“My, he’s gotten so big. The photos have not done him justice,” Sofia said.
Rae looked up at Connor’s grandmother and smiled. “I know. His birthday is in a couple of months, but it feels like I just took him and his brother home from the hospital.”
Sofia smiled down at Anthony and picked him up. “I seem to recall that you have a little girl, a couple of years older.” Rae nodded. “Is he the oldest of the twins?”
“Oh, no, he’s my youngest. Andrei was born first.”
“And where is he?”
“With Connor, sharing some quality time together.” Connor had taken Andrei to visit his parents. They’d decided it would be better if he questioned his father about Caleb, while Rae came to talk to his grandmother.
They walked into Sofia’s parlor and sat down before Rae had decided what to say. “Mrs. London,” she began.
“Please, call me Sofia. I haven’t been Mrs. London for a very long time.” She smiled at Rae softly.
“Okay, Sofia. Thank you so much for agreeing to see me. I hope I’m not taking you away from anything important?”
“Just bridge and needlework, all of which can wait. Now, why have you come to see an old woman you’ve never met before?”
“I don’t really know where to start. I have some questions for you that may sound a bit odd, but please bear with me.” Rae cleared her throat before continuing, “Conner and I, we seem to have a bit of a problem on our hands regarding our children.”
Sofia’s sharp eyes narrowed. “Children? Has someone come knocking on your door, asking you to let them foster one?”
“Yes!” Rae answered breathlessly.
“Oh, Caleb.” Sofia sat back on the couch and dabbed at her eyes. “I had so hoped that they would fight.”
Mrs. – I mean, Sofia – who would fight?”
The old woman took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Andrei is the werewolf?”
“Yes.” She answered immediately. Sofia knew!
“You must not do this thing. You must be stronger than the others, than I was, and you must fight this! I didn’t and it cost me my marriage, my happiness, ever single night’s peace I may have had in life. To this day I grieve for the loss of my son.”
“But how? Caleb – he says there’s no other way, that this is the way it’s always been done.”
“Not true! This is the way this family has always done it, but I refuse to believe that we are the only ones who’ve been cursed.”
“Cursed? Do you think this is a curse?” How quickly she had abandoned her logic. Fairies, genies, werewolves – now curses.
“Not in itself, no. But what they have done with it. They’ve turned it into a punishment and we let them do it. But you can stop it. You don’t have to let your husband make that decision for you!”
“Connor? He wants nothing to do with this. That’s why I’m here. I’m hoping you can help me understand…” She didn’t finish her sentence.
Sofia smiled, “Understand how a mother could give away her child?”
“Yes.” Rae lowered her eyes to her hands, embarrassed. “I don’t mean to be rude.”
“Don’t worry, darling. I’m too old to take things personally.” She laughed sadly.
Rae smiled back, relieved that she hadn’t offended her. The last thing she wanted was Sofia to get angry and ask her to leave.
The old woman sighed and shifted in her seat. “It started with Hector’s father and uncle. Hector was my husband, Connor’s grandfather.” Rae nodded, she knew who he was. “Nathaniel and David London. Actually, to be fair, it started before that, with Andrei and Connor…and Rebecca.”
Rae gasped. Rebecca again! Was it her Rebecca? And if it was, who was this woman? Had she ever really known her at all?
Sofia continued. “Connor and Andrei were both wolves. Princes and heirs apparent of their pack – at least until Connor decided he loved Rebecca more than he loved his wulfric.”
Rae frowned, “His wolf Rick?”
“Wulfric. In a pack, you have the Alpha male and the Alpha female, the strongest and smartest and most cunning of the group. The pack leader is called the wulfric but that is also the formal name of his mate. You see, when they mate, they are no longer two separate wolves, but become one. He is her protector, the embodiment of her pack and she, in turn, is his everything. Without a pack, wolves are nothing, but for the Alpha male, without his mate, he is nothing. Connor’s mate had been chosen for him since he was young. Her name was –”
“Cwen,” Rae said, her brow creasing. “I know this story. I read about it when I was studying at the University. Except the other woman’s name was Rivkah, not Rebecca.”
“Rivkah is Hebrew for Rebecca, meaning captivating. And yes, Connor found her so captivating that he chose her over his family and his pack. She was his mate, his wulfric; but she was also human.”
