In the middle of planning their wedding, Eliana received a call from her sister Nicola. Their father, Robbin Baerwyn, had died at the hospital earlier that morning. He had fallen ill and been diagnosed with a rare blood-borne illness earlier that week. When Forest heard the news, he just nodded and said, “Yes, that makes sense.”
Eliana hung up the phone and walked straight up to her room and closed the door. Hunter stayed downstairs with Ash, looking worried, but he gave her space.
She came down a few hours later, dressed in her best black and violet dress. She crossed the room and took Hunter’s hand. “Let’s get married,” she said.
Hunter blinked. “Right now?”
“Yes. Right now.”
So they were married in the gazebo in the back garden under the stars, with just Sky, Forest, and the children in attendance. Sky slipped out to buy a birthday cake, and they ate it in the arboretum by Hunter’s garden. It was simple, spontaneous, and not terribly grand wedding, but Eliana and Hunter couldn’t have happier with it.
“So,” Hunter said when he’d swallowed his last bite of cake. “I found us a place that I think would be great for Meteor.” He looked at Forest. “I was thinking we were ready to move out.”
Forest, who was standing up with his plate, leaning against a support, nodded. “I think the obstacles keeping Eliana here have been dealt with.”
Eliana flushed and said nothing. Hunter squeezed her hand. “Then if you’re ready Eliana, I say we do it.”
Eliana’s look was fierce. “Let’s do it,” she said.
Within a couple of days, Hunter had purchased the property, a small rural lot with stables and a large garden plot. It was a big risk. The purchase wiped out everything he had saved from his produce business, and he would have to replant. Sky offered help from the Sample trust fund, but Hunter conditionally refused. He wanted to use it only if he had no other option. Still, it made Sky feel better that he had a net to catch him if he fell.
Most of Hunter and Eliana’s belongings fit into a couple of duffle bags. All too soon, Hunter stood at the door with a bag over his shoulder. “Guess this is it, sis.”
Sky hugged him tightly. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you,” she said.
Hunter hugged back. “I’m not that far away. You can always call. But I know you can do it.”
“I hope so,” Sky said. She watched the entourage straggle down the driveway: man, woman, toddler, wolf, fox, and dog. Riddle snuffled her hand. He at least was staying behind. The house seemed so empty with half of the residents gone.
And she had one more wedding to attend.
She dressed to the nines. She could go and be supportive, but she wasn’t going to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her at less than her best.
She was so worried about being late that she ended up being the first to arrive. The sat in the silence to collect her thoughts.
The chapel grounds were choked in pink, which is just what you’d expect.
And Leah was fairly glowing.
The guests filed in. Leah’s kid brother Raen was there with his fiance Mitchell Bachelor. They were quite a couple. Mitchell was in a tux, while Raen didn’t dress up at all.
And to her surprise, Xia Wu was there too. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, Sky was there. Sky would have waved to Xia, but it seemed like exactly the wrong thing to call Leah and Plum’s attention to them.
Leah and Plum posed for pictures before the ceremony.
“It was a beautiful wedding,” Sky tried. “I really hope you’ll be happy with Plum. She seems like everything… I… wasn’t.”
Leah looked lost at first.
Then she smiled. “I think I got it right this time,” she gushed. “Plum is the wife I always dreamed of.”
The contrast hung in the air between them. “I’m glad,” Sky said weakly. She turned away and went to pour herself some punch.
And ran into Xia on the way into the chapel.
Sky briefly considered teleporting away. She just wanted to be alone, and the last person she wanted to talk to was the woman who was the reason she’d lost her true love.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Xia said.
Sky shrugged. “I didn’t expect to see you either.”
“I guess both of us couldn’t help but wallow in our just desserts.”
Sky sighed, afraid she would lose her composure. “Leah and Plum may not realize it, but we probably did them a big favor. They’ll be happier with each other than they ever would have been with us.”
“Yeah,” Xia said wistfully.
Sky gulped and said her goodbyes.
Instead of heading home to relieve the babysitter, Sky found herself at Honeyduke’s instead, on the phone to Adam. Soon the remainder of Ghostwriter had collected together for an unscheduled performance.
She still had her music. In a very real way, it was the one true love of her life. If she looked at it that way, she was very lucky.
Once she was lost in the sharing of melodies with Adam and Garry, she could let herself feel optimistic. Her old life was torn down. All she had to do was be ready to build a new one.
Instead of being lost, she could be free.
This was a final oasis in a long desert of pictures.
I pulled the gorgeous wedding venue off DNA Request Team. I think it’s Lissykin’s.