[Just in time for Easter, the stunning conclusion of The Elf’s Destiny: ‘Tis the Season for Romance.]
Jack Rory returned from his trip a broken man, stunned and demoralized. With nowhere else to go, he made his way to Destiny’s place and used her hide-a-key to let himself in. Now he lay alone in the bed where they had once been so happy, unable to escape the pounding crescendo of his thoughts.
Destiny was his sister. He was her brother. He shuddered and covered his face with his hands. With all the fathers out there in the world, why, oh, why did the two of them have to have the same one? Remembering the moment when he’d seen the other half of his charm bracelet clutched in Darth’s fist, Jack Rory swallowed hard, fighting back nausea and despair.
So many times he had dreamed of being joyfully reunited with his real, live family. But never had any of his imagined scenarios turned out anything like this. Shame washed over him as he pictured how his therapy group would react to his grotesque discovery.
No. Despite all the progress he’d made with the help of his therapist, Lisa, this was not something he could share. Ever. With anyone.
Or could he?
“It’s not like I could have known,” he silently reasoned with himself. “No one could have known. So I’m not to blame. It’s not my fault.”
Suddenly he bolted upright. Someone had known. And that someone had tried to warn him. He heard Yoda’s voice in his head, as clearly as if the diminutive Jedi Master were standing beside him.
“Tried to warn you, I did, Jack Rory. Listen to me, you would not. Devastation and destruction, upon yourself you have brought.”
“Oh, I’m such a fool!” Jack Rory cried, clapping his hands over his ears, trying unsuccessfully to drown out Yoda’s voice. In his anguished state, he did not hear the front door open, nor was he aware of the light footsteps approaching the bed, until…
Startled, he flinched violently; then rubbed his eyes in shock and confusion as goosebumps rose on his arms.
“Destiny? But how…why…? You can’t be here. Or I can’t be here. We can’t be…This is wrong,” he stuttered.
“Jack Rory, I know,” Destiny said, somehow managing to sound soothing. “You’re upset. But, baby, we can work through this. We’ve been through tough times before.”
“Wait, what?” Jack Rory asked. “You think we can work through this, Destiny? No matter how much work we do, you’ll still be my sister!”
“But that’s not all I’ll be, lover,” Destiny said seductively, reaching in to stroke the side of Jack Rory’s face.
Recoiling, he batted her hand away. “What is wrong with you, Destiny?!” he shouted. “Don’t you see—it’s over! There’s no more us.”
But Destiny wasn’t giving up that easily. Perched calmly at the edge of her bed, she babbled steadily, reminding Jack Rory of all the magical times they’d shared already, while affirming her plans for their future together.
“Our magnetic attraction, you know we have that…and there’s just so much there…and of course your baby…and then kids of our own…”
She went on and on, weaving a fantastical world of possibility. Jack Rory did everything he could to drown her out, but gradually his resolve began to weaken. It had been a draining 24 hours and he found that all he wanted to do was sleep.
“Okay, okay, Destiny. That’s enough,” he said. “Please. I’ve got to get some rest.”
“Great, me too!” Destiny said, enthusiastically clambering into the bed beside him, and throwing one of her legs over his. Before he could utter a word of protest, she had fallen sound asleep.
Despite his exhaustion, Jack Rory found it impossible to sleep with Destiny beside him. Revulsion aside, he was somehow still drawn to her, and he felt his body beginning to respond, when…
…the sound of jingling bells filled the air. Familiar jingling bells. Could it be? He looked quickly at Destiny, but she slept on, snoring lightly. He extricated himself from her bed, and rose, quietly making his way to the door. He threw it open and there stood…Santa!
“Santa?” Jack Rory said in disbelief. “What are you doing here?”
“Ho, ho, ho, verrrrry funny, Jack Rory!” Santa chuckled. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what day it is.”
Blankly, Jack Rory looked over his shoulder at the calendar Destiny kept on her fridge.
“For the love of elves, Jack Rory, it’s Christmas Eve!” Santa bellowed cheerfully. “Now hop to it—onto the sled with you! We’ve got a busy night ahead of us, ho, ho, ho!”
Jack Rory was utterly flummoxed. With all that had happened over the last few weeks, it had somehow slipped his mind that Santa would be returning to pick him up on a prearranged date.
“The thing is, Santa,” he said, “I’m sort of working through some stuff here, and I…well, I might need some more time…”
“Ho, ho, ho, Jack Rory!” Santa said, slapping him on the back. “Girl trouble, I imagine! You elves are all the same! Charlatans, one and all! Now get on the sled, because I don’t have all night.”
Jack Rory hesitated, pondering the situation. He looked back at Destiny’s slumbering figure. He thought of his baby briefly, idly wondering what ever had become of Karen.
Then he shook his head as if to clear his mind of such thoughts. A mischievous and somewhat malevolent smile crossed his lips.
“Sure thing, Santa, let’s get out of here!” he cried, leaping aboard.
“Thatta boy, Jack Rory!” Santa said, spurring the sled forward.
As they took flight, Jack Rory felt a tremendous weight lift from his shoulders.
It was truly a Christmas miracle.