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by Deb T.
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Part Ten - The Finale
Everyone in the castle heard the shot. Philip, who was
in the study setting up the chess board, froze. Images
flashed through his mind of Fiona Reynolds' death sixteen
years earlier. There was a second shot, and Philip spun
around, heading back upstairs.
On the second floor landing, he met Nick, who said
tersely, "It sounded like it came from Derek's office.
Lissa..." The young priest shook his head, and Nick fell
silent. No, Philip thought as they raced toward Derek's
office, Lissa would never harm Derek! They reached the room
a moment later...but the automatic door didn't open. Nick
pounded on the door, yelling, "Derek! Lissa!"
"Nick! We need help! Find Philip...tell him to take
the tunnels!" Lissa yelled back, then screamed. Nick froze
at the sound of the young woman's scream. A light went on in
Philip's memory, as he remembered walking through dark and
dusty passages as a child, with a flashlight in one hand and
clutching Lissa's hand with the other.
"C'mon," the young priest said breathlessly, grabbing
Nick's shoulder, "I know another way into Derek's office, but
we have to hurry!" Nick bobbed his head, then followed
Philip away from Derek's office, even as Philip prayed that
they would get there in time.
Lissa could feel herself weakening as she fought with
Mark for control of the gun, but she wouldn't allow herself
to give up. She had too much to live for, and she wasn't
about to allow Mark to kill Derek. No, she thought grimly as
she wrestled with the man, that won't happen!
At last, Lissa was in a position where she could inflict
some damage on Mark, and she brought her knee up between his
legs. He doubled over in agony, and Lissa jerked the gun out
of his hands. She flicked the safety on, and threw it across
the room, then braced herself for the next assault.
Mark dove for the gun, and Lissa took that opportunity
to kick him hard in the side. He moaned with pain, but
grabbed for her foot. Lissa almost got out of range, but
Mark's fingers closed on the toe of her shoe and she fell
back. She turned her body to one side and landed rolling,
which made it more difficult for Mark to attack her.
Lissa jumped to her feet, now wishing she had shot Mark.
But her first thought had been to protect Derek, and if she
had fired the gun at Mark, Derek might have been caught in
the crossfire. That was, she recalled now, what had happened
the year before...Mark and her father had been struggling
over the gun, and it went off. I couldn't risk Derek's life
like that, Lissa thought, it may cost me my own, but I
couldn't risk Derek's life a second time.
"Where are we going?" Nick gasped as he followed Philip
through the secret passageways. He had never known about
this set of tunnels...they weren't on the plans for the
House, but that didn't prove anything. The ex-SEAL wasn't
sure if Derek knew about them, either.
Philip didn't reply at first, but Nick didn't expect his
companion to do so. Ever since they had raced away from
Derek's office, Philip had been silent, aside from a terse,
'turn here' or 'a little further now.'
To Nick's surprise, Philip answered quietly, "This will
lead us to Derek's office. Lissa and I discovered these
passages years ago, when we were about ten. Not even Derek
knew about these tunnels. We needed to keep something secret
from him." Nick smiled in understanding, a smile which faded
as Philip added, "I'll never forgive myself if our secret
costs Derek his life...but it seemed so innocent."
"Hey, this isn't your fault! And besides, if I had been
either of you, I would have done the same thing. Derek knows
too much, and keeps too much to himself," Nick replied. He
added, "And it doesn't matter now. All that matters is Derek
and Lissa. I hope to God they're both still alive."
Philip responded with a muffled sound, then replied,
"Lissa is a fighter, but she's still wobbly. And I didn't
hear Derek at all, which is not a good sign. We have to get
there soon." He fell silent, then motioned Nick toward a
corner. The former SEAL nodded as they rounded that corner.
He froze, hearing sounds coming from the end of the tunnel.
Philip was right...this was the place.
Derek returned to himself slowly. God, he was so weak!
His head hurt terribly, and his limbs felt as though they
were made of water. It took him several moments, but he
turned his head toward the door. Only a few yards away,
Lissa dodged blows from a tall, muscular young man.
Derek took a deep breath, trying to recoup his strength.
But it was slow in returning, and all he could do was watch
as Lissa spun away from her opponent. The young man gasped,
obviously tiring, "Why...fight...the inevitable?"
