'I just need to keep running'
Blonde hair whipped around a Bristol street corner, running from the beach.
'If it's after me, I just need to keep away from all of them,'
Flip-flops in one hand and fear mixed with determination in her eyes. She turned another corner. She smirked; she could see no sign of her being followed. She must've outrun them.
She slowed down to a quick walk and melted into the Saturday afternoon crowds, though she was the only one walking away from the shore, she melded in well. She had almost become relaxed with the lack of tension when something fell on her head. It was light, it was cold and it was wet.
It took a moment for her to realise that she should be scared again. Except, now she couldn't run. If it was in the rain, then she couldn't out run it anymore.
"Damn…" she hissed under her breath.
She began to run again, though she knew she could never outrun the rain, especially if it was following her. She ran down the high street and turned around another corner, down into the back roads. There were fewer people here, but the rain only seemed to get heavier, as though it were only falling on her head. She raised her arms up and with her palms flat, she began to push her hands apart, spreading her arms. Strangely, as she made these yoga-like movements, the dark, heavy clouds succumbed and began to pull apart. The strain could be seen on her face, but it was still working and soon the clouds began to crumble apart, their form could not remain and their colours began to pale. The darkness was cleansed and the sun shined through once more. She smiled at her work and sighed in relief.
Bzz. Bzz. Bzz.
She could feel the vibrations in her cargo short pocket. Caller I.D. said it was Chelsea, she flipped open her phone, just like in the noughties.
"Hey Chels!" she sang.
"Brooke!" Chelsea yelled down the phone "what the hell? You just ran off and left your family and me at the beach! Where are you?"
"Sorry, I'm really sorry, something really important came up," Brooke pleaded "but it's over now so I'll be back as soon as, OK?"
"Brooke…" Chelsea sighed "this was meant to be our chance to get your parents to like me, but when you just run off and I can't explain, they just think I don't know you and I can see it in their eyes how much they don't like me. Especially your mum and grandma."
"Don't worry, we can still make this happen!" Brooke said, beginning to jog back "besides neither of them would hurt a fly. Once they get to know you, they'll love you, I promise."
"Brooke, your grandma just told the story of how she punched a shark in 1942!" Chelsea announced "and she didn't stop staring at me the whole time!"
Brooke began to run faster at this news.
"All right, I get it, I'm on my way," Brooke said, admitting defeat "just- just try not to let them get to you, please?"
"…" Chelsea was quiet "…fine. I'll try."
"Thanks, be right there," upon that note, Brooke snapped the phone shut and leapt into a full-on sprint.
She ran back down the street, back around the three corners and jumped down the steps onto the soft sand. She slipped her flip-flops back on her feet and walked across the beach to a small congregation of people sitting on towels. There was Brooke's father, mother, sister and grandmother all sitting facing Chelsea, Brooke's girlfriend,
"I'm back!" Brooke called, "Gran, I heard you told the shark story again."
"Yes, I did," Brooke's Gram, Patty, said proudly, she then turned to look at Chelsea with meaning in her eyes "punched a Great White square in the eye."
"Yes, you told me," Chelsea said trying to be polite "um, I brought some lemonade with me if anyone wants some?"
"No!" Brooke's mother, Sandra, said a little too quickly before correcting herself "don't waste it, we brought our own."
Brooke looked at her mother, anger hidden behind smiling eyes.
"Actually Chels, I'm kinda thirsty from before," Brooke said.
"Oh, Brooke, you know how I hate to open something we won't use, just have some of ours," Sandra pushed her bottle forward.
"That's fine mum, you and everyone share that and me and Chels will share one," Brooke said firmly, smiling sarcastically "besides, she bought it especially for today, it'd be a shame to waste the money she spent."
The tension around the family changed. Brooke and Sandra just stared at each other for a while. Brooke may have inherited her father's blonde hair, but she got her willpower from her mother, and neither was about to back down as they silently argued with each other. Even when Brooke took the bottle from Chelsea and swallowed down the lukewarm, overly sweet liquid, the visual contact was never broken.
"How about a sandwich?" Chelsea interrupted "there are some over here, anyone?"
"I do!" Brooke's little sister, Abbey, spoke out.
"OK!" Chelsea smiled hopefully, having gained one ally, even though she was 8 "which one would you like?"
Chelsea tucked her short brunette hair behind her ear as she leant to pick up the cut triangle. She handed the treat to Abbey with a smile, who accepted it cheerily, but Sandra watched slyly through the entire transaction. Abbey began to tuck in heartily, demolishing the sandwich in seconds.
When Abbey did finish, Sandra didn't hesitate ta moment before pulling out a portable, transparent bottle of anti-septic gel.
"Hands," Sandra said, and, on command, Abbey presented her very slightly sticky hands to her mummy. Sandra then squirted a large dollop onto Abbey's palms. She laughed at the silly sound it made and Sandra laughed with her, but Brooke just glared.
"Mum," Brooke said firmly, glaring.
Sandra looked up at her daughter feigning innocence.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?" Sandra pretended before she 'suddenly' recognised the look in Brooke's eyes "oh, don't be silly darling! Her hands were going to get all sticky. Don't pull such a face."
Brooke didn't retract her expression, but she softened slightly. Sensing the tension, Brooke's father, Patrick, finally spoke up.
"Abbey," he said playfully "would you like to go to sea now?"
"Patrick, she's just eaten," Sandra reminded.
"I'm just going to get her feet wet, that's all," he said, he then turned to Chelsea and smiled "Chelsea, would you like to come with us?"
Chelsea looked up at Patrick and grinned, she looked at Brooke and they smiled at each other. Chelsea stood up and Brooke smiled up at all three of them as they began to walk off, Abbey having each hand in one of theirs.
"Oh, Patrick!" Sandra said, stretching out the anti-bacterial gel.
"We're already at the sea my love," he said "if she does get dirty, we'll just wash it in the ocean."
Sandra held the small, clear bottle out for a moment more, but soon retracted it to her pocket. She sent them off with a 'be careful' and watched the trio walk off to the low-tide sea.
"I think I'll go get myself a hat at one of these shops," Patty said, beginning to walk off slowly.
"Oh, mum, I'll walk you," Sandra offered.
"I don't need to be walked Sandra, I'm not dead yet," Patty joked and Sandra was forced to relaxed.
Now, it was just Sandra and Brooke sitting down on colourful beach towels, facing each other, not smiling and not pretending to get along.