“Okay, so Andrei’s great-great-grandfather married a human, why is he suffering now?”
“Cwen cursed him.” Sophia said this so matter-of-factly, Rae caught herself nodding before the words had penetrated her consciousness.
“Wait, cursed him? So it is a curse?” She felt a shiver run down her spine. How was she supposed to fight a curse that was over a hundred years old?
Sophia nodded, “Yes. She got a witch to curse him and the Londons have been suffering since. But curses can be broken, that is the very definition of a curse. You must fight this, Rae.”
Her eyes pleaded with Rae. “I will, I am. I won’t let anything happen to my son or my family.”
They sat together quietly after that, watching Anthony play on the floor.
Back at the hotel, Rae quickly wrote down all Sofia had told her and sent it to Brian and Connor. She also opened up an email from Connor. His parents had told him the same thing Sofia said. He was heading home the next day and planned to meet up with her.
She closed her email program and sat staring at a blank screen for a while. There had to be something she could do with this new information. Just then, Anthony got up and tottered over to his baby bag. Watching him with a smile, Rae saw him pull out a book and sit down to flip through it, looking at the pictures. Her grin got bigger as she thought of what she could do.
Picking up a startled toddler, she swung him around. “You are so smart Tony! We’re going to the library, little munchkin.”
Rae spent the rest of the day in the library, looking up the story of Jacob and Cwen. All fairy tales had a kernel of truth to them and she hoped to find some more clues about her husband’s family. It was a fascinating story; Jacob fell in love with a human and died when the townsfolk found out he was a werewolf. Unfortunately there was no mention of a witch or any curse.
She put the book down and thought about Rebecca. If this really was about her, how horrible must it have been to find out the man you thought you knew was keeping a secret from you that could cost you your life. Rae looked up at the clock on the wall across from where she was sitting – 4:30. Connor would come for her in another half hour. She had just enough time to get back to the hotel and call Brian.
“Brian.” As soon as she walked through her hotel door, Rae called him up.
“Hello Rae, how are you doing today?”
“Still trying to figure out how to save Andrei.” She put down Anthony and started packing up their things. “I have some questions for you.”
“I’ll try my best to answer them.”
“So Jacob and Cwen. How much of that fairy tale is true?”
There was a slight pause before he said, “Most of it. It left out a lot though. Rae, you do realize that it’s not a fairy tale, right? It’s your family history – well, your husband’s anyway.”
“I do realize that. I spoke to Sofia London today.” She paused, waiting for his reaction. Brian wouldn’t tell her anything she didn’t already know – which was beyond frustrating.
Another pause and then a sigh. “What do you want to know?”
Grinning, Rae zipped up the baby bag and looked at the time. She still had fifteen minutes before she had to leave. Plenty of time to find out what she needed to know. “Okay, so I have just a few questions…”
Rae stared at her computer screen for a while before starting to type. There was a lot that she didn’t know about in the world, but she knew how to research and find answers. She had a degree hanging in her upstairs office to prove it. She also had Nyema as a resource. She had more help than she’d realized.
Brian had given her a great deal of material and she decided to start there. Looking up, “Witch Moon,” she found a lot of information that had nothing to do with what she was looking for – until she noticed a link on the last page of the search results. As she read, her brows furrowed. The page she was on talked about many of the things she’d just learned from Brian. When she read the name of the author, she frowned. She knew that name.
She opened up her email program and sent a quick note to Brian. If he could help, this would be the first lead she’d had since she’d spoken to Rebecca two months ago.
She’d just come home from the market and was getting the mail when she felt it – felt her. Turning around, she was face to face with her friend.
“Rebecca! Oh how glad I am to see you. I’ve been so worried about you.” Rae stopped speaking when she saw the look on Rebecca’s face. “What’s wrong Becca?”
“You need to do what Caleb wants, Rae Rose. It’s for the best.”
“How can you say that? It’s my son we’re talking about here. I can’t just give him away. Becca, we need to come up with a better plan!”
“We? No. I know what’s best for you and you need to do as I say!”
Rae took a step back. “Whoa, what’s wrong with you? You should know me better than that. I’m not giving up Andrei.”
“Is that his name?” Rebecca seemed to dim a little before giving a small shake…or at least that’s what it looked like to Rae. Could ghosts get goosebumps?
