded.

“About a year ago,” Honey said, clearing her throat again. Tears began to fall down her face. “I was invited to join at trial for a promising technique to reconnect my spine. I could walk again!”

Honey smiled at the idea.

“I had to do the work,” Honey said. “I had to learn to control my legs again — as much as I can. I had to be sure to make that connection. And I did it! Every day. Oh it was so hard!”

“What happened today?” Abi asked.

“Today, I met with the doctors,” Honey said. “They say that I’m ready to have the procedure done. Since the time that I was admitted to the program, three other people have undergone this treatment and all three of them can walk again!”

Speaking in a rush of language, Honey continued on.

“I’ve felt so conflicted,” Honey said. “I love the wheelchair community. I haven’t really hated being like this. I finally decided that I was going to be like this for life, I may as well get used to it. So I invested in the community. Got to know people. And, I mean it took a long time, but I’m okay being wheelchair bound.”

“Then this came up …” Honey looked at Abi. “It was a hard decision to make but, now, I really want to walk again. So, I have a chance now. I mean, it’s not 100% but … We scheduled a date to start the treatments. I might be able to walk by the end of next year.”

Abi’s eyebrows dropped with concern.

“What is it?” Honey asked.

“I never knew this was something you wanted,” Abi said. “That’s all. You’ve always seemed so …”

Honey nodded.

“That’s just it,” Honey said. “I think that I should want to stay in the chair. But, the idea that I could walk again? It’s like a dream come true. I mean, MJ and I would have another child or two and … I could truly be over it.

“I mean, this thing happened and my life turned upside down and I …” Honey shook her head. “It probably doesn’t make any sense.”

“You make great sense,” Abi said with a nod. “Would you really want to be ‘over’ this argument with your sister?”

“What do you mean?” Honey asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Abi said. “In my experience, humans don’t really want to ‘get over’ things. They carry around their pains and resentments for all of their life. Look at this scar — it was his fault. You must know this.”

Honey gave a slow nod of her head.

“I know what you mean,” Honey said. She took a bite of cake and savored the taste. “This is good cake.”

Abi nodded. They ate in silence for a while as each woman sorted through their thoughts.

“Why did you ask about my sister?” Honey asked. “I mean, me.”

Honey gave a frustrated shake of her head.

“Why did you ask me about getting over my sister?” Honey asked.

“I can fix this little problem with your spine,” Abi said.

Honey scowled at Abi.

“With some fairy magic?” Honey asked.

“I am no fairy,” Abi said.

Honey shook her head and sneered.

“I would rather have real science,” Honey said with a sniff. “Then some … wait, you’re not a fairy?”

“I am not,” Abi said.

“What are you?” Honey asked. Her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, I …”

“It is a fair question, Honey,” Abi said. She smiled. “You have heard of the ‘First mother’?”

“The Navajo thing?” Honey asked.

Abi gave a quick nod.

“I know something about it,” Honey said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

“You’ve heard of an Earth Mother,” Abi said.

Honey pointed to Abi ,and Abi nodded.

“What does that mean?” Honey asked.

Abi gave her a bright smile.

“I’m sorry, did I offend you?” Honey asked. “My mom always says that I offend people with my stupid questions.”

“I think you are wonderfully practical,” Abi said. “After all, what does all of that mean?”

Nodding, Honey looked a little relieved.

“I am the earth,” Abi said. “The earth is me.”

Honey leaned forward and whispered, “Really?”

Abi nodded.

“How cool,” Honey said. “How come you’re …”

Honey gestured to Abi.

“I mean, you look so human,” Honey said.

“I wish to look like this so I do,” Abi said.

“Were you a dinosaur?” Honey asked her voice filled with wonder.

Nodding, Abi laughed.

“Wow,” Honey said. “I mean … wow!”

Abi grinned.

“You are every bit your daughter’s mother,” Abi said.

“She’s so magnificent,” Honey blushed. “I’m just … well …”

Honey thought for a moment and then leaned forward again.

“Will you show me?” Honey whispered.

Abi held up her human hand so that the palm faced Honey. She put her hand onto the table. In a moment, her hand joined the table. Her separate hand was gone. It now looked like Abi had no hand. Instead her wrist went into the table at a right angle.

“Wow,” Honey said.

Abi shook off the table and her hand returned.

“Have you joined the earth before?” Honey asked.

“I have,” Abi said. “I was here for a long time by myself.”

Abi pointed to Honey.

“You will not tell anyone what I tell you,” Abi demanded.

“Never,” Honey said.

“Gilfand believes we are twins,” Abi said.

“You’re not?” Honey asked.

Abi shook her head.

“I was so lonely that I wanted to rejoin the earth,” Abi said. “She was molten then. No land. No water. The earth would not allow me to return. I am separate so that I can advocate and care for her.”

“Do you do that?” Honey asked.

“I do what I can,” Abi said with a nod. “I have saved her a few times. I have missed a few more. I was in the Fairy Queendom when the world slipped into danger with this climate change. I missed it. I trusted humans to care about their home. That is my oversight. I can only work now to do what can be done to save the human race. Long after you are gone, I will be here.”

Abi nodded. Honey fell silent.

“What would you do to me?” Honey asked.

“I would rearrange your molecules,” Abi said. “Your scar, both inside and out, is horizontal about three inches wide.”

Honey nodded.

“I would return you to whole,” Abi said. “Your body wishes to be whole. Your body is like the earth. You are made up of the entire universe. The entire universe strives for wholeness. I will tap into your body’s own desire to be whole and return your body to health. But …”

“But?” Honey asked.

“It only works if you are ready to let go of this thing with your sister,” Abi said. “Give up the burden of this injury. Embrace your wholeness. I cannot fight your human will. You would have to align yourself with your body and mind’s desire for wholeness.”

Honey tipped her head to the side and looked at Abi.

“I don’t know how,” Honey said, emphasizing every word.

“You just let it go,” Abi said. “I have to let go of my form to embrace another.”

“Shape shifting?” Honey asked.

“It’s a kind of shape shifting,” Abi said. “Akin to that skill. But instead, we are taking the cells, healing them, and reorganizing them.”

“Show me,” Honey said. “Fix my hands.”

“I cannot until you’re ready to change,” Abi said.

Abi picked up her fork and took a bite of cake.

“But isn’t that what we’re celebrating?” Abi asked. “That you are ready to embrace change.”

Honey squinted at Abi for a moment. Then Honey closed her eyes.

“It’s too much of a burden to carry,” Abi said, in a soft, kind voice. “No one can heal and carry the rage — appropriate or otherwise — at the one who injured them. It’s like being pulled in two directions. It is unlivable.”

Honey nodded. She sighed.

“I am ready,” Honey said. “Can you take the rage from me?”

“No,” Abi said. “It doesn’t need to be taken from you by magic. You just need to set it down — like luggage set on the side of the road. It’s time to set it down. The trick then is to not pick it up again.”

“I am willing,” Honey said.

“Good,” Abi said. She clapped her hands together and gave Honey a bright smile. “Let’s get started.”

Denver Cereal continues next week…

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