"Because you hurt Derek. That was a mistake, Mark. I
lost my mother to a random crazy, I'll be damned if I'll let
you kill Derek!" Lissa retorted as she kicked Mark in the
face with the point of her toe. He went reeling backwards,
and Lissa followed, kicking and hitting him. He lunged for
her, but only succeeded in knocking her against the desk.
Lissa gave a soft gasp as her spine made contact with
the edge of the desk, but she remained upright. Derek could
tell she was in pain, however...her hands gripped the edge
of the desk tightly, and her knuckles turned white. However,
she was also firmly braced against the desk, and Derek saw
her lift both legs. As Mark rushed her again, Lissa placed
both feet against his chest and pushed. Mark hit the ground,
By now, Derek was in a reclining position, though
terribly dizzy. He fought back the dizziness. His knife
was taped to the underside of his desk and he dragged himself
to the weapon. With one hand, he freed the dagger, then
placed it on the desk. He whispered hoarsely, "Lissa!"
During the last few minutes, Lissa had been unable to
ascertain Derek's condition. Then she heard him gasp her
name, directing her attention to the knife on the table, and
Lissa glanced over her shoulder. His forehead was still
bleeding, and he was pale, but Derek seemed to be all right.
I owe Mark for this, Lissa thought grimly, what he did
last year was bad enough...but trying to kill Derek was a
huge mistake. It would be the last one he made. It ends
here, the young cop decided, before Derek and I are killed.
By now, Lissa had realized that Mark would not stop. He
didn't want to kill her...he had already told her that, and
she had hoped to reason with him. But Mark kept coming, over
and over again. If Lissa wanted to save Derek, and herself,
and the others, she would have to kill him. She had been
forced to kill before...but it never got easier.
So Derek's timing couldn't have been better. As Lissa
reached back for the knife, Mark gathered himself up for one
last charge. The young woman was ready, the dagger gripped
in both hands. Mark saw the knife and his eyes widened, but
it was too late to stop. Lissa drove the weapon into the
soft fleshy 'V' just under his sternum. Mark staggered back,
blood spreading on his shirt, then collapsed. A gentle hand
took the dagger from Lissa...it belonged to Philip, and for
the first time, she realized that reinforcements had arrived.
Mark had known once he heard Derek Rayne gasp Lissa's
name that it was over. Still, he gathered himself up for one
more rush. He would die attacking her, forcing her to kill
in self-defense. The knife slid cleanly into his body, just
under his breastbone. He smiled weakly and gasped, "You're
just like your father. Thanks, kid." The secret door which
he had used imploded, revealing two young men.
One man went immediately to Derek Rayne. Lissa glared
at Mark, saying, "I am nothing like my father! Nothing!"
She was swaying on her feet, and the second young man, whom
Mark recognized as Philip Callaghan, ran to her side, putting
his arm around her as he took the dagger from her. The girl
leaned against him, her face very pale. But she was standing
upright, which was more than Mark could say for himself.
Mark knew there was one last gift he had to give to
Lissa, to make up for everything he had done to her. He
summoned up all of his energy, every last bit which existed
in his dying body. Lissa had to know. He whispered, "Just
like your father. Mother's diaries...will tell you."
As his vision began to dim, he saw Lissa frown. You
don't understand now, he thought as the darkness began
drawing him close, but you will. And you'll be so much
happier. Mark turned away from the living, toward the place
where he would serve out his penance.
Rachel and Alex ran into the room behind Philip and
Nick. Rachel ran to Derek, checking him over, while Alex
knelt beside the man who had tried to kill Derek and Lissa.
She said quietly as she closed his eyes, "He's dead." Lissa
nodded, then began whispering the Act of Contrition.
Once she had apologized to God, Lissa looked at Philip
and whispered, "He told me I was just like my father...how
can he say that?" She was near tears and Philip shook his
head, drawing her close once more. She allowed herself to
lean on him for several moments, then they walked to Derek's
side. Lissa knelt beside him and took his hand, asking, "Are
you all right, Derek?" He managed a weak smile.
"I'll be fine, Lissa. You did well...I was very proud
of you," Derek answered. Lissa looked away, embarrassed,
then Derek continued weakly, "There was something which we
need to discuss, but that can wait until another time. We
have work to do." He tried to force himself to stand, but
Rachel and Nick eased him back without much effort.