“Yes. I know it’s a family name and it just felt right to me. Andrei and Anthony.”
“It’s a beautiful name…” Rebecca looked up and frowned. “You need to listen to me Rae Rose. He needs to be with Caleb. Only he can save your son. That’s the way it’s always been done.”
“Did you know who Connor was, what his family was, when I met him?”
Rebecca smiled. “The moment I met him I knew he was one of mine. It was destined to be, so I made it happen.” She looked down at the snow around their legs. “I should have waited. It’s Caleb you should have been with.”
She was shocked to hear that Caleb had been right. Rebecca really did believe that she was meant to be with him. And did she really “make” her fall in love with Connor? Was that kind of thing even possible? She would figure all that out later, right now she needed to focus on the important things. “Why didn’t you tell me about the curse; that this would happen?”
“I’ve been watching you since you were born. Do you know that you and Caleb were born just days apart? I was so focused on you that my connection to him was severed. We ghosts have to focus on things so hard – but you understand. I had gone astray. When you died – when I saw your soul wandering in the in-between, I was devastated. I thought all was lost. But then Dr. Gates brought you back. I tagged along and kept an eye on you, guided you when you needed it. I couldn’t leave things to chance anymore. Setting the genie free was brilliant, by the way. I had thought to persuade you to ask her to turn you back, but having a genie owe you a favor – well, that is just unheard of.”
“I thought you were my friend?” Betrayal after betrayal. Was there no one she could trust? Rae took another step away from the ghost.
She gave Rae a sad look. “I was, I am. I love you like you are one of mine, but understand, my family has suffered for over a hundred years. What would you do to save yours?”
“You could have told me. We would have found a way. Something other than this!” Rae felt frantic. She had less than three months before the next witch moon, before her son turned and Caleb took him away forever.
“There is no other way Rae Rose. All the people who could help are now dead. I wish it had turned out differently. You really are an amazing woman.” Rebecca started to fade away.
“But what happens next? What’s to keep my son from dying alone and forgotten? What if he’s the last of the line of Romajin?” Rebecca’s eyes widen. “That thought never occurred to you, did it? You would just keep this going forever?”
“This time will be different. But you must be willing to sacrifice. What would you do to save your son, Rae Rose?”
Rae’s breath caught in a sob. She would do anything for Andrei. Anything to save him from the fate that waited to claim him. To save him from turning into Caleb.
That had been two months ago and Rae had finally decided to just do a general search and here was something that might be what she’d been hoping to find.
She got a ping from her inbox and when she opened it, it was from Brian. Reading it over carefully, Rae thought she might cry. Sending a quick thank you, she opened a new message window and sent an email to Connor. Meet me at the airport in two hours.
She shut down the computer and called a babysitter. “Hey, Anna, could you watch the kids for me today? In about an hour? Perfect. Thank you.” And then she called her parents. “Hey dad, is mom there? Half an hour? Could you tell her that I need her to watch the little ones for me tonight and perhaps for a while? No, nothing’s wrong. In fact, I think I may have a lead. Yes, it’s great news. Thank you, I’ll be careful. You’ll come pick them up tonight? Great! Thanks Daddy, I love you more.”
An hour later, she had packed a bag for her and Connor, made reservations at AP International and had kissed her babies goodbye. Once Anna arrived, Rae got into her car and drove to the airport.
“Rae, you haven’t said a word since I met you at the airport. What’s going on?” She knew he was getting impatient and she wanted to tell him, but she was so nervous that the words wouldn’t come. Turning to smile at him, she just shook her head. Connor sighed, but dropped the subject.
Once they reached the building, she all but sprinted up the steps and inside. This was it, this had to be it. Turning to Connor she told him what they were looking for. He raised an eyebrow, but didn’t ask any questions.
After searching for about twenty minutes, Rae heard Connor call her name. When she entered the room he was in, he said, “I think I found it.”
Connor looked over at her, “Now will you tell me what’s going on?”
Taking a deep, shaky breath, she said, “This is a carving of Siobhan. She was a Fae princess who liked to play tricks on people.” She lovingly traced the fae’s wings through the glass. She was so close to her answers!
“She played the wrong trick on the wrong Fae and this was her punishment. This statue is called Siobhan’s Heartstone.”
