Dear Diary, how can it be that it is already time to pass along this diary to my heir? It seems like yesterday that Momma and I were in the barn loft talking about what the legacy of our family meant. I was looking for that old, beat up trunk so I could fill it with my meager belongings and escape to the real world, far away from Winchester. Momma thought if she made me the heir, writing the diary would remind me that I had a family to visit now and again.
She was right, of course. Any time I needed advice, I knew Momma would be there to share her pearls of wisdom with me. And just like the good parent she’s always been, she never offered up that advice unless I asked for it. No, she let me experience life on my own terms without her interference. I think she knew that I needed to make my own mistakes and to also be responsible for my own triumphs as well.
There have been many times over the years when I wished I could have been even half the woman my mother is. Looking back through these pages, I can see the times I stumbled because of my own eagerness to have adventures, no matter the cost.
My saving grace was Xalen. How fortunate I was to have met him. He is my heart and soul, keeping me balanced and grounded when I am at my worst.
Don’t get me wrong, I think I balance him out, too. See? A perfect match.
I suppose I should get down to business with this passing along the diary thing. It pains me in a way because I can feel now how time has slipped by until I don’t know where it’s gone. On the other hand, writing my story down has been a burden I’ve endured simply because my mother asked me to carry on the family tradition. All I wanted was to experience life and live in the moment. Keeping a written narrative has forced me to live in the past and the future.
Which child should be my heir? I’ve been mulling this over for some time now and I’ve spoken with both Rosetta and Holden. Neither seems to have the desire to join The Inheritance, but I suppose that doesn’t matter in the long run and that fact should not exclude one twin over the other as far as carrying on the legacy goes.
My thoughts were suddenly brought back to the present by a loud banging on the door. When I opened it, there were two boys standing there. They did a lot of him-hawing around but eventually, I was able to ascertain they were friends with Fletcher.
Let me tell you a little bit about this Fletcher kid. The first time Xalen and I met him was on our summer vacation which we returned from about a month ago. My first impression was that he was pretty tough and maybe not even very nice. Rosetta regards him most of the time with slanted, glowering eyes if that’s any indication.
Holden, though, seems to have become very good friends with this boy and the more I get to know him and his circumstances, the more empathetic I feel toward him. From what I’ve gathered, the kids have known him for some time and whatever their experiences were with him, they weren’t what you’d call fast friends.
Since then, Fletcher, for reasons unknown to me, was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the tourist town we were vacationing in. As it turns out, the kids all ran into each other. Holden chose to overlook whatever it was that Rosetta still can’t seem to let go of.
“Why did you let them into our house?” Rosetta hissed at me now.
I stayed in the pool room not only to speak to Rosetta but to also keep an eye on the situation. It hadn’t escaped me that Christopher didn’t seem to like their presence in our house either.
“They’re thugs, mother!” she continued.
“They said they were friends of Fletcher’s and since he’s always here, I’m sure they’d like to see him,” I reasoned.
“Don’t go anywhere, they’re absolutely awful!”
“I won’t let anything bad happen,” Christopher said.
I glanced at the two boys as their voices became louder.
“OMG, I can’t believe you’re hanging out with this loser!” one of them said.
“Shut up, man, Holden’s cool,” Fletcher responded.
“He’s not cool, he’s a fairy!”
Now I was glowering along with Rosetta. Who were these kids and where were their mothers? Holden’s eyes locked with mine and he shook his head at me very slightly. He didn’t want me to interfere even though my first instinct was to drag these knuckleheads upstairs and throw them out.
“He’s not a fairy,” Fletcher insisted. “He’s a dancer and I decided that was cool!”
“That’s so not cool, Fletch! What’s wrong with you?”
Fletcher pointed a thumb toward Holden and said, “Look at this guy’s abs, man. He’s ripped. And he doesn’t lift weights, you know? He lifts ballerinas! I lift weights and I’m not as shredded as he is.”
“I still can’t believe this is you,” one of the boys said.
“I was wrong about him, that’s all,” Fletcher said. “Besides, we’ve been lookin’ at dance all wrong, you know? Seems like it’s the best place to meet cute girls. Holden’s actually really smart to have figured that out.”
“When did you start wearing flowers?” one of the boy’s asked, pointing at Fletcher’s swim trunks.
“What? These are cool!” Fletcher exclaimed. “You guys don’t have any taste.”
“What I think is you two are an item now,” one of the boy’s said with a loud laugh.
My blood was boiling even more and I wanted to step in and ask these kids who they thought they were, but my better judgment stopped me. It was clear Fletcher had his friends under control.
“So what if we are?” Fletcher asked, puffing his chest out and lifting his chin in defiance. “He’s a lot more fun to hang out with than you losers are.”
After some more ugly exchanges, the boys trudged back upstairs, and I assume, out of my son’s life. Thank goodness.
Fletcher watched stoically as his friends left.
“I’m sorry you lost your friends,” Holden said.
“Pffft,” Fletcher answered. “They’re no friends of mine.”
The corners of Holden’s mouth curled into a soft smile.
“In fact,” Fletcher continued, “they’re pretty ignorant.”
Rosetta’s expression softened and we smiled a little at each other.
