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Parvenu 3:


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Chapter 14

"Paul? Aren't you happy?" G asked cautiously as they rode home.

"Yeah. I'm just... it's just kinda big to take in all at once." Paul tried to explain.

"If I was sitting back there with you, I'd give you a big hug to help you deal with it."

"I can do that!" Lucky quickly volunteered. Before anyone could react, Lucky had gotten out of his seatbelt and was hugging Paul firmly.

"Thanks Lucky. That was just what I needed." Paul said quietly as he returned the hug.

* * * * *

There was little conversation the rest of the way back to the house. D and G could both understand that Paul needed some time to acclimate to all the sudden changes in his life.

"Come inside. I'm sure that everyone is in a mood to celebrate." D said as he pulled the car to a stop.

"We need to get changed." G reminded his father as he opened his car door.

"Don't take too long. I'm sure that Beth is going to want to make a big deal out of today's events." D said firmly.

"Don't worry. I won't rain on her parade." Paul said as he undid his seatbelt.

"Just try to be happy. Take a little time to enjoy your achievements." D said more gently to his newly adopted son.

"I am happy." Paul automatically responded.

"You have a funny way of showing it." G said as he leaned into the car, waiting for Paul to get out.

"I guess I do." Paul said with a grin at him.

That little glimpse of a smile was all that G needed, to know that Paul was going to be alright.

* * * * *

When Paul finally exited the car, he noticed that Lucky was automatically going with him and G.

"Are you feeling better?" G tentatively asked.

"I guess so. I don't know what that was."

"It's like you said, you're trying to take in a lot of things at once. You're overloading. Take a few minutes to relax and de-stress before you force yourself to face anything more." G said as they walked around the side of the house.

* * * * *

As soon as G cleared the front door of his room, he began to strip off his clothes.

Paul glanced at Lucky to see his reaction and found him staring wide-eyed.

"No one is allowed in G's room unless he invites them. This is a place where he can be naked if he wants to." Paul calmly explained as he began to unbutton his shirt.

"What about you?" Lucky asked quietly.

"I get naked too. But we're not going to do that now. We've got to get changed and go back into the house."

As if in response to Paul's words, G slipped out of the rest of his clothes.

When G noticed Paul and Lucky staring at him, he said, "I need a quick shower. I feel gross."

Paul and Lucky watched as G continued out of the room and into the bathroom.

"Of course, I could be wrong about that." Paul finally said.

Paul looked down at Lucky and noticed the lost and confused expression that he was wearing.

"As a boy grows up, his body changes. It's nothing scary but it can be a little weird for you if you don't know what to expect." Paul said gently.

"They told us about stuff like that in our health class, but I never saw someone older than me naked before."

"I think that you're growing up a lot like I did. The most important thing to remember is that it's normal to be curious. You don't need to feel like you're doing something wrong. A lot of guys like us get messed up because of that."

Lucky stared as Paul finished getting out of his school uniform.

Paul walked to the closet in the bedroom wearing only his underwear as Lucky followed a step behind.

After selecting the casual clothes that he was going to wear, Paul looked at Lucky and asked, "Do you have any questions?"

"You've got more hair than G."

Paul looked down at himself and noticed the few stray sprigs of hair on his chest and the little dusting of hair that led from his navel to beneath the waistband of his underwear.

"Yeah. We're all different that way. One of the guys in my gym class, his name is Karras, when he's naked he reminds me of a chimpanzee. I've never seen someone our age with so much body hair."

"So it's not wrong to look?" Lucky asked anxiously.

"That's kind of hard to say. I mean, it's not wrong to look, but it's wrong to stare. Plus, some people are insecure about their bodies or afraid of being looked at in a sexual context..." Paul trailed off as he realized that he was speaking a little above Lucky's level. "Don't try too hard not to look but don't stand and stare either. Just... chill. Look if you want to, then move on. If you'll do that, no one should have a problem with you."

"I guess that's what I do in gym class in school. It's just you and G, you're so much older... it's different." Lucky said thoughtfully.

"We're not that much older than you are. It just seems that way because we grow up so fast. I bet that in a year or two you'll probably be a lot taller and your whole body will be changing in a dozen different ways all at once." Paul then seemed to remember what he was doing and started getting dressed.

Lucky watched him dress, but seemed not to be seeing. His gaze was distant as he was lost in thought.

When Paul finished dressing, he stood silently and waited for Lucky to come back to himself.

"You said that you and me are a lot alike." Lucky said quietly.

"Yeah. We both grew up without dads. That means that we didn't have the same examples to follow that other people did. I can't really say that it's a bad thing..."

"...it feels bad." Lucky interrupted.

"I know." Paul said as he moved forward and draped an arm around Lucky's shoulders, then continued, "Maybe we didn't have dads to give us advice and show us the way, but we've got each other and we've got D, who we can go to whenever we need 'dad' advice."

"For as long as I can remember, I've been jealous of Star. It's like her and Mom talk the same language and I'm left out." Lucky said as he snaked an arm around Paul's waist and returned his casual hug.

"Not only are they girls, but they're 'girly' girls. That's a special thing that they have. Maybe you aren't a part of it, but when you look at the things that they enjoy doing, would you really want to be? I mean, all the girly girl stuff that I've ever seen is really boring."

Lucky nodded his agreement with the statement.

"I know that sometimes it's lonely but that's another thing about guys. A lot of us are alone. It's not a bad thing. It just is."

"Are you guys waiting on me?" G asked as he walked out of the bathroom, naked as the day he was born, toweling his hair dry.

"Yeah, but it's not like we're in a rush or anything. It gave us a chance to talk." Paul said simply, then looked down to Lucky to see how he was doing.

As expected, Lucky was staring wide-eyed at G's naked body.

"Lucky's never been around older guys when they were naked before." Paul said to forestall any misunderstanding.

"I never had that problem. Before I got my room out here, I used to have the room right next to Dad's and we'd share his bathroom. I'd go in and shower while he was shaving, I guess so that he could keep an eye on me. I saw him naked all the time, so it was just kind of normal for me." G said as he walked past Paul and Lucky to get clean clothes.

"That's what I'm talking about. You get used to it, then you never have to worry about if you're staring too much or looking like you're too shy. After that, if someone notices you looking and they have a problem with it, you'll know that it's their problem, not yours." Paul carefully explained.

"You guys worry about this stuff too much. Be yourself and don't apologize for it. That's it. That's how you get by." G said seriously.