“She was turned into a statue? Fairies have that kind of power?”
Rae turned to him. “I have no idea, but I wouldn’t blink an eye if they did. She supposed to be buried under the statue, which was made to symbolize her contrition. This entire museum was built around this thing. X-rays show that there are actual bones underneath, but this is a privately owned museum and the owners won’t let anyone study them.”
“If they’re just bones, then what’s the big deal?” He looked back at the statue, taking a step closer to study it.
“The story goes that she defied them all and refused to ask for forgiveness. Some books say this statue was really created to shame her and others say her parents had it made hoping the Fae she wronged would take pity.”
“And what? Bring her back from the dead? Are the owners still hoping this will happen?” He shook his head. “So, fairies are real and this one is cursed. Okay fine, I’ll bite. How does it help us?”
“I think they are real, Connor. I’ve been doing some research and one name popped up – Dr. Siobhan Stoneheart. I emailed Brian and he sent me directions here and several links to her published articles. She is an expert in mythology and ancient curses. Brian all but admitted she was a supernatural! She might be related to the original Siobhan.”
“And you think she can help with Dre?” He sounded skeptical but she had to give him credit, he was handling this better than she thought he would.
“If she is related somehow, she could have knowledge that we could use. If anyone can tell us how to help our son, it would be her.”
“Why didn’t Brian tell us this from the beginning?” He frowned. “Why keep it from us?”
“There are rules and he couldn’t give us information that we didn’t already know. It’s how these things work.”
“That’s crap. I’m so tired of this. I just want a normal life without all these weird things happening!” He turned around and walked out of the room.
Turning to look at the statue again, Rae frowned. He would never have a normal life, not with her and the children. She turned and walked out of the room as well. Hopefully she could contact Siobhan and finally get some answers. They had less than six weeks left.
Driving down the road, Rae thought about the last time she was in Moonlight Falls. She’d been pregnant, heartbroken and lost. So much had changed and yet she was still looking for answers. Her marriage was not where she’d hoped it would be, someone was threatening to take her son and she was chasing a woman who she thought might be a fey that could help her. Rae had always thought dying would be the hardest thing she’d ever have to do – boy was she wrong.
Pulling up to Brian’s house, she parked her car and walked up the three front steps to ring the doorbell. Before she could reach the top step, Brian opened the door with a smile.
“Rae! Just in time. How was your flight?” Brian Gates pulled her into a hug before stepping back to let her in.
“Hi Brian. It was uneventful.” She walked into the living room and stopped, taking it all in. “The place looks exactly the same. No redecorating?”
She smiled tiredly. She was just so damn tired.
“I like things to be the same – mostly anyway. And I’ve spent very little time here in the Falls, at least not in the last four years.”
“It has been a long time, hasn’t it?” She couldn’t believe so much time had passed and yet it felt like just yesterday she had brought Eva home.
Just then, the doorbell rang. “Are you expecting someone?” she asked.
“No,” Brian said. He moved towards the door and shrugging, opened it.
There was a silent moment before he said, “Caleb.” He sounded angry and she felt a shiver run through her body. He sounded so cold and mean and all he’d said was a name.
She thought she heard a soft growl before Caleb responded. “Gates, is it now?” He looked over Brian’s shoulder, straight at her. “I’m here to speak to Rae.”
“How did you know I was – ” she stopped at his raised eyebrow. Of course he would know she was in town. He seemed to know everything about her and her family.
Brian looked over his shoulder at her.
“It’s okay, let him in.” She waited for Caleb to approach her, not bothering to say hello. She had no reason to be friendly to this man. He was trying to take her son away, simply because he could.
“Rae. How very good to see you again. You look well.” He stopped only a few inches away from her, smiling. She said nothing, just stared at him.
“Okay, so that’s how we’re going to play this game?” He leaned in and whispered, “Have you brought me my new son?”
“If you come anywhere near my son, I’ll –,”
“Whoa, relax. I thought we’d decided that what was best for Andrei was a two-parent home? Unless you don’t love him as much as you say you do.”
“You don’t know anything about me! I love all my children and leaving two for the sake of one doesn’t make me a good parent. But asking me to choose between them? That makes me glad that you’re not a father.”
Caleb’s face turned dark, his smile vanishing. “I will make a better father than Connor, I can promise you that.”
