A million years later (or three years without my exaggeration), and I'm finally finishing all my old stories and starting new ones!
I realized I had left this story a bit dangling. The end of the last chapter resolved Charlotte's frustrations with Jacque but it never resolved her issues with her mother. Charlotte and Madge have an interesting relationship, and so did Madge and Giles. I never really got the chance to let everyone see the somewhat sad beauty of all that, but I am now!
So here it is! The final, long-awaited chapter.
Disclaimer: If you're wondering what this story is, you might want to start from the beginning and read my stories Blood OR Chocolate and Blood or Chocolate: A New Generation, Part 1. This story follows minor characters I created for those stories.
p.s. I don't own Blood and Chocolate : )
Chapter 13: Home
After everything that had happened, it seemed almost too easy, or too hard to go home. Jacque drove me, and walked me right up to the door. There was nothing to fear now. It wasn't as if my mom could tell me I couldn't see a loup-garou. It wasn't as if she didn't have so much to explain to me herself.
"I love you," Jacque kissed my forehead and held me close before I went inside.
"I know," I smiled up at him. If there was one thing in this world I was absolutely sure of, it was Jacque.
"Call me when you're through. If you need to, you can crash at my place…if it gets that bad here."
"It won't. I'm not really mad. You think I would be. It's not exactly the easiest situation. What does one do when they find out their mother has been hiding not only their parentage but their species?" I mused, staring at my front door, mustering the nerve. Once I went in there, there was no going back. We had to have this out, my mom and me. I couldn't run and hide in the woods. Well I suppose I could but that would be a bit counter-productive.
"I just want you to know my door is always open," he squeezed my hand.
"That eager to get me back in bed?" I teased.
"You know it's not that," he smiled with a mischievous glint in his eyes though.
"Alright, go, I have to do this alone."
I kissed him once more, quickly before opening the door to enter my home.
Madge Grant was waiting for me in the living room.
It was different from all the other times my mom had waited up for me, sitting on the couch. This time she seemed older, calmer, and much more restrained. She seemed at peace. Everyone was right. I did look so much like her. Sure my eyes were blue, my hair had a reddish tint in the sunlight, and I was loup-garou, but I was built like her; shorter, small natural curves, the shape of my mouth, nose and cheekbones. She even, once upon a time, was a bit like me in spirit. I could see that now.
We didn't speak for what felt like ages. Finally she smiled, "You changed didn't you?"
I knew she didn't mean emotionally, though I had changed that way as well. "Yes, a few hours ago."
"And you and Jacque…"
She didn't have to say that either. Sometimes moms just knew. How was still a mystery to me, but they knew. "Yeah we did."
"Come sit down, and I'll explain," she gestured to the couch beside her.
For a moment I thought she meant she was going to explain psychic mom powers.
"Alright," I took a seat, suddenly more nervous than before.
"Your father, Isaac," she felt the need to clarify, though I knew who she meant. "Is that greatest man in the whole world, and I love him, now more than ever. He has stood by me through-everything…everything I could have possibly put him through. There are not words to describe how much I don't deserve him. There is not a single part of me that doesn't know that, especially now." She was crying. My mom, who always screamed and ranted, was sitting there silently sobbing.
I reached out to take her hand, "Mom."
"We were always friends. Isaac and I. We were inseparable as children. I was a crazy kid. I just did whatever I wanted, because I knew my very best friend would always be there to catch me," she took a deep breath and blew it out slowly as if to stop the quiet stream of tears rolling down her face. "We started dating in high school, but he was always so much smarter than me. Graduation came around and he was accepted into an amazing school. So this time, he was ready to leap off and I had to stay behind. I had met Giles, just shortly before Isaac went away. He was so strong and young-looking then, and every bit as awe-inspiring as he is now. He was so wise and great, and as awesome as I thought I was at the time, I was such a fool in front of him. Everything I did seemed to go wrong, but somehow he ignored all that. Somehow, when Isaac was miles away missing me, Giles Delvin and I fell in love."
I bit my lip, wanting to ask so many questions, but knowing this was the only way she could get it out.
