Fanfiction- Home: The Scroll Part Two

This story is my own creation set in season six, after the episode A Wondrous Place. Some wording is taken from the fantastic writers of Once Upon a Time to stay in continuity of the show. The rest are my own imagination.

 

“Do you know what day it is today?” Killian asked Ariel, sitting in front of a fire pit on the edge of the Agraban Gulf.

He’d been staring into the crackling flames since the moment they set up camp, shortly after saying goodbye to Aladdin and Jasmine.

“It’s Frigedag,” Ariel answered in some foreign language he did not recognize.

Killian arched his brow. “Frigedag?”

“Yeah, isn’t that what you call it. I’ve heard humans say TGIF before Thank Guppy it’s Frigedag, right?”

He had to laugh despite feeling like complete rubbish inside. “I think that saying is Thank God it’s Friday. I’ve heard Emma and Henry say it before.”

“Oh yeah, Friday – Frigedag that’s what Merfolks call it.” Ariel pushed the fire around with a stick she’d picked up along the way to the coast. “Speaking of Merfolk and Emma, want to try calling her again? It’s been an hour since the last time you used my shellphone.” She handed him the bauble.

“Thanks.” He accepted the tiny conch and spoke into it again, praying Emma was near his chest where he’d left his own enchanted shell. “Emma, it’s Killian. I didn’t mean to leave. Gideon sent me away. I would never leave you. Emma, he wanted me out of the way. I love you. I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’m trying to get home to you. And I won’t stop ‘til I do.” He’d say it a million times over if he had to. She had to know he didn’t leave in haste. Yes, he needed time to think, time to deal with the guilt about remembering he was the one who killed her grandfather. Never once, though, did he stop loving her. Emma Swan was his whole world. She made him a better man and nothing he could do could ever repay what she gave to him: redemption, forgiveness, love, and family.

“Someone will hear you, Killian,” Ariel said, taking back her shell.

“I hope so.”
Splash!

Something leapt from the water, startling both of them.

Thinking it was another one of those krakens, Killian jumped to his feet, his sword in hand. “Stand back,” he ordered his innocent friend.

“No, wait! It’s a mermaid, not a monster.” Ariel ran to the shoreline. “It’s okay. Come out. We’re friends. We won’t hurt you,” she said to the gulf.

Killian followed her lead, seeing the top of a woman’s head cresting the water’s surface. She was beautiful, lifting her head and tossing back shimmering gold hair in the silvery moonlight.

The maid swam closer into the shallows, seating herself on the wet sand, yet keeping her tail submerged. Up close two things stuck out to him as familiar: a necklace made of leather carrying both a shell and a brass key, and her eyes. Those two pools of blue, the shade of the crystalline waters of Polynesia, drew him to her as if in a trance. He knew those eyes. He’d seen them on his older brother’s face and every day when he passed a mirror. Shock had him frozen where he stood.

Ariel wasn’t so much, and greeted the woman. “Hi. I’m Ariel, who are you?”

“Ondine,” the maid said and lifted her eyes to Killian. “I heard you… your voice on my shell. You were calling to your love, were you not?”

Words were absented from his mind, unable to form on his tongue. From the story he’d read all of a month ago, he knew this mermaid was a special one indeed. She was his mother.

Ariel nudge his ribs. “Uh, aye. I was,” he finally answered. “I’m Killian Jones, brother to Captain Liam Jones, and son to the unfortunate scoundrel, Brennan Jones.”

With each name Ondine’s blue eyes widened and teared. She covered her gaping mouth. “Killian. My Killian?”

The once brave and fearless Captain Hook knelt reverently in the sand. “Aye… Mother.”

She touched his face, cupping his cheeks, caressing his beard and jaw. “Look at you. You look so much like your father.”

As much as he didn’t want to hear that comparison, he took it as a compliment knowing how in love the woman before him loved his dastardly father. Brennan Jones was far from perfect, but he did love. “I do, at least from what I can remember of him. He’s been gone a long time now. But I don’t know you at all. How are you here in Agrabah?”

She continued to stare at him, taking in his every detail. “I know I haven’t been around for you and Liam, but not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of you. My father was after us when you were small and your father sent me to another realm to escape him. All of you were supposed to follow and I waited but no one ever came. It wasn’t until the insane Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde brought us to this world did I leave the realm of Untold Stories.”

“Was that you in the reservoir the day Emma and I picnicked, reading your story?” Killian asked.

Ondine nodded. “I heard the familiar tale you two were reading, and somehow knew I had to stick by you. I didn’t know how to approach you, but stayed close.”
“That’s all right. I wouldn’t know how to react anyway. I’m still getting used to having a living brother in the same town.”

“Living? I don’t understand.”

Ooh, right, her Liam was no longer alive. The last time she saw him, her eldest son was a toddler. Gently, Killian cupped her cheek. “It happened a long time ago, almost three hundred years ago, Liam passed on as a Naval captain on the high seas. He was an honorable man all the way ‘til the end. He’s in a far better place now. I guarantee it. Father did have another son, though, named him Liam as well. He lives in Storybrooke.”

“But you’ve survived all this time?” Killian nodded. “Aye. I have and a lot of that has to do with the woman I’m trying to return to, my love, my Emma.”

Ondine smiled. Killian noted the pride in the lines of her perfectly, unaged face frozen in time by her realm. No one in the Land of Untold Stories had aged. Their lives were exactly as they were the day they’d turned the key to that world.

“Please, let me help you?” Ondine implored. “I could hear the love and urgency in your voice. You need to get back to her and I have an idea. It requires trust on your part though.”

