Accidental Surrogate

Chapter 301: Old Friends Home Again


The morning of the moon ceremony finds me, unsurprisingly, in the kitchen. Eating.

Rafe is with me this time, giggling happily as I dance happily around the room with him, singing about
how delicious carrots are as I pour some baby carrots out from their bag onto a plate and begin to
munch on them..

I’m just getting to the part of the song – which I’m making up as I go along about how they’re good for
your vision and help you make friends with rabbits when I hear an odd, familiar sound out in the hall.

I gasp, spinning towards the door as the mechanical hum grows louder, and I’m nearly run over when
Henry wheels into the room.

“Henry!” I gasp, tears instantly lining my eyes, stumbling in my hurry to hug him close, almost falling
into his lap.

“Steady, girl!” Henry laughs, putting out his hands to catch me and help me find my feet, laughing a
little. He beams up at me and I’m laughing too, shaking my head at myself as I lean down to give him a
proper hug and then a kiss on both cheeks.

“We missed you so much!” I gush, my heart in my throat as I pull away. “I’m so glad you’re home and in
time! A miracle!”

“Certainly took some doing,” he says, raising his eyebrows at me. “I rode in a cargo plane to get here –
this little man had better impress.” He shifts his gaze, then, to the baby in my arms.

“Oh!” I say, standing up straight and remembering my manners. “Henry, may I please have the
pleasure of introducing you to your grandchild?”

“Nothing would give me more joy,” he replies, his own eyes wet now.

I lean down to place Rafe in his grandfather’s arms for the first time, trying hard no to be overwhelmed
by the beauty of the moment. “This is Rafe Henry Sinclair,” I say quietly, watching his face.

“Rafe Henry,” Henry says, looking up at me, touched, and then down at the baby. “He’s a beauty, Ella.
Wonderful.” He shakes his head, staring at my son. Though I’m overwhelmed by the moment, part of
me reflects that I’m glad Henry met Rafe while the baby is in a good mood. He still spends most of his
time crying.

I hear footsteps on the stairs and look towards the door, smiling when I see Sinclair hurry through

1. it.

“Dad!” he booms, a huge smile on his face. I step back as Henry turns his chair, raising one arm
towards his son, the baby still held in the other. Sinclair bends down low to give his father a long, warm
hug and I bite my lip to see it. Sinclair never admitted it, but he worried about his father, and missed
him. He’s glad, I know, to have him back home, nearby.

The two release each other and the kitchen is filled with happy noise for the next few minutes as we all
buzz around each other, trying to do nice things for each other and make sure everyone’s


comfortable. I laugh after a minute, raising my hands and calling for silence.

“Okay!” I declare. “You two “I say, pointing between Henry and Sinclair, “go into the living room, take
the baby, and relax. I’ll bring in coffee in a moment. Then we’ll catch up. All right?”

The two of them nod and comply, heading out of the room. A few minutes later I follow them carrying a
silver tray heaped with coffee and food. My stomach rumbles as I look down at it all and I roll my eyes
at myself. How can I still be hungry?

“He really is wonderful, Ella,” Henry says fondly, looking down at his grandchild when I enter the


“Yes, I’m easily persuaded of that,” I say casually, putting the tray down on the coffee table and sitting
close next to Sinclair. “Would you like me to take him?”

“No,” Henry says quickly, looking up at me. “I mean if it’s all the same to you, I’ll hold him a little longer.”

I nod eagerly, touched deeply to see the bond forming between them already.

“He looks like you,” Henry says, smiling at my mate. “You, too, were a little bowling ball when you were
born. With the same shock of black hair.”

I bite my lip, pleased to hear these sorts of details that Sinclair wouldn’t know. “Do you have pictures?” I
ask, curious. Henry nods eagerly and promises to show them to me next time I’m over. We spend a
pleasant half hour catching up, with Henry telling us all about the harrows of his travel back to us, how
much he wanted to get here in time for the ceremony. He also catches us up on the lives of our friends
who we unfortunately had to left behind, and surprises us by telling us that Isabel, James, and Sadie
came along with him so that they, too, could attend.

“Really?” I gasp, excited.

“Oh no,” Henry says, looking between us. “It wasn’t a secret, was it?”

“Only until we knew for sure,” Sinclair says, smiling at me. “I didn’t want you to be disappointed if they
couldn’t make it.”

“It’s wonderful,” I say, my eyes filling with tears again at the thought of seeing my friends. “Thank you.”

Sinclair murmurs “of course” and kisses my hair, but I also see him glance at the door. He’s torn, I
know, between wanting to spend time with his dad and the duties I know are pressing on him to finish
up before the ceremony tonight.

“Go,” I say, giving him a nudge and a smile. “We’re perfectly all right here on our own.”

“Are you sure?” he asks, glancing at me first and then his father.

“Go!” His father says, waving his hand at his son. Then he smiles and pats the arm chair next to him.
“You come sit by me, Ella.”

Grinning, I do as he says as Sinclair heads out of the room, a mix of regret and relief on his face. He
wants to be here, I know but…well, heavy is the crown.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” I say, smiling widely at Henry.

“Well, it’s a very important event,” Henry says seriously, nodding to me. “I know that you didn’t


have a dedication, and that you haven’t been to one, but they are…they’re quite special, Ella. I wouldn’t
miss it for the world.”

“Good,” I murmur, smiling down at my son. “I want everyone here who loves him.”

“It feels like yesterday that Dominic and Roger were dedicated,” Henry muses, likewise looking at my
boy and shaking his head. “I can’t believe it’s already time for a new generation.”

“Do you remember it well?” I ask, hoping that he’ll tell me more about it.

“Oh yes,” Henry says, his eyes raised. “As well as the experience of being a godfather myself.”

“Godfather,” I consider, turning my head to the side. “Why not Goddessfather?”

He laughs a little, shrugging. “Who knows, Ella. Simplicity or misogyny, take your pick.” I laugh with
him, letting the question pass. He’s right – it doesn’t matter.

“So, you’re a godfather as well?” I prompt.

Henry nods sagely. “Yes. It’s very special – very intimate. When you’re in the forest alone with the child
you are…” he pauses, considering how to phrase it. “You’re treated to some insights into the child’s
spirit, their future. It’s quite unique. In exchange for the dedication, the goddess gives a… prophecy of

My eyes go wide and I look down at my little boy, fascinated. “Really?” I breathe. “We get to learn about
Rafe’s future tonight?”

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