Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 12
“I thought you could use a reminder of why we are fighting so hard to save this world,” Ryder murmured as he kissed Kahleena’s platinum curls. They’d grown, and as I watched, Kahleena stood and took a wobbly step towards me with her hands extended.
“She can walk?” I swallowed.
“She’s starting to,” Ryder remarked as he turned to watch Zander crawling to us. “They’ve grown a little since they’ve been away.”
“We missed her first steps, their first steps?” I asked as I felt my throat tighten. “What else did we miss?” I looked at Liam as he sat beside me, the scar on his face tightening as he smiled. I watched as his smile faded as tears misted in my eyes.
“They say a few words now, mostly ‘momma’ when we glamour your image for them. They say ‘Fairy’ when we show them Ryder’s, which I assume is because you call him that,” Liam said proudly. “They’re smart. Mother says they are smarter than most of the babies she’s ever seen, and I’m pretty sure they can sift already. Kahleena is making the most progress. She’s very smart and determined. She seems to be in charge and the others follow her lead.”
I grinned; I’d warned them that my daughter would be in charge of her brothers. Her tiny fingers touched my face and I smiled as shining amber eyes searched my face and she made a soft cooing noise that tugged at my heart. I’d known they may grow a little, but we’d missed so much in the short time they’d been away from us.
“Momma,” she cooed and then laughed excitedly.
“You’re so big now,” I whispered as I leaned over and kissed her nose and forehead. “I’ve missed you all so much.”
“She’s just like you,” Ryder snorted as he held his hand out for Zander, who tried to show off his mad skills with walking and ended up falling on his butt after a moment. His little lip stuck out as he pouted, but Ryder held out his finger for Zander’s tiny hand to grasp, and helped him up so he could walk the short distance to his father. “Hey, Zander,” Ryder whispered as he pulled him close and kissed his dark head.
“Gods save us if they’re anything like you, Fairy,” I laughed as I smiled at him over the top of Kahleena’s head.
“Fairy,” Cade said in a tiny voice that made me throw back my head and bark with laughter.
“You’re incorrigible,” he growled as he leveled his gaze with Cade’s and said ‘daddy’ several times.
“Da-da,” he said watching Ryder, his purplish-blue eyes lighting with accomplishment as he repeated it.
There was a knock at the door and scuffling as Ristan and Olivia entered, the others close on their heels. One by one the Elite Guard piled in and moved close to the walls, until we were all sitting together with the children in the middle.
“We’re going to need more room soon,” Ryder grumbled playfully. Children weren’t exactly plentiful in Faery, so each child was considered a joy and a blessing. Even with this understanding, I knew in my heart that his brothers adored our children above and beyond what the average Fae felt for the young of this world, and we’d never stop them from visiting with the children, since we knew they missed them as much as we did.
“Yes, we are,” I agreed with a grin. I watched as Kahleena homed in on Ristan and stood up, causing him to let out a soft curse as she started her clumsy trek towards him.
“She walks?” he whispered, probably to keep from startling her as she wobbled towards him. “She couldn’t even really crawl when she left.” He gasped when she almost fell. I watched Olivia as she watched Ristan; every time Kahleena almost fell, he’d lurch a little closer. I could see the effort for which it took him not to move to her, to actually allow my daughter to make it to him.
“Ristan,” she cooed as she finally reached him. His jaw dropped and I grinned; yeah, she was pretty badass for a toddler. She leaned against him and rested her head on his chest as she plugged her thumb into her mouth and watched me.
“She just said my name,” he laughed nervously. “It’s only been a few days.”
“They have grown a lot,” Liam explained as Sinjinn nodded his agreement.
“They have begun to display magic, which is very rare at this age. We have seen them bring objects to themselves when they want something. Two days ago, Zander’s teddy bear seemed to come to life and was talking,” Sinjinn added. “They’re busy, but when they sense it becoming overwhelming for us to handle, they reel it in and calm down. It’s as if they can feel our emotions. There have been some signs that they have been sifting, but no one has actually caught them doing it and I am not sure if I have ever heard of any Fae that has ever sifted as an infant.”
“They’re not infants,” I pointed out and watched as Ryder absorbed what was being said. “Besides, I pulled Adam to me. He was my familiar and I remember my foster mother telling me about the magic I did as an infant.”