"I'll take care of that," Nick said firmly, "Rachel will
take care of you, and Philip will look after Lissa. While I
talk to the police, Alex can order a new sensor for the
door." The young man looked at Lissa and said softly, "I'm
sorry for even thinking that you had shot Derek."
Lissa smiled and answered, "You're forgiven. Derek can
be exasperating, but he's not that bad!" Everyone laughed,
and Nick helped Derek up. He and Rachel supported the
psychic, leading him from the room. Alex quickly touched
Lissa's hand, then followed. Lissa said, staring at Mark's
lifeless body, "Mark was paid to kill my father. I
remembered everything during the struggle...I came home
early. My father and Mark were struggling for the gun. It
went off, and that's the last thing I remember."
"My God," Philip whispered, his eyes widening, "he told
you that? He told you that he was hired to kill your
father?" Lissa nodded and Philip put his arms around her
once more. The young cop leaned against him, crying softly,
and it was the beginning of her healing.
During the next few days, Derek recuperated while Nick
dealt with the police and installed a new security system to
include the passages which Philip and Lissa had discovered
when they were children. Rachel examined Lissa once Derek
was settled and pronounced her fit, though she scolded Lissa
for taking Mark on alone. The young cop opted not to remind
Rachel that she had no other choice. Alex ordered a new
sensor for Derek's office, which arrived two days after the
attack. And it was a week after Mark's death when Lissa and
her younger sister decided to go home.
At the end of that week, Lissa was packing in her room.
One suitcase was finished, and Nick teased as he prepared to
take it downstairs, "Hey, Lis, what the hell did you put in
here, an elephant?" Lissa laughed as she snapped her second
suitcase shut, and the young man continued, "I could have
sworn you travelled light when you first came here!"
"You know, Nick, if you can't handle it, Alex can," the
young cop replied sweetly. Nick rolled his eyes and Lissa
looked around the room longingly. She said softly, "Really,
Nick, this room feels more like home than the house where I
grew up ever could. It always has."
"Then stay! You know Derek would love it if you stayed.
So would the rest of us," Nick replied. Lissa shook her
head, sighing, and Nick continued, "Yeah, I know. There are
things left undone. But you will be back, won't you?"
"Of course, Nick, I'll always come back," Lissa replied
with a smile, "this place is still magic to me. I'll be
back, Nick, don't worry about that. Who knows? Maybe I'll
need Derek's help on a police case." Nick nodded and took
her other suitcase from her.
"And perhaps the Foundation will need your gifts," Derek
said, appearing in the door. Lissa smiled. They had done a
lot of talking during the last week. He returned the smile
and continued, "Until then, here's a keepsake. I've had it
for many years, but thought perhaps you would like it." He
drew a tiny, framed picture from inside of his jacket and
handed it to Lissa. Frowning curiously, she accepted it.
Her frown turned to a smile...the photograph was of
her and Philip when they were about ten and twelve. They
were holding hands. Lissa whispered, returning her attention
to Derek, "I know this picture...you took this a few weeks
before Mama died. Philip and I were playing soccer, and we
stopped long enough for you to take our picture. Mama said
later that Philip was the only twelve year old she knew who
wasn't bothered by holding a little girl's hand."
"Yes, but Philip has always been different. Part of it
was the tragedies of his early life. Part...part of it was
his Calling," Derek replied with a smile, and Lissa nodded.
Yes, even as a child, Philip had been different from other
little boys. It was one reason why she had loved him so
much. Derek added, "Nick's right, you know...you are still
welcome here, and you always will be."
"I do know that, Derek. And I will be back, I promise.
But I need to go back to the house and read Mama's diaries.
If you and Alex are right, then the key to William Reynolds'
hatred of me lies in those diaries," Lissa replied. After
Mark's death, Derek and Alex explained their suspicions
regarding her paternity. It shocked her at first, but the
more she thought about it, the more it made sense.
"You'll let us know what you find out?" Derek asked and
Lissa nodded. She had no idea whom her real father was...
and there was no longer any doubt in her mind that William
Reynolds had not sired her, not after Mark's dying words...
and she didn't know if she would seek him out when she did
learn his identity. But for now, Lissa had to know the
truth...she had to know about that part of her past.
"Of course...you'll know as soon as I find out.
