Excerpt from "The Importance of Faerie Godmothers"
She hadn't been invited. That had been deliberate. She knew it, they knew she knew it, she knew they knew she knew it. But she'd shown up anyway, and, etiquette demanding what it does, nobody was saying a word. Oh, undoubtedly the implicit threat of magical revenge had a hand in keeping Charlotte quiet about it. But they were family, and that was the greater pressure. She'd had a hard enough time convincing Erwin not to invite his great-aunt in the first place-- "But, dear, remember when she came to Christmas dinner at your brother's house? Not fifteen minutes after she arrived we had to call an emergency sorcerer to extricate your nephew's hand from--" "I know. I know! But we're family, love, that's got to mean something--" Oh, Charlotte knew only too well what "family" meant. It meant her parents, miserable for decades but doggedly staying together "for the children" to whom that misery was being actively bequeathed. It meant her uncle with his wandering hands, and her aunt who would brook no criticism--"You will not speak of my brother that way!"--and who, in quieter moments, slyly suggested that perhaps someone had led him on. It meant Charlotte's younger sister, a seething narcissist if ever an arse did cyst, who insisted on "chaperoning" Charlotte and Erwin's dates, during which she played every manipulative trick in her considerate repertoire to try to break the couple up. "I won't let him take you away from me," she'd said when confronted about it. The sisters hadn't spoken since. Charlotte had learned the hard way that "family" was the abstract principal for the sake of which one must deny oneself health, safety, and comfort. She'd only begun to unlearn it when she married Erwin; his family was everything family was supposed to be. Charlotte would never stop envying him the support structures of his upbringing. But there was one crack in that otherwise stable foundation, and it threatened to bring the whole structure down on their heads. Because there was their daughter, Michelle, old enough this year to join them at the Thanksgiving table. There she was in her high chair, busily smearing turkey-flavored pap across her bib and singing a happy tune to her animal crackers. And there across the table from her was Wicked Aunt Helvetica. __ Complete fictionette is 1172 words long and is available to Patrons pledging from $1/month: http://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=1275845