Paul rolled his eyes, then quietly said to Lucky, "It helps if your dad has more money than God and pretty much owns half the school."

"I don't flaunt it, do I?" G asked curiously.

"No. You don't. I'm just saying that guys like me and Lucky might have to face consequences that you've never had to deal with." Paul said frankly.

G thought about that for a moment, then finally said, "I don't know how it is to be anyone but me, so I can't really say."

"It's nothing to worry about. Lucky has some of the same questions that I've had so I'm doing what I can to answer them. Hopefully, it'll help."

"Are you ready? They're expecting us."

"Yeah. Just let me drop my uniform in the hamper." Paul said as he gathered what he had been wearing.

"Give it here. I've got to comb my hair anyway."

Paul handed G his uniform, then asked Lucky, "How are you doing?"

"I don't know."

"Fair enough. Just remember that if you have any problems or questions that you've got people that you can talk to. Even if it's something embarrassing and especially if it's 'guy' things."

"Are we ready?" G asked as he emerged from the bathroom with his hair neatly combed.

"Yeah. I think we're good." Paul said as he draped an arm around Lucky's shoulders and guided him to walk out of the bedroom.

* * * * *

"I wonder how big of a deal they're going to make out of things." Paul said as they stepped out of G's room.

"Let's see... we both had presentations that we did great on, we both got adopted, then as an added bonus, you got picked to be personally taught Alchemy by a Senior Professor. If I were going to guess, I'd say that they're going to make a pretty big deal about it." G said honestly.

"How about we just go back to your room? I've got a lot of reading that I need to do for school next week." Paul asked plaintively.

"You know, things like this are kinda the payoff that parents get for having kids in the first place. It'd suck if we tried to take that away from them."

"Sorry. Yeah. I guess." Paul said uneasily.

"But keep that 'study' thing in mind in case they try to rope us into something really horrible." G cautiously suggested.

Paul thought about that for a moment, then said, "Good plan."

* * * * *

"I was about two minutes away from going out to get you three." D said as the boys walked into the parlor.

"Sorry about that. I needed a quick rinse off. I felt gross." G explained.

"Lucky, over here by me." D said as he scooted over and patted the cushion next to him on the couch.

Paul smiled at the excited way that Lucky took the offered seat, like it was the most special thing in the world.

D then looked at Paul and crooked an eyebrow as he casually indicated the open seat on his other side.

Paul appreciated that D didn't make a big deal of it so that he could gracefully decline the offer if he wanted to without being obvious about it.

Although Paul didn't bounce over like Lucky did, he was no less appreciative of being invited.

Once Paul had settled into place, he noticed that G had secured the seat next to Beth and seemed to be happy enough with the arrangement.

"It's been quite a day. Before we get too much into all of that, I need to give Paul something before I forget." D said as he quickly stood.

Paul had no idea what D had in mind, but from the way he announced it, it seemed like something unrelated to the day's events.

D went to the far side of the room to retrieve something and almost immediately returned to his place on the couch.

As Paul accepted the case from D, he realized what it was.

"Thank you." Paul said in a whisper as he reverently opened the case to reveal a brand new clarinet.

"The man at the store said that he included extra reeds and everything that you would need, but you might want to check it out, just in case." D quietly explained.

"No. Everything's here. It's perfect." Paul said as he explored the storage compartment of the case.

"Would you like to play something for us?" D asked with a smile.

"Could I have some time to get familiar with it first?" Paul asked hopefully.

"Sure. Whenever you're ready." D assured him.

"D tells me that you play the keyboard. Do you have one that you can bring to the cookout tomorrow?" Beth asked G hopefully.

"Actually, I have a couple of them, but there's one that you can wear with a shoulder strap and hold kind of like a guitar. I think that one will be perfect." G said to Beth, then turned to his father and asked, "Will you remind me to bring the amplifier? I think it's in the store room."

"Lucky and I loaded it this morning. It's all taken care of. Just make sure to remember to bring whatever cords and cables you'll be needing."

"I will." G promised.

There was a long moment of silence that followed, which was finally broken by Beth asking, "How did your group presentation end up going?"

"I think it was pretty good. It seemed to take forever, with all four of us casting the long-form versions of our spells at the same time." G said thoughtfully.

Paul nodded, then added, "But everyone seemed to be really impressed with it and they asked some good questions at the end."

"Can you show it to us now?" Beth asked hopefully.

"We can. But it's the same thing you've already seen." Paul said slowly.

"Kyla and the kids didn't get to see it and I wouldn't mind seeing it again." Beth said frankly.

"Okay, but we're not going to put on the whole show. It just takes too long." Paul warned.

Beth didn't show any sign of objecting, so Paul turned to G and asked, "Are you ready?"

"Go ahead." G said calmly, obviously prepared to cast his illusion.

Paul concentrated, then taking a page from G's book, he made a dramatic lifting gesture with both hands.

A moment later, G did the same thing, adding his illusion to the construct.

"The spell itself is amazing enough, it's so detailed. But the fact that you can cast it after only one week is almost unbelievable." Beth said as she stood and walked over to examine the exquisite scene more closely.

"It's like I've been saying, I do little things in a big way. From what I've seen, Lucky could probably do the same thing if he could manage to do the multiple spells simultaneously. He's already shown that he has the ability to mix and modify his spells." Paul said seriously.

"He has?" Kyla asked with surprise.

"Yeah." Paul confirmed, then turned to Lucky and asked, "Do you want to show off what you've been able to come up with so far?"

"Can you bring Ginh Zah here first? It'll be better if everyone can see what I was trying to make." Lucky asked hopefully.

"No problem. And besides, I think Mah Zah and Ginh Zah should be here anyway. They're a big part of why I have a reason to celebrate." Paul said as he made a casual swirly motion with one hand toward the floor in front of them.

As soon as the gray vortex became stable, Mah Zah and Ginh Zah walked through.

Paul automatically reached down and picked up Ginh Zah and perched her on his right shoulder. Mah Zah walked directly to G and was placed on his left shoulder.

"Lucky, before you start, let G and I take down our project so it won't distract from what you're doing." Paul said then looked to G with question.

"Let's tear it down." G said with a grin, then made a quick 'dropping' gesture.

As soon as the illusion was dispelled, Paul held his hand out, then withdrew it as the 'solid' form became transparent. He then made a grand counterclockwise gesture and all the color washed out of the structure. As soon as the entire thing looked like it was made of clear glass, he pointed at it and said, "Be gone."

