Her mother is making phone calls and Molly is in her room, wiping her face, hands shaking. Her mother’s words still rattle and echo in her head: you had no excuse for this. none. this is all on you and this is going to ruin your life if you let it. i won't let it. i don't believe in abortion, nor do i believe in punishing you with a child you aren't prepared for. from here on out, margaret, you're going to have to grow up.

She’d have to grow up. And growing up turned out, being kicked out on her own to live with an aunt. There had been no screaming match in the car on the way home; only Molly slumped in her east, tears falling hotly down her face, her thoughts jumbled up in confusion and despair as her mother had laid out a plan: she’d pack up her things, and at the end of the week, she would be on a plane, alone, to meet her aunt. She never met her mother’s eyes, never looked at anything but her own hands and her still flat stomach.

Molly was going to have a child.

Molly was going to give fucking birth in nine months, abortion not even an option for her. Whatever she’d have, they’d be shipped off as soon as possible. Then she’d just get back to her life.

”It’s for the best. You’re too young to raise a child on your own and it’s an unfair punishment.” Her mother’s words rattled inside of her, sinking into her skin.

Even thinking about it makes Molly shiver and press her forehead against her knees in her room. Every part of her feels too ashamed to ask to be held, to reach out to her mother for support she knew she’d never get.

She does not pack her clothes, does not start to contact her worried friends. Instead, Molly stays in a tight ball, sobbing softly against her knees until dinner is called.

When she takes her seat at the table, her mother sets a plate in front of her and places a bottle of prenatal pills beside Molly’s water.

They don’t speak.


Spending time with the Fenwicks is different. It would have been easier if Lainey were there -- but then, most things would have been easier with Lainey.

She still had to sink or swim on her own, though, at some point. It might as well have been this, coming to the Fenwicks after Lainey’s left.

She’d expected her father to be there, but by the time she’d come back from the airport, he was gone. Instead, the person who opened the door was Brenda Fenwick.

Molly has not had a good track record with mother’s, standing in her doorway, mascara smudged, eyes red rimmed, and all too nervous at the sight of the woman. She is also very, very aware of the fact that she’d worn all black and hadn’t even removed the wedding ring from her finger like normal to keep up appearances. She was just here, in the doorway, swallowing nervously as Brenda assessed her.

It takes a full two minutes before Molly rasps out, “I-- I dropped off Lainey. Her plane took off okay.”

Brenda shouldn’t like her. Brenda should treat her like a castoff, should pull away or treat her coldly. It’s what Molly always expects, for the other shoe to drop.

It never, ever comes. Brenda instead, opens the door wider, and says, “Why don’t you come on in, sweetheart? You look like you could use it.”

Molly’s throat tightens, and her eyes warm from tears. “Okay,” she says, voice shaking.

Brenda escorts her in, an arm wrapping around Molly’s shoulders in a way her birth mother’s never had.


“Your aunt deserves what she got,” Madelyne says haughtily, her eyes focused on Molly, opposite her in this shared place, minds meeting minds on the astral plane.

Molly purses her lips, taking in the other woman’s expression, the harsh way it settles on her face, the utter contempt there. She never remembers their meetings like this when the week is over; only that Madelyne has started to pull her here, week after week, before she takes over completely, and sometimes, after. It’s so frustrating to know she only has selective recall, but what can she do?

The good thing about this? Is that she doesn’t have to verbalize her thoughts if she doesn’t want to; Madelyne knows that Molly thinks that she’s wrong. That her aunt had given her peaceful, lovely moments.

They also both know that the letter had been so viscerally cruel, that Molly would have never forgiven Julia even if was her last request, and the both know well that if Molly had to abandon every parental figure she ever had just to survive, she would.

So she doesn’t dignify her with anything besides, “Don’t touch my mother. I don’t have a good relationship--”

“You don’t love her,” Madelyne corrects, expression harsher than before.

“--with her,” Molly continues, “I don’t want you to lay a finger on her. You or Arthur.”

Madelyne’s mouth twists something like annoyance. “Don’t expect me to be kind to her, in your stead.”

Molly shakes her head, and settles into the bed. “Just don’t hurt anyone.”

05.13.2018 - EPILOGUE.

Madelyne stretches as Arthur heads to the kitchen in the cabin. It’s interesting, being in the place Molly both felt so familiar in and dreaded all at once. The aunt -- Julia? -- had renovated the place to near absurdity. Who needed to have a refrigerator that accessed the internet or intercoms for such a place like this?

She pulls the covers back, and looks at Molly’s phone.

Three missed calls from her mother -- and an alert from Molly herself about Mother’s Day.

Madelyne plays with the thought of listening to the messages. And then deletes every single one.

The phone is tossed on the bed, and she makes her way to the shower, feeling her magic coming alive at her fingertips. She had no plans for anything except to relax and catch up on what she’d missed. She had no children here -- and the one she had, well. She’d ruined that for herself already, hadn’t she?