"So, how's schoo-"
"What the hell mum?" Brooke interrupted.
"What the hell was that little stunt you pulled with Abbey?" Brooke hissed, "she gets a fricking sandwich from Chelsea and you can't stop yourself 'cleansing' her? What the hell was that?"
"I have no ide-"
"Cut the crap!"
"Brooke Celia Morgan! I won't allow that language!"
"And I should allow that behaviour?" Brooke retorted "when I told you about me and her, you were fine with it, but now that you've met her and she's done nothing but try and get you to like her you just won't have it? What the hell?"
"I just think that you and her should think this through a little more before you-"
"Do you even know what you're trying to say right now?"
"You just need to realise that this thing between you and her," Sandra began again "is more than likely a…"
"A what?" Brooke said expectantly "a what mum? Joke? Lie? Sin?"
"…A phase," Sandra said, Brooke rolled her eyes as Sandra explained "I know you think you know what you want right now and I can understand how your friendship with this girl would make a relationship of this 'sort' seem favourable, but you're going to grow out of it and I just want it to be easier for you."
"Oh, shut it mum!" Brooke snapped, "you read one bloody chapter of a book about my 'sort' of relationship and suddenly it's all that matters. Did you even read the rest of the book or did you just skip to 'How do I undo the curse?'"
"Now, you're being very unfair on me," Sandra said, her patience growing thin "it's not easy to hear that your child is…gay."
The way she whispered the word set something off in Brooke.
"I don't expect a parade, mum, or even total understanding," Brooke was seething, "in fact, I prepared myself for some hardships about this; I predicted some attempts to make me understand my sexuality in the way you wanted me to, I even prepared myself for Father Tim to show up in our living room to give me some Leviticus shit, but you felt the need to scrub clean the very contact Abbey had with Chelsea right in front of us and that is what's really pissing me off right now!"
Sandra rose up and Brooke followed suit.
"Do you think this is easy? I had plans for you! A husband, a wedding, children, my grandchildren, now it's all ruined!" Sandra screamed.
"How the hell is any of that your decision? I've got plans of my own for my life, y'know! A career, my own family, maybe children too and another part of the future I want is Chelsea!" Brooke retorted.
Sandra and Brooke both turned to see Patty standing on a mound of sand with her new hat on her head, hands on her hips and a dissatisfied look on her face.
"Not now mum," Sandra sighed.
"Oh yes now!" Patty said, waddling down "this is a family outing and you're both going to sit here and act pleasant or so help me God I'll put you both over my knee right now!"
"Mum, I think we're a bit too old for-"
"Don't you dare give me any backtalk Cassandra!" Patty interrupted "you might be 4 or 44, but you're never too old for me to tell what's what! And that goes for you too missy! Now. Sit."
"Gran, come on, you're both the same," Brooke argued, "you don't want to like Chelsea any more than mum does. You even told her the shark story to scare her off."
"Now, why do you think everything we do is homophobic?" Patty retorted, "honestly, all this television has made you paranoid. I would've done the same thing if it'd been a boy. I did the same to Patrick when he first met me to take your mother out, I'm doing the same for you and, if fate allows, I'll do the same for little Abbey, It's just what I do. Now, keep your mouth shut about it, the both of you. We may not be in a time where etiquette is as common as I remember, but we Dorian women have a good reputation to uphold and I won't have you spoiling that over such a silly feud."
Both Brooke and Sandra held their pride high above much else in their lives, but even they knew they couldn't argue with Grandma. At least, they couldn't argue and win.
The three women sat down and were quiet for a time. Then, the sound of soft sobs could be heard approaching. They all turned to see Abbey with wet eyes in Chelsea's arms and Patrick rubbing her back.
"What happened?" Sandra was up like a rocket and over to her little girl "shush, shush, it's OK. It's OK. What happened? What did you do?"
"Sandra," Patrick warned.
"It's nothing. Just some older boys ran into her whilst she was playing," Chelsea said, waving it off, she turned her attention to Abbey "but it doesn't bother us, does it? Just a couple of meanies. But Abbey's strong, isn't she, strong and brave."
Sandra was quiet for a bit as she took Abbey out of Chelsea's arms and held her to her chest as she sat back down. Chelsea sat next to Brooke and Patrick returned to his foldout chair next to Sandra. Brooke gave Chelsea a kiss on the cheek as she sat down, much to the silent annoyance of Sandra.
The afternoon dragged on uncomfortably until everyone felt awkward enough to travel the five-minute walk back to the Morgan household. Everyone travelled inside except Chelsea who said her goodbyes to Brooke in the doorway of the house.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay?" Brooke pleaded, "it would really piss of my mum."
"Which is exactly why I'm leaving," Chelsea reminded.
"At least let me walk you to the bus stop," Brooke offered, preparing to go back out.
"No, I'll be fine," Chelsea reassured. "now, go! See just how much they didn't like me."
"Mum," Brooke corrected, "the only person who refused to try and like you was my mum. My dad and gran were nice and Abbey loved you."
"If you say so…" Chelsea said, "now, go. I have a home to go to."
"OK," Brooke pouted "sext ya later?"
"I'd be worried if you didn't," Chelsea replied. They locked lips for a second and Chelsea waved as she walked away.
Brooke smiled as she walked back into her home with everyone assembled at random points around the kitchen. Brooke's smile quickly disappeared at the prospect of the conversation she was about to begin, but she knew she had to.
"So," she began "what does everyone think?"
The room was quiet for a moment, until Patrick coughed. Everyone turned to him, waiting for his evaluation. He was clearly not expecting this adaptation of Judgement Day.
"Ill go first, shall I?" he said sarcastically "uh, I liked her. She was polite, friendly, and very pretty. I think you've pulled a good one Brooke."
Brooke smiled at her dad and thanked him for his words and she relaxed noticeably.
"I agree," Patty said, "she's a good girl. There's something in her eyes, she's got something good in her."
Brooke almost had tears in her eyes as she bent down to hug her grandmother in her chair. When Brooke came back up, she looked over to her mother who had her face turned away. Brooke's smile quickly faded as she prepared herself for Sandra's comments, steeling her eyes and stiffening her lips.
"She was…" Sandra began.
"She was…?" Brooke pressed.
"She was…" Sandra raised her chin "one of them."
