Fight for Love by Sarah Michelle Lynch


It was late at night, and Blake Rathbone stood beneath a large sycamore tree, observing as the new father arrived home tired and yet beaming. Caelan parked the car and walked to the front door of their renovated house, fiddling with the keys for a second before he noticed a wrapped gift on the doorstep.

Caelan immediately looked around, scanning the area. Flora had only just given birth. They hadn’t told anyone yet. Caelan was only home to catch a bit of sleep before he went back to the hospital.

Well, a grandfather knows more sometimes than he might ever let on.

Blake, in one of his favoured tracksuits, which were all the rage in Florida, remained hidden. Black clothes, black hat. Thankfully it was the darkest month of the year.

Caelan picked up the wrapped gift, then walked inside.

Smiling, Rathbone turned and walked away. He got halfway to the nearest taxi rank, when a shadow popped out from nowhere and pointed a gun right at his head.

You,” said Caelan, lowering his weapon.

“Me, what?” asked Blake, amused.

“You’re breathing.”

“I am.” A pause, to consider. “Did you think I’d tell anyone I was cured? Did you think I’d not use Sherry’s murder attempt to take my second chance? And get away from that viper. Become the man Flora always wanted me to be.”

Caelan’s chest heaved. “You’ve a grandson.”

“I know.”

“Flora should ken you’re alive,” he insisted.

“She can never know.”

“Why?” demanded Caelan.

“I was never going to leave this world until I’d seen my daughter safe and happy. Knowing how stubborn she is, she’d probably try to have me in her life. But then she’d not be safe, nor happy.”

Caelan nodded in agreement. “How’d ye ken I wouldna hurt her?”

He chuckled, eyes beaming. “Just did.”

“I see.” Caelan’s eyes glinted.

“My daughter and you… you’re the same, you know?”

“I’d no go so far. I’d say she’s a much better person.”

“Agreed, man. But…” Blake rubbed his bottom lip. “I had people check in on her for me over the years, and one thing changed after you came into her life.”

“What was that?” asked Caelan.

“She started walking in that way she once used to, kind of with a spring in her step, maybe even a skip. She was like a girl again.” Caelan smiled with surprise. “You both kept love at arm’s length, until in each other, you found a fellow big kid. Someone who, deep down, had retained their goodness. The type of goodness, raw curiosity even, that nobody, not even people like me, your mother, father, Jimmy could eradicate.”

“Dinna flatter me, Rathbone or I’ll shoot ye for causing me to like ye an ounce.”

Rathbone started to back away, grinning. “Tell her the gift is from you.”

“You’re just leaving?” asked Caelan, aghast.

“I already left, lad. Besides, I know my daughter like I know my own name. If you put a foot wrong, she’ll come down on you like a tonne of bricks.”


He turned back just before he went around the corner. “And Caelan?”


“You never cashed the cheque but I always honour my bargains. As you shall discover.”

Caelan cocked his head. “Okay…”

“Oh, and Caelan?” He turned around one, last time.


“It was a stroke of genius, how you dealt with Sherry.”

Caelan feigned ignorance. “You’ve lost me.”

Rathbone raised one eyebrow. “Like that, is it?”

“A pal o’ mine might’ve owed me,” Caelan conceded.

Sherry now languished in prison. Meanwhile, the younger Rathbone girls had been taken in by a friend of the family…

“If that’s what you’re going with, fine. But those were some nice adventures you had, son. Especially liked the hostage situation you negotiated for the Royals.”

Caelan scratched his head. “I’ve nae clue what you’re blethering about.”

“Not one word to Flora then,” Blake asked. “Like me, I know you can keep secrets.”



Rathbone had a bit of a spring in his step, nearly vaulting his way to a taxi.

When Caelan arrived home, he picked up the gift from the hallway table and unwrapped it without much precision, then took the lid off a small box. Inside, there was a silver rattle, but also a picture of a beautiful Scandinavian-style log cabin, the Cairngorms in the background, an address typed in bold font at the bottom. There was also a small note: It’s ready for you and will be cosier than the castle, better for the bairn. Only what I owe you, plus interest, of course. My own rates. Let the past stay in the past. B.R.

“Arsehole,” said Caelan, chuckling.

He found a single key too and smiled, knowing just where he’d take Flora and the new baby for Christmas this year.

He’d take them home.