Up All Night (11-13-17)

The last sentence must be “Mom drinks more coffee.” [Link to post.]

“NO.” My mother said loudly, then caught herself. A red ghost touched her porcelain cheeks. “No, thank you. I don’t like bitter, and the caffeine doesn’t agree with me.” I brought coffee to our Sunday brunch instead of the usual sangria. I thought it would be a good chance to help let her hair down. I wanted us to spend some quality mother daughter time since my dad took my husband hunting.

“Mom, relax. It’s not like i’m immune to the caffeine. That’s why I brought it over.” I put the small burlap sack of fresh grounds on the white marble countertop, then searched through the cupboards. “ The boys are out hunting, I know you avoid it for dad’s sake.”  I tilted my head to the side to speak backward at her while my hand searches through a drawer full of pots. I pulled out the tea kettle and walked to the sink. “It’ll be good for you, trust me. You’ll feel, like *hundreds* of years younger, I swear.”

“Well,” mom sighed. “One cup won’t hurt anything. It’ll be good to work up an appetite for whatever they catch. But don’t tell your father. If I drink it now, I expect I’ll be calming down by the time they get home.” She undid the collar of her blouse, and aired herself a bit. Then, she sat at the breakfast bar behind the stove. I set the filled kettle on the stove, and looked up at her with a smile.

“That’s the spirit!” I gave her a thumbs up.

“Oh. You’re horrible corrupting your mother like this.” Mom gave me a sharp smile. I shrugged.

“It doesn’t count as corruption if I’m just reminding you of how much you enjoy it. C’mon mom. *Bitterness*? That’s such a weak excuse.” I showed her the half empty jar of dark, rose colored honey, pulled from the cupboards. “I know you know how delicious this stuff is. Don’t tell me you never thought of putting some of this in it.“

“Are you insane? With what’s in that honey and the caffeine? Are you trying to give your father a heart attack?” Mom fidgeted with her collar. I knew she was debating it, and I knew I’d win. I placed the jar next to the two novelty Halloween mugs. My favorite mugs since I was a kid. It seemed like forever ago since we started having Sunday tea parties, and then graduated to brunches when I could drink the sangria. At first it was just me and her. When I found a guy I liked I invited him to be my husband. He accepted and our weekly meal became family time. It felt good to be just us two again.

“Just to fight the bitterness, but not a word.” Mom’s posture changed. She seemed more at ease after she agreed. As if she decided to just go with the night. “So what do you think they’ll bring back? It’s the first time Vernon has gone with your father.” She asked me while I placed her cup in front of her. Her cup was decorated with a cartoon bat that said, “I Vant to Drink you Dry”. I offered her the honey and stirrer.
“Who knows? I tried talking Vernon out of it, but he’s dead set on impressing dad. I’m scared of an accident more than anything. I warned dad too. Vernon’s got a temper and I worry about him going after something they’re not ready for.” I watched mom set her spoon down, and bring the cup up to her lips. The liquid may have been black, but it poured color into my mom’s face. Red bloomed on her lips and cheeks. Her dull eyes gained their familiar sparkle of life.  

“Thank you, dear. This really helps.” Mom smiled at me. I returned the smile and drank from my own “Mommy’s Little Ghoul” mug. I loved a good caffeine rush. Not only was I physically stronger, but my mind worked faster, and clearer than normal. Though, mixing in the blood-honey takes it to another level entirely. And it really quenches the *thirst* in a refreshing way. A window shattered, and I looked to see something black among the glass flying toward me.

“Vernon!” I yelled. I stretched out my hands and caught the flying ball of fur and blood. He changed shape on my lap and looked up at me. He tried to communicate through wheezes several times, but eventually he managed words.

“Big group.” He coughed up blood. “Staked your dad.” Damnit. I knew it was Vernon’s fault, but that couldn’t be dealt with now. “How are you?”

“Fine. They couldn’t follow me.” He grabbed my hand and kissed it. “Sorry.”  I knew it.

“Apologies later. Stay here, I’m going to go shutter the windows.” I took no care in dropping his thick head to the floor and stood up to see my mother. She still sat at the table and was pouring the jar of blood-honey into the tea kettle.

“Mom? Are you okay? I’m going to go shutter the windows. I’ll be right back, okay?” She looked at me with sad, red eyes.

“Mom is going to go kill all of them, dear.” She threw the empty jar on the floor and it shattered.
“But first,” she lifted the kettle spout to her mouth.

“Mom drinks more coffee.”

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