Jan's Grandmother wiped tears away with her hanky and gave Alicia a hollow smile as she joined her husband across the room.
Being inside felt suffocating and she really didn't want to have to deflect questions from her friends and family or deal with more of Jan's grieving relatives. It was the same story of how great Jan was, how she'd died so unfairly at such a young age and then tears.
Every fake consoling smile she had to give just kept drumming it in that Jan had been great. But even then Jan was dead, she had nothing on Jan and here she was expected to fill the shoes of the great Hunter.
Alicia didn't want to admit that the uncomfortable feeling in her stomach was anxiety. She was supposed to be a calm calculated fighter, not some scared, average, 22-year-old personal trainer.
"Hey you ok?".
Right now all she wanted was some peace but she didn't want to upset Darcy. Her sister was clearly a mess of emotions with everything going on and she didn't need to be ignored on top of that.
"Yeah I'm ok, just thinking".
The younger girl nodded shifting on her feet. Alicia met her blue eyes and gave her a small smile.
"Are you ok?", she asked putting a hand on her shoulder.
The younger girl nodded, "Yeah. I just ... with Mark around it's weird".
"Did he try to talk to you?".
Seeing that Alicia's smile was turning into a hard line she assured her she was fine.
"No, but he talked to Mum though. It was actually weird seeing them in the same room".
"How'd she take it?".
Darcy shrugged, "I don't know, she didn't cry or anything. She didn't slap him either but she got that look".
"Don't stress about it Darce. Stuff with them is complicated".
"I know, it's just... I worry".
Alicia got a pang in her chest at the sight of her sister's face. Darcy tried to hide her worry, she always did trying not to burden the people around her who she felt had far more important things to worry about like the fate of the world and paying the bills.
"Trust me it won't be like last time. That was years ago and we've got all kinds of people to help out, I have a job, the coven is always there if we need help. Jessica, Noah and Adam are here and even Edith as much as I loathe to admit it is going to be around a lot more. Mum is going to be fine".
"Yeah you're right. Is Adam doing ok?".
Alicia nodded despite knowing that it wasn't quite true.
"He's going through a hard time. But he's surrounded by his family and Jessica and us".
Darcy seemed relieved at that which made the weight on the Hunter's chest lift.
"Why don't you go see if the Coven needs some help. you're good with all that organizing stuff, I'm sure they could use an extra set of helping hands".
"Yeah ok", she agreed giving Alicia a smile before heading to the kitchen.
It only took 30 seconds before a hot pang of irritation welled up inside her as she saw Mark in her peripheral vision sitting with Bethany, talking away to another couple dressed in black funeral attire.
Thankfully Jessica stepped in front of her with a weak smile. Bringing a welcome distraction.
The Witch sighed, "I guess as good has he can be, her Mum got in last night and they talked, I just think he's finding it hard that's she's not around anymore".
The Hunter felt guilty. Here Jessica was helping with the wake, trying to support Adam and dealing with the Coven, and here she was trying to avoid any responsibility because people irritated her.
"How are you taking it?".
Jessica sighed, her usual joy hidden away behind her sadness, "I keep thinking I'm going to see her at the Coven meetings or walk up the stairs at Adam's. It just feels a bit empty".
Alicia nodded understanding what she meant. It felt like something was missing when she went to training and didn't see Jan there.
"I know what you mean. Are you staying at Adam's again tonight?".
Jessica shook her head, "No, I'm Just going over for a few hours, I'm going to give them some space tonight".
There was a crash in the small kitchen behind them and she gave the Hunter an apologetic look, "I should...".
"No I get it, go", she said in understanding.
"Sorry", she winced before rushing over to help.
The witch's departure left her alone which was not what she wanted right now, not with Mark's eyes burning into the back of her head, he'd finally spotted her.
Alicia wanted to avoid him at all costs but now she was socially vulnerable with no excuse to ignore him. She could tell he was approaching, so she decided to hell with it. She wasn't playing fake happy families, not today and certainly not with him.
She'd almost made it to the other side of the room when she was stopped. The hand she felt settle on her shoulder made her glare and she spun around to see Mark.
He had this stupid smile on his face which made Alicia want to punch him. He was rudely out of order wearing a Hawaiian shirt that contrasted harshly against everyone's mournful black clothes and he had that stupid gold Rolex on. She wasn't surprised though; he didn't give a crap about anyone but himself.
"Get screwed", she said venomously shrugging off his hand.
she cut him off again, "You're not my father so stop pretending to be".
He went to blubber some response, but Alicia walked away not caring what he had to say in the slightest. She couldn't believe that he had the gall to even approach her. After what he'd done, you'd think being kicked out of the house and divorced would send a clear enough message.
The frustration inside her was reaching a peak, trying to find a way out of her. Her heartbeat raced and she knew if she didn't get out of there either a panic attack or a violent outburst was imminent. If she hadn't been at a funeral, she wouldn't have minded knocking Mark on his ass. She shook her head to clear her head and opened the door to back verandah.
It was cold in her black knee length dress but that didn't bother her, it numbed the feelings inside.
"It's pretty unfortunate".
Alicia almost cursed, but replied with a tired, "Sorry?".
"The Hunter's death. It was unexpected".
She turned to the woman beside her and got an odd feeling. But looking over her properly she chalked it up to the fact that she was pretty hot. Which she berated herself for considering it was certainly not the time or the place.
"Have we met?".
"No, I'm just a member of the community. She did so much for everyone and it's sad to see her pass at such a young age".
The woman gave off a warm vibe and Alicia felt her cold exterior melt. She didn't have to be rude.
"So have they found who's responsible?".
Alicia shook her head, as far as she'd been informed the Umpir hadn't been caught yet.
"Well you should be careful the word is it was someone old and they might want to make it two for two and kill another Hunter".
She wasn't surprised that the woman knew she was the Hunter. Demon's generally could smell it on her. Alicia had no doubt that the brunette's yellow eyes were caused by the demon blood that ran through her veins.
"Where'd you hear that from".
She shrugged, "Around".
Alicia just nodded, knowing she wasn't likely to spill where she'd heard that from. As the silence stretched the demon spoke.
"So I'm guessing it's not to fun in there".
"How'd you guess", she said dryly.
"Even if I couldn't smell the despair, it's written all over your face".
"Well you can't expect much else it's a funeral", Alicia shrugged.
"True, so maybe we should go somewhere that's not so morbid".
The Hunter gave her a hesitant look. Clearly the Demon could sense the oncoming no because she stepped closer and gave a sweet devious smile.
"Oh come on, you need a drink and to get out of here. It's not like anyone will notice you're gone".
"Because you know me so well, Miss random stranger".
Despite herself the Hunter felt her mood shift, brightening as the woman gave her a teasing smile.
"I mean you can sit around being mopey if you want, but I'd rather drink my sorrows away looking at your pretty face".
Alicia actually laughed at that, "And what sorrows do you need to drink away?".
"The usual, boredom and loneliness. I'm in a new city, I barely know anyone and the resident Hunter is dead, which does not bode well for my plans for a quiet life".
"I can get drunk to that", Alicia agreed, "But first I've got to ask your name, stranger danger and all that", she said with a playful grin.
"Lisbeth", her golden eyes sparkled as her gaze met the blonde's, "And you are?".
The Hunter shot her Mum a quick text saying she was bailing for a bit and followed Lisbeth feeling relieved that she could shrug off the gloom and doom for a few hours.