When Clarissa returned from the beach, it was obvious to her family that things had gone well. There was a grin on her face and a bounce in her step that told the whole story in fairytale form. Clarissa was in love, and apparently, so was Roy.
Grainna was delighted to see her daughter so happy, but knew she couldn’t put her announcement off any longer. So she gathered her daughters around her and took a deep, stabilizing breath. She knew this was not going to be easy.
Grainna: The time has come, girls. I’ve made my decision and chosen the heir.
Grainna saw the joy drain out of Clarissa’s face. Seraphina looked serious, as always, and Esmeralda seemed downright scared. She was still only a teenager, after all, and Grainna knew that she hated the idea of having her life planned for her before she even turned eighteen.
Grainna: You all know how important our legacy is to me. But the happiness of my daughters is even more important than that – and so deciding which of you would be the heir has been an extremely difficult decision. When I started this legacy, I always imagined my daughters vying for the opportunity to carry on our lineage. I see now that was very short-sighted.
The girls were silent.
Grainna: But we are a family above all. And I hope that we can find a way to band together and support Seraphina as our second generation heir.
Grainna braced herself for her daughter’s reaction. Seraphina had been through so much already, and had told Grainna long ago, in no uncertain terms, that she was not interested in carrying on the Hasslich legacy. But of all her daughters, Grainna trusted her eldest daughter the most. Seraphina was her best friend, her confidant, her first born. She was Geoffrey’s daughter, and though she carried her father’s unfortunate genetics, she also inherited his kindness and generous spirit. Grainna hoped Geoffrey’s spirit would live on alongside her own, through Seraphina and her own children.
Grainna looked at her daughter apologetically. Seraphina stood, serious as always. And then, ever so slightly, she smiled.
Seraphina: I’m honored, Mom. I’m truly happy – I was actually kind of hoping it would be me! After Dad died, I realized the true importance of family. We have an amazing one, and I will be proud to carry on the Hasslich legacy.
Grainna went to bed that night feeling lighter than she’d felt in months. Not only was the heir announcement behind her, but Seraphina was actually excited about her new role. It was a dream come true for Grainna to pass the torch to a willing and enthusiastic heir.
Grainna nodded off in a fizzy, effervescent daze – and so when she awoke to a familiar figure in her bedroom, she assumed she must be dreaming.
Geoffrey looked transparent, and extremely surprised.
Geoffrey: Grainna? You can see me??!!
Grainna: What’s going on? Is this a dream?
Geoffrey: I can’t believe you can finally see me! Grainna, my love – no, it’s not a dream. All these years, I’ve been here, watching over you and the girls. I just couldn’t leave this place – I had to make sure you were safe and cared for.
Grainna was confused. This had to be a dream, didn’t it?
Geoffrey floated to Seraphina’s room, Grainna trailing behind him in a trance.
Geoffrey: You did good, Grainna. I know how hard it was for you to chose the heir, but Seraphina can handle this. You chose well.
Grainna watched as Geoffrey floated through the bedroom wall. Almost automatically, she walked outside after him, sure he would be gone – that the whole thing had been a figment of her imagination.
But he was there. It didn’t make any sense, but Grainna felt suddenly sure that this was real. She had no doubt that she hadn’t imagined him.
Grainna: Geoffrey – I should have told you such a long time ago. I love you, and I’ve missed you every single day. I wish I could take it all back – I should have let you leave Nancy so we could have been a family. I’m sorry. I wasted our chance and now it’s too late.
Geoffrey: I’m always here by your side, Grainna, even if you can’t see me. I want you to live a long and happy life. Enjoy the time you have left with your daughters. But when the time comes, know that I’ll be there waiting for you. It’s never too late.