The room was filled with bitter tension. Patrick returned his glare to the ground. Brooke bit her lip and ran her hand through her hand, not knowing what to say, whilst Sandra just looked at her. But not Patty. Patty stood up, her chair scraped across the tile kitchen floor. Patty circled around the table to Sandra and stood right in front of her. Everyone looked mildly surprised, but Patty looked less than happy.
"Cassandra Melissa Morgan!" Patty started "my mother was a good Christian woman. She raised me to be the same and I raised you as she would have. But she did not raise a bigot in me and I didn't for you! Now your daughter is trying to reach out to you and I understand that's not easy for her or the rest of 'them' to do. So, I'd wipe that pathetic sad look of your face, apologise to this brave young lady and then you go out and do the same to that lovely woman who just left."
"Mother, Chelsea took a bus, she's probably long gone by now," Sandra said in a condescending tone.
"Cassandra! You know that bus is as late as a your father to dinner!" Sandra waged a menacing finger in Sandra's face "the Good Lord is making that child wait there so you can apologise, just like he gave me the strength to send that shark packing. But first, there's someone right here that you need to give words of apology to."
Sandra looked from her mother to Brooke with sorrow and defeat in her eyes. She stepped out from between Patty and the wall and looked her daughter dead in the eye.
"Brooke," Sandra breathed, "I am sorry. You should understand I've been blessed; my friends, family and your father have always supported me and, well, I suppose I didn't realise that it's your turn to be blessed. I just want you to have everything I had and more! But I guess what I wanted for you stopped me from understanding what you wanted for yourself."
"You still don't approve, do you?" Brooke asked. Sandra looked up earnestly.
"No I don't," Sandra said "I'm sorry, it's just wrong in my eyes. But, if you want to be with Chelsea, I won't stop you. And if you ever need me for anything, I am here for you."
"…" Brooke looked up at her mother, her eyes beginning to soften and a smile crossing her features "that's all I wanted."
Sandra had tears in her eyes and she opened her arms to her daughter. Brooke walked into a tight embrace with her mother. Sandra rubbed Brooke's back and Brooke smiled a beautiful, serene smile. Sandra finally pulled away; both of them had tears in their eyes but smiles on their faces.
"All right," Sandra said, wiping her eyes "I'll go and speak to Chelsea then."
Sandra walked out to the hall, picked up her keys and walked through the front door.
Brooke turned to her grandmother, her grin still imprinted on her face. No words were exchanged, Brooke just ran into her arms and they sway slightly as they embrace. Brooke feels Patrick's comforting hand on her shoulder as he walks out of the room. Brooke and Patty pull apart, still smiling.
"Right, well," Patty said sounding satisfied "I'd better go check on your granddad. If he's up, which I doubt, he'll be wondering where we are. Tea in awhile, so you have a shower."
"All right, Gran," Brooke responded, watching Patty walk upstairs.
Left alone, she lets her true feelings shine. So, naturally, she began to dance. Crazy happy movements and shaking hips are all she does, but it's still fun to do and to watch. She starts skipping around the kitchen and thrust her fist into the air. Upon said movement, the sink began to shake and make odd sounds. Brooke didn't notice at first, but she then began to swing her arms and the sink became a geyser a fountain of water began to spurt out. Brooke finally took notice and rushed over to the sink to try and stop it, but the water only get more violent. The taps also began to regurgitate water. Brooke began to panic and she swung her arms and yelled for it to stop! On the contrary, the sink erupted, the porcelain bowl exploding out of its place and gliding through the air, nearly landing right on Brooke's head. Fortunately, Brooke stepped back and the sink shattered on the hard floor. Brooke looked down to see the damage done, but when she looked up the water had begun to collect in a large ball. Brooke's eyes widened with fear and recognition and she began to step back. As she did so, the water began to morph into a shape, at first it was unrecognisable, but then it began to lengthen out and become slim, with a small bulb-shaped head that held itself up like a periscope. Brooke looked terrified, but she was too stunned to run, she could only manage her steady shuffle across the floor. However, she began to steel her nerves and mentally planned her movements to the door, ready to get away from this nightmare. Suddenly, she bolted towards the door, attempting to flee as she had done before, but the water, which had now clearly taken the form a large serpent, was fast. It sensed her movement and flew into the air, overtaking her cleanly and then began coiling itself around her. The snake continued to drain water from the taps, continually making itself longer, thicker and scarier. Its rock hard body and bone-crushing rigidity locked on Brooke's body, as if trying to squeeze the energy right out of her.
"Again, I'm so sorry," was heard on the other side of the dark brown front door, it was Sandra's voice "I'm so happy you've decided to stay for tea."
"Well, after that conversation, it's certainly hard to say no," Chelsea's cheery voice could be heard outside as well.
'No! They can't come in! They'll be killed!' Brooke screamed in her head.
For whatever of its own reason, the serpent agreed and, when Sandra put her key in the lock, the serpents tail slammed against the inside part of the lock and sent the key flying back into the front garden.
"Oh? What the-?" Sandra could be heard, as she went to retrieve the lost key.
'Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!' Brooke screamed again 'go away, dammit!'
Then, without explanation, the serpent's grip loosened. Brooke looked at the head of it and noticed something, a miracle. Steam. It was rising fast too, it filled the ceiling, but seemed to faze through into 1st floor. The serpent was evaporating so quickly, within seconds the volume of water had decreased to the point that it could no longer support Brooke's weight, but it also couldn't keep Sandra from opening the front door. Brooke fell down into a large puddle of water, her hair and clothes soaked and the room hot and humid. Sandra forced open the door by barging in with her shoulder; she nearly stumbled onto her daughter when the wood simply gave way. Sandra and Chelsea looked down to see Brooke looking up through strands of water saturated hair, her grey tank top was dark and clingy, her cargo shorts weren't as bad, but they still looked like they'd swam from England to Ireland or even France. After a second's adjustment, both Sandra and Chelsea were down helping Chelsea up again, constantly asking if she was OK and what happened.
"I'm fine," she would say to one question, but the other was harder. With the front hall and kitchen drenched and the sink shattered on the ground, there was no easy explanation, not even the truth. Brooke simply had to tell them that there must have been something wrong with the plumbing because when she turned on the tap, everything just exploded.
"Well, what about this scratch on your forehead?" Sandra asked, whilst placing a plaster on it.
"I guess, a part of the sink must've scratched me without me noticing," Brooke lied, it was really from when the serpent had either picked her up or dropped her back down.
