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During Your Lifetime And During Your Days


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Silberman's Books. Sunday, October 10th, 2021. 7:00 pm


It had been a while since Megan Harrow had heard from her friend Lynn Epstein; true, they didn't talk every day, but they usually reached out to each other on a fairly regular basis, just checking in. But starting near the end of 2019, her texts became both shorter and less frequent. She didn't go into details, but apparently her mother was sick; very sick, in fact. Lynn asked Megan to keep her family in her prayers, surely a very bad sign.


And then quiet.


Not complete silence; the occasional funny meme came from the fae bookseller, or the odd emoji. But by 21st Century standards, it was practically radio silence.


And then out of the blue in early October, an actual handwritten letter arrived at the Harrow home. Lynn's handwriting was beautiful.


Hey Megan,


Sorry to disappear off the face of the Earth for so long, but the extended Epstein family has been going through a really rough time, and when we do that, we tend to circle the wagons. You may remember that I mentioned my mom was sick. Well, now I can go into more detail, because she didn't want me to tell many people about it, as she is...was a very private person.


We lost Mom to ovarian cancer last September; I would have invited you to the services, but Mom's request was that we keep it very small and very Jewish. She was a brilliant, complicated and difficult woman, but I miss her every day.


If at all possible, would you be able to get together sometime soon? Sunday evenings are usually best for me, after the store closes at 6; maybe around 7? I figure we could have a bite to eat, share some wine and just talk. I need to be around someone who's other than my immediate family right now.


Much love,


Edited by Heritage
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Megan had of course been worried about her friend when she had learned Lynn’s mother was sick. But the Freedom League member had respected her friend’s space and, of course, had done as asked and had Lynn and her mother in her thoughts. While her concern increased when Lynn went nearly completely quiet. 


However, this was hardly the first time Megan and Lynn had dropped out of communication for a time, the most extensive being the years Lynn had spent in Colt’s home dimension. Megan continued to have Lynn and her family in her thoughts, and appreciated the occasional general contact from the other woman. 


When Megan received Lynn’s letter, the blonde woman immediately sent an email response offering her condolences to Lynn and her family and confirming she would drop by Sunday October 10th. 


So, at seven o’clock that night on the dot, Megan arrived at the entrance of Silberman’s. In one hand the blonde woman was carrying a bag of baked goods from an upscale bakery in North Bay. In the other, she had a half quart tub of double chocolate ice cream.


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Lynn came to the door and smiled; as usual, she looked very put together, curly brown hair loose, wearing gray slacks and a maroon cardigan over a Power Puff Girls T-shirt. But what was interesting was the fact that she looked a little tired; as a shapeshifter, Lynn could present herself in any way that she wished. That she allowed herself to show signs of fatigue suggested the conscious lowering of a mask.


"Hey there, stranger!" She expertly threaded her arms around Megan's burdens to give her a warm hug of surprising strength and length; clearly Lynn had missed her friend over the last two years.


"Here, let me take those; ooh, ice cream! Let me put these in the fridge real quick. Take a seat, I'll be right back."


As the fae scampered to the back room with her treasures, Megan was free the take in the rest of the store. It looked much the same as always, the two original narrow stores linked by the partially removed wall with a ramp linking the lower one to the slightly higher. Halloween decorations were very much in evidence, not surprising given the owner's clearly stated love for the season.


The one significant difference from the usual setup was the white tablecloth spread over one of the circular store tables, and the two dinner settings laid out there. Also the store lights had been dimmed and several pleasant-smelling candles were lit throughout the space, including along the length of the coffee bar. Lastly one of Lynn's favorite playlists was playing just below the volume of normal conversation over the store's sound system, a mixture of classic punk, new wave, grunge and early 2000s pop. The overall feel was comfortable and relaxed, a girls' night in.


"Okay, here I come; what's your poison? I've got wine and a few things stronger." Lynn returned pushing what appeared to be an old fashioned serving cart carrying glasses, several bottles and a small ice bucket.

Edited by Heritage
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"Hey, good to see you as well Lynn." Megan responded, returning Lynn's hug as best as she could while still holding the treats she had brought. The blonde woman did not mind the intensity or length of the hug, having missed Lynn as well.


As Lynn took the ice cream to the fridge, Megan moved slowly through the bookstore, enjoying the moment to move at a normal speed for a change. While she was very family with the store, having been here a number of times since Lynn had returned from her time in Colt's home dimension, it had been awhile.


