Teagan steps back through the portal, feeling dizzy enough to vomit. She stumbles and almost falls, grasping onto the edge of her dresser for support. Her townhouse has neither an attic nor a basement, so she is forced to conduct magical mayhem in her own bedroom. Teagan is thankful that Lawrence and his sons are gone all week on a fishing trip because she would hate to be caught by them.
Teagan has no time to pause and collect herself- she has to be at Mrs. Rowan's now! She flings open the door and rushes down the stairs, dashing out the door and across the lawn. She tiptoes through the backdoor of Mrs. Rowan's house, hoping that she will not get caught. Luckily, no one is in the kitchen so she is free to exit and run to the living room. She leaps on the couch and squirms under the thin blanket that Mrs. Rowan provided for her earlier that morning- Teagan knows that her elderly babysitter won't know that she was gone. Mrs. Rowan happens to be very aware of her own mortality; she makes it a priority to stay away from people who feel ill. Teagan is willing to bet that Mrs. Rowan has not even checked on her once- the old woman is so absentminded that she can barely remember what year it is.
Teagan's suspicions prove correct; at five o'clock, Mrs. Rowan sticks her head around the living room door, pinching her nose with one pudgy hand.
"Teagan dear, your mother's here." Mrs. Rowan breathes deeply, turning her head away from the living room.
"Okay!" Teagan starts to spring off the couch but then recalls that she is supposed to be sick. She makes a great show of sliding to the floor and wobbling out of the room, to the front, where her mother is waiting.
Teagan's mother, Jenny, is standing just by the front door waiting. When she sees Teagan, carrying on her dramatic performance, she hurries over to her.
"How are you feeling, baby?" Jenny smoothes some hair behind Teagan's ear and kisses her forehead. Teagan only nods drowsily and mumbles something incoherent. Jennifer looks up to consult with the babysitter.
"She slept all day." Mrs. Rowan reports (Teagan has to hide a smirk). "I hope she doesn't have that stomach virus that's going around."
"I hope not." Jenny scoops her daughter into her arms, adjusting her purse. "Thanks for watching her, Liz."
"No problem." Mrs. Rowan assures her, and then she hurries to the kitchen where she hopes she will be safe from contracting the "stomach virus".
Teagan burrows her face against her mother's neck as they walk across the lawn, back to their own little house; it's by no means a sloppy residence (Jenny takes pride in making her townhouse look decent) but Teagan is no longer awed by it, having seen her relatives' respective homes.
"Do you want some chicken noodle soup?" Jenny offers stroking Teagan's back. She feels horridly guilty about leaving her child at the babysitter's- then again, she can blame that on the lazy new girl at the front desk who neglected to tell her that Mrs. Rowan called five times.
"Okay." Teagan agrees meekly. Jennifer fishes around in her coat pocket for her house keys, her brow furrows when she realizes that the door is already unlocked.
"What is?" Teagan is just glad to be back at home with her mother- and soon enough, if her plan works, she'll be with her father too!
"I thought Lawrence told me he locked the door before he left on his fishing trip. He must've forgotten." Teagan hides her guilty face in the crook of her mother's neck; Lawrence had locked the door before leaving but when Teagan snuck back into the house, she'd used the spare key under the matt to get in.
Jenny steps through the door, flipping on the hall light and setting Teagan down. The five-year-old sits on the stairs and watches her mother hang her coat in the small closet. Teagan, like most five-year-olds, idolizes her mother and thinks she's quite possibly the prettiest women in the world. Jennifer has pale skin, full lips, big hazel eyes, long, light brown hair that falls just past her shoulders, and a big, wide smile. Teagan's hand instinctively taps at her pocket where the picture of her parents is.
She thinks they look good together. She hopes that they reconcile, otherwise her going to the past will be for nothing. Her eventual plan is to have her grandma and her aunts help her set her parents up with each other- and her uncle being a cupid is an amazing bonus!
But Teagan knows she has to be careful; she can only tell them things when the time is right or she could screw something up indefinitely. That much she knows from watching TV.
Teagan follows her mother into the kitchen and sits on a chair while Jenny busies herself with making soup. Now that Kyle and Darren and Lawrence are out of the house and out of the way, Teagan can feel herself relaxing.
Now it's just me and Mommy…
Jenny sets down two bowls of soup and two spoons. Teagan digs into her dinner enthusiastically, forgetting for a second that she is supposed to be sick. After eating dinner, Jenny washes the dishes by hand and puts them away, Teagan just sits there and observes. Finally, Jenny looks up and asks:
"What are you staring at?" She's bemused; Teagan has never been so still or acted so concentrated before.
"Nothing. You're just really pretty." Teagan compliments.
