Lilly was 18-years old and despite turning a year older, hated she wasn’t able to leave their house on the lake for a city university, not the prep-college in town; Lilly’s family had for generations owned a winery near her current university in Napa. After a dull birthday party she swung to-and-fro on her treasured porch swing, and scowled at the lake — her charcoaled eyes brimming tears; Lilly wondered how much criticism she’d have to endure until she could attend any university she desired in Fall. She had achieved the SAT grades for a scholarship far from the winery and her Aunt’s persistent nagging and constant mention of Lilly’s waistline; she longed for the days could attend school far north in Canada without perpetual hunger.
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this month’s fairy Tale prompt. The prompt is: “imagine an evil force be it witch or some other dark force has cast a spell on you. What form does the spell take, are you frozen in time as in the above image? Are you cursed in a different way?”
Berjlot was a pretty girl with her father’s white-blond hair and her mother’s curls. She also had her mother’s mysterious green-eyes and delighted the entire viking village with her presence.
Asta, Berljot’s mother, had been in labour for hours the night Berjlot was born. The baby wouldn’t come out so Astab finally told her husband Bjarke that he must allow the midwife to cut her belly open and save their babe.
Bjarke felt great pain in his heart when his wife asked him to do allow the midwife to cut the baby out. But he knew he could not lose both Asta and the baby and survive himself.
Cutting the baby out (a much worse version of a c-section) was newer concept which the village midwife had suggested hesitantly. There wasn’t anything to help Asta from the pain but some whiskey. She drank all she could and screamed in pain as her baby Berjlot was born.
Asta named her child Berjlot or “Light will save,” and soft light was exactly what Asta saw as she entered Valhalla. She bled out before the midwife could attempt to stitch her up. Chances were Asta would have died from infection anyways.
Bjarke held his little girl Berjlot proudly. She was his and Asta’s last child, her four-older brother’s were nearly men. But the baby girl was a light to her father and helped him survive the loss of his wife Asta (“divine beauty”).
Bjarke whose name meant “bear” was indeed, built like a bear and so were his four sons. They helped their father fell logs. Bjarke was now considered an older man and he would need the help of his son’s to survive.
He had a been a great ship builder but was now arthritic and in pain. He spent most of his time keeping his eye on little Berjlot who spent her days enchanting those around her, a light to the entire community.
Some of the other women taught Berjlot the necessities of life as a viking woman. Berljot seemed to easily learn how to sew and cooked delicious meals. She also helped with the shearing of sheep and weaving clothe.
Berjlot’s mother Asta, had also been an accomplished artisan so Berjlot learned the craft of jewelry making from an old women in the village named Ragna (“giving advice”).
As well as crafting fine jewelry, Ragna was a medicine women and a pagan witch. Most people were afraid to be near her but Berjlot had no choice as she was the only other women who knew her mother Asta’s craft of jewelry making.
She was a talented girl and Ragna, seeing her youth, beauty, and the skill with which Berjlot seemed to accomplish every task, became seethingly jealous of the girl. Even at her young age and artisan skill level, Berljot’s jewelry was sought after.
She was only ten-summers but Ragna was envious of the girl she knew would grow up to be a beautiful woman and likely out rank her being from a powerful family.
The witch had always despised the girl’s mother Asta for her goddess-like beauty and her gift of creating beautiful jewelry of better quality than Ragna’s designs.
One day when Berjlot had a cough, Ragna, playing the kindly old woman she always played around Berjlot said to her:
“Poor dear, I will make you a potion which will rid of you of your awful cough. We can’t have it get into your lungs. Bjarke would be devastated if he lost his only daughter.”
Berjlot accepted the purplish potion Ragna wanted her to drink. It smelled awful and smoke whirled from the earthen cup but the girl drank the potion trusting Ragna as her Oma.
Suddenly, Berjlot hiccuped. She felt a strange sensation as her body changed from that of girl into a stunning light-haired wolf. She knew her father and brothers would never recognize her in this form and so did Ragna.
Berjlot cried the tears of a wolf and old Ragna laughed at her. She made it appear as if a wolf had eaten Berjlot.
