PART SEVEN: SUNDAY IN WHICH MY GUARDIAN GOES TO CHURCH AND THEN RETURNS TO THE FOURTH DIMENSION
I reluctantly got up early on Sunday morning, knowing that there would be little enough time to have breakfast and make myself presentable without having a late start by sleeping in. Once my usual preparations were finished, I walked out with coffee to see how the Mornelly’s were doing.
I found Bran looking dashing as usual in a suit and a tie trying to get Ciarán and Damhán to dress nicer than they were. Ciarán, in a black hoodie and black jeans was refusing to cooperate, as was Damhán in a tee shirt and blue jeans.
“I want us to make a good impression in Rebekah’s church, but the way you are both dressed will only bring disgrace on our family name!” Bran was saying with arms crossed, his back to the door.
“We’re just fine dressed the way we are!” Damhán shot back. “I don’t think the church will care how we’re dressed…and even if they do, I don’t care!”
“Worry all you want Bran,” Ciarán said sulkily, “I’m not changing.”
My presence went unnoticed to all but Breandan who walked over and relieved me of some of the coffee mugs. He rolled his eyes at his brothers’ behavior. “They’re hopeless.”
“How long has this been going on?” I asked curiously.
“I gave up trying to stop them about five minutes ago.”
“Where’s Aichear?” My next question came after a quick survey of the room revealed the absence of the oldest Mornelly.
“Taking a shower currently. He’s trying his best to be ready to go to church. If he had been here, all this,” my guardian gestured towards the arguing brothers, “would have stopped long ago. Aichear is the only one who can make Damhán and Ciarán stop when it gets this bad.”
“When will he be done?”
“Any minute…I hope.”
“Do you think I could try my hand at stopping them?”
“I wouldn’t…you’d just get sucked into the argument right along with them then you’d get in trouble with Aichear. That’s why I gave up. I don’t want Aichear’s anger directed in my direction.”
“What’s he like when he’s angry?” I asked, my curiosity coming to the surface again.
Breandan shuddered. “Awful.”
“Like how? Does he yell or something?” I was hard for me to imagine Aichear yelling…the picture was almost amusing.
“Worse,” my guardian answered soberly. “He doesn’t say anything. He just looks at you.” Breandan closed his eyes as if remembering a time when he had received the worst end of his oldest brother’s wrath. “His look alone is enough to freeze molten lava. Believe me, you don’t want him mad at you. EVER.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Well, thanks for the advice. I think I’ll wait here with you.” I paused and heard the shower door close from inside the bathroom. “Where’s Aileen?”
“I sent her inside shortly before you came out to get some breakfast because I thought it best to keep her away from their fight.”
Another minute or so and Aichear came through the door. He seemed to take in the entire scene with a glance. The arguing brothers were soon speechless as Aichear’s bespectacled gaze silently smoldered over them. I saw a small shudder pass through each boy and then they gave stammered apologies to the other two. Satisfied, Aichear turned away from them and began calmly brushing his hair. The fire died from his eyes and he even sent a small smile, if a twitch in the corner of the mouth could possibly be called a smile, in my direction.
“Good morning Rebekah,” he said finally. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”
I shrugged. “It happens frequently in our own house Aichear, arguing siblings is part of life.”
“Still,” the oldest Mornelly continued, “they should have known better.”
I couldn’t argue with that.
“Where’s Aileen, Breandan?” Aichear asked.
“I sent her in to eat breakfast,” Breandan replied.
“Thank you, that was a wise decision. It is what I would have done in your place.”
That was high praise coming from Aichear. I raised an eyebrow and Breandan looked very pleased.
“When does your church service start?” Bran asked; it appeared that he had recovered from his disagreement quickly.
“We should get there in about twenty minutes. Is that enough time?”
“It should be.”
“Then I’ll leave you to your preparations and head in to eat my own breakfast.”
“We’ll come in as soon as we’re ready,” Aichear said with a meaningful glance in the younger two boys’ direction.
“Thank you choir.” My dad stood at the pulpit and smiled out at his congregation after the choir sang their first song to signal the beginning of our service. “What a great way to start out our worship on this beautiful Sunday morning! I’d like to welcome you all and thank you for joining us in praising our Savior. Let’s pray now and dedicate this time spent here to Him.”
While Dad prayed, I tried to ignore the weird feeling that there were strangers sitting in our family’s row and forget the odd looks I got from different people as they watched the Mornelly’s follow me, right to the front of course, where we always sat.
I skipped doing choir this morning so I could help the Mornelly’s feel more at home before the service started, but I felt a little guilty after our choir director shot me some quizzical looks. However, I forgot my guilt as soon as our song leader began the first hymn.
