The biggest problem with going to France was the fact we couldn’t. There was just no way to get Henri there. He couldn’t be seen by anyone and it wasn’t really good to lock him up in a big trunk or somethin’, besides if they x-rayed the trunk we weren’t sure what they’d see–nothing, or a strange looking mass? If they looked in… well… that wouldn’t be good. Henri and I discussed it for weeks but couldn’t come up with a viable solution. I couldn’t go over by myself cause I doubted he’d believe me; I figured he’d get mad for spinnin’ wild tales. And I couldn’t exactly ask Dr. Laroche to come all the way back here without explanation, and the explanation was the whole reason we needed to see him in person.
I wasn’t sure how pleased Henri was we couldn’t go. I knew he was upset, but I also knew he was upset at the idea goin’. It was annoying not knowing exactly how he was feeling about this. I asked him a couple times, once a little more forcefully, and he didn’t respond much. The more forceful time I asked, he got a bit snappy and then went off to pout by the waterfall, while I stewed in anger in the barn.
I had been thinkin’ about everything my brother and Henri said about me workin’ for the police. It made sense. It would be a good way to use my powers. And I was probably more psychic than a lot of the so-called psychics out there. I had no idea anything about all that, but considering my abilities it wouldn’t be too strange to think there were real psychics out there. But what could I do with some cases like kidnapping? I couldn’t be ‘I see a lake and a little cabin’ or whatever. I would be exposed as a fake in that aspect. I supposed I could just build up a reputation as a type of psychic who had to be close to a suspect or whatever, that could work.
In the end, I decided to talk to someone about it and almost forty minutes after I sent the text, Kaylee showed up at the house. She whisked in, kissed my cheek, hugged Henri tight and then plopped on the couch asking for ice cream and answers.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” Hen said, giving me a quick kiss before floatin’ off, probably to his favorite spot–the waterfall.
I got some ice cream for my sister and sat down, explainin’ to her everything that Duncan and Henri had said about the whole situation. I told her why I was worried, and my limitations. She ate the ice cream and nodded, making responsive noises. When I was finished talkin’, she waved a spoon at me and said, “Do it.”
“Just like that?” I asked, raisin’ my eyebrows. “It’s a big decision, Kaylee! And–and faking being a psychic? That’s kinda… that seems…”
“You’re not exactly faking it, now are you?” she asked, poking my arm with the spoon, leaving a few drops of melted ice cream there. “You have psychic abilities. They’re not just your typical, run-of-the-mill police psychicness detectiveness that most have.”
“Yeah, I can’t see a lake with a cabin by it,” I sighed.
“No, but you can tell when someone is being honest or dishonest,” she said then pulled a face. “I need a new spoon.”
I grumbled as I fetched her a new spoon then plopped down, sinkin’ back into the couch. “You think I should do it? I can’t go to court or anything, they can’t send anyone to jail simply because I said they were guilty.”
“You got someone arrested because of your helping Duncan,” she said slyly and I scowled. “You’d be able to help Duncan a lot, and even if other policemen don’t believe you I am sure you can really help put criminals away. You could be like…” She put her hand to the side of her head and began swaying around. “This man is lying, his aura is of guilt, I see that he does know the victim!”
I poked her and she giggled. “All I can go off on are feelings.”
“But you can put feelings together and see where they’re coming from, right?” she asked and I shrugged. “I mean, you probably already know about me, right?” she asked, this time quieter with her eyes looking down.
“I know nothing until you tell me,” I said, carefully choosin’ my words. Kaylee glared at me so I held my hands up. “Okay, yes, I know.” She shoved a large spoonful of ice cream into her mouth and was very quiet for a while, feelin’ nervous. I wanted to smack her and then realized, why not? So I smacked her. “You know it changes nothing. Why would it change anything? For anyone? We have two fathers.”
“Being a lesbian isn’t the same thing,” she muttered. “Gay men and gay women are accepted differently. Don’t act like it’s not true. Our daddies obviously dislike women so they might… have…”
“Yeah, that’s why they totally disapproved of Duncan’s marriage,” I snorted. “That’s why they disapprove of Mal’s girlfriend.”
