The facts were these: for almost twenty years, sisters and former synchronized swimming sensations Lily and Vivian Charles had lived a life of self-induced confinement. Having matching personality disorders and growing cases of agoraphobia they had lived their recent lives growing hobbies and habits of varied qualities.
Having attempted to recover from the tragic loss of their niece with a variety of eccentric oddities and a fabulous time with a Bedazzler, they were working their way through decorating the covers of various waistcoats and pillows.
This was how one Olive Snook, waitress at the Pie Hole and lover of a man who did not return her feelings, found the Aunts on that sunny Saturday. With a pie in one hand and a macaroni salad in the other, she rang the doorbell with her elbow. Today was a bright day, full of yellow daisy dresses and vivid hair ribbons to match wide (if somewhat put-upon) smiles.
Both sisters were standing there when the door opened to greet Miss Snook.
"Oh, it's you," Lily said with her typical expression of nonplused neutrality.
"Lily, don't be rude! It's Olive, we like Olive," Vivian told her sister, her airy tone suggesting that this was something of a welcome intrusion.
"Hiya Lily, Vivian, I brought you pie." Olive held up the pie in question familiar enough with the routine to know that spelling things out from the start made it less likely that Lily would break out the shotgun. "It's peach raspberry."
"Well, what are you waiting for? The gin's going to get warm." With that Lily stepped forward and took the pie from Olive and wandered by towards the living room without a second glance.
Stepping into the house, Vivian did her best to make up for the typical gruffness that Lily was demonstrating. "You'll have to forgive her, we ran out of yellow glass beads halfway through making a pillowed memorial for Charlotte."
"Oh, well that's sad," Olive said, not feeling terribly saddened at all. Memorials were for people who had actually died, not those who faked their deaths and ran off to ruin the lives of unsuspecting waitresses without a second thought.
Not that she thought about that sort of thing.
Minutes later, the three women were gathered around the table in the living room, with pasta and pie and little plates to eat them on.
"It's got cojack and parmesan. And those little noodles that just twist and twist and just fun to look at, but even more fun to eat." Olive broke off mid-train of thought. It was for the best as that train was on its way to becoming very derailed, complete with fiery wreckage and little bodies strewn over the hillside. An overall unpleasant turn of events.
"It sounds very lovely," Vivian encouraged with a smile.
Burying her nose into her drink, Lily snorted. "It sounds like indigestion."
Trying her best to wade through the proverbial waters of the conflicting opinions, Olive's smile flicked for just a moment before becoming fixed on as if it had been put there with rubber cement.
"Well, it's not bad. I promise you," she assured them both as she helped herself to a sample and took a bite, chewing thoughtful with the smile still there. This proved to be rather difficult as she managed to bite down on a piece that contained a rather hot bit of pepper. "Yum."
Making an 'oh' with her mouth, Vivian leaned forward to begin to help herself as Lily continued to give the food dish the hairy eye.
Swallowing Olive set down her plate and made the best attempt at small talk that she could. While it was true that her once not-so-altruistic intentions towards the Aunts Charles had softened over the months and she was growing more accustomed to their eccentricities and oddities, the matter of small talk had always gotten in the way. This had a lot to do with herbal remedies.
"How are things? Anything new besides," she waved a hand towards the pile of newly decorated furnishings. "This. Which are very pretty I assure. Wonderful."
"Oh, we made you one!" Vivian exclaimed as she got to her feet and walked over to the pile of pillows, digging through them until she found the one that she was looking for. Coming to sit next to Olive in a level of closeness she had not yet become accustomed to, she handed the blonde woman a vivid blue and burgundy pillow decorated with a bedazzled pigeon. "I hope you like it. It does have a rather fascinating motif."
"Really?" Olive felt herself getting oddly tingly in the tips of her toes as she took the carefully made pillow into her arms. It warmed her heart and made her feel special for the fact that someone cared enough to do something sweet for her. "I love it, I do." At that she had to cover her eyes for a moment to keep them from becoming too misty.
