“Wow” was the only word Victoria said as the old man left.
“Yeah…” Vincent replied. “I’m not sure how this is going to work.”
“What do you mean?” Victoria said with a puzzled look. “How whats supposed to work?”
“You, me Valen and me teaching you both what you will need to know about yourself.” Then he gave her a wry look.”And what am I supposed to tell your mom? Hi Mrs Leighton I’m Victoria and Valen’s older twin brother and I’m here to teach them magic, how to shoot a bows, guns and fight with swords.”
“Oh shit…” She said a stunned look on her face.
“Please don’t curse.”
“Why not, you do.”
He nodded “I do at appropriate times, but it should be used as exclamation or emphasis not as punctuation.” Victoria snort laughed at that. “Good now you can see the humor in it.” He reached over and grabbed a coat “now where too?”
“Where to I’m taking you home to meet your mom” Victoria”s mouth hung agape.
“Are you trying to get me killed?”
Vincent shook his head “far from it I’m trying to keep you from getting her or Valen from getting killed> He sat down and motioned her to do the same. “I’m surprised this hasn’t come up yet for you.” He presented his hand palm up then he clicked his fingers a and a ball of fire shot up from his palm into the air a foot then disappeared. Victoria could feel the sudden burst of heat on her face and skin, she blinked away the sudden spots before her eyes brought about by the incandescent ball of fire and light. “You have great, great power in you and if you aren’t careful you will kill someone by accident.”
“I would never…” She started.
“Not intentionally. But what happens when you get angry or in a fight at school and you curse at someone, and it comes true? Or get so angry you feel like sparks could fly and suddenly they do and the person you are angry with catches fire?”
She shook her head.”That can’t happen…”
Vincent breathed deeply “It can, it does.” His eyes looked sad. “ I did it by accident when I wasn’t much older than you. I was arguing with a guy from school I got mad next thing I know his pants were on fire.” Vincent gave a half hearted laugh. “Liar, liar pants on fire…” he gave Victoria a sickly smile. “Please trust me I wouldn’t want you to go through the learning curve I had as a teenager.”
Victoria could hear the truth in his words. “My mom will freak.” She wailed.
“Yeah, maybe but think whas going to happen when all the people I work with and my fiance finds out I have a brother and sister that are going to be invited to the wedding.”
Victoria giggled at that “seriously?”
“Yeah seriously. So where too?”
“Nice part of town. I guess you got a bus here?”
“Of course.” He sighed “And let me guess she thinks you are studying at a friends house?”
“Well you can guess that friend good bye. Look I don’t want to be that guy toward you but for us, for our family words mean things. Oaths, promises, and curses all have consequences.”
“You know that from experience too?” He nodded.
Then motioned her to the door, as the door closed the jingle of keys could be heard as the door was locked. They both missed the tale tale ring of the phone, then the click as an answering machine turned on. “Vincent…” came a melodious voice ”whats this earth shaking news you have and why is Faf saying a girl is involved?” There was a false sweetness to the voice that any man recognized as a danger signal.
* * *
Victoria had climbed into Vincent’s 1953 ford pickup without a qualm. The car was painted an ice blue and had obviously been redone. “Nice, did you do it?”
“No it was my dads. All I redid was the bed, You’d be surprised what these old cars can survive.” He patted the dash affectionately as he got in and started the truck up with a rumble of the engine. “This car has been through hell and high water.”
Victoria gave him a look ”You mean that literally don’t you.” Vincent laughed.
“You’re learning” Victoria was seriously starting to wonder which of them was the one more insane of the two, so far her brother was tipping the scales. Even though the hour was getting late Vincent pulled into a convenience store on the way to Victoria’s home. He came out with a bouquet of flowers.
“What…” Victoria said as a question.
“They are a peace offering.” He said simply and they talked about her life and his life. Victoria knew he was trying to feel her out about her parents and what he might expect. What neither of them expected was to see a police car in front of the house with the lights flashing. “This can’t be good.” Vincent said as Victoria hopped out of the cab of his truck just as he had come to a full stop. Vincent spotted one of the officers he knew and waved as he got out of the truck.
“What are you doing here Lee?” That was when Vincent remembered where he knew the officer from, an assignment that had seen an officer injured after a couple of goblins had set up shop in the sewers near a school. “Hi officer Velasquez. Just returning a poor waif who found her way to my door. It’s complicated.”