“You’ll never get the chance. Now get out!”
After Caleb left, she stood there by the couch and just worked on her breathing. She couldn’t do this, couldn’t keep putting up a brave front, but she had to; she wouldn’t survive giving her child to that man.
Tomorrow morning, she would continue her research at the Catelyn W. Stand Historical Society. It was why she was here. CWS had the best research library in the region and the largest collection of myth and ritual articles. She was hoping to find more information on Dr. Stoneheart. She had the feeling that Brian knew where she was, but he wouldn’t tell her. It was frustrating how little he was willing to tell her, but she would take anything she could get. Brian came out of his office and looked at her. She gave him a weak smile and moved towards the stairs.
The next evening, Rae walked towards the historical society, but she was a bit distracted. She had gone to the park earlier that day, hoping to clear her head. Everything was fine until she sat down across from the wishing well. Looking out blindly, while she tried to decide what her next steps should be, Rae was jolted out of her stupor by a passing teenager. She was a normal kid, laughing with a bunch of her friends – except she had wings. Beautiful, shimmering green wings.
She must have made a sound because the girl looked at her in alarm, but when Rae made no move to do or say anything, the teen winked at her and fluttering her wings, continued her conversation with her friends.
After that event, Rae started to notice all kinds of strange things. Several people seemed to be using magic – real, legitimate magic – to move things around them. A group of small children seemed to be grooming each other. She had immediately called Brian. He’d laughed and explained that Moonlight Falls was founded as a sanctuary for Supernatural beings. There were, of course, normal humans in town too. Most were aware of what the citizens were, but humans will see and believe what they want too. A perfect example had been Rae herself. The last time she’d been there, she hadn’t noticed a thing!
Rae spent the rest of the afternoon people gazing. All the different dazzling wing colors were fascinating and she started laughing at the antics of the kids hanging around. This would be a perfect place to raise Andrei. Somewhere he would fit in and make friends who would understand his curse. No wonder their library had such a vast collection about myths, all the characters of those stories lived right here.
Reaching the front door of the society, she thought again about how perfect this place would be. Was giving Andrei the chance to live a normal life such a bad thing? Caleb could be warm and funny and gentle. And he genuinely seemed to care about her son. Would another werewolf make a better parent than both she and Connor could? She hated these thoughts but what kind of mother would she be if she refused to consider all her options?
She walked through the gallery, not really seeing the art on the walls. Turning the corner, she came to a sudden stop. Standing directly in front of her was Layla. It had been four years since she’d last seen this woman, hugging her husband…early in the morning…in her home. The old anger rose to the surface and it took all her will not to walk up to Layla and demand why she was there.
Just when she thought she could turn around and walk away without being noticed, Layla saw her and approached her.
“Rae. I see you’re back in the Falls.”
“Yes, I’m doing some research.” Not that it was any of her business.
“How…fascinating.” Her body language told Rae just how much of a lie that statement was.
Sighing, already tired of the pretending, she asked, “What are you doing here?”
“Here in town?” Layla laughed. “I live here.”
That made Rae pause. If Layla lived here, then she must know about the townies and about Caleb being a werewolf. Eyes narrowing, she asked, “When did you move? I thought you lived in Sunset Valley?”
“I used to live in Sunset Valley, until a couple years ago, after I had my second child. Is Connor with you?”
“No.” Rae was done with this conversation. “Well, I have to get going or the library will close on me.”
“Right…give Connor my best. My youngest is just a bit older than your twins. Maybe he can bring them by for a visit.”
Just before Rae could tell her where she could shove her well wishes, someone came up to them and said, “Rae Rose, are you stalking me?”
“I’m sorry, do I – Nyema?” Wow, was everyone is Moonlight Falls today? “What are you doing here? Wait, don’t tell me, you live here too?”
Nyema laughed, “Actually I live north of the border in Aurora but I was just visiting some friends. What are you doing here?”
“Research mostly.” She couldn’t have asked for a better gift than having Nyema around to help her. There was so much she wanted to ask her, but Layla was still standing there. “How long are you in town, maybe we can have lunch tomorrow?”
“I would love that.” Nyema turned towards Layla then. “Layla.”
“Nyema. I have to get back to my kids. Goodbye.” She left without another word.
