Adeline stared at the ceiling above her. She was tired of fighting. She wanted to give in. Now was as good as time as any, right? Audric claimed to have everything under control and maybe he did. Leaving her home…leaving her father and grandfather….it wasn’t what she wanted. She had told Charlotte it was a stupid idea, but her twin succeeded in throwing the child card at her. Of course, Charlotte had more of a burden on her, with multiple kids to worry about. She had the one unborn child. But still. This couldn’t have been the life Charlotte was expecting. It seemed like a giant doll house, where only two toys mattered, Barbie and Ken. In other words, Astra and Audric. This was some kind of fantasy for Astra, where the girl had literally anything she could want at her fingertips. All she had to do was sell out her family. Adeline hated thinking this about her little sister, but Astra was a traitor. Sure, she didn’t openly dismiss the family like Declan had done, but her allegiance was to Audric. She was positive that if push came to shove, Astra would choose Audric over the Grays.
How could she love someone whom she knew so little about? Two years in complete isolation had brainwashed her. She knew having her split up from the rest of the family when she turned 18 was a terrible idea. Adeline knew what it felt like to be hated by a sibling….to be mistrusted. But, the difference between her and Astra was that she did what she did to protect her family. Astra did rotten things for selfish reasons. Dionysus? He would have literally given Astra anything she had asked for. But what he had wasn’t enough, apparently. Not enough power, money, allure, mystery? This was some kind of sick fairy tale. She didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. If Audric was watching over the dimension, why Astra? Of all people, why her? Is it because she was naive enough to lead her family away from the real threat down in Moonlight Falls? Why was it that Adeline and Erik were expected to work tirelessly to decode some kind of Seer’s tale that he supposedly didn’t know the ending to. He was the dimension watcher! Didn’t he know?
What did Audric know that could protect her family? From where she was standing, it looked like he was just making things up as he went along. And Mason Moon? She felt his presence, and once Charlotte found out that the man was here, there would be nothing Audric could do to stop her rage. She clenched her fist. She was the big sister. She was supposed to protect Astra. She was supposed to be the one the girl could turn to. Everything was falling apart, and she didn’t want to be the adult anymore. She wanted to fall into her dad’s arms and cry. But that wasn’t an option. She let out a strangled cry and dug her face into the pillow.
“Ade, baby. Are you alright?” She looked up to see her husband. Sometimes, she felt like it was just her and him against the world. Though she knew it wasn’t true, her sisters’ seemed to be wrapped up in their own little families not caring about the sister without any kids. “Are you in pain? Is it the baby?”
“Stop worrying so much,” She answered softly. “I’m fine. The baby is healthy. She’s a supernatural, so there will be no complications.” Because of her abilities, Adeline could sense the child growing insider of her was a fairy like Erik, but she wanted him to experience that joy himself when he saw the little girl.
“She?” He grinned. “We’re having a girl?”
She nodded. “I wanted a little boy so Pax, Waverly and Gregg wouldn’t be outnumbered.”
Erik chuckled. “Being surrounded by girls will teach them a thing or two about how to treat them. It’s not a problem. But, why were you crying?”
“I wasn’t,” She mumbled. “I’m just stressed out.”
“We’ll figure it out. I know we will. You are the smartest woman I know. If anyone can decipher this code, it’s you.” He kissed her forehead.
She looked up at him with agony in her eyes and he wished he’d never have to see that pain etched into her face again. But she didn’t say anything.
“Babe, what’s wrong?” Erik asked, stroking his wife’s hair.
She looked up at him, with a worry he had never seen on her porcelain skin before. “Are we waiting on something that isn’t going to happen?”
“I…I don’t know.” He was taken aback by the question that had left her lips. Even he had felt the jilted progress. They were following Audric’s lead blindly, but what other options were out there? Dimension!? For the longest time, his tribe didn’t even believe there were other worlds out there, let alone dimensions. The stress of the war in Moonlight Falls made their judgement hazy. If he took a step back and thought about it, was all of this real? Were they fighting to save a dimension, the future or end a war? There was too much weighing down on them, but if they worked on deciphering codes, it made them forget. It made it bearable.
“Neither do I,” She whispered. “What if these codes mean nothing?”
“What did Audric tell your dad?” He slid onto the bed next to her. “He ripped out the ending pages. He said he knew how your dad’s tale would end, right?”
“How is that possible? How can we follow a book so blindly?” She shut her eyes. “Remember that book we read about Greek Mythology? The one from the human world?” Erik nodded. “It said something about the will of the gods, in which there is a force that you cannot fight against no matter how hard you try.”