Ariel nodded, as if urging him to trust his mother. “Merfolk don’t usually lie.”
“I understand, but you aren’t suggesting we swim, are you?” he asked, darting glances between both mermaids.

“Don’t look at me.” Ariel held her hands up, clueless as to Ondine’s plan. “I’ve never travelled with humans before. I don’t even know if it’s possible.”

“It is, as long as we have a tie to one another. We must hurry though. We only have until dawn.” Ondine flapped her tail signifying the part of her story Killian almost forgot. She only remains a mermaid for a day. Come sunrise she would returned to human form and her abilities to cross realms, breathe underwater indefinitely, and swim at lightning speed vanishes for a week. It was now or never.

“What do I have to do?” Killian asked.

Ondine reached for his hand. He grasped hers and held out his hook for the other. The smallest flinch twinged her brow, and he could see questions in her eyes about it which were not important at the moment. He nodded once letting her know it was all right, and a soft smile spread on her face. “I need to kiss you.”

He angled a waried eyebrow, yet still knelt in the wet sand. He closed his eyes and felt the warm touch of lips on his forehead. A mother’s kiss so tender and dear, his heart ached as if is soul remembered her from when he was a babe. Heat drenched his body, sending tingles through his limbs and a quaking in his chest.

“Breathe, darling,” she whispered in a slow melodic tone.

Killian did as she asked. His lungs filled like the sails of his ship taking flight to Neverland. It left him exhilarated to the point of dizziness and fell over into the waves.

He caught himself, opening his eyes to his smiling mother. “You’re ready. Keep holding my hand. If you let go, you’ll simply be a man trapped between realms in the middle of the oceans.

He didn’t let go and Ondine took off with one flip her tail. One quick jerk and he was shooting through the water like a bullet from a gun. Hundreds of years of instinct had him holding his breath until he could no longer. He opened his mouth and took in a gulp of air, surprised to find he could breathe easily. Ondine’s kiss worked! They’d be in Storybrooke in no time; he couldn’t wait to see Emma’s face.

 

In a purple hue, they passed through Agrabah’s realm, then the outer rim of the Enchanted Forest, Camelot, and finally burst through into the world of Storybrooke as the red globe of the sun skimmed the horizon in the east. Ondine slowed passing Boston and coming up on Maine’s coastline.

“What’s wrong?” Killian asked, his own lungs unable to hold as much as they had before. The cold, too, crept into his bones unlike earlier. His teeth chattered and body ached to move.

“It’s almost time.” She was breathless.

Killian survey the land around them, wading in place as best he could.  “Look! Over there, it’s Storybrooke’s beach. It’s not far. Come on, we can make it.”

Ondine bobbed her head, and started a slow swim. After a minute, Killian could no longer feel the weight of her fin against his legs. She was changing.

“Ondine?” he urged, seeing her straining to swim without the help of her mermaid abilities. She slipped away from him.

Killian caught her around the waist, careful not to pierce her icy, wet flesh with his hook. “No, Mum, you have to be strong. I’ve got you. Just a little further.”

With her head on his shoulder, he pulled them both through water one struggling paddle at a time through the last stretch of frigid water. When his feet could reach the earth below, he gathered Ondine in his arms and carried her to shore.

Leroy and the other dwarves came running the moment he called out, “Help me! Someone call Emma.”

Happy dialed. Leroy shrugged off his coat and draped it around Ondine’s shivering body.  Killian dropped to his knees, frozen and weak. “Help him,” he thought he heard one of the dwarves yell before all went black.

The next flash he saw was a light as bright as the summer sun from behind his eyelids. Emma.

“Killian!” she shouted.

Heat filled him—no surrounded him—and Ondine beside him. The same heated magic he felt anytime Emma healed him. He opened his eyes seeing a white, glowing cloud swirl around him and his mother. Consciousness returned. His mother was safe. Killian was on his feet in the very next moment, yanking Emma into his arms, kissing her with all the regret, worry, and love he had inside.

“I’m so sorry, Emma,” he whispered, unable to stop kissing her face, her mouth, her neck. “I should’ve told you what I did to your grandfather all those years ago. And I should have never…ever… considered running away.”

“Shh,” she held his face in her hands, halting him, “It’s okay. I didn’t exactly make it easy for you to tell me the truth.”

Killian took a step backward, fishing for the box in his breast pocket. “There’s something I need to do before I get pushed into another portal. And this time I’m going to do it the right way.” Lowering himself to the ground, he knelt before his love, his Emma. “Swan, I know that you face an uncertain future, but there’s one thing I want you to be certain of, and that is that I will always—always—be by your side. So Emma Swan, what do you say? Will you marry me?”

“Yes,” she replied barely above a whisper. It didn’t have to be loud, it didn’t have to be for the world to hear. All that mattered was that he heard that one precious word.

The happiest man alive, Killian stood and kissed her with all the longing, all the devotion he had for this one perfect woman. He was whole in far more ways than one. He had his Emma. He had a mother, he had a brother, and forgiveness finally in his heart. He was a complete man from head to toe and everything in between.

 

mermaid

 

“Tell it again, Grandmum,” Hope shrilled.

Ondine kissed her granddaughter’s blonde curls atop the five-year old’s head. “Hush now, darling. It’s time for sleeping.”

“But I love that story.”
“I know you do, but your mum and dad would be very disappointed if I let you stay up late. Besides, it’s Thursday night, you need to sleep, my love.”

Ondine stood and glanced at the clock; three hours until midnight. The excuse was enough for her precious granddaughter to lie back on her pillow and close her eyes.

She tucked Hope in under the covers. “Good girl, and when you wake all will be normal, and you will have a new baby sister joining us.”

