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Installment Story, the Finale: Tea History Magic - Laura Wise

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April 12th, 2015


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06:56 am - Installment Story, the Finale: Tea History Magic
This week has been moderately stressful, and playing with this story has managed to keep me centered through it all. Thank you all for indulging me!

This is the last of the Installment Story, and I work in the last of the requested words as well as ending it. :)

The last line of the last entry was “Now,” she said, and her bleeding hand dove deep.

From the charm-bag in her pocket she drew crushed, now wet, bilberry and jasmine – no longer to be used for love but for protection. With a thought she brought flame to her full palm, there in the midst of ocean and storm; with a thought she let the flame take over the potion-ingredients and float free of her hand.

The broken, sharp-edged cup darted in and out of the waves, held up by past magic, but it couldn’t escape Melinda Jane. Still linked with Jake, she raised her now free hand and shouted, “Burn out old pain, burn out old guilt! Be what you were meant to be!”

Fire engulfed the cup. Her family’s decades of good enchantment fed on the fire, drew on the rain and sea, took away all blood. The broken cup, cleaned and still glimmering with oceanspray, fell.

Jake raised his other hand, still holding the box, and caught the cup as sure as if he was a fielder catching a pop-up fly.

The storm died. The sea soothed. The world was for a moment all gull-cry and wave-roar and sun.

And Melinda Jane, her homemade dress uncomfortably soaked almost to her breasts, turned to Jake and opened her mouth to ask what the hell that had been –

But she kissed him instead.

His mouth was so sweet, tasting of the muffins and tea he’d had before everything had gone so far south. Underneath the waves, their linked hands tightened around each other. The scent of jasmine wrapped around them, though they hadn’t moved from that spot.

Then he moved back, just a step, and said, “You think it’s okay to get out of the water yet?”

“Should be,” she said, smiling, and together they turned back to the shore.

On the steps down from her deck stood an old Black man she didn’t know: only a little stooped, a cane dangling unused from one hand, white hair catching the sun, a sharp smile. A second look gave her the man’s resemblance to Jake, and “Is that your grandfather?”

“Yes,” Jake said in a voice vaguely stupefied – which amused her, considering the hubbub of the past few minutes – and then called, “Granddad Louis, what are you doing here?”

“Came down to see what trouble y’all were getting into,” Granddad Louis said loudly, in a warm steady baritone that belied his years. “Lunchtime tea-leaves said there were going to be big doings, and since I caught the last of that little show, I’m glad I heeded the portents and came to witness.”

“You’re not supposed to be driving so far by yourself,” Jake said.

Granddad Louis made a dismissive sound.

Melinda Jane and Jake were out of the water now, almost to the steps. Granddad Louis reached out a hand. “I’ll take that cup and box, if you don’t mind.”

“Don’t mind at all, sir,” Melinda Jane said. “I think it belongs to the Moultries, anyway.”

“Well, back in 1777 Asa Moultrie brought it out from a very bad house, where it had done very bad things. Doesn’t make it ours, not entirely. You Carrs do have some claim to it as well,” Granddad Louis said as he took the box from Jake’s slackened grip. “I can watch it just the same, until you and Jacob figure out shared households and vows and all.” Then he smiled straight at her, and it was so very much Jake’s smile. “Haven’t been formally introduced, honey, but you call me Granddad Louis, same as my Jake does.”

“Granddad,” Jake began.

But Melinda Jane overrode him. “I am very happy to meet you, Granddad Louis. Pleased indeed.”

Granddad,” Jake said firmly, after a sidelong glance at her. “You’re jumping the gun a bit here. We, Melinda Jane and I, we’ve only been seeing each other a little while.”

Granddad Louis made another dismissive sound and turned away. “When I came through the house, spied you had some muffins left, Melly. I confess I’m partial to muffins and honey,” he said over his shoulder, “and also we can brew us another pot of tea and see what Jacob can’t quite yet.” Calm and powerful, he went back up the steps and across the deck to the house.

Melinda Jane and Jake were left standing there, wet and sandy and still connected.

Jake shifted from foot to foot uneasily. “Um, sorry. Sorry for that. Assumptions. Stuff.”

“No need to apologize, baby. No need at all.” Melinda Jane gave his hand a comforting squeeze. “We’ll just live a while on the same road, see where that takes us.”

He brought her hand to his lips. Kissed her knuckles, then the inside of her wrist. “Fine. Good. Except maybe we won’t read the leaves for another month or so, okay?”

She threw back her head and laughed into the sunlight, embracing the moment. Jake was such a delight, and if it took him a bit longer to process what the day had meant, well, that was just fine. Then she leaned her head against his shoulder. “Shall we go finish our tea?”

“All right,” he said, already urging her up the steps. At the top of the stairs, however, he stopped and smiled at her. “So what are your favorite flowers, Melinda Jane?”

“I like ‘em all, honey. But I confess that I do love a good orchid.”

“I’ll bring you some tonight,” he said, and she kissed him. Then, bedraggled but beaming, they went to the cracked sliding doors and went inside to tea, still holding hands.

..............
Happy Sunday, and happy week ahead!

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:janus_74
Date:April 12th, 2015 02:21 pm (UTC)
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Loved all of the last installments. Hope you have a good Sunday and a less stressful week.
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From:laurawise
Date:April 12th, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC)
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Thank you thank you, T! Cheers and a great week to you!
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From:mamculuna
Date:April 12th, 2015 04:18 pm (UTC)
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A very satisfying ending to a very fine story.

Except that now I want to hear more about the Moultries and the Carrs and all that happened...

Many thanks for sharing this with us!
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From:laurawise
Date:April 12th, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, mamculuna! I am grateful for all your kind words. :)

Happy week to you!
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From:gwynnega
Date:April 12th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
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Yay! A lovely ending.
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From:laurawise
Date:April 12th, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, gwynnega! :)

And a happy start to your week!
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From:anne_d
Date:April 12th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC)
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Loved it.
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From:laurawise
Date:April 12th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Thank you thank you, A!

Happy start of the week to you!
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From:paratti
Date:April 12th, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC)
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Delicious:)
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From:laurawise
Date:April 12th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, my friend! Thanks for commenting.

Happy week ahead!
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From:ljrags
Date:April 12th, 2015 10:18 pm (UTC)
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**CLAPS** I have so enjoyed this. Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:April 13th, 2015 12:26 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much for your reading and your comments! (And your prompt-word!)

I really appreciate it. :)

Cheers for your week ahead!
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From:roguedemon
Date:April 12th, 2015 11:14 pm (UTC)
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Lovely! Your writing is so classic and lyrical. ((Hugs))

Have a great week!
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From:laurawise
Date:April 13th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much, my friend. :)

Cheers, hugs, and a great week to you!
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From:mobile_alh
Date:April 14th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
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I knew I loved Grandad Louis...

So satisfying! Thanks for sharing the treats!
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From:laurawise
Date:April 15th, 2015 12:05 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, ALH! And Granddad Louis thanks you too. :)

Hugs hugs! Happy Wednesday!
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:April 19th, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC)
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A lovely ending to a lovely story.
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From:laurawise
Date:April 24th, 2015 12:05 pm (UTC)
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Thank you thank you! And happy Friday. :)

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