“Not the same thing!” she protested. “And I didn’t come here to talk about my lesbianness since the only ones who know now are you and my ex. I came here to talk to you about your new job which you should totally get, okay?”
I could tell she was really scared about tellin’ others about herself, so I decided not to pursue the sensitive subject and returned to my own problems. We argued back and forth for a while but she knew already she had won. Which she tended to do a lot, after thinkin’ about it. Now it was her and Duncan and Henri who won, and I would become some sort of detective. GEEZ gettin’ a job where I had to really deal with people. What was I thinking?
Three weeks, lots of paper signed, and a short class taken later and I was officially a private investigator. I was just doing some light cases thrown my way from the police, specifically Duncan who found ones that could work well with my abilities. Small, rather stupid things like kicked gnomes and the like. It was all so stupid but so easy I could’ve done it in my sleep. It wasn’t bringin’ in much money but since at the moment we had a decent nest egg tucked away, Hen and I didn’t really need much money.
After another month of silly work I put my abilities for more serious cases. Duncan gave me hints of what was goin’ on and I’d check in with a suspect. Twice I called in anonymous tips about alibis being lied about and once I called in, not anonymously, about a victim lying about knowing his attacker. I felt kinda dirty about squealin’ but… I felt dirtier about the manner I did it. I wasn’t even sure if they’d believe me, when I called, since I said out right that I had “sensed it” from the person’s aura, or something stupid like that. The day after Duncan informed me they had followed my tip and found the bad guy.
“My boss asked me about you,” Duncan said, popping a piece of popcorn in his mouth. “Since you gave your name. They also tracked your two anonymous ones.”
“How can they do that?” Henri asked, makin’ a face.
“When I called them in I said I had sensed it from auras, too,” I said with a shrug. “I suspect they suspected they were all from the same person. What did you tell your boss?”
“That you had always been able to sense auras and always knew who broke what or stole which cookies growing up,” Duncan answered with a grin. “I told her I had no clue you ever intended on calling anything in, and I’d talk to you.”
“You lied to your boss?” I asked, wrinklin’ my brow. “What if she finds out?”
“She believed me,” Duncan promised. “She didn’t say whether she appreciated the ‘psychic’ tips or not. I told her you were starting out as a PI and she told me to get back to work.” He grabbed some more popcorn and tossed it into his mouth. “We’ve had a psychic work on a few other cases before so it’s no so unusual.”
“Do you really think this will all work out?” Henri inquired, taking a few bite of popcorn himself as he settled down on the arm pf the couch, next to where I was sittin’. “Her, working as a fake psychic consultant.”
“It’s not really fake now, is it?” Duncan asked, spreadin’ his hands out. “She’s really psychic. Sort of. Enough of one.”
“A psychic working on cases involving kicked garden gnomes and stolen mouthwash,” I snorted and Henri snickered.
“I am sorry about that but I figured cases where you worked with people instead of finding things would be better for your–your abilities,” Duncan said. “I’ll keep–oh, call of nature.” He stood up as Amy started crying in the other room. “I’ll keep looking for cases good for you, and you keep calling in tips.” He disappeared down the hall and returned with his daughter, just awake from a nap. She clung to him, droolin’ a bit.
“Hey sweetie,” I said, goin’ over and kissing her forehead.
“Unnn,” she moaned, smackin’ her lips. “Unca Onwi.” She held her arms out and Henri obeyed her, swinging her against him. She giggled and nuzzled against him. “No go, Daddy,” she said firmly.
“We have to go home,” Duncan said, offering his arms and she buried her face against Henri. “We’re going to have mac and cheese tonight, and hot dogs.”
“To dogs?” she asked, peekin’.
“Yeppers. Come on, darling.” He took his daughter back, grinning at both of us. “It’s always hard to get her home after being with you two.”
“We’re glad to have her,” Henri said, kissin’ his niece’s forehead just like I had. “Uncle Henri will see you soon, baby girl.”
