Clara Halliwell-Hart stood humbly in her aunt's attic, the attic of the Halliwell Family Manor, examining herself in the antique floor-length mirror before her. She was getting married…and her heart was fluttering as fast as a hummingbird's. It was supposed to the happiest day of her life, but somehow she could not help but feel like something was missing, or at least someone. She only had fifteen minutes to totally convince herself she was doing the right thing…and so far it wasn't working.
Clara took a deep breath as she stared at her appearance.
The white satin wedding dress she wore was her mother's own wedding dress and the white roses in her hair only accented the long dark curls that flowed down to her shoulders. She had been reminded her entire life how much she was the spitting image of Phoebe, which she thought was true. She also repeatedly remembered hearing stories about the miraculous Charmed Ones, the adventures they'd had.
She and her cousins were now the "Power of Nine" and they had faced horrible, horrifying and horrendous terrors. Clara felt she was now embarking on the biggest journey of her own life…marriage. The women in her family did not exactly have the best track record when it came to the opposite gender. The list was endless.
"Ah I can blow demons up but I can't commit to a man!" she mumbled sadly as she sat down on one of the ottomans beside her.
"Oh sweetheart…" a comforting voice spoke from behind her. Clara jumped and turned. Standing there was her Aunt Prue, a vision in the blue dress she wore and a smile across her gorgeous face.
"Look at you…" Prue walked cautiously over to her niece and pushed a stray hair of Clara's back in place. "You are so beautiful…all grown up and getting married. I am so proud of you. Of all you've done, all you've become….you've honored the Halliwell name, Clara." Prue took her niece by the hands while Clara's eyes misted over with tears.
"Who summoned you?" were the only words Clara could get out.
"No one did, sweetie…I peek down every now and then, to check on you and your cousins. And even your mother and aunts." This made Clara laugh, the three sisters definitely needed looking after, and all you had to do was ask Leo, Henry and Coop.
"I watch over you…always have. And I know what you're going through…" Prue was instantly cut off by her niece's scoffing. Clara got to her feet in frustration.
"Aunt Prue, no offence but um… you're dead! What do you know about men?!" Clara exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air. Prue crossed her arms, cocked her head and cleared her throat in a matter of fact way, which Clara assumed to mean she had just stuck her foot in her mouth.
"Excuse me?" Prue inquired curtly.
"Aunt Prue, I'm sorry…I'm just….afraid!" Clara pulled her hands up to her face to hide the tears that were slipped down her cheeks.
"Honey, it's alright…" Prue pulled her sobbing niece compassionately into her arms and stoked Clara's hair as she wept on her aunt's shoulder.
"Aunt Prue, how do I know I am not destined to turn out just like Grams or Grandma Patty or….you? I mean you all had your troubles in love and you all died without a man! Am I next?!"
"Clara, sweetheart, listen to me! One, you don't need a man to love to fulfill your life! You first have to love yourself, and then by the grace of God, you find someone to spend forever with! You have a fiancé downstairs who would die himself just be with you! I may be dead but I know what it means to be in love… so how about we stop all this crying before all of your makeup runs off, hmm?" Clara nodded in agreement as Prue smiled.
"Sweetie, Halliwell women may have had trouble with men…but you have nothing to worry about! You are a talented witch who could charm the pants off anyone you wanted! Besides no matter what anyone says, we're not cursed….we just have to…overcome obstacles."
"Oh give me a break!" A sarcastic voice called from the corner. Prue and Clara turned to see Grams, gliding towards them in her stately fashion.
"I've said it once, and I will say it again! If men were supposed to stay married, God would have made them live longer! So why put them through the misery?"
"Grams! That's a horrible thing to say!" Prue scolded.
"Perhaps, but Prudence Halliwell, if you would have listened to me years ago, you might not have had your heart broken so many times! And maybe if your mother had too…"
"Mother! Enough!" Patty Halliwell appeared in a shimmer of lights, an annoyed look on her usually gentle face. "Leave Clara alone, heaven knows you are not the one to be giving advice on men!"
"Yes, of course dear, we all know you're the expert!" Grams crossed her arms as she perched herself on the sofa.
