Seconds were passing. Those words still burned like fire in Gypsy’s eyes. Her husband was dead, but she didn’t accept this. How could she when there was no proof? What would she tell Grace? “Oh, your grandfather killed your daddy because he’s a selfish bastard.” How do you say to a child that the man who is supposed to love her first is gone? He won’t hold her, take her to school, and one day, he won’t walk her down the aisle and let her go. How can she explain this to Grace? None of this was fair.

Falling back on the floor, Gypsy was breathless, her hands swollen from hitting her father, and her mother sat there doing nothing for her daughter. No comfort, no anger, nothing. Amelia sat there is a state of shock while her daughter processed the fact that her husband would never come home as she thought.

Tears pouring down her face, Gypsy couldn’t take it any longer. She needed to know why her mother did nothing. “Why?” she asked. “Why are you still with this man? Look what he did to my husband. I’m 18 years old and a widow. My daughter has no father because of your husband. How can you sit there and do nothing?” Gypsy asked.

Sitting up straight, Amelia wiped the tears from her face, looking down at her daughter for the first time. “He’s my husband. I married him for better or worse. No matter what he does, he will always be my husband, and I will always love him over anyone else,” she said. “Marriage is forever,” Amelia whispered.

Taking another shock to heart, Gypsy stood, looking at her mother, “You forgive him for taking your Granddaughter’s father away? I hate you more than I hate him. I hope you both can live with this because I can’t.”

Nicolette had stayed quiet during this confession. She knew the man was gone, but she never assumed he was dead. Maybe paid off or scared away, but not dead. Pushing herself back from the table, standing, she gathered herself for a moment to get her bearings. “Gypsy, Mary, I am your cousin. Your mother’s sister was my mother. She passed away in childbirth with me. I know what it’s like to have no parent, but Grace, she has you, and she has me. I promise you that you’ll never be alone. I will always be there to help you when you break, and when you need a friend. If anyone knows the loss of a parent, it’s me,” Nicolette said.

Spencer looked over to his wife, shaking his head, “Mary had no child? I thought she died at the convent? Who the fuck is this bitch?”

Turning to Spencer, Nicolette shook when she heard him speak. She knew now what happened to her mother, why she was at the convent. “You killed my mother too. If not for you, she would never have left. You tried to touch my mother, and her parents sent her away. You fucking made my mother die, you worthless piece of shit,” she screamed.

Security moved in when alerted to screaming, but was dismissed right away. Nicolette would handle this.

“My mother was raped in the convent. The fucking place they sent her because you couldn’t keep your hands off of little girls,” Nicolette said.

With her hands shaking, she turned away from Spencer, reaching down to help Gypsy from the floor, holding her like a mother would a child in pain. If her mother refused to comfort her, Nicolette would take her rightful place in her cousin’s life. Pulling back for a moment, Nicolette wiped the tears from Gypsy’s face, trying to force a smile, “You will never be alone. I promise you and Grace that I will never leave you as long as you both need me.”

For the first time, Gypsy allowed herself to grieve. Laying her head forward on the chest of her cousin, she sobbed. Gypsy’s body shook, racked with pain, and there was nothing in the world that prepared her for today—the loss of her husband. When Gypsy tried to speak, the words stuck for a moment in her throat, burning like fire. “I did love him. We had forever, and my father took it away. He was building a treehouse for Grace, making her bedroom for her, and now, he’s gone because of me,” she cried. Her father might not have felt guilty, but she was bathing in the pain of knowing that if he never met her, Kaine would still be alive.

Nicolette kissed her forehead, her eyes closed, she thought about taking the sorrow from her cousin, but this was something she would need to become stronger. Gypsy needed to remember her husband in every way, even the bad ones that led them all to this meeting. Pushing back the desire to consume the sins, all Nicolette would do was make sure to always be there for her cousin, and to help her on this second half of her journey.

“Security,” Nicolette called out.

The guard walked in, without being told, he removed Spencer and Amelia from the room, but they were far from done. Spencer would soon pay for all he had done, and so would Amelia.

“I think it’s time for you to meet Grace. Are you ready to meet your daughter? She needs her mommy right now, and I think you need to see the part of her father that will live forever in her eyes,” Nicolette smiled.

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