Andrew woke up early to the scent of tea with orange and cinnamon. He knew that Rose must be up. She must have brought some of the tea their mother had always made. He grabbed his bathrobe and headed for the kitchen. Rose was sitting in the breakfast nook with her cup of tea and some toast.
“Good morning Xander,” said Rose.
“Morning Rose. Any more of mom’s tea?”
“Yes. In the tin by the kettle. There should still be hot water,” she said.
Andrew poured hot water over the tea mix he’d spooned into the cup. The scent wafted up and tickled his nose. He grabbed an English muffin out of the cupboard and toasted it. By the time it was done, his tea was just right. He added a touch of honey and joined Rose at the table.
“That was some party,” she said with a smile.
“Aye. Not what I expected. I’m just glad it went as well as it did towards the end.”
“Aye. There could have been bloodshed. That Eric, not so balanced upstairs,” said Rose.
“No, just greedy,” said Vivien from the door. “That tea smells heavenly.”
Rose got up and made Vivien a cup. “I hope you are okay today?”
“Yes. Just a little tired. And thinking on it, maybe Eric is crazy. What are the plans for the day Andrew?” Vivien asked.
“Well, that’s up to you two ladies.”
“Ver’ diplomatic that one,” smiled Rose. “Always know jus’ what to say. Keep out of trouble that way.”
Vivien smiled. “Yes, he does know what to say.”
Andrew blushed. “I am in so much trouble.”
Rose and Vivien nodded.
After breakfast and showers, Rose pulled two boxes from the trunk of her car. She gave them to Andrew and the three of them spent the rest of the morning going through them. Pictures, diaries, books, and things from Andrew’s childhood.
“I never knew that our mother kept any of this,” said Andrew.
“Xander, she keep so much stuff, it like a pack rat live in the house. Always thought she go running to get away from all that stuff,” said Rose.
“Did she?” asked Vivien not knowing much about Jelka.
“Non. She jus’ too much wolf. She keep things to remind her she was a two-legs too.” Rose picked up a photo album. “This our mother when she come from Europe with Papa.” Rose held the book open so that Andrew and Vivien could see the pictures. There was a tiny woman who looked a lot like Rose and a very tall but husky man that could only have been Andrew’s father, Alexander. There were pictures of a boat trip, train rides and then people in a large house.
“That’s the Davy family,” said Andrew. “I remember that house.”
“Davy? As in Ginny and that man, Buster?” asked Vivien.
“Aye,” said Rose. She pointed to several people and named them. “Brian and Natalie, their daughters Jenny, Caroline and I think that Marie. Then Kent, Papa, Mama, David who became Andre and I think those women off to one side were the war brides. Probably Tilly and Georgina.”
“Ginny looks like Marie,” said Vivien.
“That her great aunty. Jenny is her great-grandma,” said Rose.
“And who was Andre?” asked Andrew. “And why did he go from David to Andre?”
“He was the doctor who eventually married Marie. They had that daughter, Libellue. She ver’ strange. Hear other shifters. Her papa, he start the hospital for shifters in Washington,” said Rose. “He not shifter, but live ver’ long time. Scary long. Live so long he change his name ’cause he don’ age.”
Andrew nodded as something tickled in the back of his head. “Rose, these are mine to keep, right?” asked Andrew.
“Aye. I don’ want them.”
“Okay. Good. I have some people who need to see these pictures. Especially this one. Since Buster only died a little bit ago, there has been a real interest in the family history. George especially has been wanting to find more of the family. It will be interesting to see if Andre is Patrick’s doctor too.
“Patrick’s doctor?” asked Vivien.
“Yes. Patrick was ‘rescued’ from a military experimental plan by another shifter and a very long lived doctor. He always wondered what happened to him and this may be a very strange connecting loop.”
“Okay. What else is in this box?” Vivien asked.
“More pictures, school papers, and some of Andrew’s first silver work. Papa say he melt it down. Non. He too damn soft for that,” said Rose. She dug down and handed Andrew and Vivien some odd blobs of silver.
“I remember these. I was trying to make wolf paws.”
“I’m so glad you’ve gotten better,” laughed Vivien. The paws looked more like blob art.
“So am I.” Andrew picked up another small album. It was full of pictures of people in old fashioned clothing. “What are these?”
“I think those Mama’s people. She was Romani. Other names were Cigan, or gypsy. Look this one, you can see a wagon,” said Rose.
They all looked at the pictures. Some of the people were smiling. Others looked at the camera with haunted eyes. There were fewer people in the camps as the pictures went on. Andrew put that one back in the box.
“I wonder if they were dying off, or being killed,” he said.
“I don’ know. Mama, she wouldn’t talk about it and Papa, I don’ think he know enough. Just that these photos were some of the few things that survived. Mama, she’d kept them all the years she was in that horrid camp,” said Rose.
“Camp?” asked Vivien.
“Mama was a prisoner in WWII. She was found in a death camp in Croatia. Papa found her. Figured that the only reason she survived was because she shifted,” said Andrew.
“Oh. I didn’t know any of this,” said Vivien.
“Is okay. We share,” smiled Rose.
Later that afternoon, Rose, Vivien and Andrew hosted an early dinner. It had two purposes. First off to eat some of the many leftovers and secondly to share the pictures with the family that was in town. Andrew planned to take the boxes up to George as well.
“Oh my god. Look at that. Is that you?” Ginny asked Rose. There was a picture of the twins standing in front of Jenny’s clinic in the Valley.
“Aye. I think we were four or five. Xander was born so much later,” Rose said with a smile.
“From what I heard, it was lucky any of us were born. Mama hadn’t ever gone into heat. Not until she lived in Canada,” said Andrew.
Rose nodded and then handed the picture with everyone in it that she’d shown Andrew and Vivien earlier. Luc, Meg and Ginny were looking at it first. Then Ginny pulled Patrick over to see the picture. Andrew watched Patrick and was quickly rewarded by Patrick’s reaction.
“That…that’s my doctor!” he said with a gasp.
“That’s what I figured. His name was David Abrams. The family changed it to Andre Paquet, a cousin that died around age 30 and who had some medical training. He went on to serve in Korea after having been in WWII, where he met Brian Davy. He also married Marie Davy and they had a daughter named Libellue,” said Andrew. Rose had told them more about the family before everyone else arrived.
“That… that’s just so strange. He’s a little heavier here, but that could be the clothing. But the face is the same. Where is the family now?” Patrick asked.
“Don’ know,” said Rose. “They move that Everette, Washington. Then move to Montana I think after Vietnam and start that second hospital. First one in Cascades. For shifters from Vietnam. Let them run the woods and heal, or just run the woods,” said Rose. “I don’ know much more. Mebbe you ask that Dr. Jeff. His hospital mebbe one them Natalie’s.”
“Natalie’s?” asked Luc.
“Aye. Natalie, she die, give Andre money to make hospitals. She die ’cause she no can go to regular hospital,” said Rose.
“And from what I can tell, the whole family began to fall apart or lose contact with one another after her death,” said Ginny.
“Aye,” said Rose. “I go home and see if I find Mama’s address book. See if any the family still around. ‘Specially now I know that Grand-pere Buster is dead.”