I realize it has been a long time since I have posted, and I suppose I owe an explanation. Time had flown by and school has been crazy. I finally finished this chapter and sent it off to my beta reader. She sent it back with lots of notes, so I improved upon it, and sent to back for a final check. She's been as crazy-busy as I have, and never sent it back.

Then, my house underwent a major fire (Thankfully, most of my family was not home, and everyone if okay.), and my computer, containing all my fanfiction work, was melted. I believe I had most of it backed up on disks in my room (which was mostly undamaged); however everything I own is either boxed up in an unsalvageable pile or in the oxidation room at the cleaner's, so it may be a while before I can see if the disks are okay.

This chapter, however, was sitting kindly in my inbox, from the time my beta reader sent it back to me the first time. I cleaned it up, and voilá! I finally present to you Chapter 4 of Unbeknownst Destiny.

*~*~*

"Why won't you marry him, Nita?"

The voice jarred Nita out of her peaceful melancholy. It was hard not to be at peace while laying in the lush, rolling landscape of Timeheart.

"Wha... Marry? What makes you think..." Nita was taken aback. How had she known?

"Stop playing dumb. There are a few advantages to being dead. Spill it, Nita," Angie demanded, sitting up.

Angie had been holding both Nita and the Lone Power's power when she was killed. Though her years in Timeheart, she now knew much about wizardry, the Powers, and the Lone Power.

"Look, a duck," Nita pointed to the puffy clouds overhead. "It's been years since I've looked the clouds. Dairine and I used to do this all the time, when we were both really little. She used to see the wackiest things."

"Nita," Angie said warningly. "Stop changing the subject. Why won't you marry Ronan?"

Nita sighed. "I... I don't know. It's... It's just such a big decision and I'm not sure if it's the right time in my life..."

"Bull crap. I know I told you to spill it, but can the crap, Nita. You're 27, done with college, have a financially secure job... what's wrong with the timing? And your position as an Advisory keeps you pretty much in one place, so you won't be dragged around too much for wizardry... and even so, Ronan would understand. He's not some guy off the street that you've known for five days who knows nothing of wizardry. He's a great guy and a wizard that you've know for what... 15 years? 14? I know about rushing into relationships... look where it got me. But fourteen, fifteen, or how ever many years isn't rushing. Especially when you know you've got a good guy." Angie's eyes darkened slightly. Then she added dryly, "I sincerely doubt he's the Lone One lurking about in disguise, preying on young, confused, impressionable women." Her voice took on a depressing tone as she recalled her mistakes in the past.

"Don't get me wrong, though. I wouldn't trade Lexi for the world. Or Timeheart, for that matter." She glanced around. "Not that I ever get to fix her hair, or go on any mother-daughter outings, or have heart-to-hearts..."

"Now how did this topic get turned around to me?" Angie inquired.

Nita grinned. "You were rambling. As usual." Then her grin faded as she remembered what she actually came here to tell Angie, before Angie had jumped on her about Ronan. "Speaking of Lexi..."

The change in Nita's manner worried Angie.

"What's wrong?"

"He's found her. He talked to her when she walked to school today. At least, we assume it was Him. A man who claimed to be her father talked to her. I don't know what he looked like," Nita said, before Angie could ask, "She didn't tell me. This wizard friend of hers told Ronan and I after we warned him about 'circumstances' that involved her."

"Did you tell him what they were?" Angie asked sharply.

"Of course not." Nita said, exasperated, and then softened. "Sorry. I guess I'm just a little stressed."

"It's okay. You have the right to be. And," said Angie, launching into lecture mode, "You have the right to do something for yourself. Seriously consider Ronan's proposal. If you can come up with one good reason that had nothing to do with anyone but you, then don't marry him. Otherwise, look closer at the situation."

Nita sighed, "Fine, but what are we going to do about Him?"

"I don't know. Can you reestablish a boundary if He actually had found her?"

"I can try. He might be able to prevent me from locking Him out if He's already found her. For all I know, He could have ananarked or subananarked Himself to her," Nita sighed again at the hopelessness of the situation, "and I have absolutely no way of knowing for sure."

"It's your best shot," Angie sighed. "Do it. Also, consider Ronan's proposal. Please?"

***

This has been an interesting couple of weeks, Lexi thought as she got ready for bed. So much has happened.

It had all started with Lexi's mysterious encounter with the stranger that claimed paternity of her. That had led to her developing friendship with Peter.

Lexi decided against telling Nita about the encounter. The days were a bustle of joy, excitement, and activities because of Nita and Ronan's upcoming marriage, and Lexi didn't want to put a damper on the festivities.

There was also the fact that Nita just got over one of her occasional "crash" phases. Every now and then, for no reason apparent to Lexi, Nita would become so exhausted that she would sleep for an entire weekend. Lexi wasn't sure what caused these, but Nita had assured her that her doctor said it wasn't anything serious, just the "overwhelming stress of the world catching up with her". Lexi didn't want to add to this stress.