Everyone watched in awe as the delicate structure shattered into nothingness before their eyes.

"Well... that was... surprising." D said in a stunned voice, then added, "You boys certainly know how to put on a show."

"I always thought of myself as being a showman, but Paul blows me out of the water." G said frankly.

"I see G as more of a ringmaster, directing the audience to look at what they need to see. I'm more of the performer, giving the audience a spectacle." Paul said frankly.

"I can see that." D said with a proud smile at 'his' boys.

"What does that make me?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"I don't know. Another performer, maybe. Why don't you show us what spectacle you've been able to come up with?" Paul asked encouragingly.

"I'm not done with this, but it's a lot more than I could ever do before." Lucky said as he looked at his gathered family.

His gaze stopped on Ginh Zah for a moment, then he began to cast his spell.

All the adults were astonished at the level of control that Lucky was demonstrating as he spoke his incantation and simultaneously performed the complicated gestures.

More than once D, Beth and Kyla looked on in confusion at a strange choice of words or an unusual choice of gesture.

Paul smiled as he watched a wireframe structure take form on the coffee table in front of Lucky, made entirely out of Wizard's lights.

Even Paul was surprised when Lucky continued to cast his spell and square patches of white 'fur' began to appear, then drape themselves over the wireframe.

When the last of the 'fur' finally fell into place, Paul was astonished and somewhat horrified by the overall effect. The resulting image that Lucky had created was beyond disturbing to look at. Rather than having actual eyes, the 'cat' had two little red Wizard's lights, with a patch of black 'fur' surrounding one of them. The 'fur' didn't fit exactly right or cover the entire body. There were gaps which revealed an inky blackness inside. The black whiskers were like a scribbled child's drawing of whiskers and the white teeth were likewise irregular and jagged.

Everyone was stunned speechless by Lucky's grotesque creation.

"Eww!" Star cried out as she tightly clutched her mother's arm.

Ginh Zah responded with a very loud "Meow!"

Paul blinked then turned to Lucky and said, "Ginh Zah said that she absolutely loves it."

Lucky seemed to have remembered something and made a few complicated gestures as he spoke a quick magical phrase.

As soon as he did, his wireframe 'Ginh Zah' turned it's weird, misshapen head toward Paul and the actual Ginh Zah and made a sound that was somewhere between a growl and a gasp.

The little glowing red lights seemed to be focused on them. Then an ear twitched, ever so slightly, and the tail flopped lazily to one side.

The sound combined with the movements sent a chill straight up Paul's spine.

"Lucky. That is amazing! I don't think I could do that." Paul said admiringly.

"I know that I couldn't." Beth said honestly.

"Where did you learn to do that, Lucky?" Kyla asked in amazement.

"G and Paul told me that I could use the spells I already know to do different things." Lucky answered slowly.

Paul noticed that the ears of the 'cat' seemed to shift slightly, then the tail moved again.

"Are you making it move or did you work that into your spell to happen on its own somehow?" Paul finally asked.

"I put some of my 'move' spell into the Wizard's light, so it wouldn't just sit there. I can't make it walk or anything, but it'll move on its own a little bit." Lucky carefully explained.

"Lucky, when we have some time I may be able to help you with making your... creation... walk. Animation is my magical specialty." D said carefully.

Paul thought that D was going to say 'creature' but caught himself before he hurt the fragile boy's feelings.

"Yeah! I wanna be able to make my Ginh Zah be as real as I can." Lucky said happily.

The actual Ginh Zah meowed, rather loudly, right into Paul's ear.

"Ginh Zah says that whatever you do, don't change how it looks. She absolutely loves it just the way it is." Paul relayed seriously.

"I'm glad. I wanted to make it nice, but it didn't come out exactly right." Lucky said thoughtfully as he looked more closely at his creation.

"It's perfect. Ginh Zah says so." Paul assured him.

"Kyla, you'd better be sure that Lucky's school is going to be able to help him develop his gift. It would be a crime if his talent weren't nurtured." D said firmly.

"The kids' school is for witches, but I haven't been too worried about investigating any further than that. Neither of them has shown any exceptional talent before now." Kyla said slowly.

"When you consider that Lucky's talent revealed itself as soon as he was away from their 'instruction' you might consider if it's a suitable environment for him."

"I have a job. I can't home school. I don't really have a lot of options." Kyla said frankly.

"As far as Lucky's education is concerned, you have all the options in the world. I promise. If after you've talked to his school, you feel that he would be better off in a more nurturing learning environment, let me know and we'll find a way to make it happen."

"Thank you D. This is kind of hitting me out of nowhere, but I'll talk to them and see what we can come up with. If it turns out that they aren't willing to work with me, I'll get back with you."

"Good." D said with satisfaction.

Paul's attention was drawn by a movement and he glanced back at Lucky's creation. The little red eyes were still focused on him and seemed to be peering into his soul.

               'What have I done?'

               'What did I just set into motion?'

               'And is Lucky going to thank me or curse me when this is all done?'

"Paul, do you want to show Beth and Kyla your Wizardry presentation? I know that they'd like to see it." D asked hopefully.

"I would, but it took Mah Zah and Ginh Zah a lot of time to set up their part of it. If I opened the Oculus right now, all you'd see is darkness. The Meayithan Realm doesn't have naturally occurring light. All the demons that exist there are either blind or have adapted to seeing in the dark. Mah Zah and Ginh Zah lit fires so that we'd be able to see, then created a big lightning and fire storm so that everyone could get a peek at their home." Paul carefully explained.

"You enacted the Oculus Infernum?" Beth asked cautiously.

"No. Not exactly. It's nowhere near as complicated as that." Paul quickly assured her, then explained, "The Oculus Demonus is a spell from The Meayithan Realm that lets them see into our world. Mah Zah and Ginh Zah helped me modify the spell to work in our world to see back into theirs."

"That shouldn't even be possible." Beth told her son slowly.

"Well, from the way I understand how things work, it wouldn't be for most summoners. I had to use the portal in a portal diagrams to stabilize the Oculus. Everything kept getting reversed and reversed back using three portals inside each other. For a while I didn't think we could do it, but we finally pulled it off." Paul finished with a smile.

"I understand that you can't give your presentation, but I'd like to see the diagrams, if you can manage that." Beth said cautiously.

"Sure." Paul said easily, then pointed across the room toward the big screen television.

A spell diagram appeared on the floor, another on the ceiling and the third appeared vertically between them, floating in mid air.

"How can you even do that?" Kyla asked in amazement.

