“Hallie, is Ginger there?” Alanna tapped her fingers on her desk as she listened for the answer.
“She’s not home yet, but I’m expecting her any minute. What’s up?”
“I got your letter.”
“What letter, I haven’t sent you anything.”
“The birthday letter, the one you sent for my tenth birthday. The one just after you got married.”
“Oh, that letter. I forgot about that. I never heard anything from you or Andrew, so I assumed you didn’t want to be bothered with us.”
Hallie’s voice trembled and Alanna heard her swallow hard before she continued.
“I take it you finally received it.”
“It’s complicated, but yeah, Dad got it a couple of days ago and had Uncle James zap it over to me. I was surprised and it upset me. I’ve been so much nicer to you than Ginger and getting used to three moms when I had none is insane.”
“You have sixteen almost seventeen years of no mom and Blaire has been amazing. She’s become your mother by earning it through action and love. We’ve been here for a grand total of six months. It doesn’t matter what went on before Ginger ran into your dad at work, that’s when we barged into your life again. By that point, you had defused the African problem, but Davis was still a loose cannon.”
Alanna listened intently and answered. “Yes, so why am I feeling like an ass for giving Ginger the cold shoulder?”
“From what your mom as told me, and I mean Blaire, you are an empath. I can’t imagine being sensitive to emotions around me like you are, but it would make you aware of Ginger’s moods, right?”
“Yes, I know I’m hurting her. I just couldn’t get myself to forgive her. Now I can. Your letter explained a lot. It’s bugging me, and I feel guilty about it.”
“You just answered your own question. You are a kind soul, Alanna. Ginger is too. All she ever wanted was to be loved for who she is. Her parents wouldn’t allow her to be herself, and Andrew never broke his word to find out by digging into her thoughts. Don’t beat yourself up, tell her yourself. She’s coming in the door now.”
She heard Hallie put the phone down and voices in the background. As she waited, she winced at the minutes on her call timer, but the bill would be worth it. Dad had paid for a good strong roaming plan.
“Ginger, your daughter wants to talk to you. Be kind, she’s hurting, and I’ll explain about the letter later.”
Alanna overheard the conversation as the women’s voices grew louder.
“Ginger, I mean mom, I’m so sorry. I’ve been a jerk.” Alanna put her heart on the line. “I’ve been so hard on you.”
“Not really, I mean I left you before you could even remember my face. I was so messed up. Hallie and I have been talking about it. I knew I had to wait until I earned your trust.”
“I got Hallie’s letter a couple days ago. She wrote it just after you got married that would have been almost seven years ago.”
“She told me. I would have been so mad at her back then.”
“Why? She wanted to do something nice for you.”
“I wasn’t ready. We were just married, and before it was really a legal thing to do. Do you know we got the papers, two years later? The anniversary after it was passed into law.”
“Really? You were that sure about each other?”
“Alanna, you have to understand. Hallie saved me from myself. I met her when I was first in boot camp. I was mad at the world, because no one would believe me about who I was. My parents had disowned me, and I saw her working in the mess hall. She winked at me and her first words were hello gorgeous, and she flirted with me. But it would take me years to make peace with what I did to survive. And leaving you behind was the hardest thing.”
“I know that now. I want to call you mom, but how am I going to get the right mom, especially when you and Hallie and Blaire are all there in the same room?”
“You have a problem, and I love hearing you call me mom. I never thought I’d hear it. Blaire is your mother in every sense of the word. She’s the one you call mom when we’re all together. You call me Ginger, and Hallie by her name always. If you’re visiting us, then you can call me mom. Hallie says she will wait to be mommy until we have our own kids. We’re working on it already.”
“I really like Hallie.”
“Then maybe you get why I love her so much.”
“You want kids?”
“Of course, and we’re not getting any younger. I’m not sure, but I think I might be pregnant already. We started the insemination process a couple of months ago.”
“Holy shit! Oops, sorry I shouldn’t be swearing.” Alanna knew her eyes were round as saucers.
“It’s going to work out perfectly. This baby will have cousins to visit, and when their second birthday rolls around, Hallie will have her turn. Both of our kids are going to be part of your life. They’re going to have an older sister who’s pretty damn special.”
“You know Blaire is due in a couple of months.”
“Yes, twins, right?”
“Two girls, but they’re not identical. I hope I’m home when they’re born.”
“I think we’re all going to be there. They might be born in Canada though. I think Gail and Eddy want us all up at the cabin again.”
“They were up there this summer building an addition. Four more bedrooms, and a big nursery. Do they know what you are up to?”
“Yes, we talked it over with them the last time we were up to visit. Don’t tell anyone, I’m asking for a transfer up to Montana or if that doesn’t work, Nevada or California. I want to be closer to you all.”
“Sweet, I need to say something before we hang up, please?”
“Go ahead. I’ll never judge you. I know what that does. I love you no matter what.” Ginger reassured her.
“I want you to know I’ve forgiven you. I’m not angry anymore. It hit me when I read the letter, I’m blaming you for something you had no say in. You are what you are, and if someone said to me, I had to quit being a healer, or told me I could never cast another spell to light my way, it would kill me inside. Telling you to be straight or else? Well I can tell you I feel the pain roll off you every time you talk about the way it was, but I ignored it. I was feeling sorry for myself because I grew up without a mother. Now I get it. I’m learning to love you, mom. Just the way you are.”
Alanna struggled to get the last words out before her throat closed with unshed tears. It felt so right to let go of her resentment and embrace Ginger as the incredible woman who gave her life.
Sniffles answered her, and she heard Hallie as she spoke quietly.
“That letter was lost for a reason. I swear the fates knew it had to be this way. Thank you, Alanna. You have no idea how much this means.”
“I think I might. I feel so much better. I’ll see you at Thanksgiving? You are coming up to Montana?”
“We’re hope to hear the transfer has been approved, and we’ll be living there by then. Say a prayer for us,” Ginger said as she blew her nose.
“I’ll do one better. Samhain is only six weeks away. We’ll ask a special blessing for you then. I have to say goodbye, next time, Face Time, okay?”
“You got it kiddo,” Hallie said and ended the call.
Alanna slipped her phone into her bra and ran down the stairs to find Cardamon. She had to tell him was right. Forgiveness lightened her soul. Now if she could find Liam, and figure out who the woman in her dreams was? And the knight who was her lover? And what was it that kept them apart? So many questions.
Come to think of it, Cardamon had been right. No dreams last night. The crystals did work.