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Elena grinned as she danced around the living room, the silk dress moving against her skin. “Dad, you are awesome,” she said.
Peter Wilkins smiled at his eighteen year old daughter. People often wondered why a man like him had adopted sweet blind child back when she was only five years old. Especially when he himself was blind and had to be helped by his wife Angela. But both Angela and Peter fell in love with Elena and wouldn’t let anyone tell them that they’d made a mistake.
Angela had died when Elena was thirteen and everyone was sure Peter would send Elena back into the foster care system. He refused. Peter hired someone to cook and clean for them, and continued to live in the small house with his brilliant, musically inclined, little girl.
“When is your date supposed to be here?” Peter asked.
“At seven,” Elena said. Both of them listened as their antique grandfather clock chimed the hour.
“Any minute then,” Peter said with a laugh.
Elena stopped moving. “I’d look out the window, but I don’t think it would do me any good.”
“Probably not, faerie child,” Peter said. “I doubt you’d see much, given how dark it is.” Both of them snickered. Their blindness was a constant source of amusement to them.
Someone knocked on the door. Peter heard the Southern drawl of their housekeeper, a fiery tempered woman named Greta, as she spoke to whoever it was. He heard two sets of footsteps. “Pete, this string bean says he’s Elena’s date to prom,” she said as she led someone into the room.
“Hi Jake,” Elena said breathlessly.
Pete frowned. There was something in the boy’s voice he didn’t like. Something cold. Elena must have heard it too. “Is something wrong, Jake?”
“You didn’t tell me your dad was a black man,” Jake said.
“I didn’t know he was,” Elena said.
“Come on, Elena. You expect me to believe that you didn’t know you were living with a nigger?” Jake asked, his voice full of disgust.
“Jake, I’m blind. No one ever told me, so how am I supposed to know?” Elena asked.
“Our date is off, Elena. I won’t go out with a girl who’s father is dirty like that.” Jake stormed out of the room. A few seconds later the others heard the door slam.
“Greta, is my dad black?” Elena asked.
“Yeah,” Greta drawled. “He is. You’re white. I’m somewhere in between. It don’t matter. You two love each other. That Jake’s the filth, not you and not your dad.”
Peter heard the rustling of the dress and the thwump as his daughter landed on their couch. He knew she was crying. Peter maneuvered his way through the furniture and sat down beside her.
“Listen faerie child, as much as it hurts, there are a lot of people like Jake in this world. There’s a lot of hate. We’ve been blessed with not experiencing much of it. But it’s out there, and as you go out on your own, you’re going to have to deal with more of it,” Peter said.
Elena sniffed. “I wish mama was here.”
Peter reached his arm out and wrapped it around his daughter. “So do I, faerie child. So do I.” He held her until she finished crying.
“Come on, Elena,” Greta said. “I’ll help you get out of that.”
“Thanks Greta,” Elena said. Peter heard the two women leave the room.
“Ah Angela, you’d have skinned that boy alive for breaking Elena’s heart without even touching him,” Peter muttered. “They’d never have found the body either. I do miss that magic of yours.” He held out his hand and tried to summon the energy that had once coursed through him, hoping to bring up enough of it to send a curse after the bastard who’d broken his daughter’s heart.
As usual, he felt a faint tingle in his fingers, but that was it. A spike of pain in his right temple forced him to stop. He sighed and let his hand fall to his lap. Elena’s blindness was a birth defect. His was the result of a spell gone wrong, and the physical pain that came from it would last him a lifetime.