Chapter 1: After Doon 1
I walked into the throne room with tea for myself and Jamie. I approached the thrones not paying attention to the rest of the room. Jamie turned his head, a 100 watt smile on his face. It had been 3 months since we got married and I still couldn't believe it, him, my compass, my light, my lo…“Ronnie?” a screeching voice shattered my musings. I turned, face to face with the boyfriend stealing, cheerleading, arch nemesis Stephanie Hartford. What the heck was she doing here! How did she get in?-I was positive the rings were still in Doon. A crash shattered my thoughts. I looked down to see one of the cups of tea had shattered on the ground the other dangerously close to falling as well. "Vee?" I looked up to see Jamie staring at me. Concern shining from his dark eyes the other cup of tea held firmly in his hand. "Are you ok?"
"Fine, just a little startled" I put what I hoped was a serene smile on my face. Jamie gave me a small smile and started toward the door I had just come through. I turned to Steph and saw the girlfriend leaving, boyfriend failing, idiot by the name of Eric "Wh-What are you guys doing here?" Her candy pink lips turned up into a smirk.
“Well, you rudely interrupted Mr.Mac Hottie over there.”
She cast a flirtatious smile his way. He came up beside me clearly irritated by the nickname. As he led me over to my throne he explained "The lass claims to have been compelled to cross a bridge when taking a walk with the lad there.” I glanced back to see Eric in the back of the room looking as uncomfortable as I felt. “As they crossed the bridge she said they were blinded by a brilliant white light and when the light subsided they were on the brig o' doon."
"But how did they cross? Both the rings are in Doon and the portal hasn't done anything since Addie died."
"I dinna know love. The lass says she isn't completely sure what happened."
I sat down heavily looking between Eric and Steph. Jamie sat down with a sigh “There was nothing unusual about the bridge? It didn't seem abnormal in any way?" I asked
"If you’re asking if it glowed or was coated in magic fairy dust, it wasn’t. It was a normal afternoon, normal bridge, same as every other day."
I looked over at Jamie. "Should we send Adam with the rings and a small team to see if anything has changed?"
He nodded, "Aye, I'll send for them."
I looked back at Steph “How did you find the castle. I mean the bridge is miles from here."
She glared at me "We walked. We saw smoke and the towers, so we decided to follow it. Also why do you get to ask the questions? We were told we were getting audience with the king and queen, and you are definitely not the queen."
She looked at me with pure unfiltered disgust "Och! I could have you thrown in the stocks for that."
I giggled thinking of the time Jamie threatened me with that same punishment…"Well it's true"
-Once again my thoughts were interrupted- We all turned to Eric. Having been silent since I walked in it was shocking. “Well it is. I dated her and she sure isn't anywhere close to queen material. And besides her being queen would mean that you married her, and anyone in their right mind wouldn't date her, let alone marry her."
I saw Jamie tense beside me when Steph nodded in agreement “Well lad, you obviously don't know her like I do. She has done a fantastic job being queen. She led an army, went on the most dangerous missions herself rather than let someone else put their life on the line, she killed the witch, and she is Doon's chosen and rightful queen."
Chapter 2: After Doon 2
Eric took half a step back in surprise. "I...I was just saying...I...I meant she doesn't look like a queen. Her hair is such a drab brown and she just isn't pretty enough."
I chanced a glance at Jamie. He looked furious. He stood up and took a breath like he was about to start yelling.
"Jamie!" I whispered harshly.
"I canna let him defile you in such a way." He whispered back with a pointed look he looked back at our guests.
Steph turned toward Jamie "If I may say, I think you need a new queen; someone..." she flipped her hair over shoulder "popular, well at least well liked and pretty." She cocked her hip to one side and put a deceivingly sweet smile on her face.
I sneaked another glance at Jamie. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a trace of a smirk. "Well you are right that the queen must be well liked in her kingdom, beautiful and kind."
Steph threw a smirk my way, confidant she had Jamie under her sway, she smiled coyly at him. "I think I know just the person that would make a great queen!" Another smile followed by a wink.
"You know I think you do know just the person." He turned and shot a wink in my direction before turning to walk down the dais toward Steph and Eric. "In fact I believe she is right here in this very room. The most beautiful, smart, compassionate woman I have ever met." Steph stepped toward him. "And she's already queen."
Her eyes widened and her mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water "Oh you weren't expecting that, yes I see through your little act. You may think that I'll fall madly in love with you leaving Verranica and making you my new queen. You are grievously mistaken; Verranica is my one and only choice for queen. What do you have to say to that?"
She floundered for a while longer. "Oh Fionna!” I exclaimed “how nice of you to stop by." I looked toward the back of the room always so grateful for my advisors timing -except for when I wasn't- "Yer highness Fergus has gone with Adam, the prince, Mackenna and a couple guards to the bridge."
"Thank you Fiona, now would you find some accommodations for Eric and Stephanie?"
"Of course yer highness." She turned to Eric "This way, come along."
After they left I turned to Jamie and started sobbing. Quick as a blink I was in his arms, my face buried in his chest. "Ah Vee, I know she's mean but none of what she said is true. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met, the people love you. You may not have been popular but that was the past, none of that matters now. What matters is what's happening now. We will figure out a way to send them back across the bridge."
When Adam got back I called an emergency meeting. When all of us had settled in, Adam stood up looking like he was about to say he just killed a puppy.
“We tested the rings on the bridge and around on the road. Nothing happened no sparks, no lights, and no change to the bridge.” He sat down as I looked to Jamie, my fears confirmed. My concern mirrored on his face. Fiona spoke up.
“If I may, yer majesty, maybe the protector sent them here for a reason. Perhaps to make amends.”
“Thank you Fiona but I think that’s the last thing Steph has on her mind. If Steph has a goal for being here, it’s to make me miserable and make sure I know Eric chose her and not me. And after her behavior in the throne room I think she set her sights on someone else,” I said with a pointed look in Jamie’s direction.
“Aye but you don’t know the protectors plan. He may surprise you yet.”
I nodded seeing her point but I still wasn’t quite ready to believe it when Kenna suddenly piped up “What if she’s here to realize that she’s a bully and that you are so much better than her. Come on you gotta show her who’s queen.” A chorus of ayes soon followed. I shot my friend a glare
“Thank you Ken, for that unhelpful comment.”
She beamed at me, “Anytime Highney!”
I cleared my throat and continued. “So we know that the rings don’t work and the protector probably has some grand plan that involves Steph being nice in the end. I think we should keep looking and trying to find a way to send them back.” I made eye contact with everyone around the table. They all nodded, I stood up hoping to go down to the kitchen and get a nice cup of tea and perhaps try to steal a cookie.
I was on my way to my office with a cookie and half a cup of tea left when I ran into Steph. Literally. “Ronnie, UGH, watch where you’re going, UGH, you got tea all over me.” It was true my tea had dumped leaving the front of my gown soaked and Stephanie’s shirt speckled with wet spots. I tried to move past her eager to change into something less wet.
“Umm where do you think you’re going?” she smiled at me “you owe me a change of clothes! You honestly don’t think this is ok to walk around the palace like this! What will Jamie think?”
I could tell her exactly what Jamie would think and I didn’t owe her anything. I knew she would follow me and keep bugging me so I grunted out a “Fine. Follow me.”
She practically skipped beside me, a huge grin on her face. She was probably thinking I was talking her to my room to get one of my dresses. If she knew where we were going she would stick with the damp clothes. I headed down to the servants quarters and headed to the linen closet. I pulled out a dull brown dress and white apron. She looked at me
“You cannot be serious? You expect me to wear the drab clothes of a servant?”
“Well yes.” I replied
“Oh no ohhh no I will not.”
“Well it’s either servant clothes or slightly wet clothes, your choice.” I smirked, I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it. I shoved the clothes into her hands and went to my office hoping to finally get some work done. When I got there Jamie had a letter in his hand and his brow was scrunched in concern and concentration.
“What is it?” I asked moving to sit across from him in my chair
“Tis a letter from Mario. He says that Sophia disappeared from the village this morning. She apparently went for a walk near the bridge and never came back. Mario said he sent Giancarlo to find her and he came back empty. Do ye think that her disappearance might have something to do wi’ Eric and Stephanie appearing?”
“Maybe,” I grabbed a letter trying to ignore his question. Jamie sighed and stood up. He came behind me gently took the letter from my hand and set it on the desk. He rubbed my shoulders working out the knots. I picked up my letter and tried to concentrate but he was so calming and distracting. I eventually gave up and laid my head back against his stomach
“Why do you think Eric and Steph are here?”
“I dinna know, but I do believe they’re here for a reason.”
