“I can try snow-blowing,” Patrick announced.
“I’ll take care of it,” Trisha said. She faded into a blur of motion headed for the basement stairs.
“Just a moment,” Janie said. “I have to find Krystal again, tell her we’re good for 8 P.M.”
“And there’s a blizzard, so they need their winter clothing,” Abigail added.
“They want to bring the Supreme Gamesman,” Janie finally said. “He’s visiting from Russia. I agreed. I’ve never met him! It’s beyond belief! Mom, you need to get some photos of the four of us standing over my game table! Please?” Abigail went to fetch her camera.
Trisha reappeared from nowhere, leaning against a kitchen cabinet. “I shoveled the driveway, Dad,” she announced.
“In two minutes?” Patrick grumbled. “What if the neighbors saw you?”
“Two minutes. Superspeed. You can hardly see the house next door, and the Goosedotrs are in Florida. You can’t see the street lights. Besides,” Trisha added, “I stayed invisible the whole time, and inside the snow cloud I raised.”
“Invisible?” Patrick asked.
“Like this,” Trisha said. She vanished from sight. Her voice came from the same part of the room as before, but nothing was to be seen. “I’m right here but you can’t see me. Well, maybe you can, Professor. I was going to tell you all what I just found as a gift, but these other things came up.” Trisha reappeared.
“Shoveled?” Abigail asked. “The entire driveway? Not ‘flew the snow onto the lawn’?”
“Shoveled. As in ‘I’d like to take a shower and change my clothes’, that being really a lot of shoveling I just did. And not ‘flown’. I’d for sure accidentally pick up the concrete.”
“Trisha,” Brian asked, “That was the last of the Indian pudding, but may I heat some of my apple pie up for you? And warm milk? For when you come down here again.”
“Please?” Trisha answered. “That was really a lot of snow.”
“You could’ve asked for help,” Patrick reminded. Sometimes, he thought, his older daughter had no sense at all. Actually, most of the time she had no sense at all. Janie was a Junior Gamesmistress, Brian made these fantastic models, but Trisha never did anything, no matter how often he tried to improve her thinking. Music? Despite her mother’s aspirations, Trisha’s singing at best often hit a real note.
“Don’t work too hard, Trisha” Abigail said. “You could hurt yourself.” Janie realized that no one else caught Trisha tensing when Trisha heard what Mom said. Mom kept saying things that put Trisha down, and Trisha kept being hurt more and more and retreating farther and farther into herself. Trisha’s feelings really hurt when her parents put her down like that, but there was no way, Janie realized, to help her. More and more often, Mom reduced Trisha to tears saying things like that, tears that only Trisha’s superspeed let her hide.
“Mo-om! You guys were all busy,” Trisha answered, diffusing her mom’s criticism. “And it’s really fluffy snow. I’ll be back down in a bit.” She vanished in a blur.
“Folks,” Morgana said, “The clock is ticking, and I can readily tell Jessamine Trishaset is just fine. Your Indian pudding was excellent, Brian, especially since I skipped dinner. And lunch. There was a major NIH grant due, but it’s done.”
“I think there’s an extra slice of my pie left,” Brian said, “and the vanilla ice cream I made yesterday. Trisha will want some, too.”
“I can’t just…” Morgana began to protest.
“You will have a real dinner, Morgana,” Abigail interrupted, “and we should have you over more often, now that I know who you are. My family has been scrupulous about respecting your privacy, as in knowing that you and Sunssword are one person, and not telling me. Though looking at the clock, dinner is after this meeting. While you three are doing your homework.” The last sentence was directed at her children.
“Already done,” Brian said. “I was going to work on my new model. I’m making real progress.” His current project, the ship-of-the-line George Washington, had 1200 pieces, most requiring modest woodworking prior to assembly.
“Me, too,” Janie added. “Grades night. Not much homework. But my new stones book is on thickness.” I’m not making enough progress in playing stones, she thought. I keep losing. I have to work harder.