Paul created a little speck of a Wizard's light a few feet in front of her, then said, "It's just like creating a Wizard's light, but bigger and more complicated."

"Little things in a big way." G said with a grin.

"Paul. I don't know if you realize just how inspired this is. I don't think my father could have created this spell and he's at a master's level of summoning." Beth said as she approached the diagrams to get a better look at them.

"I didn't create it. I adapted it... actually, Mah Zah, Ginh Zah and I adapted it. There's a lot of it that I don't understand, but together we were able to modify it just enough to make it work in the natural realm."

"I'm guessing that yours was the high point of the 'show and tell'." Beth said with a grin at her son.

"I don't know. Probably. I had to leave right after my presentation." Paul said frankly.

"From what Nazzy and Vinda have told me, most of the presentations in Wizardry involve watching someone draw a spell diagram on the floor with chalk, then a bunch of chanting and stuff until a little wisp of smoke or something like that finally manifests." G said informatively.

"But Nazzy and Vinda can both summon big things." Paul interjected.

"Yeah. That's true, but they don't present very often. Once they've shown something, they don't want to do the same thing again. It's like showing off." G said simply.

"While we've got everyone here, do you want to invite Lex to join us?" Paul asked curiously.

"What? Why?" G asked suspiciously.

"Because we're talking about showing off. I showed mine. Aren't you going to show yours?" Paul asked with a wicked grin.

G rolled his eyes, then muttered an aggrieved, "Fine."

It took a few seconds for G to get his spell together, but finally Lex formed into being, standing in front of him.

"That is some incredible work." D said appreciatively.

"Did anyone else in your class have a self-portrait turn out as well as yours?" Beth asked curiously.

"No. There were one or two gargoyles and the rest were really creepy bad mannequins." G said simply.

"Can you make Lex move?" Lucky asked curiously.

"Not yet. I'm capable of moving him manually, but I haven't built any movement mechanics into his spell. We'll probably be working on that in class pretty soon." G said frankly.

"Yes. It's wise to perfect the crafting before you devote too much time to the animation. Once you get started on that, everything else will fly out the window." D said sagely.

"I just can't get over it. You really did create a perfect likeness of yourself." Kyla said in amazement.

"Paul, do you happen to have your Oculus spell written down? There's something I'm curious about." Beth asked slowly as she looked at his spell diagrams again.

"I haven't written it down, but I can pull the text of the spell up for you to look at if you want." Paul quietly offered.

"Yes. I just can't seem to get how the three diagrams interact." Beth said slowly.

Paul looked around the room for enough open space to be practical, then with the raise of one hand, three stone walls emerged from the floor. Each of them were filled to the edge with glowing Wizard's light writing.

"That's remarkable." Kyla said as she stared.

"It's just the 3D plotter from Numerology and Wizard's light." Paul said simply.

"But you remember the full text of the spell in every detail?" Kyla asked slowly.

"Yeah. It's like I have this notebook inside my head and if I write something down in it, I'll have it to go back to whenever I want it. I can't remember everything like that, just spells, mostly... and sheet music."

"You remember sheet music in every detail?" D asked curiously.

"Yeah. But don't get your hopes up. Even though I've got a good memory, I've got average musical talent." Paul finished with a shrug.

"Paul, on the second tablet of your spell, you're drawing power to fuel the Oculus." Beth interrupted.


"In this phrase, are you calling on the energy generated by unjust suffering?" Beth asked slowly.

"Yeah." Paul confirmed.

"I know that with demon summoning you sometimes have to make some distasteful choices, but how can you reconcile yourself with that?" Beth asked with concern.

"I don't create the suffering, I just tap into the energy that's already there." Paul carefully explained.

"Forgive me for asking, but I don't know much about summoning. Whose suffering are you tapping into?"

Paul thought for a moment, then turned his head and looked at Ginh Zah inquiringly.

She purred, then finished with a tiny mew.

Paul nodded, then turned back to G and said, "The damned human souls who've descended into hell."

"So you exploit the damned?" D asked to confirm.

"Um, they're damned. I think they probably have bigger problems than me skimming off a little of their peak emotional energy." Paul said uneasily.

D looked from Paul to G and then finally to Lucky appraisingly for a moment, before cautiously asking, "Would you boys like to go out and play for a while to burn off some of your pent up energy?"

"Yes!" G immediately exclaimed.

Paul thought that sounded like a very good idea and nodded his agreement, then looked at Lucky inquisitively.

After a moment to consider, Lucky broke into a smile and said, "Yeah. That sounds great."

"Mom, do you want for me to leave the spell and the diagrams up for you?" Paul asked curiously.

"Would you? Even though I doubt that I'll figure out how they work, I'm still interested in trying." Paul nodded his easy acceptance.

G made a quick lowering gesture and Lex vanished.

"Do you want to put your Ginh Zah away?" Paul asked Lucky curiously.

"Can you do like you were saying and make it so I won't forget how to make her?" Lucky asked hopefully.

"No. I can't do anything to help your memory..." Paul began to say but trailed off in thought.

Lucky watched and waited hopefully.

"Just a second." Paul said as a spell diagram suddenly appeared in the air beside him.

He reached one arm into the diagram and a moment later he came back with a spiral bound notebook.

"Paul!" Beth said in astonishment.

"Just a second." Paul said as he opened the notebook and placed it on the coffee table.

Everyone watched as Paul made a few gestures over the notebook, then said, "Okay, Lucky. Do you have magic notebooks that write for you at your school?"

"Yeah." Lucky said slowly.

"Well, I just put a spell on this notebook. All you have to do is touch your finger to the paper, then think about your spell from beginning to end."

"Just like at school?"

"Yeah. Except that you don't need a pencil." Paul assured him.

"Okay." Lucky said as he placed one finger on the notebook.

Paul watched with satisfaction as the page began to fill with Lucky's spell.

"That's easy!" Lucky said happily.

"Yeah. Now turn the page, then you can keep going with your writing until everything's written down."

Lucky didn't answer, but turned the page so he could fill page after page with the spell that he had created.

"Paul." Beth said firmly.


"What was that spell you just did?"

"It's a portal spell that I came up with based on the summon reverse-summon that you showed me. I have the other side of the diagram in my locker at school."

"Paul, you really need to be careful using that spell around other people. If they realize that you have an ability that they don't, they'll hate you. If they can't duplicate your magic or take it for themselves, they'll find a way to prevent you from being able to use it, even if it means killing you."