“Bjarke,” Ragna cried. “A light-haired wolf ate your daughter. See? I have her bloodied and torn dress here. There was nothing I could do.” Ragna wept and made it appear as if she was broken-hearted at losing Berjlot.
Bjarke was devastated. Berjlot was the light of his life and his health failed rapidly after losing his daughter. He was soon set out down the nearby river in his funeral pier set aflame to join his wife Asta.
Bjarke’s oldest son Dag took over the boat building business with his three brothers and his best friend Asmund (“Divine Protection”). After they had spent time in mourning for their father they and the other men from their settlement, went into the woods and destroyed all the wolves they could find –even the pups. They never forgot about their little sister Berjlot who had brought such joy wherever she went.
Eight-years passed. Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were prosperous men in their viking community building ships and amassing a great amount of land and wealth. Asmund, in particular, was considered a fine catch for marriage but had not found a wife to his liking; Dag and his brothers had already married well.
Asmund was out walking in the forest one night when he saw the most striking female wolf beneath a tree in the moonlight. She had mossy green-eyes which were extremely unusual for a wild animal such as a wolf.
He was surprised when the wolf jumped on him when he wasn’t paying attention. He was set to bring his small ax down on the wolf when she lay down on top of him gently and peered at him with sad eyes. She talked as wolves did, pawing at him, trying to get Asmund to understand something through her barks. He laughed and petted the beautiful wolf as she slept on him.
The next morning Asmund awoke and the wolf was gone. He thought he’d only dreamed of her. When he went for a walk in the forest several nights later, he again saw the same beautiful wolf.
She playfully tackled him to the ground and barked at him, trying to make him understand her wolf song. When that failed, she lay her head beneath his chin, and slept on top of him as before.
The light-haired and green-eyed wolf barked and slept with Asmund every night he came out into the woods, always burying her nose under his chin.
One night, Ragna the old witch noticed Asmund asleep with the wolf she knew was Berjlot, snuggled half on top of him. The witch plotted to kill Berjlot once and for all and told Berjlot’s oldest brother Dag about the strange looking wolf she’d seen around the forest.
Dag and his younger brothers went to find and kill Berjlot the following night with Asmund. But when they found the wolf with the light-fur and moss green- eyes, Asmund begged them not to kill her.
He told Dag the light-haired wolf had become his pet and was docile. Berjlot approached her brother Dag and bowed, she did any trick her brother or his bestfriend Asmund told her to do.
When wicked Ragna saw the brothers had not killed Berjlot in wolf form (and instead, were going to adopt her as a kind of pet) she ran out to kill Berjlot with her sharpest knife. Ragna poisoned the tip of the knife so even if it nicked Berjlot the wolf, it would kill her.
Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were shocked to see the old witch after the wolf they had befriended. They caught and disarmed Ragna before she harmed the wolf. When Ragna was disarmed she turned to run back to her cottage but Berjlot jumped on her, tearing out the witches throat.
Immediately, the light-haired green-eyed wolf turned into a young woman of about eighteen. She was beautiful with her long wavy-blond hair, exotic green eyes, and white skin. Dag’s three younger brothers immediately recognized their sister from her moss green-eyes.
“Berjlot is that you?” They asked, overjoyed to see their sister alive.
“Yes it’s me,”Berjlot said crying. She hugged her brothers, including Dag. They were a bit sensitive about her being naked with Asmund around. He generously gave Berjlot his cloak to cover herself with.
“The witch Ragna pretended to be my Oma,” she told the men gathered. “Ragna was jealous that I was prettier than her, and that our mother Asta was prettier than her too. She hated that I did all my tasks well, especially jewelry making. When I had a cough, she gave me a steaming purple potion. I trusted her and drank the potion and she turned me into a wolf.”
“That’s terrible,” Dag shouted, angry for his sister. “Your death is the reason our father became ill and died. I’m sure the gods are pleased you ripped out the witch’s throat.”
Berjlot sobbed upon hearing about her father’s death. When Asmund comforted her with a hand on her shoulder, she looked up at him with adoration in her eyes.
