A World Beside Our Own

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Court Decisions

Rose sends us a message just before supper. The emancipation order has been filed, and went smoothly. They should serve my parents the court papers in the next few days. Ashanna is now my legal mother. She has all rights to my care and control, as any other parent does. Rose made sure that there was a provisional clause of abuse and abandonment in my legal request. This ideally should remove my parents from being able to counter sue, or they risk child and family services coming after them first. The judge assured us that, since my parents didn’t have a name to attach to a kidnapping charge, that they listed me as a lost child - which is why the police were looking for me.

“You were never lost.” Ashanna smiles as we read the message. “You just found a new home.”

“I love my new home. Thank you, emenya, for all that you have done!” I say happily and give her a big hug.

“How about we celebrate tonight and go out for supper?” Ashanna smiles.

We make a few calls to my newly extended family to invite them to our celebratory supper. Cassandra responds that they’ll meet us at Ranchers. The restaurant features vegetarian dishes, and the owner is partial to the Rasmussen’s dietary needs.

We get to the restaurant first and warn the host that we’ll need a large table for about 20 people. I look at my mother, surprised. Just how many people did she call!? The host answers it will take them a few minutes to clear up a table that large and asks that we wait.

As we’re waiting, Rose and her family show up, children in tow. I give Rose, Cassandra and Diane a hug, and then we are introduced to their children. Danielle is a 12-year-old copy of Rose. She is what I would imagine what Rose would look like at that age, muscular, active body and all. The boys are Paul and Ignacio. Paul looks a lot like Danielle. You can definitely tell that they are related, despite being 4 years apart in age. Ignacio looks like his mother, Cassandra.

Diane smiles. “Yes, we have two Montgomery and a Gallo child in our house. I don’t how we ended up with such a definitive split. I was half expecting Paul to be born with brown eyes, but he’s held on to Rose’s jade eye colour just alike his older sister.”

“So you are the new transgender teen that Maman’s been talking about.” Danielle says in a very mature tone.

“We’re celebrating me legally becoming a Rasmussen.” I grin.

“I’m happy for you.” Danielle grins back and gives me a hug. I’m a bit surprised, but - considering how affectionate her mother is - I return the hug.

“I guess you’ve had a lot of foster siblings over the years.” I say as we let go.

“We’ve had a few, and some of them I still keep in contact with, I hope we can become good friends.” Danielle has that amiable smile her mother has. Ever the bard, like Rose.

While we’re talking, Melody and Penny arrive. They make such a beautiful couple, dark and pale, almost like a living yin yang, even their clothing colour represents their opposite complexions. Penny introduces us to Melody’s ‘offspring’ - as vampires call those they’ve turned. There is Mr. Duncan, Landyn, Regan and Houda. All of them are like Melody and my family: compellingly beautiful. The smell of blood fruit surrounds them, giving them an exotic attractiveness.

“The Rivers are going to be involved in the next step of your transformation, I thought it best you get to know them better.” Ashanna answers my question before I have the time to ask it. “Though they are only your teachers now, we will become much closer as we approach your ritual.”

Just when I think everyone is here, there is this beautiful musical alto voice that announces her arrival. “I hope I’m not late, my agent was so upset when I bailed on that boring charity dinner.”

When I turn, my jaw drops. It’s Angel Goodson!

She smiles and reaches forward, with a delicate, but strong manicured finger, she pushes my jaw closed. “And you would be our guest of honour.” She delicately cups my cheek and I feel like I’m in heaven. “You seem to have a good start on your transition. We could stop the testosterone from poisoning your body.” Her voice is soft, musical and friendly.

Angel turns. “This is my wife Eva, we left our daughter at home, she’s still too young for public suppers.”

Penny smiles and gives Angel an enormous hug. “I’m glad you came! We left the twins at home for much the same reason.”

“Twins?” Angel says, surprised.

“Landyn and Houda had twins this year, wait till you see them, they so are adorable!” Melody smiles as she comes to get a hug as well.

The host announces our table is ready, and they usher us into the dining room. It’s a long rectangular table. They have me sit in the middle. I have Danielle on my left with her siblings, across from us sit their parents. On my right is Luna, our mother, Angel and her wife Eva, with the Rivers sitting across from them. My sister is more than happy to be sitting beside me. Something that Rose and her daughter pick up on.

We order a pitcher of iced tea. Melody orders wine for the adults, and not a cheap bottle either. We start off with small talk as we wait for the food to arrive. Danielle and I hit it off pretty well. I find out that she’s just as active as her mother, which explains her powerful hug. She’s into soccer, volleyball, cycling, and just about any other sport she can get her hands on. She doesn’t stop, she’s amazingly energetic, talkative, and so easy to get along with. We talk about cycling and daily goals. I surprised her how I could cycle from San Marino almost all the way to Hillcrest.

“I would have made it if it weren’t for the thunderstorm.” I comment. “When it hit, and I started hydroplaning, I don’t know what I was worried about more: wiping out or being hit by lightning!”