Hope’s blue eyes flittered open wide, a smile lit up her rosy face. “And then you can tell the story about you and mommy and daddy again.”

“Yes, darling. I will tell the story again and again for as long as I live.”

 

THE END

 

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Silver Lining

What a week! So as some of you know, I’ve been fighting an nasty physical thing this week and it’s been rough. Very painful. I haven’t been able to go into the bakery, because standing was definitely not possible, but I have been able to sit or lay with a notebook or laptop with me. What that means is, writing time for Eryn!

And ladies and gentlemen, I have made some incredible headway on Falling for Sacrifice. It’s been giving me a headache lately since I haven’t had time to fix its many problems and finally those are resolved. The characters like each other, they have their own personalities and flaws, and the plot is moving quite nicely. I’m so happy!

This new book picks up where Falling for Hope leaves off, but this time we are following the lives of Isabel Delgado, Alexander Brownyn’s half-sister, out of Cudillero, Spain, and Evan Corbett, readers some will recognize from Falling for Shock. He was the villain, the Rainmaker, to Oliver Hannel’s Shock hero. He was also Lucy Brooks’ (now Bronwyn) boyfriend back in Shock. And now that everything is fixed, I’m getting really excited to share this story.

ISA

Ms. Karen David, is my inspiration for Isabel Delgado

Evan

Justin Hartley is clearly the perfect choice for Evan Corbett

 

So next year, get ready for Book Five in the Falling for Heroes series! You definitely won’t want to miss this one. 

 

 

All In One Map-Dot

I don’t normally get political, and I’m not now either, but the other day something wonderful occurred to me when I was at work. First of all, when I’m not writing, blogging, interviewing, and promoting, I work at a bakery inside the HyVee grocery store in my smallish town of Bloomington, Illinois. If any of you don’t know about HyVee, it’s a midwestern chain that I like to describe as the Disneyland of grocery stores. Manners are applauded and friendly customer service is the top priority above and beyond everything else. Our motto is: A helpful smile in every aisle. Not only that, we pride ourselves on having excellent, clean, and local products, and if local products aren’t available, we make the items in house. For example, we don’t receive peach turnovers from our corporate factory, yet one of our customers… just one… loves them and orders them special, so we make them from scratch.

It’s that kind of treatment that sets HyVee apart from other stores and why it is the ONLY grocery store I would ever work for.

With that said, let’s go back to my original thought. As I was slicing some artisan bread for a regular customer, I realized how amazing it was that this regular was here in Bloomington all the way from Congo, Africa.  I know this because he has an incredible accent, and deep, reverberating voice, had me asking where he was from a while back.

So as I’m helping him, I asked if his guests had gone back home to Belgium, a topic we had talked about the week before. He said, yes, and then, out of curiosity, I was prompted to look around the bakery. Here, standing before me was a customer from Africa, with friends from Belgium, one of our bakers is from Germany, another from Guatemala, a cake decorator from India, our newest employee is from the Phillipines, and I have relatives straight off the boat from Ireland with family from Korea and China. All these races, all these cultures working together, harmoniously in an area no bigger than the bottom floor of my townhouse. How fantastic is that?!

After all the turmoil, strife, and violence our country has endured over the last couple of weeks, shouldn’t we take an example from this little tiny map-dot in the middle of the United States and live and work together in peace no matter where we’re from, and what we look like? And as I close, the one thing I took away from this passing thought a few days ago, cutting bread for a man from the Congo, all of our cultures… ALL of them… are beautiful.

I Can “Bear”ly Contain Myself

Earlier last week, I excitedly posted on Facebook that I was in talks with survival expert, Bear Grylls’ people, asking if I could use his name in my next book.  Falling for Sacrifice, will be dealing with two people stranded on an island after a boat wreck, and while one character isn’t too intelligent, he avidly watches Bear Grylls’ shows.

If you are unfamiliar with Bear and his survival shows, click to play for a taste of his extreme survival.

 

Well, with all that said, I am ecstatic to announce that Bear has agreed to let me use his name in Falling for Sacrifice!

I received an email today from his assistant saying that he and his team read my synopsis and passages that included his name, and were very happy, despite a small   snag with the one passage. It was easily amended and now all is good. I’m so excited for this little venture.  Nothing like having one of your idols approve your work!

bearemail

 

And for those wondering about the release of Falling for Sacrifice… 2018 is all I can tell you right now. I’m Bear-ly (hahaha!) through fifty pages. I still have a ways to go. Until then, enjoy the other four books in the Falling for Heroes Series:

Falling for Shock

Falling for Freedom

Falling for Phoenix

Falling for Hope

 

And as always:

The best way you can help an independent author…

Tell your friends

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Leave a review

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Endings…Happy Beginnings…

A Norman Rockwell ending to the first book of Once Upon A Time.

As a little girl, I was in imaginary land all the time. I was a Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wendy Darling, Dorothy Gale and I never grew out of it. I loved fairy tales – they are probably a good reason why I became an author! I’ve watched all the movies, plays, tv shows (side note: remember Faerie Tale Theatre with Shelley Duvall, and that cheesy sitcom called The Charmings – yeah, I watched them.) So from the moment I saw the first commercial for Once Upon A Time I knew it was going to be perfect.

Every week I fell in love with the stories and characters. They have been my solace, my joy, my time away from life every Sunday. And as this amazing 6 year chapter ends and a brand new chapter begins in October with new cast members, I will hold dear these last years of going through the journey these characters have been on. I’m not heartbroken…but to me it feels like the end of high school and graduation. I know college will be exciting, but it will be a world of change. Some of my friends will stay and some will move away, just like Once. I will miss Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, Rebecca Mader, and Emilie deRavin completely, but I am so ecstatic Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, and my all-time favorite Colin O’Donoghue will be staying to continue the story.

