Beryl is one of Evangaline’s nieces.
“What did you get from your Aunt’s garage sale?”
Beryl’s mother was trying to be casual about it, but she did a very unbelievable casual. She was also rather predictable, so Beryl was prepared for her.
“Couple vintage dresses, two pairs of nineteen-seventies pants I’m going to turn into skirts, and these nice candlesticks.” She juggled things to show her mother the cut-glass sticks. “Aunt Eva even gave me the candles for free.”
“Hrmph, nothing interesting?”
“No, Mom.” She rolled her eyes. “No secret journals, no magical tea leaves, no mystical anythings.”
::Not going to tell her about your great-great-great-great-grandfather in your g-g-g-Aunt’s necklace?:: a voice teased in her ear.
::No, and neither are you,:: she answered firmly. ::Stay quiet when she’s around.:
::Yes’m,:: the voice answered with surprising meekness, and fell quiet, allowing her to navigate her mother’s nosiness with ease.
“Ah, well, I suppose Evangaline kept all the good things for herself.”
“That’s the whole point of the Aunt thing, isn’t it?” She didn’t mean to twit her mother, she really didn’t – it just made everyone upset, stressed out the whole family, and got them nowhere in the long run. But sometimes it seemed like Mom was just asking for it.
“What do you mean?” Mom was getting pretty uncomfortable with Beryl’s interest in their family’s line of Aunts, especially with Aunt Asta passing away. The discomfort only made Beryl all the more curious, of course, but her curiosity only made her mom, her other aunts, her uncles, and so on clam up like their lives depended on the silence.
“I mean, you have an Aunt in every generation, who holds on to the powerful things, right?”
“Well… who’s been telling you these things?”
“No-one!” she answered, with some exasperation. “But you guys all talk, and it’s not like we kids don’t have ears.” We kids made it not just her, not the teens, but the whole generation. Shift the attention. “And everyone knew it would be Aunt Eva.”
“Well, yeah,” Mom answered, uncomfortably. “But it’s not that big a deal, just the family tradition. The house goes to the unmarried niece of the current inhabitant.”
“With all the good stuff?”
“Well, it’s been in the family for a long time. There’s supposed to be some expensive stuff hidden under the rafters there.
The voice in Beryl’s head chuckled very quietly. She couldn’t really fault him.
“I don’t think she’d sell expensive stuff at a yard sale anyway, Mom. Anyone could get their hands on it there.”
“I guess you’re right. Well, they’re very nice candlesticks. And don’t call those dresses ‘vintage’ where you aunts can hear you; I think I recognize one from Sally’s senior year of high school.” Mollified, Mom took one last look at the candlesticks and left Beryl to it.
::They really don’t want you to know, do they?:: He didn’t sound like a dirty old man anymore; he sounded almost her age, and a bit uncertain.
::She’s afraid it’s going to be me. I don’t know why it’s a bad thing.::
::I can’t tell you on my own,:: he offered hesitantly, ::but I can’t disobey you, either.::
::That sucks. Being trapped forever in a necklace and having to do whatever… oh. Oh.:: She felt a grin growing. ::Grandpa, you and me are going to have some conversations.::
::Call me Joseph.::
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