When I returned to the shop, I pondered if it were some sort of manifestation affecting the atmosphere. Aunt Esther flitted from corner to corner in the overstuffed front room. I was waiting for a stack of merchandise to crash to the floor when she came to an abrupt halt in front of me.
“You’re back,” she mumbled. “We must move up our efforts.”
“Why?” I fumbled with the tie on my cloak. “What’s happened?”
“Your stepbrother has returned.”
“Trevor was here?”
Aunt Esther’s gaze flickered to the ceiling. “Of course he was here. He brought the Bartholomew girl with him.”
“Troubling indeed,” I said and retied the strings. “Perhaps if I spoke to him… Find out what he wants…”
“No!” My aunt speared me with a dark glare. “We finish what we started! Forget about the boy.”
There was something about her tone that unnerved me just a bit. I reckoned the possibilities of defying her, but then I thought about what was at stake. I wanted more power, and I couldn’t get that by going after Trevor. Not yet, anyway.
“Very well,” I said. “Where do we start?”
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