Entry 16: A Good Day in 2027
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.
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I’m not going to lie, everyday something reminds me of her. I get up sometimes, sure that day is the day I’ll start getting over Christmas Anson - Christmas Lacoste - but it never happens. Each bad memory has a good one that accompanies it and I end up hating her as much as I love her and miss her.
As far as I know, no one has heard from Christmas since she left. Not that I’m checking up on her or anything, but I’m sure the town would be buzzing if she had returned. Just like her first return after she was gone for ten years had the town wanting to know everything about her time away, the same would happen now. Especially now. Especially when a resident of Anson Valley tried to attack her at a town landmark, her father died under suspicious circumstances, and her marriage to me ended as soon as it began, only for her to return days later married to someone else.
Yeah, if she was back I’d know since I see at least three of the worst gossipers in town daily. They have all tried to fix me up with someone they know, but I’ve declined all the offers.
Hell, some months ago, the same women tried to say I was unfit because I was divorced. They campaigned against me and said my lack of experience would ruin Anson Valley. They all threw their support behind Brenna’s father, a man who was sure that it was his time to run the town now that Noble Anson was dead. But thankfully there were fewer people like those women, and more who saw past superficial things because I was elected to the position of Mayor of Anson Valley in a landslide.
I sniff. Thinking I smell smoke. I stop scrolling through my schedule for next week and start shaking my head. She’s burning that damn sage again after I told her not to do so without asking me first.
“Breanna,” I call out to her and do so two more times. Of course, she can’t hear me because this house is too damn big, which makes me regret not having someone repair the home’s intercom system.
I shake my head and then go in search of her. I keep telling her about those damn candles and sage and whatever else it is she uses to ‘manifest’ her dream life. I tried to tell her she already has the dream life as a twelve-year-old girl who gets everything she needs, most things she asks for, and doesn’t have to work for any of it.
I call out to her again, but there’s no answer. I follow the scent of the smoke, but it doesn’t lead to the side of the house where Breanna’s room is located. The smell leads me to the back of the house, where Breanna meets me.
“What’s burning?” Breanna asks, already sliding the glass wall apart.
“I thought it was you and your sage or whatever,” I tell her, pushing her behind me.
I step out onto the veranda but can’t see where the smell could be coming from. But then I hear someone coughing and turn in that direction.
“We end this. Right here and right now we end this as we watch the portal close together, letting me know you’re mine forever,” I hear someone say and I can’t believe what I’m hearing. It’s the voice of Beaumont Lacoste threatening someone.
“Dad… look,” Breanna says in an awe-filled tone I haven’t heard from her since me and Christmas told her about…
I’m next to Breanna now, but remember the threat in Beau’s voice. “Stay right here… No, call an ambulance just in case.” Breanna stands there, staring. “Go, Bre... hurry.”
Breanna doesn’t want to leave, but she doesn’t have her phone in her hand as usual. She takes off running toward the house and I inch toward the portal, afraid of what I might find.
“It’s almost over now, Christmas. Time is winding down and soon the portal will be closed and your only hope of escape with it, Christmas. Without Elise, no one will ever find you. I think we’ll name his son Beaumont Lacoste Junior.”
I stop in my tracks. His son? Is he talking about me?
Without thinking, I run toward the portal. When I get there, the room on the other side is filled with smoke so I can’t see anyone. I hesitate for only a moment before I step through the portal. When I do, a swirl and parting in the smoke shows someone’s back, and that person is dragging a struggling and coughing woman.
Beau hears me because he pauses. I continue to walk forward but almost trip over something on the floor. I kick whatever it is out of the way right before I hear her voice for the first time in months. Her voice is terrified and strained when she says, “V? Is that you?” Christmas asks in disbelief. “My mother’s gun is on the floor somewhere,” she says and I’m looking on the floor even as what Christmas says is registering. Also registering is the sound of the portal closing and Breanna calling out to me.
I think this has to be punishment for what I did after Christmas said she wasn’t mine. I asked for a paternity test that proved Breanna isn’t my biological child. I was angry and hurt, and I stayed away from Brenna and Breanna for weeks before I could face them again.
Of course, I told Breanna the truth because she deserved to know. I told her I will always be her father, for as long as she wants me to be, and that if she wanted to know who her real father is, I would support her.
The thing is, Breanna’s biological father is dead. He died before Brenna ever found out she was pregnant. She had a whole other relationship while she and I were dating, not that I can say anything because I did too… with Christmas… with the only woman I have ever loved.
Gun in hand, I take careful steps through a kitchen filled with smoke. I pass two bodies, one that I’m sure is Elise Anson, even though I’ve never met the woman before. I can imagine Christmas will look like her in a couple of decades if I can get her back alive.
I was never over her. I never would’ve got over her. I would’ve missed her for the rest of my life. But now I have no plan to do that again.
I pull my shirt over my nose and mouth, but it does little to help me breathe better. My eyes are watering as I try to see if I have a shot at Beau that won’t hit Christmas, too. I’m pretty sure I can hit Beau because he’s a big target, but I’m admittedly not as good with a gun as my sister. She’s the marksman in the family, and I wish she was here now to plant a bullet right in Beau’s skull.
“Shoot him, V!” Christmas yells. “For our baby… please!”
I do. I shoot. But my aim is off and I miss his wide back that was my target. I’m pretty sure I knick his ear, but it’s enough to get him to react. Blood spatters on the wall next to Beau’s head and both of his hands release their hold on Christmas to go up to his neck. I see Christmas hurry to crawl away from Beau, so I shoot until Beau goes down.
I run over to Christmas and lift her from the floor, carefully carrying her back into the kitchen where the portal had been. I do not know why I thought the portal would suddenly be open again and I curse, thinking we might be stranded in this place for good.