“I was almost killed when the men from the village wiped out all the wolves but somehow I thrived, even as a wolf. I thought I would always be a wolf until I saw Asmund one night.” Berjlot blushed when she said Asmund’s name.
“Each night Asmund came out to the forest, I pounced on him and tried to tell him what happened to me, but my words only came out as barks or noises as a dog would make. But he kept coming back almost every night and I slept with my nose snuggled beneath his chin.”
“Is this true?” Dag asked his best friend whose face reddened when he gazed at Berjlot in his cloak.
“Yes, it’s true,” Asmund admitted. “I fell for Berjlot. Somehow the gods made me see how noble and beautiful she was even as a wolf. She’s an even more beautiful woman then she was a wolf.”
“I would be honored if you would allow your best friend and partner in business, to be a husband to your beloved sister,” Asmund asked. To him Berjlot was a light he could not live without in his life. He loved her as a wolf and more so as a woman.
Dag and his brother’s huddled together talking while Berjlot stared anxiously at Asmund. She came up to him and snuggled her head beneath his chin, showing her affection and gaining Asmund’s comfort.
“At last, I get to see you in my human form,” Berjlot told Asmund. Both lovers were overcome and wanted to do much more than stand not touching but for Berjlot’s hair cushioning Asmund’s chin.
Dag and his three other brother’s broke from their meeting with happiness. They agreed Asmund would be the perfect husband for their sister because he loved her and watched out for her, even when she was only a beautiful wolf. Thus, they set the betrothal date to that moment and day.
Asmund offered up sheep for wool and jewels as a dowry for Berjlot and they married in a magnificent ceremony in the village. The gods had allowed Berjlot to return from the dead and for two powerful families to be joined in marriage with days of feasting and celebration for the whole community.
Both Asmund and Berjlot lived happily ever after (as best as you could in that time and place).
Someday, I will take pictures of my neighbourhood as I walk. It is not the prettiest right now. It has been a light winter in Alberta. There has been little snow and cold days. In fact, a day or two ago it was twelve degrees Celsius, that’s nearly shorts weather up in Canada lol. But, on my walks I keep forgetting to take pictures, even though there is no snow, and their is a bunch of litter about, as you see with spring temperatures.
For now, I’ll take you through “selfie” moments in life:
“Kasia, are you finished packing?” Jolene asked her daughter.
“Yeah, I’m good Mom, but I had to get another suitcase. I did more shopping then I thought.” Kasia was huffing and puffing as she dealt with her suitcases, bringing them outside Chateau Blanc for Luc to load in an SUV.
“I’m not ready to leave Mom. I’ve had such a fantastic time here, seeing Auntie Cathy and hanging out with Damon.” Kasia sighed. ” I can’t believe I didn’t meet him until a month and a half ago . . .and you’re leaving Luc behind too?” Kasia exclaimed with surprise.
“Kasia,” Jolene said. “We have to go back to Ottawa for awhile at least. Auntie Cathy will be moving into a condo close to where we live soon. She only has to finish training her replacement event planner and do a bit of packing.” Jolene cleared her throat reaching for a bottle of water in her purse.
” Luc owns Chateau Blanc but he’s found an experienced caretaker to keep the place running. Luc’s a trained architectural Engineer and he’s taking a job at an Engineering Firm in Ottawa. He’ll have a great deal of input on projects and doing them to LEED standards around the world. You know he is passionate about the environment…” Jolene said shrugging with a smile.
“What about Damon? How will I see him. If I’m supposed to travel around with you and have a tutor for high school, when will I see Damon?” Kasia asked worriedly. “I’ve been saving money to travel. You know, the money I made modelling for La Petite Mademoiselle and a few other shoots, Simon, your agent, could find for plus-sized models in Nice… How will you see Luc if we’re always travelling?” Kasia asked. Jolene smiled as Kasia peppered her with questions. They’d both been extremely occupied the last few weeks.
“There is going to be some changes, Kasia. I’m not going to model anymore. I will have business trips with La Petite Mademoiselle in Europe. I have hired a couple of Presidents for the Canadian and United States chains. Judy thought it was a great idea, she wants to travel more with her husband.” Jolene explained.
