The Gifted Realm: Academy - Volume 1

Chapter 48 - The Lady Returns

“Of course,” Dan huffed as the car carrying his family to the wedding pulled up to the Senate. His mother had insisted on pulling out all of the stops. All of the governing families had been driven to the ceremony via limousines. And the press was out in full force. They were already screaming Fionna’s name.

“I don’t like it when they same my name over and over and over again,” Aida sighed.

“Me either, baby girl.” Dan glared out of the tinted windows and tried to determine how to get all of his girls inside the Senate ballroom without being harassed by every Gifted news station in four-hundred-mile radius of D.C.

“This is what your mom wanted,” Fionna whispered. “To show how strong the Vindico family is. Remember?”

“How could I forget? That’s been her M.O. since I was born.”

The limo just ahead of Dan and Fionna’s eased to a stop at the covered portico. Garrett Haydenshire climbed out and turned to offer his hand to Chloe Sawyer. Levi and Connor Haydenshire stepped out behind her. “Is Garrett back with Chloe?” Dan wondered aloud, still trying to come up with a way to get Aida and Fionna out of the fray.

“Garrett is always with Chloe, honey. He’s just also with about a dozen other women. They like it that way apparently.”

A grin slowly spread across Dan’s face when Garrett eased his Ray Ban’s down and narrowed his eyes as he stared at their limo. Dan slipped his phone from his pocket and sent Garrett a text as news anchors crowded around their limo having figured out who was arriving.

Fionna’s name echoed inside the car.

Garrett shoved his way through the swarm and opened one of the back doors.

“Uncle Garrett!” squealed Aida.

“Hey there, princess. Want to make a run for it with me and let Daddy help Mama out?”

Aida nodded with her entire body. Garrett leaned in, popped her seatbelt, and scooped her up into his arms. Having run from the press a few times before, Aida buried her face in Garrett neck like a pro. Dan and Fionna watched as he raced their baby inside the Senate.

Fionna couldn’t move fast enough, seven and a half months pregnant in heels, for them to make a quick getaway. Dan considered throwing her over his shoulder but she shook her head before he could even suggest it.

The questions came fast and furious.

“Fionna, care to comment on the Governor’s affair?”

“Fionna, will you be returning to the Angels after the baby is born?”

“Fionna, are you ready to comment on the father of your child?”

“Fionna, why did Garrett Haydenshire have your oldest daughter, Aida?”

“Is he Aida’s father as well?”

“Fionna, if the Governor is forced to give up his governorship, will Dan return to Iodex?”

“Fionna, have you given any thought to Dan working with known adulteress Katherine Bryant?”

"Dan, is it true Officer Tuttle and your sister are honeymooning at a hedonist resort?"

"Is that true, Dan?"

“Dan, your father hasn’t arrived yet. Is he coming?”

"Is he aware of Lindley's plans?"

“Good grief,” Fionna ducked her head under Dan’s arm and let him guide her towards the doors.

When another mass of reporters broke through the assembled barriers, Dan threw his shield around himself and his wife. The crowd parted like he was Moses to the Red Sea.

“That is so handy,” Fionna laughed as they made their way inside.

Garrett and Chloe were waiting on them inside. Aida was still in Garrett’s arms.

“Thanks for that, man,” Dan offered.

“When have I ever let you or my girls down?”

“Never.”

“Dam… uh darned straight.” Garrett cringed.

“Uncle Garrett you’re not supposed to say bad words. It’s not nice.”

“Sorry, Aida Mae.”

“When is Aunt Lindley going to put on her big white dress?” Aida asked. “Where is she?”

“They’re over near the ballroom getting ready, I think.” Chloe lovingly fixed one of the curls Fionna had put in Aida’s hair that morning. “Want me and Uncle Garrett to take you down there?”

“Yes, please.”

They all headed towards the Governor’s wing of the Senate but stopped short when a rush of people carrying press passes tried to get by the Iodex officers stationed nearby.

“This is a freaking circus,” Dan spat.

“You know, I thought the very same thing the first night you took me to eat at your parent’s house.” Her teeth sank into her bottom lip after Fionna made her confession. Heat bloomed across her features. “Sorry.” She wrinkled her adorable nose.

“You kidding me? I’ve been waiting for months for you to finally join me in the roadside ditch that is my opinion of my family.”

“I wouldn’t let Arthur hear you say that,” a woman Dan recognized but couldn’t quite place turned the corner.

Fionna stepped back. Dan put himself between the woman and his wife. Garrett turned Aida away from the woman and Chloe stepped to cover her.

“I’m sorry, do we know you?” Dan demanded.

“Suppose I should have worn red. I just thought that would have been a little crass and entirely too expected.”

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Want to go back to where it all began? Read 'Within the Realm', for free on Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

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