Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me.

After Practice

"How do I look?"



"…well, your tie could be straighter, or better yet you could just get rid of it."

"What? Get rid of it? This tie completes my outfit—I can't get rid of it!"

"Geez, you don't have to bite my head off."

"Sorry…I'm just nervous. I mean I am meeting your mom for the first time, Will. I kinda want to make a good first impression." Caleb sighed and struggled with his tie, trying to make it straighter.

Will rolled her eyes and swatted Caleb's hands away from the offending striped accessory so she could straighten it. "You're just meeting my mom—not some Queen from wherever. Dressing up like this is only gonna make her suspicious…I've never brought someone home wearing a nice shirt and tie. If she starts giving me the third degree I'm gonna push you off the next cliff I find."

"Somebody's feeling crabby today."

"You're meeting my mom—this is a big deal!" exclaimed Will as she put her hands on her hips.

Caleb frowned. "But you just told me there was nothing to worry about!"

"Yeah, for you…me, I gotta worry—that's my job because she's my mother!"

"See, talk like that makes me nervous!"

"This coming from the guy who was getting advice from Matt just the other day on how to act around adults on Earth," stated Will in amusement.

"Well yeah…Matt met your mom once…and he's always over at Irma's place getting to know her folks…" Caleb shrugged, "He was the obvious choice to go to for something this big."

"You do realize that Matt's always over at Irma's place when she's not there, right?"

"Really? I didn't know that…why would he do that?"

"Because Irma is still refusing to go on a date with him…so if he sucks up to her folks now she'll have no choice but to start dating him after he gets adopted into her family."

"Now that you mention it some of his other suggestions did sound a little strange."

One of Will's eyebrows rose as she struggled to not ask what other suggestions Caleb had gotten from her ex-boyfriend. She had a sinking feeling many of them were what Matt was doing now to win over Irma and her family. Taking a deep breath Will turned to the front door of her apartment and opened it up, motioning for Caleb to follow her.

Susan Vandom was already setting the table. She looked up with a wide smile on her face. "Hello, I'm Susan, Will's mom."

"Hi, I'm Caleb, Will's boyfriend," replied Caleb good naturedly. Will stifled a groan by burying her head in one of her hands. It was going to be a long night.

Dinner went by relatively smoothly. It took Caleb a little while to remember which utensil to use, what the napkin was for, and that he really hated broccoli. After that it could almost be said that dinner was a success. The almost being due to the strange dinnertime conversations Caleb would bring up.

Susan frowned as she tried to understand the latest statement that had come out of Caleb's mouth. "So this…Blunk…is he related to you?"

"No. He's just a pest I got stuck with escaping from Meridian."

"I see." Susan lapsed into another brief silence. "Is Meridian a name for an orphanage or a jail?"

"It's a kingdom," stated Caleb, furrowing his eyebrows. "Will, haven't you told your mother about Meridian yet?"

Will cringed as both her mother and her boyfriend turned to glance her way. "Yeah…I was getting to it."

"When, before or after you graduated from high school?" demanded Susan shooting her daughter a dark look.

"I was hoping more along the lines of never…"

Caleb snorted. "Will, being Keeper of the Heart is a permanent job. You don't just retire a few years down the road…you keep fighting to protect the Veil until you can't do it any more."

"What?" exclaimed the red head and her mother at the same time.

"Will, what is he talking about?"

Will dutifully ignored her mother. "Whaddya mean I can't retire? I didn't sign any papers saying I would wear wings for the rest of my life! What about my future on Earth? I kinda have to do the college thing one day…and get a real job, buy a real house, get a real dog…you know, the whole enchilada!"

"The whole what?" Caleb scratched his head in confusion.

"Enchilada. The whole thing—the big picture that is life!" shot back Will waving her hands around in the air to prove her point. Caleb only frowned.

"That's it; would someone please tell me what's going on here? What is this job you have as Keeper of the Heart? What is this Meridian kingdom Caleb is talking about? Is it in Europe? Have you been leaving the country without my permission?" Susan's stern voice made Will sigh. This wasn't exactly how she had planned on telling her mom about her little…side job.

"Meridian is another dimension type of place. Remember Cornelia's friend Elyon Browne? Yeah, well she's kinda the Queen of Meridian. Cornelia, Irma, Taranee, and Hay-Lin and I are guardians of the Veil. We protect both Meridian and Earth. Uh…we've been doing it for a while now…we have these magic powers and costumes with wings—I can fly."

"You can…fly. Lovely. Now, why don't you tell me the truth?"

