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  • Carla Buchanan

BGGM Entry 12: Saturday December 26, 2026





This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and happenings are solely products of the author’s imagination or fictitious retellings. Any likeness to actual events, locations, persons living or dead, is coincidental.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system - except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper - without permission in writing from the publisher.

**Readers 18 and up only please**.






The road trip Gentleman Valentine and I were planning to take had to wait. Of course, he didn’t mind, even understood when he had to stay behind with #2, who said he would get Gentleman Valentine all caught up on history, tell him about the device and how it works, and inform him about the disappearances of Elise’s and Christmas’ on other worlds. I felt bad for having to leave him so soon after he arrived, but it would’ve been impossible to fake an identical twin’s identity on such short notice.

I still can’t believe this is happening. I came home to see my father honored by the town our family founded and not even two weeks later, I might be about to mourn his death. It’s surreal and all my fault. Had I never found the MV Generator and activated it, none of this would be happening. I’d still be oblivious, and my family and friends would be safe.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go to your apartment?” Valentine asks. “They said it’s going to take a few hours for the results to come back.”

Shaking my head, I whisper, “Traffic won’t allow us to get to anywhere and back at this time of day,” I say, which is true. However, I doubt I would’ve agreed to leave without the excuse of traffic. “But, maybe a bottle of water… I’m feeling a little queasy.”

“You don’t want to walk to the vending kiosk with me?”

I shake my head again. “I’m going to stay.”

“She’ll be fine,” Joseph assures Valentine. “Come on Chrissy,” my brother says, lifting his arm in invitation for me to sit next to him. I take the offer and feel my feet move but don’t register making it happen on my own. I fall into the space on the light gray cushions whose color matches the rest of the depressing gray space.

Though, I guess the waiting room in a hospital morgue is supposed to be depressing.

My brother wraps his arm around me, pulling me into his side. I rest my head on his shoulder and try not to cry again, but find that I’m unable to hold back any emotion right now. I know I’m on the verge of snapping, possibly breaking into a million tiny pieces before we get any news.

“If… If that test comes back a match, I’m going to kill Beau and Laurent Lacoste.”

My brother is sure of what he says if his tone is anything to go by. He’s never been a violent person, has always been the nice guy except maybe when it comes to cheating on his wife with my best friend. In that case, in my opinion, love excuses his actions. Yes, there were some things he could’ve done differently, but I know my friend and I’m sure she didn’t give him much of a choice.

“We can’t kill them until they tell us where our mother is.” I say absently, but Joseph stiffens like this is the first time he’s hearing that our mother might still be alive. I sit up straight, realizing Kendall and Valentine didn’t tell my brother about Beau’s confession before he sent me to the slave world. There’s no way they could’ve told him if he looks this confused and surprised.

His expression reminds me a little of the Joseph from #2’s world, like he’s been hit over the head too many times and it’s taking him a while to process the information.

“What are you talking about?” Joseph asks. “I thought your theory was that mom went to a world and got stuck there. Val said you two concluded she took one too many trips, that one of those trips went wrong.”

“I do think one of her trips went wrong, but not because she got stuck somewhere, but because she was set up… by her best friend,” I say. “Her best friend knew Laurent was in love with our mother, and it made Juliette jealous. That jealousy made her betray her best friend.”

“My God… That whole family is fucked up. You dodged a bullet there,” Joseph says and then quickly realizes his last words aren’t quite true. As of a day ago, I hadn’t dodged a damn thing and I doubt I’ll stop being a target until both Lacoste men are dead and gone forever.

“I can’t believe they didn’t tell you all of this while I was sleeping,” I say, shaking my head. “Valentine told you about the other Noble Anson and how he was sure the Lacostes knew about the MV Generator and what it could do and that the device led to his Christmas’ disappearance, right?” I ask, all in one breath.

“None of that,” Joseph admits.

“I didn’t think it would help to know those details,” Valentine answers, walking into the room with three bottles of water. “I don’t think that world’s Noble is mentally stable, sometimes confusing the facts with his speculation.”

“And not mentioning that my mother is alive?” I ask, needing more explanation than that. I stand quickly. My frustration with my friend and my husband that great.

“I didn’t mention it because it might not be true,” Valentine says. My eyes meet his and I see the sympathy there, but I also see judgement. Valentine thinks whatever happened to me on the slave world has crippled my reasoning skills.