“Mm” I gently pulled away and stood up “No matter how much I would love to sit here and have you rub my shoulders I need to move. I think I’ll go in a run to help clear my mind.”
“Should I accompany you?”
“No I need to do this on my own.”
“Alright love, stay safe I’ll see you when I get back.” He leaned down to kiss me.
Chapter 3: After Doon 3
I went to my room and changed. I grabbed my phone and the earbuds Kenna gave me. I turned on my “running” playlist. I ran out past the stables and into the woods. I don’t remember where exactly I ran or how long. I let myself get lost in the music and the movement. When I came to my senses I realized I was on the path to the bridge. I continued on until the castle spires were faint in the distance and the bridge was in my sights. I stopped on the edge of the bridge and doubled over. Out of breath and slightly nauseous I sat on the bridge wall with my head in my hands. I closed my eyes trying to stop my head from spinning when a brilliant white light flashed before me. When I looked up my mom was standing before me Bob the slob standing behind her.
“Mom? Wh- What are you doing here?”
She looked up at me “Ronnie? Is that you?”
“Yes it is.” I looked her over; she looked good, healthy even.
“Ronnie, where am I? What is this place? How did I get here?”
“Mom calm down. You’re fine, you’re in a land called Doon.” She looked at me like I was talking nonsense.
“So you mean to say that I was in Indiana now I’m in this place called Doon? What is Doon?”
“Doon is a kingdom in Scotland and I promise I will explain everything when we get to the palace.”
She nodded and started walking down the path before suddenly remembering someone else was with her. She turned around to face him. He looked at us.
“Wh-where am I?”
I sighed “Come on. Both of you are going back to the castle where I will explain everything, I promise.” They followed me down the path back to the castle. After an hour of hearing about how much Bob’s feet hurt and asking if we were close we finally reached the outskirts of the village. I hurriedly went to the outskirts of the village hoping to avoid people. When we reached the stables I saw Jamie waiting for me. His arms were crossed and he had a disapproving expression on his face. When he saw my mom and Blob his expression flickered between disbelief and anger.
“What are they doing here?” He asked.
“I don’t know Jamie. I ran and ended up at the bridge. When I got there I sat down to rest and when I looked up they were standing on the bridge.”
He looked between me and my mom. His eyes settled on my mom as he asked
“Is this true?”
“Yes” she looked offended.
He glanced back over at me.
“We should go in.” I said.
“Aye. I’ll send for Fiona to get some tea.”
Jamie went off toward the kitchens and I turned to go to the throne room. My mom came up beside me, marveling at the castle.
“So, if this is a castle, does that mean that there is a king?”
I chuckled to myself “Yes mom, there is a king.”
“Really?” Her eyes widened at the prospect of meeting and possibly becoming friends.
“Yes we are going to see him now.”
She hurriedly looked down at herself and touched her hair
“Do I look ok?”
“Yes mom, you look fine.”
We walked into the throne room with Jamie already sitting on his throne. My mom gasped. She took a step back obviously shocked that Jamie was king. I chuckled, if she was shocked that Jamie was king she would be even more shocked when she found out who was queen.
“Your highness.” She dropped into a low curtsey in front of his throne. She glanced at me and shot me a look and motioned for me to bow as well. I sighed and bowed. She stood up and took Blob’s arm going nearer yet to the thrones. Jamie glanced at me a playful smile on his lips, clearly enjoying this. Fiona walked in with a tray of tea and some little cinnamon rolls.
“Thank you Fiona.” I said as I walked up to her and grabbed a cup of tea and some cinnamon rolls. My mom followed my lead and Bob followed her. I sat down on my throne as my waste of a parental unit grabbed rolls and tea. As I finished my last roll my mom noticed where I was sitting.
“Ronnie what are you doing? Get down.” she grabbed my hand and pulled me down the stairs of the dais. She turned to Jamie “I am so sorry my lord, she shouldn't have done it.”
A smile took up Jamie’s face “It's alright ma’am.”
Mom smiled obviously relieved that the king wasn't too mad at her. I looked at Jamie pleading with my eyes to help me. He smiled at me a wicked gleam in his eye.
“How did ye come to doon? Verranica said you just appeared with a blast of light.”
“Yes sir. We were walking in town thinking about how much we missed our darling Ronnie.”(That was a total lie and Jamie knew it.) “We crossed a bridge in town and when we were almost across, a white light blinded us and when we could see again there were forests and Ronnie sitting hunched over on the side of the wall.” Jamie looked over at me concerned.
“I simply overtaxed myself and was resting.” I said answering his unspoken question.
“Thank you. We will get you and your husband a room to stay in for the duration of your visit.” He turned to the doorway that Fiona stood in.“Fiona would ye please take these people to a room.”
“Aye milord.” She motioned for us to follow her.
I waited in my spot as Blob and my mom followed her out. When my mom realized I wasn't be side her she quickly motioned for me to come. I hesitated and glanced toward Jamie to see if he would bail me out. Understanding what I needed he looked over at my mom.
“Pardon me, I would like to petition to talk with your daughter while you get situated.”
Her eyes widened, “Of course your highness. Ronnie would be honored to talk with you.” She quickly ushered Blob out. When the door closed I went up to my throne and sat down facing Jamie.
“Well tha was peculiar. Does she not know that you are my queen?’
“Apparently not. She obviously thinks she’s going to get something from being on your goodside. And with you asking me to stay back so you can talk to me, that will definitely end with some questions on my part.” I rolled my eyes as he smiled. “So your highness, what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Well, for one I wanted to say that you are too pretty to be her daughter. I also wanted to say that she hasn't changed a bit since she last realized my title.”
“ I know right? She is desperate for attention. I don’t think she knows who you are.”
“What do ye mean not know who I am?”
“Well she met you when you came to get me, and you are a pretty unforgettable person.”
He smiled and stood up offering his hand to help me stand up.
“So ye think I’m unforgettable?”
“Yes, of course. How could she forget someone like you?” I smiled up at him and moving closer, threaded my arms around his neck.
“Oh?-And what is so unforgettable about me?” He leaned down, his lips hovering over mine.
“Hmmm...how about your stifling overprotectiveness. I can handle myself you know.”
“Mmhmm, tha you can. So that's the only unforgettable thing about me?” He asked, pulling at my waist tugging me closer yet.
“Hmm,” I teased. “Nothing I can think of.” I pretended like I was actually trying to think of something. He chuckled “So nothing else about me is notable? At all? You're sure?” He raised an eyebrow. I shook my head no. He stared at me for a moment before closing the gap between us. For one brief moment I forgot about everyone; I forgot about Eric and my waste of a stepfather, my mom and the cheer fanatic Stephanie.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
I pulled away and laid my head on his chest.
“I should go talk to my parents shouldn't I?” I looked up at him sighing.
“Aye ye should.”
I groaned “You couldn't say ‘Nay love I need ye here.’ could you.”
“Well tha would only be half true.” He chuckled. “Besides I need to go to the village to see in anyone else has disappeared like Sophia did.”
“Fine.” I huffed, moved away, and went toward the door leading the empty wing where my parents would be. I walked to the apartments that I knew to be empty. I looked around hoping Fiona was around so I could ask her where they were and save myself some time. Sadly she was nowhere to be found. I looked in every apartment I knew to be empty, but I didn't see them. As luck would have it; they were in the last empty room in the last hallway farthest from the throne room. I walked in to see mom sitting on the slobs lap, giggling as he nuzzled her neck. I cleared my throat, nothing. I cleared it again and this time Bob looked up and saw me. Mom looked up wanting to know why he had stopped.
“Oh Ronnie! You’re here! Sooo how was your meeting with the prince? What did he want?”
“Oh um he just wanted to make sure that I was ok. And he wanted to ask some questions about you guys.”
“Just when was the last time I saw you, and what he could do to help you.”
“Hmm,” she got up and moved to a pitcher that was sitting on a side table. “Fiona should be back soon. I asked her to get some food for us. When she gets back I’m sure you could ask her to get you a room near ours.”
“Oh no I already have my room and I would hate to impose.”
She Frowned “You have a room in the palace?”
“Yea, a lot of people live here.”
“Well then we should go see your room shouldn't we dumplin.” She turned to look at Bob.
“Why, her room is probably the same as ours.” Bob groused
“Hmm,” mom thought for a moment. “Ya know, you're probably right.” mom agreed. A knock sounded at the door and Fiona walked in.
“I brought some tea and sup for ye.” She said as she walked in.
“Oh thank you Fiona, you are such a dear.” mom said elbowing Bob and shooting me a glare.
“Yea thanks.” Bob grunted. “Do you have any beer?”