Patty soon came down the stairs; she wore a look of shock on her face. She stepped carefully as she made her way over to the other girls.
"What on Earth happened in here?" she asked, stunned "I take my hearing aid out for a few minutes and all this happens?"
"Mum, can make sure Abbey doesn't come downstairs with no shoes on and bring down thee broom, it's in the upstairs cupboard," Sandra said. Patty nodded and made her way back up the stairs. "Come on darling, let's get you dried off."
After a change of clothes, Brooke was told to go to bed for a nap. Chelsea and Sandra stayed with Brooke until she finally bent to their will and fell asleep. Sandra went downstairs whilst Chelsea stayed to hold Brooke's hand.
Fairly soon, Patty knocked gently on the door to se Chelsea turn and smile.
"Everyone OK?" she asked gently.
"Yes, thank you," Chelsea replied "Brooke's just sleeping it off."
"Of course," Patty smiled "but I bet you'd like a drink of something."
"Oh no, don't bother about me, I'll just-"
"Nonsense," Patty interrupted "all you've had is stress today, you'd best have something, I'll get you some water."
Patty then left the room before Chelsea could argue any further.
"Told you she'd like you," Brooke muttered.
"And I told you to get some rest," Chelsea retorted, half-playful, half-serious.
Downstairs, Patty had reached the ground floor and stopped. She looked left and right for sign of anyone else there. Deciding nobody was around; she took a deep breath and began to walk through the front hall. As she walked there was a change in the air, the pieces of material and fractures in the wall began to vibrate, and then shudder until they began to float through the air, reassembling themselves in their original places. As patty walked past the individual shattered remains, they all in turn zoomed past and around her until they returned to where they were meant to be. Even the trail of water lifted itself into the air, like a dilapidated shadow of what it once was, swam through the air back into the water pipes, shortly followed by the resurrected porcelain sink.
Patty finally reached the kitchen cupboard and pulled out a glass. When she turned around only the last little pieces were still travelling through the air, fitting back into place without so much as seam out of place.
Patty walked over to sink and turned on the cold water, proving that it once again worked perfectly, if not better than before. She filled up the glass and turned back around.
Ding Dong. Ding Dong.
The bell rang cheerily, but seemed to be pushed in a hurried fashion.
"Coming!" Patty sang as she walked over to the door.
Patty looked through the peephole, but did not recognise the red, white or brown hair in front of the door. Nonetheless, Patty opened the door with a confused look in her face. She looked out onto the three female faces before her, all with polite, slightly smiles, but honest eyes.
"Hello," the one with red hair greeted nicely "my name's Grace. These are my friends Lucy and Jo. We were just wondering if, um-"
"Witches," Patty announced suddenly. All three of them snapped their heads towards her, eyes now filled with surprise.
"Um, yes," Grace said, clearly confused.
"You're a witch too," Jo said plainly "aren't you?"
"I am," Patty nodded.
"But you're not the witch we're looking for," Lucy stated, "I can tell you're worried, but it's not about you."
"Your granddaughter," Grace elaborated "Brooklyn."
"What do you want with her?" Patty asked with her head held high, but worry and panic in her voice.
"We can help her with her developing powers," Jo explained.
"How did you find us?" Patty asked.
"It's part of my power," Grace said, smiling "I could tell she needed us, so we came."
"Well, she's resting right now," Patty said, gripping the door "perhaps you can come back then."
'Grace, send me in,' Lucy thought, she then directed her gaze deep into Patty's eyes 'She's probably ready now.'
There was a short gap whilst Grace pushed Lucy's empathic powers into Patty's head. Encouraging her to accept Lucy's will and let them help.
"Although," Patty said, reluctance in her voice, "she's probably ready now."
"Then, we'll come in?" Grace said more than asked.
"Ye-, no!" Patty said, determined "you can wait in the living room. I'd rather not stress her out more."
"More?" Lucy asked, "she's stressed now? But she's sleeping. Did something happen earlier?"
They all walked into the living room and sat together on the old, dark green couch. They sat close together, whilst Patty sat in her pre-assigned armchair.
"I don't really think that's any of your concern," Patty said defiantly.
"Well, if it has any connection to why we're here, I think it probably does," Grace said.
"I think it'd be better if we waited for her to decide whether or not to tell anyone," Patty replied.
There was along awkward silence then. There was little sound anywhere in the house, only the faint ticking of a clock somewhere in the house. The three girls spent a few minutes looking around the house, but Patty just looked at them, not blinking, not moving, just staring them down.
'Try and find something in the house,' Grace whispered into Lucy's mind.
'All right,' Lucy replied 'cover for me.'
Lucy closed her eyes and searched for something that might get them closer to finding what Grace had picked up on. Lucy searched the house for certain emotions. She found fatigue, concern, pride and then she found what she was looking for. Fear. It was the exact fear she'd felt from Grace's description of the message she'd heard. Lucy went closer, investigating the fear, preparing for the worst. Lucy connected.
Lucy suddenly felt her air supply cut off, her lungs burning inside her chest. She couldn't open her mouth or breathe through her nose. She felt suspended in something, like she couldn't move. She felt too weak to travel up, too scared to travel down and too lost to travel anywhere else. The pressure was closing in on her body and soon she felt like her lungs would burst. She was drowning. She was suspended in an endless ocean, she was too deep to travel upwards and the pressure was slowly attempting to crush her bones.
'Brooke!' Lucy screamed internally 'you need to calm down! Relax! This isn't real! Just calm down!'
Lucy felt her words stretch out and die. She couldn't reach Brooke was too far in to disconnect. Lucy had never understood the boundaries of her empathy; she felt as though she was going to drown and die, but would she simply return to her own body? Something told her that it wasn't so simple. Lucy was beginning to lose consciousness, her lungs felt as though they were on fire and her eyes were either tearing up or bleeding, she couldn't be sure. Lucy knew these weren't her feelings, they were Brooke's fears, but it didn't stop. Lucy felt a fire rising up her neck and into her mouth. Without any control over her body here, she released a large bubble. Her last chunk of air left her and Lucy felt herself pulling away from everything. She closed her eyes and began to float down, the further down she fell the darker everything felt around her. Lucy couldn't disconnect even if she remembered how to, she'd fallen too far, she was in too deep.
Then, a light.
