“Yes?” asked Lilly, staring at the man standing on her porch.
“I want to see her.”
“I’m sure you do but she’s busy eating pancakes.”
“Let me in,” he said, his voice low and threatening.
The wolves started to growl and their bodies grew tense.
“I don’t think they like your tone of voice,” said Lilly.
“I have a right to see her.”
“What right is that?”
“Who is it?” asked Edith, as she came to the door.
“No one, Love,” said Lilly. “Go back into the kitchen. I’ll be there shortly.”
“Hello,” said the man. “I’m your grandfather and I’ve been waiting to meet you.”
“He’s my what?” she asked, looking at Lilly.
“We had a thing a long time ago and he thinks that makes him part of your life.”
“Is he my mother’s father.”
“Sadly, he is.”
Lilly burst out laughing. “Grandpa,” she wheezed. “Say it again,” she gasped, placing her hand on Edith’s shoulder.
“Say what?” asked Edith. “Grandpa?”
And Lilly was off again.
“She thinks it funny,” he said, watching Lilly wipe the tears from her eyes.
“I can see that but I’m not sure why she feels that way.”
“Oh, do come in,” said Lilly. “Now that you’ve seen her, there’s no reason to stand outside. She signaled the wolves and they retreated to the soft furniture in the living room.
“What do you do?” asked Edith, looking at the handsome man.
“I kind of run Fairy,” he said kindly.
“I didn’t like living with the humans, you know. I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t know what it was. I told Lilly, they didn’t believe anything I said, not even about the rabbits talking to me.”
“I’m sure it was difficult, Edith. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that but you’re here not and that’s all that matters.”
“To you maybe, but I wasted all ten of my years trying not to be where I was. School was a nightmare. I didn’t have any friends, except for Lou and that’s because she was strange and no one liked her. I liked her. She was really nice and her mother made brownies all the time. Anyway, if I didn’t run away and save myself, I’d probably still be trapped there because none of you came to get me.”
The man looked at Lilly and said, “She’s just like her mother.”
Lilly smiled. “I know.”
“Why are you happy to see me? Why do you even WANT to see me? You could have seen me all the time, if you would have let me grow up here?”
“Are there any pancakes left,” he signed. “I’m starving.”
“What’s your name?” asked Edith, glaring at her grandfather.
“My name is Steven,” he said.
“Why isn’t something like Oak, or Elm, or Sunflower?”
“You have a human name.”
“Ah, well, I kept the name my human parents gave to me.”
“You’re a Changeling?”
“So what was your fairy name?”
“Shadow, but I don’t answer to that any longer.”
“It’s a long story. Suffice it to say…”
“I’m your granddaughter, you should tell me.”
Lilly had been giggling and holding her hand over her mouth for as long as she could. She burst out laughing again, as she passed a plate of pancakes to Steven. “She’s something else, isn’t she?”
He glared at her. “Can you do something with her before she’s introduced to everyone?”
“Hey, I’m standing right here, you know,” said Edith. “And what’s wrong with me the way I am? Don’t tell me you guys don’t like me either.”
“Of course we like you,” said Lilly, immediately. “We love you, it’s just that you don’t know the ways of The Court.”
“You mean like go to jail court? Or, some kind of King and Queen court?”
“King and Queen,” said her grandfather.
“I can be nicer,” she said. “At least I think I can and who cares anyway?”
“Again, this isn’t the human world, Love,” said Lilly. “Things don’t work the same way.”
“Fine. Just tell me what I need to know.”
“All in good time,” said Lilly.
“You have two days,” said Steven, “The Queen wants to see her in two days and you make the best pancakes in Fairy, you always did. Why did we ever break up?”
“Because you were sleeping with everything that had wings, remember?”
“Oh, yes. I forgot about that.”
“I didn’t,” said Lilly.
“I never loved anyone but you. That’s still true.”
“Tell it to someone who cares,” said Lilly. “Why two days?”
“I didn’t ask. She said two days, so I’m telling you two days.”
“I’ll do the best I can.”
“Good thing you have strong magick,” he said, as he walked toward the door. “I think you’re going to need it.”
“He still loves you, you know,” said Edith, finishing her cold breakfast.
“You love him too,” she said.
“I do but that doesn’t mean that we can be together.”
“I thought it did.”
“You thought wrong, Love,” said Lilly. “We don’t have much time, so let’s get started and find out what you can do.”