Fiona glanced from Bob to me. I shook my head slightly. The last thing I wanted was a drunk parent.
“Nay sir, we do no’” she said, as she set the tray of food on the table.
“Fine.” He huffed, moving to get a piece of bread.
“Ronnie what do you say to Fiona for getting some supper for us?” she looked at me her eyebrows raised
“Thanks Fee.” I said as I moved toward the door “I hate to leave, it looks so good. I have dinner plans that I should go get ready for.” I said goodbye and shut the door behind me. As soon as I hit the end of the hallway I started running, glad that I was still wearing my running clothes. I got to my room, painting. I opened the door and saw Jamie sitting on the couch reading a book. He looked up at me and raised a silent eyebrow.
“It went fine.” I said to his unanswered question. “They tried to get me to move into the room next to theirs.” He chuckled as I sat down next to him. “I barely got out of eating dinner with them; thank goodness we had plans for tonight. Why are they here Jamie? What is the protectors plan?”
“I dinna know love, but I know his plan is great and that they have a reason.”
“I feel like I should just tell them. I mean, they are going to figure out sooner rather than later.”
“Find out what love.”
I made an imaginary crown with my fingers. He nodded and stood up.
“Well when they do find out they should be proud.” He leaned down to kiss me. “I, for one, am proud.”
I smiled and stood up. I moved toward the bedroom wanting to change and get out of my sweaty clothes. I grabbed one of my latest creations, a black dress with an A-line skirt. The bodice was covered with green vines and blue flowers that flowed into the skirt. I grabbed a tartan wrap and went out. Jamie was by the door waiting, and when he saw me his mouth dropped open. I’d forgotten that I’d never worn this particular dress before.
“Soooo, I take it you like it.”
“Aye. Forswear it sight, I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”
I blushed and reached for the door. Jamie grabbed my hand and used it to pull me closer toward him. He wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me closer yet. The hand that had grabbed my hand came up to slide behind my neck and pull me to him. His lips hit mine and the rest of the world fell away as I wrapped my arms around his neck. When I came to my senses and pulled away he grinned down at me. “We should really get going or else Kenna and Duncan will start to wonder.” I said pulling out of his arms to go to the door.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
We got to Mario's and sat at our usual table and ordered our regular. Mario had just walked away when Fergus pulled a chair up beside Jamie and plopped down. Fiona followed her husband, crossing her arms over her bulging belly.
“So what did he order me.” Fergus asked rubbing his hands together.
“Nothin Fergus. At least no’ for you.”
Ken and Duncan both chuckled from the other side of the table. Jamie stood up and offered Fiona his chair. She sat down gratefully rubbing her belly. Jamie pulled a chair next to mine and threaded his fingers through mine. Fergus called Mario over and ordered the biggest pizza he could get with everything on it.
“Si sinorge. And what will the lady have?” Mario asked looking at Fiona
“She’ll have some of ours.” Duncan spoke up.
“Yea.” Kenna agreed
Fiona blushed and thanked us. Fergus glared at us for a while, then his food came and he was ok again. We talked and laughed over our food and I completely forgot about the four people in the castle who should not be there. When the food was gone we started talking about the more important things. Fergus said he was going to ask around the village to see if anyone had gone missing.
“My parents don’t know that I’m the queen. So can we keep it hush hush for a while? I’m not sure how to break it to them. If they find out, my mom will start trying to use me to get anything.”
“So your parents, Steph, and Eric are here?” Kenna asked. I nodded glumly, “yesh any way I can help?”
“I don’t think so, unless you know how to send them across the bridge.”
“We could just tie them up and leave them in the hunting lodge.”
I glared at her, “Anyone else have any ideas?” No one spoke up. I sighed and sat back.
“We should have a girls night, just a couple of us and go to that fancy house Jamie built for you, and hang out for a weekend.”
“That's a great idea Mackenna, but I won’t be able to join.” Fiona gestured to her rounded form.
Kenna nodded. “What do you think Vee? We could get some of the Roseti girls.”
“Yea that sounds great. We could go find them tonight and leave tomorrow.”
Kenna squealed and stood up,
“I’ll go find them.” Duncan followed her out with a wave to the rest of us.
“I should probably go too.” Fiona stood up with a grimace. Fergus wrapped an arm around her waist as they left. Jamie stood up and offered me his hand. I took it and stood up. We went to the carriage and I leaned up against Jamie and shivered. He wrapped an arm around me. It started raining as we got out of the carriage
“That's just great. Could this day get any worse.” I groused. Jamie chuckled and wrapped his arm around my shoulder. We got across the courtyard and into a dry hallway. We decided to take the long way to our room rather than go back out in the rain. We were halfway there when we ran into my mom, literally. She stumbled back a few steps. She noticed Jamie's arm around my shoulders and the fact that we were soaking wet. I could see the wheels in her head turning.
“Hey mom, what are you doing over here?”
“I was looking for you. But you're busy so I’ll look for you tomorrow.”
“I’m not busy.” I shook off Jamie's arm and stepped forward. “What do you need?”
“What were you doing with the king?” She eyed my soaking clothing.
“I ran into him in the courtyard when it started raining.” I shrugged and let my mom draw her conclusions. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Well I was wondering when we could go home, all of us.”
“All of us?”
“You, me, and Bob. He’s changed, Ronnie, he loves me.”
I looked in her eyes and could tell she believed it.
“I can’t leave mom. This is my home.” She looked hurt “I love you, I do, but I can’t leave.”
“Why Ronnie? What do you have here that I can’t give you.” I glanced toward Jamie “The king, you love the king.” she said quietly
I laughed “Yes I do love him.”
“Is that why you were in the courtyard. You saw him coming and so you pretended to trip so he would help you up. Good thinking hon.”
“Not quite. But yea I was in the courtyard because of him.” I wasn't lying. I was in the courtyard because we had gone to dinner.
“So does he love you back?”
“I think so mom, I think so.” she looked downright giddy. “Well go then. Get him to walk you back to your room. Go on.”
“Alright mom, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I went back down the hall and took Jamie's arm. As we continued to our room I glanced back at my mom. She gave me a thumbs up and mimed snuggling close. I rolled my eyes.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
I sat down on the couch and opened where I had left off. “My good opinion once lost is lost forever…”
“What did yer mom want?” Jamie asked
“She wanted to go home, and for me to go with her.” I sighed and set down by book “I told her that I have a life here, that I can’t leave.”
“What did she say to that?”
“Nothing, she looked hurt though. She did ask me what was so important here that I couldn't leave.”
“What did ye tell her.” He asked pulling me close, almost on his lap.
“I told her that I loved the king. She wanted to know if you loved me back. I told her I think he does.”
“Think! You think I love you!”
“Oh I know you do, but if my mom knew, then she would never leave. She would spend all her time trying to get us together so she can brag that her daughter is married to the king.”
“But ye are married to the king.”
“She doesn't know that. All she knows is that I love you and that you might love me back.”
“I do love you, dinna doubt it.” He whispered, tugging me all the way on to his lap and tugging me close. I laid my head on his chest and listened to the beat of his heart, the heart that beat for me.
I thought of my mom and how I needed to get her home. The bridge floated through my thoughts. I saw the rings, Addie, my previous escapades on the bridge surfaced. Each time we were on the bridge we needed something. The first time I needed Jamie, and Kenna needed Duncan-whether she knew it or not. We crossed after Addie pushed us out and we needed to figure out why. The last time we used the rings to cross was when we needed the destined to cross so we could end Addie once and for all. The destined had shown up on the bridge because we needed them to fight Addie. I sat up suddenly, startling Jamie who had been playing with my hair.
“I think I know how to send everyone back.” I turned in his lap grinning “Every time we crossed the bridge we needed something.”
“Yea, when Kenna and I first crossed the bridge we crossed because of the calling. I needed to find you. When Addie pushed us out and you came and got us we needed to get back so we could stop her.” I got up and paced in front of the fire. “When we fought Addie the destined appeared on the bridge because we needed them. Don’t you see? My parents are here for a reason and if we can figure out why then maybe we can send them back.” I watched Jamie, I could practically see the wheels in his head turning. After a few moments he nodded
He stood up grabbed my waist and twirled me in a circle. A laugh bubbled up through my chest. He set me down and I tilted my chin up. He leaned down and kissed me. The room spun and I pulled away.
“We should tell Ken and Duncan.”
“Aye, we should and we shall. But it's late.”
“Mmm it is.” I pulled away and grabbed my book that had fallen on the floor when I jumped up. I went into the bedroom and set the book on the bedside table. Jamie leaned up against the doorframe and crossed his arms. I went to the dresser, pulled out a shirt and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a bath. When I came out Jamie was laying on the bed reading a book. I curled up beside him pulling the covers up. He wrapped an arm around me and I laid my head on his chest.