The darkness broke apart around her and Lucy felt oxygen fly into her lungs. She flashed open her eyes, looking around into a light so powerful it obliterated the darkness, but so gentle it thankfully didn't blind Lucy. Lucy felt the warmth envelop her, then she realised that she recognised this light. It was nothing like hers, but it was almost exactly like Danny's. When Lucy was under Eric's control, Danny had used her empathy against her, by overpowering it with light. He had used his love and it had created a light so great, no darkness could touch her. Lucy relished in the light surrounding her. She knew it wasn't Danny's, she knew it could never be Danny's ever again, but that didn't take away the happiness. Then, she remembered that she had a mission. She looked up where the light was brightest and smiled.
'Danny…' Lucy thought 'thanks…this one's for you!'
Lucy took control and brought the light in slightly before thrusting her fist upwards, adding force to the power surrounding her, shattering the darkness apart and reconnecting with the surface world. Lucy felt herself travel up and out of the cold, dark ocean and into the warm sunlight.
Lucy didn't know who or how, but someone had broken through to Brooke and saved them both. She was now above the ocean and as she stared down into the navy darkness, she felt the fear rising from it entwined with the salty aroma, but the scent began to change. It became softer and sweeter, Lucy watched the darkness begin to lighten, the navy became aqua and the fear turned to hope. Hope and something else. Lucy recognised it as Danny's presence, but she soon discovered what it really was; Love.
Lucy felt herself begin to fall and the wind slip through her hair, she continued to fall but she didn't back into the ocean, she fell back into the light, then into her own body.
Lucy woke up with a jolt, a shiver running through her entire body violently. Her shoulders rose and fell and her chest flung up, her head dropped and then she flipped her hair up. She largely inhaled oxygen and forced out all the other airs from her lungs, eyes widened in shock at the return. Everyone turned to her, Jo and Grace with looks of fear and Patty with an expression of surprise mixed with mistrust.
"What's happening?" Patty asked, anxious.
"Nothing! Nothing," Lucy breathed heavily, but gathered herself "I'm quite all right. But I think we should really speak to your granddaughter before long."
"I suppose so," Patty muttered, "I'll go and check if she's in a condition to talk to you."
Patty smoothly rose from her chair and walked out of the room and upstairs. Grace and Jo waited a moment before simultaneously releasing a breath that neither realised they were holding in. They both relaxed and dropped their backs into the couch and breathed, but they were soon up again to ask Lucy questions.
"What did you see?" Grace asked.
"A lot of fear," Lucy nodded, remembering, "I think it was all tied to the water. We were both trapped in an ocean and it was so suffocating, she was definitely scared of something to do with water. But, when I tried to get her to calm down, we were both too far in for me to use my power. Then, there was a light and everything seemed to get easier…it felt like Danny."
Both Jo and Grace looked at Lucy more intently at her last words.
"I mean, it wasn't him," Lucy explained "but it was the same feeling that he gave me. I think she had someone up there with her. Obviously, they really care for each other. It was love, you guys, that was love."
Grace and Jo smiled at Lucy. They both saw how Danny's death tore her apart and how guilty she felt, but she finally seemed to be forgiving herself, if ever so slightly. Grace wrapped her arms around Lucy and they rested their heads together. Jo circled around and hugged Lucy from the other side and they all smiled until they began to laugh. All huddled in the corner of an old, green couch, they all just smiled and laughed with each other.
"Ladies," they heard Patty's voice from the living room doorway. Everyone stood up and either fixed their hair, or straightened their clothes, just trying to seem professional, but none looking directly at Patty or each other. Patty saw them and just smiled knowingly, as only a grandmother can "she'll see you now."
They all followed Patty up the stairs and to Brooke's door.
"Now, she's been under a bit of stress so please be patient and gentle," Patty encouraged with a warning glare "she won't know she's a witch, it skipped her mother's generation and she doesn't want Brooke to know, but…just keep that in mind."
"We will," Jo smiled at her "we promise."
Patty nodded, before she opened the door to see Brooke sitting up with Chelsea's hand in hers.
"Brooke?" Patty called, Brooke looked up "there are some young ladies here to see you, they just need to ask a few questions."
"Oh, OK Gran, thanks," Brooke replied.
Patty opened the door and they all filed in. Chelsea saw them all and stood up defensively, a defiant look in her eyes, but never letting go of Brooke's hand.
Patty closed the door and walked away, leaving all 5 girls in Brooke's pink, but messy room.
'That's definitely her,' Lucy broadcasted 'it feels like her.'
'And the girl who looks like she's ready to stab us?' Jo asked.
'Must be the one who gave Brooke hope,' Lucy deducted.
'Lesbians?' Grace asked, surprised.
'Well, we were bound to get there at some point,' Lucy said.
'We should also get to the point where we say something,' Jo suggested.
"Hi," Jo said with a friendly smile "I'm Jo. These are my friends Grace and Lucy. We've just spoken to your grandma and we'd like to have a word with you. Alone."
"If you don't mind," Grace swopped in.
"I mind," Chelsea said harshly, tensing slightly, ready for a fight.
"It'll only be a second, um?" Lucy said, waiting for an introduction.
"Chelsea. Chelsea Adams," Chelsea announced "and I don't see why she should have to see you alone? Why can't I be here?"
"It's a bit of a sensitive topic," Grace tried to explain without explaining, "it'll only take a moment, but we just want to be sure that she's ready for you to know just because, well, it's a big sort of deal."
"It's OK, Chels," Brooke said tightening her grip on Chelsea's hand. Chelsea turned around and looked at her lovingly, she didn't want to go, but Brooke urged her. "I can handle myself."
"All right," Chelsea nodded, she turned around, glaring at all three of them as she walked to the door, "I'll be downstairs."
Chelsea walked quickly out of the room and closed the door. The trio looked back to Brooke and prepared to tell her.
"Brooke," Grace began, sitting in the chair Chelsea had previously stationed "what we're about to tell you will probably sound crazy, but it's true and that you have to believe or your life and the lives of others could be in danger. Do you understand?"
"I guess so," Brooke said looking confused, she shifted so that she was sitting up properly, ready to accept the news.
"Brooke," Grace breathed, "you're a witch."
The room was silent for a moment. Nobody wanted to speak, Brooke simply looked up to Grace with shock in her eyes, she turned her gaze to Lucy, then to Jo, back to Grace, but then landed on Jo.
"Are you a witch?" she said, seemingly speaking solely to Jo.
"We all are," Jo said seriously "but it's OK. We can control our powers, even it does take work."