Still looking at Layla’s retreating back, Nyema asked, “How do you know Layla?”
“She’s an old friend of Connor’s family. How do you know her?” She didn’t want to say anything until she knew exactly how Nyema felt about the other woman. From their short greeting, she sensed no love lost. It was almost exactly how Brian had greeted Caleb – with distrust and a vague sense of disgust.
“I don’t actually know her.” Nyema stared after Layla before visibly shaking herself. “So, what kind of research are you here to do – something interesting I hope?”
With Layla gone, Rae took the opportunity to ask, “Nyema, I need your help.”
“Anything I can do Rae Rose, you know that.”
Rae pulled her to the side and told her everything that had happened to her since they’d seen each other last. Retelling the story made it all seem impossible and horrifying and by the end, she was near tears.
“Oh honey, it will be alright. I’ll help in any way I can. You said you were trying to find out information about someone. Maybe I know them or their family – I know everyone.”
“Well, she might not be a Sup, so I don’t know if you will recognize the name.”
“What’s a Soup, some kind of new breed of human?” Nyema frowned.
Rae suppressed a giggle. “Sorry, a Supernatural Being – Sup, for short.”
“Oh, I see. Well, who is it?” Nyema grinned.
“Her name is Siobhan Stoneheart.” Rae crossed her fingers, hoping against hope that Nyema could help her.
“Why would you want to find her?” She stiffened.
“I – well, I think she may be able to help me…”she trailed off, the look on Nyema’s face was full of anger. “What’s wrong, did I say something I wasn’t supposed to?”
Nyema leaned in close and said, “My advice? Stay away from Siobhan. She is evil and cares for no one but herself. I doubt she will help you and if she does, it will be for a price. Trust me.” Nyema seemed to be shaking, she was so angry.
“What did she do to you?” Rae asked softly.
“I rather not speak about it. Is it absolutely necessary for you to see her?”
“Unless you know how to break a curse?”
Sighing, Nyema said, “A promise is a promise, as binding as a life.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I will help you find her. Be right back.” And just like that, she disappeared.
Just when Rae was about to give up on her, Nyema popped back in. “I was starting to think you weren’t coming back!”
“I’ve only been gone for five minutes.” She frowned. “So I got the information you wanted. She lives in Lucky Palms – do you know where that is?” At Rae’s nod she continued, “Good. So she lives in town, by the park. Across the street from the wishing well.”
She handed Rae a scrap of paper with an address scribbling on it. “This is the address. I have to leave now, but good luck. And if she tries to make a deal with you, you’ve stayed too long. Tell her no thank you and leave, got it?”
“Umm, yeah. I think so.” Rae couldn’t believe she was holding Siobhan’s address in her hands. Things were going much better than she could have ever hoped for.
“Rae Rose, pay attention to me. Do not accept any food or drink from her and make NO deals. Got it?”
“Yes, yes. I got it. What did she do to you?”
“She’s the reason I was trapped in that lamp.” With that, Nyema popped out again.
The next morning, Rae called Conner to tell him what she’d learned. “She lives in Lucky Palms. Nyema said that’s where I’ll find her and she’s never let me down.” Unlike you; but she didn’t say that out loud. Why was it so hard for her to forgive him his past mistakes? Mistakes that weren’t his fault? They’d both said and done things that they later regretted. He’d forgiven her, never once mentioned Caleb and was completely supportive of finding a way to help Andrei. So why couldn’t she do the same?
“Connor, I’m sorry, I didn’t -”
“Don’t worry about it, Rosie,” he said softly.
The silence started to stretch on and she asked, “Did you know Layla lives in Moonlight Falls?”
Wow, really? Way to make things more awkward, Rae.
“No, I did not know that. I haven’t spoken to her in a few years.”
“Yeah, well, she uh, she says hello.”
“So you spoke to her?”
“We bumped into each other at the Society. She moved here after her second child.” Why were they talking about Layla of all people?
“I see,” was all he said.
“Yeah.” Silence again. “So…I wanted to head out to Lucky Palms later today and see if I could find Siobhan. Do you want to meet me there?”
“It will take me a bit longer to get out there. I’ll have to take the time off of work and get the kids to your parents’ house.”
“Oh, right. I could wait for you here and we could go together?”
“Thank you. I – I don’t want to do this alone Connor. I want – I need you to be there with me.”