Thank you Once Upon A Time for your stories, your message of hope, and all the beautiful friends I’ve met along the way. This show will be with me forever.

I cannot wait to see what the new chapter brings!

PS If you Once creators ever want to hire me on as a writer, I’m always available! 😉

The Scroll: A Once Upon a Time Fanfiction

His little chest sat on the floor of his closet for weeks now. Weeks, meaning twelve…three months since he brought the weathered thing into Emma’s –correction his—err their house. To say Killian was still getting used to living without the sea under his feet was an understatement. And it’s not to say that he hadn’t lived on land before, he had, but not without knowing that his permanent and rightful home was the Jolly Roger. Now, it was not. She was his vessel for travel and that was all. This was his home.

A creak of the floorboard announced Emma’s arrival to the bedroom. Killian lifted his head. She came bearing coffee, handing him the steaming mug as she sat next to him at the foot of the bed.

“Are you just going to stare at that thing or finally open it?” she asked, nudging him.

Killian gave a one note chuckle. “I don’t know.”

“And I thought I was the stubborn one. What’s going on, Killian? Don’t you like it here?”

She was on his right. He took her hand in his and kissed the back of it. “Of course I like it here, love. But one thing you don’t know about this trunk is that it has never been off the Jolly Roger. I’ve never opened it other than aboard my ship. It belonged there.”

“And it doesn’t belong here?”

He lifted a shoulder. “It wants to, but along with opening it comes a sense of permanence.”

“Ahh. I know exactly what you mean. And I get it. You should’ve seen how many boxes I had before I moved here all those years ago,” Emma said, sipping her coffee, then setting it down on the nightstand.

Instead of returning to where she was sitting, she stood before Killian, gathering his hand and hook. “I had clothes, some books, tons of shoes…” she giggled. “But that was it. No photographs, no scrapbooks, no keepsakes…nothing personal. And those boxes littered my mom’s loft for a week before she made me unpack. You’ve got to do the same, Killian. I dreaded it too, but this isn’t some random house you’re living in. It’s one full of love and hope for our future. It may not have the ability to float, but it does have a cave system running underneath.”

Her green eyes twinkled as she spoke the last sentence, and Killian pulled her to him, kissing her before rising off the bed. “You’re right. Would you like to help me?”

“I thought you’d never ask.” She beamed up at him. Barefoot, she was shorter than he was more than any other time, making him feel like a giant and protective of her despite the fact she was an adult woman who could, quite honestly, take care of herself better than he ever could.

Kneeling together, Killian lifted the lid and began setting the few items inside upon the dresser, on the nightstands, or tucked into drawers if need be. Like magic, with each piece removed he felt the sense of dread leave his soul.

At the bottom, only one thing remained: a leather pouch. It was his brother’s, Liam’s…his older brother Liam’s. Killian took an extra second holding it, picturing the way Liam would carry this ratty trinket holder everywhere he went. He’d had it since he was a child. After he died, Killian had stuffed it away and never picked it up again. Placing it atop the shelf in the closet would be only the second home it had since being in Killian’s possession.

“Is that an L on the flap?” Emma asked. “Was that Liam’s?”

“Aye. Our father gave it to him when he was young. Liam carried it always.”

“What’s inside?”

Killian shook his head. “To tell the truth, I don’t know. I’ve never rummaged through.”

“Are you going to now?” she asked. Soft, serene eyes gazed at him, waiting for an answer.

“Why not.” Killian handed it to her. “Would you do the honors?”

“Me?” Emma was taken aback.

“Aye. Please.”

Taking it, she opened the flap and pulled out several things a child would own: a rock, a dried starfish, a bit of string, a toy wooden knight, and oddly enough a scrolled piece of parchment tied with a ribbon. The last she held up to examine. “There’s something written on it,” she said unrolling the centuries old paper. “Brennan sailed the seas as a cabin boy…” she read. “Brennan? That was your father’s name.”

“Aye, it was.” Confusion took over Killian, reading ahead over Emma’s shoulder.

“Killian, do you know what this is? It’s his story. No other paper or ink could survive this long and not be from the author. Do you know his story?” Emma was already on her feet, excited to uncover what was written on the page.

“No, I don’t. I never cared to. Hell, I still don’t. He doesn’t deserve to have his story told.” Nothing would ever heal the bitterness he held for his scoundrel father who’d abandoned him on the high seas to a life of servitude.

“How about your mother? Do you know about her? Reading ahead, it seems to be their love story.”

“She left us too. That’s all our father ever said.”

Emma  flipped over the page. Her jaw dropped, scanning the story further. “Killian… you need to read this.”

“Emm—” he began to protest.

Grabbing his hand, Emma hauled him down the stairs. “Nope, we’re going to read this. Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

She paused only to slip on a jacket and handed him his in the process. “We’re going to pick up lunch and read this. You can’t hold on to bitterness all your life. I won’t let you. New house, new life, new rules. We’re reading it.”

After a quick stop at Granny’s, Emma drove Killian to the Storybrooke Park and flung out a blanket from the back seat of that death trap she called a vehicle. “Sit,” she said patting the space next to her.

Killian sat looking out the tranquil reservoir, the lapping waters calmed his uneasy spirit.

“I would’ve taken you to the docks, but I thought a nice picnic on the water here would be better,” Emma said. “More private.”

He smiled. “Thank you.”