She giggled, and Duncan looked up at me. “No,” I said before he could say anything. “Don’t start on that, all right?”
“Start on what?” Henri faced Duncan who became focused on getting Amy’s shoes on her. “I love you, Sen, but sometimes I feel so lost when you do stuff like this,” Hen said, runnin’ his fingers through his hair.
I reached over, my hand on his waist. “Duncan wants to know when we’re having kids,” I explained and Henri rolled his eyes at Duncan.
“Sorry!” Duncan laughed, finishing buckling Amy’s shoes and pulling her onto his hip. “You two are so good with Amy, I can’t help wonder.”
“Everyone in the family can’t help but wonder,” I grumbled. “And it’s nobody’s business but ours. You know how you felt before Amy was born, right?”
Duncan sighed. “Yeah, sorry. I’ll not ask. Not that I even did in the first place. See you two later.” He grabbed Amy’s bag and left. I followed him to the door and waved at Amy until the car was goin’ down the hill. I shut the door and went to find Henri gazin’ out the window with a very thoughtful look on his face. I frowned, wondering what on earth he was thinking about. Wishing I knew.
“Everything okay?” I asked, puttin’ my arms around him, kissing his cheek.
“We’ve been married a few months now and haven’t discussed it,” he said simply.
I pressed my lips tightly together. “The, um, baby thing?” I asked and he nodded. “I–“
“It’s too early,” he interrupted. “I’m sorry. Yeah. I shouldn’t have said anything.” He turned in my arms and kissed me hard, then again, this time with more tongue. “How about we go practice, at least?” His fingers gently pushed up the sides of my shirt so he could brush against my waist.
“Mmmm… that does sound nice but…” I pushed him back. “You’re changing the subject. And doing a very good job of it.”
His eyebrows lifted a bit. “You don’t want to discuss it so we won’t.”
“I never said I didn’t want to,” I argued. “You interrupted me. I think…” I trailed off and now it was my turn to look out the window. I didn’t want to discuss this bit Henri did. “I think it’s… something we should… talk about. Duncan is right, you are good with kids. I think that you look real natural with a baby in your arms.”
“You look great with a baby in your arms,” he said, takin’ my hand and putting it against his mouth. “I think we would make great parents. Except…” I looked over at him and he bowed his head. “I have the feeling you’re worried about it for the same reason I’m worried about it. What if we…?”
“Get a baby like you,” I said once he stopped talking. “It’s a risk Mr. Amour mentioned. Though his two children are–are living. Like him. Maybe it was just blowing smoke. Maybe if–when–we have children they’ll not be ghosts.”
“Is it a risk we want to take, though?” he asked and suddenly I realized I was the one tryin’ to convince him instead of the other way around. When did that happen?
“Is it that bad being a ghost?” I asked.
His shoulders lifted a bit. “I’m happy. But who’s to say a kid we have will be happy too?”
“Darling, even living people are unhappy with their lot in life. Even if you were a proper living person, we have the risk of having a kid who’s unhappy with life. I wasn’t always happy. Duncan was miserable. In fact the only person I know who’s happy most the time is Kaylee and even she had her moments.”
He smiled at that and rubbed my waist again. “That is so true. But what about his or her life–I mean, school and a social life? We can’t send a ghost child to school.”
“We might not have a ghost child…” I looked into his eyes and threw my arms around his neck. “How about in another month or two I go off the pill? And whatever happens, happens. If I get pregnant, or–if I can’t… well, we’ll leave it up to fate.”
Fate had other ideas. Over the next two months I worked more at cases, threw in tips to the police and started getting vaguely known for my work as a psychic. Ironically enough, cheating spouses became my specialty. I didn’t like it but five cases in a row were about cheating spouses. Two spouses were innocent, three unfortunately were not. I felt disgusting gettin’ pictures of them kissing and stuff but the poor spouses being cheated on gave me a paycheck and two of them added in a few extra simoleons.
