Kai turned, looking right at her. “I think Mom is seeing someone.”
Shocked, Wren immediately blocked his thoughts. “What? Really?”
“Yeah. She goes out a lot. For ‘coffee with a friend’ she says, but she won’t say who.”
“Nope. No idea who. She doesn’t usually keep it a secret so…”
Their mother had always said she’d wait until her kids were grown up to start dating. They’d grown up but she hadn’t seemed to seek out any opportunities. Wren had asked her a couple of times, lightly teasing her to mask her concern that she was lonely, but she’d brushed off the questions, saying only that she’d date someone when the right someone came along. Wren had subsequently left the subject alone, sensing it wasn’t welcome.
“Where would she even meet someone?” Wren was puzzled by this. Their mother had taken early retirement. Now she spent most of her free time painting; a hobby that had taken everyone by surprise after her career in accounting. She worked at the March Of Dimes as well but otherwise lived a quiet, rather solitary life.
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s Harold?”
“Harold? No!” The idea was laughable. Harold lived next door to their mother and while he was pleasant Wren knew her mother was not attracted to him in the slightest. It would not require her new perception to determine that. Harold was shorter, rounder and louder than her mother’s tolerance would allow.
Kai shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s someone at her art class?”
That was possible. Wren considered that she could find out easily enough given her new ability. Again guilt nagged her. She’d nearly intruded on her own brother’s mind moments before and the thought of taking her mother’s privacy away from her brought her back to reality. Just because she could do it didn’t mean it was OK.
Their mother picked Kai up a couple of hours later and as he was going out the door he called back, “Look, if you are playing WoW let me know. I’m on Alexstrasza.”
“I’m not and I don’t know what that means. Tell mom I said hi.”
He left and she closed the door behind him, a little surprised to find that she was disappointed. She liked her privacy, liked having time to herself before bed. Since childhood she’d made her bedroom a fiercely private lair and as an adult that had spilled over into her entire living space. She’d assumed if she and Wil had moved in together she’d feel differently but it had never quite happened.
Wren felt a bit of panic rise up inside. Loneliness wasn’t a well-worn emotion for her; she didn’t know how to deal with it. Yes, she had often felt alone in a romantic sense but that was different than this sudden longing for another person to just be with her, share her space and remind her she was still human.
If she was still human.
Tags: Chapter Three