 Besides, she hadn't seen the man in over two weeks, when he made his original appearance. If he showed up again, perhaps Lexi would reconsider her decision.

***

Fall eased into winter as the days flew by. Marie, Lexi's friend, was better and back at school. It took her a couple weeks to warm up to Peter, but it wasn't too long before a new friendship trio was formed.

"He... he's weird," she answered, when Lexi asked Marie why she didn't like Peter.

"Is this the same girl who gave me the 'There really isn't a normal' lecture last year?" Lexi countered, "And if there's no normal, can there be a weird?"

Marie sighed, and then laughed, trapped by her own words. "Okay, okay, so I'm a hypocrite," she paused, then answered, "I'll give him a chance."

"That's all I ask," Lexi replied.

***

"It's snowing!" someone near the window of the classroom exclaimed.

Choruses of "Cool!", "Ohhh...", and "Hey, let me see!" erupted as the students flocked to the window.

"Honestly, guys," chided Mr. Beckam, their history teacher, "It's as if you've never seen snow before. Everyone sit it back down. We have work to do."

Grumbling, the class ambled back to their seats.

As hard as Mr. Beckham tried and as much as the class like him (He was pretty cool, for a teacher, anyway), his efforts for mainly in vain. There was a buzz of excited chatter throughout the room, and rather than looking at the teacher, their focus was on the window at the rear of the room.

The snow was thick, and by lunch the world was blanketed in a layer of fluffy white. At two o'clock, the blanket had grown to be around six inches thick.

Peter, Lexi, and Marie were temple-deep in Algebra work when the mind-saving announcement came over the loudspeaker.

"This is Dr. Peckle and I apologize for the interruption. However, the administration has determined that due to the inclement weather, school will be dismissed at two-fifteen today for the safety of all students. After-school tutoring will be cancelled today, as will all practices for extra-curricular activities. Teachers, please allow students needing to contact parents to do so. Thank you."

A cheer went up from the students. They scrambled to get their things in order as their teacher gave up on her attempts to restore order.

***

Thirty minutes later, Peter, Lexi, and Marie piled off the bus.

"I love snow," announced Lexi, staring out at the vast white landscape.

"It adds a certain … mystique to everything," agreed Peter.

"That and gets us out of Algebra," Marie put in.

"That, too," laughed Lexi

"I don't know, I was starting to enjoy counting in letters," Peter mused. "It's an acquired art."

Lexi and Marie exchanged glances, nodded at each other, and simultaneously scooped a handful of snow and lodged it at Peter.

"Hey!" he cried, holding up his hands in self-defense. It earned him another snowball.

"I'm going to do the mature thing and walk away," he stated, turning.

Marie grabbed some more snow, but before she could launch it, she was struck in the face by an icy mass.

"You're too trusting," Peter said with a sly smile, bouncing two more snowballs in his hands.

***

A cold and snowy Lexi finally arrived home a half an hour later, craving hot cocoa and dry clothing. She stopped at the mailbox on her way up the driveway and pulled out a small bundle, flipping through it as she trudged up to her house.

Bill, bill, Shopper's Weekly, Tobacco Ad, bill, You're a Winner! scam... hey, what's this?

She slid a plain white envelope addressed to her from the pile.

Probably just junk mail, she thought. Oh, well. It's fun to get mail, anyway.

There was no return address.

Growing even more curious as she opened the door, Lexi slung the remaining mail to the table and tore open her envelope as soon as she was inside, cocoa forgotten. A single sheet of plain typing paper fluttered out.

Dearest Lexi, the letter read,

I am quite sorry I have not been to see you again. It is difficult for me to get away from my duties. There is so much I have to do; it is expected of me. While I do not mind, I get tired and frustrated at time, especially when it keeps me from doing something I want to do, such as visit my daughter.

Visiting you takes much effort, not just in leaving my obligations, but the actual travel. I do not live near your home. It is a time-consuming process. Though you are certainly worth the time, others do not see this way and feel that time is too precious to waste. But, what could be more wasteful than not spending the time you do have with your daughter?

 I'm not trying to make excuses for my absences. I know I have made mistakes; however, I want to correct them. The problem, my dear, is that no one cares to give me that chance. Your mother wouldn't and neither will your Nita. I hope you will not be so close-minded.

I will contact you again soon.

Sincerely,         

Your Father

Lexi was stunned. She had begun to write off the stranger as merely a creep looking for a thrill. It had been several months and she had heard nary a word from him.

Until today.

~*~*~

I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry for the long wait. I can't promise a new chapter immediately, but perhaps you'll get one by next year. :D I can promise that if you don't review, it will be even longer. :P