HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Zac defeated Lizette and took possession of the vial with the same poison that she had used to kill Elisabeth’s horse, Freya. He promised to himself to keep it a secret until Elisabeth’s return home. After the party was over, he decided to go back to the Vanderburgs.
With hope that Amanda would answer the door, he rang the doorbell. He was lucky.
“H-hi,” he muttered shyly.
“Hi,” Amanda answered softly. Zac was hoping she would say something more, but they were both equally speechless.
“Uhm… did you forget something here this morning?” Amanda asked him politely.
“So, why did you come back?”
“Amanda…,” he whispered her name and touched her hand. To his surprise Amanda didn’t mind so he realized it was now or never. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you, Mandy,” he told her sincerely and looked in her eyes.
“Neither have I, Zackie. I’m really sorry about what happened… I had no choice,” she said and looked to the ground. “My grandmother… she… she forced me to do this.”
“Oh, Zackie, I’m truly sorry. I wish my parents have never re-married.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“Come in, my grandparents aren’t at home. I will finally explain everything to you… if you still care…”
“Of course I care, Mandy,” Zac smiled at her and followed her to the garden.
“Everything was normal until the day my father came into our house and asked my mother to marry him. Again.”
“Why would he do this?”
“I think my grandmother is behind all this.”
“Hmm… but still, wasn’t your mom happier without him? I remember you told me once they got divorced because he constantly cheated on her.”
“Exactly. I don’t know what happened to her, Zac, but she said yes. And she looked happy when she did… I’m not so close to her as my sister, but one thing I know. She has changed… a lot. She’s like a totally different person now. Like someone would have told her to do the opposite of what she would normally do… Plus now, when grandpa’s gone, there’s nobody who can help me understand what’s going on and why.”
“I’m sorry Mandy, but I can’t help you solve this either.”
“It’s okay, Zac. I don’t expect any help from you in this matter, however… I think you could help me stop my grandmother from marrying me to this prince of hers.”
“Prince?” asked her surprisingly Zac, but the moment he realized that Amanda spoke about getting married he screamed aloud: “You’re getting MARRIED?!”
“Shh… not so loud.”
“You’re getting married?!” Zac repeated his question, whispering this time.
“I don’t want to. At least not to this guy,” told him Amanda and sat on the marble bench.
“Then don’t do it!” protested Zac and sat down next to her.
“You don’t understand. I have no choice!”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I told you, it’s all because of Catarina!”
“Why would your grandmother force you to marry?” asked her Zac. “And by what right does she chose the groom for you?”
“I don’t know what she’s up to, Zac, but one thing is certain. She doesn’t like you for some reason.”
“If she’s able to do this, I have no reason to like her as well.”
“She told me that if we don’t stop seeing each other, she will make sure that I will never feel loved again in my life and..”
“And if I don’t marry this guy, the same thing will happen to you.”
“This is ridiculous. What is her problem? Is she a witch or something?”
“If only I knew,” sighed Amanda.
“Listen to me well, Mandy. You’re not going to listen to your grandmother from now on. She’s nobody to tell you what to do with your life.”
“But I want you to be happy, Zac. If I don’t marry this guy-”
“Do you really want to make me happy? Then do as I say.”
“I can’t Zac, there’s nothing we can do about this. If she finds out-”
“About what? That we spent twenty minutes together? Look. I admit, that everything you told me tonight is very strange, but I’m not going to let myself be scared off by some old woman. You’re safe with me, Mandy. I will protect you,” told her Zac and put his arm around Amanda’s shoulders.
“I wish I had your courage,” told him Amanda and looked deep in his golden eyes.
“You’re strong, Mandy, you just have to take out the sword and fight.”
“I missed you so much, Zackie.”
“I missed you, too,” told her Zac and approached closer for a kiss.
The moment they kissed, a cloud of sparkly stars appeared above George’s grave.
“It such a shame George wasn’t there to see my mom ride her horse at the retirement party today.”
“I believe he was watching from above,” Amanda smiled at him.
If only the couple knew that George was closer than they thought.
“Did you have time to tell him about what is going on?” asked her Zac.
“There was time, but he wasn’t feeling so well for the past month… I didn’t want to stress him with it.”
“Maybe you should have told him.”
Told me what? George’s ghost thought to himself.
“Zac?” Amanda asked him and stared into the darkness in front of her.
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
“Because I think I’ve just heard my grandpa’s voice.”
“Nonsense,” told her Zac decisively, but on the second thought, if the genies exist why couldn’t the ghosts?