The service passed quickly, and I enjoyed seeing the Mornelly’s enjoy it. I noticed Aileen, Breandan, and Damhán sang their happily even though they were a little off-key, Aichear mouthed the words without singing at all, Bran was too busy looking handsome to sing, and Ciarán sang very quietly, without moving his mouth hardly at all. I was surprised to find that Ciarán was actually the best singer of them all, though I could only hear him because he happened to be sitting next to me.
Aichear sat on the farthest seat, nearest the aisle, and Aileen sat sandwiched next to him with Bran on the other side of her. Damhán sat next to Bran and on the other side was Ciarán. I sat next to Ciarán with the dim hope that maybe I could keep them from arguing during the sermon. Breandan sat on the other side of me and on the far side of him sat my younger brothers followed by the rest of our family.
All the Mornelly’s seemed to appreciate the sermon and got a lot of Dad’s jokes he threw into his sermon every-once-in-a-while. It was a little hard to tell that Damhán was paying attention because he was busy drawing gory pictures on the back of the sermon notes and showing them to Ciarán with a smirk, but even he laughed when a joke was made so I had to assume that he actually was hearing what Dad was saying. Pretty soon a whole conversation was going on in pencil on a bulletin.
Quit drawing and pay attention. (Bran started by passing this note to Damhán)
Bran! Passing notes are we? For shame! (This “shocked” reply came with a smirk from Damhán)
You’re still not paying attention…Aichear is not going to be happy if I…
(Here the note was snatched from Bran by Damhán who had been reading over his shoulder and crumpled into a ball before being shoved down his pocket…a new note was started)
Ha! Now he’ll never know! (This was Damhán)
I know all. (These three words were placed in Damhán’s lap by Aichear who had apparently been reading everything from his spot on the other side of Aileen)
You’ve got good eyesight for someone who wears glasses. (I think Damhán was lucky we sat in front, otherwise I think he would have gotten flattened at this moment. Even so, his face went about two shades lighter pink when Aichear caught his eye and he quickly scribbled down an apology) Just kidding… (Yeah, that’s his way of apologizing. One can get used to it. ;)
No more notes. (This order came from Aichear)
May I ask why Your Highness? (Damhán was pushing it here. I was a little scared for him actually. If Aichear could have looked real-life daggers, his youngest brother would be dead.)
(Here Damhán lost his pencil and every sheet of paper within reach. He sulked for the remainder of the sermon.)
Yeah, life with the Mornelly’s never has a dull moment. Once the service ended with a prayer and final hymn, Bran and Damhán made a bee-line to the cookies; Bran because he was starving, Damhán because I’m assuming he was afraid that Aichear’s wrath would fall on him as soon as the final “amen” left the lips of the song leader.
The rest followed at a more leisurely pace and I introduced the Mornelly’s to as many of my friends and acquaintances as possible. Damhán made several friends right off, and even Ciarán found some friends who were as reclusive as himself. Bran hit it off with a couple guys and Aichear found some knowledgeable persons to talk with. Aileen had no end of girls around her age to hang out with. Breandan and I soon found ourselves in a mixed group; talking and laughing with several friends of mine who soon became friends with all the Mornelly’s too.
All too soon it was time to go home. I sadly bid my friends goodbye. Even sadder were the goodbye’s of the Mornelly’s. They knew that no sooner would they leave then most of their friends would forget all about them.
Lunch came and went and I had Breandan follow me around with a camera to take graduation pictures. Most of them turned out, despite the fact that neither him nor I were professional photographers.
“How did you keep a straight face with Damhán making all those horrible faces behind me?” my guardian asked in astonishment as the pictures came up on the computer screen for me to check and possibly edit.
I grinned. “Oh it wasn’t too hard. You know, I do have siblings. Nine of them in fact. If I couldn’t keep a straight face every time one of them made a face at me, I’d never stop grimacing.”
Suddenly Aichear ran into the house. It was so odd to see him anything but calm, cool, and collected that I immediately knew what was wrong. Breandan and I both jumped to our feet, pictures forgotten.
“What happened? Is someone hurt? What’s going on?” All three questions were fired at the oldest Mornelly by my guardian and I as he fought to catch his breath.
“It’s starting!” Aichear gasped out, holding his stomach and straitening his glasses automatically.
“What’s starting?” I blurted before seeing the look of understanding dawn on Breandan’s face.
“We’re going to be leaving soon,” my guardian answered in surprising calm.
I began to frown, then realized with a jolt what they were talking about. “You’re returning to the fourth dimension?”
Aichear and Breandan both nodded. A wave of sadness came over me. “I’m going to miss you all,” I said simply. My eyes widened. “I need to say goodbye to the rest of the family!” I yelled.
Aichear nodded shortly. “They’re all outside, waiting for you. The first symptoms came rather unexpectedly.”
