Geraint had gotten Athïan to do some research on his Life Mate. It hadn’t been that difficult. They got Enikő to give them lessons on how to operate the computers and tablets, then added a touch of magic to gain access to Fran’s Facebook pages. From there, they went into Fran’s messages and read through her communications with her various friends. It didn’t matter to Geraint that what he was doing might be considered wrong, illegal, or intrusive. The most important thing to Geraint was that he would be together with the one woman meant for him.
Geraint looked at the pictures Fran had put up on her Facebook page and smiled. They were going to get along fabulously. Geraint could easily imagine Fran going into raptures over the wolf pups he was watching at home. The pack that guarded the young born only a few days before he left home were very protective, but they knew he could be trusted. When Geraint brought his Life Mate home, the wolves would feel the same way about her. To see the wolves and Fran connect for the first time would be the highlight of his day, second only to the moment Fran said the words of bonding with him to connect them for eternity.
The first words Segreth asked Geraint as they prepared to leave were, “Do you know where we are going?”
Geraint smiled and replied. “Most definitely. My Life Mate had developed habits, so you can tell where she will be from month to month.”
Segreth frowned at the tone in Geraint’s voice. Segreth didn’t like how Geraint was approaching this problem. Did his friend not realize how difficult this was going to be for everyone? In addition to what they might have to go through to secure Geraint’s bond, they needed to go back in time. It didn’t bode well to Segreth that Geraint sounded so confident about the whole venture. With all of Segreth’s misgivings foremost in his mind, he warned. “Your Life Mate will already be ill when we arrive, and although humans have the will to fight to the last breath to hold on to what they have of their lives, this might not be the case with your Life Mate.”
Geraint refused to be daunted by Segreth’s pessimistic attitude. It was going to work out between Fran and him. It might not be easy, but it would end well, and that was the most important part.
Segreth continued to frown as he and another Elven Wizard he had used for this particular assignment parted. Some inner trigger told Segreth that Geraint and he were going to have a rough time getting Fran to accept the truth of what she needed to know before she would make up her mind whether or not to join them. Fran was an unknown entity, and if she had children in this world, she might want to be with them right to the end. This could mean that Geraint might not get his happily-ever-after or at least not in the way it looked like his friend was planning. They needed to keep in mind that although they were Elves, there was only so much even they could do. It was a fact even their own people tended to forget at times.
Geraint didn’t have to ask Segreth what he was thinking about. Even back in their own world, Segreth had a reputation for being a skeptic, and Geraint was certain that this wouldn’t change overnight. Geraint had made plans to cover the problem of meeting his Life Mate in person. It would verge on deceit, but to Geraint’s way of thinking, there were times when the methods had to fit the needs of those they were dealing with.
In Geraint’s studies of Fran’s messages between her and her friends, he had learned a lot about her character as well as her lifestyle. Some of Fran’s friends had already been pushing Fran to speak to her Doctor about the increase of pain she had been experiencing over the last half a year. Fran had taken a fall during the winter, and although the injury she had sustained seemed to be healing, the pain was getting worse. Nothing added up, so Fran eventually caved in to the caring words of the people who surrounded her and went to see her doctor about the problem. By the time the prognosis came in to tell them what the problem was, it was already too late to do anything about the cancer that had settled into her bones. As there was little Geraint could do about this, he decided to arrive a full three months before Fran’s illness had been discovered. This might give Geraint time to catch Fran’s notice so they could become friends. If Geraint’s plan worked, they would form a bond before she died, and that might work in his favor.
To Geraint’s way of thinking, becoming Fran’s friend was a good way to begin their relationship. It had worked with Athïan when he had connected with Enikő. Granted, their circumstances were different. Enikő had been alive and healthy during the time of Athïan’s courtship of her. Athïan also hadn’t needed to go back in time to meet his Life Mate, and when the couple had spoken the words of bonding, it had been understood that Enikő would be moving to a place that wasn’t easily accessible. There was an easy acceptance of Enikő’s choice from her family because she had no one to answer to. Those Enikő loved were moving on with their lives, and so was she. Enikő was an independent woman, Fran wasn’t. Still, in the end, it would be Fran’s decision that would count and no one else’s.
