Hello, Mother

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With her Shieldmaiden sisters in New Jersey working on a secret mission; down in New Orleans, Eavan was having a normal day. Was.

April 30th
Hushåll Zdunich
New Orleans, LA

As Eavan was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch, her phone rang. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message, she thought to herself as she dried the dishes. Her phone was on the island behind her,and she knew if she didn’t finish the kitchen then and there, she’d forget about it, leaving it to Adriana to finish it. She’d done that often, and felt the wrath of the smallest of the three and the one Eavan feared most. Instead of the call going to voicemail as she lets most calls do, her phone rang again. As Eavan laid the cloth on the counter, she saw the name and number on her phone.

Wendy "Zombie" Pellegrini.

Eavan looked confused and had missed the second call before the phone rang for yet a third time. This time, a video call. Eavan answered, her confusion bordering on anger as Zombie is never that persistent.

Eavan: “Wendy? The hell’s going on?”
Zombie: “I think you’re going to want to sit down for this. And you’re going to need support.”

Before Eavan can say anything, Adriana enters the kitchen. Seeing the expression on Eavan’s face, she knew something was wrong.

Addy: “Everything ok?”
Eavan: “I… I don’t know.”
Zombie: “Is that Addy?”

Adriana peeks in beside Eavan and waves to the phone.

Addy: “I’m here, hey Wendy.”
Zombie: “Where’s Katra?”
Addy: ”She’s just finishing up some tracking downstairs. Why?”
Zombie: “Go get her, please. This is crazy enough and having to repeat it all…”

Adriana heads to the basement door as Eavan turns the phone back to herself.

Eavan: “Nobody’s dead, right? Like, you wouldn’t be dragging this along if something bad happened, right?”
Zombie: “There’s a lot to unpack, Eav, and unfortunately, you’re part of it by association.”
Eavan: “The fuck did I do?”

Adriana and Katra arrive in the kitchen and the three go to the living room.

Eavan: “Okay, gang’s all here. Spill.”

Zombie let out a big sigh.

Zombie: “You know about the mission we were doing up here, right?”
Eavan: “Yeah, Bullet filled me in. Did you find them?”

Zombie nods yes and then sighs again.

Zombie: “There were seven… one of them was Emileigh.”

Eavan drops the phone, her hands shaking as she starts hyperventilating. Adriana and Katra rush to help her.

Katra: “Who dat?”

Eavan holds up a finger as Adriana hands her the phone.

Eavan: “Is she…”
Zombie: “She’s alright. A bit malnourished and shell shocked but she’s okay. She’s being looked over by Gata and Lorrie at the House.”
Eavan: “How did you know?”
Zombie: “She’s a younger version of you, Eav.”

Adriana’s eyes widen as she starts piecing things together.

Addy: “You have a daughter?”

Katra takes Eavan by her shoulders and crouches down to look Eavan in the eyes.

Katra: “Why you never say?”
Eavan: “It happened a long time ago.”
Zombie: “Do you want her to call you? She knows who you are, and who she is. She’s got your temper. And she knows that we know you. Also, considering the circumstances, you would be considered next-of-kin. I’d even go so far as to bet that she’ll be calling you whether you want to talk to her or not.”

Eavan nods vigorously.

Eavan: “Of course I want her to call me. I just didn’t expect this.”
Zombie: “Be prepared for a verbal beating. I gotta know, though. What’s the story?”

Adriana goes off to get a glass of water for Eavan while Eavan is trying hard to keep her composure, though the shaking is still occurring.

Eavan: “I knew a guy in high school. He was a football player, big-guy-on-campus type. I was young and naive, got invited to a party. I vaguely remember making out with him, and woke up the next morning naked. Didn’t say anything about it, nobody would have believed me. Found out a few months later I was pregnant. Told a couple of my friends about the pregnancy but I didn’t know by who. I wasn’t certain enough to pinpoint anybody specific, but he found me. Demanded I get an abortion because a child would jeopardize his football career. Tried to hide it from Mom but she found out, and she wouldn’t let me go through it, and said she’d help me put it up for adoption. On my sixteenth birthday, I gave birth. Five pounds, eleven ounces she was. When Mom and I started the process of getting her adopted, I had to give her a name. I was a huge Evanescence fan, their second album came out a month prior and I was listening to it constantly so I named her Emileigh.”
Addy: “Amy Lee.”

