This is part of the scene I worked on a lot of last week. It continues past this, but goes into novel spoilers. Leahna is the secondary main character in “Pursuit of Power.”
After everything that had happened, Leahna could only think of one thing—seeing her dad. She waited until the morning and then went to the house where she had grown up. There was a sign on the door that announced the house would be sold to the highest bidder on a future date. Leahna stared at the sign for a full minute, trying to process it. Her father was moving out of her childhood home.
She tried the door, but it was locked. She knocked, but there was no answer. Though it was a little early for him to be at work, she went to the Academy anyway. There an old friend of the family told her that her father hadn’t been in for months. Leahna asked if the man knew where her father might be, and she was told to try her brother’s house.
After thanking the man and leaving, Leahna felt like she was in some strange dream. Her family’s house was being sold, her father wasn’t working at the job he loved, and he was staying with Ronald? In that moment, the year she had been away felt like ten. It was as if she was returning from being away at war for a long time, finding everything she left behind gone or different.
She ‘ported directly outside her brother’s house in Jaffna. She had only been there a few times, so she felt awkward as she approached the front door. At least there was no sign on this one.
She knocked tentatively, unsure what she could expect to find behind the door. Ronald answered, laughing at something to which Leahna wasn’t privy. As soon as he saw his older sister, his smile froze and his eyes grew wide.
“Leahna!” he said with exuberance. “You’re…here. You’re back.”
“Yes, I suppose I am,” she said, unsure how he even knew she’d gone anywhere.
“Are you…okay? Is everything okay?” he asked uncertainly.
There was no easy answer to that. “Not…exac—”
Her father appeared behind Ronald. As soon as he saw his eldest daughter in the doorway, he pushed past his son and pulled Leahna into his arms. She didn’t know how to react and simply stood still until he stepped back.
Once she could see him better, she realized that this was not the dad she used to know. He looked ten years older, and yet somehow happier.
“Come on in, Leahna, please,” he said. He backed up, and Ronald did likewise. All three of them moved further into the house. Abner led the way to the living room, where a woman was seated. She stood up when she saw who was with Abner and Ronald.
Betany reacted similarly to Ronald, asking Leahna if she was all right.
“I’m well enough,” Leahna said. She was staring at Betany’s stomach, where there was a noticeable protuberance. She looked to her brother for an explanation.
He offered a pained smile and said, “Betany and I are married, and she is five months pregnant.”
“You are going to have a baby?” Leahna asked, looking between her brother and his wife with some confusion. It was wonderful news; she didn’t understand why everyone looked unhappy about it. Even her father wouldn’t look her in the eye. “That’s wonderful, Ronald!”
He raised his eyebrows and let out a relieved chuckle. “It is?”
“Of course it is! Why? Is there something else going on that I do not know about?”
“No, of course not,” Abner said, going to stand next to Betany. “We just didn’t know how you would feel about Ronald and Betany being married while you were gone.”
“I am sad that I missed it, but I…I suppose I did not expect that you would wait your ceremony until I returned. When I left, part of me thought none of you would ever want to see me again after what happened.”
Her father’s face darkened, and Ronald sighed.
“We were probably harsher with you than we should have been after she died.” Ronald glanced over at Betany and added, “We were definitely harsher than we should have been.”
“What about Noelle?” Leahna asked. “Does she still feel such anger toward me?”
“It is difficult to say,” Abner replied. “We don’t see her much these days either.”