“But none of that is real,” He replied.
She shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?”
Erik grabbed hold of her hand. “Audric knows.” He thought for a minute. “Your dad said that Audric told him that knowing the seers’ tale was a burden he didn’t put on anyone. But not once did he say that he didn’t know what happened. He knows how this is going to end. But he doesn’t want to tell us. He wants us to find out on our own.”
“He can’t interfere with Moonlight Falls, remember?”
“The book we have? We don’t know if it regards Moonlight Falls or somewhere else. There’s another reason. Does he want to change the outcome? But how will getting us involved do that? He is supposed to know all the secrets of this universe, isn’t he? He’s supposed to take care of this place.”
“Don’t get angry,” She said quietly, reaching up to stroke his cheek. “Just tell me how you want to play this.”
“What? Me?” He shook his head. “It’s your family, you have to discuss this with your sisters.”
“The tales were our job,” She replied. “We were put in charge of deciphering them and we don’t have to do anything we don’t want to. So, if you want to stop than we can. We might be walking into something much more dangerous than we could ever imagine. Such is customary with knowing how something ends. As Audric said, it’s a burden he wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
“Well maybe we don’t have to decipher the ending, but what we could do to help. Maybe there’s something in there that he doesn’t understand. It could be that deciphering translates to us coming up with a battle plan based on what should happen.” She let out a laugh at his eager reply. “What?”
“It’s just funny that the man who is supposed to be in charge of the dimension wouldn’t understand an ancient text.”
“Maybe it’s using complex language, hmmm?” He snickered with her. It was a funny thought, if true. He reached out to her and helped her sit up.
“Or maybe,” Ade replied seriously. “It says something he doesn’t want on his hands.He did say it was a burden he didn’t want to put on anyone right? Let us make the call that destroys everything and everyone. It’d be the Grays ruining the world, not him.”
He frowned. “What I don’t understand if he knows how everything will end, how is he expected to maintain things? It will all end the same way anyway, right?”
“Do you believe there is only one path in life?” She asked, looking up at him. “Do you believe that, no matter what happened, I would have ended up with you? Or, if Charlotte kept pushing Jeff he’d stay regardless, because that’s the life we had planned out for us?”
“No,” He whispered. “There are things that help shape us. Free will and decisions for one, and our environment.”
She nodded. “Life doesn’t work that way. Or, I refuse to believe it does. Maybe things are meant to happen, but I think that things can change, They can be overwritten. Maybe we can’t decipher this code because it keeps rewriting itself as we change, and we can’t tell. There are actions being taken that change the future and we don’t even know about it. That’s the burden. Seeing those changes as they happen.”
“My beautiful wife, you’re a genius.” He hoisted her up, and pulled her close to him as gently as he could.
“Erik, I could be wrong,” She whispered. “I don’t even know how what I said could help us.”
“We need to have a family meeting, I think. Without Astra and Audric.” He was hesitant in admitting the last part, but Adeline agreed with him. They needn’t know everything. Audric acted more mortal than he knew. He couldn’t be at all places at once. “We all have to be on the same page if anything is going to work.”
She nodded. “I know. It’s important to be a family more, now than ever. And eventually, we’ll extend the invitation to Astra and see where her loyalty lies. Erik, if I have to, I will…” She shut her eyes and leaned into her chest. “So Charlotte doesn’t have to, I’ll be the bad guy for once.”
He ruffled her hair. “Hey now, I think she likes being the bad guy.”
“You’re probably right,” She muttered against his toned chest. “But still, the burden shouldn’t only be on her. Jeff is going to lose his mind if she keeps taking everything out on him.”
Erik laughed. “That man has some serious patience. I adore your sister but I could never marry her.”
“It’s more than patience. He loves her. He doesn’t see how he could ever live without her, or how he ever did before. He looks back on his life before and holds it up to Charlotte, not the other way around. She is everything in his eyes,” She whispered. “It’s kind of cute.”
“I’m no man brought from another dimension or anything but-” She silenced him by placing a kiss on his lips.
“No need to compare yourself. I know you love me. I knew it all along. But, it’s different with Charlotte. She didn’t know that Jeff loved her. Some people don’t understand their dynamic. You are perfect, and I would not trade you in for anyone. Ever. Where you go, I go. Soon, we’ll have a little one too.”
“Adeline,” He began. “I love you so much.”