Title: Constance & Enzo’s Tea Time With Peyton
Author: Theresa Dale
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Peyton’s come a long way from the awkward twelve-year-old girl we met in That Summer, but her 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. She’s never been good at predicting the actions of people – dead or alive. But this time her weakness - combined with the all-encompassing need of her captor - results in her disappearance.
Her advantage? Those who love her will do everything they can to find her and bring her home, including the recruitment of two uniquely qualified women. 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?
Enzo’s focus intensified, his hazel-green eyes narrowing on the little white feather they’d retrieved from Peyton’s duvet.
Peyton giggled. “Your eyes are crossing.”
Enzo remained singly engaged in his task.
Peyton sucked in a breath and held it in silent support.
Enzo inhaled, then blew, his gaze never faltering, and though the feather remained on the spot they’d carefully placed it, it fluttered, ever-so-slightly.
Peyton gasped painfully, her lungs already full of held air, then cheered on a giant outbreath.
Enzo peered up at her, a light in his eye. “Did you see that?”
Peyton nodded, and Enzo cheered, too, jumping up and dancing around the room.
“You did it!” she exclaimed, hopping a little on the spot in a rare moment of unfettered joy. But a familiar feeling stirred beneath the excitement, too, as she watched Enzo whirl about the room, his form leaving trails as it zipped too fast, too smoothly to be trapped inside a body that was tangible.
Enzo’s progress meant something more than endless possibilities insofar as his freedom was concerned. It also meant an enhanced capacity for the types of tricks and teasing he loved. Even more ominous was the fact that Enzo’s hair-trigger of a temper would experience a dangerous boost in potential outlets. He was happy now, but Peyton knew him well enough to predict a shift back to resentment – or worse – boredom, as soon as the novelty wore off.
Enzo whooped as he spun, then darted back to the table. Peyton watched, a small smile still playing at her lips as she tried not to ruminate on the darker implications of his success. But instead of refocusing on the feather, he jerked his gaze to the windows. “It’ll be time for tea soon,” he murmured.
She scanned the windows along the western wall, then looked down at herself, her heart tripping to a gallop. “Oh, no!” She’d been so busy with Enzo that she hadn’t even dressed for the day, much less for tea.
Enzo observed the frenzied flurry of activity that followed with an amused smirk.
“Can I have some privacy, please?” Peyton asked, her voice high.
He rolled his eyes. “You know I could watch you dress anytime.”
Peyton threw her hands into the air, the dress and tights she clutched flouncing dramatically. “Can we please keep up the pretense, that I’m able to believe nobody is watching me dress?” she exclaimed, punctuating the sentence with several stomps, like an overstimulated toddler.
Enzo raised an eyebrow in her direction.
Peyton shuffled her feet. She loathed confrontation, but had found herself challenged by it more in her short time with Constance and Enzo than she’d found at any other time of her life. “Enzo, please.” Empowered by her gift or not, Peyton was ever-aware that she was at the mercy of the twins. And if Enzo was angry with her and refused to cooperate, Constance would know… and she was fully capable of acting on her whims, being alive and all. She hung her head.
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic,” Enzo lamented, but something like satisfaction laced his words.
Peyton clenched her jaw.
Suddenly he was in front of her. She froze. It was hard being this close to anyone.
“You’re so weird,” he voiced, and it hurt her more than anger could have, because it was true.
She glanced again at the trees where the sunlight dipped behind them, making them into silhouettes. “Fine,” she whispered, tears welling in her eyes as she begun to remove her shirt.
Enzo feigned shock. “Don’t be indecent!”
Pressed onward by the anticipation of Constance’s arrival, she did not pause.
“Ugh,” Enzo sighed, then snapped his fingers and was gone, just like that.
“That was new,” she muttered.
He was back before Constance arrived, though, popping into existence as soon as Peyton was dressed. He was watching! she internalized with a frown as he sat beside her on the bed.
“She’s late,” he said.
“Do you know why?”
Peyton watched his features. “You do, don’t you?”
He smiled as he studied his fingernails. “She’s had a visitor.”
Peyton paused, then ran to the window. “That car’s here again,” she remarked, mostly to herself. It was a black Bentley, and she’d seen it once before, but had missed its owner. She whirled on Enzo. “Whose car is that?”
He regarded her darkly.
His smile faded.
“Is it your father?” she tried, but knew it was wrong. He wasn’t due to return for another week.
Enzo shook his head. “If it were, we’d be at tea now. He’s not here even when he is.”
She looked down at the car again.
“You’ve seen her before,” Enzo hinted.
She frowned again. Her? “I’ve only ever seen you and Constance,” she retorted. “Unless -” she gasped. “Oh!”
Enzo watched her, waiting.
“You know what I’ve seen?”
“Who do you think’s been showing you?”
Her thoughts turned to the one constant she’d seen in her head since Constance had approached her after her last art class: the stables. The hayloft. The blonde woman, naked and straddling the bodily form of the ghost who watched her, now.
“Her?” she asked, and the word was met with a single nod. She looked back down and as if by some miracle of timing, she was there, walking toward the car in a smart skirt and blazer, her hair pinned into a French twist. She watched as the car turned, then faded down the driveway, then looked for Enzo. She jumped back, having found his disembodied head just behind her, gazing out the window over her shoulder.
“Sorry,” he muttered as the rest of him materialized.
She shook her head. “Who is she?”
“My mother,” he replied without hesitation, all traces of mischief erased from his expression.
And then there came the sound of a key in the lock.
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