Chapter 26: Part 1: Bargains Gone Dead
!!! IMPORTANT NOTE !!!!
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ CHAPTER 26: LESSONS OF... YOU WILL ONLY NEED TO READ FROM THE *** TO *** AS MOST OF THE CHAPTER IS THE SAME.
BUT YOU NEED TO READ THIS CHAPTER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON.
Just before dinner, Uncle Morgan got the dreaded news of a certain unwanted guest in his house. When Isis and I came downstairs we're met in the hallway with Big Bessie staring right at us.
"I ain't having no mongrels in my house!" Morgan yells at his wife and me. His mint green eyes glare at mine a hint of disappointment in them. He has his double-barrel shotgun aka Big Bessie aimed at Isis. He's on edge full army mode we know it as.
Isis doesn't bat an eyelid at him, she's strangely relaxed by it all. "Come on old-timer, I ain't here to make trouble. I'm here to support my friend."
He scoffs at this notion. "Don't lie to me dog. She's not one to like your kind."
Ashley is shaking her head. She's frowning at his behaviour. "Put that blasted thing away. Isis is our guest."
Morgan doesn’t look at her, his eyes focused on his target. "I'm not letting that thing near our family. Evie get behind me."
Isis and Morgan hold each others gaze, staring intently. Morgan is waiting to strike, he wants a reason to blow her brains out. Isis waits patiently, biding her time for the right moment.
"Will you two cut the pissing act." I cut in, stepping in between the gun and Isis. Morgan cannot believe what I'm doing he aims the gun at my chest.
"Morgan, no." Ashley pleas at him, taking his arm. He shoves her off. His strength easily overpowering her.
My uncle shows his colours, he's looks absolutely disappointed in me. His voice breaks, not wanting to shoot me. "Please Evie, stand aside. I don't want to shoot you."
"I won't let you hurt my friend. She saved my life." Arguing back, I wanted my uncle to see sense and reason. I stayed steadfast ready for the gun to go off. Morgan kept his gaze on me. "She gave up everything to save me. Magnus was going to take me away again, this time for good. Do you want that?"
Morgan hesitates for a moment. He lowers his gun. "No, you are my daughter. I won’t let that bastard get near you again." He backs off handing the gun out for his wife. Ash takes it away, whacking him on the head with it. "Ow. God damn it, woman, what was that for?!" He growls rubbing his head.
She doesn't say anything, her face says it all. My aunt was very dishearted by what he was about to do. Ashley walks away, my cousins trailing behind her.
Morgan looks at Isis. "You can stay for now. I'm keeping my eyes on you dog. Is that clear?"
Isis pulls me behind her, she stands in my defence and hers. Her brown eyes are hard. "I'll behave if you keep that attitude of yours in check. Don't ever threaten my friend like that ever again. She's been through enough. I'm here to protect and support her."
He doesn't stand down, Morgan tries to intimate her with his slightly shorter stature. "I'm watching you mongrel."
Morgan looks at me, his gaze softens a little. I feel in the wrong at seeing the huge disappointment in his once friendly eyes, they no longer hold the warmth and familiarity of my playful tormenting uncle. This was my Dad talking. "I'm very, very disappointed in you Evie. I thought I raised you better than that."
Just as he walks away, he stops. "You both welcome to stay, but I don't want any trouble from either of you. Is that clear."
"Yes." Isis bluntly says, her guard fully up.
I peak from behind her. "Okay."
He nods walking away. Leaving in one of his moods. Morgan needed to be left alone for now. He needed time to process what's going on.
Ashley calls to us both, my cousins are helping out doing jobs. While she has Isis fixing stuff around the house, she has me making bread.
I begin kneading a big massive amount of dough, it's been a while since I've done any baking. Ash stands over the old fireplace cooking up some chicken soup for dinner. She lets me beat the crap out of the dough. It feels great slamming it on to the old wooden countertop.
"How long does Uncle’s mood last?" I ask my aunt, kneading the dough a bit rougher.
She tastes her soup adding a few more vegetables and spices. She shrugs. "Give him time Bambina. He's been through hell hearing what's happened to you."