” Judy and I will be dealing with our expansion into France and into other select European cities. You will have occasions where you will be able to come to France with me or Luc and see Damon, while you work on Grade Ten material with your tutor. Damon maybe in Grade Twelve, but he also has his last year of high school to get through in Nice.” Jolene reminded Kasia.
“I think, it’s best to keep most of your modelling work for La Petite Mademoiselle, until you are eighteen. I don’t want to overwhelm you when you need to focus on school. Not to mention, I would like for you to still put a shift in every week in our flagship store in Ottawa when we are home. It will help you to know how our company works on the ground level.” Jolene added. Kasia sighed, not completely happy with her Mom’s solution for Kasia’s schooling and work. Would she get to see Damon enough between work and school? What if Damon forgot about Kasia for some other girl?
“So, if you’re busy overseeing things in Europe, how will you organize your schedule with Luc’s” Kasia asked Jolene.
Jolene’s face lit with a smile. “I have something to tell you… I’m getting married to Luc! He asked me last week. It was so hard for me not to tell you. I wanted to wait for the perfect time, I suppose that’s now.” General shrieking ensued and the details of the proposal were shared.
” Luc will be doing some projects in Europe as well, so all three of us will often be back at the Chateau Blanc and Auntie Cathy is welcome, whenever she wants to come along.” Kasia was taken aback. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Kasia was overjoyed Luc would be her step-dad. Her only Dad, as far as Kasia was concerned. She missed Damon alread, even though he was chatting with Luc. He had come to the Chateau to see Kasia before she went back to Canada. “Damon,” Kasia called. . .
An iPhone began ringing and Jolene felt her pocket buzz. Her face went pale when she saw the number on the phone. It was Scott’s work number. Jolene felt sick. She hadn’t heard from Scott since she left Nice over five-years-ago. Jolene wasn’t ready to talk to Scott. But perhaps, she should accept his call and tell Scott once and for all, to leave her alone.
“Hello” Jolene said quietly, walking away from Kasia.
“Hello Jolene,” Scott said.”Nice of you to get in touch with me when you were here.” Jolene said nothing at first.
“Why would I want anything to do with you Scott. I don’t love you anymore and I’m not attracted to you. Our time together is a lifetime away, I’m getting married.” Scott laughed
” So, I heard. It took you a long time. It was difficult getting over me, huh?” Scott said.
” And why is that?” Jolene questioned Scott.
“Because you will always have me in our daughter, Kasia. She looks a lot like me you know. You should have told me about her.” Scott said sounding wounded.
” How did you find out about Kasia? You can’t have her. She’s mine, my daughter — not yours. You wanted me to abort her.” Jolene said furiously.
“Kasia came to visit me a couple months ago. She wanted to meet me. I can’t blame her. She’s a smart girl and tracked me down.” Scott remarked.
“Damn it,” Jolene said, “Auntie Cathy told her everything. I knew we should have kept our mouths shut about you, Scott. You stay away from Kasia, I mean it! I can afford a great lawyer these days so don’t try anything. You are not allowed to see Kasia until she’s eighteen. Then, it is her choice, unfortunately.”Jolene yelled into her phone.
“Relax, Jolene. I don’t want anything from you or Kasia. Kasia wanted to meet me but she doesn’t want a relationship with me. She also told me to stay away from her and you.” Scott said hushing Jolene.
” I don’t need Katrina finding out I have an illegitimate daughter, who might be a threat to the money Katrina brought to our marriage. She wouldn’t like it if Kasia inherited anything. Additionally, having somewhat a relationship with my own daughter Sara and my boys is hard enough.” Scott told Jolene, tiredly.
“So, what are you calling about then?” Jolene seethed.
“I need to apologize,” Scott admitted to Jolene.”It was wrong of me to tell you to get rid of Kasia when she was barely a person. I saw her at my office and I’m so thankful you never got the abortion. She’s a beautiful girl and I have no doubt she will be as successful in life as you Jolene.” Jolene couldn’t believe Scott was apologizing.
