When Desireé opens the door, she looks bored. Then she sees Darren and Sammi. I manage to notice that her eyes linger on Darren half a second longer. “Charlotte? What is this…?” she asks. I resist the urge to barge into the door. “Please, Desireé, they can’t be seen… Will you let us in?”
She glances back at me, Sammi, and then Darren, before finally saying, “All right. It was getting a little stuffy inside after all. This will be good.”
The moment we enter the living room, she sits down, pats her dress, and glares up at me. “Miss Charlotte Hawkins, I do not understand! I would never have believed you to be the sort of girl to be sighted with a handsome but odd man, and a girl with short hair and trousers! You must bless me with an explanation!”
I gasp and wave my hands around for a moment. “Hush! Desireé, is your father listening?”
In that moment, any excitement crossing her features fades away. “He is busy… Doing the usual unsavory deeds.” I nod understandingly.
Sammi ruins everything by opening her blasted mouth. “What’s he doing that’s so bad?” she asks.
Desireé sniffs and looks at her frostily. “If you must know, my father is more interested with his dead wife than with his living, breathing, surviving daughter. He is doing a seancé with that damned oracle, who is most likely swindling him. He will not hear us. He does not care that our reputation is in shambles, or that I must be the one to make ends meet while he wastes away. All he wants is to speak with my mother one more time.”
Sammi suddenly becomes interested in Desireé’s wallpaper. “Oh,” she mumbles.
Desireé looks at me. “Please, Charlotte, explain,” she whispers.
So I do. I tell her about the strange light, and the way they speak, and how they claim to be from a world parallel to ours. Desireé’s eyes slowly light up with her usual excitable gleam. “Ooh, this is better than a storybook! And it’s happening to us! This is quite lovely!” she cries.
I sniff. “I beg to differ. I have no idea what one does in this situation. And…” I glance at them, remembering Sammi’s sudden outburst of tears. A terrible sense of foreboding fills me. “I have no idea whether to trust them. They seem to know the future. Our futures, Desireé.”
She smiles charmingly at them. “Do you know our future? I’m rather curious,” she says.
Darren shakes his head. “I can’t tell you anything. That’s the first rule of time travel and dimension hopping.”
Desireé sighs. “Drat,” she murmurs.
I adjust in my seat. “Desireé, I was hoping that you could let them stay here for the foreseeable future.”
She gasps. “My goodness, Charlotte! Why is your home not an option?” she demands.
I sigh. “Desireé, you know my mother, my father, and Clementina and Christopher. They will find out, and I… God knows what would happen. Your father may never find out, and that is the reason why I beseech you.”
Desireé adjusts a pin on her dress while pretending to consider the options. “All right. They shall stay here. I do have some clothes at the theater that they could use, after all. And father never checks the attic. That is the space they shall occupy. I believe they will be fine.”
Darren jumps up, startling the rest of us. “Thanks so much! I didn’t think this was going to work, but who knows? This may be better than our actual plans.”
Sammi narrows her eyes. “That’s weirdly optimistic of you, Darren. What’s up?”
He shrugs. “I’m not sure. I’m just hoping for a good outcome.”
I nod in his direction. “Well, that’s a mighty good thing to hope for, Darren.” I glance at the grandfather clock, and my heart falls. “Oh my! I need to be on my way! My mother may think I’m missing. Desireé, I shall be back tomorrow. I do hope everyone will be all right.” With that, I nod at all three of them, and Desireé escorts me out of her home.
Author’s Note: sorry for taking so long with this! I kinda forgot… But this is the last novella excerpt. I only made two excerpts for each novella. I don’t know if or when I’ll be finished with the book, but I’ll let everyone know once I do!