"So what, do you all stand around a big, black cauldron brewing potions?" Brooke asked sarcastically "I mean, where are the boils and brooms and black cats? And the hats! Where are the hats?"
"Look, Brooke, we know how you feel," Grace said, "it's a lot to take in, but we're here to help."
"The hell you are!" Brooke snapped, "I'm not a witch! If I were a witch, could I fly? Because I can't fly!"
"It doesn't necessarily work that way," Grace tried to explain.
"Oh! I'm sorry, maybe you could pass me the manual?" Brooke yelled. She stood up on her bed so she could easily touch the ceiling as well as look down at all the girls in the room, "or maybe How to be Witch for Dummies? I mean honestly, who do you fool with this cr-!"
Lightning and thunder flashed and crashed outside the window, silencing Brooke's rant. Jo, in the centre of the room, was controlling the storm raging solely outside Brooke's window. Her arms were spread wide as a powerful gust of wind whipped up beneath her feet and raised her into the air, bringing her up to the ceiling. Her eyes were alight with power and pent up emotion. Lighting crackled at her fingertips and the cold blew with every exhale. None of the girls had ever exhibited such a demonstration of control over their power, there was blizzard mixed with a thunderstorm raging in the very centre of Brooke's room. Brooke stared at Jo in fear and wonderment as Jo's eyes began to focus, finally aligning with Brooke.
"Sit down," Jo's voice exuded as much power as her eyes, though it was quiet she could've roared. Brooke obeyed instantly, returning to a sitting position on top of her covers. "We are witches. I am a Voodoo witch of Africa. I have made my covenant with the Loa and I guide their powers as they guide my soul. You are of Wicca, the same power of Grace; I sense this power from both of you. Now! You are necessary for what is to come, so I suggest you listen before I return even more enraged."
The light shut off from Jo's eyes and she returned to the ground. However, unlike the times the others had lost control, Jo did not fall unconscious, she stood where she had before the event and she seemed only to regain focus.
"Now," Jo said, her voice once again civil "will you listen to us?"
Brooke simply nodded for fear of what would happen if she again opened her mouth. Jo smiled kindly, a thank you for Brooke's co-operation.
"Brooke, you are a witch," Jo said "and, as with magic, we are here for a reason. We know that you know magic exists because you've seen it. That's why Grace got your message."
"My message?" Brooke asked.
"Yes," Jo explained "one of Grace's powers if telepathy. She can hear the thoughts of others. Normally, she can turn it on/off at will and she usually only hears those of us that know of her power. The reason we're here is that you and her have never met and yet you're thoughts were relayed to her. Grace you remember what the message was?"
Grace didn't respond for a second, still in shock and awe at what had transpired only moments before. But she soon snapped back in and answered.
"Yes," she answered finally, "it sounded like you were in distress. I think you said 'They can't come. They'll be killed'? That seemed to be the gist of what you said although I'm not entirely certain."
"When I was attacked…" Brooke murmured involuntarily.
"You were attacked?" Lucy asked, shocked.
"Yeah…" Brooke murmured again.
"You must tell us all about this," Jo told her "it's very important."
Brooke then went into the story of how she was attacked by the serpent. Every detail was explained, from today as she was running away from the beach until the sink incident. Brooke explained how the water follows her and that if it becomes rain that it can chase her until it catches her indefinitely. When asked how she kept safe, she told them that she'd wished for the clouds to part and they did. The three speculated that she might be another weather manipulator like Jo, but she'd only ever been able to move the clouds, not create any kind of weather effect; there was no rain, thunder or lighting, at least not because of Brooke.
"Maybe she can just move clouds?" Lucy suggested.
"It's possible, but I don't think that's it," Grace replied.
"When did you say you moved the clouds?" Jo asked.
"Whenever I thought that the water was trying to get me," Brooke explained "a lot of the time it would go into the clouds and try and catch me as rain, but I always pushed the clouds apart."
"Can you do it now?" Jo asked.
"I can try," Brooke got out of bed and walked to the window.
She looked out, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. She turned back to the others with a disappointed look on her face. She shrugged her shoulders as a sign of surrender. Jo then got up herself and pulled her over to the centre of the room.
"That's not a problem," Jo smiled sympathetically "we can just make clouds here."
Brooke looked at Jo quizzically, but Jo just smiled again with brimming confidence. She put Brooke at one point, facing the door, and stood in front of her, but with a few paces between them.
Jo put her hands to her sides and began to breathe in. She brought her palms up and dragged the air up with her, she quickly managed to create a small trail of gas-like mist following her fingertips, she gathered them in a circle and then puffed them together to make a small, stratocumulus cloud.
"The key is serenity," Jo said, "if you're calm and you keep your emotions light and cheery, they should make a cloud like that one."
The cloud began to drift across the room at a glacial pace. Eventually, floating past Brooke's face. Brooke watched travel past before it collided with her bedroom wall, over her bed, and she saw it turn back to water as it slowly dripped down her pink wall onto her white bed sheets. She then turned back to Jo who looked at her with encouragement.
"Just keep your emotions light and cheery," Jo pushed.
Brooke nodded and began to mimic Jo's movements. She started with her hands by her sides and she began to drag them upwards. She kept thinking of 'light and cheery' thoughts as she continued to try and mould the air around her. She noticed wisps of white trail her fingertips, just as Jo's had. She smiled and she brought it all together as well, she tried to make it as fluffy as possible with images of childhood, innocence and youth. She released her cloud and began to float away from her and she giggled with glee. She looked back to Lucy and Grace, smiling, then to Jo who smiled back. She looked again at her cloud, but it had grown darker and heavier. Brooke looked at it and grew afraid, causing it to grow darker and heavier until it finally became too heavy to remain as a cloud. The cloud began to leak and the water began to cocoon itself until there was no cloud left. The water formed a sphere and it began to travel back towards Brooke. The sphere widened and flattened, becoming a disc. A large hole in the disc opened and began to expand forming a very large water ring. The water increased velocity and it became slightly dangerous as it continued to close in on Brooke. The fear was apparent in Brooke's eyes, as the water seemed to become darker and heavier still. Then, a tiny node appeared from the ring and this node began to stretch out, it lengthened and widened, all from an unknown source of water, but it seemed intent on getting Brooke to acknowledge it. It eventually took shape, a snake's head, just like before. It rose up above the ring and looked down as though to target Brooke. Brooke was shivering and shaking at the sight of the serpent from before, she didn't seem able to fight it or even to pretend to be brave, she just stood there trembling like a mad woman. The snake reared back its head, showing that it was preparing to strike.