“Also the air got suddenly colder, I think I’ll go inside,” continued Amanda.
“Please, don’t go. I’ll give you my jacket, if you want.”
“Or get closer to me and warm me up,” she smiled at him.
“Even better,” Zac smiled back at her.
George’s ghost observed them for a little longer and then headed inside to say goodbye to the rest of his family.
First, he went to see his daughter Faith.
“Goodbye my darling, ” he said and then hovered towards the wall and passed through to the twin’s room. Since Amanda was still in the garden with Zac, her bed was empty. George’s ghost hovered to her twin-sister Reese.
“Goodbye, Reese,” said George’s ghost and left the room.
At last, he hovered through the wall of Maximilian’s room and stopped at his bed. Max was sleeping with the light on, because he was afraid of ghosts and believed that the light will protect him from them.
“Zac, isn’t it your mom over there?” asked him Amanda and pointed towards her grandfather’s grave.
“Looks like. What is she doing here?”
“Weeping, I guess.”
“And how did she get here?”
“You can enter the garden easily, no need to pass through the house. Come, I will show you,” told him Amanda, took his hand and lead him out of the garden.
George’s ghost was about to go downstairs and watch the TV, but when he looked out of the window, he saw Kate standing right above his grave and weeping. He quickly changed his mind.
“Please, don’t cry, Katie.”
When Kate heard and recognized George’s voice, she quickly turned around to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
“George? Is that… is that you?” her eyes sparkled with happiness.
“Yes, it’s me! Surprised?”
“I thought I’d never see you again! Of course I’m surprised!”
“When they told me you can see us I knew you’d come here at night. I just… I just didn’t expect it would be so soon,” he smiled at her. “It would have been better if you came tomorrow, but since you’re already here let me present you my daughter.”
“George, I already know her.”
“You do? How did you-”
“Don’t you remember? Some years ago we have visited you and your family in Hidden Springs. That’s where I got to know Faith,” interrupted him Kate.
“But I’m not talking about Faith. I’m talking about Destiny!” laughed George.
“D-destiny?” muttered Kate. She had completely forgotten about George’s second child. Kate stood there and with opened mouth watched a blue spirit emerge from the fountain in front of her.
“Destiny, this is my good friend, Kate Loewe. Kate, this is my daughter Destiny.”
“Nice to meet you, Kate. I’ve heard so much about you.”
Kate didn’t know what to say. She was used to seeing ghosts, but everything was somewhat different tonight. “Y-you have? I… I mean, nice to meet you… too.”
“Come Destiny, time to call your mother,” George’s ghost said to his daughter’s ghost. “I’m sorry Kate, it’s better if you come back some other time. Tonight is the night of our family reunion. I’m sure you understand,” he smiled politely at Kate and together with his daughter’s ghost hovered over to a grave across the path from his grave.
After less than a minute, another ghost appeared. This time, it had a bright orange color and it looked like it was on fire. Kate never knew much about George’s wife or the way she died and she preferred it to remain that way.
This was the moment that George’s daughter and wife have patiently awaited for a long time. They were finally together with their beloved father and husband again.
Kate decided it was best to leave. There would be another moment when she could get to know the ghost of George’s wife. As she started walking away, the ghost noticed and suddenly looked at her.
When Kate saw the ghost’s blank eyes staring at her, she quickly sped up. She didn’t know if it was the presence of more ghosts or the strange feeling the ghosts of people she didn’t know were giving her that made her run away.
Kate felt the blank eyes looking at her until the moment she finally left the garden.
Faith had no idea what was going on in the garden behind the house, because she was long time asleep. And even if she wasn’t sleeping, she wouldn’t see her father, her mother or her little sister. They were living only in her memories and in her dreams…
… or nightmares.
“What are we having for the lunch, Mommy?”
“Apple pancakes, sweetie, your favorite.”
“Switch to the KidZ Zone channel, Faith. The Little Mermaid should start any moment.”
“I don’t want to watch the Little Mermaid, let’s watch the Action World.”
“But I don’t want! Why do you always get to decide! It’s not fair!”
[FIRE BURNING | WOMAN SCREAMS IN DISTANCE | CHILDREN WEEP]
“Where’s your sister, Faith?”
When the ticking started getting louder and louder, Faith woke up from the nightmare. She was completely sweaty. When she opened her eyes, she saw three shadows standing above her bed. She couldn’t see them the way Kate or Elisabeth could, but somehow she knew it was her family.