I stop kneading at her confession. Had they known about the fake death. Ashely stirs the big pot of broth, she carries on talking. A hint of sadness in her tone. "It came as a big shock to us both. I had a feeling you were fine. We didn't tell the children. We needed to process whats happened first. But it broke him. He believed he had failed you as a father. Losing you and your brothers hurt him greatly."
"I thought you guys didn't know yet." I confessed. Not once did I consider the harm this could do to my family. I'm such an idiot. "I'm sorry auntie. This has been quite a roller coaster for all of us."
Ashley smiles a little. "Don't blame yourself. Give us a few days, then we'll talk. Si?"
That night dinner didn't go down well, it was awkward between me and my family. Isis kept to herself, keeping a watchful eye on my uncle. All of us could feel the tensions in the air. Morgan took his food into another room, he couldn’t bear the sight of me.
That's what hurt, Ashley knew it wasn't my fault but in some way it was. Not once did I think about them. Was I being selfish in coming here? We all eat in silence. For about a week my uncle avoided me. The second week he could tolerate us for a few minutes.
I kept myself locked in my room, the pain of the rejection and dealing with Morgan's disappointment wasn't easy to bear. I knew him well enough that in time he would talk to me again.
It just hurt so much. What I could confine was what was worst between physical pain or emotional pain. My heart hurt so much, I swear if I had to deal with any more of this I would be bleeding out.
Isis, however, had other plans. "Come on Honey Dew. Were going for a bargain rummage!" Isis barges into my room excited, she drags me out of my room from my bed.
I'm still sad by the hurt I've caused Morgan. Right now I wanted to beg for his forgiveness. He was the one who raised me, he's never left me like this before.
Isis won't let me get away with anything this time. She has a huge smile on her face. "We are having a girls day out. You need some fun."
Ashley has her green shoulder bag at the ready along with some big hemp bags. My eyes widened, knowing straight away what she has planned.
The pain goes away for a moment. "A real bargain rummage?" I'm growing excited, because well this was our form of clothes shopping.
My auntie is dressed in a long dress. "Si. We need some new stuff to make us feel better. Don't worry about money. Isis and I are treating you to a makeover, my darling. You need some happiness."
"But-." I object, my aunt's glare is enough to shut my trap. Isis drags me back to my room to get dressed, she picks out a cute long-sleeved pink top with a few flowers over it and some bootcut jeans.
She stands guard by the door. "Get changed. We leave in 5 minutes."
What's the harm in having s little fun? I rush into my clothes, once I'm changed. Ash gives me my black ankle boots. Isis changes into a flashy orange summer dress which compliments her dark skin. She looks fabulous in her high heeled sneakers, naturally curly hair and matching makeup. Her lips are a glossy red from using Aunt Ashley's lipstick. She poses for a moment. "How do I look?"
Ash wolf whistles at her. "Looking good Izzy."
"Smoking hot babe." I say, with hiss. Putting out an imagery fire on my arse. "You’ll have everyone wanting a piece of your fine arse."
Isis sways with natural swagger, she looks like a catwalk model. She grabs her bag, throwing a little black bag my way. "Come on girls. Let's hit the town."
Ashley drives her old granny car over to the warehouse where she volunteers for a charity. All of us head into a massive room where unwanted items are donated from the upper classes of werewolves, Lycans, privileged humans and other supernatural creatures. They throw away some great stuff, Ashley always had a bargain ready for home. She got too much stuff one time though. Uncle Morgan threatened to burn her wardrobe down if she brought anymore crap home.
"Where is everyone?" I ask, noticing the room is completely vacant except for us three.
Bags upon bags of stuff are piled into high hills of junk. The warehouse is old, we can hear the building creaking under the high winds. Ashley places her bag aside onto a counter. We follow suit.
Ashley rubs her hands together in anticipation, she looks several years younger with a full beaming smile. "We are here for a private day. I asked if we could go on a bargain rummage. My manager knew how much you used to love helping. She's given me the keys to go wild."
"Marget is still kicking about?" I asked surprised that old crazy bat is still alive, she wasn't too pleasant towards me and my brothers long ago. Whenever it was the school holidays poor Ashley had to bring us along with her. My brothers were even bigger torments than my uncle (they picked up all their bad habits from him).