Clearing her throat Emma unrolled the scroll and nestled herself comfortably in place.  “Once upon a time…”

                Centuries ago…

               

                Brennan sailed the seas a cabin boy, performing all sorts of tasks for his father and his crew. They called themselves merchants, but Brennan knew better. They were pirates. He hated pirates; despised those rotten creatures. Always smelling of alcohol and decaying fish, Brennan stayed away from them as much as possible, preferring to read alone in his room.

As the years went on and he reached manhood, Brennan grew tired of always living amongst men. His heart grew, longing for someone to love…a woman. But he hadn’t met one in all his life. His mother died of some kind of flux during one of his earliest sails and from then on women had only been mentioned in tales or seen in port when the ship docked for supplies. Those women were not what he’d expected from the many stories he’d read. No, they were dirty, hard-worked, and too eager to please a man.

The image he had in his head of the perfect woman drifted through his mind as he sat above deck staring out at the waters below. She’d be beautiful, lovely, bright as the sun that rose in the east. Her heart would be kind and true. He filled his lungs with the warm ocean air wishing for such a maiden somewhere amongst hills of green they sailed along.

“Oy! Brennan!” his father called. “You wastin’ your days away again? Meanwhile me crew is ‘ere workin’ like scurvy dogs. Get off your arse and get to work!”

Brennan could only look to the sky and put his dreaming aside. It was time to go to work.

At night they docked. The crew and his father took to the nearest tavern for a night of drinking and debauchery. If there were ever a chance to disappear, now would be the time. And so he did. Stealing a horse, he galloped as far away from the docks as he fast as the animal could run. He urged the mare into the woods, deep in canopy cover until the smell of the ocean was taken over by moss, and leaves, and dirt. And when the old girl had had enough, he stopped and made camp. He was finally free.

Morning came and Brennan wandered the forest for hours in search of food and water. He found not but a few berries and some nuts, eating them without satisfying the empty pit in his belly. He needed more. Perhaps a shelter or a small village would pop up soon, he thought and continued to walk with the horse by his side.

As he’d wish, the forest opened to a field. A great castle stood before him. Finally, he was saved. Yet as he edged closer he saw the castle was set on a small island in the middle of a lake. Brennan could see that a drawbridge could be lowered to cross the water and gain access into the castle. He called and called for someone to drop the plank, but not one of his cries were heard. The castle couldn’t be empty, he thought, it was massive. Hundreds must live on the other side of the wall. Someone was bound to come out sooner or later.

Busying himself with giving the horse water and brushing its mane, he waited what seemed like forever for someone to come along. No one did. Not one single soul. He sank into the grass, lying his head back amongst the yellow and purple flowers, and staring at the sun crossing the sky. Before he knew it, a song drifted on the wind. Brennan sat up, seeing a beautiful woman emerge from the forest. Her hair was long and golden, flowing down her back like the cascading falls he’d seen in his travels. As she neared, she glanced at him smiling; two blue eyes twinkled in his direction. “Hello,” she said. “Are you lost?”

Brennan bowed. “I am, my fair maiden. I came from the forest via the docks two days ride from here. I have been calling for someone inside to open the gate, but no one’s heard me.”

She giggled in a girlish, spritely way he’d never heard before, reminding him of the dolphins that played along the bow of a ship. “That’s because no one lives here but me. Come, I will take you in. I’m sure you’re in need of a good meal and a proper roof over your head.”

“Thank you, I would. I’m Brennan Jones, former sailor.” He kissed the back of her hand like he’d read gentleman do in storybooks.

“Ondine is my name. I’m delighted to meet you, Brennan.”

Walking to the edge of the lake, Ondine stepped on a stone half buried in the earth. A cranking sound filled his ears, and Brennan watched as the drawbridge was lowered. What kind of magic was this, he wondered, but not for long as Ondine reached for his hand and led him inside. Together they crossed the courtyard and stabled the horse before closing the bridge behind them. They then continued inside the foreboding stone fortress she called home.

“Here,” she said entering a large hall draped in tapestries and adorned with tassels. A heavy table made of fine scrolled oak stood in the center surrounded by twelve chairs. “Wait for me here, and I’ll make you a fine meal.”

“You’ll make it? Do you not have servants? Surely, a woman who lives in a castle as grand as this has maids, cooks, and other staff to assist?”

“I do not. It is only I who resides here, and that’s the way I like it. Now please, sit, dear Brennan and I’ll feed you a supper lavish enough for a king.” With that, Ondine left the room.

A short time later she returned with a beautiful roast, cakes, and many other delicious things. She set the table and invited him to help himself. He did not need to be asked a second time.

After they’d eaten, they sat together in front of a warm fire and goblets of wine between them, talking as if they’d known each other a lifetime rather than a few passing hours. Brennan sensed Ondine was lonely, like he was, hoping to find solace in the arms of a true love. “Do you believe in the Fates?” he asked.

“The Fates?”

“Yes, three deity sisters who have the ability to control two souls, entwining them together for a lifetime?”

Ondine shifted her gaze, hiding a coy smile from him. “And you believe these Fates have brought us together?”

Brennan inched closer, eliminating the gap between them. “I do.” He brushed a finger along her porcelain cheek, so fair and soft he felt as if he were touching a feather.

“Even though we have not met each other before?”

“Aye.” He could not tear his sight from her sapphire eyes, even if he was told he would die if he didn’t. “The Fates know how to bring lost souls together.”

“Then the Fates are very powerful,” Ondine whispered, leaning into him.

“That they are,” Brennan replied and pressed his lips to hers, rosy and full.

One day at the castle led to two; and two days led to a week; a week became a month until Brennan asked Ondine to marry him and live together as husband and wife. She agreed, but with one condition, he must promise to let her go every Friday and never ask questions about what she was doing or ever follow her.