"We had a perfect year. I loved Isaac but with him away, there was only Giles in my head and I couldn't…Our relationship was always a secret, even then. I had a crazy mother too," she smiled at me, and I couldn't help smile back at the irony. "And there was always Isaac. I could never completely forget about him. He was always this great ignored space between Giles and I, no matter how perfect it was. Isaac came back for the summer and he could tell something had been going on. Giles and I had a huge fight the night after Isaac came back, and we both said horrible, terrible things to one another. We ended things horribly, and we never spoke again after that night. He had told me that if I wasn't his he wouldn't be able to look at me. I had told him that I never wanted to see him again anyway. Isaac and I fixed things and a month later, when I found out I was pregnant, Isaac dropped out of school to stay in Green Mountain Valley with me and the baby, you."
Mom took my face in her hands and it was only then that I realized I crying too.
"The math was off of course, there was no way it could be his, but Isaac said he loved me no matter what, and asked me to marry him. He took over the grocery store, and we started our life together. I never told Giles, though I knew he had to know. I couldn't face him telling me he couldn't bear to look at me, or sending me away and telling me it was impossible. Because it was supposed to be, Charlotte. It was supposed to be impossible. That's why we weren't as careful as we should have been. Loup-garou and humans are not supposed to be able to have children together. But then again Loup-garou aren't supposed to resist aging like the loup-garou in this valley seem to." She paused to wipe the tears from her own face.
"Everything about us was impossible, but it was right at the time, Charlie. I can't explain to you how normal and right and perfect it felt at the time. It wasn't just one of my stunts to prove I was braver and cooler and more amazing than everyone else. If it was that I would have told everyone. No, I was just enjoying the one time when what I was doing felt natural."
"How come you never told me? All this time, and you never said a word. You just kept pushing me away from them."
"Because ever since then I've been trying to bury it all. That time of my life was my greatest sin against your father and I thought if I kept you from it…If I could just pretend that loup-garou meant nothing to me, then eventually it would be true. But I love him. I still love Giles. Isaac is the love of my life, but Giles…If there is a such thing as soul-mates, then he's mine. Even ignoring him all these years, in this small little town, I was never really rid of him. There are just certain people who get a hold of you and time and distance and age mean nothing. Giles is that.. And after all this time…"
She'd talked to him. I could see it now, she had to have. I'd never seen her more peaceful or serene. It seemed so bizarre that the day my entire family should be falling apart, everything seemed to be falling perfectly into place.
"After all this time, we finally had it out. After you left the store, and Jacqueline had been banished, I went to him, with your father's blessing of course. I went to him and, honey, it was-" She started crying silently again. "Today has been one of the best days of my life. I got to not only speak with him, but I got to touch him and cry with him and tell him all about you. I got to feel his arms around me for the first time in so long, and I just can't-"
"Are you leaving dad?" I interrupted. She couldn't, not after all this time. She'd just got done saying he was the love of her life.
"No, of course not! How could I?" she shook her head slowly. "No, Isaac and I talked as well, and I'm going to take care of him. He hasn't really got that much longer now. I know he doesn't look it but he's terribly old, and its his time. Your dad knows how much it would mean to both of us if I could at least be there, near the end. Of course it will be more complicated than that, it always is, but-"
"But we'll work it out." Dad stepped into the living room from around the hall. I don't know how long he'd been standing there, but he looked entirely calm, entirely sure. "We always do." He came to sit beside Mom and took her hand.
"Okay," I nodded, looking at them both. My parents were so much stronger than I'd ever realized. My mom was a completely different person with out all that regret weighing her down. We were going to have to get to know each other all over again. If we had ever really let ourselves know each other in the first place.
"I need you to know that I love you," she squeezed my hand with the one that wasn't holding Dad's. "From the beginning, I was never angry or mad about you. I never thought you were a mistake. I regret that it meant I had betrayed your father, but never for a moment, did I regret you. You're living proof that I wasn't always this angry and scared. I was lucky enough to love two amazing men. That's what you are proof of. I'm so proud you turned out so amazing even despite all my mistakes."
"I-I love you too," I hugged her, when it seemed that was all there was left to do.
Mom sniffed back the last of her tears, "Now, I think you were going to call Jacque and let him know you survived talking to me?"
My mom and I laughed.
For more on the love story of Giles/Madge read my story To Never Forget, which I'm also finally continuing on.