I remember a crazy cat lady with a sour face, smelling of the cheapest perfume. Whenever we came with Ashley to her volunteer position. Margaret made us sit quietly and play with old toys, even when we were teenagers she made my brothers dress up in all sorts of embarrassing outfits. One time she made them all dress up as a bunch of Carebears the full makeup included, she made me wear a barbie doll pink bear outfit. Thus my hatred for the colour was forged. Margaret always loved wearing pink with leopard print leggings. I just shiver, remembering what an old wrinkly lady with a shaggy arse wearing them it ain't a pretty sight. A cold shudder passes through me thinking of that memory.
Ashley chuckled, knowing what I was thinking of. She has fond memories of Margaret's punishments. "Of course. She's calmed down a bit now. Still a sharp one though with her cane. Avoid her Evie. She still hates children."
Isis interrupts us both, demanding our attention. "Come on, let's find some bargains." She takes my hand picking out a random bag each for us to sort through. Ashley smiles behind us, seeing us in our own world made her happy.
"Oh, I forgot to mention Margaret said if you find anything hot pink or leopard print leave it for her." Ashley mentions to us quickly before going through her own bags.
Searching through the bags were kind of like a mystery egg each time you never know what you're going to get. Ashley did take me several times on a bargain rummage just us girls. She let me choose certain items for us both (she lied to Morgan about some items of clothing, to avoid his lectures). We got them cheaper than other people kind of a perk when you're volunteering your own time for it. The items vary greatly in price some were worth pennies others worth a vast amount.
The first bag held nothing but ripped rags for me. While Isis is going frantic through hers tearing through it with her supernatural speed. Every item she finds she sets it aside.
I take my time searching. Only I come up with rags. 20 bags later I’m still nor finding anything I like. Not one thing, Ashley and Isis rummage away to there hearts content. For myself, I feel out of place. I'm still stuck on the pain I've caused and the guilt of it is eating me up inside.
Rather than take another bag from this pile, I go to a quieter area. An excited squeal comes from behind me, looks like someone hit the jackpot. Walking over to a much bigger mountain of bags. I take one and rip it open, the surprise inside makes me smile. Finally some decent rags.
My exploration of another bag mound uncovered some great stuff. Cute boots, ballerina flats, cute tops, nice legs and skirts. Even I has a bigger mountain of clothing and shoes building behind me. My inner girly-girl wanted to express herself more. After being stuck in oversized clothes for so long I wanted to be set free. Growing up I never liked being a girly girl, posh or preppy. Everyone had there own styles mine just happened to be weird and wonderful with crazy and colourful leggings and a random top put on. Trying to get me to wear a dress other than an angel outfit was a nightmare.
Ashley had to force me to wear my dresses. My brothers always made fun of me for it. Harvey was the biggest torments out of the three of them. He never let me live down the pink dress incident. Ash forced me to wear a frilly pink dress for a friends wedding, she made my hair overly curly into tight bouncy doll curls. Plus a little makeup. I was only a child, when I was dancing with a cute boy my brothers ripped my dress in half. It fell apart in seconds. Everyone was laughing at me, for a child to go through that was horrendous. Ashley took me away, she scolded me harshly that day. When she found out who the real perpetrators were she taught my brothers all a hard lesson in respecting ladies. They never did anything like that again.
The next bag I found made me jump excited. It's full of 1950s Skater dresses in all different styles and colours. I pulled one of them out. It's a blue and white polka dot rockabilly style dress, a sash light brown belt around its middle. Each dress I pulled put made me want to try them on. I've always loved the older style of dresses especially the 1950s. To me the latest modern fashion didn’t have any character, my previous job made me despise them even more. The designers had no clue how to dress someone appropriately. Humans hardly ever had nice things anymore but we still found our own ways.
I get into full rummage mode, picking out lots of different stuff. One bag had a load of jewellery in it, some of it was very expensive. I hid that under the dresses. Saving it for later, I'm betting my aunt and Isis didn’t allow for accessories.