Whenever that happens to be. Shall we go? The longer I drag
this out, the more difficult it will be," the young woman
said. The two men nodded and Nick picked up her suitcase.
The trio proceeded downstairs, where Philip, Rachel, Alex,
Kat, and Pippa awaited. The teen stepped immediately to her
sister's side, and Lissa ruffled Pippa's dark hair.
Rachel stepped forward first, taking both of Lissa's
hands, and said, "We didn't get off to a very good start, I'm
afraid. You're not as good at disguising your emotions as
you thought...I could see the impatience in your eyes when
I asked you those questions after you came out of your coma."
Lissa blushed, remembering her impatience and frustration,
and Rachel drew her into her arms, saying, "Take care of
yourself, hon. I'll see you soon, I hope."
"Very soon," Lissa promised and released Rachel, moving
on to Kat. She dropped to her knees and held her arms to the
child. Kat hugged her, crying softly, and Lissa stroked the
little girl's hair. She whispered, "Don't cry, Kitten, I'll
be back. Meanwhile, look after your mom and Derek for me,
okay? And I'll keep an eye on Philip for you."
Kat smiled through her tears and said, "It's a deal.
You promise to come back soon?" Lissa nodded, blinking back
tears of her own, and Kat kissed her. She whispered, "Be
careful, Lissa." The cop nearly lost control of her
emotions, but she hugged the little girl hard, kissing the
top of her head, then released Kat. Alex was next.
The other young woman hugged her tightly and said, "I'll
see you next Wednesday, Lis...ten am at the cathedral. Try
to stay out of trouble between now and then, all right? And
I'll help Kat keep an eye on Rachel and Derek." Lissa
laughed as she returned her friend's embrace. Alex added,
pulling away to look at the young cop, "Let's not wait
another eight years to see each other, all right? I loved
you like a sister, and I've missed you so much."
"Same here. Be well, Xan...I think I can stay out of
trouble for the next week or so," Lissa said, dangerously
close to breaking down, and Alex smiled, though she was on
the verge of tears as well. Lissa released her hand after
quickly kissing her cheek. Nick was next, and Lissa gave him
a hug, saying, "Stay out of trouble, Nick, and make sure
Derek behaves himself. I can count on you to keep him
honest, at least until I come back, can't I?" Nick laughed,
lifting her off her feet as he returned the hug.
"You sure can...I do it all the time anyhow, so it
won't be a problem. I'll see you soon, okay?" he asked and
Lissa nodded. Her next, and final, good-bye was to Derek,
since Philip was returning with her to the mainland. His
bags were already in the car. Lissa took Derek's hand,
trying to think of what she should say. Of all the good-byes
she had to say today, this one was the most difficult.
"Thank you, Derek. I know things haven't been easy for
you during the last few weeks, but you've been so patient,"
she said at last, her voice growing husky. Derek drew her
into his arms and Lissa rested her head against his shoulder,
fighting back a fresh wave of tears.
"Thank you, Elizabeth...you saved my life," Derek said
and Lissa smiled in spite of the ache in her heart. How
could she leave these people? They had become her family.
Derek said over her shoulder, "Philip, call me when you know
something." Lissa drew back and Derek explained, "Philip
told me that he would talk with Bishop Douglas. He thought
your mother might have told him something."
"Smart idea...I should have thought of that myself.
My mind has been working on half-speed for the last few days,
I'm afraid," Lissa said ruefully. Derek smiled and kissed
her forehead, then she whispered, "Be well, Derek. I'll talk
to you soon, I promise." She released his hands, then walked
to Philip's side as Pippa said her good-byes.
The trio walked out to the car together, and Lissa put
her arm around Pippa's shoulders. The teen said, "Lis?" The
cop looked at her sister, who continued, "Do you think I can
go by 'Maeve' now, since you've found the real Pip? I mean,
you told me once that 'Pip' was an imaginary friend when you
were a little girl, but he wasn't. He was real."
Lissa and Philip exchanged a glance, then Lissa nodded,
hugging her sister. The girl squeezed Lissa's hand happily,
and the young cop said, "Yes, honey, I think it's time for
you to take your first name." She didn't mention that
William Reynolds had knocked her into the wall when she
innocently suggested the name to Pippa's mother, Starr.
There was no need for Pippa...Maeve...to know that.