“Of course Rae. I’ll see you first thing tomorrow morning. Okay?”
“Yeah.” Before she hung up, she added, “I love you.”
“I love you too pretty girl.”
Just hearing him call her that made her smile.
Connor stood and listened to Rae go over her plans on what she would say to Siobhan once they found her. He wished he could say he was paying close attention, but all she had done for the two hour plane ride and the hour car ride into town was go over the plan. After hearing it for the fifth time, he felt pretty confident that zoning out on this rendition wouldn’t be a problem.
“Connor!” She snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Are you listening to me?”
“I always liked your hair like this Rosie. It lets me see your face.” She blushed and he laughed. “After all these years, I can still make you blush? That’s nice to know.” He leaned down to kiss her, but she pushed him away.
“Connor, stop this. We don’t have the time!”
He looked at her quietly for a minute. She looked so tired and worn out. On his plane ride to Moonlight Falls, he’d decided that he would do everything he could to be the supportive husband he promised to be when they got married. And when this was all over, he would win her back, no matter what it took to do so.
She blushed again at his scrutiny, her palm still on his chest. When she started to move it away, he caught it and held it there. They’d been married for four years, been together for eight, and even after all this time, she still was a little shy with him. Sighing, he nodded, “Okay, this is to be continued after we speak with Siobhan. Does she know we’re coming?”
Rae sighed too, “No.”
When they arrived at the address Nyema had given them, Connor was duly impressed. He didn’t know what he’d expected to find, but all this talk about fairies had him thinking of tree houses and flowers. This was a beautiful modern home that sat across from the town’s central park. Stone foundations that would hold up against fire.
“This is where she lives?”
Before they could ring the doorbell, a beautiful woman in a long summer dress opened the door. When she saw him, she frowned and turned to Rae.
“You come asking for my help and bring him with you? I don’t think so.”
The woman started to close the door on them, but Connor put his foot between the door and the wall. “Wait a minute! We flew a long way to get here, at least hear us out. If you have a problem with me being here, I can wait outside. Please, just – please.”
She cocked her head to the side and after a while, she smiled. “Well, that’s a first. Come inside before someone sees you standing out here.”
Once inside, she told Connor to come closer so she could look at him. “You are not a full wolf. What are you?”
He was so startled he couldn’t think of what to say. It was Rae that answered.
“My name is Rae London and this is my husband, Connor. We’ve been looking for you. We need your help.”
“London? ‘The first born of the second son.’ Yes, I remember now; that family was always so unlucky.”
“So it’s true? We are cursed.”
Siobhan shrugged, “The Londons are…different, yes. They are an anomaly among wolves. But they are not cursed because of it. That is something completely separate.”
“You seem to know a great deal about my family,” Connor said, finding his voice again.
She laughed, “Of course I do. Your family has been a sort of curse of my own. But that is neither here nor there. I don’t usually entertain wolves, but seeing as how you’re a werewolf, I’ll make an exception.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Oh, an entire species.” She motioned them into her living room.
“So, before we can get started on what it is we can do for your son – and I am assuming that is why you are here – we need to have a quick biology lesson.”
“So, there is something you can do for Andrei,” Rae asked hopefully.
“Because of the tainted blood in his family tree, the change only effects the first born and as the wolf genetics get more diluted, the control becomes less; until you have a case where the Change becomes dangerous. As is the case with your son.”
“But Andrei is not the first born. We have a daughter, why not her?”
Siobhan looked closely at Rae before closing her eyes. After a while, she started laughing. “Well, isn’t this an interesting family tree you have here.” She opened her eyes and leaned forward, eagerly, “She is already full to the brim with magic. There is no room for the wolf. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Both Connor and Rae looked at each other. “Tell you what,” he asked.
Siobhan sat back, a smile still on her face. “Oh, come on. How can you not know? Your daughter, little Eva, is a witch. From my line, no less! Where is she? Did you bring her with you?”
What the hell?
“I’d thought they’d all died out. To find not one, but two of my own; you cannot even begin to imagine the joy I feel right now. Perhaps the spell is weakening…” She started talking to herself, him and Rae completely forgotten.
“What the hell are you talking about?” He asked. Who was really related to her? What did Eva have to do with Andrei’s curse? Eva, a witch?