“You are a true child of Danu and you have her blood, Pet. You were also half Fae, so it stands to reason that you would be more powerful,” he reasoned as he tried to cradle Zander, who was having no part of it. I watched as he settled in his father’s lap and grinned at me.
“Your mother is downstairs,” Olivia spoke softly. “You have cake to taste and dresses to look at today. We’ll stay with the babies until you are finished,” she offered sheepishly as her cheeks pinked with embarrassment. “I think I need the practice.”
“They just got here,” I frowned. “Can’t it wait?”
“Madisyn is excited for your big day.” Liam laughed as he stood and held his arms out to take Cade. “I hear that the handfasting celebration Kier and Mari hosted for you will pale in comparison to the grandeur of the celebration our mother has planned for you.”
“Not sure why she is planning on such a huge celebration. The last few didn’t seem to go very well…” Ristan groused softly as Olivia gave him a curious glance. “The last one was almost the death of me.”
I gave Ristan a sour look as I hugged Cade and kissed his chubby cheek before handing him to my brother.
“We will make sure to give you some time with them before we go home,” Liam assured me.
I stood and dusted off my butt as I watched Ryder hand off Zander and turn to face me. I didn’t want to plan my wedding; I wanted to cuddle with the babies and sleep to the sound of their sweet noises.
“Come on, Pet,” Ryder said as he reached for my hand and sifted us out of the nursery rooms.
I was seated at a table with Ryder, and it seemed like we must have taste-tested every type of cake ever made. There was decadent chocolate, red velvet, and so many more that we lost track. Madisyn had brought the chef here from Tèrra to make the wedding cake and the accompanying secondary cakes for the Horde (literally and figuratively) of Fae that would be coming to the wedding. Ryder told me proudly that the chef was part of the whole ‘human fairytale wedding’ he was trying to give me.
“This is good,” Ryder commented as he spooned dark chocolate cake with buttercream frosting into my mouth.
“Mmm,” I moaned around the mouthful. “That is really good.”
“There’s several more to try,” Madisyn said as she spooned her own mouthful of cake and hummed as she shook her head. “That is really good. Maybe we should have him make small samples of each type of cake for the guests. You know, like those petit fours?”
The chef looked panicked for a moment as I smiled and shook my head. “I don’t think that will be necessary, and just for the record, I can’t eat anymore cake today.” I wiped my mouth and placed the napkin on the table. “I like the dark chocolate with the buttercream icing for the main cake, you?” I glanced over at Ryder as he licked frosting from his lips.
“It’s your choice,” he smiled and I couldn’t help but smile back.
“It’s our day,” I answered. “That means you get to pick too, and since y
“Dark chocolate with buttercream icing,” Ryder’s tone was commanding even though he watched me with a wicked grin that tugged at my heart.
“We need a design,” Madisyn said as she pulled out the catalog and started thumbing through it. She pointed out several ideas that were all over-the-top and extravagant. “This one is my favorite,” she said as she pointed to a cake that had more layers than anyone could possibly need. I swallowed a groan when she and Ryder began discussing colors to celebrate each caste, as well as the representatives of the other creatures who inhabited Faery—that he’d invited to be present during the celebration. This meant that creatures such as Goblins, Dearg Due, Red Caps, and Púcas would be in attendance, as well as the Sluagh host. Just what every fairytale wedding needed.
“Red, black, white, and gold,” Madisyn agreed as she gave detailed instructions to the chef, who looked a little flustered by their detailed designs.
I pulled the catalogue towards myself and started to look through it, finding smaller cakes with less detailed designs. I still wasn’t sold on having a huge wedding. Something smaller and intimate would be fine, yet I didn’t want to hurt Madisyn’s feelings—or Ryder’s, since he too was also pushing for some big, elaborate wedding that would make a statement to all of Faery.
“Synthia?” Ryder called, and I looked up. The cake they’d designed took up the entire table. “This?”
“That’s enough cake to feed China,” I whispered with a frown.
“There are a lot of people coming to the wedding,” he explained. “We’ll need fifty or more cakes to feed the crowd.”
