Molly has lived as a king vulture amongst condors. Her family considers her animal a profound disappointment and has ignored her until she finally decides that she has a right to a life and she wants it.
When she is at the Crossroads, she notices the man sent to reclaim her, and while she knows he is in charge of her clan, she isn’t quite sure what he is.
After they acknowledge mutual attraction, they spend a night together and have to work on the consequences when they shift for their first big flight together.
Molly finished the last round of sandwiches and trimmed off the crusts. With expert moves, she set up five tea trays with a selection of filled sandwiches and pastries, all handmade at the Wexler Teahouse.
Molly grinned and brought out the trays to the waiting tables where her sister had already filled all the teapots. One table at a time was dealt tea for two, and when the towers of flavour had been delivered, she returned to the kitchen and tidied up.
Celeste came in with a smile and a loving stroke over her pregnant belly. “Are you ready for family-gathering night?”
Molly didn’t even bother looking at her glowing sister. “I am ready. Antonia is closing up tonight, so I will be there on time for once.”
She scrubbed at the baking pans and set them aside to dry.
“You could look at me when I am talking to you, Molly.”
“You are not talking to me, you are talking at me. There is a difference. I will be there on time and I won’t come early. Mom will have plenty of time to hide the fact that she had a dinner party for another avian family and didn’t invite me. Again.”
Molly glanced at Celeste, and her pretty sister actually flinched. “How long have you known?”
“Since I came home early after a mandatory movie night when I was eighteen. I respected her decision and hid in a tree until the guests left and my scheduled arrival time had come. You were wearing blue and Sissy was wearing a rose floral party dress.”
Molly finished cleaning up the kitchen while Celeste leaned against the wall.
“We didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Molly grimaced. “Yes, mother did. More to the point, she is trying to protect the world at large from learning that one of her children is different.”
It was as close to a full discussion as they could have with a human in the next room.
Celeste whispered, “Can you blame her? We are rare enough without one of our family being different.”
“Celeste, what if your child isn’t all that you expected? Will you do what mom did or will you actually have some common sense?”
Celeste clutched her belly and left the kitchen for the back door.
Molly didn’t like to upset her sister, but she had reached a critical decision point. She would tell her family tonight.
Molly smoothed the lines of her dress as she waited in the darkness. For a bird who preferred daylight, she had to spend a lot of time lurking in the shadows.
When the last car was gone, she got out of her car and crossed through the trees to the house. She was strong; she was determined. She could do this.