“I noticed,” I answered wryly, somehow managing to keep my wits about me even with everything happening around me. I followed the two brothers outside and found the rest of them standing hopefully in the sunshine. “How much longer do you have?” I asked Aichear quietly.
“Five minutes at best,” he answered. “Better make it quick.”
I wrapped Aichear in a hug suddenly, before he had time to react. A startled look came into his eyes, but it was quickly followed by one of his small smiles, so I knew I wasn’t in trouble. “I’m a little jealous of Aileen…you’re a pretty awesome older brother to have around.”
“Thank you,” he said quietly.
Aileen came up to me suddenly and wrapped her arms around my waist. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “I’m going to miss you so much!” she wailed. “I wish we never had to leave!”
“I’ll miss you too,” I assured the weeping girl. “You’ll always be an honorary little sister to me.”
Damhán gave me an embarrassed side hug and wiped his eyes muttering something about his allergies, but he quickly returned to his old self when I socked him in the shoulder playfully. “Hey!” he exclaimed rubbing his arm. “Watch it! This is my sword fighting arm!”
“Sorry,” I said, my grin belying my half-hearted apology. “I’ll miss you too,” I added laughingly.
Bran came up and gave me a hug too. “I hope we can come back here soon.” He cocked his head at me. “You know, you’re not a bad cook really. Breandan’s good, but you almost have him beat.”
“Thanks,” I grinned. “You’d better all be for my graduation. I’m counting on it.”
Before Ciarán knew what was happening, I gave him a hug too. “Whoa!” he shouted in surprise. Jumping backwards out of hugging range, he tripped and landed in the dirt. He glowered up at me. “Look what you did to my brand new black pants!”
I hugged him again, just for good measure…even though hugging Ciarán was like hugging a tree dressed in black.
At last it was time to say goodbye to my guardian. I knew I couldn’t put it off forever, or the goodbye would never happen…I hated to say it, but wanted to say it at the same time.
“Well,” I looked up at him after a hug. “You know…”
“You’ll be seeing us again,” Breandan said. The ever hopeful, the ever optimistic.
“When though?” I demanded even as he started to fade from my sight.
“We’ll be at your graduation.” His voice sounded like he was speaking through a tube of metal. “That’s a promise.”
“I’m going to miss you most of all,” I said finally, sadly watching his features fade into the background.
“Hey, not cool! What about us!” I heard Damhán’s voice as if from far away.
I saw a faint grin on my guardian’s face. “I’ll be here. Whenever you need me, I’ll be here.” And then he was gone.
For a moment I stood in stunned silence, staring at the wall where Breandan had stood five minutes ago. Snapping out of my trance, I took a shaky breath and willed the tears not to fall. There was no doubt about it. I missed them. Already.
But I had my guardian’s promise. A promise I knew he would keep. I straightened my shoulders with a confident smile. They would be back.
After finishing my school for the day, I left the house to walk around outside. My mind wandered back to the week I had spent with the Mornelly’s. I hadn’t forgotten, though my family had. Now I was writing it down to share with them. They would see it only as another of my stories. A funny one, maybe a thought provoking one, but only a story nonetheless.
“Oh well,” I sighed to myself and continued typing.
Suddenly, from behind me, I heard a chuckle. I spun around and saw the vague outline of a familiar figure. “Breandan??” I squealed, nearly knocking him over with my hug.
“Yes, it’s me. You’re writing about our visit huh?”
“Yeah! Are you all back in the third dimension then? Is that why I can see you?”
“Actually,” my guardian had a hint of surprise in his voice. “I’ve been here ever since our visit. You just didn’t see me.”
A puzzled frown sat between my eyebrows. “How come I can see you now?” I asked.
“I…don’t know,” he answered slowly.
“Can I See now?”
“I guess so!”
My guardian paused for a moment…unsure what to say. “I think,” he began finally, “I think because you believe we exist.”
“Didn’t I before?” I demanded hotly.
“Apparently not enough. But since you’ve written about us, told the story of our visit from your perspective, you finally have showed that you believe enough.”
“So…” I tried to wrap my mind around what he had said. “Because I wrote about you I can See?”
“That’s the basic idea of the complicated reality, yes.” My guardian’s eyes were twinkling.
I grinned. “Well, since you’re here, I have something I want you to help me with…”
You lived through a seven-part fan fiction story. Congratulations! I'd like to shake your hand!
Was it really that bad? Be honest, WAS it?
Which Mornelly sibling was YOUR favorite?
Which part was your favorite?
Have you ever written fan fiction?
If so, who's characters/story was it based off of?
Did you ever secretly think YOU'RE fan fiction was better than their original story? (Mine has never been better than the original. It's hard to get it even good enough to be considered good fan fiction!)
I look forward to hearing what you think! :)