"Clara, don't listen to her! You are going to be fine!" Patty embraced her granddaughter and smiled down at her with a confident grin, the one Clara recognized as her mother's.
"You're right! I'm getting married…" Clara got to her feet and stared into the mirror once again. She fixed her makeup and turned back to her family.
"I feel like I am going to fly up off the floor!" Clara laughed, and she could have sworn she saw Grams grin, despite her currently stubborn mood.
"Oh Mom! We have to go!" Patty remembered. "We have new arrival duty…up there." Patty pointed and Clara nodded. Grams reluctantly stood as Patty kissed her granddaughter goodbye.
"Remember, we always here when you need us…" Patty took one last look about the attic and in an instant, she had vanished. Grams examined her great-granddaughter curiously and then gave Clara a truly genuine smile, a rare expression for her.
"Even though I'll never tell Patty this… I'm glad she was with the men she was or I would never have any of my grandchildren. Perhaps Sam and Victor weren't all bad after all. That James boy is lucky to have won the heart of my great-granddaughter, and you have my approval." Grams mumbled and Clara nodded.
"Blessed be my darling, and congratulations!" Grams winked, and she, like Patty, vanished.
"High praise coming from Grams!" Prue remarked.
"To tell you the truth, I was going to marry him without her approval!" Clara hissed.
"I heard that!!" Grams' voice filled the room. Prue tried to cover up her laughter and gave her niece a tight hug. Even though she wasn't technically living, Prue still smelled wonderful, just like the bottle of perfume Clara found that belonged to her.
"You would have made a wonderful mom, Aunt Prue…" Clara whispered, taking in her aunt's scent. Prue kissed her niece on the cheek and fixed her hair again.
"I want to give you something…" Prue walked over to the far east corner of the attic, and stepped firmly on a loose floorboard until it popped open. Prue dropped to her knees and pulled out a purple shoebox and grinned as she took off the lid. Clara stared curiously at her.
"My treasures…I would hide the things in here that I didn't want my little sisters to get into, anything and everything." Prue pulled out a shiny silver locket, put the box back in its hiding spot and rose to her feet.
"This was the locket my mother wore on her wedding day. I admired it so much as a little girl and would sneak in her bedroom to look at it. One day, she caught me trying it on and she gave it to me, hoping that one day I could wear it…to my own wedding." Prue carefully fastened the prized locket around her niece's bare neck and backed away to look at the full effect of it. Clara beamed.
"I want you to keep it…wear it today and as much as you like." Prue looked over at the wall clock and sighed. "Sweetie, I have to go."
"Can't you stay?" Clara begged but Prue shook her head reluctantly.
"I don't belong in this world anymore; besides it's your day…you should be the star, not me." Prue explained, and Clara's eyes once again flooded with tears.
"I love you sweetie…" Prue backed away slowly.
"Aunt Prue…" Clara whimpered mournfully.
"The box is our little secret, promise?" Prue was choking up. Clara faced the door right as she heard three familiar voices floating up the staircase. But when she turned back to where Prue was standing, she was gone. Clara wiped away her tears right as Phoebe, Piper and Paige arrived on the scene. The three of them sighed in awe at the sight of the bride, who quickly had pasted a smile on her face.
"My baby is all grown up and getting married!" Phoebe gushed, embracing her oldest daughter. All the sudden she let go, as if in shock.
"Mom, what's wrong?" Clara inquired.
"Nothing…you just… you smell like Prue…" Phoebe's face was overcome by a goofy yet curious grin.
"Mom, you must be…imagining things…" Clara fibbed, not wanting to start a long and detailed discussion.
Suddenly, they could hear the music playing downstairs. Billie called up to tell them it was time as the three sisters kissed Clara and hurried downstairs ahead of her. While Clara was grabbing her bouquet she heard Phoebe whispering to Piper.
"I wish Prue was here for this…" Phoebe told her sister.
"I know, Phoebs." Piper replied. "But she's watching over us…"
Clara smiled as she turned out the lights in the attic.
"Always…" she heard Prue's voice call from the darkness.
"Thanks Aunt Prue…for everything." Clara whispered as she touched the locket, headed down to the conservatory and married the man of her dreams.
Perhaps all it takes is a little encouragement from a dead aunt to calm your nerves. Well it works for the Halliwells.