Chapter Twenty-One: The Letter
“Thanks for messing up the shots when you’d shot at my woman,” Mark said.
Riddle snorted, “I couldn’t watch, so I just shot, not proud of it..."
“Paxton is back,” Park said as he looked out the back door.
The others followed Park out to the back yard, and Riddle stared at the large bear that ran up to Park. Why wasn’t the man afraid of the bear and hadn’t he said his brother was back?
“Prepare for weird,”the Shaman said as he stood next to Riddle.
Riddle looked at the man then back out at Park and the large bear. Before his eyes, the bear shifted, and there before Park stood his brother Paxton.
“What the fuck?” Riddle whispered.
“I had told you that you were in for a surprise,” Laila said with a smile as she stood next to Riddle and took hold of his arm.
He looked down at her. “So, you had,”he said, then looked up at the twins who were still talking. “Which one is your mate?”
She grinned up at him. “Both,” she said, then jumped off the porch and ran towards the twins.
Riddle stared as his newfound sister ran to the twins, and both men grinned at her as they took her into their arms.
“Which one is the father of her baby?” Riddle asked as he looked at the Shaman.
Vectore grinned at the young man. “Both of them.”
Riddle stared with his mouth open then looked at his sister and the two shifters because that was what they were. He has heard stories of them but never believed them to be true. Yet here are two of them and they are his sister’s mates, both of them. He looked behind him at Riley and the other large man, Mark. She had called him her mate, does that mean she’s a shifter too? Or is he the shifter?
“Mark is the shifter, and he is Park and Paxton’s right-hand man,” Vectore whispered to him.
Riddle stared at the Shaman. “And what are Park and Paxton?”
“They’re the leaders of the bears. And your sister is the Queen of all Animals.”
Riddle sputtered as he looked back at his sister and the twin shifters. Within a few short hours, he was forced to shoot at two women, found out that one of them is his sister, his twin, to be exact. Was rescued from the torture of the Dark Wizards, discovered his sister not only had one mate but two and they’re shifters, leaders of all bear shifters, and his sister... He watched her as she laughed at something one of her mates said. His sister is the Queen of all Animals.
“What does that make me?” He asked.
The Shaman leaned in closer. “You’re the Soldier.”
Whatever the Shaman meant by what he had said, Riddle let it go for now. He was determined to get to know his sister and her family. He’s going to be an uncle in a couple of months, and he just found out that he has a sister. For someone who has never really had a family except for the military. In one day, he found a sister, two brothers-in-law, a few good friends, and soon two nephews. Who, from what his sister had told him, one is Park’s and one is Paxton’s.
How that had happened he’ll never understand, they say it’s magic... But Riddle thinks it’s more than magic. And he thinks the Shaman agrees with him.
He has found that he has so much in common with his twin, it’s like they lived the same life only in different ways- if that makes sense.
A peck at the kitchen’s sliding glass door had them all turning to find an owl sitting on the porch deck with something in his beak.
Laila went to the door and opened it. “Hello,”she said as she looked at the Owl. “Oh,” she said as she took the letter from the bird. “Thank you very much, and you have a great night too.”
Riddle stared at his sister. It was like she’d actually had a conversation with the bird.
“The queen can talk to all animals,” Vectore said as he leaned towards Riddle.
Riddle glowered at him. “That’s annoying.”
Vectore chuckled, “so it is,”he said.
Riddle knew it wouldn’t stop him from reading his mind.
“What is it?” Park asked as he got to his feet.
“It-it’s from my adoptive parents,” Laila said as she walked back to the table and sat down next to Riddle. “It-it says... To Laila and Riddle.”
Riddle stared at the envelope. “They knew about me?”
Laila nodded, “I’ll show you the letters later. They always knew about you, but they never told me I was adopted, let alone that I have a twin.”
“Shall we read it?” Riddle asked as he continued to stare at the envelope.
Laila frowned. “How did they know I’d find you?”
“Let’s find out,” Riddle said as he pointed to the letter.
Laila nodded and opened the envelope.
“Our Dearest Laila,” she read out loud, “if you have received this, it means you have found your brother, and we were not here to celebrate with you..." Laila paused as she looked up at her brother. He shrugged, and she went back to reading.
“We know you must be angry with us for not adopting your brother when we adopted you, but it needed to be done this way. When we saw the future, we knew what had to be done.” Laila’s hands shook as tears ran down her cheeks.
Riddle took hold of her hand, and she felt his strength flow through her body. She took a deep breath and continued reading.
