Excerpt of Gathering Grace

...[Ruth's] mouth and voice seemed to work independently of her emotional chaos, like a robot, as she told Grace the awful plan. "Elizabeth thinks that you two should get to know each other. She thinks that she can help you want to live again. She thinks you should live here, with her, so you can do that."

That's ridiculous. That's what Elizabeth wants? Really? But Grandma won't let that happen. I live with Grandma. The maelstrom in her head translated to her voice with much less detail: "Huh?"

"What do you think about that, Grace?" Elizabeth asked her in the same affect-free way as before. It felt like a horrible repeat, like this mean history teacher Grace had had once, who, even after he knew Grace hadn't done the reading and couldn't answer the questions, would still keep calling on her, just so she would be more and more embarrassed. But this wasn't history class; this was her own life. And Elizabeth was her own Grandma. Her own flesh and blood. More like her, actually, and more related to her than Ruth was.

"Grandma? Is this for real?" Grace wanted to be nearer to Ruth, to hold her hand, to hug her. But they were in their formal chairs, separated by a coffee table. Separated by an ocean of doubt. A rift was forming, and Grace didn't know how to bridge it.

"It is for real, Grace. You need to want to live again. You need to never be on a bridge again, that way."

"No offense," Grace said to Elizabeth, "but I just don't understand. Why can't you use your Power or whatever, and I can still live with Grandma?"

"Oh." Elizabeth paused for a calculated dramatic effect, and even pouted out her lip a little bit. "I thought maybe… Don't you want to get to know me, too? I thought, perhaps, since you didn't know me at all before, that you'd want to make a relationship with your real, I mean, biological, grandmother, too. Especially since the tragedy with your mother, Hope."

Ruth wanted to surge out of her chair and choke Elizabeth to death, but her habit of good sense prevented her. To Grace, it looked like Ruth just sat more still for a moment. She's just sitting there.

"Oh." Grace kept staring at Ruth.

Something primal inside Ruth stirred, and she heard her voice murmuring: "I love you so much, Grace!"

"I love you too, Grandma." Grace's face showed her confusion. Stuff keeps happening, and it's all out of my control, so why should this be any different?

Grace stood up, and navigated her way out of the circle of chairs. She walked over to the windows and looked outside, still carrying her untasted cup of coffee. Suddenly, she turned to face the two women again. "Are you two using your Powers, right now? On each other? Or are you using them on me?"

The two older women were startled into looking at each other. Elizabeth had a genuine expression of amusement, but Ruth's face smiled an unfamiliar gash across her teeth. Both of them even gave short little laughs, sounding remarkably similar. "We rarely stoop to that anymore." Elizabeth waved it off.

Ruth faced her granddaughter to underline her words. "I'm not using my Power, and she isn't either."

"How do you know she's not?"

Elizabeth sneered at Ruth. "The cat's really out of the bag now, Ruth."

"What does she mean, Grandma?"

Ruth sighed. At least this story was not as painful. "Let me explain, Grace. Do you remember what Grandpa used to do?"

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