Around the time I was going to go off the pills, I put out ads to extend my workload since I wasn’t really doing much. Like dealin’ with the cheaters, I felt low advertising my work as a psychic private eye. Except that–well, other than the cheaters, I didn’t mind doin’ some of the work. And phoning in tips to the police. Duncan said his boss was beginning to think of callin’ me in sometime to meet me. To express annoyance, or to ask me to work for them? I wasn’t sure. But I was nervous to find out, but had to wait to be called in.
“What do you think she wants?” Henri asked one evenin’ as we played a new video game I had just bought for him as a surprise. It wasn’t player versus player but I wasn’t doing anywhere near as good as him.
“I’m hoping to work as a psychic consultant or something,” I said, wincin’ as my character fell off the screen. “But if she doesn’t like me doing stuff like what I’ve been doing or anything like that, I guess I’ll just keep on working as a private investigator. Oh come ON!” I shrieked as I fell off the screen as soon as I got the chance to move again. “I don’t like this system. I say we sell it, the games are stupid and the controllers are stupid.”
Henri giggled. “You only say that because you’re not doing well.”
“How come you’re so good? We only got this system a week ago.”
“What do you think I do when you’re out snooping?” he asked and began laughing as I kicked his foot. “What? When Amy’s not here, I play video games.”
“You should read,” I said with a nod. “Expand your knowledge beyond little pixel lego characters. Learn a new language.”
“What, two languages isn’t enough?” he asked, not takin’ his eyes off the screen. “What else should I learn? Latin? I could translate great works of literature from Latin to French. By candlelight. With a quill. That make you happy?”
I paused the game and pulled his head over for a kiss. “As long as you wear tights along with it and a doublet.” We both laughed and I was about to turn the video game back on when I felt something at the edge of my radar. Henri watched me, waitin’ for me to unpause and when I just sat there he reached over and shook my arm. I blinked and stood up, setting the controller down. “Someone’s nearby,” I whispered.
“So? I know we’re not exactly in town but people have gone by here before. Or is it someone bad? Someone intending on robbing us?” he asked, gettin’ up as well.
“No. But someone bad.” I went over to the door and peered out the glass. She was pretty far away so I couldn’t see her. But she was there. “Ugh! I was hoping she had given up, it’s been a year.”
“Who give up what?” he asked, tryin’ to lean over my shoulder. “Who is it?”
“Some woman who kept coming by a couple times a year,” I said, squinting. “I don’t know what she wants but she’s cold and practically emotionless. Well, she can make herself emotionless. It’s creepy. And there is something wrong about her. It’s almost been a year.” She was gettin’ closer and I backed away, bumpin’ Henri back. “What does she want?”
“Why don’t you find out?” Henri asked, hands on my shoulders.
“She’s creepy!” I said, pointin’ at the door. “And wrong, she’s wrong. She’s not trustworthy. She’s… she’s just wrong. And she’s coming. Quick! Turn off the lights!” I pushed him towards the lightswitch and I dove for a lamp, turning it off. “Come on, turn it off!”
“If she can see the house, she’ll see the lights going off,” Henri said as he flipped the switch. “She’ll know we’re here.”
I froze, halfway towards the hall light. “Crap, you’re right. Hide!” I grabbed his arm and dragged him towards the bathroom. “We’ll duck down in the tub.”
“She can’t see in the house, dear.”
“She’s broke in before,” I hissed, slammin’ the bathroom door shut.
“She broke in? What the hell?”
“I don’t know! I just hide and hope she doesn’t find me.” I pressed against the door, feelin’ the creepy woman coming closer and closer.
“Serenity Jayne!” Henri gasped out in my ear. “She’s come into your house and you never did anything about it? Your brother is on the force!”
“I don’t know who she is, I can’t have her arrested,” I whispered.
“Call Duncan now!” he hissed.