“Kasia hates me for trying to have her aborted and that bothers me. I couldn’t stand it if my daughter Sara was as mad at me, as Kasia is mad at me,” Scott admitted. “Kasia is also upset because of what I did to you. I can’t change myself Jolene. I am who I am.” Scott said.
“But, I regret cheating on you the entire time we were together, when you were off modelling. I was never your ‘one,’ and only guy. I’m no women’s ‘one.’ I’m my own guy. I like to be in control and be with whoever I desire. Katrina understands this, she has had a long-time affair with another man. Kasia believes that guy provides for Katrina, what I should be providing for her, love and attention.” Scott said, his voice scratchy. Admitting his faults was hard for him, Kasia had made him think.
” I’m sorry I met so much to you Jolene. I wish I hadn’t met much to you. I would have broken it off sooner, but I had plans…”
“You are and were selfish Scott,” Jolene shouted.” You never cared about my feelings or what I thought about something. You even tried to tell me I was pretending I wanted a baby — which is why I never told you about Kasia.”
” It wouldn’t have mattered had you told me you had had our baby. My Dad said Katrina was the right wife for me. She is in a sense. . . What I wanted to tell you though is for Kasia: Do not let her end up with a guy like me. I told Kasia ‘boys will be boys’ and that men naturally cheat. She called me on it and I thought about it and she’s right, not all men cheat. My half-brother for instance, is faithful to his wife. He works at the company with me.” Scott said.
” Kasia needs to find a guy like my half-brother. Not like me or her Grandpa. And tell her Scott said he will do his utmost to ensure someone like him does not marry her half-sister Sara.” Jolene pressed the phone to her ear. She was amazed at what Scott told her.
“For real, that’s all you want?” Jolene stuttered. “You want Kasia to end up with a kind and faithful partner? You aren’t trying to get me to sleep with you or have an affair with you? You promise to leave Kasia alone, even though I never told you she was your daughter?” Jolene could barely say anything she was so surprised by Scott’s reason for calling. She heard him sigh on the phone.
” As far as I’m concerned Jolene, you and I are done. I have my life and you have yours. We may be connected by Kasia but I promise, I won’t interfere in your lives. If Kasia in the future, wants to contact me so I can help her get into a prestigious university, I can help her, it’s the least I can do.But I have one request Jolene. . . ” Scott’s voice sounded sad to Jolene. She didn’t remember Scott ever sounding emotional.
“Please send, me a picture of Kasia once in awhile on your phone. Not often, just so I know she’s okay.” Jolene couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She kept her voice neutral.
” I can do that, if Kasia doesn’t mind. I will tell her what you said,” Jolene remarked. “I’ll mention you can get her into a prestigious university, no strings attached. And I will definitely make sure she never falls for a man like you.”
“Great. . . gotta go Jolene. My 3:00 pm is here. Good Luck.” Scott said distractedly. Jolene heard the phone click and knew, Scott had moved on. She couldn’t blame Scott for that. It was time for Jolene and Kasia to move on in life as well.
I watch my niece as she finishes walking down the aisle. Beneath her veil, her face is glowing. Her eyes are fixed lovingly on her fiancé, Luc Devereaux.
Luc has a giant grin on his handsome face. He told me earlier, “Aunt Cathy, I can’t believe I get to marry Jolene. I always thought and dreamed about her. She’ll be my wife, and I get a beautiful step-daughter too.”
I carefully patted my new nephews arm. He used to be my boss but now, I am his cherished Auntie.”You’re perfect for Jolene and Kasia. You’re all exactly what the three of you needed, ” I tell Luc.
I see Luc take Jolene’s hand and slide on her wedding band. Jolene does the same for Luc. Beautiful Kasia is her Mom’s maid of honour in a couture pink gown.
But Jolene is simply stunning, channeling Grace Kelly. She is the perfect vintage leading lady in her bridal gown, except for one thing. Jolene’s back reveals a tattoo I never knew she had until I helped her change into her dress this morning.
Jolene’s tattoo is a quote that reads: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is all you have to be.”