“Chris, how did the portal open? Is there a device?”
“On the floor. Put me down, I’m fine, V,” she says but crumples to the floor when I set her on her feet. She’s crying with heaving breaths, but finds the device and picks it up. She swipes at her tears trying to see the screen in front of her. She taps on the screen of what looks like a rigged cell phone, making a portal open at the exact same spot in my backyard where I saw it before.
I didn’t even know this was possible. I thought the device always opened a portal in the same spot on another world as the one where it’s activated.
I help Christmas stand and it’s only then that I notice her belly. She’s heavily pregnant, making my thought recall what I heard Beau say to her.
“Is he mine?” I ask, placing a hand at the small of her back and the other on her belly.
“This baby is yours, V. And I have a feeling we’ll soon find out if it’s a boy or not,” she says. I guide her toward the portal but she stops before stepping through, looking back at the place like she’ll miss it despite whatever happened here. “Can you believe the first time we stepped through this thing we met someone who said I was pregnant and here we are stepping through it again, prophecy fulfilled?”
“You’re thinking about that now?” I ask, chuckling.
“Just a few hours ago I thought I was going to raise my child with Beau and the wrong version of my mother on a world that isn’t mine. I can’t help but think about how this all started.”
“The answer is no,” I say to Christmas on the night of our son’s first birthday. She smiling, straddling my lap and moving her hips slowly, trying to be persuasive. It’s working to persuade me to want to make love to her right here and right now but nothing will persuade me to fire the security detail that’s been with her every day since the other two Valentines returned to that island to retrieve Beau’s body.
I’d wanted to go with them, but my son coming into the world forced me to stay. Not that I would’ve traded watching my son being born for anything in the world, but I would’ve liked to search the property for myself. I did get to search the property some months later, but Christmas found out how obsessed I was with finding Beau, so she deleted the location from the device.
“He’s not coming for me, V. It’s been a year. He’ probably moved on to his next victim,” she says, living in denial about the man who’s obsessed with her.
“And you’re okay knowing that his next victim is probably another version of you on some other world?” I ask. She huffs and tries to get off my lap but I hold on to the curvy hips that fit into my hands so well.
“You know I’m not, but I still want to pretend like he’s not out there somewhere,” Christmas whines. “It’s been bliss for a year and the devices have only been used for recreational purposes,” she says. ‘Recreational purposes’ is an overstatement since the devices have only been used to go from our world to The Shit’s. “I like that. I’m okay with that, but I’m not okay with them being used to go looking for trouble.”
“But it was you who asked for a year. The Shit gave that to you. Let him search for her.”
“He’s a grown man. He can search for her. I’m not stopping him.”
“Seriously, Chris?” I ask. “You know he’s being respectful. He wants your blessing and you haven’t given it to him.”
“And he wants me to talk about my time there on that island, and I don’t want to talk about that, V.”
“Baby… I’m not going to let anything happen to you or our son,” I say and do some persuading of my own, slipping the strap of Christmas’ dress strap off her shoulder. I taste her skin and we both get lost in the sensations for long, lingering minutes. “But I know how he feels, and I thought I knew where you were the whole time. Imagine how he feels. He doesn’t know anything.”
“Where does he want to start?” Christmas asks, and I know she’s going to keep her promise when she says that.
“The Seychelles. We need the coordinates of that island so we can start searching that same island on every other world.”
“We should probably start with the slave world, since that one would be the hardest to get to. None of us could fly to Seychelles on that world without being accompanied by a master,” Christmas says to me.
“With the new device, we could’ve just gone there, but someone erased the location. Oh, and by the way, you’re not going.”
“I am. I want my divorce! I don’t want to wait until I can claim abandonment. It’s stupid.”
“It’s only another month.”
Christmas had waited a month to report Beau missing. It had taken two weeks out of that month to come up with a believable story to tell police, so Christmas wouldn’t be looked at as a suspect in his disappearance. It was what Juliette Lacoste tried to make the police believe, but the proof was in the passports. Hers said that Christmas never left the country. On the other hand, both Beau and his father’s passports said they’d left and never returned, clearing Christmas of any wrongdoing.
“Did you see Ripley and your brother exchanging looks at the party today?” I ask, changing the subject. I don’t like Christmas being married to Beau more than she doesn’t, and I don’t enjoy talking about the fact she is.
“You’re changing the subject. But, yes, I saw and I’m sure Kendall is going to kill him if she finds out something is going on between my brother and his other child’s mother. Hell, she might just borrow the device and strand him on some island the way Beau did to me.”
“Oh, so you’re at the point where you can joke about it, but not talk about it?” I ask seriously. “You let my mind run wild but tell me you weren’t mistreated, but that could mean anything. If I knew what you went through, maybe my intentions toward Beau would be less murderous, especially if you can tell me he kept his hands off you the entire time.”
Christmas sighs. “And what if I can’t tell you that?” She asks with her hands cupping the sides of my face.
“Then he’s dead.”
Before Christmas can respond, another version of me falls through the ceiling from a portal. But he’s not alone. Following him is another version of Christmas. I realize he’s the slave world Valentine who now lives in Christmas’ cabin on the lake.
“Dammit, Chris… what the hell?” Slave world Valentine says to the other Christmas.
“I’m sorry. The coordinates must’ve been a little off.”
“A little? I think we fell ten feet.”
“Oh, get over it,” the other Christmas says, her tone severely southern in a way my Christmas’ isn’t.
“Excuse me?” My Christmas asks, getting their attention. My Christmas gasps, never having met another version of herself before.
“Excuse us,” the other Christmas says. “It looks like we interrupted. We’re really sorry for that, but you’re going to have to fornicate later. We need some coordinates off that device of yours.”
End Volume 1
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