Eavan chuckles lightly as she holds back tears.

Eavan: “Mom found the family to adopt her. Ryan found the football player and kicked the shit out of him. Jack was already gone when all this was going on, but we as a family were told never to speak about it, so I never did. I spent the next fourteen years living, but never forgot about her. The adoption records were sealed as far as I knew, so there was never any contact. Until today, I didn’t even know they kept her name. And hearing she was one of the ones you found… I need to know what happened up there.”
Zombie: “Madre’s been briefing Bullet.”
Eavan: “What does Dad know?”

Zombie shakes her head.

Zombie: “BW doesn’t get involved, Madre’s orders.”

Eavan manages to crack a smile at that.

Eavan: “Guess he and I aren’t that different. We both defer to our bosses. Listen, take care of her. If she calls, obviously I’ll answer. If she doesn’t, I won’t hold it against her. I’m just happy she’s okay.”
Zombie: “Alright. I’ll keep you posted on what’s going on.”

After the call ends, Eavan falls to the floor in a heap, bawling painfully. Adriana and Katra get her from the floor to the couch where Eavan curls up in a fetal position. Adriana sits on the arm of the couch as Katra sits beside her on the couch rubbing her back. Eavan looks at the two of them, shaking her head.

Eavan: “I’m… I’m sorry I never said anything. Honestly, I didn’t know how to.”
Katra: “Is okej, Evvy. What happen now, we work together, ja?”
Addy: “Exactly. You’re not alone in this. You’ve been our rock, we’re yours too. Whatever happens, we’re in this together. You got us.”

Eavan is suddenly squished in the middle of simultaneous hugs.

Eavan: “I love you both so much. I don’t know what to expect.”

—--------------------------

Later the same day…

Eavan had been clutching her phone since the call from Zombie weighing in her head if it was better if she got a call or not, when it rang, startling her. Seeing a New Jersey area code, Eavan froze for a second as Addy sat with her.

Eavan: “Hello?”
???: “Hello. Mother.”
Eavan: “Emileigh, hi, how are you doing? Fuck, I have so many questions…”
Emileigh: “I know, I expected as such. At the moment, I’m happy to be out. The things I had to do, I…”
Eavan: “I’ve heard. I called a friend to fill me in. We don’t have to talk about that if you don’t want to. I’m glad you’re ok…”
Emileigh: “Stop. Do you know how long I waited for this? Do you realize this isn’t the first time we’ve spoken?”
Eavan: “I would have recalled speaking to my daughter…”
Emileigh: “Maybe, but you also wouldn’t have known it was me.”
Eavan: “You have the name I gave you.”
Emileigh: “Not quite. I learned about the name back in 2019. My legal name is Elizabeth Baxter.”

Eavan slowly cocks her head like she’s trying to remember something.

Eavan: “Why does that name ring a bell?”
Emileigh: “I don’t know, why DOES that name ring a bell? Then again, I don’t suspect you’ll remember much. You were coked out of your head and you’d just left… shit, what was her name again? The rocker chick.”
Eavan: “Katra.”
Emileigh: “Right. Hang on, let’s make this a video call. I know exactly which face you’re making right now and I have to see it for myself.”

The screen flickers on and Eavan looks at a younger, brunette version of herself. The same intensity in her eyes that Eavan gets, and the girl smiles with the same smug smirk.

Emileigh: “There it is. You almost got it figured out. Come on, you can do this.”

Eavan shakes her head and Emileigh frowns.

Emileigh: “You were so close… oh, I didn’t know you’d have company. Wait, well look at you. Got your wife back, your life back in order and everything, and yet, no thought of me?”

Eavan is starting to get irritated.