“Why do you think Steph and Eric are here?”
“I dinna know love,” he said kissing the top of my head. “But I do know tha we can figure it out tomorrow.” He set the book on the table and pulled me against him
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
I raced down the towers steps and skirted around the courtyard-the rain still hasn't let up from last night. I slid to a stop in front of Kenna’s door and knocked.
“Ken get up.” I waited a minute before trying “Mackenna Reid get up.”
She opened the door with a frown on her face grumbling about beauty sleep.
“Whatdoyouwant?” She said, barely coherent.
“I think I figured out how to send everyone home.”
I shoved passed her and into her messy room. I dug through the piles of clothes as I explained.
“Last night I think I figured out how to send everyone home. Every time we or the princes crossed the bridge, we needed something.” I picked up a green dress and threw it at her. She caught it and moved around me to go to her bedroom to change. She left the door open a crack so we could talk.
“So you’re saying the only thing we need to do is make sure they have something back home they need to go back to?”
“I don’t think it’s that simple. I think it’s like Fiona said, they are here for a reason. I think that if we find that reason than we will be able to send them home, and that is exactly why we are having a meeting.”
“A meeting? Do I have to go? We had a girls day planned” She stepped out of her room attacking her hair with a brush.
“I know and I wanted to go, but we have finally got a breakthrough on how to fix this. Besides Duncan will be there.”
She attacked her hair faster.
I looked around at our small group. Kenna looked hopeful, Duncan looked, well he looked at Kenna. Fergus looked at the door impatiently, probably wondering when he would get to see his wife again. A few others were scattered around, some new friends and other people that would be of use in making decisions. Jamie grasped my hand tightly and gave me a small encouraging smile. I stood shakily.
“Most of you are aware that my parents, and two other people have recently come here.” I took a deep, shaky breath “I believe I now know, or have an idea about how to send them back. This may not work it's just a theory.”
“Alright let's hear it.”
I met Adams gaze, “ I believe that the bridge is driven by need.”
“Need?” Adam asked. He glanced between Jamie and I to see if I was being serious.
“Yes, need. When Mackenna and I were shoved out of Doon by the witches magic Duncan and Jamie needed to get us. When the destined were called here to help us they needed to be here. I think that they are here for a reason. Fiona said this was probably why they were here, but I didn’t…”
Giancarlo suddenly burst in. He looked around at us, his gaze stopping on me. “Forgive me your highness.”
“What is it?” Duncan said standing up.
“Umm well since Sophia went missing I umm went looking. Looking for more missing people.” Duncan ushered Giancarlo to sit in his seat
“An’ what did ye find?” he asked, standing behind Ken.
“Two missing people, a brother and sister. Their parents said they went walking and never came home.”
“Who are they?” I asked.
“Kara and Kyle Franz. Kyle is 15, two years older than Kara.”
“Did they give any inclination that they wanted to leave?”
“Nay. Their ma said they had started getting along more. They had decided to take a walk and go on a picnic.”
“When did they leave?”
“Yesterday, before lunch.”
I nodded. “Is anyone else missing?”
“I dinna know. As soon as I figured out these two were gone I came. I thought you would want to know right away.”
“Thank you Giancarlo. We will try to get them back as soon as possible. You may go if you wish.”
“Thank you. I’m going to keep looking and see if anyone else has gone missing, if that’s alright.”
He stood. Bowed. And left. I massaged my temple.
“What are we going to do yer highness?” Fergus asked, fiddling with the hat in his hands.
“I don’t know. I think we need to talk with my parents, Eric, and Stephanie first though.” Everyone nodded in agreement. I stood and opened the door to talk to the guard outside. I asked him to retrieve Eric and Steph first, thinking it would be easier in small groups. I sunk back into my chair with a sigh. I peeked at everyone’s faces. I saw varying degrees of hope and worry.
“Yes yer majesty.”
“Go see your wife, And that’s an order.”
“Ye dinna have to tell me twice.”
He got up and scurried to the door. I chuckled to myself, he certainly loved his wife there was no doubt about it. We all sat in silence for a few minutes before a dripping wet guard opened the door.
“They’re gone yer majesty.”
“Early this morning some of the guards at the gate saw them leave.”
“And why was I not informed about this?”
“The guard thought you sent them out, and that it wasn’t important.”
I dropped my head into my hands “you may go now.” He shut the door. I looked up and stared outside into the driving rain. “Wait! The rain! They’re trying to breach the border.”
“How do yet know?” Jamie asked a mask of confusion on his face.
“Because, Doon is trying to stop them anyway it can.”
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
“It's the same as when I tried to leave with the book. The weather hasn't been this bad since Addie was vanquished.” I glanced out the window, listening to the plop of the rain on the window. The plop became more defined and heavy, like a bunch of little pings.
“It's hailing!” Kenna said, saying what I was thinking.
Everyone turned to look out the window.
“We have to go find them.” Jamie stood up and motioned for Duncan to follow. “Duncan and I will take some guards and head toward the bridge to see if we can find
them.” He gave me a quick kiss. “We’ll find them.”
“Alright, this meeting is officially adjourned. If you see anything or anyone please say something.” I stood up, grabbed Kenna’s hand, and pulled her out into the hallway. “I'm going to go make sure my parents are still here and doing okay. I was wondering if you wanted to hang out like old times. I know we haven't really had “just us” girl time since Jamie and I got married.”
“I would love to!” She practically squealed.
“Okay, okay, we’ll get some tea and cake and have a sleepover.”
“Ooo we can do mani pedis.”
“Whatever you wanna do.”
“I’m going to pick out some nail polish and go get some tea and stuff. Don’t be too
She skipped away humming “You can't stop the beat.” I smiled as I turned the other way to see my parents. I took the long way, not wanting to get hit by a rogue piece of hail.
When I got to their room I knocked lightly. “Mom?”
The door opened and my mom stood there in a sheer slip. “Hi honey, what are you doing here?”
“I uh came to see you.”
“Aww, come in.”
I stepped in to see Blob in his tighty whities lying on the couch with a mug in his hand.
Averting my eyes I asked “So what have you guys been up to?”
“Oh nothing,” she said. “We walked around the castle and went down to the village. Oh and how about you and the king? Did you guys, ya know.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh, ah, no we didn't. We sat and talked for a while.”
“What did you guys talk about.”
“Um we talked about some recent developments in the kingdom.” I shrugged
“Thats too bad.” she pouted her lips and sat down. “You should invite him to dinner and wear a more low cut dress. I’ll help you find something if you want.”
“No that's fine I don’t need help, besides I have Ken and speaking of Ken, I’m late to meet her.”
“Oh I was hoping you could stay a little longer.”
“I would love to, maybe we could go get dinner sometime. There is this great place to eat, everyone loves it.”
“How about tomorrow.”
I shifted my weight around and glanced toward the door. “I may have something going on, I’m waiting to see what happens tonight. But I will definitely let you know though.” She hopped up and wrapped me in a hug. “I love you mom and I will let you know but I have to get going.” I jogged down the hallway and I knocked on Kenna’s door.
“Ken its me, let me in.”
She opened the door and pulled me inside.
“So, I raided the kitchen and found those delicious mini cinnamon rolls. The tea is still too hot to drink. I grabbed some pjs for you.” she picked a bundle up off her couch and shoved it in my arms. “Now go get changed because we are going to have an awesome night.” l laughed and ran off to the bathroom to change. When I got out, Ken had set out five different kinds of polish. She stood behind them like she was on shark tank and was trying to convince me to partner with her.
“Hmm I’ll have ‘you blue my mind’ please.”
“That one is my absolute favorite!”
We giggled and sat down on the couch.
“Pass me the snacks would you? Mani pedis always make me hungry,” I said.
“So do you think the guys will find them?” she asked.“I haven't been this worried about them since before Addie died.” She was staring mournfully down at her ‘orange crush’ toes.
I took her hand and pulled her into a hug. “I’m scared too but the guys will be fine. They’re tough and I’m sure they will be back soon.”
“Now, it would be a waste of our time to dwell on this. We made this time to have fun, so let's have fun.”
I turned on some music and we danced until we were both too exhausted to move more than the five feet to get to bed.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
I woke up to the smell of coffee. I groaned and rolled over bumping into Ken.
“Did you order coffee?” I asked groggily as I shook her awake
“Of course not!” she answered angrily-well as angry as you can being half asleep-”does it look like I got up and ordered coffee?”
“No it doesn't. I was just wondering. Maybe you asked last night for it to be delivered sometime this morning.”
“Once again, do I look like I wanted to be woken up this early?!”