“You don’t know how much it hurt for us to leave your brother behind. We wanted both of you so desperately. As you know, I cannot have children and your father, and I desperately wanted children. And when you came into our lives, it was like our lives were complete. Please don’t hate us for keeping Riddle from you. But you two needed to grow up in different environments. You needed a loving, caring upbringing so you could be the wonderful animal-loving woman you have become. Pure of heart and full of life.”
Laila paused as she looked up at her brother. His face was blank, and she went back to reading.
“Your brother needed to grow up hard with experience. We knew he wouldn’t grow up to be the man he needed to be if he had grown up with the kind of love, we would have given him. He’s the Soldier in the future war you will be fighting, and he needed to become that, and we couldn’t create that.
“We saw several versions of what was to come, and the only one where you win is where we left him to grow up to be tough. Please forgive us Riddle we loved you as much as parents could love a child we prayed every day that you would grow to be the man you needed to be and reunite with your sister so you can kill the Dark Wizards once and for all.”
Laila sucked in a shocked breath. “They know about everything,”she whispered.
“Go on,” Park said as he stared at the letter in her hand.
She cleared her throat and continued. “We hope that by now, you have found your mates Laila. They’re good boys, and they will be good husbands for you. They will love you as you always deserved to be loved. We are so proud of the woman you have become. And if things have gone right, you are pregnant with the future kings. Keep our grandsons safe and tell them about us.
“We love you, Laila, more than any parent has loved their child. We never cared that you weren’t our blood. You and Riddle became our children the moment we saw you in our vision. Riddle, even though we weren’t there, we kept our eyes on you. Any time things got too tough, we would change things around for you. You needed to be tough but not hateful or uncaring.”
Riddle snorted, “that explains a lot.”
“Both of your names were given to you by your birth mother before she died..." Laila looked up at her twin. “Our birth mother,”she whispered.
“Does it say how she died?” Riddle asked.
“If you are wondering about your mother, she was weak from the pregnancy and died shortly after you two were born. And if Vectore is there with you as we envisioned, we would be telling him to look at the pictures we stashed in the safe behind the painting. I’m sure he will understand everything.”
Laila looked at Vectore.
Vectore got to his feet and walked into the living room where he’d left the papers from the vault. He came back to the table and sat down, then shuffled through the pile of pictures. When he saw the picture of her parents, he cursed.
“Son of a Bitch!”
“What?” Everyone at the table asked at the same time.
“Your adoptive parents were very old and very powerful witches.”
Everyone stared at Vectore.
“What?” Laila squealed.
Vectore looked up at her. “They were also two of my best friends. I had wondered what had happened to them. I haven’t seen them in over twenty-five years.”
With wide eyes, Laila looked back at her mother’s letter. “Please forgive us, Vectore. We know you will hate us for what we did, but don’t take it out on the children. They need you now more than ever. And we did it for their own good as well as yours. You were never meant to be a father..." Laila broke off as her voice broke. Her head shot up to Vectore, who was looking at her as if she’d grown two extra heads.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Vectore asked as he glared at the letter in Laila’s hand.
Laila quickly went back to reading. “Look at the pictures; it will all become clear.” Laila read then looked at Vectore.
Vectore quickly went through the pictures again, then froze when he came to the last one. “Ohmigod,”he said with a stunned look on his face. “I swear this has never happened before,” he said without taking his eyes off the photo.
“What?” Park asked as he watched the Shaman.
Vectore handed Laila the picture. It was a picture of a beautiful brown-haired woman who was very pregnant.
“That’s your mother,” Vectore said without looking at her.
“What is it, Vectore?” Paxton asked.
Vectore leaned his forehead into his hands. “Continue reading the letter I’m sure your mother is about to tell you,”he said, waving for Laila to continue.
She handed Riddle the picture of their birth mother then went back to the letter.
“I know this will come as a big shock for you two, especially you, Laila, since we know you’ve gotten to know him so well. We knew he would find you once you found your mates, but he wouldn’t know what caused the pull to you. He will probably believe he’s sexually attracted to you since that’s all he thinks about.” Laila looked at Vectore. “You felt a pull to me?”
Vectore nodded as he buried his face in his hands.
“You’re sexually attracted to me?” Laila asked with a squeal.
He shook his head. “God, no. I thought that might be it at first, but then I got to know you and felt nothing sexual towards you. But the pull was still there- like a strong bond, almost as strong as Park and Paxton... I didn’t know what it was until I saw that picture.”
Laila went back to the letter feeling very uncomfortable now. “If he hasn’t told you yet by now, then I guess I will.” Laila looked over at Vectore again; his face was still in his hands, and he was breathing heavily. She went back to the letter.
“Laila, Riddle, the Shaman Vectore Lightman is your father.”