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Nighttime had finally settled on Haligan Island. Dagny and Havelock finally returned from their little date on SkyDancer, and the four teens were sound asleep upstairs in their beds. Seasick’s eldest son was tucked away in a sleeping mat next to Dagny’s bed while the three children of the Chief slept in their respective beds. It seemed like the teenagers had no problem falling fast asleep, but the Chief and her husband…not so much…for obvious reasons.
The Chief put on her long white night gown as she walked over to the bed. She was about to say something but quickly stopped when she saw Brandt sitting on the edge of the bed facing away from her. The Chief could only sigh as she walked over to him and sat down next to him.
“I’d say that was…quite an eventful…informative afternoon, wouldn’t you?” she asked only to gain no response from Brandt. She sighed again. “You know, I’m okay…with whatever you decide…whether you want to tell them or not.”
“How can I possibly look my own children in the eye and tell them that I’m responsible for their grandfather’s death?” Brandt suddenly asked.
Grey sighed again as she hugged her husband and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Listen to me,” she said. “They…they will probably be shocked at first, but…Brandt, honey, you’re their father. They love you. Nothing will ever change that.”
“Come on, Grey. We both know that they’ll just see me as nothing but a monster. You remember how angry and upset you got, right?”
Grey sighed as the memories flooded back on that one night two days before their wedding. Even after eighteen years of a wonderful marriage, she could still remember what unfolded the night Brandt confessed his secret.
“No…no…that’s…that’s not true…That’s not true! It couldn’t have been you!”
“Grey, it was…it was me. I’m…so sorry… I know this is a shock, but–”
“DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH ME!”
“NO! Do you have ANY idea what you put me through that day?! What you put my mother through?!”
“No, but I can only imagine the pain you felt. I felt…and still feel horrible for what I did.”
“Well, congratulations, I suppose that’s going to bring my father back?”
“I didn’t say that it would, but, Grey, please–”
“And let me guess! Now you’re going to tell me that our whole relationship is a lie! That you pretended to love me to get closer to my tribe…to me, the Chief!”
“No! No, that’s true! I love you! That’s the truth! I love you, Grey, with all my heart! That’s why I told you this!”
“After what you just told me, Brandt, I’m not sure if I can believe that.”
“Just leave me alone!”
Grey sighed again. “I know how I reacted,” she said. “I was there, and I was shocked and upset that the man I was about to marry had just confessed to murdering my father. But I told you…as angry as I was…I forgave you because I still loved you. I couldn’t stay angry at you. The thought of losing you made me sick to my stomach.”
Brandt scoffed. “You going to tell me that they will feel the same way?” he asked.
“Are you going to tell me that all the hugs, kisses, I-love-you-Dad/Daddy’s, Happy Birthday’s, Happy Father’s Day’s, and so on were all because they had to?” Grey retorted.
Brandt didn’t answer.
The Chief sighed and continued speaking. “I’m not saying you have to tell them now or at all. What I’m saying is don’t be afraid to because they love you. You are their entire world, and nothing will ever change that.”
The Chief’s husband sighed realizing that she was right. He needed to trust his children to still love him despite the truth of what happened to their grandfather…just as Grey did eighteen years ago. “You’re right,” he finally said. “Maybe…we can talk to them when Havelock returns home. I don’t want to upset Dagny while he’s here.”
“That’s a good plan,” Grey said. She rested her head on her shoulder. “I love you, Brandt. I know we don’t say it enough, but I do. And if there’s anything I learned from King Haddock’s death, it’s that life is too short, and you never know when your time will come.”
“I love you too, Grey,” Brandt said smiling as he wrapped his arm around her pulling her into a kiss. When they pulled apart, they leaned their foreheads against each other. “You know…I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact we really haven’t fizzled…just as we told Havelock today.”
“Oh really?” Grey asked playfully.
“Really,” he said. “The kids are asleep, so…”
Grey could only smile before she finally grabbed him by the shirt and kissed him.