"Thank you." Jenny smiles, "was that your way of trying to butter me up so I'll take you to Toys R Us tomorrow?"
Teagan grins, a grin that matches her mother's perfectly. "Noooo Mommy." She wags her head. "I just think you're very pretty, that's all."
"I see. Well, thank you." Jenny smiles, "you know who's really beautiful though?"
"You of course, silly!" Jenny replies. Then, "Come on, I'll run you a nice warm bath and afterwards we can watch a movie."
"Aww man, I hate baths!" Teagan complains. "Can't I just use magic to get clean? Lawrence and his annoying sons aren't here to see us."
Jenny knows that she should reprimand Teagan for speaking of her surrogate family so critically, but she finds that the only thing she's able to do is avert her eyes and try not to laugh.
"Teagan, you know magic is a very special gift." Jenny decides to lecture her on her powers instead. Her daughter nods, of course she knows that magic is special, no other kids on the block can travel to the past and back! "We can't just use it whenever we want, even though it would be cool to use it for certain things. We have to be aware of the consequences."
"I know Mommy." Teagan rolls her green eyes. "Why are you so worried?"
Jenny debates whether or not to delve into the world of demonic evils with her daughter and then decides against it; this night is so quiet and peaceful that she doesn't want to shatter it by bringing up something that will give her daughter nightmares.
"Because I'm your mother and it's my job to be." Jenny shakes her head. "Let's go get that bath started, okay?"
"Do I have to?"
"It will make you feel better." Jenny goads.
"Fine." Teagan follows her mother upstairs and into the bathroom peevishly. She doesn't see the need for baths every other day- she doesn't stink like her stepbrothers do!
Jenny helps Teagan change into her nightclothes and the two of them go down to the living room to watch an instalment of the Land Before Time saga together. Jenny watched the cartoon series when she was a child herself and she is happy that it is still around, and that she kept all of her old videotapes, so that Teagan can enjoy it too.
All through the movie Teagan is ridden with guilt; she wonders what would happen if her mother knew what she'd really been up to that day. But the more significant question is will Teagan ever get the chance to meet her biological father? She sincerely hopes so, and then she ponders why her parents split up in the first place. This question is enough to keep her mentally entertained for the rest of the movie and she is still trying to figure it out as she clambers up the stairs to go to bed.
Teagan's room is moderately-sized with soft pink walls, white carpet, and a large canopy "princess-style" bed. She also has a dresser and a closet which house all of her outfits. In the corner, she has a bookshelf stacked with children's books- Jenny wants to teach her to read early so that she can have a head-start in life. Her bed is topped with various plush toys including a brown-and-white lion named Lancelot (her most cherished material possession), and a small teddy bear that is holding a velvet heart between its two forepaws. The bear used to belong to Jenny and during her lonely and trying pregnancy, Teagan's mother had slept with that bear, clutching it like a lifeline. After Teagan's birth, Jenny relinquished the toy to her daughter without telling her much of the story behind it- luckily, Teagan doesn't even know how meaningful the bear is- was, Jenny feels no attachment to the stupid thing anymore- to her mom.
Teagan hops up on the bed and snuggles down under the covers.
"Want to read tonight?" Jenny asks her.
"No." Teagan declines, she usually enjoys reading but she has much more important things on her mind than Dr. Seuss at current. "I wanna talk now."
"Really?" Jenny smiles, amused, and sits on the edge of the bed. "What do you feel like talking about?"
Teagan sighs heavily. "You might not like me for bringing this up, but…"
"What is it, Teags?" One of Jenny's eyebrows is quirked higher than the other as she scrutinizes her only daughter. Teagan sighs again and pulls on her arm.
"Lie down," she instructs seriously. "Get comfortable."
"O…kay." Jenny slides under the covers as she is bid and flips over to face her daughter. She is momentarily distracted by Teagan's physical resemblance to her birth father, those malachite green eyes sparkle as they stare back at her.
"Mommy, are you okay?"
"Yeah, sorry, I spaced out for a second." Jenny forces a smile and tucks an errant strand of dark brown hair behind Teagan's ear. "Now, what's on your mind, love?"
"Dad?" Jenny repeats, frowning as if she has never heard the term before- as if it is a foreign concept that she just cannot seem to process despite her best efforts.
"Dad." Teagan props her face in her hand, waiting for a few seconds. When she's certain that Jenny won't offer any objections, she goes on. "I want to know about him." Jenny withholds a weary sigh; she knows she shouldn't be surprised; Teagan has every right to know about her biological father, but Jenny had hoped that the conversation wouldn't be for about another five years.
"You're mad," Teagan indicts, biting her bottom lip, her green eyes shadowing with worry.
"No," Jenny clears her throat. "No, I'm not."
"Are you lying?"
