I’m officially an Auntie! Johanna had her first child, a baby boy named Patrick who has the most adorable chubby cheeks I have ever seen! I know she was a little disappointed because she wanted a girl but I think she got over it quick. I mean, how could anyone not love such sweet baby right away?
Izzy and I jumped up and down when Terrance called us with the news and we rushed over to their house as soon as we learned they were back from the hospital. I only got to hold him for a little while before Izzy started bugging me for her chance. Then when she had him in her arms it was like she didn’t want to let him go.
I noticed the way he responded to her. Her goofiness made children naturally flock to her. I knew Izzy would make an awesome Auntie not just to Patrick but to mine and Cyrus’ kids as well.
Our wedding day was just a week away and was scheduled to take place at a chapel downtown. I really wanted a simple backyard ceremony but Abbie insisted on having the wedding at a chapel if we wanted to have the wedding in Oasis Springs. I didn’t really like that she has so much of an influence over the wedding planning but Cyrus insisted on taking her suggestions so I caved to avoid an argument. My wedding day was supposed to be a happy occasion so I didn’t want it marred by a squabble between me and his mother. After all, she already didn’t like that he was going to move in with me so I figured why not placate her for a little while.
Another thing she insisted on was for us to have a dinner with both families before the wedding day, a suggestion I thought was a great idea. Cyrus brought her and Blair over early so they could get a tour of the house. We sat down in the living room while Gabe finished up in the kitchen. He volunteered to cook the dinner and by the smell of things it seemed like he was doing a good job.
“Your brother likes to cook?” Abbie asked.
“He does. He only recently started cooking but his food tastes really good.”
“What about you?”
“I know how to make a few things.” I wished I knew more about cooking. It was one of the many things Mum was good at and I wished she showed me before she died.
“Well, you’ll have to learn to make a lot of things. My boy here has quite the appetite. You’re gonna have to feed him properly. If you leave it up to him he’ll just eat microwave dinners and pepperoni pizza all the time!”
“Come on, Mom!” Cyrus protested. “That’s not all I’ll eat. I’ll fit in a couple glasses of orange juice and some cake in there too!” They both laughed. I did too. However, I did take notice of the way she said I needed to learn how to cook better as if she expected me to do all of the cooking like I was going to be some kind of housewife.
“Your house is beautifully decorated.” She said.
“Thanks. My mother did it years ago and we never really changed anything.”
“I like that you have a lot of family pictures. It makes a grand house like this look cosy.” She got up and began to admire the pictures on the wall. Some of them were really old, like when Mum was alive and others were more recent like from Jo’s wedding day.
She stopped in front of a collection of pictures near the piano and just stared intently at them. Then I saw her eyes focus on the one of Mum and Dad on their wedding day.
“They’re my parents. That was taken on their wedding day. They actually got married in Willow Creek in this really pretty park. I looked into that place when we were researching venues but apparently, it’s not in good condition anymore and…”
“What’s your mother’s name, Ivy?”
“Uh, Gemma, her name was Gemma. Why?”
“Gemma Sloane!” She grumbled. “Why did I not realise this before? Why didn’t your last name ring any bells? I can’t believe this! It’s her!”
“What’s wrong, Mum?” Cyrus asked.
She walked back to the couch and plopped down next to him. Then she looked him straight in the eyes. “Did you know?” She asked him accusingly.
“That her mother was the one who killed your father!”
I was shocked, wondering if I heard her correctly. “Excuse me? I think you are mistaken…”
“I am not mistaken! Your mother, Gemma Sloane, killed my husband!”
“That’s not possible, my mother never…” I stopped short of defending my mother about to state how she could never do such a thing and then I remembered what Aunt Leni told me. My mother was capable of such a thing! “Why do you think she killed Cyrus’ Dad?”
“My husband was a Federal Agent assigned to protect a witness who was going to testify against her. Your mother was a criminal, wasn’t she?”
“She was the leader of a gang!” Abbie continued. “One of the biggest ones in Oasis Springs but they could only get her on money laundering charges. The witness was going to testify against her in court about the true extent of her criminal activity but the day he was supposed to testify, his safehouse burned down. My husband…he…he was with him. He died too. My children lost their father because your mother hired someone to burn down that house so she could save herself!”
Oh. MY. WATCHER! I felt like someone had punched me in the chest! The exact same story Aunt Leni told me years ago was the same one Abbie was talking about. This can’t be happening!
My mother…I knew she killed people…I knew of a witness and a Federal Agent….but I didn’t know that agent was Cyrus’ father!
Cyrus only had to look at me to see that I knew exactly what she was talking about. He got up and started pacing the room. I sat next to her hoping to talk to her. “Abbie… I had no idea, no idea, that the agent was your husband…”
“They couldn’t prove she did it but no one else had anything to gain by that fire except for her. Now seeing the look on your face just confirms my suspicions.”