“The phone’s out there. Oh geez, she’s close. She’s at the door. She’ll probably break–” I stopped as the doorbell rang. I looked at Henri whose eyes seemed to glow even more. “She’s ringing the bell…”
“Then why don’t we answer it?” he asked, reachin’ for the doorknob. I grabbed his hand, trying to stop him. He shook me off easily and opened the door, edging me out into the hall. “I know I can’t answer it, I’ll stay here. But if she tries to hurt you, I’ll come in swinging.”
“I c-can’t just answer the door with a crazy woman out there!” I jumped slightly as the bell rang again. “I can’t. She… she…” I stared at the door, bitin’ my thumbnail. “She’s been coming here for ten years, she’s been following me. If she’s so… sane then why would she stalk me for ten years and break into my house?”
“I’m not saying she’s sane, I’m saying you should answer the door and find out why she’s been stalking you for ten years. I’ll be here, and with the phone if she tries anything. I’ll call the police or Duncan and come in to save you. I’m not afraid to hit a woman.”
I sucked in some air and looked at Henri. “Okay. I’ll answer the door.” I grabbed the phone and put it in his hands. “If I yell, then call someone and come in. Wait in the bathroom.”
He kissed the tip of my nose and floated back to the bathroom. I smoothed down my shirt and went over to the door. She was there, waitin’, feeling emotionless except for some arrogance and boredom. I let out a deep breath and then opened the door. A pair of bright green eyes stared back at me, but not a flicker of anything went through them or through her. She just stared blankly at me. “So,” I gulped. “You’re the woman who keeps breaking into my house.” I tried not to act surprised at her age. She seemed to be my age. I had always assumed her to be older.
“And you are Serenity Danevbie,” she said. “I must admit, I was not expecting you to answer the door. You seemed to have avoided me for so long.” She took a step and I moved, blocking her way. “I suggest you move.”
“I’m not letting you into my house until you tell me what this is all about?” I said, puttin’ my arm up to block more of the doorway. She narrowed her eyes. “You’ve hunted me down for ten years, I deserve an answer.”
“Then I suggest you move, and we will sit down and I shall tell you. Although it is all quite simple.” She reached up to adjust her glasses. “It would be easier if you went with me.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you except my couch,” I spat out.
“Then move and we will go to your couch.”
I clenched my teeth and moved. She waltzed past me and went straight for the living room couch. I followed and sat down, feelin’ a bit scared but glad Henri was waiting with the phone. She perched on the edge of the couch and I just stood near her. She was staring at the TV and I quickly turned off the game system, a bit of red in my cheeks.
“Okay look here, whoever you are,” I said, pointing the TV remote at her. “You came to bother me a long time ago and my sister got rid of you and ever since you’ve been coming here or following me around. I don’t know who you are or why you want me, but it’s about time you tell me!”
“I would have told you years ago if you had simply allowed me to talk with you,” she answered coolly. “So it is ridiculous to put blame on me for your not knowing.”
I sniffed a bit at that, annoyed at how true it was. “Very well. Now tell me.”
“It is about your…” She trailed off and looked me up and down. “Your connected with people. Your ability to sense emotional response.”
I stared at her in disbelief. She stared right back, calm and bored. It was very unnerving. “How… did you know… what my abilities are?” I finally managed to get out. It wasn’t completely a shocker, since I suspected she knew something of it. But to hear the fact she knew everythin’ of it was very weird. I began to feel a bit sick.
“Simple,” she said, crossing her legs. “I created your genetic donor.”
“Gene…tic… you mean… the monst–uh–” I wracked my brains for his name. “Douglas?”
“Yes. I created him. And he made you. Therefore, I created you.” She raised both eyebrows and a small smirk crept onto her face. “In more ways than one, when you look at it. Now then. Now that I have explained, you will come with–“
“What was your name?” I asked, head poundin’. She couldn’t be. She couldn’t be! “And tell me the truth! Because I know when someone isn’t telling the truth!”
“You would not know when I am telling the truth or lying,” she said arrogantly. “But in this case I shall. You may call me Doctor Redding.”
I stared, trying to grasp the information I was told. Doctor Redding. The woman I had looked for all those years ago was the same woman I had been avoiding all these years now? Talk about a cruel twist!