Once I got back home again after reading the letters at my father’s house I hugged my both baby girls tight and told them that I loved them. Thereafter I placed a peck on Calum’s cheek and thanked him for everything he had ever done for me.
I had finally found peace at mind, even though I still had my most important decision ahead of me.
I climbed the stairs with two steps at a time and sat down on my bed to read the letters one more time. Every word and every letter was carefully printed with a sprawling handwriting and as I read them, I could hear the soft, trailing countryside accent of Brick uttering the very words. And it was probably just my imagination, but didn’t those letters have a hint of vanilla smell to them?
I was taken back in time and space. Teenage Luna, the one who was depressed and sad and mistreated by her schoolmates, goes to Appaloosa for a summer and meets the most fantastic boy she could ever dream of. He teaches her things about riding, about racing, about love and about living and afterwards it’s all shattered in to a million pieces. My young teenage self was left even more broken than she was before that summer. And there was Calum, who picked the pieces back up and glued them back together. He healed her, and treated her with respect and generosity. He gave her a home, a family.
I knew I needed to make a desicion about the future and I couldn’t help but to wonder how my life would have changed if I ever got the letters back then. Would I have been as broken? Would Calum still be my best friend? Would I ride Black Knight? Would Madison and Jordan even exist? Would I be Luna Lord?
I sighed and walked up to my drawer where the picture of Brick still stood. He was smiling at me. I changed out of my stable clothes and put the letters in the top drawer, underneath my underwear. They would remain hidden there and until I had managed to come up with — something — they would be my little secret.
“I’m going for a walk” I said to Calum and took his hand in mine. I had just realized just what a big part of my life he was, and had always been. It was weird thinking that I needed Brick to realize such a thing.
“Alright, Jordan ordered Mac & Cheese for dinner, so I’ll make that. You’ll be home until then, yea?”
I nodded and left the room. Freya bounced up by my side and joined me. There were so many thoughts swirling around in my head and I just couldn’t get a hold of any of them. I needed the fresh air, the nature and the silence of the lake to think. We took the longest path towards the lake and for every step I could feel my thoughts getting clearer and clearer. There was less and less possibilities flashing before my eyes.
I sat down next to a rock by the lake and debated with myself back and forth: Calum? Brick? Calum? Brick? Alone? Calum? Brick? I knew from the Seasonal Horse Race that both paths laid open for me and that I simply needed to make the decision. The problem was, that it was a decision impossible to make.
Freya kept herself busy by chasing butterflies and bouncing around and she barely seemed to notice me at all. I knew she would never dare to run away too far from me, so I hid my face in my palms and cried a few tears. I had cried so much in my life, and it really had a healing effect. It was as if tears made it possible to think more clear.
When I felt a warm, fuzzy chin being placed on my knees I stopped crying. I knew pets could sense your every feeling and this was something I couldn’t share with Freya. Calum was her human, as much as I was. She looked at me with loyal eyes and it almost looked as though she smiled. I had been a fool to think I could hide my feelings and thoughts for her, she understood all too well. I tickled her on top of the head, between the ears, where I knew she liked it the most. Once I stopped she used her nose to puff on my hands, telling me to continue.
With the nature all around me, and my best friend by my feet, I managed to make my decision. I think I had known it all along, but finally deciding felt good. I promised myself that it would be the final decision and that I would never let myself go back and think about what could have happened if I chose the other path.
I rose from the ground and started walking towards home. I wanted to tell Calum right away, because even if he didn’t know there was a reason to worry, I didn’t want to keep him waiting. It was better to get it done.
I felt happy as I walked home. My head was clearer than it had been in years. When a small, but heavy, raindrop fell on my shoulder I smiled. Life was amazing and nature was amazing. I was happy, happier than I had ever been.
Once I got back home, I went to get the letters. Calum needed to read them on his own if he was to understand. While getting them, I tipped the frame with the picture of Brick in it facing down on the drawer. This was my decision and his smile had nothing to do with it.
“Calum, could you sit with me for a while?” I hugged the letters close, as if I was hiding them from him, but he must have seen them. He looked suspicious as he sat down next to me.
“Did something happen?”