Danielle giggles. “I can imagine, still, that’s still quite a feat!” she says encouragingly. “That’s a good 500 km in one day, you must have been exhausted!”

“When I found Simia, she was trying to dry off by a small fire while breaking down larger branches. The sound would have surely drawn in werewolves had I left her out there much longer.” Luna comments.

Danielle shivers. “That’s a scary thought.” She looks at my sister, then to me. “So it was a chance encounter in the woods on the way to the nightclub that led you to find one another?”

“And it’s been a whirlwind of events since!” I exclaim. “Finally finding someone who believes I am trans, starting a new school, discovering I have an Elven bloodline, then discovering magic, and this entire society that lives alongside humanity that I never even knew about!”

“And she already has a girlfriend.” Rose teases me, causing me to blush.

“I can imagine it is a lot to take in in just a month.” Danielle looks thoughtful. “I was raised in this community. At that I’m not allowed to talk about it to family outside of our circle, and I even have to limit how much I tell Daddy… But I can talk about it to Nonna Gallo and Nana Montgomery. They love hearing about all the new things I’m learning!”

“Daddy?” I look at Rose quizzically.

“Travis and his wife Leilani lived with us for years. We were a family of 4 adults with children for a long time before we had to split ways. Polygamy is frowned upon in celebrity circles. Because Travis was the only male in the house, it was just easier for Danielle to call him Daddy, as did her brothers.” Rose replies.

“Oh. That makes sense.” I say thoughtfully, and Danielle smiles. I look at my new friend. “So you were raised by a father and three mothers?”

“Yeah, there’s not a lot you can get away with, having four parents.” Danielle giggles. “Specially when two of them always know what you’re feeling. There’s no lying to my mothers.” She says looking at Rose and Cassandra.

“Welcome to life with empathy.” Diane giggles. “I learned that lesson quickly as well.”

Luna and I glance at each other. We know all well what an empathic connection can do to two people. We smile and she nudges me affectionately. She’s keeping her love for me suppressed right now. I wonder if she’s worried that our relationship might get discovered. Rose has already picked up on it, but has said nothing.

“There was always someone there to pay attention to me though… Daddy loves to read stories, Maman and Mama would teach me new things, Mommy loves baking... It was pretty amazing.” She smiles and looks at her mothers. “When Daddy and Mommy moved out, auntie Dee moved in with us, so it’s been nice.”

Our food arrives, and Ashanna wants to make a toast before we eat. “To our newest member of the family. Today we celebrate Simiathalas being legally recognized as a Rasmussen.” She raises her glass. “Soon, her new identity papers will be filed, and her name change will be complete.” She looks to me with a motherly smile. “To my newest daughter, we wish you love, life and happiness.”

We all toast our glasses, and everyone congratulates me.

We dig into our meals, and Danielle looks thoughtful. “So, you’re human?”

“For now, we’re working up to a ritual that will reconnect me with my Elven bloodline.” I nod.

“Oh. So living with two vampiric drow doesn’t bother you?” She gives me a curious look.

“Luna and Ashanna have shown me nothing but love and support. More than my birth parents ever did. I trust them more than I would anyone else.” I say looking at my adopted family. Luna gives me a smile and leans her head on my shoulder. I can feel she rather give me a kiss, but this display of sibling affection is all she dares show right now.

“Speaking of ritual…” Melody comments. Vampire ears are so keen.

“I’ve reached out to Lyric.” Angel adds to the conversation. “She’ll be here this weekend for you to discuss what you’ll need. Am I to assume that you need more than just her for this ritual?”

“We will.” Ashanna answers. “We’ll need up to four Elves to assist. Three at least, and we would appreciate Druids.”

“I’ll let you explain that to her when she gets here.” Angel smiles. Her smile is so radiant.

Ashanna then looks to Melody. “Can you ask Master Phan to assist as well? I know his talents and they will be needed if anything were to go awry. I would ask him myself, but we have a… history. He trusts you more.”

“You know my master does not hold you responsible for your sister’s actions, I have told you that before.” Melody says sipping some wine.

“Sister?” I quirk an eyebrow.

“We have an aunt.” Luna answers my question. “Emmya’s twin sister is ever the evil drow our race represents. She’s an assassin working for what’s left of the vampire collective. Pray that you never meet her, she’s cruel, vile...”

“And not welcome in our household.” Ashanna finishes. “You will always be safe with us.”

I smile to my mother. Yes, I can truly call her my mother now. “I trust you. But if she is your twin, how would I ever know?”

“Unlike my daughter and I, my sister Alhanna is cruel. The scent of death surrounds her. Most say they can feel her presence, it is that evil. As a Druid, such a creature should be noticeable to you.” Ashanna says in a bitter tone.

The bond you share with your adoptive family, you will always notice when something is not right, child.” My godmother comforts my worry. “Besides, have you noticed that you are rarely alone?

“So you’re going to be an Elf?” Danielle breaks me from my dark thoughts.