"Teagan Rose Fischer, why would I lie?" Jenny uses her offspring's full name, grinning.
"Well, this is probably very uncomfortable for you." Teagan answers, "but you're trying not to show it because you don't want me to feel bad."
"You're a smart one, Teags." Jenny praises. "But for the last time, I'm fine. What do you want to know about your father?"
"Do you love him?" Jenny is stunned, she was expecting a few light, fluffy questions; apparently her daughter wastes no time beating around the bush.
"I… I did once, yes." Jenny agrees. She feels a small knot of guilt forming in her stomach. But why? She's over Chris and she's a happily married woman… right? Yes, she's only reacting strangely because this conversation has taken a significant turn too quickly for her liking.
"How come he doesn't know about me?" Teagan prods, she's on a mission to uncover the truth and she won't rest until she's satisfied with her work.
"He doesn't need to," Jenny replies. The conversation is interrupted by the shrill ringing of a phone from the hallway, Teagan rolls her eyes.
"It's Lawrence." She mutters disdainfully, rolling over. Jenny kisses her daughter's temple, assures her that she'll be back in five minutes, and goes to retrieve the phone. As Teagan predicted, it's Lawrence, calling to report some bad news.
"Honey, our boat's motor is shot. Can you wire us some money to get it fixed?"
"Um," Jenny stalls, funds are tight right now. If they keep spending money on luxury activities and items, they'll never have enough saved up to move out of this house. "How much do you need?"
"The guy at the repair shop says he needs six hundred."
"That's a lot," Jenny comments, with a noise of disbelief.
"Yeah, I know. Can you send it or not?" Now he sounds irritated.
"Alright." She nods, "don't get snappy with me. I'll wire it to you tomorrow, is that okay?"
"Yeah, there's a motel next to the repair place. It's probably infested with cockroaches but…"
"If I could have it wired to you now I would, but Teagan's sick."
"So just leave her home while you go to the bank."
"No! Something could happen!"
"Like…" a demon attack, a kidnapping, a break-in… "She's too young to be left by herself anyway." Jenny insists. She knows if she brings up her kidnapping/break-in theories, Lawrence will mock her for them (he thinks she's too paranoid) and she can't explain the whole demon thing.
"Shit, babe, I've gotta go. Kyle just caught his hand on a fish hook."
"Alright," Jenny sighs. "Bye, Lawrence."
"Bye." And that's that.
Jenny hangs up the phone but remains standing there for awhile, trying to collect herself and figure out how she will explain the tale of herself and Chris to Teagan. She closes her eyes and for a moment- just one tiny yet definite moment- she thinks about an alternative life. A life in which she is not married to Lawrence, but Chris, her first love. She can see it behind her eyelids clear as a movie on the big screen at the theatre and it's so blissfully wonderful yet heart-achingly painful at the same time. She opens her eyes and heads back to Teagan's room, her daughter is sitting up in bed, wide-awake. Of course.
"You were right." Jenny declares, strolling across the room with the ghost of a smile on her face. "Lawrence called."
"And what did he want? More money?" Teagan scoffs, folding her arms abrasively against her chest.
"Teagan!" Jenny rebukes, "I don't know what's gotten into you tonight but this anti-Lawrence attitude is very rude and uncalled for."
"Whatever," Teagan rolls those green eyes in a long-suffering sort of way, just like Chris would have. "What did he want, then?"
"The boat's motor isn't working properly, first thing in the morning, before I drop you off at school; we're going to head to the bank. Okay?"
"He does need money." Teagan flops back in bed dramatically, holding onto Lancelot.
"Yeah." Jenny bites her lip, "but you shouldn't worry about stuff like that."
"I'm not." Teagan closes her eyes. "Mommy, will you stay with me?"
"Of course, lovely." Jenny acquiesces, "just let me go put on my pyjamas." When she returns, Teagan is conked out, clutching the plush lion to her chest with a smile on her face. Jenny's own mouth melts into a smile as she sees this, the everyday pressures and stresses of life temporarily fading away. She slides into bed next to her daughter, kisses Teagan's temple, wraps an arm around her and hesitantly grabs the teddy bearing the velvet heart. She can't seem to part with it after all these years.
So there's chapter four! I want to apologize to you guys for taking so long to get this up, and I also want to thank those of you that put me on your favourite/alert list. It means a lot. -Smiles-
1) I've noticed that some of you have been asking for a more detailed physical description of Teagan; I've already mentioned in previous chapters that she looks a lot like Chris (she has the same dark brown hair, the same green eyes, and for good measure, the same nose, which is something that I haven't mentioned). She also carries some of Jenny's attributes (most notably her big smile).
2) I haven't had much experience with creating OC's before and I have the feeling that something about Jenny is just... off. I will try my best to remedy that as time goes on.