Chapter One Hundred and Eleven
As soon as I got through the door I did what I had told myself not to do - I took a breath to sample the air. Being able to smell every little thing was both a blessing and a curse. Lots of things stank to high heaven .. true .. yet there was a tremendous amount of information to be gathered from the odors that permeated the air.
Linda, her eyes looking suspiciously red as if she had been crying, stood closest to the roaring fireplace. Adele and Lachlain stood on either side of her in a consoling pose .
Since they were standing so very close to the fireplace I made a mental note to check the thermostat after our greetings. Eric and I were comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, humans had only a few degrees in either direction before they were too hot or too cold.
As long as Eric and I didn't freeze solid or go up in flames we never thought of the temperature, though extreme cold could make us a tad less sprightly.
I hugged my daughters and my almost-son-in-law, even though he was a werewolf. Eric hugged the girls and nodded in a friendly way at Lachlain.
I was pleased as plasma to discover that Lachlain was still using the deodorizing shampoo and body scrub Adele had developed to diminish werewolf odors down to a tolerable, if not altogether pleasing, level. Linda's three poodles ran around her feet yapping and wagging their poofy tails, hysterically happy to be reunited with their mommy. They had also been shampooed in the stuff so they didn't smell bad either.
What stood out against this faintly doggy backdrop of scent was the worrying smell of Adele's blood, bandages, antibiotic ointment, stitches, some strange type of rabbit and a hefty dousing of Obsession perfume.
Eric and I looked at each other in alarm, his eyes told me to be the one to find out what injured our daughter. She had on a long sleeved orange wool shirt, not unusual in the winter. Lachlain wore a matching shirt, though his was plaid. It was not the Campbell plaid, I wondered if that bothered him. I recognized the Campbell plaid when I saw it.
I immediately went to her, touching her right arm gently.
"What happened?" I asked in concern.
"See?" she said in smug triumph to Lachlain, "Told you she'd pick it up first thing." They must have discussed the possibility of hiding her injury from me earlier.
She turned to me. "It's nothing Mom, really. I got gored by a struggling Jackalope that I was trying to free from a net. Did you know they catch those poor innocent creatures and stuff them to sell as joke items in tourist shops?" Her cheeks blushed in outrage.
"He didn't hurt me on purpose, he was just panic stricken and terrified. I set him loose but I got a little scratch in the process," she said with a shrug, minimizing the wound as she always did.
Aware what my very next thought would be she added, "And no, their horns don't carry any more germs or disease than a scratch with a twig might."
The creatures Adele helped were all over the chart when it came to dangerous. They could be poisonous, spiked, fire breathing, slime emitting, needle toothed, saw fanged, or any number of deadly defenses.
That didn't stop Adele, she waded right in convinced that somehow the creature would intuit that she was trying to help. Usually it worked, perhaps her telepathic powers extended to other species and her good intentions were transmitted. Still, a mind clouded with fear, panic or rage might not respond immediately to the mental vibes of a helper.
I decided not to make a "big deal" out of it, that just incensed her. "I'm glad you were able to help," I said calmly.
She blinked for a second, not sure if my subdued reaction was the prelude to a lecture or not. When she saw I wasn't going to start wringing my hands she relaxed.
I suddenly had the thought, is this how vampires eventually became so calm and seemingly devoid of emotion? Did years and years of seeing the futility of over reacting to things eventually iron out the expression and level the emotions? If so it wasn't a bad thing.
"I smell steak!" Lachlain said with enthusiasm. Simona must have shut off the exhaust fans. The smell of food was seeping under the kitchen door. I stopped taking breaths.
I could hear his stomach growling, he was ready to eat. I could feel the pull of the almost-full moon coming up in the night sky over the house. I was sure he could feel it too.
"Linda will explain the way we are going to have dinner together," Eric said. "We will see you as soon as you are seated."
Eric and I went to the basement storage safe room and sat in front of our monitors. Powerful fans in the ceiling pumped in fresh air, driving out any chance of cooking smells wafting down here. This safe room had been designed for me when I was human, air circulation was crucial and had been amply provided for.
In a few moments we saw the three kids seated, Adele and Lachlain peering into the screen as Linda had. Each of them had a third of the screen, reminding me of the online court cases I had participated in.
"Hi, we're here," I shouted into the camera like you do when you're talking long distance.
"You don't need to shout, Mom, we can hear you and see you just fine," Linda said.
Her voice had a slight downcast tone to it. She wore a sweat shirt and non-matching sweatpants, something that worried me. I thought she might be depressed.
I hoped that the meal with her sister and almost-brother-in-law would cheer her up, however it occurred to me that their happy stable relationship might just drive home how tenuous her own love life was at the moment. It couldn't be helped, Linda needed to come to terms with whatever her decisions were.
Simona brought in plates of food and placed them, stuffed mushrooms and sauteed vegetables for Linda and Adele, a teetering pile of rare steaks for Lachlain. Adele was not judgmental about Lachlain's carnivore appetite, she knew the wolf in him was strong this time of the month. To his credit he used his knife and fork to bring big chunks if meat to his mouth. I thought his muzzle looked slightly elongated and his teeth looked very large. The better to eat sirloin with, my dear.
We had a delightful meal together. I was able to tell them about how Char was doing, Eric told them about our plans to bring Char here and we all talked at once about the baby. I was worried this might depress Linda further but it did the opposite, she seemed to cheer up and genuinely looked eager to have all three sisters together again.
Simona brought dessert, soy ice cream for the girls and a hunk of raw sheep liver, thinly sliced, for Lachlain. When your daughter's fiancee was a werewolf you needed to buy food accordingly. We couldn't smell any of it and enjoyed seeing the kids chow down.
Eric was going to make a bundle including this feature in his house renovations. It was such a blessing!
After the kids went back to the living room Simona put the powerful kitchen exhaust fans back on and Eric and I went upstairs.
We high-fived each other at the top of the basement stairs. A successful meal with our lovely family, and the prospect of many more in the future. What could be better?
more to come .... (Super Saturday everyone! Thanks for stopping by, your presence is a warm fuzzy place in my heart. Love!)