The velvety touch of the red cushion provides comfort for the two siblings and Chris has always made Andrianne felt safe in his arms. With one arm securely wrapped around Andrianne’s shoulders and another was holding up a menu for them both.
Victor was utterless looking at the young man before him handling his younger sister tirelessly and patiently. Something he was never to his daughters. Something he only he had wished to be. “You two are very close aren’t you?” Victor said breaking the silence between them.
A soft smile escaped from Chris’ eyes as he looked at his grandfather than his sister. “Why the fancy restaurant? The cigar?” Chris said questioningly at his grandfather. Victor just smiled at him shrugging his shoulders. “This is not how you did it for us, grandpa. You don’t need to spend so much money.” He smiled.
“Then tell me what did I do?” Victor said desperately. “I’m crashing here.” He said smiling, Andrianne giggled at her grandfather. “Tell me Chris, what did I do?” he asked. Chris just looked at his little sister disapproving of her giggling, as a shrugged escape him as an answer. “Take you to a strip club? Out drinking?”
“God. No grandpa.” Chris answered disgustedly. Andrianne could no longer contain her laughter as it broke not so loudly but loud enough for a nudge from Chris. “None of the obscenity.” Chris said as his eyes gleaming with hope. “We just talked. Just you and me. No secrets. No lies.” Chris spoke softly. His voice sounds of hope yet it was countered with sadness and glum.
“How about you young lady? Are we close too?” Victor questioned.
“Very close grandpa.” Andrianne said with her high pitch voice filled with joy.
“So, Chris. If all we do is talk then talk to me.” Victor said with his piercing eyes darting at Chris. The young man’s eyes fell on the plate.
“Let me guess, Piper asked you to find out what is wrong with me, right?” Chris said uninterestedly. The sparkle in his eyes began to die little by little, as the moment passed. Andrianne who was still leaning against his chest could hear his heartbeat began to rise. She could sense his despair as his heart beat risen.
“She just wants to know why she’s such a terrible mother.” Victor replied. He tried as much as possible not to sound too accusing. The tension between them suddenly broke. Chris’ face changed as he face his grandfather before him.
“She said what?” Chris asked stunned by Victor’s accusation. Andrianne straightened up in her seat. “No . She’s great.” Chris said, his voice sounded surprise as well poignant. “Grandpa. Is that why you are here? Is that what she told you?”
Victor nodded silently. “Do you hate her?”
“God. No grandpa. I love her so much. I could not ever hate her, grandpa. Never.” Chris said.
“Then why do you act as if she does not exist?” Victor asked. He could see Andrianne’s hand gripped her brothers. Her eyes glisten with tears that were too stubborn to fall. “Andrianne? Do you know why?”
“Because she don’t in our future.” Andrianne whispered quietly.
“What?” Victor said unsure of what he heard.
“She don’t exist in our future.” Chris said quietly. Victor’s eyes turns wide with wariness. “She died when I was fourteen.” Chris explained.
“How?” the only word could escape from Victor’s mouth. “I mean why?” He said trying to make of what his grandchild just said.
“Can we not talk about this?” Andrianne requested quietly. “Please.” She asked politely. Chris looked at her with a questioning eye. “Please, Chris. I don’t need to go through it for the utmost time.” Andrianne said.
“Andy, what happened?” Victor questioned. Andrianne just shook her head.
Chris took a deep breath as he held his little sister closer to him. “It’s okay. She is going to be fine. She’s fine till we were born remember.” Chris said softly to Andrianne. Andrianne just laid her head on Chris’s chest.
“Can I know what happen?” Victor asked the two siblings. He could feel that Andrianne was on the verge of breaking, and he was very sure she was going to break into her brother’s arm if the story was told.
“I was turning fourteen, Andy just turned two. There was a group of demon came and mom was distracted, Aunt Paige and Aunt Phoebe was hurt. Andy was with me, Wyatt.” Chris paused. His voice shook and his throat suddenly went dried.
“Wyatt was gone. He went to the other side. His perception of good and bad was turned. The fireball was his. Mom was pleading for her life, begging it from her own son. My brother.” Andrianne said as tears flowed freely down her cheek.
“Shhh. She is going to be fine. We’re going to change it.” Chris said quietly, wiping the tears from Andrianne’s cheek. “She was with me and she could not be parted ever since.”
“Good lord. You came here with the knowledge of knowing that you could possibly lose your mother again and you still face her every day?” Victor said. His voice was filled with compassion and sadness. “But Chris, isn’t that the more reason for you to be close to her. To get the chance of knowing her?”
Chris just shook his head. “I can’t bear losing her twice. The less she knows about me the better. And better still, if she ignores me completely.” Chris said. “I have all I need. I have my sister with me.”