Something shiny flashed out of the corner of my eye, I stopped looking over at the object. When I saw it I gasped, gowns upon gowns where hidden in another room. Each one of them unique in its own style, each one was pinned to a mannequin. The one which caught my eye is a wedding dress of unparalleled beauty. The work which had gone into it must have been painstaking. An a-line gown with multiple layers of satin and layered tulle, an off the shoulder with a hint of sweetheart neckline. This dress called out to me, the details gone into the cascading leaves are heavenly. Each leaf is hand sewn on with delicate shiny beads and a few embroidered butterflies of various colours. The leafs hugged the top part of the dress while branching out onto the midsection of the skirt. The butterflies were few and placed randomly amongst the dress giving it something else. The train is shorter allowing for easy movement.
"Evie." Isis calls out from behind the piles of bags. She walks over to me, her eyes widen at the dresses behind me. "God damn Honey Dew you hit the jackpot. Ash come over here."
My aunt wanders over to us, the smile on her face drops and she turns serious. "Get out of there right now. No snooping." She says shooing us away. "No go. Si?"
I stop by my pile of stuff I chose. I'm curious as to why she's hiding a load of designer dresses inside an even bigger storage area. "Do you help make those dresses auntie?"
Ash avoids the question. "Come and try on your clothes Bambina they need to fit properly."
Isis towers over my aunt, she's the same as me. She looks down at her. "You make them don't you?"
Ashley cannot provide any answers. She cannot look at us in the eye. Our assumptions are correct, she does have a part in all of this. "Si. I am more than a mere volunteer here. We make clothes for the higher class. The Designer Esperanza Gomez is my boss."
She's hiding something. I know it. Eyeing up my aunt, I know exactly who she is now. I'm shocked yet happy she's robbing those mongrels too for all their cash. "You are Esperanza Gomez?!" I asked stunned.
This Designer is well known throughout the world, she's made a reputation for herself from nothing. Humans aren't allowed to see her, just her name brings the fashion into a storm. "That is my real name, Bambina. Ashley is my middle name. I go by that to avoid unwanted attention." My aunt admits.
She looks unsure of herself. "I know its wrong to steal from others but we need to do more to help humans get by. I don't keep all the money. Just some for our family."
"Does Morgan know?" Isis asks.
Ashley shakes her head. "No, I never told him. He would blurt it out if I told him. My husband may be many things a secret keeper isn't one of them. That man won't even admit he's the town gossip."
Isis grows excited. "This is so sweet. Could you make me an outfit for the Gala? Please, please... Please?" She begs my aunt.
Ashley sighs, knowing she has to do something to keep us quiet. "If you swear on your lives not to speak a word to anyone. Then I'll do it."
She blinks, confused. "I'm paying you to do it. I've always loved your work. Please make me an original, but at a little discount."
"What about you Bambina?" Ashley asks me, I'm just stumped at the moment. She's been like me. My paintings sold for large amounts but Kyle pocketed a good-sized chunk of it.
I speak up. "Don’t worry about it. There's something I need to tell you both after we leave here. You're going to be shocked too. Wait, Ash. Who's that wedding dress for? The one with the leaf pattern and butterflies on it? It's beautiful."
Ashley is quiet for a moment. She's saddened by what she has to say. "It is going to be destroyed soon. The Lycan who ordered it will be burying his deceased mate in it. They were going to be married. He's heartbroken by her death."
"Who is it?" I ask.
My aunt is hesitant, holding back more information. "It's for the Lycan Prince."
Isis curses her breath. "Fuck... Evie, that dress was meant for you."
"What?!" Me and my aunt exclaim perplexed.
Her brown eyes harden, going stormy. "I told you a few weeks ago about your mate being some royal. But the Prince this is a whole new ball game. He's planning a coronation at the Gala. I did some digging through some work files. All Lycans have been informed of a new King coming to power. This is bad like really bad."
"Why, what's the worse that can happen?" I ask, betting that knobhead will try and throw a tantrum.
Isis grows pale, she's scared of something. "He's going to try and resurrect you, Evie. That corpse we had isn't just a fake. Why didn't I see this before! It's a real thing cursed in a petrified state."
Ashley and I are confused. My aunt asks the questions. "Who is he trying to bring back to life?"
"I don't know." Isis says shamefully.
"But I do." I pipe up, they look at me wondering what I'm going to say. A deep dreading feeling strikes my heart, the guilt told me who it was. He's seeking the comfort of another woman. "He's going to bring back Candace."