Chapter 20

I’m Not One For Tradition



Straightforward and to the point. 

That’s how everyone found out I’d gotten my memories back. 

It happened the morning after I told John when we were all in the kitchen for breakfast.  Even Elena had come downstairs from her room, though her eyes were still tired and red-rimmed.  But when she met my eyes, her smile surprised everyone. 

I wanted to do it subtly like I had with her and John, but that was a no-go, apparently.

“With everything that’s happened, I think we could use a little happy news,” she’d said as she sat down beside me, taking my hand.  “Emmy remembers everything.”

What followed had been a flood of tears, a lot of hugs and kisses, and, as Elena said, happiness.  She was right.  We did deserve some happiness…and regaining my memories made everyone happy. 

It wasn’t until two weeks later that things changed again. 

It was Hattie’s fifteenth birthday and we were celebrating with a big dinner.  We’d decorated the dining room, moving our usual eating place there from the table in the kitchen.  She was surprised and embarrassed when she walked into the room and saw everything.

“I don’t really do much for my birthdays,” she’d told me as we sat at the table and the food was passed around.  “Daddy’s usually away for work or Brotherhood business, Momma’s the same, and Anna’s off with the boyfriend flavor of the month.  I’ve got friends, but there’s only so much we can do.”

Wrapping an arm around her, I smiled and kissed her cheek.  “Well, with as hard as you’ve been working, you deserve it.”

And she had been working hard, even with the book and the two pages locked in the vault at Antecedent’s main office building in London.  She’d been reading some of the earlier Brotherhood records, trying to find anything that even mentioned the Order.  So far, she hadn’t had any luck, even though she’d locked herself in the archive room for the past two weeks. 

“You should have said something about your friends, Hattie,” Jamie said then.  “We could have flown them over.  It’s your birthday, after all.”

Hattie grimaced.  “I don’t think that would have been a very good idea anyway.  Of course, they don’t know about this, so they’d be a little…suspicious.  Too many questions would be asked and I wouldn’t be able to answer them.”

“We would have thought of something.”

“And you know Beau would have loved coming over here just to see you, Hattie,” Stella grinned from across the table.  “I heard you talking to him on the phone just the other night…or am I wrong?  He’d been asking you when you were coming home.”

“Who’s Beau?” I grinned.  “And why haven’t I heard of him before?”

Hattie shifted uncomfortably…and glanced up at Drake.  He was in conversation with Jason and Ryan, laughing at something Jason said.  “Nobody really.”

“Nobody,” Stella repeated with a snort.  “Beau Ward has been one of your best friends for years…and that boy’s been crushing on you for just as long.”

“Beau’s sweet, but I just…I don’t know.  It’s weird.  And with everything going on now…and later when I have to come back here whenever you guys go searching for whatever the map leads to…it’ll get complicated real fast.  I don’t like having to lie.”

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