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Nothing much going on in my life these day, except for the joy in
creating more fanfic. It's satisfying my soul to get the words out
'on paper' as it were.

It's my pleasure to share with you - hopefully yours in reading it.




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May, 2024

For the second time in ten years, Hugh Chalmers found himself and his family on a flight to England, this time to bury his mother. The last time they’d made the trip was to help his parents deal with the death of his older brother, Andrew Nathanial Chalmers II – better known as Nate.

It turns out that their father – Andrew Chalmers, Senior – had known all about the machinations involved in Will’s kidnapping. He wasn’t directly involved, even though Nate had brought Will to the house for ‘training’. His mother Gwendolyn had been completely oblivious, believing in the old world way of things, where business was left to the men, whilst the family was cared for by the women.

Andrew Senior had been broken by the death of his eldest son and heir. Hugh, Charlotte and Bethany had paid a visit only several weeks before the man’s death of heart failure. Death from a broken heart wasn’t the kind of thing one wrote on a death certificate.

His mother was a strong woman. She’d had to be living with the Chalmers men, but she’d done it with pride. The loss of Nate did age her. No longer was her posture ramrod straight, or her bearing regal and elegant. She’d worn her mourning in her slumped shoulders and lack of care in her appearance.

Bethany, however, had been a bit of balm to the poor woman’s soul. And Bethany did love her Grandmother Gwennie. They’d kept in touch over the years by computer and actual letter writing. Bethany was taking the matriarch’s death quite hard.

Hugh paused his ruminations and looked over at Charlotte and Bethany. They were in deep discussion – quite somber – which was a look he didn’t want to see on his daughter’s face again anytime soon; she was always such a bundle of sunshine. A wonderful, optimistic outlook on life. Yes, he knew that wasn’t a realistic hope – life had a way of mucking with you at the drop of a hat – but it was a father’s dream, nevertheless.

Ah, his Charlotte. Strong, indefatigable – she was the heart and soul of the family. Whenever things went to hell in a handbasket, she could be counted on to keep a cool head on her shoulders. Both he and Bethany relied on her to keep them on the straight and narrow when the unexpected cropped up.

Not that she couldn’t be full of whimsy when she felt like it. Charlotte had a wonderful sense of humor – dry, like his. She was a warm, caring woman who tended to put family above all else, but she did have a deep and abiding love for all things law, and the times she spent with Charles Gunn were mind-blowing.

Hugh sighed. The funeral would be hard for his family, but he felt its effect on him would be life changing. Outside of Lydia, he was alone in the world. No longer anyone’s son. An orphan. Those words brought to mind an image of little Oliver Twist holding out his wooden bowl asking for more gruel.

He knew he was well off. Money had nothing to do with it. He had his own family, and extended family via Angel and Nina – and wasn’t that a kick with the way their relationship started out? He loved and was loved back in return. He really wanted for nothing, but the death of his mother weighed heavily upon his heart.

He could hear the death knell in his head, as well as the sound of a book closing – its final chapter written. Hugh’s mortality weighed just that little bit heavier on his soul.

“You okay, sweetheart?” Charlotte’s soft voice broke through his reverie, along with a soft tap on his shoulder.

“I’m okay, dearest,” he said, looking into his wife’s warm brown eyes. “Just thinking about my family, now that Lydia and I are the surviving members.”

“The lost feeling will pass, Hugh. It’s the natural order of things, as you well know. Once the funeral is taken care of, and we’re back amidst the bosom of our unique family, things will settle once again.”

“I agree, of course,” Hugh replied. “It’s just that we have an awful amount of work ahead of us. Mother’s solicitor will be reading her will, and we have to decide on the future of the estate… I think I’d like to donate it to a charitable organization. To help either children or the elderly… or both. I don’t think I could ever live there comfortably again.”

Charlotte smiled. “You don’t have to worry about that now, my love. All things in due time. Bethany and I are here for you, and we know you’re here for us, as well.”

“That’s right, Daddy,” Bethany joined in. “We know how much you loved Grandma Gwennie. I can feel how hard it is for you. But it’ll be okay, I promise.”

“Thank you, Bethy,” Hugh smiled, tapping her on the nose. “If you say it’s so, it must be so. Rest if you can. We still have several more hours of flight, and the funeral is bound to be exhausting. Your Aunt Lydia and Uncle Rupert will meet us at the airport. It’ll be good to see my sister again.”

Hugh hugged his girls, then closed his eyes and settled against the headrest, preparing for the next couple of days.


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