Title: Constance & Enzo’s Tea Time With Peyton
Author: Theresa Dale
Genre: Supernatural Fiction
Peyton’s incredible gift is still wreaking havoc with her life. In her ongoing quest to find others like her, she’s unknowingly left a trail of breadcrumbs to her front door – for commiserating friends and desperate souls, alike.
But she couldn’t have predicted the lengths one visiting stranger would go to take advantage of her ability to talk to the dead, and this time her weakness - combined with the all-encompassing need of her captor - results in her disappearance.
Will Margot - a pioneer in the world of science and the supernatural, and Charis - a sometimes reluctant, but highly gifted psychic - succeed in using their own special talents to see clues the police simply can't?
Peyton finished pouring for Constance, then snuck a look at Enzo. He was wearing a sailor-style sweater: deep blue with a white collar and stripes around the cuffs. She poured tea into his cup, leaving room for the cream and sugar.
Remembering herself as Constance continued describing local daffodils and alpine meadow, Peyton nodded politely. “How wonderful!”
“Enzo always loved tulips,” Constance lamented, then took a dainty sip of her tea.
“It’s true,” Enzo confirmed, sounding wistful.
“Would you like me to serve your sandwiches?” Peyton asked as she replaced the teapot on its tray and straightened.
“No, thank you, Peyton. I’ll take my time choosing today.”
Peyton nodded, then started toward her own chair.
Constance cleared her throat loudly.
“Oh!” Peyton exclaimed, turning to Enzo. “I’m sorry, Enzo. Would you like me to serve your sandwiches?”
Peyton raised her eyebrows.
Enzo gave her the finger. Peyton couldn’t help it; she giggled.
“Well?” Constance demanded.
“I’ll take the pink petite-four, please,” Enzo smiled, his eyes sparkling again.
Peyton glanced uncomfortably at Constance, then back at Enzo. “Would you care for a sandwich first, sir?” she asked.
Constance giggled. “Dessert first, again?”
“Yes, please!” Enzo enthused, his smile taking over his face.
Peyton remembered what had happened the last time she’d served Enzo dessert first. She took the tongs from the sandwich tray.
“Ah, cooperating now, are you, Enzo?”
“Don’t you dare give me a sandwich!” Enzo growled.
Peyton chose a pretty cream cheese and chive pinwheel.
She placed the pinwheel in the center of Enzo’s plate.
Enzo roared. “You weak, pathetic baby!” he hissed. Peyton took note of the tendons standing out on either side of his neck.
“There, now. Shall we?” Constance smiled coldly at Peyton, then reached for the tongs.
Her hand froze in midair, as Enzo’s sandwich darted to the edge of his plate.
Peyton’s eyes widened as Enzo gathered every ounce of energy he could before trying again. He’d never succeeded in actually moving anything before.
But like his twin, Enzo, too, suffered from a very bad temper.
“STUPID SANDWICH!” he hollered, then swatted at it powerfully. Peyton jumped as he made contact, sending the pinwheel flying across the room.
“Enzo!” Constance cast a look that was somewhere between confusion and horror at Peyton.
Peyton stood, panic taking hold with a strength she hadn’t felt since she’d first arrived on the estate.
“What’s happening?” Constance wailed, her eyes shining with tears.
Enzo was laughing hysterically. He seemed to have forgotten his rage as he exclaimed to Peyton, “Did you see that? I did it, Peyton!”
Every syllable pulsed within her head as though it was being pounded in. She squeezed her eyes shut, hearing herself whimper but hadn’t the strength to stop it.
“Peyton!” Constance said her name so shrilly it was as though it sliced through her brain.
She cried out.
“Oh, no you don’t,” Constance said now, her footsteps quickly approaching Peyton, who had sunk heavily to her knees. “You hold it together, missy!”
“Oh, no. I’m sorry, Peyton. I didn’t mean to freak you out. I’m sorry I called you a baby. I didn’t mean it, of course! I love you, you know that, Peyton!” Enzo was next to her now, his words like an endless stream in her ear.
She tried again to come back to herself. Took a deep breath.
“That’s right. Just breathe, Peyton. You’re OK,” Constance crooned.
“Oh, God. Please don’t be mad!” Enzo sounded desperate, on the edge of tears.
“Shut up!” Peyton screamed, then gasped.
Enzo gasped, too, but giggled afterward. “Oh, boy. You’ve done it, now.”
She cracked an eyelid. Constance’s lips were set so thin it seemed like they’d disappeared completely.
“I’m sorry!” Peyton wailed. “I was talking to Enzo, not you!”
“How dare you talk to either of us that way!” Constance spat, her face a dangerous shade of red.
Peyton squeezed her eyes shut and bit the insides of her cheeks.
It was silent for a moment, and then there was a distinct pop! as Enzo disappeared.
Peyton took a breath and cracked her eyelids. To her amazement, Constance was still sitting beside her. She steadied herself against the nearly overwhelming urge to recoil.
“I know he can be difficult,” Constance whispered. “But he’s all I have.”
Peyton nodded. “I’m sorry. Can we go back to tea?”
Constance nodded, then waited for Peyton to rise before offering her hand. She took it, helping Constance up. It was strange standing so close to her. She was a full head shorter than Peyton.
“Where is he?” Constance asked.
Peyton scanned the room and, though she expected to find Enzo gone, was startled to find him. He was different, but he was there. She pointed.
Constance followed her gaze. “In the corner?”
Peyton nodded. She didn’t like it when Enzo got like this.
“Tell him to come back to tea,” Constance said, her eyes still riveted on the corner.
“E-Enzo?” Peyton stammered, and the mercurial embodiment of him shifted. Peyton saw two tendrils – arms – rise to compress the place his throat might be. She squeezed her eyes shut again. “I’m -” she swallowed hard, “- sorry, Constance,” she choked past an empathetic tightening of her airway.
“No! Enzo!” Constance was crying. “I just wanted us to have tea! Why do you have to be like this?” she moaned. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, OK?”
Peyton got images of a hayloft in her head.
She’d seen this before. It was dark. An older woman with shining blonde hair cascading in waves down her naked back. The feeling of jealousy, of hurt.
She opened her eyes again. He was gone. She exhaled.
Constance threw her arms around Peyton, her sobs shaking her body. Peyton stiffened, then mindfully relaxed her muscles, one by one.
“I just wanted us to have a nice tea,” Constance cried into Peyton’s armpit.