Dear Diary, I’m still in Storybrook, visiting my dad, step-mom and little brother. My step-sister is here, too, but she is leaving today to go back to university. She’s studying elementary education and it really seems to suit her. I wish I could get her to talk to me, but she’s still too angry with me to do anything but avoid me and glare.
I can’t say that I blame her for feeling the way she does but someday, I hope she and I can be friends as well as sisters again. As for Leela, I think she is relieved to have me here. And all the time, I thought it would be she who was the most furious with me. It just goes to show that people can really surprise you.
“When we found out where you were, I wanted them to bring you home immediately but your father had other ideas about it,” Leela was telling me.
Nodding, I said, “Yes, he told me he was thinking it would be good for me and that his health was beginning to fail.”
Her pretty hazel eyes glistened as she spoke, tears just waiting to spill, I knew. “He was determined to have a full recovery and in the meantime, he didn’t want you to see him that way.”
“I’m still just so mad at myself. I wish I’d been here. I could have helped.”
Lovingly, just like the mother I needed, she placed her hand over mine. “Blue, through it all, he has always known you love him. Never forget that because it would hurt him worse than anything else in this world if he thought you didn’t know.”
Covering my face with my hands, I all but wailed, “I was so blind! All I thought about was myself and the things that had happened to me. I never gave a thought about what he might be going through. We’d always been so close and I just ruined it! I want us to be that way again.”
Now, she gently put her arm around me, her hand lightly patting my shoulder as she let me cry. Once I’d collected myself, she said, “Do you know he said something very similar to that when he realized you’d run away?”
Wiping my eyes with my fingers, I looked at her in astonishment. “But how could he think something like that when he’s the most generous person I know?”
She shrugged slightly. “I guess he thought he could have done better. What I think, though, is that we should put this behind us. For good. I – I don’t know how much time he has left with us and it would be better if we made amends, don’t you think?”
I tried to speak but there was a huge lump in my throat stopping me. Instead, I nodded my agreement.
Then, with a firmness I needed to hear, she said, “We are going to spend all of the time with him we possibly can. We’re going to cherish what we have left and it will never feel as if we had enough time and we’ll miss him terribly. But when all is said and done, we will get through this as a family. All of us.”
I know she was attempting to be encouraging but the thought of my dad’s life slipping away from him – from us – was so abysmally sad, I didn’t see how I would ever recover from it.
“How do you get through something like this? I can’t stand the thought that he will be gone. My heart is so tight, it feels like it’s being twisted and torn right out of my chest.”
“It’s hard, isn’t it? Pretending around him that you’re happy,” she agreed, dabbing at her eyes.
“Leela, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but I’m so glad you married my dad. I’m so thankful that you’re in our lives.”
It was a rare moment, seeing her smile in appreciation at what I’d said. She had been right when she said how hard this was. If we all allowed ourselves to feel the devastation we were really experiencing, this house would be like a tomb already and we couldn’t have that. So, we had to carry on as if things were somewhat normal.
On a lighter note, Leela said, “You know, Leonardo thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread!”
“You’re a fellow equestrian and horses are basically all he talks or thinks about.”
“Kind of like Dad with his guitar,” I managed to laugh slightly. More than once, when I was a little girl, I climbed onto his bed for Saturday morning snuggles and hit my knee on something sharp. He had literally slept with his guitar. I imagine that stopped, though, when he married Leela.
She groaned with a small laugh as she thought about it. “Oh that guitar! You’d think he married that thing instead of me sometimes! Did you know he talks to it?”
“When I was little, he told me her name was Ginger. And when he had to fly with Accidental Therapy, he always bought the seat next to himself for her.”
Before we knew it, we were swapping “Leo Capra Stories” and genuinely laughing. I realized later it was because we loved him so much that we were able to do that.
For a while after speaking with Leela, I wandered around the backyard. All of the familiar stone pavers had been removed, leaving behind smashed grass that was paler than the rest. I thought perhaps it was a safety precaution because Dad could so easily trip on one.
Feeling restless, I sat at the table with paper and pen and began to write to Agathe.
I had only planned on writing something short, telling her I’d gotten here safely and didn’t know how long I’d be staying. But once I started writing, my pen flew over the page as if it had a mind of its own.
Gripping the writing utensil tightly, I told her everything. About the state my father was in and every last emotion that had hit me since I found out. I told her about Ruby’s reaction to me and about Leonardo and his horses. Then, I went back to my dad again and how kind Leela was. My hand ached yet I continued on until I couldn’t write another word. Putting the pen down, I stared at the words I’d scrawled so frantically and I felt spent. I felt like I could cry, but wasn’t able to.
When I heard Ruby approaching me, I quickly folded the letter, shoving it into the envelope and put it in my sweater pocket.
“Writing to your new family?” she sneered.
“I can’t tell you how sorry I am about how I left things,” I told her. “I know you don’t believe me, but I really mean it.”
Tilting her head to the side, she smiled condescendingly at me. “You’re just so full of shit, Blue.”
“I don’t know what to say to you, Ruby.”
“Maybe you should just keep your mouth shut then!” she suggested.
