Sometimes Love Means Letting Go – Part 7

Posted by on Jan 25, 2019 in Roots and Branches, Short Stories, Sometimes Love Means Letting Go | 0 comments


Wednesday, April 9, 1902


It was Daddy’s 40th birthday, and Uncle Logan and Uncle Lewis had come up from Denver for the occasion. Rose always liked it when the twins visited, because they told the best stories about being private detectives. It was like having Sherlock Holmes, her favorite character, as a member of the family.

Dinner was over and everyone had settled down to talk in the gathering room. Rose was curled up in the big overstuffed chair that had belonged to Grandpa Rob. The leather was worn and soft and its proximity to the huge stone fireplace made it a warm, cozy place to sit and listen. The twins had just finished up one tale, and immediately Lewis launched into another.

“Let’s see, and in other news, Lo won a girl in a poker match last month,” he proclaimed with a laugh.

“Let’s not talk about that,” Logan interrupted, voice taut.

“Why not?” Lew demanded. “It’s—”

Logan caught his twin’s eye and they both fell silent, caught up in yet another of their innumerable mental discussions.

Why can’t Jackson and I do that? Rose groused to herself. She’d always been jealous of the twins’ ability to share their thoughts. It would be so very useful, especially since we rarely get to talk by ourselves anymore. There was always Jordana, or Davy, or Birdie, or worse, all three, following after them.

Then her thought broke off abruptly. Wait a minute. Why can’t Jack and I do that? We are Gifted twins, after all. It had never occurred to her before, but something did not add up in this equation, as her mama might say.

Break this down logically, Rose, she told herself. Think like Sherlock Holmes would.

It could not be denied that both of them were Gifted. She had her unnatural green thumb and the ability to shape Earth, her speaking to the ravens and crows along with her sporadic Truth-sight. Jackson had his control of Water and Air and summoning light. Only the Gifted could do those things.

And aren’t all Gifted twins telepathic? Logan and Lewis were, as were Matthew and Millie, Jesse Bryant’s twin son and daughter. She was pretty certain her cousin—first cousin once removed, she corrected herself—Will and his twin Caroline had been telepathic too, according to what Grandma had said.

So if that were true, then the only remaining answer was that . . . Jack and I can’t be twins.

Horrified, she grasped at straws. Maybe we’re still brother and sister, just not twins—But no, it was all too obvious that she and Jack were the same age.

Her head swiveled over to where Jack sat with Daddy and Grandpa Jim. There could be no doubt but that Jackson was a Steele—he was the spitting image of his father and grandfather.

And if he’s the Steele, that means . . . I’m not, and they’re not my— Rose stood up too quickly, swaying dizzily for a moment before she caught herself on the arm of the chair.

As usual, her dad noticed something was wrong. “Are you okay, sweetheart?” he asked, coming up to her and slipping an arm about her shoulders to help steady her.

He’d always been the one she’d talked to about important things. Mama was the teacher, the organizer, the problem-solver. Daddy was the one who listened and comforted when life got rough.

But now . . . Oh mercy. You’re not my real father, are you? Her heart turned to ice. “I . . . I just feel a little peculiar,” she managed to say even as the very foundations of her world crumbled beneath her. “I think I’ll go to bed now.”


To be continued…

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