Eavan: “I have thought about you every day for the last fourteen and a half years. I knew nothing about who adopted you. Nobody gave our family any photos or news or anything.”
Emileigh: “And yet, when you HAD a chance to, you fucked off. You STILL don’t remember, do you? November 2017, you were still in UWE. World Champion. The Steampunk Warrior. The voice of young girls, giving them hope and strength. Your agent set up a meet-and-greet, I wanted to meet my hero, and you blew me off. You did try to keep it together, you almost had 10-year-old me convinced. We spoke for all of a minute or two before you said you weren’t feeling well and ran off.”
Eavan: “I… I remember doing those meet-and-greets back then. I remember hearing about a girl I was to meet who was a mini-me. You were wearing handmade steampunk gear like I used to… We had the same birthday, holy shit.”

Emileigh smiles for the first time.

Emileigh: “You do remember. I also started telling you about my two mothers. My adoptive mother who was in hospital. You helped pay for her medical costs. She’s better, though my parents divorced. Dad fucked off to who knows where, Mom knew you were my birth mother and used your actions that day to poison my brain. When she got better, she got herself, and me in the process, into the trouble that brings us to present day.”
Eavan: “Where is she now?”
Emileigh: “Probably heading to prison. Prostituting your daughter is a felony, I would assume.”

Eavan nods, steeling herself for the next question. She can see Emileigh looking uncomfortable as well. Eavan flashed a look to Addy and Katra who both nodded, knowing what Eavan was about to offer.

Eavan: “You can come here. We’ll take care of you. I mean, if you want to.”

Addy and Katra appear next to Eavan with warm smiles, nodding their heads. Emileigh smiles back before wiping a tear from her face, taking some of her mascara with it.

Emileigh: “On one condition.”
Eavan: “Name it.”
Emileigh: “You help me start on getting my name changed. I don’t want to be Elizabeth Baxter anymore. I can’t, not after what’s happened.”
Eavan: “I can arrange that. Anything else?”
Emileigh: “Are you still using?”

This time it was Katra who answered, as she’s vigorously shaking her head no.

Katra: “I tell Evvy to come home. She clean? Long time.”

Addy nods her head before taking the phone to talk to Emileigh directly.

Addy: “It was one of the reasons we allowed her back. She’s been working really hard to be better. You’d be proud of her, and we’d be proud to have you here with us.”

Eavan steps back and puts her arms up, showing off her wives to her newly-found daughter before coming back to the phone.

Eavan: “This is what you’ll have to get used to. Addy here’s the boss. Katra’s the rock. I’m just the chick who gets beat up for money. We have the room for you, we can get you set up. Transfer you schools, whatever we need to do. I don’t want you up there by yourself.”
Emileigh: “You never did forget about me, did you?”
Eavan: “Never a day I didn’t worry, Emileigh. I had always hoped you’d find me. Not like this, but we can work with it.”
Emileigh: “One more thing, and don’t laugh.”
Eavan: “Anything.”
Emileigh: “I’ve never flown before. Can you come and get me on Monday? Miss Gata wants to keep monitoring me over the weekend.”

Eavan chuckles, her eyes welling up again.

Eavan: “We’ll be there. You’re in good hands up there. Breathe, relax, and let them help you. You’re safe now, ok?”

Emileigh nods her head.

Eavan: “Oh, I know you’re probably being watched by a bunch of biker chicks, but if you see an old bald guy with a goatee just kinda hanging back? That’s your grandfather. I’ll give him a call in a minute and let him know about you.”
Emileigh: “Thanks… Mom. Sorry for earlier.”
Eavan: “No need to apologize. I did the same thing to your grandfather when I found out about him last year. I love you, my sweet sweet girl.”
Emileigh: “You’re still my hero. I’ll see you on Monday. Shit, my phone’s abou…”

The call ended abruptly and Eavan lays to her side, resting her head on Katra’s leg. Addy leans over onto Eavan’s side.

Addy: “I guess we’re mothers now.”
Katra: “You think she like here?”
Eavan: “Considering the environment she’s leaving, this will be Disneyland. And I know she’ll love you guys. It won’t be an easy transition but we’ll be in this together.”
Addy: “You do realize I’m going to go shopping crazy, right?”
Eavan: “Just… we don’t want to overwhelm her. As scared as I look, I’m excited as well. I’m looking forward to meeting her and learning about her. My little girl ain’t so little.”

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