Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back at the tavern Stoney and Alise take their usual booth while Rowan goes to the bar to get something for Alise to eat and drink. Patti brings her a plate heaped full and a glass of milk. Alise wrinkles her nose, “I hate milk...” but she drinks it anyway, knowing that either Stoney or Rowan will insist on it.

Rowan keeps reassuring her that Jack will see to the spirits that are left. “And you know Raina will make sure he does, if for no other reason than to make you happy.”

Alise was just finishing her meal when she noticed Ron and his friends enter the tavern. Smiling and laughing they take seats at a nearby table. Ron smiles and waves when he sees Stoney and Alise, making her feel all the worse for what she has to tell him. She put her head in her hands and slowly shook it.

“Stoney, how am I going to tell him this? I don't know if I can even get the words out of my mouth. And what if he insists on knowing everything? Do I tell him? All of it?”

Stoney takes her hands and kisses them, “I dont know mon amour. I will help you talk to him if you want me to. Maybe between the two of us we can find the right words, if there are any. Do you have the necklace with you?”

Alise nods, feeling for the pendant against her chest. “I put it on so I wouldn't lose it.” She reaches behind her neck and unfastens it, curling the the thin silver chain in her palm, the dolphins resting on top. Taking a deep breath she says, “I might as well get this done. It will not get any easier just sitting here.”

The couple stand and walk over to the table where the shifters are sitting. Alise asks Ron if she can talk to him alone for a minute causing some teasing and laughter, jokes tossed at Stoney that his woman is tired of him already. He laughs and takes Ron's chair, teasing right back. His mind touches Alise's, I will be right here. Let me know if you need me and I will come....

Alise nods and her and Ron head to an empty booth. She is nervous and cant sit down, at odds with herself and not sure where to start. “I dont really know how to tell you this, and I apologize, this is awkward in a public place....I mean.....”

Tears fill her eyes and Ron takes her hand, glancing back at Stoney, not wanting to anger him. “What is wrong?”

Alise turns his hand over and drops the necklace in his open palm. His eyes open wide in disbelief. “But where did you ….. did she give it to you or did you find it somewhere? I thought she left town, but she must not have....”

Taking a deep breath and trying to steady her voice, Alise explains about returning to the farm and Jack helping the spirits to move on. “She wanted you to have it. She said she didnt want you to think she had run away from you, and that the shifter thing really didnt bother her.”

Ron nods, his face clearly showing his grief and quietly he asks, “What did they do to her?”

Tears spilling over, Alise shakes her head, “Please, do not ask me. You really do not want to know...”

Trying hard to control his own tears and his voice, “Was it worse than what happened to you?”

Alise can barely speak, tears streaming down her face, her voice a whisper, “Yes, a lot worse.”

“But you were there, right? She wasn't ….alone.....when....” Ron can speak no further and Alise wraps her arms around him.

“She wasn't alone. She wanted me to tell you that her last thoughts were of you.” Alise holds him until he can control the tears.

Stoney sends his thoughts to her, You are doing something very good Allie, I am proud of you...

If its so good then why do I feel so awful? Alise takes a step back and asks Ron if he will be okay.

The shifter shrugs his shoulders, “I dont know... I think I am going to step outside, get myself together. Thank you. Thank you so much for this. I would have always wondered....”

Alise nods and goes to Stoney as Ron heads out the back door. Stoney takes her to their booth and pulls her into his lap. "Are you okay?"

She shrugs and keeps her head buried in Stoney's shoulder. After a moment she whispers, “Who told you about me? I mean when I... died before. I know it must have taken a long time for the news to get to Paris. Did maman or one of my brothers tell you?”

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