He thinks I’m crazy.

He knows my mother’s history and what people in Anson Valley say about her, and he thinks I’m just like her.

“Kendall and I thought that might’ve been Beau’s way of luring you back to him if you ever escaped that world he sent you to,” Valentine explains. “The only lie compelling enough to make you fall into his trap is one that includes the possibility of you getting your mother back alive.”


~~~


I know what Valentine suggests makes sense, but I get the sense that Valentine and Kendall’s motivation for keeping what I told them to themselves has little to do with making sense. Because of that, I’m pissed. And not just a little. No, not at all. My anger is greater now than when Beau betrayed me and sent me to the slave world. I guess I’m angrier with Kendall and Valentine because what Beau did is in line with his personality. I already thought he might try to sell the MV Generator to the highest bidder if he knew about it, only it was much worse than that. The Lacoste family is filled with despicable people, and those people were the ones who kept a mother from her two children for most of their lives. And while Valentine and Kendall might think I’m crazy or too hopeful, they don’t know Beau like I do. He was sure his other self would never allow me to escape, especially not after the first Christmas on his world got away. He was sure his confession about my mother would never reach the ears of anyone close to me, since I would never see them again.

“That wasn’t for you or Kendall to decide,” I say, pointing a finger of accusation at Valentine. “You and she can’t just decide to dismiss me. I’ve been fine for years without either of you there to make decisions for me.”

“And without me or Kendall around, you agreed to marry a maniac who is obsessed with you,” Valentine says, raising his hand to count his first point on his index finger. “He also who kidnapped you,” he says, putting another up before raising another finger and adding, “and had you enslaved rather than see you with anyone else. He will do and say anything when it comes to winning you… and punishing you.”

Valentine’s words are the truth, but there’s no way I could’ve known about Beau’s obsession. When we were together, he acted like our relationship meant very little to him. He wasn’t romantic; he didn’t chase me, he never spoke endearments, and I thought his proposal was something he thought he had to do, not what he wanted to do. I thought choosing me was to satisfy his mother’s constant nagging, while at the same time picking someone she would have never picked for him.

“You’ve been through a lot in the past week and you might not be completely clear about what Beau said.” Valentine’s words suggest that I’m not capable of rational thought because of what I was going through at the time. Though, if anything, I was more aware of everything as the two Beaus carried out their kidnapping plot. In that moment, I felt like everything had finally come together and I finally understood why my family had endured so much suffering from our loss.

It was, and always has been, because of the Lacoste family. They caused my family’s suffering so they could prosper.

“And if he did say your mother is alive after all these years, then you have to ask yourself how, why, and where after over two decades. The only thing that makes sense is that Beau had to be lying. If you could see past your hope, you’d agree with me and Ken.”

“I can’t believe you would discuss me like that, and with my best friend of all people. I honestly thought you two were the last ones who’d talk about me behind my back.” I don’t want to cry over this when there’s so much other stuff going on right now, but I do. I can’t help but be hurt when the hurting is done by two of the people I love most in this world, on any world. “You two haven’t known me in years,” I continue. “You don’t know who I am. You don’t know what I can handle. You came back into my life after choosing your other life over me.”

For a moment, the other versions of Valentine I’ve met flash through my mind.

None of those Valentines were Breanna’s father.

I haven’t had the guts to bring the subject up to him, and don’t even know if it’s my place to do so. Gentleman Valentine said my Valentine deserves to know the truth, but once again, I ask myself if it’s my place to be the one to tell him. Just like I accused him of not knowing me well enough to decide for me, I should practice what I preach. I can’t just decide to turn his life upside down and potentially hurt the child who loves him.

“You knew where I was and you never came looking for me,” I continue. “You never tried to contact me. You made your choice and now I’m making mine,” I say. “You should go back to Anson Valley. You should take my brother with you,” I say and my brother immediately protests. “I don’t need anyone’s help,” I add, ignoring Joseph, my gaze not wavering from Valentine. “If what you suspect is true, then I won’t need to find Beau. He’ll find me. I just need to go back to my apartment and wait.”

“Then what?” Valentine asks. “Then you just go with him and do whatever he says in exchange for information about your mother?”


~~~

“Not information. Her location.”

Valentine sighs heavily and then sits the bottles of water in a nearby chair. When he meets my gaze again, I huff out a breath and shake my head. He’s sure I’m crazy to believe my mother is still alive if the look in his eyes is anything to go by.