Then, a crack was heard.
The snake looked down at the ring from which it stemmed, and it almost looked as though it took a breath of worry at what it saw. The ring was freezing over and it would soon begin to take over the serpent itself. The serpent's head flicked back to see the source of the cold that would affect it so. Jo.
Jo had her arm outstretched and her fingers spread wide with a white bluster of wind bursting forth and entrapping Brooke's ring of water. The entire ring had frozen and the snake had stopped growing. It started to thrash against the confines, but it was no use, the ice was creeping up its body too quickly. In a matter of seconds it would reach the head and all would end.
The snake finally turned its head back to Brooke and Brooke looked up to it. The snake stared at her, as though it were communicating with her. Brooke also seemed intent on listening to it. Grace was looking at both of them, trying to pick up on something.
The ice had reached the base of what would've been the snake's jaw and that and the rest was quickly engulfed. Jo stayed for a few seconds to ensure that the snake was contained, but, when she was satisfied, she lowered her arm and looked to Brooke with a serious expression.
"Are you OK?" Jo asked.
Brooke nodded weakly.
"What happened?" she asked.
"It must've found a way to get into my water," Brooke was still trembling form the shock when Lucy wrapped a blanket around her shoulders "I can't escape from it."
"There's nothing you can do to stop it," Grace said suddenly with an absentee mind.
Everyone looked at her stunned, Brooke was close to tears, but this finally pushed her over. She muttered a watery 'I know' before running past Jo and out the door.
"Grace!" Lucy yelled "what the hell? Why would you say that?"
"No! I didn't mean that!" Grace tried to explain.
"Whatever. Just send me in so I can get her back here!"
Grace closed her eyes and tried to find Brooke. She was easy to find quickly hoping down the stairs, she projected Lucy's consciousness into Brooke's mind and established the connection.
'Brooke. Calm down, just calm down,' Lucy cast her emotions out into Brooke's mind. Brooke slowed down as Lucy's ideas made their way through her sub-conscious. 'Now, come back Brooke. Come back to us. We can help you.'
Brooke had stopped halfway down the stairs. If she continued, she would find herself running out the door, running from witchcraft and from something that had kept her in that room for a while now. If she turned back, she bound herself to everything she'd just been told. She would be involved.
"Brooke?" Chelsea called from the bottom of the stairs; concern in her voice "are you OK?"
Brooke turned to see her and smiled. If she turned around and went back upstairs, would she have to leave Chelsea too?
Brooke reached out her hand, inviting her to take it. Chelsea looked confused for a second, but she eventually laid her hand on top of Brooke's and let herself be dragged back up the stairs. Brooke pulled Chelsea up the stairs and to her door. Brooke held both of Chelsea's hands and looked her deep in the eyes. Neither girls said anything; they just looked at each other with their own kind of telepathy. Chelsea nodded at Brooke and they pushed open the door. Jo, Grace and Lucy were looking at them expectantly. Grace stood up and held her hand to her heart.
"Brooke, I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said in the way you meant," Grace pleaded, Grace then noticed Chelsea "Brooke…are you sure?"
Brooke looked at them all with determination in her eyes; she nodded once as her sign. The three looked to each other, deciding whether or not they approved.
'What if it goes badly? We're all exposed,' Grace thought.
'It's Brooke's secret as much as ours, if she thinks Chelsea should know, who are we to disagree?' Lucy responded.
'Lucy's right. None of us know Chelsea, only Brooke can tell how she'll react,' Jo argued, 'we have no business to say Chelsea shouldn't know.'
'I suppose your right,' Grace relented.
"Chelsea," Brooke began, "this is gonna be hard for you to believe, but please try."
"Brooke, of course," Chelsea said, looking deep into Brooke's eyes.
"It's something about me, something I just found out, but I don't know how you'll react, so please, try," Brooke pleaded.
"Brooke, you're scaring me," Chelsea stroked Brooke's hair "what is it?"
"I'm- I'm-" Brooke broke, "I'm a witch."
The room was silent.
Jo and Lucy stared at the two girls staring at each other. Grace kept her eyes to the floor, finding the dirt-trodden, white carpet suddenly extremely interesting. Brooke wouldn't let herself blink as she stared into her girlfriend's eyes and Chelsea…Chelsea seemed a little bit lost, she continued to stare into Brooke's eyes with confusion and interest, a mask of disbelief, but a spark of uncertainty was shining in her eyes. Brooke looked at her desperately trying to convince her through the silence, praying she wouldn't have to repeat herself.
Chelsea opened her mouth to say something, but then closed her mouth again. She tried again, but again held her tongue. She turned her head away for a moment before looking back to Brooke's pleading eyes.
"…What do you mean…witch?" Chelsea asked.
"Well," Brooke turned to the other girls, "they know a lot more than I do, actually."
Chelsea looked at them. Jo and Lucy focused on Chelsea whilst Grace lifted her head up to become more involved in the conversation. Chelsea crossed her arms defensively.
"Well?" Chelsea asked.
"It's a bit complicated," Lucy began.
"No. It's not complicated," Chelsea shrugged, pretending not to care "just tell me what Brooke means by 'Witch'?"
"Well, that's, uh…" Lucy stalled.
"A person with the natural-born ability to access the Global Nexus of Earth without the use of a catalyst or channel," Jo explained with a dictionary-like definition, everyone looked at her with questioning, "that's what a witch is. The four of us are all witches; we can all perform spells, incantations, rituals and brew potions. In addition, we each have a relatively unique active power; an active power being something we can do to connect with reality and assist us in our tasks through the use of magic."
All were silent, having absorbed Jo's absolute words. Lucy and Grace were surprised by Jo's definitive of answer. Brooke was stunned by the very definition, confused by the terms 'Global Nexus' and 'active powers'. But Chelsea. Chelsea was resilient to any kind of astonishment, keeping straight lips and an apathetic expression, determined to protect her pride and anything else she felt needed her.
"And how exactly do I know you're 'witches'?" Chelsea challenged.
Lucy, Grace and Jo looked between each other. Psychically discussing how they'd answer this. After apparently not coming to a decision, they all turned to look at Brooke, who, up until now, had simply looked at them confused. When they looked at her, her eyes grew wide and she put her hand to the sides of her head.