Jolene’s tattoo demonstrates all that she has come through in life to be at the the altar with her ‘one,’ Luc. It tells me Jolene will be strong whatever she faces in life. But she isn’t alone. She has Kasia, Luc, and as always, her Auntie Cathy who had the pleasure of walking her cherished niece, down the aisle.
Part 5: Never Again – Kasia Meets Scott (her Dad.)
(A month later).
Kasia was walking around a neighbourhood in Nice, shopping for Spring. She remembered a time when it was difficult for her mother Jolene to make ends meet.They could afford only items which were majorly on sale, or search for quality items of clothing from the thrift store. Sometimes, Kasia still found an item or two at the thrift shop.
Although, Kasia preferred to buy from La Petite Mademoiselle, her mother’s clothing store chain because of the sizable discount Kasia received, sometimes she enjoyed buying a few fashion pieces at some more unique boutiques. A sky-blue silk scarf and a shiney pair of gold leather heels, were Kasia’s unique fashion finds this day. Jolene wouldn’t be expecting Kasia to be home for a few hours. Kasia had planned her trip that way, she had someone she needed to visit before she went home.
Kasia had enjoyed spending a great deal of time back at the Chateau with her Auntie Cathy over the past month. Cathy had shown Kasia old pictures of her Mom, as well as pictures of Kasia’s Grandparents. Kasia pointed out how beautiful Aunt Cathy was in some of her old pictures. Cathy smiled at her and changed the subject, showing Kasia pictures of her deceased husband Henry and telling Kasia stories of how Cathy and Henry met. Kasia had sipped her wine, while Aunt Cathy talked. She wasn’t paying much attention to Aunt Cathy’s repeated story but Kasia perked up when Aunt Cathy flipped to photographs of Jolene with a handsome young guy. Jolene seemed to be in many pictures with this one boy.
” Who’s that?” Kasia asked Aunt Cathy. Cathy’s hesitation was all Kasia needed. “That’s my Dad, Scott right?” Kasia exclaimed. Cathy bit her lip and worried it between her teeth. She looked back at Kasia.
“Yes, that is Scott Jeune. Please, Kasia stay away from him. He’s not a nice man. Your Mom never told you about him sooner because he is selfish and arrogant. You don’t need him and his problems in your life. You are still so young Kasia, barely fifteen-years-old.” Kasia listened to her Aunt but in the back of her mind, she was already waiting for when she could be alone and Google Scott Jeune on her tablet. Kasia was going to meet her Dad one way or another, while Jolene was kept busy with meetings for work.
Jolene had been spending hoards of her time with the owner of the Chateau, Luc Devreux. Kasia couldn’t remember her Mom actually dating a man more than once or twice. Her Mom always came home upset and dejected after the few dates she had. Luc was a fun guy and he made Jolene happy. Kasia couldn’t believe how light-hearted and content her Mom was when Luc was around.
Best of all, Luc was aware of how special Kasia was to her mother. Luc wasn’t outgoing as Jolene was, but he was a dependable and kind. He was the complement to Jolene’s outgoing personality. Luc was helpful, thoughtful, and a good listener. He invited Kasia along with him and Jolene often, but Kasia knew her Mom needed alone time with Luc too. Kasia was glad her Mom had someone to spend alone time with.
Kasia was a teenager and boys her age, were mostly in an awkward phase — even though she was friends with many of these boys. Kasia was often attracted to guys a bit older then herself, to her Mom’s horror. The last guy Kasia had liked had been eighteen.
Nevertheless, Kasia took a taxi into Nice today. Shopping was Kasia’s coverup story, because most of her time would actually be spent talking with her Dad. Kasia had made an appointment with Scott Jeune, through his assistant. Scott worked at Jeune Incorporated. Kasia had no idea what she would say to him, or if Scott would even believe she was his daughter. She simply wanted to meet Scott, to confirm in person, who her Dad was.
Kasia wouldn’t go as far as saying she wanted to spend time with Scott, after she met him. She didn’t want to cause trouble for her Mom, going to see Scott; her Mom had kept herself and Kasia hidden from Scott for five-years. But Kasia felt she had a right to know her own father. Anyone, who saw them together and had eyes, would know Kasia was Scott’s daughter. Kasia had seen how similar she appeared to a young Scott in Auntie Cathy’s photographs.