"Don't you think you're overreacting just a little bit?"

"No. I don't think I am. Tell me, why don't we let mundane people know about witches?"

Paul was at a loss for what to say and shrugged.

"Same reason."

* * * * *

As the boys walked out of the house, Lucky asked, "What do you want to play?"

"To tell you the truth, I'm not very good at playing." Paul said regretfully.

"Besides the occasional sword fight with Nazzy, neither am I." G admitted.

"Then what are we doing out here?" Paul asked curiously.

"The 'celebration' turned out to be a little darker than I was expecting. I would have agreed to just about anything to get out of there." G said frankly.

"So what are we going to do?" Lucky asked uncertainly.

"Well, I wasn't kidding about the school work. I've got a lot of reading to do and I'd like to get it out of the way before the cookout tomorrow so that I can enjoy the weekend." Paul said seriously.

"I don't have anything that I have to do right away, but there are a few things that I could work on to get me ahead for next week." G said slowly.

"I wanna work on my Ginh Zah some more." Lucky said simply.

"Then I guess it's settled. Should we go back in and tell them where we'll be?" Paul asked uncertainly.

"Dad will know where to find us. If we're not in the yard, he'll check my room next." G said frankly.

Paul could easily accept that and changed course to walk to G's room.

* * * * *

"Before you get to studying, do you want to give that a try?" G asked Paul curiously.

"Do what?"

"The clarinet. Do you want to try it out and make sure that you have everything you need?" G asked as he glanced at the clarinet case that Paul was still carrying.

"I'm going to need to soak the reed for a few minutes before I can use it. While it's soaking I can assemble the rest of the clarinet and make sure everything fits together right and that all the pads are in good shape." Paul said as G opened the front door to his room.

"Whatever you say." G said slowly as he gave Lucky a wide-eyed look.

"When you told me that you preferred to burn wood in your calliope, I didn't question you. When it comes to the clarinet, trust me to know what I'm doing."

"I do trust you. I just couldn't make sense of what you were saying... something about checking your pads?"

Paul rolled his eyes then started to quietly chuckle.

G broke into an unwilling smile.

Lucky couldn't help himself and let out a classic 'little boy' giggle.

Before any of them knew what was happening, all three of them were laughing themselves silly.

* * * * *

When the laughing fit was exhausted, Paul finally said, "Okay, I don't know what that was all about, but I really needed that."

"I think we all did." G said honestly.

"Give me a minute to get my reed soaking, then I need to get my study materials together."

"Are you going to be using stuff from your locker?" G asked curiously.

"Yeah. But from here on out I'll be a little more careful about who I let see me use that spell."

"Do you really think it's that big of a deal?"

"I don't know. It's probably best if I treat it like it is until I do know."

Ginh Zah meowed on Paul's shoulder, drawing his attention.

"Yeah. I'm just going to study." Paul answered her, then turned to Lucky and asked, "Do you mind if Ginh Zah hangs out with you for a while?"

"That'd be great. Maybe she can help me."

"Okay." Paul said with a smile at Lucky, then he took Ginh Zah off his shoulder and held her in front of him as he looked her in the eyes and told her, "Lucky is my cousin. I would be very upset if he were hurt."

Ginh Zah meowed in offense at the suggestion.

"Really? What is it that you've been telling me? Oh, right. That you're a demon. Isn't that the excuse you like to use?"

Ginh Zah blinked innocently in response.

"Go on." Paul said with a grin, then set Ginh Zah down on the floor.

* * * * *

G took out a book to start reading as Lucky performed his 'Ginh Zah' spell, explaining each step to Ginh Zah as he did so.

Paul soaked a reed for as long as it took him to assemble his clarinet, making sure to carefully check every connecting point and pad.

As soon as the clarinet was ready, Paul glanced at G and Lucky before beginning to play.

The sound of the clarinet was strange to Paul's ears, whether it be from the amount of time since he last played or the different instrument that he was using.

When he finished, G said, "That was great! You're awesome!"

"That's just my warm-up piece. It's something a little bit nicer than 'scales' that I can play to be sure that nothing's sticking."

"Will you play something else for us?" Lucky asked hopefully.

"I'll play one song, then I have to get to work."

Both G and Lucky seemed to be satisfied with the response.

Paul began playing a haunting melody that neither G nor Lucky were familiar with.

As they listened, the music seemed to swell with emotion as it built to its crescendo.

When Paul finally lowered the clarinet, he stopped for a moment not only to catch his breath, but also to collect himself.

"That was AWESOME!" G finally enthused.

"That's about all I've got. The rest of the songs I know are your standard marching band stuff."

"Why don't you know more music like that?"

"I guess because I had to learn the marching band music. It was hard for me to find the time to learn even that one song."

"Dad will get you all the sheet music that you need. Just tell him what you want." G said encouragingly.

"I can read sheet music, but it takes time for me to practice and get used to a new piece. I have too many other things on my mind right now. Maybe I'll be able to find the time later, once I've gotten into a routine at school." Paul said as he began to break down his clarinet.

"You're not going to play any more?" Lucky asked quietly. It was obvious that he was disappointed.

"I was just testing it out to be sure that it worked. I'll be playing lots more tomorrow." Paul assured him.

"I guess this means that we'd better get some studying done before we get called in to dinner." G said unenthusiastically.

"Yeah. Let's do as much as we can now so we won't have to worry about it tomorrow." Paul agreed.

Lucky looked at Ginh Zah beside him and said, "We'd better get to work."

Ginh Zah meowed seriously in response.

* * * * *

Conversation was sparse after that.

Paul, G and Lucky each worked on their own projects as Mah Zah and Ginh Zah supervised.

When the call on the intercom came, announcing dinner, all of them were ready for both a break in the studying and for the food.

After sending Mah Zah and Ginh Zah back to their native realm, Paul walked with G and Lucky around to the front of the house.

"How are you with your studying?" G asked as they walked through the front doors.

"The more I read, the more there is to read. I don't think that there's any end to it. I just have to keep going until I run out of time. Whatever I get accomplished is going to have to be enough." Paul said frankly.

"But do you have what you need done for Monday?" G asked curiously.

"All the projects and presentations are done. For everything else, I'm just trying to get caught up to the rest of the class. That's going to take time. I think that all the teachers understand that."

"It's not going to be bugging you tomorrow, is it?"

"I don't think so. Once you give up all hope, it gets easier... I'll have to remember to tell Curtis about that tomorrow."

"What's that?"