“Don’t talk to me! I don’t want to look at you. Now when I look at you, I see her. That evil woman who took the love of my life away from me! I was so happy when I learned she died. I wanted to see her rotting in jail but I felt relieved to know she was gone from this earth. I had nothing but pity for the husband and children she left behind. She was selfish and disgusting!”
“I know…I… I’m sorry for what she did…”
By this time Blair had come back and I saw Cyrus filling her in on what happened. Even she glared at me like I was the worst person in the world.
Abbie got up quickly and then rushed over to Cyrus and said to him coldly, “You cannot marry this girl!”
“I will not accept her into our family! I can’t trust her and you won’t be able to either. After what her mother has done, how can you? How do you know the apple didn’t fall far from the tree?”
I stood there helplessly wishing that this was all just a dream. A really bad dream that I was going to wake up from in a second. Abbie was telling Cyrus to break up with me and he… he looked like he was seriously considering doing as she said.
“She’s right!” Blair joined in. “Maybe this is a sign, a sign that the two of you aren’t meant to be.”
“Blair, come on…” he groaned.
“Think about it,” she continued. “I mean, can you really live in the same house that the woman who murdered Dad lived in? I like Ivy but it’s probably a good thing that this came out before it was too late.”
“Right now, I can’t stand to be in here.” Abbie growled. “I want to leave. Let’s go now.”
I wanted to say something. I wanted to protest. But I just couldn’t find the words. I stood there in a corner watching them talk as if I wasn’t even in the room. I guess I didn’t want to make the situation worse. Abbie and Blair looked at me with such disgust, like they hated me now because of what my mother did to them.
And Cyrus? I didn’t know what he was thinking. All I know was that he didn’t stand up for me. He didn’t defend me at all. Them having doubts about me now, I understand, but not him! He should know me better than that!
The next thing I knew, Abbie and Blair were gone and only Cyrus remained. I thought that was a good sign…until I saw him turn to leave.
I couldn’t let him go so I gathered my courage and rushed to stop him. “Cyrus, please don’t go!”
“I need to. I have to clear my head.”
“You understand, don’t you? I’m not to blame for this. I had no idea that one of the men my mother killed was your father!”
“So you knew that she killed someone and you didn’t tell me? You made it seem like she just made a mistake in business. You never told me the kind of person she really was!”
“Why should that make a difference? I’m not her! I’m nothing like her!”
“That’s not the point. The point is that you kept something from me! Keeping the truth about Gabriel…I get that. But this is completely different. You should have told me the kind of family I was marrying into!”
How could I not be offended by that comment? “Hold up. You mean that everyone in my family is suddenly a bad person because of the mistakes my mother committed? All this time you’ve known all of us, spent time with us, you got to know all of us and now suddenly we’re bad people?”
“That’s not what I’m saying…”
“Oh, I think I know what this is! You’re just making excuses because you don’t want to disobey your Mommy!”
“She told you to break up with me for an irrational reason so you’re trying to find a way to make this my fault, to act like you can’t trust me or my family so you can feel justified.”
“Watcher, what is wrong with you? Are you really this selfish?! I just found out that my father was murdered by someone close to you. I think I deserve the right to be a little upset!”
“But not at me Cyrus! Not at me! I have done nothing wrong! Your mother has just been looking for a reason to call this wedding off and now she found it!”
“What the hell are you even talking about? My mother has always liked you. She’s always wanted us to get married!”
“Yeah, back when she thought I was gonna be moving in with you guys. She probably thought I would have quit my job, stay home to be a homemaker like she was so I can cook for you and spoil you the way she has!”
“Ivy, you’re crossing a line.” He warned.
“Oh? Your mother stopped liking me the moment she realised that wasn’t going to happen. That’s why she’s been behaving the way she has – controlling the planning, making demands. I bet you if she didn’t find out about my mother tonight she would have found some other way to create drama so you and I can’t get married because she just can’t stand the fact that she will no longer have control over you anymore! You talk about how I didn’t warn you about the type of family you were marrying into, well hell, you didn’t warn me about yours either!”
“Then maybe we shouldn’t get married!” He yelled. “Since we both have an issue with each other’s Moms then what’s the point?!”
“Well fine, if that’s what you want! Go! Go pull on your Mom’s apron strings some more!”
“I will because I’d rather be stuck with her than to ruin my life marrying the offspring of an evil monster!”
When I heard the door slam and realised he was gone that’s when I realised what happened. My stupid mouth! I was supposed to stop this from happening not encourage it along. Was it really over?
Oh Watcher! It could be over could it? I love him! I can’t…….lose…..him…..uh…mm…