“No.” I rolled off my side of the bed and groped around in search of a robe. “I’m going to see why the coffee is here. In the meantime, you should get up.” She groaned and buried deeper in the covers. I chuckled and opened the door to the outer room. A tray with piping hot coffee, pancakes, and bacon sat on an end table.
“Ken there's pancakes!” I shouted as I moved around to grab a piece of bacon and stick it in my mouth. As I picked up a plate I noticed a note sitting on the bottom of the tray. I picked it up and opened it:
Vee, we found Eric and Stephanie, we left them in their room with a guard posted outside. When you and Mackenna finish breakfast come to the meeting room and we can decide what to do with them.
I sat on the couch and took a bite of pancake. Mmm, these were delicious. They weren't as good as Mags, but they were still good. Ken soon emerged pulling a robe over her tank top and sleep shorts.
“Where are the pancakes? I’m starving!” I pointed to the other plate with my fork. “How are the guys?” She asked. “Did they find Eric and Steph?” She had sat down on the other end of the couch.
“Yea, Jamie said that they are in their room, and after we get done eating we should go to the throne room to decide what what to do with them.”
“We should lock them in the dungeon.”
“We can't do that. They technically didn't do anything against the law.”
“Well neither did we when we came and we were still locked up.”
“They didn't know any better Ken, they thought that we were witches.”
“I think Steph is a witch and Eric is a troll. See?-now we can lock them up!”
I sighed and shook my head, there was no arguing with her. I stood up, “I'm going to go get ready.”
“Ok and remember dungen!”
I smoothed my skirt and opened the door. Jamie sat in a chair reading a book. He looked up and smiled. He stood and started making his way towards me. A giddy smile was on my face when I met him. All thoughts of dungeons and what to do with Eric and Seph left my mind.
“How was your trip?” I asked as he pulled me close.
“Cold and wet.” I wrapped my arms around his neck “an’ to be completely honest I was a little disappointed that you weren't here to greet me. I had to spend the whole night alone.” he said.
“I'm sorry to have disappointed you. Ken and I thought a sleepover would be fun. We hadn't had one since you and I got married.”
“Ah, well I think I could forgive you if you promise never to leave me alone again.”
He leaned down to kiss me. I pulled back sometime later. “Don't we have some things to do?”
He groaned “Aye but ye didn't have to say anything. We could have simply forgotten.”
I giggled and pulled out of his arms “I’ll send a guard.”
A short time later a grumpy looking Seph and Eric walked in.
“Would you tell your minions to back off? We’re not going anywhere.” Steph said
“Watch it!” Eric exclaimed after a guard gave him a little shove. I motioned for them to sit in the chairs opposite of us.
“We called you here today to ask why you thought it would be a good idea to try and force yourselfs across the border.” I asked.
“We didn't force ourselves, Doon wanted us to leave.” Steph examined her nails.
“We know that Doon was trying to stop you from leaving. How do you figure that it wanted you to leave?”
Eric spoke up “One, the guards did not stop us. Two, the weather got bad right after you left. Obviously we were supposed to leave, the storm was made to stop you.”
“Nay, the storm was no’ to stop us. It was to stop you.” Jamie said clenching his fists below the table. He was mad, not because they tried to leave, but because of how wrong they were about the whole situation.
“And how do you know that.” Eric challenged.
“Because the same thing happened to me.” Eric turned, waving his hand for me to elaborate. “When I first got here I tried leaving and Doon did the same thing to me. It started snowing, it tried to get me to turn back any way it could. It even sent a bear after me.” I shared a secret smile with Jamie before continuing. “You tried to leave and Doon was trying to stop you.”
“That's a load of crap!” Seph exploded. “There is no way that you tried to leave! Unless loverboy here ordered you to leave because he couldn't stand the sight of you. That story was a fake, you are just trying to trick us into thinking whatever you say is true.” She sat back, pleased with herself and waiting for my reaction.
“You’re wrong Steph. The story is 100% true, I tried to leave because I thought Jamie was going to die. I left so I could get a journal that I believed was going to kill jamie out of Doon.”
Eric snorted, “That's even worse than your first story. How’s a book supposed to hurt someone? Is it going to give him a papercut? Oh no!”
“What she says is true. Addie cursed the journal so that she could weaken me and get Doon once and for all.” Jamie said
“So you’re telling me that some old lady used magic to curse a book to hurt you so she could have this horrible kingdom?” Eric looked between us bewildered “You are both crazy.”
“That's it.” Jamie stood up letting his chair crash to the floor behind him “I can only tolerate so much.” He leaned over, close to Eric's face. “What we say is true and there is much you don’t understand. If either of you speak against the kingdom in anyway again I will not hesitate to put both of you in the dungeon. Is that understood?”
They were speechless, Eric's mouth was slightly open. He glanced over at me to see what I thought of Jamie's outburst.
“Jamie’s right, you are being rude and are talking about things you don’t understand. I won't stop him from putting either of you in the dungeon, so you best listen to what he said.” They nodded in unison. Jamie picked up his chair and sat down. “So now that that has been cleared up we have to now decide how to send you home.”
“This isn't a jab at the kingdom or whatever but you are so two faced. You tell us that we shouldn't try to leave and now you want to send us home, explain how is that?” Steph asked.
“The border will try to keep you in if you try to force your way out, at least that's how it was before. But now we think that we know why you are here and how we can send you home. To figure that out we need to know why you are here. Maybe you have unfinished business. We don't know, but we do know that the protector has a plan.”
Eric and Steph looked at each other for a minute before Steph spoke up. “We don't have any unfinished business and I don't know why we are here.”
Jamie and I shared a glance. “I think it might have something to do with why you're here. I think that the protector wants us to make amends or something.”
“Make amends?” Steph screeched “What amends? We were never friends so we have nothing to make amends for!”
“Steph the sooner we find out if we do have something, the sooner you can go home. First I want to know why you have had it out for me, why do you hate me?”
Chapter 10: After Doon 10
"Hate you? Oh no, I don't hate you, I loathe you." She said with a sneer, "You ask why I loathe you? Well it's simple. You had Eric and I wanted him. You're always so nice to everyone. Also, I hate everyone. So why would you be any different? So, no, I don't hate you." She smiled sweetly and sat back in her chair.
"Is that all, you hate me because I'm nice and you're not?"
"Well, there is one thing. Back in fourth grade when we had that Christmas concert, you tripped me on purpose so Mrs. Luck never put me in the front again because you made me look like a clutz. You are an ugly, rude, self-centered leach who will do anything to be noticed.”
Jamie moved to stand up, I laid my hand on his arm and shook my head. Steph was just trying to make us lash out and we couldn't give her that power.
"So you hate me because I accidentally tripped you years ago and that caused you to not sing in the front in any other concerts, right?"
"Yes, that was the time that people could have seen how good I was at everything."
"How about if we make it up to you? We have a theater, you could give us a performance."
"Well, I can't say no to a chance for everyone to see how amazing I am. So sure I'll perform for your little kingdom. Maybe I'll find a hot Scottish boyfriend."
Eric turned to her offended. "What could one of these kilt wearing idiots give you that I couldn't?"
"Umm how about money, and the jealousy of everyone else."
"So you're saying that I can't give you money or make anyone jealous?"
"Back home you were a catch, the hottest guy around, but now if I go back with a hot Scottish guy I will get everything I ever wanted. I will get more than you could ever get me."
"Everything you ever wanted? I gave you.."
"Guys enough. You are bickering like school children and I will not have it." I said, tired of their squabbling "If you want to fight, fine, but not here or now. We will try to figure out how to send you home but for now, I am locking you in your chambers."
"Wait, but you promised me a performance in front of the entire kingdom." Steph whined
"If ye keep acting like you do then no performance will be given from you," Jamie said, equally irritated. He stood up and called a couple guards to escort them to their chambers. Jamie shut the door behind them sighing. "I canna wait until they are gone and we can be in peace."
"Me neither but, until then we must look forward and keep trying to send them back." I stood up and wrapped my arms around him laying my head on his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and we stood like that for a while. A knock at the door separated us. Fergus stood in the doorway panting.
"Fee, she's in labor." he panted.
"Seriously?" I asked.
"Yes, do really think that I would run all the way from the other end of the castle just for fun?"
"Get back to yer wife man. We will join ye soon." Jamie said.
Fergus turned and ran back down the hall without a second glance.
"I'm so glad that Fee is finally having her baby, she's so long overdue," I said as I gathered up the papers on the table and put them in a drawer. "We should go see her. Come on!" I ran out the door and down the hallway. I stopped at the end glaring down at my shoes. Out of all the days I decided to wear heels I had to choose today. Jamie came up behind me smirking. "Oh shut up."