When Kasia arrived at Jeune Incorporated, she checked in with a receptionist and was directed to Scott’s office, to his Personal Assistant. Kasia felt nauseous as she waited to meet Scott, she wondered if she was making the right choice coming to Scott’s office.
The green tea Kasia drank made Kasia’s stomach upset and she jerked when Scott’s assistant told her, ” Mr. Jeune will see you now, Miss Gudroe.” Kasia nervously stood up and straightened her pencil skirt. She followed Scott’s assistant to his office and sat down on a soft leather chair. A skeptical pair of brown eyes assessed her. Kasia couldn’t breath, she was sitting in front of her Dad.
“Hello Kasia, pleased to meet you. I’m Scott Jeune. My assistant told me you say you’re related to Jolene Gudroe. I’m a bit confused; I’m not sure why she didn’t come here with you. You seem a bit young to be attending business meetings.” Scott said smirking. Kasia bit her lip, drawing a dot of blood.
“Well the truth is, Scott, I’m here alone. I made this appointment on my own and Jolene doesn’t know about it. I’m Jolene’s daughter. I’m here to see you because I only found out a month ago, that you’re my biological father.” Scott looked shocked.
“That’s not possible. Your mother and I broke up when we were twenty-one.” Scott said gruffly.
” Yes I know,” Kasia replied. “But she was pregnant and you wanted her to abort the baby. She only told you she aborted her baby. She was trying to hide her pregnancy from you and that is partly why you never saw her in person after you told her to ‘take care of me.’ Jolene kept me. I’m her daughter and your daughter too.” Kasia said, emotion evident in her voice.
Scott laughed. ” How much money are you after Kasia? I know a trick when I see one. You’ll get nothing from me. I hear your Mother is doing financially well, ask her for money.”
“It has nothing to do with money,” Kasia said firmly.”It has everything with me wanting to meet my Dad.” Scott shook his head in disbelief.” Look at me Mr. Jeune, can’t you see we look related. Besides not having your brown eyes, we look a great deal alike.”
Scott’s face had gone white.”Jolene didn’t abort the baby. You are that baby, that would make you fourteen?” Scott said.
” Actually, I just turned fifteen.” Kasia was happy to be a year older and closer to being more grown up.
” I can’t believe she never told me, ” Scott declared suddenly angry. ” What is wrong with Jolene. You have existed for fifteen years and she never once mentioned you.” Scott’s fingers dug into the leather of his armchair, making indents.
“Well,” Kasia said matter-of-factly, “It’s your own fault Mr. Jeune.” Scott looked taken aback by Kasia’s comment.
“Yes, I will tell you why. And I will also tell you why you are going to leave me and my mother alone, despite the fact I’m your biological daughter. I needed to see you today to ensure I was right, that you are my Dad. Looking at you I know. The timing of when my Mom was pregnant lines up exactly for when my mother was seeing you.” Kasia explained.
“You told her you weren’t ready to have kids. You wanted her to get rid of me as if my life was worth nothing. You tried to take away her right to choose. But she loved me even at a few weeks old and kept me. She was so hurt and mad at you, you just threw your money in Jolene’s face and said to her to get me ‘taken care of.’ I hate you for that.” Kasia paused, sipping a glass of water in front of her. Scott was rapt.
“My mother wouldn’t talk to you for a month because she didn’t feel she could tell you she was pregnant — you didn’t want me. And you always planned everything for her. You never gave her a say in your relationship. You wanted her to remain a skinny model and not to achieve her dreams of going to fashion school. Then, you told my Mother you wanted her to stay home and have kids and when a kid arrived, you wanted to abort me.” Kasia shouted.
“Not to mention, I’m aware of how you slept around behind my Mother’s back. My Mom only learned about this later. She loved you so much, she would never have cheated on you. When my Mom first told you she was pregnant, you were dating your wife, Katrina because she had money and did what you wanted her to do. You can control Katrina…” Kasia cried. Scott looked furious.