“With you it always is. Seriously what are you doing.” There was a hard edge to his voice.
“Gods honest truth, she showed up at my door saying I was her older twin brother and I brought her home to her mom to figure things out.”
“Man thats gotta be the truth”
“That I’m her brother, no that she showed up at your door noone else would come up with that stupid of a lie.” I nodded and gave him a look.
“Yeah well what are you guys here for.”
“We were delivering some news about her dad.” Velasquez looked back at the house. “We found his body this morning.”
“She said he’d been missing.”
“Yeah for six months, but he was freshly dead.” He said turning back to Vincent. “So you gonna talk to the mom?”
Vincent shook his head “Lord help me my life sucks…”
* * *
By the time Vincent knocked on the door, Victoria had already gone inside. He took a deep breath then waited. After a few moments Victoria answered it. “You should have just come inside…”
“It doesn’t work that way. But may I come in?”
She had a strange look on her face but she answered “Sure.”
The home was an older ranch from the 1960’s carpet over hardwood flooring that had last been updated ten or more years before. The foyer let into the hall and the living room. That was where he found Mrs Leighton sitting on the sofa hunched over slightly holding a toe headed little boy. His brother, the boy Vincent noter looked just like he had at that age.
Vincent cleared his throat before speaking. “Pardon me Mrs Leighton…”
“Yes…” She said looking up with tear stained eyes. “Officer…?” the question clearly in her voice.
“Vincent Lee Ma’am, I’m not an officer though”
“How can I help you Mr Lee”
“This is very awkward, but your daughter has come to our attention as someone who might could benefit from our firms services.”
“Oh” The grief stricken woman replied, her body posture that of an awakening mother bear.
“May I sit? I have what apparently is a very long and complicated story to tell that for me starts early this evening with your daughter showing up at my door.”
“She showed up at your door? She was supposed to be at a sleep over.” Her lips pursed and a muscle began to throb on her forehead. “Victoria Ann Leighton” she said as her head whipped around and her eyes landed on her daughter “explain yourself.”
Uhm, mom well you see I’d been going into the paperwork you and dad had on Valen and myself….”
“What does that have to do with you going to a strange mans apartment…?”she said giving Vincent a glare, you could see his back straighten under her glare.
“Well see, According to the paperwork Vincent is my genetic brother….”
“What!!” She said again glaring at Vincent. “And I suppose you want my daughter.”
“No,” Vincent replied “My parents are dead, an accident twelve years ago. They had given the embryos up for adoption. My parents would be pleased that they had a loving home, and I’m no father figure.” He sighed then continued. “But I do work with a firm that helps children like Victoria, ones who see things and we help them find coping mechanisms that work for them”
“She told you?” Vincent nodded. “How can you be sure she’s your sister? No blood tests no DNA just boom she’s your sister.”
Vincents face took n a wry grin. “As to that she has my eyes and when I turned nine I started seeing impossible things too. At thirteen strange things started happening. I was lucky and was living with my grand father.”
“Valen turns nine next week.” Again Vincent nodded.
“She said his birthday was coming up.” Sleepily the boy started to stir.
“Momma?” He said
“Shh baby its ok.” She said as the boy snuggled in close then went back to sleep. She looked up at Vincent “What can you do to help them?”
“Vincent sat in a chair leaned forward and started to talk. “Its complicated, but the first thing you have to realize is that there are things in the world we don’t fully understand. What seems to be happening is that our family is able to glimpse another truth.” He shrugged. “I can teach them how to see it more clearly, how to know what they are seeing and how to cope with it.”
“Her therapist said he could too.” She replied thoughtfully.
“He or she probably could, if they knew what was going on.”
“Why am I so calm?” She asked.
“You are in shock and tired. I’m sure you all are” he said looking around the front room.”If there is anything I can do to help? Please let me know.”
“I wish there was something you could do about the police and the lights and everything.”
I can help you with the police. But I mean anything at all tomorrow afternoon if you don’t mind I’d like to stop by and arrange a training schedule with you for Victoria and talk to Valen after school”
“This must be so surreal to you” She said
“Believe it or not its not the weirdest day I’ve ever had.” He got up to leave and sighed shook his head and went out through the door. A few minutes later the flashing lights outside cut off.