After three hours of pacing and waiting, Fee had two beautiful babies. A little girl named Arwen and a boy named Mordred. I'd never seen a grown man cry as much as Fergus did as he held his children. They were small, but Doc Benoir said twins often were. Fiona said that by the end of the week she should be able to return to her normal duties. Jamie and I continually said that her and Fergus were to take at least a month off of their duties to spend time with their children. They graciously agreed, but said if there was anything that they could do to help we were to let them know.
"Fee you just had twins! You are not going to do a scrap of work!" I exclaimed, "Jamie help me out here."
"Aye the queen is right, ye need rest."
"Fine, I dinna think that I can win this fight." Fee said sighing.
"Good, and when you feel up to it we are going to throw a feast to celebrate!" I exclaimed as Ken jumped up and down beside me.
"Nay you don't need to throw a feast I only had two babies."
"Oh but we must! You had a very long pregnancy and everyone loves a celebration!" Ken said.
"I have a feeling that I'm not going to win this fight either."
"Nay, we are having a feast and ye canna do anything about it." Jamie said.
"Alright, we can have a feast." Fiona said finally. Everyone cheered. Fergus leaned down and kissed her which just made us cheer louder.
Chapter 11: After Doon 11
I laid awake that night thinking, what if we couldn't send everyone home? What if they were stuck here? I tried to tell myself that we would find a way, that the protector had a plan, but I was still doubting. I turned my thoughts to Fiona and Fergus, trying to cheer myself up. Thinking of them led to thinking about the feast and the feast led me to thinking of my parents and how I needed to come clean about everything, before they found out the hard way. I told myself that tomorrow I would do it, tomorrow I would tell them.
Tomorrow came and I was dreading telling them.
“What’s wrong love?” Jamie asked over breakfast, his eyes searching my face.
“I’m going to come clean and tell my parents everything.” I answered looking down at my plate.
“Everything about you and me and how I’m the queen and that we’re married, everything. I just don’t want them to go to the feast and find out that way.” I pushed my plate forward suddenly not hungry.
“Tha’s very wise. Shall we invite them for lunch and tell them?”
“I don’t know. I think that after breakfast I’m going to go to their rooms and tell them.”
He nodded “Alright, and I’m guessing you don’t want me to be there.”
“Personally I would love it, but I dont think its a good idea. This is going to be hard enough as it is and you know how my mom can be. Once she figures out that she can use you to get stuff, she will.” I stood up and smoothed my skirt. “Is there anything that I can do to help right now?” I asked, fidgeting with a piece of ribbon.
“Nay love, go talk to your parents and I’ll be right here waiting for your return. I promise.” He stood, gave me a kiss and an encouraging smile before starting to clear our plates.
I shakily opened the door and started to their rooms. What was I so afraid of? They couldn't do anything. They will probably be relieved. This is going to go fine, it will be absolutely perfect. They will be so glad...but what if they aren't? What if they hate me for lying to them and what if they resent me now? Oh why did my inner me have to be so negative and ruin my pep talks… Before I knew it I was standing outside their door. I straightened my shoulders and knocked.
A very grumpy looking Blob answered. “What do you want!? Oh Ronnie its you. Jannet! Ronnie’s here.” He left the door open and went to go sit on the couch.
My mother opened the door wide and pulled me in for a hug. “Oh Ronnie, it’s been so long since you’ve come to see us.”
“It's only been a couple days.”
“Yes but a couple days lasts forever here.” She escorted me to a chair across from the couch and then went to sit by Blob. “So much happened since you last were here.” She said this like I had been out of town and not on the other side of the castle.”Some lady named Fiona, she was the one who brought us here. Well she had a baby, well two babies, twins!!”
I tried my hardest to be polite and not just come out and say, Yes I know I was there. “Oh did she, I saw that she was pregnant and was wondering when she was due.”
“Oh yes she has a little boy and a little girl. That's not even the most exciting thing. The most exciting thing is that the king announced that there was going to be a feast to celebrate! Isn’t that exciting?! You could use this as an excuse to be near the king. We could go into town and get you something special.” She wiggled her shoulders suggestively. “I heard that there was this wonderful place in town. So you go in this amazing dress and then take a walk in the moonlit garden and…”
“Mom!” She looked at me surprised. “ I'm not going to do that.” I took a deep breath to try and calm my nerves. “The festival is actually what I came to talk to you about. I haven't been totally honest with you. Jamie is the king and I...I’m the queen. We got married a little under three months ago.”
She sat there for a minute in shock before exploding. “How could you not me!? I am your mother! You let me give you advice and led me to believe that the king was unmarried and that you had a shot at catching his eye? How could you?!”
“I’m sorry mom, I really am. You thought that we weren't together at first and it was just easier to let you think that. I’m sorry. I've been under a lot of stress lately some things have come up and…” I glanced up at her trying to prove that I was truly sorry.
Her eyes softened. “I forgive you, but next time you have something like this, please just tell me.”
“I will mom, I promise. I wanted to tell you before you went to the feast and found out that way.” I smiled apologetically.
“So everyone knows that you're married and that you're the queen?”
“So how long did it take for you to adjust to being the head lady around here?”
“Umm it took a while, there were some definite struggles.”
“Oh I bet. I mean, you became a wife and a queen all at once.” She chuckled.
I was about to just agree with her, but I remembered my promise. “Actually mom, I became queen long before I got married.”
“How’d you manage that? Because I’m pretty sure you were not queen when you came here.”
I sighed and dived in. I started with coming to Doon and finished with Addie’s demise. When I was done I leaned back and stared at my hands. “Soo…yea, thats the long story.”
She was silent for a moment, soaking it all in. “It was certainly interesting and a bit unbelievable, but I do believe you.” She said. “If you can start as a nobody from Indiana, you sure can become queen of a magical Scottish kingdom.” She stood up and moved to hug me. “I love you Veronica and I know that you want what's best for me and I know that you wanted me to do better than Bob, but the truth is I love him and I don't think I could leave him. I'm sorry that I haven't been the best of parents but I am willing to try. As long as I can go home to Indiana. Don't get me wrong though, it's amazing here, but I miss home.”
I stepped back and nodded. “I understand, I miss home sometimes too. I would probably miss it more if I didn't already have a life here. So I will do whatever it takes to send you home. Jamie and I are trying and we have some idea of what we need to do. It may take some time but we will find a way.”
“Oh darlin’ that was beautiful, and you can take as much time as you need. If it takes you months that's ok, because that means that I get to spend more time with you.”
“Speaking of spending time together, how about you and Bob join Jamie and I for dinner this eventing. There is this great pizza place in town that we could go to.”
“That would be lovely.”
I hugged my mom again, and this time I held her a little closer for a little longer. I walked back to my room truly happy for once. The last time I had felt this way was before my mom and Eric and everyone else came. Now I wasn't worried about my mom finding out that I was married or Eric or Steph ruining my day with a rude comment about me. This was going to work, I was going to find a way to send everyone back home. I broke out in a huge grin and skipped the rest of the way.
Chapter 12: After Doon 12
The day of the festival came and the whole kingdom was ready for it. The town square was filled with lanterns and food vendors. I danced until my feet hurt, never leaving Jamie's side. I saw my parents, Eric, and Steph. At one point we were all happy and dancing. For the most part we were all smiling but occasionally I caught Seph Giving me a dirty look. I thought about it for most of the evening before realizing that I had promised her a performance. After the dance ended I pulled out of Jamie’s arms and made my way to the stage. I looked out over the crowd and met Steph’s eyes.
“Good people of Doon, as you may have heard we have had some unexpected guests arrive in the last week. One of these individuals is incredibly gifted at singing and I begged her to give you a performance.” I may have been laying it on thick but I knew she would love it. “She humbly accepted. Now without further ado, I give you Stephanie Hartford.” She smiled broadly as she got on the stage.
“Thank you your highness. For my performance I will be singing “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift.” She started singing loudly, and kind of off key. When she was done with one song she immediately started another. She sang two Taylor Swift songs and one Beyonce song. When she was done everyone clapped. I climbed back on stage to thank and congratulate her.
“Thank you Steph, that was truly wonderful. I'm glad that you were here to sing at such a momentous occasion.” She smiled and thanked me for letting her sing. When we had walked off the stage and started walking back to the guys she grabbed my arm and pulled me into an alley.
“What are doing?” I asked looking back down the alley.
She looked at her feet, “I just wanted to truly thank you. I know that I was mean to you in the past and I’m sorry for that. I realize now that it was a stupid and had nothing to do with you. So thank you for the songs and how nice you were. You and Jamie are an adorable couple, so I hope you are happy.”