Perhaps, Lissa thought, I'll tell Philip or Derek one of
these days. But not my little sister...she has seen too
much, and whatever his other faults, William Reynolds did
love her. And Pippa...Maeve...had loved him.
The teen got into the limo, and Lissa slid in beside
her, followed by Philip. Lissa looked out the back window.
Derek, Nick, Alex, Rachel, and Kat were on the front steps,
and she waved to them. Derek waved back, and Lissa kept
waving until she could no longer see them. Then, she turned
to Philip and buried her face against his jacket.
It was three days before Lissa went upstairs to the
attic, where William Reynolds had stored all of Fiona's
belongings after her death. During that time, Lissa moved
furniture and chatted with neighbors who visited. She was
disconcerted to discover that she was widely regarded as a
heroine. However, she quickly learned to deal with it. And,
it kept her mind off Mark's dying words. Finally, however,
she could put it off no longer. As Lissa started up to the
attic, Maeve returned home from soccer practice and called,
"Lissa! I have a message from Philip! He said to call Derek
once you've read Fiona's diaries."
Lissa frowned, then remembered what Derek had told her
about Philip talking with the bishop. She called back, "I
had planned to call Derek this afternoon anyhow, but thanks
for telling me, Maeve!" The teenager joined her on the
steps, looking at her expectantly, and Lissa asked with a
frown, "You're coming up with me, hon?"
"You're about to find out the truth about your parents,
Lissa, of course I'm coming with you. I may not be your
sister anymore, but I'll always love you!" Maeve retorted.
They had reached the attic, and Lissa turned to face the
girl, putting both hands on her shoulders. It's time we
killed that particular monster, she thought.
"Let's get one thing straight, Maeve Philippa. You are,
and ever shall be, my sister. You've been my sister since I
was twelve years old, and no matter what I find in my
mother's diaries, that won't change. Got it?" she asked.
Maeve nodded and Lissa continued, "Good. Help me find my
mother's diary for 1969 and 1970. There may be two of 'em."
Maeve nodded and the sisters got to work.
Fifteen minutes later, Maeve said tensely, "Lissa, I've
got it." Lissa went to Maeve's side and took the journal.
The entries began in June of 1969, when Fiona took a job as a
librarian in a San Francisco boarding school. She had just
moved to San Francisco from New Mexico with her two sisters,
nineteen year old Alicia and six year old Molly, after the
deaths of their parents.
While working at the library, Fiona became good friends
with several boys. It was one of these boys, a young orphan,
who was Lissa's biological father. Fiona had taught the teen
about love, as she put it, and Lissa's heart nearly stopped
when she read the story of her conception. However, she kept
reading aloud and didn't fall silent until she had read the
entry concerning her birth...in March of 1970. Lissa was
quiet for several moments, then told her anxious younger
sister, "Maeve, pack your bags, then I'd be obliged if you
packed mine as well. I need to call Derek."
On Angel Island, Philip paced nervously in Derek's
office while Derek read over the paper which Philip had
brought from the parish. The young priest exchanged an
uneasy look with Rachel. At last, Derek sat back in his
chair with a stunned expression.
He asked hoarsely, "There's no mistake?" The younger
man shook his head, wishing he could help his godfather in
some way. Derek continued after a moment, "I should have
known. I should have seen the signs." He passed the paper
to Rachel with a sigh, and the psychiatrist accepted it with
a frown. She gasped as she read it, and looked at Philip.
The phone rang and Derek hit a button, saying, "Derek Rayne."
A strained, feminine voice said, "Derek, it's Lissa."
Philip allowed himself a faint smile...right on time,
Lissa, he thought. The policewoman continued, "Maeve said
that we should call once I read the diary. Well, I just
finished reading it...and we need to talk. Maeve and I
will be arriving on the afternoon ferry. You'll be at the
castle all day? No meetings in the city?"
"No meetings, Lissa...we'll be here. All of us.
We'll see you then," Derek replied. Philip realized that his
hands were balled into fists at his sides, and forced himself
to relax. For some reason, he felt betrayed as well, though
he wasn't entirely certain why. Derek hesitated, then added,
"I'm looking forward to seeing you."
There was a pause on the other end of the line, then
Lissa replied hoarsely, "Same here. I know Maeve is looking
forward to our return to the castle. Philip, make sure he
stays out of trouble until I get there. Rachel, do what you
can to help Philip. I'll see you all in a few hours."