I nodded and braced myself, “I went to my father today. And Abel…” My voice trembled and I had a tough time talking, but I was determined. This was it. “Abel had been keeping some letters from me, with good intentions. He thought they would make me sad. And I got them today. Here.” I handed him the letters and started biting my nails as he opened them and started to read them. It was almost unbearable to wait for him to finish them. I tried to read his face, was searching for a reaction but there was nothing. His face was blank.
“Have you talked to Brick?” there was layer of sadness covering Calum’s eyes and I understood that he hoped my answer would be no. I knew it would hurt him, knowing I had met and talked to Brick while he was celebrating Christmas with out daughters but I couldn’t lie. I nodded silently, avoiding any eye contact with him as I did.
“You’re leaving me?” Calum asked after a moment of consideration and he could just as well have stabbed me in the chest. His voice was calm and literal. The layer of sadness that had covered his eyes just moments earlier was as blown away and his eyes now revealed nothing of what he was feeling inside.
I looked at him and felt the pain in my chest. After everything he had done to me, I thanked him by hurting him in the worst possible way I could. It didn’t matter what I chose because he knew I would have chosen Brick if I had got those letters when they were sent. And no matter, he would always think that he was a second choice.
“I’m not leaving you” I whispered and met Calum’s steady look. There was a flash of surprise in them but within an instant it was lost. “I’m not leaving you Calum” I repeated, louder this time.
“You’re not?” he was clearly surprised.
I shook my head, “This is my life. You, Madison, Jordan, Freya and the horses. I can’t lose that. After everything I lost in my life so far, I can’t lose this too.”
A single tear ran down his cheek and I felt an urge to lean over to wipe it away, but I didn’t. “I thought you loved him” he whispered.
“I did. But it turns out I love you more.”
We started on square one again after that and slowly, we built us a life as a family again. I couldn’t understand how blinded I had been, how it could have been impossible to not see that this was my life. It was everything I wanted.
Finally, I had learned that the most important things in life is to treasure the ordinary: Eating breakfast with your daughters, growing a seed, walking with your dog, cooking Calum’s favourite dinner, watching your two best friends play and other small, but joyable things. It’s not so much about dreams, it’s about enjoying what you have.
I learned a lot about my family once I had taught myself the ‘life-lesson’. I learned that Calum has a dimple in his right cheek when he smiles genuinely. It’s most often either Jordan or Madison who manages to summon it. It’s the cutest thing, really.
I learned that even though the twins were the best of friends, they had their differences. Jordan loves to be in the stable and with the animals. She has taken Odriana pretty much under her wings and she cares for that filly with a passion that can only originate from me.
She wakes up early and finishes her breakfast in a hurry because she has learned that the horses needs to be fed before she goes to school. And God forbid should anyone else feed Odriana in the morning. I’m always there to watch them, and Jordan speaks ever so gently with Odriana while she’s sucking on that bottle. At first we thought it would only last a few days because we feed those animals early, but Jordan kept going with me even after the first week. And the second.
When the bus dropped them off outside our yard she always left her backpack outside the stable and after shouting a quick Hi to me and Calum she hurried in to Odriana.
It might have been my Christmas gift, but she seemed to provide more joy and love to Jordan than she would ever do to me. Not that I didn’t love the filly, because I did. It was a joy to see her learn things. Nearly as much joy as it was to see my baby girls grow and learn things. They were developing in to their own persons and it was so exciting to follow their journey.
“I can’t wait until you’re old enough so I can ride you” Jordan said and gently petted Odriana’s muffle. Hearing those words gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I hoped sincerely that she would keep her interest. I would love to ride next to her on the trails in Twinbrook once Odriana was old enough. There’s so much I would show and teach Jordan! “I’ll be a good rider, just like mommy. And you’re gonna be the best jumping horse ever.”
Madison also liked the animals, but she didn’t devote all her free time for them. She considered Odriana to be a cute filly, but she didn’t have the same urge to care for her as Jordan did. She played quite a lot with Freya, though. But even that, was no real passion for Madison. She was more of a creative mind. While Jordan rushed towards the stable and the filly, Madison rushed for her room and her princess costume.
She was an amazing actor judging her young age. Princess Lavender was a character well-known to the entire family. She lived in the Cloud Castle and ruled over Cloudville. She was a fair, kind and generous princess to the ones who earned it. Although, if someone broke the law or mistreated others in her land, she would give them their righteous punishment.