“Thank you Steph. You and Eric could work out too. I also think that the protector brought you here so that you would realize that you and Eric could be a good couple, and that blaming people is not the answer. So I think that you should be able to leave the kingdom with no problems, in fact Jamie and I will escort you to the bridge tomorrow. For now, just enjoy the festival.”
“Thank you Vee,” she said. She hugged me tight before running off to find Eric. I went down the alley the other way intending to find Jamie and dance. The night flew by in a whirl of color and laughter. After breakfast the next day we saddled some horses and made our way to the bridge. We took the rings to see if we ended up needing them. Nobody spoke on the way to the bridge we were too busy checking the sky to see if there were any clouds. We got to the bridge and dismounted.
Steph turned to Jamie and I. “Thank you both, you taught Eric and I so much.” She looked over at Eric before continuing. “If you ever need anything we would be happy to help.”
“Thank you for the offer, but I think that once you leave Doon it would be best for you to just forget about us. Make us a distant memory.”
They nodded solemnly. The bridge loomed before us, a layer of fog covered the surface. Eric and Steph joined hands and started toward the bridge. When they got to the top of the bridge the fog grew and soon covered them. When the fog cleared two figures still stood on the bridge. My shoulders dropped and Jamie wrapped an arm around me. The figures made their way down the bridge toward us.
“Vee!” someone shouted from the bridge.
I looked up to see Sophia running toward us dragging a very rumpled and confused guy behind her.
“Sophia, oh my gosh i’m so glad you're ok. What happened?”
“Well, I took a walk to the bridge to clear my mind. When I got here I was pulled up onto the bridge and then a white light surrounded me. When I opened my eyes I stood on the bridge, but in Alloway. From there I followed my heart until I found Ben here.” She gestured to the guy behind her. He smiled sheepishly.
I chuckled. “I don’t know how much Sophia has told you about us.” I gestured around me.
“Not much.” he admitted “I know that this is a magical kingdom that you can only get too by crossing a magical bridge and that we have a calling. That's about all I know, Sophia and I don't really talk about it. We spent more time getting to know each other.” He gazed at her, 100% smitten.
I smiled up at Jamie, they were obviously in love. “I’m sorry that I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is Veronica and this is my husband Jamie.”
“It's nice to meet you guys. I hate to rush you, but is there any place warmer that we could talk?”
“Yes, we can go to the castle. We only have two horses so we’ll have to double up. Can you ride?”
“Me?” Ben pointed at himself, his eyes growing wide. “No I can’t ride. I’ve never even touched a horse before.”
Sophia burst out laughing “Out of all the things you've done, you haven't ridden a horse. That's kind of sad. Come on let's mount up.” She grabbed his sleeve and after a quick lesson in mounting and riding, she helped him up and we were on our way. “So has anything happened since I disappeared?”
“Umm, well, yea. I had two people from my home town show up and my parents. My home town people are gone but my parents are still here. Speaking of parents, yours are worried sick. We should stop there before we go to the castle.”
She nodded and looked down at her horses mane. “Vee can I ask you something?”
“Yes of course. What do you need?”
She looked back at Ben who gave her a small smile and nodded at her encouragingly. “Well, Ben and I want to get married but what if my parents don't approve?”
“Sophia, I'm sure that they will approve. They know that you will make the right decision and they trust you. I had the same question when I first met Jamie. I thought that his father didn't approve of me because of something he had told me. Thankfully, it turned out to be a misunderstanding. Besides you were brought together by a calling, that alone should convince them.” I gave her an encouraging smile and tightened my hold on Jamie’s waist. Resting my head on his broad back I let my mind wander.
Chapter 13: After Doon 13
Sophia’s parents loved Ben. Between Sophia being back and knowing that she had found her called partner they were ecstatic. The wedding was to be held in four days time, but before that could happen we needed to plan it. Later that day Sophia, Ken, and I all set out to plan a perfect fairytale wedding. The castle chef wasn't happy about the short notice, but he said he would do it. The seamstress was overjoyed, she took out a panel of dresses that she had designed when she heard that Sophia was missing. I thought it was a strange thing to do, but I was glad that she was prepared. Sophia picked a knee length dress, with a sweetheart neckline and a tartan plaid underskirt and lots of layers of white tulle on top. After the seamstress took Sophia’s measurements we were on our way to decide how we were going to decorate for the wedding. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. We spent the next two days continuing to plan, decorate, and send out invitations. The day of the wedding soon arrived and with it the normal jitters. Well, I had jitters, Sophia was as calm and cool as a cucumber. She looked amazing. Her hair was done up in a fancy braided bun “thing” that Fee did. The wedding was perfect, I’d never seen Sophia as happy as she was with Ben. When the official ceremony had ended, Mario came up to the front carrying wooden box. The box held a pin bearing the Rosetti crest. He then proceeded to pin it on Ben’s lapel. The pinning of the tartan was a very special scottish tradition, it signified the joining or accepting of the clans. Ben then wrapped Mario in a huge hug, tears streaming down his face. We then made our way to the great hall for the reception. I looked around taking everything in and admiring my handywork. It really did look like a fairy tale come to life. There were giant tulle curtains covered in gems and sparkles hanging from the ceiling. The tables were lit by candle light and a coat of glitter seemed to coat everything. I went to go talk to Duncan who was standing alone against the wall holding a glass of champagne. He gazed across the room to where Ken was giggling with Sophia and a couple other girls.
“How are you?” I asked, popping a melon ball in my mouth.
“I’m well, and you?” He asked, he looked back over at Ken longingly.
I don't think that he was being 100% honest about he was feeling. “I'm good, tired though, I just spent the last couple days planning a wedding. Speaking of which, I don't mean to pry but, I was wondering why you haven't proposed to Ken yet?” I asked, glancing up to see a pained expression flit across his face.
“I dinna know. I want to, but it never seems like the right time an’ I dinna know if she’s ready. I dinna wanna push her.” He replied looking torn.
I gave him a quick side hug before saying “I think she’s ready. I know she loves you, so you don't have anything to worry about. If you're nervous then I would be happy to help you. All you have to do is let me know.”
“Thank ye, I've had something’ in mind for awhile I just need a little time to put it all in place.”
I clapped my hands and a grin took up my face. “That's wonderful! I hope it goes well. Now go ask her to dance. Go.” I gave him a small shove in her direction.
“Speaking of asking for a dance, may I have the pleasure?” Jamie said giving me a quick kiss. I grinned as he pulled me out onto the floor and into the fray. We danced for what seemed like forever. Finally the dancing died down and people started to go home. The happy couple had left an hour earlier to go on their ‘honeymoon’. Really they were just going to the hunting lodge for a couple days. When we were back in our room getting ready for bed, Jamie asked me what I was talking to Duncan about.
“Oh, well I was wondering why he hasn't proposed to Ken yet. So we were talking about that and he had mentioned that he was nervous and didn't want to push her. I told him that she loved him and urged him to go for it. Then I told him to go dance with her.”
“We have talked about this during training. I told him that they were called together by the protector and reminded him of what exactly a calling ment.” he said.
“Oh?-and what exactly does a calling mean?” I asked teasing him.
“Hmmm lets see, it means that I will always love ye, will always be there for ye, and that I get to kiss ye as much and often as I like.” he said kissing me softly.
“Not that I’m complaining or anything, but I think you made that last one up.” I said pulling away to climb into bed. Jamie got in next to me and pulled me close.
“You're right, I did make that up. You do have to admit though, it's a very nice rule.” He said, kissing me once more.
Chapter 14: After Doon 14
The next day we went back to the bridge with my parents just as we had done with Stephanie and Eric.
“So how does this work?” My mom asked, standing about twenty feet from the edge of the bridge holding Bob's hand.
“Well, it's not an exact science. Last time they walked up and when they hit the top of the bridge the fog thickened and then Ben and Sophia stood in their place.”
“Ok then, let's do this before I start bawling and we never leave.” She gave Jamie and I hugs and told Bob to hug us as well. We awkwardly exchanged hugs. My mom gave Jamie a stern warning that he had better take care of me or so help her she would march right back over here and put some serious hurt on him. He smiled and said she needn't worry. Satisfied with his answer she gave one last long look at me and dragged Bob up to the bridge. As it was before, the fog thickened and soon consumed them, only this time when It cleared someone unexpected stood in their place. Giancarlo and a strange girl were there looking dazed.
I turned to Jamie “Wait? I thought that he just went looking for any other missing people. I thought that we were supposed to be getting Kyle and Kara back.”
“I dinna know love,” he said, looking just as confused as me. “Let's go see what Giancarlo says.” He walked to the bridge as he called out to them. “Ho! Giancarlo is that you lad?”