"Drive careful, Lissa," Rachel said. She had obviously
decided not to ask the policewoman how she had known that
Rachel was in the office with Derek and Philip. That's a
wise move, Philip thought, I don't think you really want to
know the answer. The psychiatrist added, "Everything will be
all right, Lissa. You will survive this."
There was a humorless laugh, then Lissa answered, "Oh, I
have no doubt of that, Rachel. The question is, will I ever
forgive my mother for what she kept from me, and for what she
allowed to happen? That's what I want to know."
Rachel lowered her eyes and Lissa added with a sigh,
"I'm sorry, that was un-called for. Please forgive me for
being such a bitch, Rachel. I'm just a little shaken right
now. We'll talk when we get to the castle. Bye." Then she
hung up, leaving the three members of the Legacy staring at
each other in unhappy silence.
By twelve thirty, Lissa's and Maeve's bags were packed
and in the trunk of Lissa's little Ford Taurus. By one, both
girls were ready to leave the house where they had grown up.
Maeve was blinking back tears, and Lissa put her hand on the
girl's shoulder. She whispered, "It's not forever, honey.
Are you sure you're okay with this? I would understand if
you wanted to live with the chief again."
"I'm sure. This place hasn't been home to me in a long
time. Let's get outta here," Maeve replied and Lissa nodded.
They got into the car, and neither spoke for the next few
hours as Lissa drove toward the docks. Neither of them
really knew what to say to the other, in light of what they
had just learned. And Lissa was still stunned and enraged by
the contents of her mother's diary.
Despite her own pain and anger, Lissa felt Maeve's
tension, especially once they reached the ferry. She
recalled what Maeve had said earlier, about no longer being
sisters, and cringed. I won't allow that to happen, she
swore silently, never! At last, the ferry reached Angel
Island, and Lissa drove her car off the boat. Twenty minutes
later, as they reached the gates of the castle, Maeve
whispered, "My God...I had forgotten how big it was. We've
been away three days, how could I have forgotten?"
Lissa nodded and lightly squeezed her sister's hand as
they drove up to the castle. As promised, Derek was at the
castle. It didn't surprise the young woman to discover him
waiting on the front steps of the castle. He wasn't alone.
Philip stood to his left, and Rachel to his right. Behind
that trio stood Nick and Alex, both looking solemn. Oh, they
all knew the truth, just as Derek knew. Lissa didn't even
want to think about how he had taken the news.
She parked the car between Derek's black Range Rover and
Nick's bright red Mustang, then she and Maeve walked to the
trio. Each step seemed to take forever, yet was over too
quickly, too. Lissa tried to calm her nerves by taking deep
breaths, but her rage and anguish made it hurt to even
breathe. Oh, Mother, how could you have done this to me?
But, Lissa reminded herself, I wasn't the only victim.
Maeve ran ahead, her joy briefly overwhelming her
concern, and hugged Rachel. The psychiatrist returned the
hug. However, she was looking at Lissa anxiously. Don't be
silly, Rachel, the cop thought impatiently, I'm not angry
with Derek! Her gaze shifted to Philip and she inclined her
head to him, drawing a smile from the young priest.
Her eyes shifted next to Alex, who managed a weak smile.
You and me both, Xan, Lissa thought, her head still reeling
from the revelations. Last, she looked at Nick, who winked
at Lissa. She smiled weakly, then looked at Derek as she
stopped in front of him. His smile was sad. Lissa cleared
her throat and tried to speak, but no words would emerge.
She wasn't even sure what to say. Lissa glanced at Philip,
who mouthed, 'It's okay.' Encouraged by her childhood best
friend's supprot, the young woman closed her eyes, then
opened them. She took a deep breath, bobbed her head and
whispered the only thing she could..."Hello, Father."
Derek took both of her hands and replied, "Hello, my
beautiful daughter. Welcome home." Lissa looked down at
their joined hands, her dark eyes filling with tears, and
Derek repeated, "Welcome home."
And in that instant, with her father's warm hands
enveloping her small, cold fingers, Lissa at last felt as
though she belonged. In that instant, her earlier, bitter
question to Rachel about forgiving her mother was answered.
It would take time...but her mother's Legacy to her was far
stronger than her betrayal.
Now go e-mail Deb and let her know what you think!