“Dad knew about the device,” Joseph concludes, proving that he might have his moments, but he isn’t anything like the Joseph on #2’s world. However, he is processing the situation a lot slower than I need him to right now.

“He’s known since the beginning of all this,” I say, finally acknowledging my brother. I can imagine it’s hard to process so much information at once, especially when you have to include the existence of the MV Generator. “He’s known how our mother disappeared all along. He claimed he didn’t know because no one would’ve believed him,” I explain.

“He came here to confront Beau because he knew Beau was obsessed with you before you did. Something Beau did or said while he was here must’ve made him suspicious. When he found out Beau had been in town at the time of your disappearance, he barely hesitated to leave.”

“He questioned me about saying yes to Beau since I barely acknowledged Beau when we were kids,” I recall. “And he knows about me and Valentine so he never would’ve believed I changed my mind again so quickly,” I tell my brother and I believe the words to be true. My father also knew about how often I went out to the Trudeau’s home. Valentine’s mother didn’t feel comfortable that my father didn’t know where I was, so she would call him and let him know where I was. He never told me about her calls and never mentioned Valentine to me. I think it really shows how much my father loved me.

“He should’ve told me,” Joseph says in disbelief, like he and my father are best friends who don’t keep secrets from each other. But we all know that’s not the case or Joseph would’ve told my father about the child he had with Kendall - the one he’s been taking care of financially for as long as she’s been alive. “What the hell is wrong with that family?” Joseph asks, referring to the Lacostes.

I don’t get a chance to answer, and Valentine hasn’t left when the coroner returns with the lab assistant who took mine and Joseph’s blood to compare against...

I can’t even bring myself to call the person who could be my father, ‘the body’ or ‘the victim’.

Thankfully, I don’t have to finish the thought because the doctors start talking. And as if they rehearsed their speech on the way here, they explain how the new rapid DNA tests are done, what factors are used to determine a match, and how the results are analyzed. I barely hear anything they say except the words, “The blood of male, twenty-nine, Joseph Anson, and the blood of female, twenty-nine, Christmas Anson, are determined to be direct descendants of the male, fifty-eight, name unknown at the time sample was taken.”

With each word, my heart stops and restarts. The sounds seem to leave the man’s lips in slow motion, yet my ears register them way too quickly.

“His name isn’t unknown, you asshole,” I shout at the man. “His name is Noble Anson. You got that?” I continue. I’m grabbed around my waist and dragged away from the doctor when I reach out to slap him. I miss, which is probably for the best.

Valentine’s quick, former stuntman reflexes keep me from ending up with an assault charge. When I’m stable on my feet again, I snatch away from Valentine and purposely avoid his gaze, choosing to glare at the doctor who delivered the news.

I know this isn’t the doctor’s fault, that he’s just doing his job, but I can’t stop my reaction right before I feel the food I ate on the plane making its way back out. However, I’m stuck, unable to figure out how a person should respond to the sensation.

I thought the result would be something else. I hoped it would be something else. I was sure the body found would not be my father’s, but the results aren’t refutable. The body found in Redwoods State Park belongs to my father, Noble Anson. He died not knowing what happened to me, or to my mother, and was probably to ashamed to return to give the bad news to my brother.

“How did it happen?” I hear Joseph ask with a shaky yet calm tone while I’m breaking down. It’s ironic that I’m the one to have this response to the news when my father and I weren’t even a fraction as close as he was with my brother.

I don’t want to know how it happened, do I?

I don’t know if I do, and probably would’ve never asked. But the question gets my attention, allowing me to swallow down the bile. But it comes right back up and I end up on my knees gasping for air when the doctor speaks again.

“Cause of death, officially, is a heart attack,” the doctor says and then hesitates.

“Officially?” Joseph asks.

“His heart attack, we think, resulted from his body being electrocuted more than a hundred times with a weapon yet to be identified. Something akin to a cattle prod would be my first guess.”

“No,” I say breathlessly from my knees on the floor. My mind flashes to the devices Beau and the members of his guard used to keep the slaves in line. I’d seen the electric current dance between the fork-like tip dozens of times while I was on Lacoste Plantation, which wasn’t very long. But I saw how some people reacted when hit with a zap when the voltage was at maximum.

Grown men sometimes fell to the ground from one shock.

I can’t imagine being hit with that current more than a hundred times.







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