Welcome to today’s installment of our Eight Lady Serial, based on Jilly’s short story The Laird’s Legacy.
While Kay would neither confirm nor deny being gobsmacked by the revelations in yesterdays installment, she’s risen to the occasion to address that burning question: just who is Alanis McLeish?
So, without further ado, here is the next bit of our continuing saga, using the Friday Writing Prompt of: a character who got caught in a lie, and the words flowers, fumbling, sweet, dazzling, bribery, charming, mirror, calculation, truth, forgiven, identity, growl, nightmare, freckled, alarm, preserve.
# # #
Who is Alanis McLeish?
Alarmed, Jenny ran to the cottage through the flower garden. She didn’t notice the blooms’ dazzling display nor their sweet scent. Something had happened, something bad. Fumbling with the gate latch, she charged up the path.
“Jordy?” she said, breathing quickly. “What’s going on?”
“This is Alanis McLeish,” he said. “She claims the babies are hers.”
“It’s the truth!” the woman said, her freckled face tight with resolve.
This was exactly the nightmare scenario that Jenny had not wanted to face, or even contemplate. Babies did not just drop from the sky. Somebody had given birth to them—maybe even this Alanis McLeish, if that was her real name. Not that Jenny intended to just hand over Elspeth and Isla to the first person who said they were hers. Whoever Alanis McLeish was, mother or not, she didn’t deserve to have children if she abandoned them in cemeteries and didn’t look for them for three months.
“I’d like to see some ID,” Jenny said.
Alanis stared at her. “I lost my purse,” she said. “I don’t have anything to prove my identity.”
“Well, then, you’re not taking our kids,” Jordy said, his voice a barely contained growl.
“And I don’t believe you,” Jenny said. “What is this, some kind of calculated bribery scheme? We’re supposed to give you money, and you go away?”
“No!” Alanis said. “Caitlin and Aisling really are my daughters. Here, I have a picture.” She pulled a dog-eared photograph from her back pocket and handed it to Jenny. Its poor state of preservation obscured the photo’s details, but Jenny could see a young woman who might have been Alanis sitting in an upholstered rocking chair holding two swaddled bundles.
“This proves nothing,” Jenny said, handing the photo to Jordy for his opinion.
“Those girls are mine, I tell you.” The young woman’s face crumpled. “I know what you must think. I meant to—but I can’t look myself in the mirror anymore. I can’t face what I did. Or forgive myself.”
# # #
I hope you enjoyed that!
Join us tomorrow for Part 7