"I am," protested Will defensively.

"She is," added Caleb, nodding in affirmation.

"I think I need a drink now." Susan abruptly got up and headed towards the kitchen.

Will watched her go with a thoughtful expression on her face. "You know, she's taking this a lot better than I thought she would."

"Uh-huh, you do know your mom is pouring herself a tall glass of a drink called whisky, don't you?" replied Caleb craning his head to watch what Susan was doing in the kitchen.

"Whisky? Huh, I thought for sure she would go for the vodka. She must actually kind of believe me."

"Why wouldn't she?"

"Because she's my mom."

"What kind of answer is that?"

"On earth, it's sometimes the only answer for things like this."

"Why don't I believe you?"

Will shrugged and watched as her mother returned to her seat with a large glass of whisky in her hands. "You're not actually gonna drink all that, are you, mom?"

"I am seriously thinking about it," replied Susan studying the glass in front of her.

Caleb grinned. "You know, maybe we should take your mom to Meridian so she can see what's there."

"Oh sure," agreed Will dryly, "I'm sure she'll enjoy walking through a field of flowers to visit Elyon in her castle that smells like Blunk now that she's made him her royal advisor. If she doesn't like that maybe she'll like the monsters we run into along the way."

"I get the feeling you don't like my suggestion."

"No, no, I love it. In fact, I love it so much, why don't we invite all the guardians' families along and make it into a whole field trip? We can have a picnic and everything."

Caleb turned to glance at Susan. "Is she always like this?"

"Most of the time," said Susan after taking a sip of her whisky. Will rolled her eyes.

Another three hours went by with a drunken Susan and a very sober Caleb planning his wedding to Will. So far the bridesmaids would wear bright yellow, Will would have an old fashioned ball gown, Caleb would wear a white tuxedo, and Blunk…well, Blunk would be the ring bearer. Both refused to listen to Will when she pointed out when and if she ever decided to marry (which was looking less and less likely by the hour) she didn't want a big wedding. That and she didn't want Blunk anywhere near the rings seeing as how he'd probably steal them.

Yet another hour went by and Will was slowly seeing her future flying before her very eyes. The date for the wedding had been set for eight years down the road in the spring and Will and Caleb would be honeymooning in Meridian simply because it was a kingdom and Susan thought it would be more romantic than Europe.

It was a half hour after that that Will was on the phone calling Irma with Susan and Caleb watching her expectantly.

Irma answered on the second ring. "Hello?"

"Irma? It's me."

"Oh hey, Will, how'd dinner go?"

"Uh…it's still going."

"Kind of long for dinner, don't you think?"

Will glanced over at her mother and sighed. "You have no idea. Um…so I told my mom about Meridian."

"Really? How'd she take it?"

"Well she got rip roaring drunk on whisky, planned my wedding to Caleb, and now she's decided to go house hunting for me." Will paused, hearing peals of laughter coming from the other end of the phone. "Irma, it isn't funny."

"Yeah…yeah it is," wheezed Irma. "So, house hunting, huh?"

"Yeah…in Meridian."

"I'm sure Blunk will love having you guys for neighbors."

"You are so lucky that I'm not standing in front of you or I'd punch you," replied Will through gritted teeth.

"Yeah, yeah. So is there a real reason why you called?"

Will chuckled. "Well my mom wants your family, and Corny's family, and Taranee's family, and Hay-Lin's family to go house hunting with her."


"Yeah, so you might wanna give your parents a quick lo-down on Meridian 'cause my mom's going over to talk to them tomorrow…to plan it all out."

There was silence on the other end of the line. Finally, Irma said, "Will, this is the last time you let Caleb speak to someone outside of Meridian. Next thing you know you'll be telling us that we're gonna start giving tours in Meridian for everyone on earth."

"Unfortunately…we might be. My mom wants to talk about it with Elyon first." Will grimaced at the sound of a dial tone.

Susan spoke first. "Well, what did she say?"

"Uh…she's looking forward to it," answered Will putting on a fake smile. The red head turned back to the phone and began to dial the next number. "One down, three more to go."

Behind her Susan and Caleb continued planning Will's extravagant wedding.

Will sighed to herself as she listened to the phone ring on the other end. At least her mom liked Caleb. That was one good sign in her bleak future.


"Corny? Hey, it's me…"

A/N—I'm not sure how well this turned out, and at the moment I don't believe I'll be continuing it. This is just a follow up to Practice from way back when, and a way for me to refind my muse. Yes, I'm starting to update all my stories again slowly but surely...my muse is a fickle thing.