"He likes to collect motivational sayings."

"Actually, 'give up all hope' is kinda the opposite of motivational."

"Yeah, well, maybe he'll like it anyway."

Before G could respond, they arrived in the dining room.

* * * * *

"Did you boys have fun?" Beth asked as they entered.

"We mostly just studied, but Paul set up his clarinet and played for us for a few minutes." G said as he took his place at the table.

"Do you still have a lot of studying to do?" Beth asked curiously.

"It's my first week in new classes, starting in the middle of the school year. I won't be getting caught up for quite a while. I think that I'm doing what I need to be doing right now. Hopefully it will be enough." Paul said calmly, consciously fighting to keep any trace of irritation out of his voice.

"I'm sorry about earlier. There's so much that you should already know and I'm doing my best to protect you." Beth tried to explain.

"Why didn't you do anything before now? Why didn't you at least tell me what was really going on?"

"Isn't it obvious? I thought that you didn't have any magical ability. If that had turned out to be the case, you could have grown up ignorant of the greater world. You could have led a mundane life."

"Why would I want to be ignorant?"

"Because I didn't want you to feel like you were 'less than' other people."

"Mom, I felt like that my whole life, not because I didn't have magic, but because we were dirt poor."

"I did the best that I could. If I hadn't been trying to live a mundane life, I might have been able to reach out to the witch community to make things a little easier on us. But that would have risked exposing you to the magical world."

"So what you're saying is that it's all my fault?"

"No. But I made my decisions trying to do what was best for you in the long term."

"So Paul didn't display any magical ability before the wedding?" Kyla asked curiously.

"None at all. Among summoners it's not uncommon for a child to first manifest their magical ability by having an imaginary friend, like a guardian angel."

               'As if.'

"But Paul never had that?" Kyla prompted.

"No. I kept careful watch. He never had invisible friends or any 'remarkable' wish fulfillment. He was always perfectly ordinary."

"So you knew about D and G being witches all along?"

"Yes. I think that I suspected the first time that D and I met, but it took a few weeks before we came out and admitted it to each other."

"At first I was trying to decide if I could restructure my life to make it possible to carry on a relationship with a mundane woman. When I found out that Beth was a witch, well... all of a sudden I could have everything that I wanted." D said warmly as he looked at his new wife.

"I guess that's when Dad told me about Paul. He wanted to know if i'd be able to deal with having a mundane brother. But since I've always wanted to have a brother, I told him 'no problem'." G added.

"I suppose that I should be grateful that M showed up at the wedding, otherwise Paul's power might not have awakened." D said frankly.

"Yeah. And right now we'd all be sitting here, pretending that there's no such thing as magic." G continued the thought.

"I guess I'll get a feeling of what that's like tomorrow. I can't believe that you were willing to hide who and what you are just so that I could live here in ignorance." Paul said in wonder.

"You invited a non-magical person and his family to visit us tomorrow, didn't you? Even though you know that you're going to have to be careful about what you do and say?" Beth asked slowly.


"Because he's worth it, right?"


"We were willing to do what we had to do to keep you as safe and happy as possible. D and G were both willing to live a lie in their own house to protect you."

"So what would have happened if the wedding had gone the way that you'd planned?"

"After the reception, D would have told you that we were leaving the next day and that you needed to go to bed early. G probably would have gone with you to see that you got to sleep while the rest of the family were having their traditional Halloween celebration." Beth quietly explained.

"I can't imagine how that would have been, coming back here and living as a mundane person while everyone around me was hiding the secret from me." Paul said honestly.

"We would have done it without hesitation or complaint. I would be as proud to have you as a mundane son as I am of you as a witch." D said firmly.

"There's something I don't understand. I can see how the product of a human and a witch could end up having no magic, but wouldn't a cambion automatically have magical abilities, no matter which side of his heritage came through more strongly?" Kyla asked curiously.

"It's not a case of one or the other. Just as with witches, there's always the chance that the child will have unexpected abilities or no magical abilities at all." Beth answered.

"Well, from what I've witnessed today, I don't think there's any doubt about Paul's ability."

"What kind of unexpected abilities?" Paul asked curiously.

"I don't know, hence 'unexpected'." Beth said with a smile.

"I mean, do they get different witch powers or is it something more demonic?" Paul pressed.

"I can't really say. It can go any number of ways. They might have a demonic appearance with no magic at all. Or they might have a great talent for one specific type of magic to the exclusion of all others."

"For example..."

"Magnetism. Fire. Lightning. Volcanic activity... They're usually very powerful, but also specialized to the point that their ability is mostly useless except under very specific circumstances."

"So what are the chances that my summoning ability is like that?"

"If you were a prodigy at summoning, you would have been attracting all sorts of dead and undead things since you were a young child. According to my family, when a child summoner comes into their power early, they need to be kept away from mundane people for the years that it takes to train them to totally control their abilities. I think what you are is more of a late bloomer."

"Great." Paul said flatly, then added more slowly, "But I guess from the sound of it that I'm lucky that I didn't manifest early."

"You manifested when you needed to, when it mattered most." D said simply.

"Yeah." Paul agreed, then looked to his mother, and said, "By the way, I'm fine with being called a witch or a cambion, but 'late bloomer' sounds creepy to me. Can we not call me that?"

"Okay honey. I think I can do that." Beth said with a gentle smile.

Paul turned his attention back toward the food that he had been neglecting

* * * * *

"While I've got everyone here, I'd like to show you the color scheme that Kyla and I came up with for the baby's room." Beth said into the silence that followed.

Paul discretely looked up from his food to see everyone else's reactions to his mother's announcement.

D was frozen for a moment with a forkful of food halfway to his mouth. When he realized that, he put the fork down and pasted on an unconvincing smile.

For all the world, Lucky seemed not to have heard and continued to eat his meal undisturbed.

G, on the other hand, was staring back at him with an equal amount of horror to what he was feeling.

"We've narrowed the trim color down to these last few choices. Ghost White has a nice hue and seems to have the right amount of warmth to it, but White Smoke has a gentleness that I can't help but be in love with. Of course Kyla thinks that Baby Powder is an obvious choice for a baby's room and I think Star's favorites alternate between Snow and Floral White..."

Paul was astounded as his mother held up one after another of the little painted white wooden tiles. He was ready to swear that all of them were identical.

"Of course Old Lace doesn't really tie into the rest of the color scheme, but I love it so much that I might just have to revisit that plan. Cream and Linen are a little too classical for my taste, but there's a chance that they might grow on me. They're both very nice."