As odd as the request was, Brennan agreed, promising her freedom and privacy every Friday until the end of their life together. And for five years he kept his promise. Then one day, as Brennan played with their sons, four-year-old Liam and eight-month-old Killian, a voice could be heard shouting from the field.

Startled and curious, Brennan gathered the baby and ran with Liam to the drawbridge, lowering it for the stranger outside. When the man crossed, joining them in the courtyard, he introduced himself as Sir William Perrault saying he’d come to see his daughter.

In the five years Brennan and Ondine had been married, not once had she mentioned having any parents. He’d assumed all these years they’d been dead, and she left orphaned, forced to live alone. He stood aghast. “I’m sorry. I was not aware my wife had a father.”

“We all have fathers. Now where is my daughter?” the older man said sternly.

“It’s Friday,” young Liam said. “Mother goes away on Friday.”

Sir William cast a glare toward Brennan. “And you allow this? Allow your wife to galivant about alone? Where does she go?”

“I know not. She goes where she wants.”

“Ha! What kind of man are you? What kind of man not only let’s his wife out of his sight, but does not know where she’s gone? Are you not angered? Are you not curious? Nothing good can come from a life like this.”

His father-in-law’s insolence was too much to bear.  “I’m the man I want to be, and that is a husband to my wife. Now, be gone with you.”

“No.” Sir William stood his ground. “I have come for my daughter and I will have her. She needs to be with her family.”

He tried pushing past Brennan, but Brennan held him back with a firm palm against his chest. Sir William glared at the forceful hand holding him back. “No,” Brennan bellowed. “We’re her family.”

“Get your hand off me.”

Killian cried at the harsh grumble that bellowed from his grandfather.

Bouncing the boy, Brennan quieted him before handing him to Liam. “Find mum. Go, and take care of Killian.”

Liam did as he was told, running away into the castle.

“Come back here, child!” Sir William started after Liam. Brennan yanked the man to a stay, only to be met with a right fist to the jaw.

After all his years aboard ships and amongst rowdy men, Brennan knew how to fight and threw a punch into the man’s gut. William doubled over, gagging at the sharp quick pain. Taking the stunned moment, Brennan landed a swift kick to his head, sending his knighted father-in-law to the cobblestone unconscious.

Not wasting the moment, Brennan ran after his son. “Liam,” he yelled.

“Here, father,” a small voice came from the lower stairwell.

Brennan embraced the boy the second he found him. “Did you find mum?” he then asked.

Liam shook his head. “No. I did hear a noise though. Down there.” He pointed down the wooden stairs.

“Good lad,” Brennan patted his head. “Let’s take a look, shall we?”

Liam nodded, fear glistened in his eyes that so mirrored his mother’s. “It’ll be all right, son. Hold on to your brother tight.”

Together they descended the stairs to the lowest part of the castle. Like Liam said, there were noises coming from behind the closed door. Splashes, as if someone was bathing or swimming, to be more exact. Opening the door, the sight that greeted him was like no other. There, in a steaming spring swam his wife with a green flowing fin instead of legs. Brennan’s jaw fell slack, shocked.

Ondine swam to the surface with a screech. “Brennan! I told you never to search for me on Fridays…never to follow me.”

“I’m… I’m…sorry. I had to. Your father, he… he…” Quizzical words came jumbled from his mouth.

“Mother, that man means to harm you,” Liam warned for him.

Ondine’s eyes filled with terror, widening at Liam’s statement. “Brennan, what is he’s talking about?”

Taking a deep breath, and ignoring for the moment that his wife was half fish, he answered her. “Your father has come. He means to take you home.”

Reaching out of the water, Ondine held out her arms for the baby, cradling him to her wet body as he cried. “His kingdom is not my home. This is. And if he’s found us, then we must leave.”

Brennan shook his head. The man upstairs, prone on his floor, had introduced himself as sir, which would indicate a knighthood, yet Ondine said his kingdom. “He’s a king?”

“Yes, and a ruthless one. He cursed me this way with his knowledge of dark magic, because I would not marry the prince of a kingdom he wanted to conquer. I ran away from him and found this abandoned castle, taking it as my own. But still, every Friday, just like the day I was cursed, I’m a slave to the water. If he’s already done this to me, who knows what he might do if he finds me—us now?”

From the floor above, shouting could be heard for Ondine. It echoed through the empty halls, travelling through the castle. Footfalls started down the stairs they’d descended mere minutes ago. Brennan knew not what to do.

He knelt beside the water, kissing his wife. “I will not let him have you. You must get away.”

“How? My fin. I’m trapped in the water until midnight.”

Suddenly, Brennan remembered something an old man he’d assisted once on the docks of a town named Misthaven told him. If ever you find yourself in trouble, use this key and it will take you away from your problems. Then the man pressed a key attached to a thin leather strip into his hand. Brennan thought the man was senile, but took the key as payment since it seemed to be made of some precious metal. He’d wore the old thing around his neck and yanked it off, handing it to Ondine. “Here. This is how we can get away. It unlocks any door to another realm. Think of water and it shall appear. That’s how portals work.”

“Without you?”

Brennan kissed her, breathing in her essence deep. “We’ll be right behind you. But you go first. We’ll keep your father away.”

Lifting his wife from the water, heavy tail, baby Killian, and all, he rushed her to the door for dry storage at the end of the hall.

“Wait! Stop,” Ondine cried. “Liam, come son.”

Liam ran up behind them, and Brennan knelt as Ondine handed him his little brother. “Hold him. Keep him safe, always,” she said, and kissed the little boy. “I love you.”

“Love you too, mama,” Liam said, wrapping chubby arms around her neck.”

“Stand back, son.” Brennan stood and Ondine opened the door with the mystical key.

