The Marradith Ryder Series, The Art of Shadows: Part 45
Justin ran his hands over his hair, now fully awake. “Baby? Umm, how did you find that out about your Mom being in The Circle?”
“It doesn’t matter how!” Marradith yelled back. “When were you going to tell me?”
She was still in her gown, standing barefoot in their kitchen. Justin paused, considering what he could say that would not upset her more.
“Look. That’s between you and your Mom, and I was giving her a chance to tell you herself. Rafael and I talked about it months ago, and he believed that was the best choice. After all. Would you have really believed it if someone else told you that your Mom used to be an assasin?”
That’s a good question, Marradith thought. She wasn’t really sure that she would have, but she wasn’t about to let Justin off the hook that easy.
“Wrong answer, Granthem. You could have told me after we got married.”
“It wasn’t my secret to tell,” Justin replied. “Besides, what does it change?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, she’s still your Mom. You’re not going to love her any less. And we do nearly the same thing, don’t we? I’ve killed before. You have killed before. And we’ll both do it again.”
“I don’t know why you’re taking up for her…”
“I am taking up for you,” Justin said. “Listen. I really don’t know how this is all coming up now, but whatever happened, you need to talk to Nora about it. Pout if you need to. Scream. But get over it and move on. None of us has time for this shit right now. You’re about to fly out to California and I am not even going to see you for weeks.”
“When you married me, you became a part of the family. This became your business, too.”
“Alright. I’ll take responsibility for that. I hope you forgive me .”
Marradith didn’t know what to say. She turned away and filled her coffee cup.
“I don’t understand why she never told me,” Marradith said. “My parents kept me ignorant about their past–and my heritage–for far too long.”
“I can’t vouch for Nora,” Justin said. “But your Father talked to me about this when Scott was growing up. Your parents told him everything, about their pasts, about the Sojourners and the Circle. In the end, they felt that it was too much, and may have been part of the reason that Scott ended up the way he did. So when it came to you and Danny, they did their best to shield you both, as long as they could.”
“But how would this work?” Fiona asked. “You want me to take Keiko’s daughter? Your grandchild?”
Nora smiled. “This child would grow up knowing that she is a Ryder. You’ll raise her. Of course she’ll have all the extended family that she wouldn’t if you had a baby alone. If I don’t take the child, the Sojourners will arrange to have her raised at a Compound somewhere, as an orphan. I don’t want that. But I am realistic and realize that I am not ready for an infant. You said yourself that you don’t expect Rafael to pull through. And if he did, would you stay with him anyway?”
That was a question that Fiona was trying to avoid.
“I don’t know.”
As she looked at the baby, she could feel her eyes tearing up. She had begun to give up on the idea of being a mother. This child would need someone.
“Paul and I talked about this. We have three kids and that’s enough for us. This child wasn’t planned, but she’s here now. If you don’t feel able to take her, I’ll understand. I’ll make other arrabgements. But I’d like you to be the one.”
“What about Scott?” Fiona asked.
Nora shook her head. “He’s in no circumstance to be a parent,” she replied. “And he never knew Keiko was pregnant, anyway.”
“Any ideas for names?” Fiona asked.
Nora shrugged. “Not really. But I’m sure you’ll come up with something.”
©2011 Lori Titus
Hailey’s Shadow is now available on Amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Haileys-Shadow-ebook/dp/B0058TTS6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1309927919&sr=1-1