Whisper of Attraction(2)

By: Melanie Shawn

A loud buzz interrupted Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” as it played through the speaker. She grabbed her phone to see if it was Ryder. The life of a mom. Every call and text when her son wasn’t around had to be checked immediately, just in case.

It wasn’t him. It was her only other family member, at least that she was in contact with. Her mother.

Shea Daniels was the epitome of a free spirit. Brynn’s mom was a self-professed spiritual guide and intuitive. Until she’d retired and moved to Arizona three years ago, she’d owned and operated The Blue Unicorn. It was a small boutique that sold healing crystals, oils, incense, bohemian clothing—and where she gave readings.

Since Whisper Lake was a thriving tourist town known for its over-the-top festivals and a real-life “haunted” castle, her mom’s shop had done well. Brynn believed that most of the out-of-town patrons just saw the store as a novelty. Still, her mother took her “spiritual gifts” and the items that she sold very seriously.

The text simply read: Are you there?

Yes. Brynn was “there” but the last thing she wanted to do was talk to her mom right now. Partly because she had a nice, hot bath waiting for her and partly because she knew exactly what her mom wanted to talk about. Her father. The man that had never treated her as anything more than a dirty secret.

Growing up, her father had been more of a myth than a reality. Like Santa Claus. Or the Tooth Fairy. He would show up out of the blue and give her presents. He never stayed for more than a few hours and had only made an appearance a handful of times during her formative years.

For a good chunk of her childhood, Brynn thought that’s what all dads were like. But as she got older she realized that a lot of fathers actually lived at home with their families, and if they didn’t, they often showed up more than once every other year.

After being assigned a family tree as a school project in third grade, Brynn had used the opportunity to question her mom about her father. Shea explained to her that Brynn’s father had another family that he lived with.

At the time, Brynn took her mom’s statement at face value and hadn’t questioned the moral or emotional repercussions of the bomb that her mom had dropped on her. She’d just accepted it. That lasted until she was a teenager and curiosity had gotten the better of her. So she’d Googled him. And with one click of her mouse, her entire life changed. Her rose-colored glasses cleared and any innocence that she’d had was stripped from her.

Her father, Ramsey Wilson III, was a senator from Massachusetts. He had a wife and four kids. One of those kids was a daughter who was born exactly six days before Brynn. She’d sat in her room and clicked through image after image, photo op after photo op of his “perfect” family and reality came crashing in on her.

From that day on, she hadn’t wanted anything to do with the man that she’d inherited half of her DNA from. Within six months of that discovery she was pregnant and married. She didn’t need to use her degree in psychology to figure out the significance in the timing of that. She’d wanted to create what she never had.

A family.

The last time she’d had any contact with her father was when he’d stopped by two days after Ryder was born. She’d told him to stay away from her and her son. He didn’t even put up a fight, he’d just walked out of the apartment, above her mom’s garage, where she, Max and Ryder had lived.

That was thirteen years ago and the time had gone by in a flash. Days, weeks, even months would pass and Brynn wouldn’t think about her father or his family.

Then about a month ago a news story broke. Her father had been a witness to a shooting. The news reported that her father had been having a private after-hours dinner in a five star restaurant with one of his top campaign contributors. He left the table to make a phone call and when he returned not five minutes later he saw the man slumped over the table in a pool of blood. The news services also reported that an unidentified source close to the investigation revealed that Senator Ramsey Wilson III was able to give a description of the shooter and that the FBI was conducting a nationwide manhunt for the fugitive who was a known hit-man and wanted by the FBI.

That same day she’d received a call from Ramsey saying that the FBI would be keeping him and his family off the radar for a while.

His life had turned upside down and she was relieved that she and Ryder had no ties to the man. His name didn’t appear on her birth certificate, and as far as she knew, her mother had never told anyone of her paternal secret.

The only people Brynn had told were her two best friends, Ali and Jess. And that was only recently, since the story broke. She knew neither woman would ever tell a soul, so her secret was safe.