"That one." D said as he pointed.

"Antique White?" Beth asked dubiously.

"If I get a vote, that's the one I choose." D said firmly.

"But you haven't seen all of them yet. What about Bone or Vanilla?" Beth asked anxiously.

"I'm sure that they're nice, but I already know that I like the Antique White the best. I won't be upset if you decide to go with something else, but I don't need to see any more. That's my vote." D said seriously.

Beth looked at D uncertainly for a moment, then looked to Paul and asked, "Which one do you like best?"

"That one." Paul said as he pointed.

"Don't you want to look at the others?"

"Seeing them all together like this, it's easy to pick out the one I like best." Paul said simply.

"Which one did he pick?" Kyla asked curiously.

"Antique White." Beth said uncertainly.

"G, do you have an opinion?"

"Honestly, they all look white to me."

"Well, they are, but they're different shades and hues. We're looking for just the right one as an accent in the baby's room." Beth carefully explained.

"Well, if I had to pick one... I guess I'd go with that." G said as he pointed.

"Antique White... I guess we have our trim color." Beth said resignedly.

"They might change their minds when they see the primary color and the color of the accent wall." Kyla said seriously as Beth started to gather up the twenty or so 'white' tiles.

"Is it really important for me to be here right now? I'd really like to get some more of my schoolwork done so I don't have that hanging over me tomorrow." Paul asked hopefully.

"I suppose that you all seem to be 'of a mind' about things. If you don't have any objection, we can just count D's opinion as your agreement." Beth said cautiously.

"That sounds good to me." Paul quickly agreed, then turned to D and asked, "You don't mind, do you D?"

"No. I don't mind. But now that we've made everything official, would you think about calling me Dad?" D asked hopefully.

"You got it, Dad. Anything you want." Paul said as he got up from the table.

"I'd better go too. Hanging with Paul keeps me motivated." G said as he also got up.

Lucky didn't say anything as he pushed away from the table.

"Lucky, why don't you stay here so that I can work with you on animating your creation?" D asked hopefully.

Lucky looked at Paul and G uncertainly, obviously torn by the decision.

"Be sure to come out to G's room and show us when you're done. I can't wait to see what you and 'Dad' are able to come up with." Paul said with a smile at D.

"I bet it's going to be great." G agreed.

When Paul saw his mother starting to set out a series of tiles, these being nearly identical pastel green he felt a sensation unlike any other that he had ever experienced. It was as though his very soul had just cringed.

"Gotta go." Paul said as he grabbed G's arm and pulled him toward the door.

"Come out and see us when you're done." G said to Lucky before being virtually dragged from the dining room.

* * * * *

After walking for a few minutes, G quietly said, "Dad deserves a medal for sitting through that."

"He saved our asses. We owe him, big time." Paul agreed.

"Yeah. I guess that he's built up some resistance having to sit through all those boring business meetings."

"Even so, we owe him. Let's make sure that we both do everything in our power to make tomorrow go well. He doesn't ask much of us and he gives us everything. I want to do whatever I can to give him a perfect day."

"You really take the adoption thing seriously, don't you?"

"Yeah, but that doesn't have anything to do with this. Even if he hadn't adopted me, he deserves to be happy. If there's anything I can do to make that happen, I will."

"I guess that I'm used to him always doing stuff for me. In my mind it's always been something that dads do."

"I wouldn't know about that, but I'm guessing that our dad is something special because the world would be a whole lot better place if all dads were as great as ours."

* * * * *

As Paul and G reached the front door of G's room, G quietly said, "It looks like we're going to have some time to be alone."

"Yeah. I thought of that too." Paul quietly admitted.

"What do you think? Wanna have some fun?" G asked with an impish grin.

"Well, I think that out of respect for our parents that we should probably do what we said we were going to do."


"Wait. I'm not finished." Paul said quickly, then added, "We should do what we said we were going to do, but there's no way that either of us are going to be able to concentrate on school work while we're thinking sexy thoughts about each other."


"So, yeah. Let's go ahead and do it, but as soon as we're done, we need to get to work. We have some serious studying to do and not a lot of time to get it done."

"Yeah. Let's relieve our tension so we can study more effectively." G said as he began to undress.

"Right. It's the mature, responsible thing to do." Paul said with a grin as he followed suit.

* * * * *

A knock on the door caused Paul and G to look up from their respective study materials.

"Come in!" G called in response.

The door opened to reveal Lucky and D.

"How are you guys doing?" Paul asked with a smile.

"Very well. I hope that you don't mind that I came along. I didn't want for Lucky to have to walk out here by himself." D said cautiously.

"Yeah. What with all the dire wolves and sabre-toothed tigers roaming the landscape." G said with a grin.

"You used Lucky as an excuse to get away from the nursery color wheel from hell, didn't you?" Paul asked speculatively.

"It's always good to leave yourself an out." D said slyly without directly confirming Paul's assertion.

"Did you have a chance to help Lucky with his animation?" G asked curiously.

"He and I were able to sort through a few things with his spell, although we weren't in a place where we could actually 'practice' what I was trying to teach him." D carefully explained.

"Can you bring Ginh Zah here so she can see?" Lucky asked Paul hopefully.

"Sure." Paul said easily, then made a motion toward the floor.

The full spell diagram appeared before him, then he began to go through the hand gestures as well as speaking the long-form version of the spell aloud.

D, Lucky and G all watched the performance with appreciation, enjoying the sight of Paul working his craft.

When the vortex finally opened, Mah Zah and Ginh Zah emerged and looked around.

"Lucky is ready to try some modifications to his 'Ginh Zah' spell and he wanted for you to be here." Paul explained as he waved his hand and the spell diagram dissipated.

Ginh Zah let out a 'meow' and Paul immediately translated, "Ginh Zah thanks you."

Lucky smiled, then said, "It's going to take me a minute and I need for Uncle D to remind me about the stuff we talked about, but it shouldn't take too long."

Mah Zah and Ginh Zah sat side by side and waited for whatever Lucky was going to do.

While all attention was focused on Lucky, G leaned toward Paul and quietly asked, "Why did you do the long version of the summoning spell? Are you having trouble?"

"No. I just thought that when I'm around Lucky that I should probably show him all the stuff that I usually do internally. He's never going to learn anything if all he sees me doing is meaningless gestures that really don't have anything to do with the actual spell."

"I should probably do that too. It'll be good practice for when our brother or sister is grown up enough to pay attention to what we're doing." G said thoughtfully.

