Selkies' SkinsInstallment 69Chapter 37
Kirsty sighed. The water by now had gotten very cold, and all she wanted to do was get out and drag herself to bed...dry-outs or not. Her father had brought her dinner in for her before he and Byron went to his study to consult the Log in case any of the previous Makays had heard of anything like this in their travels and researches. He had also backed out quickly after handing it to her with his hand over his eyes and muttering something about hoping she remembered to be wearing her swimsuit nights David joined her night classes.
She was still stewing about that. Of course she kept herself covered when David was looking. She might have selkie blood, but she certainly wasn’t so bold. As uncomfortable as the 1920s era suit was on her pelt at least she knew he wasn’t going to get any peeks on accident. He might have died of embarrassment anyway, and his actually having class was one of his draws.
On the other hand she supposed that as a father it was a worry he’d still have even after she had carried on the family line. A knock interrupted her reverie.
“How are ye holding up in there, lass?” Mr. Merrow’s voice was slightly muffled through the door, but understandable.
“I could sing a song about it. I was considering running more hot water. I may as well be comfy if I’m stuck as a fish-seal-freak-thing.”
“Tha’ well then? Well they think they might have some idea of what tha’s aboot. Ye didnae look too bad what bit o’ a flash o ye we saw though.”
“Well, it’s not like any of us can exactly say I’m hideous right now, it it?” Kirsty’s tone dropped like bitters.
“Nae, but I’d be lying if I said you was a hideous beast.”
“But I’m supposed to be able to get my skin this summer so I can become a real selkie and take a proper seal form if I don’t want to be between! How is it going to look to have a white seal swimming around with random scales popping out? I’ll be caught for sure.”
“Ye’ll be fine. Maybe it’s jest temporary and the odd bits become less noticeable, or only come out on certain occasions.” On his side of the door Mr. Merrow waved his hands and patted them downward, hoping to tap down her emotions. It was bad enough when his wife went through spats like this. But Kirsty, who was like a niece to him, and at such a young age saying such things? With his wife he at least knew what to say, even if he did sometimes end up getting relegated to the couch for telling her she was always gorgeous even if her skirt made her rump look fat.
Wordless grumbles were all that Kirsty could manage in reply before she pulled the plug and let out a bit of the now very cold water, then replugged the tub and ran the hot tap.
“Is she ok?” Marcus waited at the top of the stairs at the end of the hall.
Mr. Merrow looked that way and held his hands out, the indoor lighting giving his skin a vaguely greenish hue. “As well as we can expect I guess. Grumpy.”
“Poor girl.” Marcus leaned on the corner of the railing, his brows drawing down further. “Does she want a spot of tea?”
“Marcus wants to know if you ‘want a spot of tea’?” He mimicked the accent exactly, earning a scowl from Marcus and a disbelieving giggle from the bathroom.
“Might be nice. I’m colder now than I’d expect.” Kirsty called, “Tell him thank you, too.”
He nodded and headed back for the stairs, going down with Marcus. Near the base of the stairs the door to Finnol’s study was open, and they could hear Byron and Finnol consulting with the voices of Finnol’s ancestors who had all added their contributions and knowledge in just the same way the family continued to do.
Marcus paused for a moment, still intrigued by the myriad of strange things that everyone seemed to be taking for granted such as talking books, drippy waterhorses, and shapeshifted children. He continued on to prepare the tea for little Kirsty shortly though, and hoped that if he had to take it in to her she would be covered.
By the time he was done Merrow, Andersen, Finnol, and Byron were talking in rapid-fire Gaelic. Instead of interrupting what he hoped was a plan, even though it was beginning to sound more and more like an argument, he took the cup up. It had an odd curl to the scent, some strange mix that he’d found in a green tin labeled ‘Kirsty’s tea: not for Byrons’ that had a smooth spice and soft hush. What herbs she had mixed he’d never hope to guess. It wasn’t Earl Grey, and not roobios or green tea. That was the extent of his knowledge.
He knocked lightly. “If you’re decent I can bring it in.”
There were the sounds of shifting and splashing. “Ok.”
Marc avoided looking at Kirsty, despite the large fluffy towel and the shower curtain that she had between them, and set it carefully within her reach. She peeked around at him. “Thank you.” Her hand snaked around and took the cup, pulling the aromatic steam with her. “It still seems strange that you’re here.”
“To me too. But I am. I admit I wish I’d known about all this a little earlier, but I can understand why it was hidden.” He lingered near the door. “Would you like me to bring anything else?”
The sounds of the ‘discussion’ below continued to swell.
“What do you mean she’s not finished yet? She made it to the sea! It should be done.” Byron bellowed, falling to English now.
“Acetominophen...a big one. They’re in the medical cabinet. Careful of the potions and wraps though. You should find the bottles of Cowan remedies in the door itself.” Kirsty replied after the bellow.
“Not something from the potions?”
“No, it would react badly with my tea. You have to be very careful what you combine,” she replied. “I want a clear head, won’t be any use with a muzzy one.”
Marcus hurried back down to where he’d been told and looked for what he’d been asked to bring. He sighed in relief at finding everything within the cabinet to be over-labeled. Several of the items he was less familiar with seemed to have instructions with them. It wasn’t long before he’d found the requested pill and brought it up.
“So what’s Mara aboot then, if li’l Kirsty’s first trial isn’t over yet?” Merrow queried.
“Damned if I know what she’s doing to my little girl.” Finnol could be heard slamming his fist on his desk. “She can’t take her too. Not yet.”
Marcus winced and ran back up the stairs. Patience had been short with his friend since the night of finding Etain’s wreck. He knocked again.
“Kirsty, I got it, are you ready?” No answer came, so he knocked louder and repeated the question louder, and several times, each time growing louder.
He heard the others coming up the stairs behind him, felt the house shake as they pounded toward him. Marcus opened the door. “I’m coming in!”
Kirsty was sound asleep, her empty cup broken on the floor. Finnol bellowed for her, and he only barely had time to cover his ears, but she didn’t wake.
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