“Well, maybe Fletcher isn’t that bad after all.”
“Yeah, right,” Christopher said. “I’ve still got my eye on him.”
I watched as Holden and Fletcher ran toward the pool, jumping in to throw a ball back and forth.
It almost felt as if my eyes were opening for the first time and that I was seeing my son in a new way. Were these two involved? And under my own roof? Obviously, I needed to find out.
Days passed and I pushed my heir problem aside to work on a case with The Inheritance. It was beginning to sound like only one or two team members would be needed for this one and Shelly volunteered to go.
“If it’s a real haunting,” I said to the team, “I would look into their remodeling of the house and see if it all began when the family started making major changes.”
“Yes, that is a good idea,” Xalen said. “Check over the usual.”
“I’ll go with Shelly and do an energy audit and test the electricity. It could be they’re even hearing something in their ductwork,” Owen said.
Xalen nodded. “Very good.”
“I think we should take another look at the Ridley case. I just got another email from Mr. Ridley stating the disturbances have started again.”
“I have the Ridley file right here,” Shelly mumbled.
Suddenly, the Ridley file was popping up on all of our screens. I didn’t remember the case at first, but then it hit me. If ever there was a haunted house, the Ridley place was it. A little thrill tore through my chest at the prospect of returning to a place that left me so deliciously scared.
“That place gave me the creeps,” Susan said with a shiver.
“Luckily, you’ll just be there to take photos,” I laughed, poking her under the table with the toe of my shoe.
She rolled her eyes. “Why, oh why, did I ever join you people?” She said this at least twenty times a day.
The next evening, Xalen and I were supposed to go to a fundraiser but there was something I needed to do.
After knocking on Rosetta’s bedroom door, I heard her call, “Come in.”
“Oh mother, you look absolutely sublime.”
I couldn’t help but smile as I’d never been called “sublime” before. It was such a pretty word. Yes, that was a mental note to add it to my vocabulary.
“Thank you, dear,” I said. “Listen, this is a bit awkward for me but I wanted to ask you about Holden and Fletcher – ”
” – I have no idea,” Rosetta interrupted. “If you find anything out, let me know.”
“Well, I thought you of all people would know.”
“Me, too, but, alas, my brother has taken to holding everything close to the vest these days. Especially relationship encumbrances.”
“Rosetta, relationships aren’t duties.”
She regarded me with that patient look she gets when she’s being patient in the face of my stupidity. I’m not sure when I became so dumb but it must have been recently.
“Don’t fret over Holden,” she said now as if it should be obvious to me that I was being ridiculous.
“Mother, he may not tell me everything like he used to, but I’m still looking out for the poor misguided and naive thing I call my brother.”
“Well, um, good,” I said. How could I argue with that?
Because the brownstone the kids were to live in when they graduated was in the city, we took to visiting it often. At every visit, Holden and Rosetta’s excitement rose to a feverish pitch. As a family, we took long walks in the park nearby, visiting their prospective school campuses and getting pizza.
There was something else that needed to be discussed this day for I could no longer put off selecting the heir for the family legacy. In a week’s time, the twins would have their eighteenth birthdays and they would want to get on with their lives as soon as possible. The torch was officially supposed to be passed by the time the heir became a young adult, so here we were.
As if reading my mind, Rosetta said, “Mother, Father, we’ve been wondering about something. Is there a reason the torch bearer has not been selected yet?”
Xalen and I gulped, then looked at each other.
“How did you guys know about that?”
Rosetta again turned to that patient expression I knew so well. “Well, we hope you won’t be angry with us, but we read the diary ages ago. Oh – not your part, Mother. That seemed wrong and incredibly invasive. We read the other parts. I was bored, you see, and looking for something to read – ”
” – Is it because you can’t decide who to pick?” Holden butted in.
Slowly, I brought my awe-slacked jaw back into its place and merely nodded at him. “I just didn’t know if either of you would want to do it or if whoever wasn’t chosen would feel slighted.”
“Just as we speculated!” Rosetta announced with triumph.
Holden looked a little more sober, which, I suppose, was not unusual for him.
“We decided I would do it,” he said. “Is that all right?”
“I’ll be much too busy taking over the world,” Rosetta smiled. “I want to be the leader of the free world. Holden will have much more time.”
Well, just when you thought everything was a royal mess, the twins went and surprised me again.
“Uh, sure, whatever you guys want,” I stammered.
Xalen slipped his hand around mine and squeezed gently. He didn’t have to say a word as I knew we were both feeling the same pride in our nearly grown children. Tears blurred my eyes and my heart seemed twenty times bigger than usual as I realized just how blessed my life was.
Author’s Note: So, there you have it, the Generation 5 Heir! I’m really excited to begin Holden’s story and don’t worry, Rosetta and Christopher will both be a part of the happenings.
My side story spin-off thingy called The Inheritance will begin soon and, of course, their first case will be all about the Ridley Haunting! Woot!
Remember that I have this coming week off, so there won’t be a chapter on Saturday (perhaps a sneak peek, though!). Generation 5 will begin on May 5.
Thank you again, so much, for participating in the voting. Below are some photos I’ve been playing around with and also a photo of the voting results. Let me know what you think!
Thank you for reading,