“If all goes well with the ritual, yes.” I smile.

“How does that work? It must be really strong magic that will make such a thing happen?” Danielle says amazed.

Lairelindë says something, and I nod. “Touch my pendant, my godmother will explain everything to you.”

“Your godmother?” Danielle says confused. Rose nods, and so Danielle doesn’t hesitate to touch the emerald pendant.

Danielle’s eyes go ‘vacant’ for a few moments as Lairelindë pulls her in for a deep conversation. Almost like a dream-state, I saw it only took moments for my godmother to explain everything to Sala’s father. As I look at Danielle, her eyes go from a stone jade to a crystal, jade iris. I wonder if that’s a sign of magic use? It must be. There is a slight glow to them.

Finally, Danielle lets go of the pendant. “That’s…. That’s incredible!” she gasps. “If that succeeds, you might become a stronger Druid than I’ll ever be a bard! And Nonna is already noticing I’m getting stronger than Maman was as a teen!”

I quirk an eyebrow. “The child of two magical families will often be stronger than their parents.” Rose replies.

“Like how my mundane parents birthed a Druid that has abilities beyond their comprehension?” I comment and Cassandra nods.

“Because of your bloodlines enabling you to do so much more.” Ashanna smiles. “Though your godmother coming out of the Dream… That process is really what led to the awakening you have right now.”

“So her transformation will strengthen her?” Rose looks at Ashanna curiously.

“Stronger than any Druid I’ve ever met, except maybe Penny, her earthly powers are unmatched.” Ashanna winks at my teacher.

“I have a feeling that Simiathlas will have more control over her powers than I do.” Penny responds. “Most of my talent is still untapped, I’m still learning new things - even after all these years.”

“And with her godmother’s guidance… yes, I see what you mean.” Ashanna says thoughtfully.

“Who’s this godmother that everyone keeps talking about?” Angel asks curiously.

“We can’t let Lairelindë out here, that would draw too much attention.” Emenya cautions. “We drew one of Simia’s ancestors from the Dream by her request. It allowed the birth of my daughter’s powers and guidance on what is to follow. She is now bound to the amulet. Give angel your pendant dear, let her show our friend like she did Danielle.”

I nod and take Lairelindë off of my neck and hand the emerald necklace to Angel. “Just touch the gem, you don’t have to wear it.” I say as she takes the chain in her hand.

Angel does as requested, and her beautiful blue eyes turn crystalline. So that is a hint that magic is being used… There is a slight glow in the ocean blue iris as Lairelindë introduces herself to my idol. Oh, I wish I could be part of their conversation

“That is incredible!” Angel gasps when her focus comes back to the table. “You’ve learned so much in such a short time Simiathlas, however have you made sense of it all?” She hands me back the amulet.

“My godmother has spent many nights in the Dream with me, teaching me, showing me new things, guiding me on my next steps.” I say putting my necklace back on. “When I wear the pendant, she is a passenger in my mind. She can experience the world through my senses and will speak to me in my mind. It’s like having a constant tutor and mentor at all times. I actually miss her when we’re not connected.”

“Which reminds me. Lairelindë won’t be worn when you take your exams, young lady, that would be an unfair advantage.” Cassandra says in a serious tone.

I’m initially shocked, but then remember that mid-terms are coming soon, and I need to prepare to take the exams on my own. “I understand.” I say with a nod.

“Good, so we won’t have this as an argument later.” Cassandra smiles. “You are very smart, I have full faith in your own abilities in my class.”

Dinner conversation switches to the adults talking about, well, adult things. Most of us are finished eating. This is just a social situation now. So, I get to know my new friends Danielle and her siblings. The boys aren’t as talkative as their sister is - even though Paul says he’s in drama after school. Luna gets involved in some of our talk, but we’re all much younger than her, so there are some topics that she’s unfamiliar with… Like the latest Digi Critters and their abilities. I discover Danielle is in Scouts and ask if there’s a way to get into her troop. I still have another few years that I can partake. I’m almost an Eagle Scout. If my previous badges can be transferred to my new name, I could be a tremendous benefit to her troup.

I impress Danielle with my skills, she’s just earned her Pathfinder Scout rank and is struggling to continue. Rose was a Scout, and encouraged her daughter to follow, as it teaches one so many useful skills. We trade a scout handshake and Danielle is so happy she gets it correct on the first try.

I notice Rose is keeping a watch on our conversation; she seems to really appreciate that Danielle and I are getting along so well. I really don’t know why she’d be worried. Daughter like mother, Danielle is friendly, cheerful, energetic and totally likable. I look forward to us becoming good friends. She reminds me of Ruby, who I haven’t spoken to since I ran away. I really need to reconnect to my old friends now that my name change is going to be official.

We end the night with hugs, and I have a few new numbers to my phone. I’m so ecstatic when Angel gives me a hug, it’s like a dream come true! She says she’ll put an autographed picture on my social media page, I’ll be the envy of all my friends that I met Angel in person!

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