Another snort from Lily. "It's just a bird. An unfortunate one at that. There's no need to get your feelings in a twist over it." She paused just long enough to finish her drink. "It was Vivian's idea. And I need a refill."
As Lily tottered over to the cart filled with aperitifs of all assortments, Olive continued her line of questioning.
"You guys have really been cracking away, haven't you?"
"Yes, it was Lily's idea to continue with our decorating scheme. I had another idea, but Lily's right. It just wouldn't do." Vivian bobbed her head in agreement as if replaying the earlier conversation in her head.
This surprised Olive, who in her limited experience had become accustomed to the fact that Lily often stooped to act on Vivian's behalf, not the other way around.
"What was your idea?"
"Well…" Looking around nervously as she lowered her voice and picked up a platter to remove the brochure that had been tucked underneath. Handing it to Olive, Vivian continued. "I wanted to go see this."
Setting the pillow aside, Olive looked at the brightly colored pamphlet. CITRUS BROTHERS CEREBERAL AND CELEBRATED CIRCUS (with associated amusing amusements) it declared. While clowns and corn dogs had never been Olive's particular cup of tea (or brandy), the bright smiling faces looking up from the pictures coupled with the lengthy list of attractions struck her as seeming like a reasonable request.
"Oh, this looks just peachy. Peach with cinnamon ice cream no less," Olive said with a nod in Lily's direction as she unfolded the booklet. "Why the no go?"
"Because the last thing I need is a bunch of screaming, near vomiting children running around out of control and unsupervised," Lily said as she sat down once more, her drink sloshing back and forth as if it threatened to escape the glass. This was not a problem for very long as she soon was slurping down any excess.
"I think it sounds like a great time. Definitely worth the possibility of any run-ins with those kinds of fireworks. Unless they're your own, then that's no big." A laugh escaped Olive's mouth as she did her best to be encouraging.
"There is also the matter of Charlotte," Vivian half lamented, looking at Lily as she nodded. "Charlotte loved these sorts of things which is why I suspect Lily wants nothing to do with them."
"I said no such thing. I just don't want to deal with the screaming and the no alcohol policy." This was not exactly true as Lily often thought of things that they could and should do in relation to their late niece who was really her daughter.
"All the more reason to do it! Come on ladies, let's make this the haps for the week," Olive encouraged, already calculating ways to get more time off. It wouldn't be terribly hard given the addition of a certain not-so-dead supposedly dead girl to the mix. In the name of her aunts, Chuck was willing to almost bend over backwards and do a few cartwheels as well.
"No," Lily returned flatly. "And I think it would be better if you didn't bring it up again."
Not one to take things lying down unless it was called for as part of accomplishing a bigger and better task, Olive stood up rapidly her pillow tucked under one arm and her bag on her shoulder.
"Don't worry, I won't. But I hate to dash like this, but I just remembered that I left the oven on and I don't want anything to go all 'poof! Bang!' on me." Olive laughed almost manically as she nearly sprinted for the door. It was a rather sudden set of moments and it left both sisters staring after her.
"What a strange girl," Lily commented, while Vivian helped herself to a piece of pie.
"I find her to be rather refreshing."
Indeed Olive was already at work on a plan, the gears clacking around as she considered how to get the Aunts out of the house. Kidnap was out, as was the use of time travel and teleportation for obvious reasons. Taking her time to drive out of the way and buy tickets for the Circus (and associated amusements), the perfect plan came to her like a bolt from the blue.
In fact, so abrupt was the revelation of what she would do that Olive Snook said "Aha!" aloud which only earned her surprised looks from the family of four standing nearby. "Not you," she apologized hurriedly.
Such a brilliant and simple plan was it that when Olive Snook arrived at the Aunts' doorstep the following Sunday she carried it off without a hitch. After all, it did not involve any wild gestures or grand ideas. No the simplicity involved a careful avoidance of the truth and the use of a carefully borrowed car.
And the best part of the story, anyone will have you know, was that it worked and the Aunts arrived home smiling and the only one who was sick was Olive who saved it for when she was safely out of eyesight.