“But she’s your mother.” Victor said.
“She stopped being one when Wyatt turned ten. She was too cooped up with Wyatt, she did not even realize she has a baby girl. The one she neglected all her life.” Chris said. Even though his voice was soft and calmer, but thick smell of spite was hinted.
“Chris, she’s still our mother.” Andrianne said as she hit Chris on his arm. “Don’t say that about her. I may not know her well, I may not remember her as well as you do but I remembered her being our mother.” Andrianne said.
Chris had kept his words to himself. He knows that what he may say will just make Andrianne feel worse. He just wanted everything to go back as it was. Just him, Andrianne, and their grandfather. He wanted to be able to tell him what he felt and just speak his mind.
Tears streamed down Andrianne’s face. A soundless cry. She hated Chris for feeling as he did. She knows that he blamed himself for her death. She knows that Chris had been the one taking care of her ever since she could remember. She wanted to feel the same way Chris is feeling but she could not. Not after what she had seen, what Piper could be. She understands the need of protecting Wyatt. Having Chris, but where does she fit in? Nowhere.
“I know you had been the one who took care of me. You had been the one who protected me. But she is still our mother, Chris. And Leo is still our father.” Andrianne said quietly. Chris soft face turned rigid at the sound of Leo’s name.
“That’s the real reason you are not speaking to your mother isn’t it?” Victor said tugging an answer from an uncertain basis. “Leo is the one you are avoiding. Then, you avoid your mother so that you would not be reminded of him.”
“Leo, has never been there. Not for mom, not for Chris, not for Wyatt, much less me.” Andrianne said looking at her grandfather. She knows her grandpa so well that she knows whatever is being said to him at that moment will only stay with him beyond the door. It would never be known by any other person on earth.
As the food was served, Andrianne was still unable to crack Chris’ rigidness. “Chris. Listen to me. I don’t know what I have done right, but I know this for sure. The more you avoid your mother, the more you will be reminded of the past in the future.” Victor said softly. “This is the chance for you to steal her for a moment. How do you know that you have not changed the future by coming to the past and by changing Wyatt’s destiny as it is.”
Chris looked down on his plate of steak and let out a huge breath. “You had listened and you just was there for us. That was all we need.” Chris said quietly. “Maybe I should.” He said forcing a smile on his face. Andrianne followed suit as she looked up at her brother.
The three of them talked about nothing that night. Victor just wanted to let go of the image of her daughter dying in front of her children in his head. Andrianne just wanted her brother to be as he was, the cheery and responsible Chris she had missed. As for Chris, he just wanted to make sure everything is fine. Everything including his little sister. He might not know what she feels and what she is enduring but he knows that the funny and strong façade was just a cover of the soft being inside of her.
“Why aren’t you eating Rianne?” Victor asked quietly as he saw Andrianne was fiddling with the food on her plate. “Does it taste bad?” He questioned. Andrianne just shook her head to answer him. “You’re not feeling well?” He asked as his eyes averted to Chris. Again, Andrianne shook her head. “Want to tell me why?” He tried again.
“I’m fine, grandpa. Just a little headache.” Andrianne said quietly avoiding Chris’ face. “Stop fussing, Chris.” She said through gritted teeth as Chris cupped her face to face him. “I’m fine.” Victor just kept wondering to himself. “Do you think I’m sick, grandpa?” Andrianne asked the man in front of him.
“Are you?” Victor asked back. Andrianne just shrugged her shoulders.
“Well, it’s a little more than headache, but nothing more.“Andrianne said as she forced another spoon of mashed potato into her mouth and struggling to keep it down her stomach. It was not easy but life never was for her.
Chris’ placed his palm carefully on the small of Andrianne’s back. Andrianne knew she would have to tell Victor eventually. She took in the breath that shook the contents of her stomach. She really hopes that he would never need to know this from her. At least not when the mood was as fine as this.
“I’m sure you’re going to be fine once you rest up. I know how hard it is to be around boys all day.” Victor winked at the girl to lighten up the mood. The tiny lips on the face of the little girl curved forming a smile. “You have a pretty smile, Rianne. You really seemed like Piper when she was younger. Maybe apart from her temper. She had always had little patience for any kind of problems.”
“You have never seen her. She is mini mom.” Chris mumbled; just as he finished his sentence, Andrianne’s elbow landed on his ribcage. He faked the pain and muffled a laugh.
“You called her, mom.” Andrianne smiled. Mission accomplished. Andrianne’s pale lips were stretched from ear to ear, triumphant in making Chris remember himself. His roots. And most importantly, his family…