‘Doing really well? Doing really well?’ echoed Juno then. She thrust me into my aunt’s arms and took a step towards Rolf. ‘You got some nerve, mister. First you tell us fuck-all, then you think I give a damn if you tick me off like a schoolgirl, and now you’re saying that she…’ – she heatedly pointed at Aurelia – ‘… oughta be a good girl and spend her life cooking and washing up and waiting on everybody instead of having a harmless bit of fun!’
‘Harmless? Harmless?’ Rolf’s turn to echo Juno. ‘Do you know how lucky you are that those chaps in the lighthouse had been drinking? Do you know what a favour I’m doing you by… ticking you off? It’s on my own head that I’m here, you know!’ As he said this his eyes flickered towards Aurelia.
‘Oh, on your own head, huh? Well, you know what, no, we don’t know that you’re doing us a favour, and we don’t know how lucky we are, and if you want us to appreciate it you better explain it real fast!’
In the silence that followed these outbursts dad nodded, my aunt treaded on the spot a couple times, mom kept on scowling at Rolf, Rolf looked sternly at each of them in turn, and I apparently burped.
‘Alright,’ said Rolf at last, and again glanced at Aurelia. ‘Look, it’s like this. You have to find a balance between your life and your Magic. A balance, that’s what it’s all about.’
If he’d thought this would wash with Juno he was wrong. As he found out.
‘What?’ she cried. ‘And you’re saying that she…’ – this time she poked Aurelia in the arm – ‘… she was balanced ’cause she wasn’t using any at all? ’Cause she was everybody’s maid?’
‘Well… no, but… she was happy within her life, and she could have, you know, done little things at any time to… to improve her lot in a… a low-key way…’ Rolf stopped midway through the vague stirring movement he’d been making in the air with his staff-free hand. He was sinking fast, and he looked like he knew it.