Family Ties: like normal talk.

Tamy plastered a smile over her grinding teeth, bell peppers and pork sticking from her lips. She swallowed forcefully. “Can I have the water please?” she asked their mother.

Their mother blinked, gaze focusing. “What was that, Tamy?”

“I asked for the water,” she repeated.

“I’ve got it,” Quinn interrupted, chair scraping as he reached over his and their mother’s place settings.

Tamy added paint to her plaster and grinned at Quinn. “Thanks,” she said, taking the weight of the half-empty pitcher in both hands, because things were weird here. With Mother.

“My tortilla’s really crunchy,” Tara said, prodding her nibbled fajita. She’d already taken all the bell peppers out and devoured them.

“Dear, you said that already,” their mother replied, staring out the window again.

Tamy glanced at Quinn, but he was too busy knifing his food to pieces.

“I bought tickets to a theme park for tomorrow,” their mother added. Quinn’s fork clattered to the table.

“I knew that,” Nick said.

“Like, with roller coasters?” Tamy asked. Their mother nodded, staring at her plate. Tamy drained her glass because she didn’t know what to say to that.

“So you get tickets for them?” Quinn asked, stabbing his tortilla.

“Quinn, I thought it would be good for our family,” she smiled, but it faded as her gaze settled on Nick. “Nick, what are you doing with those?”

Tamy glanced around Quinn.

“Stacking them,” Nick said. He placed a cup atop a tilting pyramid.

Quinn’s chair screeched and he stormed from the room, disappearing through the kitchen.

“Quinn, I…” their mother trailed off, gaze lost as footsteps thundered up the stairs. A door slammed, and their mother turned back to Nick’s wobbling cup pyramid. “I would appreciate it if you put those back, Nick. We don’t want them falling into the food.”

“I think I’m full,” Tara stood, breezing from the dining room. Tamy couldn’t see Tara’s plate, but she was pretty sure Tara hadn’t eaten much. Their mother sighed.

“I was hoping we could be out of the house by eight tomorrow,” she told Tamy.

Tamy shoveled the rest of her fajita into her mouth and nodded, following Tara out of the room. A tower of cups crashed, and she winced.

***

“I don’t know if this is worse than New Year’s,” Tamy muttered, sliding to the floor. The doorknob rattled with her movement.

“I think the shock wore off today,” Tara said, sprawled on the rug.

Tamy kicked her shoes off, resting her head on the door. “I thought it would get better, you know?”

“Yeah.”

“I thought things wouldn’t be as weird as…before.” Before the magical, crazy school, when their powers were often unpredictable and nearly always uncontrollable. Like, how was Tamy supposed to know how hard to tug a doorknob and not break it in half?

Tara lifted her head. “Maybe it’s just us. We aren’t as weird. I know how to make this,” she stretched her arm out, until her fingers touched the ceiling, “happen now.”

Tamy stared at her hands. “I guess…at New Year’s I thought things could eventually go back to normal. We were better with our powers, and there was that snowman we made with Quinn, and remember how many times Mom asked why we couldn’t call more often?”

Tara’s arm retracted. “Yeah. But there was also the stale cereal, and how Quinn was only around that one day, and Mom didn’t want us leaving the house at all.”

Tamy kicked her loose shoe at Tara. It bounced off her knee, and Tara jumped. She tossed it back. Tamy caught it, ready to return it, but Tara sighed. “And now we’re going to a theme park tomorrow. As if that’s going to go well.”

Tamy tossed her shoe to the corner. It thudded and she gulped, hoping Quinn hadn’t heard. “I am not getting on a roller coaster,” she said. “Not for a million dollars.”

“You can’t do anything with a million dollars,” Tara stretched her arm to jab Tamy’s elbow. “You’d have nowhere to spend it.”

“So?” she swatted Tara’s hand away. “That’s just what people say.”

“Would you get on a roller coaster to have things go back to normal?”

“Normal what way? Like before, with Mom and Quinn–”

“Normal as in back at the school, where the worst things that happen are Zillie nearly freezing everyone. Or Tago nearly blasting the ceiling off.”

“That’s not normal,” Tamy reminded her. “Also, those are pretty bad things that happen.”

Tara’s eyebrows furrowed. “Maybe that’s why this is so weird.”

“It’s not like it matters,” Tamy said. “We’re stuck here for two weeks whether I get on a rollercoaster or not,” her lip twitched. “Unless Nick’s power is granting wishes.”

“Haha,” Tara snorted. She reached back for Tamy’s shoe. “Anyway, want to go get something to eat? I’m actually starving.”

Tamy frowned. “Go where?”

“The store. Duh.”

***

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