Taking a seat, she gave Lynn a warm smile as the other returned to the main section of the store. "I think I will start with a glass of wine, thank you."

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"Well I've made us Mediterrainian pan-roasted salmon, fettuccine in garlic and olive oil, and steamed asparagus, so I picked up a good kosher Chardonnay." Selecting the appropriate bottle, Lynn extended a talon to strip off the seal, and deftly applied a corkscrew. "Y'know when I was a kid, I thought all kosher wine tasted like cough syrup; thankfully, I have since been proven wrong."


She poured them both a glass then took a seat before raising her wine in a toast.


"To a friendship that has against all odds lasted over ten years. L'chaim!"


The wine was pleasantly dry for a white, with hints of vanilla, tropical fruits, citrus and apple.

Edited by Heritage
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"That sounds wonderful." Megan replied with a warm smile as Lynn previewed what the pair were having for dinner. The blonde woman then picked up her wine glass so Lynn could poor the wine, laughing slightly at Lynn's story about how she had not liked kosher wine as a child. "Well, not at all uncommon to dislike something as a child and then grow to enjoy it when older."


Megan raised her glass to Lynn’s toast. "And to another decade and a half. After all, beating the odds is what being a superhero is all about."


After taking a sip, Megan lowers her glass and looks over at her friend. "Again, I am so very sorry to hear about your mother. How have you been holding up?"

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Lynn took a long breath and let it out slowly. 


 "Well, I feel like I'm finally coming up to breathe. Jews take death very seriously; in the Conservative tradition, it's customary to mourn the loss of a parent for twelve months from the date of their death, a period called the shneim asar chodesh."  


She poured herself another glass and shrugged.


"It's not as bad as it sounds; you're not a prisoner in your home or forbidden to be happy, but you aren't supposed to go to lively public events with lots of music either. And you're supposed to be there for your family."


She took a swip of wine, then began to absentmindedly swirl it around in her glass as she stared into its depths.


"It was really hard for Dad; it wasn't a perfect marriage, and they used to fight all the time, but they've been together forever. It was hard for him to imagine life without Mom."


The changeling rubbed her face with her hand, and suddenly she looked completely exhausted.


"He was...a wreck. Wouldn't get out of bed, wouldn't eat, wouldn't take care of himself. Finally I said, let's get him out of the house full of memories; I've got a spare room, I'll look after him."


Lynn indicated the ceiling above with a nod and a wave of her glass.


"He's up there right now; still sleeps a lot, but I think he's getting better."

Edited by Heritage
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Megan sat quietly as Lynn spoke, taking a few sips of her own wine, but otherwise focusing on her friend. When Lynn mentioned her father, the blonde glanced up at the ceiling a brief moment before focusing back ahead.


"It sounds like a rough time for him, I am glad you are here to be able to help him through things." She replied with a sympathetic smile. "It is always good to have family around when there is a family loss such as yours." 


"But….you have not quite answered the question. You have clearly been there for your father and the rest of your family. But how are you holding up? And is there anything I can do for you?"


"Do you need any help here at the bookstore? I can have Lawrence stop by to help a few days a week. He's fourteen now and certainly could use something to help keep him busy other than video games." Megan added with a small smile.

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When Megan reiterated her question, Lynn paused for a second, then shook her head and began to chuckle, a mournful laugh with as much pain as humor.


"You're right, you're right; I've been so focused on caregiving that I keep forgetting to take care of myself. Jewish Mother Syndrome!"


Lynn raised her arms behind her head, and did a stretch and twist that would probably cripple most humans. There was a groan and a noticeable 'pop', after which the fae seemed more relaxed. 


"Oh yeah! I should definitely take some time off; do a day trip up the Hudson River Valley, or maybe even a long weekend. I've banked enough 'dutiful daughter' hours, and Dad can stay with Eddi and the kids for awhile."


At the mention of Lawrence helping out, the bookseller frown slightly and slumped down a bit in her chair, cradling her wine with both hands.


"Uh, well, I couldn't legally pay him, of course, but if he wanted to volunteer and be compensated with homemade cookies or something, I wouldn't say no."


She shrugged.


"Its sucks that he's probably smarter than everyone in the store combined, but too young to be part of the workforce."

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Megan smile as Lynn talked about arranging for some time to herself with her sister watching after their father for a bit. When she turned to the subject of Lawrence possibly helping out at the bookstore, the blonde woman gave a small shrug.


"Well, actually, Lawrence is old enough to legally work for pay, if both he and the bookstore obtained the proper employment certificates." Megan replied and then quickly added. "We have looked into it recently."


"But really, this is about helping you out, and giving Lawrence a taste of real life responsibility."

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Lynn's eyes went a little wide in response to this new information about Lawrence's employment status, and she sat up in her chair. "Huh! I genuinely did not know that! Yeah, well, bring him around sometime so we can talk! I can't think of a better first job for a young genius."


The changeling got up and started back towards the back room


"Here, let me bring the food in so we can start eating. I'm starving, and I can smell everything from here!"


She shortly returned with another cart, this one bearing several lovely silver serving dishes warmed by alcohol heaters. Lifting the lids released some truly delightful aromas. Lynn served them both, grinning with anticipation.


"I hope you like it! If you don't mind, I'd like to say a quick prayer of thanks."


Bowing her head and closing her eyes, the observant Jew intoned first in Hebrew, then in English so her friend could appreciate the sentiment.


"Barukh ata Adonai Eoheinu melekh ha'olam hamotzi lehem min ha'aretz. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen."


Then she clapped her hands and rubbed them together.


"Now, let's eat!"

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"Well, keeping up with all the nuances of employment law can be tricky, particularly when it applies to minors." Megan replied with a small shrug and a smile. "But in any event, we can figure out a time."


When Lynn asked about bringing out the food, the blonde woman responded back with a wide smile. "Sure, let’s dig in."


Megan waited as her friend went and retried the cart with the various serving dishes. When Lynn mentioned wanting to say a prayer first, Megan bowed her head as well as Lynn gave the prayer in both Hebrew and English.

Looking back up as Lynn finished, Megan gave a broad smile. "This all looks and smells fantastic." The blonde speedster stated.

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Lynn took a bite of the salmon, closed her eyes and audibly groaned with pleasure. "Mmmm! S###, that's good! Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!"


Once she had a little bit of everything and another sip of wine, the changeling leaned back in her chair and smiled at her friend. "So how are things with House Harrow? Robert and the kid good? I'd love to drop by the house and say hi someday soon, if that's okay."

Edited by Heritage
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  • 2 weeks later...



Megan began to eat as well, complementing Lynn on everything. When the other woman began asking how things were with her family the blonde gave a small smile as she responded.


"Well, things are going well. Robert and Lawrence are both doing well, back in England for a short trip right now but will be back in a couple days. You are more than welcome to stop by anytime." Megan stated. "And you've met the young woman we had been fostering while she was at Claremont, Lulu. She graduated in the spring and is taking a bit of a gap year before she decides her next steps. Spent the summer traveling in Europe with some friends but is back in Freedom for the holidays. Will be off again on the next stage of her travels in January." 

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Lynn rolled her eyes and laughed. "Omigod, Lulu was amazing! Always willing to stay late, always eager to help out."


Suddenly the changeling shifted into Lulu, wearing a pair of coveralls, hair tied up and dirt on her face. "Y'all need any help with that? Ah can pick it up with mah mind, no problem!" And then just as suddenly, she was herself once more; shapeshifters made for interesting friends.


"You should be very proud of her. Cheers!"

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Megan smiled at Lynn’s comments about Lulu and her spot-on impersonation of the Southern teen. "Not sure how much credit we can claim for her helpfulness and manners. I believe those were pretty well engrained in her early on growing up in the South. We pretty much just helped to fill in some gaps in her education."

"Well, that and helping remind her that people can care about her and not be doing so just to be able to manipulate her into using her powers to take advantage of people." The blonde then added.

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Lynn shook her head, recalling a few of the conversations she'd had with the teen about her family.


"Yeah, that is so messed up! So glad she was able to get out of that environment."


For a while, she said nothing, content to enjoy the food and wine. But then she got a little stiff, as though holding back a flood of emotion. 


"Oh, I forgot to mention the one really cool thing that came out of the last s###y year: my mom finally got to meet her grandkids."


Lynn put down her fork and refilled her wine glass.


"It took a lot of planning, and dealing with Taylor's weird kid, but we opened a portal to 'Otherworld', as I call it, and she got to meet them. Me and Bill's kids. Thank God they have some fae blood, or else they would've been long gone."


She drained her entire glass before setting it down and staring off into space, tears forming in the corners of her eyes.


"I really didn't think I would ever see them again."

Edited by Heritage
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