” You’re just a teenager, what do you know Kasia?” Scott shouted. “Don’t talk about my wife that way. I couldn’t handle a kid at that time I was working, building a future, doing my Masters in Business, and trying to keep up with your Mother’s career. She was always travelling. Jolene loved showing off and having people look at her. If I used her beauty to my advantage so what. She used it, why shouldn’t I as her almost fiancé.” Scott said.
“And yes, I’ll be honest with you Kasia,” Scott said lowering his voice, “I’m a handsome guy. I’ve had my share of women. When your Mother was away, I needed other girls to keep me occupied.It’s how men are. You should know Kasia, you’re a smart girl who undoubtedly attracts her fair share of boys. My best advice for you if I’m your Dad, is that ‘boys will be boys,’ Kasia.” Scott said this last part with ridiculous self-assurance.
Kasia thought Scott was a disgusting pig. Not to mention, if Scott was her Dad, she didn’t need to know about him sleeping around at any point in his life. Still, Kasia was curious how Katrina felt about Scott’s unfaithfulness.
“Does Katrina know you cheat on her all the time? Do your kids know you sleep around? Do you have sons you are teaching to treat woman as badly as you do?” Kasia asked softly. Scott didn’t look perturbed by her questions.
“Fair question,” he mused. “Yes, Katrina knows I sleep around. And she has an ongoing affair with a guy she met in Madrid, on vacation. I don’t mind honestly, it keeps her occupied from bothering me. Not that I’m not ‘with’ my wife often but she knows how it works in our marriage; in many marriages. Just as I said, boys will be boys –men will be men.” Scott smirked again, annoying Kasia greatly.
” And your kids?” Kasia asked Scott again. He shrugged.
“I have a daughter who is about twelve-years-old, and when she is ready to date, I will make sure she eventually finds a guy who will take care of her. I can’t help it if the guy is faithful to her, I wish I could. But I’m not a hypocrite and don’t expect different behaviour from other guys when I am not faithful to my own wife. Sara’s mother will help her to understand. Katrina grew up in a world where she learned exactly what men behaved like in relationships.” Scott said matter-of-factly.
“I have two boys as well. They are young yet, but I imagine they will be a chip off the old block; I was. Does that answer your questions Kasia?” Kasia was tired and Scott made her feel disgusted about all men. She hoped they weren’t all like Scott, or his Dad — her paternal Grandpa.
“You are awful Scott. I’m glad I never knew you were my Dad before this month. You’re supposed to be faithful to the person you marry, it’s a partnership. You don’t sleep around because you are supposed to love your spouse and be honest with them. Your view of marriage is screwed up Scott. ‘Boys will be boys,’ is a pitiful excuse you use to get away with being a coward and man-whore. No wonder Katrina has a long standing affair with another man. He’s probably treats her the way you should be treating her.” Kasia said angrily.
” My Mom always thought you were her ‘one and only.’ Then you tried to make her get an abortion. You dumped her two-months later. She never got over you and whenever she tried, you would contact her trying to hook-up and have an affair with her. She could never heal because you wouldn’t let her be. My Mom thought for the longest time she would only love you for life. But she was wrong, she is seeing someone now and he’s nothing like you, and I’m so glad.”
“Who’s she seeing?” Scott asked, “She still loves me. Jolene always will, this guy is only the newest model. Jolene was as much of a whore as I was.” Kasia shook her head in disgust at Scott’s jealousy and lies. She stood up and held out her hand. Scott appeared confused but he shook Kasia’s offered hand. His touch gave Kasia chills.
“Nice to meet you, mon pere, now stay the hell away from my Mom and me. Jolene hates you and so do I. I understand why my Mom never told me about you, she was ashamed of you. You are an ass and I never want to speak to you again and I want nothing from you. Don’t contact us ever.” Kasia screamed the last part and Scott was taken aback at her fury.
“Wait Kasia…” Scott tried to reason with her, ” you’re my daughter, you can’t introduce yourself and then tell me to leave you alone.” Kasia was already striding out of Scott’s office.
” I just did,” Kasia replied giving Scott the appropriate finger.