Paul looked around, then drew G a few steps further away from D and Lucky so that they could speak privately.

"Can you keep a secret?" Paul asked quietly.

"Yeah. I guess so... I mean, I was able to keep from telling you that I'm a witch."

"When you said brother or sister, I think I got a precognitive flash or something. We're going to have a sister."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I think so. But let me get my skaalix and check it out, just to be sure." Paul said before walking over to where he had been studying.

After rummaging around in his backpack for a moment, Paul returned with the metallic sphere in his hand.

"So that's like a sphere within a sphere?" G asked as he looked at it curiously.

"Yeah, except that there's probably a dozen or so spheres inside there. Each one of them has different sized and shaped gaps in it so that when you get all the spheres spinning at once, it can create just about any picture that you can imagine." Paul said as he swept one finger across the surface, setting in into motion.

"And you can see the future with this?" G asked curiously.

"Maybe. That's what it seems like, anyway. I'm going to have to work on it some more in Augury class to be sure just how accurate it is. Let's see what it can tell us about Mom's baby." Paul said as he looked into the largest gap in the outer sphere.

"That thing's making me go cross-eyed." G said as he turned away.

"K's a girl. No doubt." Paul said as he continued to stare into the skaalix.

"Seriously? You can really see that?" G asked cautiously.

"Yeah." Paul said as he stepped back to his backpack and put the skaalix inside.

"Why are you putting it away?"

"I don't want to know the future. I want to create it."

"Then why did you look to see if K was a boy or a girl?"

"Because I got a precognitive flash and I wanted to be sure that it was right before I started really believing it."

"So this 'flash' thing, it just happened? You weren't trying to see the future or anything?" G asked curiously.

"No. It just happened. I guess that I've always had it, but it happened so rarely that I always chalked it up to coincidence when it turned out to be right."

"Did you know about me before you got here?"

"No. I didn't have a clue."

"Guys! I think Lucky's ready." D said to draw their attention.

Lucky had already created his weirdly formed, somewhat grotesque, version of Ginh Zah.

"Go on! I know you can do it!" Lucky said to his creation.

The cat-like... thing made a wheezy little hiss, then took a step in the real Ginh Zah's direction.

"It looks like it's working." D said with a smile of pride for Lucky's accomplishment.

"Go on, Zah Zah, say 'Hi' to Ginh Zah." Lucky encouraged.

The misshapen creature let loose another wheezy hiss, then raised a paw in Ginh Zah's direction. The claws that protruded were irregular and misshapen, much like the rest of the tiny beast.

"That's amazing!" G said in wonder.

"You're not doing that, are you? I mean, you're not making her move like a puppet." Paul asked cautiously.

"No. Uncle D told me about different spells to make my animation act like it's alive." Lucky said honestly.

"You named your... work 'Zah Zah'?" G asked curiously.

"Yeah. Uncle D said that when I finished I should call it something so that everyone wouldn't get it confused with the real Ginh Zah." Lucky explained.

"That's a good idea. Since you've finished, what are you going to do with Zah Zah?" Paul asked curiously.

"She's going to be my helper. When I'm making new things, she'll be there to remind me of how I made her. Plus, when Mom and Star are doing girl things together Zah Zah can keep me company." Lucky finished quietly.

"Well, that sounds kinda lonely." G said honestly.

Lucky met G's eyes and seriously said, "Sometimes we don't get to have exactly what we want. Sometimes we have to make the best out of what we can have."

Paul smiled proudly, hearing his own words being taken to heart.

"Um... Wow. Yeah. I guess you're right." G stammered at the younger boy's intensity.

"Lucky knows that he can call us if things get bad for him. Together we'll see to it that he's never really alone." D said confidently.

Paul had a sudden thought and quickly asked, "What would we have to go through to call Lenn?"

"Lennox Teek?"

"Yeah. Would it be a really big deal?"

"I'm sure it would just take me a minute or two to get his number, but it would be well after midnight there right now." D said consideringly, then added, "If you want, I can text you his number and you can add him to your contacts. That way you'll be able to call him whenever you want."


"Yes. On your cell phone."

"I don't have a cell phone."

"You don't have a cell phone? Good God! How do you even function?!"

"I don't know. Magic maybe." Paul said with a roll of his eyes.

"G, I'll text you Lennox's number when I get back to my office. Maybe you can call him in the morning."

"Thanks Dad." G said with a smile.

"As for you Paul, expect to be receiving a cell phone sometime very soon."

Paul shrugged, then slowly said, "Okay."

"Lucky, do you have a cell phone?"


"You will before you leave."

"Thanks Uncle D." Lucky said happily as he firmly hugged D around the waist.

Paul smiled at the scene before him and realized that D might appreciate a show of his affection.

"Yeah, thanks Dad." Paul said as he stepped beside D and hugged him around the shoulders.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes (1):

That's a hard hitting lesson to learn. And Paul has been using that spell since his first day at school, once he figured out how to do it.

Paul has been modifying simple spells and combining their functions to create new spells or seemingly new spells out of their interactions.

He is able to see the inner workings of spells and what they actually do, so it is easy for him to rearrange their functionality to do things that the spells themselves as written could never do. And Lucky is able to do some of the same things. He learned them from Paul. I suspect that the parents could do some of the same things, if they could just think outside the box, and follow Paul's example, maybe not as skillfully as paul does them, everything takes time to learn. It's just that Paul learns quicker than most people do.

Paul also has the curiosity to want to know how something works, not just mimic what everyone else does. He sees the potential in everything. After all, he never knew that magic existed for more than a couple of weeks, so just because everyone assumes that such and such is impossible to do, means nothing to him. And if for some reason something doesn't work, he might try it a different way and then maybe it will work. Who knows?

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Editor's Notes (2):

Ah ha, success. I finally remembered how to make it indent.

One of the things I love about this story is that fact that everyone in it becomes more real and alive in each new chapter. As we go through our experiences with them, we see deeper into each of their personalities.

Beth Loves Paul, but somehow she kept trying to protect him from life, and it took the emergency for him to come into his gifts. And the result of that was that HE protected his family, and I think it is so cool the way Paul and G are helping lucky, instead of treating him as an also ran.

D is a real good dad, too. I like him a lot, and I know that even in the beginning, he was willing to accept Paul as his son, and would have done everything he could have to give him as good a life as possible, but as we get to know him better, he has shown us that he is even more loving than we ever thought possible.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher