What would your emotions be if 25 years ago, you fell into an alien community (literally) and lived with them? Then, after 25 years, you’re returned home.
Aubrey is lonely and lost without those she learned to love, but she has no choice since the Yardanians left for war. She’s sent home to meet her family again, including her grown children, but her daughter isn’t that happy to see her.
I nodded my okay to Momo. “My handmaidens don’t frighten you, Jaden?”
“Nope, ‘cause they’re with you. My, what big eyes they have.” Jaden grinned.
His sentence caught me by surprise. And then we both laughed. Our laughs sounded the same, just like Tilmun’s, and that made me laugh even more, though I ended with a sniffle. His witticism had touched me and I felt a mother’s strong love awaken within me for this child.
A soft laughter had run through the room. I explained to my handmaidens the childhood fable and they laughed too.
“You’re still funny,” I said to him.
“Dad says I’m a lot like you.”
“I have a sense of humor?” I asked him. Then I turned to Imia and posed the same question.
“Your actions are in accordance with our principles governing consorts.” She patted my hand reassuringly.
Jaden smiled widely at me.
“Oh, ha, ha,” said Violet. “You think everything’s funny, Jaden.”
“Shut up Violet,” replied Jaden, still looking at me.
“You won’t get me near her or those things.”
I turned to the woman who spoke. “You are Violet?”
“What a surprise. You don’t recognize me, but you haven’t forgotten your precious Jaden. He was your favorite and I guess he still is.”
“I have no favorites. I love all my children.”
“All?” asked Violet. “You only had two. Or did you have several of those creepy things also? Where was your love these last twenty five years?”
“I gave birth to you. I’ll always love you.”
“That doesn’t make you my mother.”
“That’s enough.” The female sounded familiar from the tape recording and I recognized Betty’s voice. She looked sternly at Violet. “This isn’t the time. We have guests and we’re not here to give you attention.”
“Yes, mom.” Violet glared at me. Was she goading me to challenge Betty as her mother?
“I’m sorry that you’re upset,” I said. “This must be a shock to you. I left when you were small.”
“That’s right. Left, not died,” she retorted.
“Can it,” snapped Bill. “You remember the favor you asked of your mother and me? The big, perfect, fancy, expensive wedding you have to have with the honeymoon in the Carribean? Keep mouthing off and you won’t get a dime.”
“Bill, she’s facing a difficult moment,” said Betty.
“And we aren’t?” he asked. “Look at Aubrey. She can’t stop shaking. Can you see how afraid she is and how sad? This is a tough day for all of us. Besides, we have important guests in attendance. We don’t need our daughter’s negative attitude to make this day harder. Just remember what I said, Violet.”
Bill and Betty turned their attention to me. “I prayed for this every day over the years,” he said.
“I’m glad you’re safe,” added Betty with a smile. “What a wonderful surprise for us.”
I bowed my head to them, then turned back to my daughter. She showed no love for me. The years hadn’t changed her recalcitrant personality.
I wanted to say something to calm her, but I couldn’t think of anything, so I kept silent. Imia and Pintueen had been with me for so many years that they understood me as well as Rahzahn. Both rubbed my arms soothingly. Imia cooed, “Be calm, consort. We are with you.”
Love Honor and Respect to all.