CH. 20: A Mother Knows

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"A car accident."

With her husband, Derek standing beside her, Tracy Wyatt sat at her desk and tasted Mac's sour explanation for the condition of her daughters and their friend. Mac sat in one of the two chairs facing Tracy's study desk, bandaged, arm in a sling, and her friend, sat equally bandaged in the other. Gwenie on the other hand was upstairs in her room whacked out on Astrid's healing potion with staples holding the side of her face together. It would scar. To an uncertain degree given the strength of the dosage, but regardless her youngest daughter's face would forever be marked.

"Yes," Mac said, face flat, posture rigid. "It's my fault. We were drinking and Gwenie said she could drive. I knew better but you know how things can get a little fuzzy with me. It shouldn't have happened. Mom, I am so sorry."

Tracy turned to Mac's friend. "What's your name?"

"Rachel, Mrs. Wyatt. Rachel Chambers."

Tracy gauged her suspiciously. So, Mac's friend, Paul is a transsexual, she mused. What other secrets are you hiding in plain sight, my daughter?

"A car accident," Tracy said, this time to Rachel.

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Uh huh. Where is your truck, Mac?"

"That's the thing, Mom," Mac said and when Tracy didn't ask her to elaborate, Mac had no choice but to do so on Tracy's terms. "The Lowlands."

"Mac, Jesus Christ," Derek said and Tracy put up a hand.

"Why?" she asked her daughter, appalled, a little curious and completely stoic in expression.

"That's my fault," Rachel said. "I, wanted to see where the Wyatts and the Selfridges got rid of the Latimer family. I only heard about it second hand."

Mac piped in, "And I said I wanted to see it too. Rachel wouldn't have gone to that place alone, so really that one's on me too."

"Mac, the Lowlands are off limits," Derek said. "That's part of the truce. If any Selfridges saw you there it could cost this family."

"I-" Mac started but Tracy cut her off.

"Were there any Selfridges there, Charlotte?"

"No way," Mac said, shaking her head and waving her hands before her.

"You're sure?"

"Positive."

Tracy looked to Derek then back to Mac. "How do you know?"

"I-"

"You said you were positive."

"Mom..."

"Mrs. Wyatt..."

"No," Tracy Wyatt said to her eldest daughter and her friend. "This is what's going to happen. You haven't been home a week and you've had two violent incidents-"

"Three," Mac corrected her.

It pleased Tracy that her daughter wasn't stupid enough to test her, but her face gave away nothing. "You need structure, Charlotte. I want you to get a job."

"You want me to go back to forging for the family?" Mac asked. "Rings? Knives? I could-"

"God, no," Tracy said, shaking her head. "You need something much more mundane. Something simple. Something that won't tax your condition."

"Sounds boring," Mac said, then visibly regretted it.

"Boring," Tracy repeated.

"Sorry."

"Are you?"

"Yes."

"And are you sorry about what happened to Gwendolyn?"

"Yes."

Tracy crossed her arms and said, "What do we think of 'sorry' in this house, Derek?"

Derek crossed his arms as well. "Sorry is a promise to change..."

Mac nodded. "...Or it's just words."

"Maybe boring is just what you need, Mac," Derek said. "Give it a try."

Tracy watched her daughter do her best not to say, "Do I have a choice?" and she really didn't want to tell her daughter that "of course you have a choice" followed by "and so do I," so she was relieved when Mac said, "OK, Mom. Derek. What do you want me to do?"

Tracy looked again to Derek then looked back to Mac.

"I want to you to go work for your brother at Wyatt Brand Headquaters," she said.

"You want me to work with Michael?!" Mac said, forgetting herself.

"For him," Tracy corrected her. "Yes."

"At the warehouse?" Mac huffed.

"Yes. It's honest work where your chances of getting into trouble are severally diminished. That can only be good for you."

"But, Michael hates me."

Tracy said nothing. Not, "Too bad." Not, "Deal with it." And certainly not, "You gave him good reason." Those statements were implicate.

"Mom..." Mac started to say, but it came out whiny and Mac picked up on the sound of her own voice and wisely shut her trap.

"Good," Tracy said. "It's decided. You can have tomorrow to heal and the next day it's off to Wyatt Brand HQ. With your brother. Did you have anything else you wanted to say? Charlotte? Paul- Sorry, Rachel?"

They both shook their heads.

"Good," Tracy said, "Then, get the fuck out of here and pray that my Gwendolyn can recover from what your collective stupidity did to her."

Mac give an indolent, indulgent push up from her seat and stood before Tracy. She could tell it took all of whatever passes for her daughter's self-control not to say something dumb. Not to have the last word. But, after a few moments, her eldest daughter took to her heels and, after a second or two of confusion, her friend followed her out of Tracy's study.

Michael and Mac in the same place at the same time. Risky, but when it came to Charlotte Mackenzie "Mac" Wyatt, it always was. But, that's motherhood for you. 

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