Except: An Enchanted Easter


Damien had Riley drop him off about a block away from the Bellwether manor. 

“What’s the point of trying to hide when you called ahead to say you were coming?” Riley asked.

“It’s not to hide, I just want to walk to the house before I knock. It will help me clear my head.”

Damien was hoping that the walk would give him time to calm down and gather his courage. It seemed like all it did was give him time to feed his fears and get more and more nervous. By the time he reached the manor, he wasn’t sure he could go through with it. The last time he had been here, he had stolen $2000 from his mother’s jewelry box, along with her jewelry... and then he had stolen his parents’ truck. Within three months of leaving the house, he had crashed the truck and run through the money.

And the last time he had seen them before that was when he had to explain what he had done to Evangeline. The disappointment on their faces, the horror and recrimination had been too much for him. That was why he had decided he had to leave town. His guilt had made him want to lash out at them too. Maybe that was why he chose to leave town by robbing them. Of course, at the time he had told himself he had no choice. He’d tried to justify his decision that he needed the ride, he needed the money. In his mind, he had told himself that he would return everything.

For three years he had stayed away, telling himself that he couldn’t return until he had all the money that he needed to pay them back. But it finally hit him that he was never going to have enough money to pay for the pick-up truck and the jewels he had stolen. He was never going to be good enough to deserve forgiveness.

But that wasn’t why he was here. He wasn’t here to be forgiven. He was here to apologize. He’d finally come to see that there was a big difference. Apologizing was his responsibility, but he couldn’t do it tit for tat, only in the expectation that he would get something in return. That wasn’t a real apology at all.

He drew in a deep breath and tried to give this moment over to the Light. I know you’re always shining even when I can’t see you, he prayed quietly. Please help me do the right thing.

Damien knocked on the door of the house where he had grown up.

His mother and his father both answered the door. They stood there as if they wanted to block his view of what was inside. His heart sank when he saw the stony expressions on their faces.

Damien’s mouth worked, but his tongue felt like gum stuck to the roof of his mouth. He had practiced this moment over and over in his head, but now that he was here, he couldn’t find the words to say he was sorry. 

“Damien,” his father said gravely. “We sure didn’t expect to hear from you again.”

“You haven’t called us or written to us in three years,” his mother said.

“I know,” he said.

“Well,” said his father in that same strange, serious voice. “Don’t just stand there, boy. Come inside.”

As Damien stepped in, his mother flipped on the lights. What seemed like a million people (probably two dozen) jumped out from behind the furniture shouting: “SUPRISE!”

Two of his cousins unfurled a huge banner that said: “WELCOME HOME, DAMIEN!”

His mother and his father both broke into huge grins. It was like they had just pulled off the best April Fool’s day prank, a couple days late. Then his mother folded him into a big hug and his father embraced both of them. Both of his parents were crying, saying over and over, “Welcome back, son. We are so glad to see you. We missed you. We love you so much!”

“I wasn’t sure you would even want to see me,” Damien choked.

Tears streamed down his mother’s face as she squeezed him tight. “Oh baby, we miss you so much, of course we want to see you. We love you.”

They brought him to the head of the table where they had saved the chair at the end, the place of honor for him. His whole family was there, as well as a dozen human friends... 

But he only had eyes for one. He locked his gaze on her instantly.

Evangeline was here.

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