Marion and Beatrice Chandler excused themselves to the basement leaving Brad to clean the broken glass and wash the dishes. He could hear their voices but no distinct words. As he was finishing up, it seemed the conversation was becoming heated and he heard Marion: “He doesn’t know!”
Soon after, both women came back up the carpeted stairs. Marion kissed him on the cheek. “Will you put on some tea and bring it into the dining room? We have to talk.”
Ten minutes later Brad came into the dining room with a tea service tray of Marion’s. He poured for all of them and sat next to Marion. “Bea is my mentor,” she said.
“Oh,” Brad said.
“She’s been teaching me how to see things, how to be part of the Universe. I’m a novice, but I have some talent.”
“You’re more than a novice.” Beatrice Chandler said. “You be honest with him.”
“Anyway,” Marion said.
Brad sipped his tea to hide the whitewater rush of thoughts in his head.
“There’s things need doin’, and she’s volunteered.”
“Whoa,” Brad said. “What?”
“Brad,” Marion said. “Beatrice, let me.”
Marion took Brad’s two hands in her own. Beatrice Chandler sipped her tea. “I’m a witch, Brad. I used to use Tarot to see the future. Bea and several others are teaching me to be a conjurer. Training me to be a protector.”
“Modesty don’t suit you, Marion.” The younger woman shot a look of frustration at her mentor who only motioned for her to continue.
“There’s an entity named Brahmen out there who is threatening to do some very bad things that will affect everyone across several planes of reality. I’m going to try to stop him.”
Brad’s face was a mask. He pulled one hand away to pick up a tea cup and sip from it. “This sounds like a Doctor Strange comic book, Marion.”
Marion said, “I know it’s a lot to take in. There’s a thing called the Green-Schwarz mechanism that cancels out anomalies in superstring theory, which explains multiple dimensions. It’s science that might help you get your head around this.”
“The woman I love more than anything in the world is off to fight a huge cosmic menace,” Brad said, shaking his head. “This is crazy.”
Silence around the table: Brad and Marion unable to look at one another and Beatrice Chandler getting impatient. Brad stood up.
“Let’s say that because I love you, because I don’t believe you’re crazy, I’m willing to go along with this. Let’s say that.”
“That’d be good,” Beatrice Chandler said. “Marion’s going to need your support, she’s going to need your love to face off against Brahmen.”
“Why her? Why does it have to be Marion?”
“History,” Beatrice Chandler said. “Fate. Destiny. Divine providence. She’s born to it. Take your pick. Any and all of those reasons fit jus’ fine.”
Brad walked into the kitchen, tossing up his hands.
Marion wanted to get up and follow him, but instead she watched him pace the floor there, then get a glass from the cabinet above the toaster, open the freezer and drop ice into the glass. He reached into a cabinet under that counter and pulled out a bottle, poured a drink that floated the ice. He swirled the glass and sipped as he leaned against the counter, sipped again and came back into the dining room. He sat next to Marion and held his glass with both hands.
“You’re going no matter what, aren’t you?”
“I have to,” Marion said.
“Are you coming back?”
“Yes,” Marion said. “Yes, I’m coming back to you, to us.”
The ice cubes clinked in Brad’s glass. His breathing got heavier. “There’s a chance you won’t make it back, isn’t there? If you don’t make it back, it won’t matter much to us, will it?”
“No,” Marion said. “Not much.”
“So what are your chances here?”
“You’re over thinking this,” Beatrice Chandler said, slapping the tabletop. “You have to believe in your woman and give her your love because she needs it. Give it because she’s askin’. Don’t think about no odds, you got to believe that she’s comin’ back.” The older woman sat back, breathed out a gush of air. “She believes it ‘n’ so do I.”
“I’m not good with faith.”
“Then you got things to do while she’s gone, to keep your mind occupied. How’s the house comin’?”
Surprise from the two lovers. “What house?” Marion said.
“Be honest with each other.” Beatrice Chandler stood up. “I’ll be back in two weeks, Marion, on the full moon. You both be ready.” The old woman gathered her things and left without another word.
“It’s beautiful,” Marion said as she stood next to the car. The lilacs were full and the flowerbeds were crammed with purples and oranges and yellows and reds. “How long have you ---?”
“About six months,” Brad said. He took her hand and led her up the steps to the yard. “I’m renovating the inside with Dale’s and a couple of other guys’ help. It’s almost done.”
Marion was enchanted with the whole idea and could barely contain herself. “Can we go inside?”
The oak floors weren’t polished and there was no furniture, but that didn’t dampen Marion’s enthusiasm. “The kitchen is HUGE! Look at that staircase! Oh, the windows!” She failed to notice the holes in the plaster and lath and the layers of dust around drop cloths and tool buckets. “What’s upstairs?” she said.
“Let’s go and see,” Brad said. He became as giddy as she when they reached the top. “Our bedroom here, another there, and a library at the end of the hall. There’s a second library off the dining room and an office for me in the basement.” She kissed him hard. He kissed her and each tore the other’s clothes off. They stroked and kissed passionately, panted and sweated frantically, rolled on top of each other playfully, shouted their love and their ecstasy.
“Perfect,” Marion said in the afterglow. “Perfect.”
“The house, you, my love for you,” Marion did a 360 with her arms out, “all of it. Perfect.”
“This is my love for you, Marion. I want us to be together forever.”
“You’re my anchor, my rock. You are my life.”
They came in from a final tour of the basement and backyard as the sun set. They stood in the dining room and looked around at their future. “How long until we can move in?”
Brad looked at the floor, swallowed hard. “Probably another six months. There’s some plumbing issues, code things on the electricity, too. Then the cosmetic stuff: wallpaper and such. Maybe only four months.”
“Oh,” Marion said.
“How long do you think you’ll be gone?”
Marion studied the floor. “I don’t know. Time’s --- different on other planes. Things get weird.”
Brad turned Marion towards him, looked at her seriously. “I don’t understand all this with that woman last night. I’m not sure I accept that you’re a witch who can save the Universe by facing down some sort of demonic entity on another plane of reality. I’ll study up on this Super String Theory to wrap my head around the ideas, though.” He took her then moved them up to hold her shoulders tightly until her eyes locked with his.
“What I know and believe is that I love you, and I will wait for you no matter what it is you’re doing. I will be here when you get back and I will be faithful while you’re gone. I want you to tell me that you will come back. That these next two weeks aren’t all we’ll have.”
“Take me to the basement,” she said.
In the southeast corner of the basement, she had him sit down with her. Side by side they faced into the center of the family room in line with the door to the office there. She pulled a small, curved knife from her purse and held her left wrist up. “Do like this with your right,” she said. “Trust me.”
She gently pulled the blade across her skin, above the artery, and then handed it to him. “Do the same,” she said. She winced a little as he mirrored her movement with only a slight hesitation and handed it back to her. She set the blade aside and put her wrist on top of his. Their blood mixed and dripped to the floor. She pulled him close, crushing their wrists between them, smearing their chests with the blood. He kissed her hard. Marion looked him in the eye. “Repeat after me: You are my home, this is my home.” He said the words slowly, giving them as much weight as he could. “You are my soul’s breath,” she said. “you are my life. I will warm my heart in the fire of your hearth. The only certainty is my honest and abiding love for you.” She nodded and blushed when he was done.
“I am yours forever, Bradley Martin, as you are mine. Bound by the rules of creation, I will return to my husband, I promise.”
Click Here for Part 3.
©2009, 2012 By Jason Arnett.
Some Rights Reserved under a Creative Commons Attribution-
Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States