“That’s a good idea,” I said. “But before I do, I want you to hear me loud and clear. When I ran away, I was a selfish little girl, the clichéd angsty teen. What I did and how I treated you was one hundred percent wrong. Now you know that I know that. I hope – I really hope that one day we can be friends again.”
She glared at me for a moment and I almost thought she was going to rip me up one side and down the other. Instead, she turned on her heel and went inside.
Should I go after her? Try to make her see? Or was it completely pointless?
Before I could ponder this any further, my phone rang and I answered.
“Dax! It is so good to hear your voice!” And it was. At least he was my friend. Well, the last time I’d seen him, I’d yelled at him and ridden off with Matthieu. Hopefully, that was all water under the bridge now.
“It’s good to hear your voice, too,” he said. And I believed him. “Listen, I’m really sorry about the other day. I don’t know what came over me to fight with my own brother like that.”
“It’s okay. Let’s just forget about it, all right?”
I smiled a little when I heard him sigh with relief. “I was afraid you would never want to speak to me again.”
“Oh, Dax, I apologize for giving you that impression. It’s true, I was angry at the time, but I can’t ever imagine not wanting to speak to you again. Besides, with everything I’ve done in my life, I’m lucky anyone talks to me at all.”
“So, things aren’t going so well there?”
Pushing the numbness away as best I could, I explained to him about my father’s condition and how the doctor’s didn’t understand what exactly his illness was. I also told him about Ruby, Leonardo and Leela.
“Awww…. I’m so sorry. I wish I could hold you in my arms,” he breathed into the phone.
That’s when my tears filled my eyes again. “I wish you could, too. But I have to be strong for my dad. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, though.”
While the thought of returning to Winchester made me happy because it had begun to feel like home, it was the idea that I would be leaving because my father was no longer with us that crushed my soul.
“Actually, that’s why I’m calling.”
“Yeah, ummm Mango told me that you should bring your dad to the island as soon as possible.”
“What? That’s crazy! Doesn’t he know how ill Dad is? He can’t travel!”
“All I know is that Mango said that it’s imperative that Leo come to the island. He knows all about your dad’s condition and he said he wants to see him.”
“That’s ridiculous! He’s going to have to come here!”
“Blue, he can’t. He’s been hiding for a long time, but the lab is still looking for him. They are desperate to find him. Mango told me that before your dad dies, he wants to see him. Leo has to come to the island.”
“He’s just too weak! Mango is going to have to understand that!”
“Mango said he’ll be able to make the trip. And I believe him. He’s always right about everything, Blue. I trust him or I wouldn’t even call you about this. Besides, Mango is his uncle. They’re family and this is the only chance Mango will ever have of seeing him again.”
“It seems to me you care much more about how Mango feels about things than how my dad is feeling.”
He paused for so long, I almost thought he had hung up. Finally, though, he spoke. “I’m sorry. I’m honestly not trying to sound that way. I just… I really think you should do what Mango wants, though. He made it seem really important.”
It was useless arguing with Dax as his mind was made up. I told him I would do the best I could about it, but that I wasn’t making any promises. It seemed fool-hardy to even attempt this at this stage in things.
Needless to say, I grumbled to myself all the way to Dad and Leela’s room and sat on the bed again next to him.
As if we had never been apart, Dad read in my expression immediately that there was something going on.
“Spill it,” he said. “What’s up?”
Even so, I hesitated to even mention anything about Mango. The entire thing was just so crazy.
He watched me expectantly, seemingly more awake than he had been yesterday. “I know something’s up.”
I laughed slightly because I still couldn’t fool him. “Okay, well, it’s just so crazy, I don’t even know how to begin.”
His brows knitted together in deep thought. “Are you pregnant?”
My jaw dropped. “No!”
“Because I will absolutely murder the guy that touched you – ”
” – No, Dad. It’s nothing like that.”
“Suppose you just start from the beginning,” Leela said, not knowing she was basically saying the same thing to me that I’d said to Mango a while back.
“Good idea,” I agreed. Yet, it still seemed difficult to begin when you just didn’t see the supernatural happen in your life every day. I took a deep breath, then said, “Your Uncle Mango is alive and living in Winchester.”
Dad’s eyes grew huge. “Well, I wasn’t expecting that.”
“I know. But there’s more. He looks young still and his eyes glow.”
Luckily I had braced myself for the look that passed between Leela and Dad. They thought I was crazy, for sure. Still, I told them everything; the entire story about Mango and what really happened the day he disappeared. At least everything I knew.
“I know you must think I’m a few bubbles off plumb, but I’m being totally serious! You have to believe me about this.”
Dad stared into my eyes for what felt like an eternity then slowly said, “I believe you.”
“Leo, whatever is going on, don’t encour – ”
” – Mango wants you to come to Winchester to see him. He can’t safely leave there and I found out today that he is really wanting to see you.”
“This is insane! Your dad cannot travel! It would drain his energy – what if it makes him worse?”
“What if I want to go?” Dad asked.
“No, no, no!” Leela shouted. “This is not going to happen!”
Dad sighed and looked from me to her. “I want to go.”
And so we did.