Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Character Scene from Hooked on Love by Dellani Oakes - Part 1
Faydra and Kael are cousins, each home with the new love of their lives. Faydra is dating Quaid, a psychologist from Up North – enough to scandalize any dyed in the wool Southern Mama. Kael is dating Penny, from Florida. They are at a huge family gathering at Faydra's childhood home in Alabama.
"Sorry I didn't get back right away. I had to toss Jerry out and claim the chair for you. He didn't want to cooperate," Kael said with a grin.
I saw a gangly teen rubbing his left ear. His face was red and he ducked away when I looked at him.
"I didn't believe him," he mumbled.
Faydra smacked him on the back of the head. "When has Kael ever lied to you?"
"All the time," Jerry whined.
Kael laughed, ruffling the boy's hair. "He has a point, Fay. Don't give him too hard a time."
"If you say so." She sniffed, shaking back her long, blonde hair.
"He was right here," she said, looking around. "Kael, search and rescue."
Nodding, he went one way, she went the other. Puzzled, I waited until they came back. In the meantime, Corle introduced me, and I started talking to Kael's younger cousins, all about the same age as Carrie and Caleb. They sat with me, supplying names and relationships, in a quiet counterpoint to the conversation. It was a little distracting, but I appreciated the effort, and soon learned to listen to both their dialogue, and the conversation. New skill set—score!
About twenty minutes later, Kael and Fadyra returned with Quaid. He looked slightly Shell Shocked.
"You okay?" I asked him.
Quaid couldn't talk, he just nodded. Kael handed him a glass of amber colored liquid, which he tossed back, gasping. Kael poured him another.
"Aunt Shiff had him," Faydra supplied quietly.
The entire room gasped, their expressions changing to one of deep concern.
"Who's that?" My question was innocent enough, but all eyes turned to me.
"You didn't warn her?" Caleb whispered harshly and he slapped Kael on the back of the head.
"I didn't think she'd be here."
"She's the Anti-Christ," Quaid whispered, his voice full of fear. "The Bride of Frankenstein, or maybe Satan. She's the most terrifying...the most—horrible.... Words—no—words." He gestured vaguely.
"He went looking for the bathroom," Faydra said, smoothing Quaid's hair. "And she got him on the way out."
"No—words," Quaid muttered. "No...."
"Dude, more bourbon," Jerry said, taking the bottle from Kael. He poured Quaid a double. "You sure you're all right?"
"He will be," Kael said, patting the other man on the knee. "She had him cornered almost fifteen minutes before we found him."
"Oh, Jesus, dude!" Jerry made the Sign of the Cross over Quaid.
"Who is she?" I demanded.
"Aunt Shiff, she's our great-grandmother's older sister. Nan's about eight-five, eighty-six?" Faydra said, shrugging. "Aunt Shiff is almost a hundred. First of sixteen," she explained.
"Meanest old woman to walk the face of the earth," Kael added.
Everyone in the room nodded, including Corle. I shuddered.
"What does she do that's so awful?"
"She sees right through you," Quaid said, shuddering. "She knew things about me that my own mother doesn't know! She knew about—us!" He pointed between himself and Fay. "Read me like a book, trashed my psyche, nailed my manhood to a rugged cross. She—eviscerated me with her tongue. I may never recover. Jesus, that's an evil old woman!"
"Why is she here?" Kael asked. "She hates to go out."
"It's your fault," Quaid said to him. "And yours," he pointed to Fay. "When she heard you were coming back with a new boyfriend and girlfriend, she made it a point. She lives an hour and a half away, but she insisted."
"I'm so sorry. Honey, I'm so—" Faydra tried to touch him, but Quaid jerked away.
"She'll know.... She knows everything!" His tone was funereal. "And she wants to meet you," he told me. "Then you'll see."
"I'll go with you," Kael said. "I'm sorry, man. I had no idea or I'd have run point for you. I'm so sorry."
Quaid held out his glass. "I never drink. I don't believe in using alcohol to solve your problems. Hit me," he said to Jerry, who still held the bottle. "To the top."
"Honey, that's Papaw's special brew. That's gonna knock you on your ass," Fay said.
"I don't care." He motioned to Jerry once more.
Faydra put her hand out, holding the bottle away. "Nope, no more, or you won't be worth a damn later."
Quaid turned horrified eyes on her. "No, I can't touch you again. She'll know!"
I was really worried and wanted to do something, but Kael wouldn't let me.
"It's okay. It passes, I promise. We've all endured it at one time or another."
"But we knew going in, it would be bad," Faydra told her cousin.
"He's a grown man. He'll survive," Kael said. "Quaid," he spoke harshly. "Remember what you told me earlier?"
There was a vague expression of realization. "Yes."
Kael nodded sharply. Quaid nodded slowly and a change came over him. He relaxed and lost the haunted, tortured look.
"Let's get this over with," I said. "If she's gonna rip into me, I'd rather have it on an empty stomach."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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