Previously on The Legacy Files...
"It's just a feeling," Colleen heard her aunt say. "Hard to explain."
"I see," a man responded. He sounded oddly familiar, like she had met him before. But where? "I respect these feelings you have, Hillary, and I know not to ignore them."
And now, Dreams and Memories - Part 2...
Suggested soundtrack: Hannah and Gabi by The Lemonheads
The next morning, Colleen went down to breakfast to find Aunt Hillary already in the kitchen, making tea, her dark hair pulled back in a scrunchie.
“Good morning. English Breakfast?” she asked.
Hillary lit the stove and put the kettle on, and then pulled two tea cups and saucers in a Blue Willow pattern from the cabinet next to the stove.
“What were you doing up so late last night?” Colleen asked in the most casual way she could, as she seated myself at the round oak table and placed a piece of toast on her plate from the stack in the middle. “I woke up and heard you downstairs.”
Her halt was nearly imperceptible, but Colleen caught it. Just a split second when her movement stopped and then started again. “I couldn’t sleep,” she said, still facing the counter. “I think it was the storm. So I turned on the TV in here and had a cup of tea.” It was a good excuse. The little black and white TV on the kitchen counter would have made a very similar noise. But why did she feel she had to work so hard to keep things a secret?
Hillary used one hand to draw a tin of tea to her from the counter across the kitchen. The tin floated across the room and landed softly in her hand. She opened it and spooned out loose tea into a metal mesh infuser ball for each teacup. She was always so graceful, the way she used her abilities so fluidly and smoothly. Sure, Colleen had telekinetic abilities too, but hers didn’t manifest themselves in quite the same way. It was like the difference between fine and gross motor skills. Aunt Hillary could turn the television on from across the room. All Colleen could do was blast it through a window.
The kettle whistled and Hillary quickly removed it from the burner. “What are your plans for today?”
“I’ve got class, and lunch with Katherine, and then I’m meeting some friends tonight at Bailey’s Bar and Grill. It’s Robert’s birthday.”
Aunt Hillary placed the cups and saucers on the table and sat down.
“Oh yes, that’s right.” She made that same conspiratorial face she always made when Colleen brought up Robert. “Any news you want to share?”
“Nope. Robert and I are just friends.”
“Ha!” She nearly knocked over her teacup.
“Well, we are. If he wanted a relationship, he surely would have said something by now.” Colleen fought the urge to ask her about her own “friend.”.
“Maybe he’s waiting for you to say something.”
“He’s my best friend’s brother. Don’t you think it would be awkward?”
“It sounds like it might be getting a little awkward already, ignoring the obvious.”
Hillary caught sight of the black Kit-Kat Klock on the wall. “Oh, is it that late already?” She took her cup and saucer to the sink. “I’ve got to get this shop open.”
Colleen stood up and scraped the toast crumbs off the table into one hand with the other and dumped them into the trash.
“Are you coming back here before going out tonight?” Hillary asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be back.”
“Okay. Hey, be careful. I was watching the news last night. A lot of bad things happening in the city. Dangerous people. We’re not that far away, you know. You need to be cautious, even out here.”
“I will,” Colleen said as she went upstairs to change.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was a beautiful day for lunch on the patio of Alfonso's Bistro, and Colleen and her best friend Katherine Wade I were taking full advantage. This had always been a favorite place of theirs, especially in the spring. And today it felt like spring already, even though it was still early February. They loved the way the rays of sunlight filtered through the ivy-covered pergola overhead, and spilled onto the cobblestone below. It was picture-perfect and made them linger after lunch later than they should have.
"I had one of those dreams again last night," Colleen said, as she leaned against the back of her white wrought iron chair and rearranged the ice in my glass with her straw.
"Did you write it down?" Katherine was a firm believer in journaling to explore one’s feelings and thoughts. Which was great, but Colleen wasn’t much of a writer, mainly because she was distracted by her own terrible handwriting.
“Why write it down? It’s always exactly the same.”
“I don’t know. Maybe if you wrote it down, you’d notice some subtle differences. Maybe your brain is trying to send you a message.”
“Well, my brain needs to be a little more direct, because I’m obviously not getting it. It’s been five years.” Colleen took a sip of her ice tea. “I think Aunt Hillary has a secret boyfriend.”
Katherine nearly spat out her drink. “Seriously?! Whoa! What do you mean by secret?”
“I heard her on the phone last night with someone, discussing their feelings. But she’s never told me about him or brought him around or anything.”
“Really? What did they say?” Katherine leaned forward and folded her arms on the table in front of her.
“I didn’t listen. That would be eavesdropping.”
Katherine leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest, disappointed. “You’re no fun.” She thought for a minute. “You know, you might end up with a boyfriend soon. I see the way things are going between you and my brother.”
"Katherine," Colleen said, in mock-exasperation.
“You know it, and he knows it, and really, we all know it.”
Colleen thought about her conversation with her aunt that morning. She knew it. She sighed theatrically and played dumb. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't lie. You're horrible at it. What about New Year's Eve?"
"Oh, that doesn't count. Everybody kisses someone at midnight."
“Have you ever kissed someone at midnight before, just because it was New Years?”
“Well, no,” Colleen admitted.
“Alright then. You’re coming tonight, right?”
“It has been my experience,” Katherine said in that wise-sounding way of hers she often used when discussing human behavior, “that festive settings often create an opportunity for people to express emotions they may have otherwise kept to themselves. Hence your New Year’s kiss. Tonight is a birthday party,” she said with a smile. “Let’s see what happens.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Across town, at the old estate, Aldo Vincent stood before his boss, who was still confined to bed following his return to the world. A fire crackled in the fireplace. It had been very cold in cryogenic deep-freeze. Vincent felt himself sweating, and wondered if it was just the heat, or the news he was bringing.
"We've looked everywhere. No sign of the device here, or the files used in creating it. Forgive me, but my men have practically torn the place apart looking for them, and there's not a trace."
His boss swore under his breath. "She must have taken them."
"I'm sorry, Boss. I wasn't aware that this was going to be a problem, or I would have taken care of it before waking you." The fire crackled in the silence that followed. Vincent watched his boss visibly seethe in his weakened state. It would not be good for him to get too angry right now. Not good for either of them. It was time to take a chance. "But I have an idea."
His boss took a deep breath. "I'm listening, Mr. Vincent."
"Hillary Dean. Does that name mean anything to you?"
His boss grew impatient. "I'm not in the mood to play games, Mr. Vincent."
"Yes, Boss. Sorry. Uh, we believe that Hillary Dean is an alias for Hillary Fernandez, the last living Guardian. She lives above an antique store on the north side of town."
"Hillary Fernandez is still alive?"
"Possibly. The property where she lives belongs to Daniel Morgan. 1100 Avon Street."
His boss was wistful. "Avon Street. That's the building where Morgan Industries was started."
"Yes." Vincent was excited now. "If it is her, she might have what we need, Boss, stashed away somewhere. Or she might know where it is, at least." He waited while his boss pondered this new information.
"Yes, she certainly might," the weakened man finally said. His features remained calm, and Vincent let out quiet breath of relief. "I think it's time you and your men pay this Hillary Dean a visit."