That night there was no talking. There was a lot to share about what had happened but right then we had other, more important, things to share.
There would be time enough for the rest later.
I woke the next morning stiff and very sore. Stretching painfully I grimaced and smiled at the same time, not all of my soreness was from the run-in with Nuala. The cuts and bruises that covered my body were to noticeable to hide from Blue but I was reluctant to tell him they were caused by my sister. So when we sat down to talk about it, for the first time in our marriage, I lied. I told him everything that had happened only changing the identity of my assailant to a nameless henchman of my mothers. Seemingly satisfied with my account he shared his story.
"I don't know where she came from I didn't hear a thing. Your mother must have trained her very well because one moment I was getting dinner and the next I was in an underground room . I lost all track of time down there. There were no windows and only a single bare bulb to shed light. I thought that they would come to question me at any time so prepared for it.
But no one came. At one point your mum came into the room and just looked at me, snorted in disgust, and left. After that I realised they weren't going to come for me any time soon so I gave in and slept.
The next thing I knew I was on the ground in front of our house with you kneeling by my side." He stopped then and looked into my eyes. "I guess we are going to have to take better care of each other from now on." His voice soften as he drew me in close. "I am never letting you or Bondi out of my sight again."
I couldn't have agreed more.
While I could hide the depths of Nuala's involvement in RATS from Blue I couldn't entirely hide her from the agency. Something as important to cracking the case as the box goes missing and SIA don't stop asking questions until they are fully satisfied. And although they are the 'good' guys that doesn't stop them from asking hard. Despite my reluctance I was honest and told them what they wanted to know.
"You did WHAT?!?" Devon was more than a little upset by the situation. If the budging veins didn't give it away the tone of voice certainly made it clear. The term indignation could probably never be better used than at that moment.
"Rosé I understand that this is an emotionally difficult situation for you but that was an brain dead and completely unacceptable move. You should have come to us. With the full force of the SIA behind you we would have been able to get Blue back without loosing that box. Don't you realize how critical that is to this operation?! You may have lost us everything in one night."
There really wasn't much I could say to that. Although he was right, in principle, I never could have left Blue in the hands of my mother while I waited for the bureaucracy of the SIA. Unable to meet his eye I mumbled a barely coherent "Yes sir."
Perhaps sensing my mood he interrupted before I could go any further."It is very clear that you believe you did the right thing but trust me when I tell you that you did not. This agency knows what it is doing and coped with situations far more complicated and dangerous than this. As of this point in time you are suspended. When, if we recover that box we will take about your reinstatement."
I left the office full of conflicting emotions. I understood Devon's point and the guilt at loosing that box was eating me up inside. But Blue was my life. He had brought meaning and passion to my life of sadness and there was no way I could have left his fate in someone else's hands. I went home and grabbed my boys. Having them close calmed the storm that raged inside me. We made our way down to the beach to watch the sunset.
As I watched the sun turn the cool water into an ocean of fire my own fire started to burn. It burned away all the doubt and conflict in my mind and left me with one perfect path. My family. I have spent most of my grown up life chasing after the spectre of my mother and all it has brought me is pain and trouble. Now was the time to focus on what was around me. On Blue and Bondi, Peach and Pear. And on Nuala. Where ever she was.
The perfect opportunity to embrace family life came very soon. It was birthday time for the Noirs again and this time there were quite a few. Meloire, Peach, Pear, Almond and Bondi were all going to be celebrating at around the same time. I got together with Blaze and Cheri and started planning.
We decided that we would all have small parties in our homes and then meet up for one big party to show off the new and improved family members. It was going to be perfect. The days flew by as we all worked to make this celebration of life and happiness everything we dreamed it to be. Blue and I were practically glued to each other and to Bondi. Every little move he made and our hearts melted.
The day dawned cloudy and cool. I tried to stop myself from constantly looking at the clouds and fearing rain. The sun must have known it was an important party guest and before it had rose halfway into the sky it had burned of all the clouds leaving a glorious blue vista. Bondi woke all smiles and giggles ready to great the day. For our part the small family part was just Blue, Bondi and me next to a cake. As we gathered round the cake a tear slide down my check thinking of my love for my little family.
Wish made we sat back and watched Bondi become our little man.
We had got Bondi a new toy that was waiting for him and we let him play for a few minutes before heading out to the party. Every moment was as perfect as I imagined it would be. Meloire was a stunning young woman.
Peach and Pear were blossoming as teenagers.
And little Almond was the cutest little girl, she was going to be the spitting image of her mother when she grew up.
We laughed and talked and had an amazing time.
Dad brought a surprise guest to the party.
Although he said they were just friends I could tell there were some very deep emotions between the two of them and it made me happy. Mum never deserved a wonderful man like him and I hoped he could find some happiness here.
As the day ended and we all began to leave to go to our homes again I sighed with happiness. Peach and Pear wanted to explore the new freedom that their teenage stature brought them so Blaze, Plum and Almond came back home with us for one more cup of tea. As we approached the house I was a bit confused.
I must have left the light on when we left this morning. It wasn't very like me to do that but I was rather preoccupied at the time. We got in and Blue started bustling in the kitchen getting the drinks ready. I popped into the office to turn the light off and stopped dead in my tracks.
"Rosé" she said quietly. "I know you are probably surprised to see me here. I didn't know where else to go. I got away from mother, she is not what I thought she was. I am still confused about everything that's happened, all that I have been told, but I can see that what I have been told about you has been an outright lie. I know you may never trust me, especially after our last meeting, but I brought something as a piece offering in hopes you might begin to let me in again."
As she gestured to the box I nearly broke down. Here was my sister asking for my forgiveness and bringing the one thing that the agency needed to bring and end to this whole saga. Without hesitation I swept her into my arms.
"Oh Lala of course I forgive you. I've missed you so much." Wrapped up in the moment I didn't hear the door open.
"Rosé what's taking so..."
I guess I should have made some time to tell Plum.