Unless she was playing some game with Jordan, she was constantly in that tree castle, practicing her role as Princess Lavender. She did her homework there, we let her eat there from time to time and if we had let her, she would probably sleep there as well.
But that, we wouldn’t allow, “It’s time for bed, young princess!” Calum called for her from underneath the tree.
“You don’t talk to the princess like that!” Madison called back, without popping her little head through the window.
“Oh you fair princess. I have a golden bed made just for you. Would you honor me to try it?” Calum tried again.
“You can’t command the princess!”
You have to give her honor for the creativity, and the courage, even if the action itself was stupid and dumb. “MADISON LORD! Get your butt down here before I climb up to get you!” Calum was rarely angry at the girls, but Madison had crossed the line this time and she was forbidden to visit her castle for two days. She regretted her action, to say the least, and we were sure she would never try anything similar again.
Calum wasn’t really angry, but he had to pretend, in order to teach Madison that you couldn’t treat people how you wanted to. Being mean and disrespectful had consequenses. It didn’t mean we couldn’t laugh at it once the girls had fallen asleep, though. Parenting was fun, even though it was challenging. It was a good thing I had the best father by my side.
It had been going on for a couple of days and I had been absolutely sure that it had to be something I had eaten. Or actually, I think I had hoped it would be because something just told me that it was in reality caused by something completely different. Something that… would be really, really badly timed.
On the fourth day of vomiting, I knew for sure. I hadn’t eaten something bad, and it wasn’t the flu. The only cause that also caused kicks and rumble from within was pregnancy. I was pregnant. Tracking time backwards told me I was about four weeks along. So how could that little thing already kick? Did it even have arms and legs at this point? I didn’t know.
I had promised myself I wouldn’t let my thoughts wander back to Brick after making the decision. And until now, I hadn’t. The thing was that Calum couldn’t be the father, we hadn’t been involved for ages. I was pregnant, with Brick’s child. That was just my luck.
“Calum, we need to talk. Again.” We sat down on the same sofa as where we had our last talk. It was the first time I sat in it since then. The Talk Sofa. I probably should have been more nervous than I was, but after the last talk I hadn’t felt much worry at all.
“Don’t tell me there’s more letters” Calum whispered once we were both seated. I smiled and shook my head no. I wanted to tell him this was good news, but I wasn’t sure if it was.
“I’m pregnant.” Just like that, straight to the point.
“Yes. Four weeks along, I think.”
Calum was quiet for a moment, while doing the same backtracking of time as I had done myself. The silence made me nervous and I had to stand up to ease my nerves. “It’s not mine” he said once he was done. There was a sad tone in his voice.
A wave of dizziness and sickness rushed to my body. It wasn’t his. I hadn’t realized what that meant until he uttered the words. I was disgusted by myself. And ashamed, so, so ashamed.
“Is it his?” He emphasized the single syllable word, almost spitting it out with disgust.
“Yes.” It was barely a whisper and I couldn’t get myself to turn around to face the hurt I knew I had just caused my best friend, again. I didn’t deserve him and he definitely deserved better.
“So, what are you going to do?”
Just as I was to open my mouth to answer his question I felt sick, and I needed to make a leave. “One second” I managed to croak while running towards the bathroom.
When I got back out to the livingroom, after having washed my mouth quickly, Calum was no longer there. I looked around, as if I was expecting him to be hiding behind a curtain or something. Could he really have left already, without even letting me explain or state my plan?
With heavy steps, I walked up the stairs and towards my bedroom. When I passed the twins’ room I heard sniffles through the closed door and I opened it and peaked in. Calum was sitting on the floor, crying. I realized I hadn’t seen him cry since we were forced to kiss. He was supposed to be strong. My steady rock.
“Hey” I said and sat down next to him. I put an arm around his shoulders and he rested his head against my shoulder.
“Look at them Luna, they’re perfect.” He sniffed and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “Why aren’t we enough for you? What more do you want?”
I touched his hair gently, let my fingers run through the blonde mop that I knew so well. “You are enough, Calum. Even if this one’s not biologically yours, it’s still yours. I wouldn’t want anyone else to raise it…”
He looked at me with big eyes, “Really?”
“Do you want to raise it with me? Would you do that?”
He pressed his lips against mine in a gentle kiss before nodding, “I hope we get a son.”