“Aye sire.” He held the girl's hand and made his way to where Jamie stood. “Yer Highnesses, this is Adriana.” The girl waved shyly.
I came up beside Jamie and introduced myself “I’m Veronica, but you can call me Vee, and this is my husband Jamie.”
“That's the king and queen of Doon, the people I was telling you about.”
She nodded and immediately bowed low. “Forgive me for not bowing sooner, I did not know who you were.”
“Stand up, we dinna stand on ceremony.” Jamie said softly with a smile. He turned to Giancarlo. “Did ye find Kyle and Kara?”
“Nay, I came to the bridge to see if I could find a trace. As I made my way around I suddenly felt the urge to cross. So I did. I’d been having dreams lately, dreams of Adri . When I crossed and ended up in Alloway I knew that I was going to find her and bring her back here.”
“I think that we should stop by and see your parents. I think they'll faint from happiness. Come on! The horses are back this way.” I said walking to the horses. When Jamie went to help Adri mount she flinched away and stared at his hand looking scared.
Jamie seemed to notice her trepidation because he said “Dinna worry, I will no’ hurt ye. I simply mean to help ye mount up.”
She looked at Gani and he nodded. She moved back to her horse and allowed Jamie to help her up. We set off and soon came up to the edge of the village
“Could we go straight to the castle? I miss my parents but I think it would be better to just ease Adri into things.” Gani asked.
“Yea sure, I'll go and get some food from the kitchen and meet you in the small dining room.” I said.
Several moments later we sat around a small table eating pizza. We ate in silence, occasionally glancing at one another before looking back down at our food.
“So,” I started, shattering the delicate silence. “Adri, why don't you tell us a little about yourself.”
“Umm, well there isn't much to tell.” She started nervously. “I'm from a small town in Michigan called Centreville. It was just me and my dad growing up. My mom died when I was little. I uhh, like this book Geekerella, and I uhh,” a blush crept its way up her neck. “I like this show Miraculous Ladybug. That's about it.” She smiled nervously and looked at each of us rubbing the inside of her arms nervously. The rest of lunch passed in a series of questions followed by monosyllabic answers. As we got up to leave, Adri tripped and fell into the door frame. She winced, tears glistened in her eyes threatening to fall. I pulled her aside and shooed the boys away.
“Are you ok, truely ok?” I asked
“Yea I’m fine, I must have hit my shoulder some other time. I always seem to run into things.” She gave me a watery smile.
“No, that's not it. Somethings wrong and I'm determined to figure out what it is. How about you join me in my chambers for some tea?”
She nodded and followed me out. I sent a servant to fetch a pot of tea and some desserts before I sat down on the couch next to her.
“What's wrong? You can trust me. Nothing of this conversation will be shared if you don't want it to.”
She suddenly broke down into sobbs. I pulled her close and rubbed her back just like Jamie had done for me when I was upset. “Shhh. Please, tell me what it is.”
“It's everything. I’m worried that I made a mistake. I've done this in the past. I've convinced myself that I love a guy no matter what he does or says to me. I don't want this to be the same thing, but-oh God-I love Giancarlo. I love him so much, sometimes it hurts.”
I continued to rub her back “What do you mean by no matter what he says or does?”
“My last relationship was bad. It started out great, I thought I had found the one.” she looked down at her hands. “We moved in together, it was perfect for the first couple months. Then he started drinking. He would come home drunk and start blaming me for things. At first it was just little things, like the fact that I had forgotten to do dishes earlier that day, stuff like that. It got worse as he drank more. The yelling and blaming escalated and soon became hitting. It started like the yelling. First a push then a slap until this.” she sat up and pulled her shirt up. Black and green bruised covered her ribs and stomach.
“Oh Adri.” I breathed looking up at her in horror.
“This is new. This happened after I started dreaming about Gani. I would call out to him in my sleep. Then my boyfriend heard, he thought I was cheating. That's when it got really bad. That's when this happened. He would ask me if I was cheating, I would swear up and down that I wasn't seeing anyone. I would beg him to believe me. He didn't. So that's when this happened.” She gestured towards her torso. “The bruises would never show, except for the couple on my face. That's why I'm worried, I love him so much, but I don’t want him to give up on me or decide he doesn't love me anymore….”
“Hey shh,” I interrupted. “You don’t have to worry about that. He will never decide he doesn't love you anymore. Trust me, I had the same doubts when I first met Jamie. All the guys in my life had left me for someone else, or decided that I wasnt enough for them. I thought Jamie would be just the same. He eventually showed me that the calling is amazing and it is true. You have a calling and you have to have trust. It will all be ok.”
She nodded and wiped her eyes. She got up and opened the door. Pausing she asked, “Umm, if Gani and I get married, would you be my maid of honor?”
I smiled up at her “Yes of course, it would be my pleasure.”
Chapter 15: After Doon 15
I was-as promised- Adri’s maid of honor. She wore a beautiful lace covered gown with a pleated floor length skirt and a sweetheart neckline. The ivory color of the dress complimented her raven hair perfectly. She looked so perfect and happy during the wedding. During the reception I don't think she took her eyes off Gani for a minute. Mario was very proud of his kids, but sad at the same time because they were all grown up and married. The Roseties were the happiest of families because they had love and each other.
When Adri and Gani got back from their honeymoon, they moved into a little house on the edge of the village close to the castle. I soon asked Adri to be one of my ladies maids. It would give her something to do and I wanted her advice. Life settled into a steady rhythm. I often wondered what had happened to Kyle and Kara, were they ok? Did they like the outside world? The one thing I did know was that the protector called them out for a reason and I was determined to trust it. My days were often the same, wake up, get some work done, spend time with Jamie, and go to musical practice. Yes musical practice. Ever since Ken came to Doon she dreamt of having a theater to perform in. Duncan with the help of the other guys built her one. She started with one woman shows and gradually added more people. Duncan had been her first victim and I was her second. My only condition for joining was that all of my ladies maids and helpers had to be in it as well, Ken agreed. Duncan was a bit out of sorts with him being the only guy so he dragged Jamie and the other guys in the kingdom, including Fergus, to be in it as well. Practice took up a ton of time but it was fun. Ken had decided that we were going to do a Scottish version of Grease. Duncan and the guys would be Danny and the T-Birds and Ken and us girls would be the Pink Ladies. I was constantly humming the songs which drove me nuts. It was really bad when Jamie would join in singing. Trust me I loved his voice, it just about caused me to melt when he sang, but when I already had the song stuck in my head, him singing just made it worse. If I asked he would stop, but sometimes I suffered through the earworm just because I wanted to listen. After months of practice we finally put the show on. The people loved it, absolutely loved it. Well most of them did anyway, there were a few people who objected to the morals of the story and didn’t like Sandy’s transformation to a ‘bad girl’. Other than the few moral objections we had a hit musical. We all had so much fun working on the project that we were sad when it was over.
A few days after our closing night Duncan came up to me.
“Yer highness, uh Veronica. Vee.” He stubbled trying to figure out how to address me, this was the most nervous I'd seen him in a long time. “I was uhh wonderin if ye would grant me permission to purpose to Mackenna. Since ye are the closest thing to family here I uh thought I should ask ye.”
I let out a small squeal “Vee is fine, we’re family, and personally the whole ‘your highness’ stuff kinda bothers me when it's family. Sorry I got off topic. Oh my word yes! Of course you can marry her! She talks about marrying you non stop, seriously. She will be so happy, so go with my blessing! Oh and come here and give me a hug.” I wrapped the somewhat stunned Scotsman in a huge hug. “AHHH I so wanna go tell Ken right now, but I won’t don’t worry.”
“Good, I want this to be a surprise.” He grinned gave me a quick bow and went off to plan his proposal.
A week later he popped the question. What I could gather from Ken’s squeaky tone and speed talking was that Duncan had taken her up to the spot where they had their ‘first date’. She said that she was totally mortified because he kept talking about the first time they went up there. Through some mumbling and a ton of blushing he finally asked her. She said that she was so happy and surprised that she just sat there, rather than replying. Apparently Duncan also got a little nervous because she wouldn't reply. They were so happy together and had set a date in September, that way they could have all the pretty colors of Fall. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. The day of the wedding was coming up soon and everyone was as happy as could be. The kingdom as a whole was happy, the harvest was good, festivals were the best time of the week, and no more unexpected guests or witches came our way. Before I came to Doon and met the people that would become my family, I never thought that I could be as happy as I am now. Even through all of the struggles and hardships of this life I have learned that each and every day is a gift. So I try to live each day with the people I love being the best and happiest I could be.