"Ah ah!" she yelled, "voices! What the hell? There are voices in my head!"
"Brooke?" Chelsea dropped the fearless façade and quickly stepped over to Brooke's side, offering what help she could "it's OK. It's OK."
"Ah! Wait! Wait, wait, oh, ok, OK," Brooke began to nod to the voices in her head, "all right. I'll do it."
"Do what? Brooke? You're starting to worry me again," Chelsea said, looking for sense in her lover's eyes.
"Um, Chels, we were just deciding that I would show you that we're witches," Brooke explained.
"You just decided? What? Nobody said anything!" Chelsea spoke sympathetically, but she soon slashed over to glare at the other three "what the hell are you trying to do? What have you done to her? Tell me, because it ends now!"
All three wore unmoved, emotionless faces to Chelsea's fury. Jo walked across the room, past Chelsea and squatted down to Brooke's level. She looked Brooke deep in her eyes. Sky blue facing sea blue.
"Brooke," Jo soothed, "it is time."
Brooke looked back at Jo and nodded slowly. She forced herself to stand up, tensing her shoulders and trying to breathe regularly, focusing her powers.
"Brooke, what're you trying to do?" Chelsea asked with an exasperated voice.
"Just watch," Brooke smiled.
Brooke closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. With Jo's encouraging words surrounding her, Brooke let her arms hang loosely be her sides. She then began to drag them up, small trails of white clinging to her fingertips and lengthening as she carried them through the air. By pulling up her hands, she carried the streaks of white through the air until they were in front of her face, she then arranged them in a large white circle. Brooke focused her eyes and the white began to clear and become bluer. The wisps of cloud soon became a clear flow of water, floating in the middle of the room. Chelsea stared at what Brooke was doing with clear shock in her eyes, Brooke couldn't focus on her water and look at Chelsea, and so she focused on the water for a moment. Jo, sensing the pending tension, returned to the trio and sat down next to Grace, with Lucy standing on Grace's right side. Brooke swirled the water in a semi-large ring of flowing water, proving the legitimacy of Jo's story.
"Girls!" a voice sang into the room.
Brooke was startled by the voice and accidently threw the water away. The water travelled over the room and targeted the three trained witches in the room. None reacted wildly, but were caught off guard nonetheless. The water was set to hit them all at the same time when the air seemed to get colder. Regardless of her lack of preparation, Jo acted quickly, she flicked her arm upwards, releasing a gust of wind, knocking the water far in another direction. However, Grace and Lucy were not as quick to react, the water hit their skin and froze on contact. Both were covered in a thin, yet confining layer of ice, restricting all movement. Everyone was caught by surprise at this development.
"Ice?" the same startling voice queried, "is that her active power?"
All those who could move looked over to Brooke door to see Patty's reappearance.
"I can see your practising your craft," Patty stepped in further, "but I'm afraid Brooke's mother doesn't approve of this part of the family's heritage and her father is a mortal, so you'll understand that you need to leave for now."
"That's all right," Jo said calmly, turning to her friends "I'll just need them released."
"Oh yes, however long you need," Patty smiled, she moved to leave when she noticed Chelsea "oh dear. You mustn't interfere with this. A witch's business is far too confusing for a mortal to handle all at once, come with me."
In Chelsea's stunned state, she didn't argue, she simply did as she was told. Despite this, as she left the room wit Patty, she never stopped looking at Brooke with eyes so wide they could be archery targets filled with fear or shock, none could be sure. Not even Brooke.
Brooke looked down to the ground, questioning something very deep, after Chelsea closed the door. She looked up to Jo, who was looking over her friends. Jo looked up and smiled.
"I'm going to need some help thawing them out," Jo announced, "and I have a theory that if you can freeze people, you can thaw them out too."
"I wouldn't be so sure," Brooke smiled, "I'm a pretty cold person."
Jo chuckled and moved to face Grace. Jo lifted up her hands and began explaining how Brooke might be able to thaw out Lucy.
"I conjure heat with desire," Jo enlightened Brooke, "but I also use anger to fuel my lightning, so try both."
Brooke nodded and held her arms up to mimic Jo. Back leaning forward into it, elbows bent slightly, fingers flared out. Jo focused her desires and the heat could be felt as it was expelled form her palms onto Grace's body. Steam quickly began to rise from Grace's body, but it would take Jo a good while to thaw her out completely. Brooke studied Jo briefly before turning to Lucy and focusing her desire into her palms. She thought of all her desires; career desires, long-term desires, life goals, sexual desires, personal desires and even wishes she had. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work too well for her. Lucy was thawing, but by the time she could move she'd be sixty. Brooke then tried to focus her anger on Lucy. She thought of everything that made her angry; boy bands, insects, 21st century vampire, 21st century werewolves, prejudice against gays, parental control, unfunny comedians, Kardashians, boys who try to have sex with her because she's a lesbian. The final one must've given her the right kick because the ice surrounding Lucy began to rapidly sublime into steam, filling the ceiling with hot clouds. Brooke looked at her work and she began to laugh at her success, feeling very pleased with herself. She looked over to Jo and Jo was smiling with her and it wasn't long before Lucy could laugh as well.
It was only a few moments after Lucy that Grace was freed herself and, after the two had warmed up, they fulfilled their promise to Patty and began to leave. Brooke offered to show them the door, and so they all walked down the stairs, to the front door.
"How can I get in contact with you guys?" Brooke asked.
"If you need us, just yell for Grace," Jo explained, "she'll definitely get the message and she'll get it to all of us."
"What if I need you? This magic stuff's hard! What if I get stuck or something?" Brooke said, panic bubbling beneath the surface.
"Then, we'll be here," Lucy smiled, "don't worry."
Brooke nodded and they all moved in for a big witch hug. When they let go, they were all smiling.
"See ya later, Brooke," Lucy grinned, walking out the door.
"Bye bye!" Grace waved, following Lucy.
"Keep the faith," Jo smirked, "and, as a wonderful witch said to me, 'Blessed Be, Welcome to the Witch's Way'."
"Thanks," Brooke smiled.
Jo walked away and closed the door. The sound of strong winds could be heard outside, but Brooke couldn't bring herself to question it anymore. As she walked into her living room, she saw Patty rubbing Chelsea's back, but Brooke could only ask one question.
"Where's mum, dad, Abbey and grandpa?"
"Shops," Patty answered.
"Oh," Brooke muttered, "that was convenient."