A Whole New World
“So you are going to be part of the cardinal coven?” I asked, remembering what grandfather had said that we were descendants from one of those families.
“Yes, and so are you. That’s why dad didn’t want you to know about this world.” Carver said seriously, sitting down next to me, “What grandfather didn’t say was that this world is dangerous, especially for you. Being a member of this family puts you at risk. Grandfather has made many enemies, and several others would like to use you to get to him and gain power. This is also a patriarchal world; there are many who would object to a girl being a member of the cardinal coven. I think dad wanted to protect you from that as well. The attempt on your life confirms that Dad was right to try and keep you from this”.
“So let’s run away or just refuse to go if it’s so dangerous” I took Carver’s hand in mine. “We have more than enough money to live out the rest of our lives off the grid together.”
“Now that Grandfather has found us, there is nowhere we can run from him. Dad running away, put a stain on our family name. A stain that only his grandchildren can help him remove and restore the family legacy. There is no way that he’s going to let us go,” Carver said sadly. “I tried my best to conceal you from him, but I guess it was only a matter of time before grandfather caught up with us. What we need to do now is try our best to protect ourselves by preparing for anything. For you, that means learning the craft”.
“Are you going to teach me?” I asked, feeling excited despite myself. I was going to get to learn how to use magic.
“No,” Carver frowned. “Once we’re in England, we’ll be sent to Crestworth Academy. It’s the best school for warlocks in Europe, so that way we’ll be properly trained”.
“Oh, so it’s kind of like Hogwarts,” I smiled, picturing the fictional castle in my head. I’d cried when I hadn’t gotten my Hogwarts letter when I was eleven, and now I was going to the real-life version, even if it was a couple of years late.
“I guess. I don’t actually know that much about Crestworth. You have to keep in mind that Dad only taught me things to keep you, and me safe and hidden.” Carver looked uncertain for the first time since we’d started this conversation.
I squeezed his hand gently. “It wasn’t fair of him to put that on you,” I said softly. I realized how lucky I must vehave been to have beensent away to live a normal life and not have to carry the burden placed on Carver from a young age. I realized why Carver had seemed so resentful, and it made sense now. I must have seemed like a brat complaining about how my parents hadn’t loved me when, in fact, they loved me enough to try and protect me by giving me a normal life. I’m surprised he didn’t hate me.
“It’s ok. It wasn’t all bad,” Carver smiled. “It really is incredible being able to use magic. It’s a rush, unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. If you want, when we get home, I can teach you some of the basics so you won’t be so behind when we get to Crestworth.
“Ok,” I smiled at him before wrapping my arms around him. I felt tears threatening to well up in my eyes. About a million emotions were coursing through me right now. The thrill of finding out magic existed, a renewed sadness for my parents’ death, and terror about the danger and uncertainty that was ahead.
“Come on, I think it’s probably ok for us to head home. Although I would advise that you keep the hoodie on to hide the bloody leotard from Charlotte,” Carver chuckled as if imaging Charlotte’s reaction to seeing me covered in blood.
We drove in silence, and it felt like Carver was trying to give me time to process everything I’d learned, for which I was thankful. I felt as if I’d been living with a veil over my eyes that had been lifted. I had about a million more questions I wanted to ask, but I didn’t think I could handle any new information at the moment. I noticed that Carver also seemed lighter than I’d seen him in a long time, and I guess it made sense. Carver had been carrying around a huge secret and a huge burden that he’d finally been able to share, and I was happy that I’d been able to help my brother.
We pulled into the long driveway, and I saw Charlotte hovering on the porch, and Carver waved. Charlotte smiled sadly back at us as we pulled up in front of the house and stepped out.
“I’m so sorry, you guys I tried talking your grandfather into letting you stay here, but he insisted that you were to go with him to England. I would have made arrangements for your stuff to be sent over, but he refused that too said he would get you anything you needed once you were there,” Charlotte said, her voice wavering.
I wondered why she was crying when she was the one who insisted that we were going to have to live with him in the first place.
“Hey, it’s ok, Char,” Carver said, “You don’t have to worry about us. We’ll still call and visit as often as we can”.
I realized, feeling shocked that Charlotte was actually going to miss us. She had thought that if we lived with grandfather that we would still live at home in Louisiana.
I gave her a hug hoping to comfort her. “It’s ok Char, it’s London, not Timbucktoo. If you ever feel the urge to see big ben, just come over and visit us”. I remembered all the times that Charlotte had hugged me when I cried because I’d felt overshadowed by Carver, and I was glad that I had the chance to repay the kindness that she’d shown me all those years ago.
“You guys are right. I’m just being silly,” Charlotte wiped her eyes laughing. “If you guys are hungry, there are some leftovers in the fridge,” She continued trying to regain her composure.
We nodded, walking inside, letting Charlotte lead us inside and fuss about dinner as she pulled containers of leftovers from the wake the previous day. Channing ran downstairs smelling the food. Since Charlotte’s husband and children had headed back to her home in Virginia earlier this morning, it was just the four of us. It dawned on me that this was the first time we’d eaten together in years and would be the last time we would do so for a long time. Channing was going back to school tomorrow morning, and Carver and I were leaving for London the following day. Despite this knowledge, I tried to enjoy the feeling of being part of a close-knit family. By the end of the meal, I could even pretend that everything was back to normal. I helped Channing with the dishes as Carver cleared the table, and Charlotte left to call her kids.
I tried searching Channings face for some resemblance to dad, but I couldn’t find anything. He and Charlotte had always looked so much like mom that I’d never considered the fact that they looked nothing like dad. I wondered if either of them knew that they were only our half-siblings. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter. What was one more small secret when there were already so many between us?
After everything was put away, I pulled Carver aside, careful to speak softly so that we wouldn’t be overheard.
“So are we gonna do the thing you said we would earlier,” I asked, careful to keep from sounding too excited.
“No, it’s already dark; anything we would do now might draw attention,” Carver smiled at my eagerness. “I would say we could practice inside, but since you’re so untrained, that’s probably not a good idea.”
“Oh, ok,” I sighed.
“You should probably get some sleep. Tomorrow’s not going to be easy, and you’re still probably a little weak from earlier,” Carver said hugging me before gently pushing me towards the stairs. I stuck my tongue out at him smiling, feeling for the first time in a long time like I belonged to a family.
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