From the considerable amount that Geraint had read, Fran had a family who loved her dearly. Fran, in return, adored her children. Fran’s love didn’t blind her to their faults, but those didn’t diminish how she felt. The same could be said for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There was no doubt in Geraint’s mind that if Fran had anything to cling to in this world, it was going to be her children. The sad part of this was that no matter what Fran wanted, she was going to have no choice to do exactly this.
Geraint figured that if there were going to be any problems with getting Fran to do as he said, it would be because of his Talent. Geraint could easily imagine that if Fran knew what he could do for her, she would want him to heal her so she could continue to enjoy her golden years in the company of those she loved. It wasn’t going to be that simple. For every gift Geraint’s people were given, there was always a price. This rule didn’t only pertain to Elves. In Fran’s case, her longevity was going to cost her the world she knew. If Fran chose Geraint, she would become young and beautiful, and she would be loved. This information was something Geraint intended to use for bait to lure his Life Mate to his side.
Segreth looked at the smile on Geraint’s face and was tempted to shake his head in disbelief at his friend’s naiveté. The Wild Elf had to be delusional if he thought his plan would work. Geraint seemed to think talking his Life Mate into making the changes that would allow her to fit into their new world would be a simple matter of offering the woman a choice. Geraint was about to find out differently. While Geraint had been out on the town with Raith learning about the ways of the Human people, Segreth had spent time visiting with Athïan and Enikő. What Segreth had learned there had opened his eyes to things he hadn’t thought possible.
Segreth had spent hours quizzing Athïan and Enikő about their courtship. Enikő had admitted one of the main problems between Athïan and her had been their age difference. Segreth could see this being a trouble spot between Geraint and Fran also. Segreth had seen pictures of Fran, although he admitted there weren’t many. As a Human, Fran was considered elderly, but as an Elf, she was the perfect age to find her bond mate. Granted, most Elven females were between four and five hundred years old when they bonded, but things were different for Humans. Fran’s people matured a lot faster, which was to their disadvantage. This made them fragile, and they died much too easily and early. In this world, Fran was at the end of her lifespan. In the Elven Empire, considering her maturity level, she would be just starting to prepare to embrace her position at the side of her Life Mate.
Segreth hadn’t been the only Elf to speak to Enikő and Athïan about their relationship. Geraint did too. In fact, Geraint had spent a considerable amount of time with Enikő getting her advice about how to handle Fran, as well as getting to know all she could tell him about her friend. Geraint wanted to know what type of gifts he could give to Fran without offending her, or about what they could speak that she would find interesting. Geraint wanted to make Fran smile. At the same time, he didn’t want to offend Fran by being ostentatious.
From what little Geraint had learned about Fran, the impression he had gotten was that his Life Mate was a modest woman. Fran was the type who would rather help others who she felt were worse off than she was in the world before seeing to her own needs.
Segreth turned to Geraint and asked. “How long have you decided to arrive before your Life Mate finds out about her illness?”
Geraint replied. “Three months. I won’t get to see much of Fran, but that isn’t important at this point. What matters is getting to meet Fran so I can set up a rapport with her. When this is done, I can begin to talk to her freely.”
Segreth warned. “Athïan said he had thought much the same thing in the beginning. He quickly figured out doing something like that wouldn’t be so easy to do.”
Geraint agreed. “Nor will it be. I understand this. I am not approaching the problem with blinders on, Segreth. I am fully aware of what needs to be done. None of this will be easy. It is going to be tragic, as well as underhanded in a way I don’t want to think about. It is unfortunate that we will need to handle the situation in this way, but we are being given little choice in the matter. Fran will see it our way in the end, if she decides to come with us.”