A swirling vortex of purple, blue, green, and pink appeared instead of the solid wood that once stood in its place. “I’m frightened, Brennan.”

Pressing his lips to hers, he parted saying the only thing he remembered his mother saying to him as a child. “Look inside. We’re all braver than we think, if we just look deep enough.”

Ondine nodded, holding back falling tears. “I love you.”

“And I love you.”

Pounding on the cellar door startled their farewell, breaking them apart. Liam screamed. Killian shrieked. “Go,” Brennan urged and Ondine leapt from his arms into the unknown aura of magic.

She disappeared and William lunged through the opposite door with a great yell. “No!!!”

With both hands he shoved Brennan to the ground. “You stupid fool! Do you know what you’ve done? My kingdom. My reign!”

One after another the king threw punches into his face, neck, chest…whatever he could touch, he hit with the force of a cannon ball being shot. Brennan had to protect himself and his wailing sons, and reached the sash at his waist. Inside he had a dagger tucked and thrust it deep into the gut of the vicious king. He repeated the strike over and over until finally blood bubbled from the king’s mouth, spilling upon him.  William grunted and growled, and knotted both hands above his head, ready to slam down a doubled-fisted blow into Brennan breastbone.

Thinking quick, Brennan did the same and sank the knife directly into the heart of the king with a great yell. William was dead. The body of the old man fell to the side, finally allowing Brennan to be.

“Father!” Liam cried.

Brennan crawled to him, collecting both boys in his arms. “Hush now. Gather all you have, for now we must leave. Your father has murdered a king.”

The child ran, leaving Killian in Brennan’s arms, and when he returned Brennan opened the storage door hoping to see the same swirling portal on the other side. But there was nothing. The magic gone, leaving a dirt floor, and shelving stocked with gourds, onions, and potatoes.

“What?” he said to himself. “This can’t be. No!”

He had to find her, and hitched the wagon, securing the children inside. He head toward the ocean. Once there, the king’s army surrounded the port, searching for their leader. Brennan looked down at his linen shirt stained with royal blood. If he were caught, he’d be killed. No, that was not going to happen. He had to be free. He had to find Ondine, she was the one who he loved, even more than the children she bore for him.  Without her, they wouldn’t even exist. He needed her, and silently brought the boys on board one of the ships; the soldiers unaware of their presence. He’d sail the seven seas, and every realm to find her, even if it meant hiding from the soldiers the rest of his life…he would find her.

Present day

Dropping the scroll to her lap, Emma shook her head. “Killian, I’m so sorry.”

Giving her a tight smile, Killian pulled her over to kiss her forehead. “It’s all right. It happened a long time ago. Funny, I always thought father was a thief, not a murderer.”

“Who told you that?”

“The man my father sold Liam and I to. Apparently, my father lied to save his own arse. Doesn’t surprise me.”

Emma’s brows knitted together in the middle. “You’re only focusing on your father, but what about your mother? Killy she could be here.”

“In Storybrooke, are you daft?” Surely she was if that’s what she thought.

“No, think about it. Your father gave her a key to unlock a door, sending her to another realm. Beans take you to where you’re thinking, but keys take you to the…”

He was following. “…to the Land of Untold Stories.”

“Right, and time is frozen there. Everyone who’s come through is exactly the same as they were the last day they were seen in their original realm. If that’s where she went, then there is a possibility she could be right here after all those years.”

Killian understood Emma’s need to be hopeful. It was in her blood. But he was always skeptical and despite seeing hope flourish in this town, he still couldn’t grab hold of it. This was his mother, a woman he’d wanted to know since he was a child. Father never spoke of her. Liam was too young to know her. Yet still, Killian dreamt of the woman who gave birth to him, but she never had a face. More than anything he’d love to meet her.

Lifting Emma’s hand, he kissed the back of it. “Perhaps. But I don’t want to think of that. Too painful after all these years. Come now, let’s go home. It’s Friday and I don’t want to spend it wallowing out in the cold. I want to spend it with the family I do have… you and Henry.”

“I’d like that too,” Emma said with a smile, then stood and kissed him, weaving her fingers through the back of his hair.

Returning to the yellow bug, Killian heard a splash behind him. Whipping around, he caught only the flurrying tips of a green fin diving under the surface of the placid water. Cocking his head to the side, he wondered… Nah, he was dreaming… or perhaps Emma’s sense of hope was getting to him after all. Either way, he followed his love to the car, and together they drove to their home.

Twenty Super Years Ago

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE Superman fan. I have been since I was a little girl. And today is a very special day in my Super-history. Today is the day 20 short years ago that I met Superman himself.

Now I’ve met celebrities before. I have tons of stories… some funny, some creepy, but none as extraordinary as the day I met Dean Cain on the wintery streets of New York City, November 22, 1996. Everything we did that day ended in disaster, and yet for some reason we were still guided through the day like a game of Sims to meet Superman.

Dean was scheduled to be on the Rosie O’Donnell show in New York City at 9am. NYC was a 2-hour plus drive for us, and the NBC studios suggested getting there early. So at 3:30 in the morning we were woken up by my mom blaring – and I mean blaring- the John Williams’ Superman theme song. I’ve never woken up at that time that excited before. By 4:30 we – my four sisters, Kelli, Kristin, Aimee, and MaCai- and my good friend Cindy, were piled into the family van and headed toward New York from Connecticut. We didn’t get far though, because our van broke down.

My father was persistent and we were all determined to get there though, so he brought the broken van home and we switched to his Ford Taurus, a 5 seater car for 8 people. Hey, we were rebels. It was tight, but we made it…a little late, but we were there.

