The manor hadn't changed over the years as Phoenix Halliwell noticed. In fact, walking back in to her old home after five years, the brunette felt right at home. It had become a sanctuary for magical beings and those in covens that needed help. However, Phoenix could see that the usually busy home was silent and hadn't been occupied for at least a week.
Dropping her bag in the walkway, she made her way into the kitchen, glancing into the parlor and passing through the dining room. No sign of her parents or aunts. It wouldn't have been surprising if they had orbed themselves to some far off country to enjoy a vacation. After all, that was what adults did when they got old. They went to tropical paradises and enjoyed it.
"Hello?" Phoenix ventured, walking to the base of the stairs. She could hear movement and decided to investigate.
The attic was dustier than she remembered it to be and she wondered if demonic attacks had become less frequent since she left. But before she could dwell further on the thought, she saw a familiar face.
"Pacey!" She shouted, wrapping her arms around her twin sister who had flung herself into Phoenix.
Pulling back with a halfhearted smile, Pacey looked over her sister for a moment. She was pleased to see that she had come back from her soul search. "Well, it's about time you showed up! Did you enjoy backpacking through the country and bonding with the traveling hippies?"
"Oh, you know it," Phoenix remarked sarcastically. She knew that her sister would never let her forget that she had left with some free-spirited people with a lust for a deeper meaning for life. Their city was, after all, San Francisco.
"Anyway…" Phoenix walked in to the attic and dropped down on to the antique couch, "Where is everyone?"
Pacey ran a hand through her hair, thinking about it. "Where to start? Mom and dad are at some couple's retreat down in Santa Cruz. Paige is busy with magic school and Phoebe is… well, actually I don't know where she went off to."
"And what about Wyatt and Chris?"
"Still at school," Pacey sighed while sitting down beside Phoenix. Clearly, she had been lonely without her family around.
Phoenix sensed an awkwardness between them. The Halliwell family was not pleased about her sudden desire to explore the world the moment she turned eighteen. While Pacey was introverted and a homebody, Phoenix needed to constantly be moving. She was easily restless.
"What brought you back?" Pacey asked suddenly, glancing over to her.
"Just missed home," Phoenix said. She forced a smile and her uncomfortable feelings grew stronger. "I'm going to go unpack."
Pacey watched her twin retreat and knew that things were not the same. They certainly weren't as close anymore. She hadn't forgiven Phoenix for leaving home so abruptly. They weren't just sisters, they were twins and had a closer bond than anyone else in the family. She felt abandoned and those thoughts caused rage to build up within her. Her cheeks burned and she went back to the Book of Shadows where she had originally been researching. Pacey wasn't getting anywhere and gave up after a brief thirty-something seconds. Instead, she began to clean up the attic. Distracting herself with cleaning would help her deal with her emotions.
Being back in her room, the first thing she did was fall on her bed and grab a pillow. Everything felt normal and comfortable as opposed to sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag. Compared to her latest adventures, Phoenix found luxury.
"I have never been so grateful to be in my room," she said to herself, looking out the window.