I’m still working on some new material for the book so this may be the last post on “The Otherworlders” for a few weeks but rest assured, I will have other things to share. Thanks for sticking with me thus far.
Below is the latest excerpt, you can find previous posts here:
. . .
Footsteps approached from outside, two people could be heard talking as they approached the back porch. “Here we go,” Andie said rolling her eyes. Max instantly straightened up as Andie’s parents entered the kitchen. They looked almost exactly like they did in the pictures back in Andie’s apartment, only with some wrinkles and a few errant gray hairs as if they were deliberately trying to look older. Sallu slid off his stool with a soft meow and began circling their legs.
“Ah, Babi Jaan, you’re here earlier than we thought you’d be,” Andie’s dad said with delight in his voice. He was carrying a small box full of herbs under one arm and gave her a quick strong hug with the other. But Max couldn’t help stare at Andie’s mother, Taara. She was even more striking in person, even in her garden clothes, her presence was palpable. She swooped down to kiss Andie warmly on her cheek, and then stood erect, her brown eyes narrowed in a look that was strongly reminiscent of Andie, and extended her hand to him.
“Taara Janju. You’re Max?” Her voice was deep and rich with a slight Indian accent.
A few moments passed before Max realized he was staring at Taara, he unstuck his throat and replied in a croak, “Yes.”
“I’m Andie’s father, Nathan,” he held his hand out to Max as well. Nathan turned to Andie, “Did you eat, Babi Jaan?”
Max made a mental note to merciless make fun of her parents’ pet name for her.
“Yeah, Baba. What were you doing in the garden?”
“Checking on the castor beans and your mother wanted to gather some herbs for dinner tonight since we knew you’d be joining us.”
“Oh, what’re you making, Ma?” Andie asked excitedly.
“Nevermind that now, when was the last time you trained?” Taara prodded Andie’s bicep and placed her hand under Andie’s chin, gingerly tilting it to back to examine her face.
“Last night!” Andie tried to move her face away from her mother.
“No, I mean a real training. Not you and Wallace showing off.” Taara snapped back.
“I’m not here to train, I’m here to talk to you –”
“After.” Taara cut Andie off. She switched to Urdu, “Meet me downstairs after you’ve cleaned up the table.” Andie knew her mother meant business when she switched to her native tongue. She sighed heavily and rolled her eyes. Taara cocked her right eyebrow before disappearing down the corridor.
It was as if Andie was fifteen all over again. Her mother always had that effect on her, making her feel uncoordinated and useless. She slid off her stool, shoulders stooped, and began collecting the dishes on the table. Feeling the tension, Max got up and immediately began helping her.
. . .