Now came the awful part. We were in line, where it was first come first serve, for seating in the studio. All of eight of us rotated in and out of the spot, fairly close to the front for the next two hours. I didn’t switch too much, because I was too geared up to see the show. I probably only left to go to the bathroom, whereas the others would come and go for food or the gift shops in 30 Rockefeller Center. So when the studio people came by to pass out tickets this b***h behind us started making a stink about how we didn’t deserve tickets because we were always rotating, and she couldn’t leave even once to pee. We were like big deal. You could have left and someone would’ve nicely saved your spot. The people weren’t that mean, but this chick just made such a ruckus that I started yelling and shouting at her (emotions were really high) and eventually it was too much that I said, “That’s it. I don’t want to see Dean like this. I’ll constantly have a bad taste in mouth about the day.” And we left.

Outside Rockefeller Center I collapsed on the stairs, mind you right across the street from where the whole Kennedy family (Teddy and John Jr. included) were walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a service over John Kennedy’s death anniversary, crying my eyes out. I was so incredibly upset, because seeing Dean was something I was so close to and it was ripped from me by a nasty woman.  My mom hugged me and gave me the quintessential mom speech of how things happen for a reason and only God knows the reason.

As silly as it seemed, she still prayed with me on the steps that if it was in His will that God would see the desires of my heart and open the doors that needed to be opened.  I remember doubting her words and maybe even scoffing at the thought that God doesn’t care if I meet a celebrity or not. But the hour wasn’t up yet…

We walked the New York streets for a little while until it started to flurry and get rather windy and cold, and we decided it was best to go home. So we smooshed ourselves into the Taurus and maneuvered through NYC traffic, even switching off Fifth Avenue to Madison because Fifth was gridlocked. We were almost to the end of the street, when at a red light my sister Kristin said, “Eryn look, it’s Dean!”

Kristin, God love her, was a tease and I think I told her to quit it. But she turned my head to the window and said, “NO, LOOK… it’s Dean!” And sure enough, IT WAS!

Everyone started yelling, “GO!!” and my sisters pushed me out of the car, right in the middle of the road.

I ran out and stood across the street from Dean taking luggage out of his limousine and signing autographs to the few fans that were outside. I called out his name and he looked up and waved. I squealed to myself and without thinking ran across the street, nearly getting hit by a car. I remember seeing Dean’s face just drop as he said, “Careful!”

I was an idiot, I hadn’t even looked before running. But hey, I made it and in just a few more feet I was right in front of the man I’d been infatuated with for the last three years on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanNow, I know people always say when they meet people outside of film, ‘oh they are so much better looking up close,’ but wow – it was the truth. If any of you thought Dean was gorgeous on television, it’s a different story up close… he’s exquisite!!! Black hair, tan skin, tall, muscular!! oh my gosh, and his eyes… gorgeous almond shaped with sienna brown irises, accented with flecks of gold. I’m not kidding, he is beautiful!

Now, that 20 years have gone by I don’t remember everything he said or I said, but I remember little flashes. I know I asked for a picture and he said sure, but no one else was around at that point. The fans had left, he’d sent his assistant inside the hotel to check in, and my family hadn’t showed up yet. This was before selfies, too, so I had no idea how this was going to work, and I was so nervous and shaky. Luckily, I felt a had on my shoulder and my sister was there saying she’d take my picture.

I ran right to Dean and latched arms around his freakin’ tiny waist. I remember hearing his laughter and seeing his big smile so genuinely happy he was making me happy. It was funny too, because as I was hugging him, I remembered his muscles and leaned my cheek against his chest feeling those oh-so-firm pectorals, then thinking, ‘oh my gosh, I’ve died and gone to Heaven.’ In fact, my picture with him is the face I was making when I leaned in.

eryn-and-dean

My sister Kristin went next, then Kelli, with each of them taking the pictures for each other.

By that point, my mother and my littler sisters  (Aimee was 5, MaCai was 6) came running up behind us. Aimee was yelling out, “Superman! Superman!” and Dean turned around and I heard him aww out loud at her cuteness.

Mom, on the other hand, was embarrassing – as mothers often are- she was saying, “I can’t believe we found you!” and picked up sister Aimee and literally threw her – yes threw her – into his arms. He caught her with a thud, her back to his chest. Thank God he was a football player!

He then knelt and lopped his other arm around MaCai. I don’t know how it happened but I had the camera. I was shaking like a leaf! I was also holding my gloves in one hand. Dean did notice that the gloves were covering the lens and said, “Hon? Hey honey, the gloves are in front of the lens.”

 

I was more enthralled that he’d called me honey, then sighed and realized what he was saying, and tossed to them ground. He laughed at me and I took the picture.

am-and-dean

 

The cool thing about this day was that it wasn’t an end, but a beginning. Like my mom had said on the steps of Rockefeller Center, God knows the desires in my heart. My desire wasn’t just to meet Dean, but to have a writing career, to meet the man of my dreams who would become my husband, and yeah to always have a Superman in my life.

Because of Dean and this day, I took my love of writing and apply to my love of history to become a historical fiction writer and researcher for other my books. When I wasn’t sure of where to go after college, I chose California because I loved it so much after visiting Warner Brothers Studio (where Lois and Clark was filmed). Because I moved to California, I met my husband, got married, and had a beautiful baby boy. And after meeting Dean again a few years ago, it has opened up far more writing doors than I could’ve ever hoped for. And lastly, the friends I’ve met, because of this man, have been life-long, deep connections I hope never to lose.

So Dean, if you are reading this, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for opening so many doors. THANK YOU for the last twenty years. And THANK YOU for always being MY Superman.

dc-supes