I swallowed and forced a smile. “It looks great.” Being Fae, neither of them noticed I’d lied. I waited for them to go back to planning and continued to peruse the catalogue. My eyes skimmed over a cake that was made to look like a tree trunk, and on the light brown frosting of the trunk were initials carved into the center of a heart. I smiled, turning the page to see the other side which said, ‘And they lived happily ever after,’ on it. I pulled the page from the book while the others were discussing plans for the order that had enough chocolate to kill twenty grown men. Then, I listened as Madisyn and Ryder issued orders for the monster cake. The poor chef looked like he was going to have a heart attack until Ryder told him that he was only going to have to make the main ginormous cake and several smaller cakes, and the Fae would be able to replicate his work for the crowd.
“Dress time?” Madisyn asked and I shook my head.
“Venue, where are we getting married?” I inquired, and she looked confused.
“Here, of course. You are marrying into the Horde, so it is proper for it to be done here. Unless you’d like to marry in a chapel or a church like the humans do.” She frowned and I guess I couldn’t blame her, as a castle had more of a fairytale feel to it than a chapel did. Of course, based on the scale that Madisyn and Ryder were talking about, we wouldn’t be able to fit everyone in a chapel unless someone had a hell of an extendable room spell that they could cast on it!
By the time we got through with this planning, we were all going to have some serious frown lines. I nodded and agreed that it was fine to do it here, and watched them wink at each other as I was escorted by Ryder into the great hall, which had been decorated in crimson, red, and gold. Tiny fireflies lit the tables and as I got closer, I realized they were fairies. Bright red rose petals had been mixed with white ones to cover the floor of the entire room. It was a sight to see, but it felt off, and the more I looked around, the more I felt overwhelmed by the proceedings.
Madisyn wanted this, Ryder was agreeing because it’s what he thought I wanted, and I was agreeing because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’d marry Ryder naked in the Fairy Pools if it was up to me. Ryder’s hand tightened in mine and I looked up, finding his golden eyes searching my face.
“You don’t like it?” he guessed, and I swallowed hard.
“It’s beautiful,” I replied easily, because it really was; it just wasn’t me.
“It’s perfect!” Madisyn squealed, and I smiled genially at her excitement. “It’s our colors mixed with his; of course, the Horde and Blood Fae have never been united, so the scale of the event will be huge. The actual ceremonial version will be like this.” She waved her hands. Flames erupted from the candles as she moved things around to reveal sitting rows that extended farther then the room allowed. The room swam in amber hues with red carpets that had only white petals covering them. “This is what it will look like to begin with.”
“It’s pretty,” I assured her as she watched me.
“Is it too much?” She looked from me to Ryder uncertainly.
“Not at all—dresses?” I tried not to cringe as she clapped happily.
“I need a list of who you have for bridesmaids.” She was busy looking at her list as her offhand request hit me like a punch in the stomach.
I paused, my stomach dropped, and I shook my head.
“I don’t really have anyone,” I replied softly. The lump in my throat stuck, my hands sweat, and my eyes misted as I swallowed the pain. Larissa was supposed to be here; she was supposed to be my best bitch. We’d planned this shit out and now she was gone. “I don’t need any.”
“You have to have some friends?” Confusion played across her beautiful features, and I laughed.
“I can ask Adam,” I answered. “He’ll be my bridesmaid, or maybe he can be the man of honor. Pretty sure he won’t need a dress, though,” I whispered hoarsely. “We should go try the wedding dresses on. I want to get back to the babies as soon as possible.”
“Of course,” she murmured softly, as if something caught in her throat.
Three hours later, I stood in front of the mirror in what had to have been the fiftieth dress Madisyn had me try on. It had a jeweled bodice, which she’d informed me were genuine diamonds. Thin gold chains crisscrossed over the back to attach to the bodice. The skirt was huge, and had flowing yards of fabric that a dressmaker held in her arms, or tried to. It was heavy and while it was beautiful, it was too much.
“This is it!” Madisyn clapped.
I closed my eyes as I turned to look at her and shook my head. It was so not my dress.
“Can you make one in red?” I asked, watching as the dressmaker frowned and nodded.
“It isn’t traditional,” she offered.
“Tell that to all of the Hindu or Chinese brides,” I grumbled as Madisyn helped me out of the heavy dress, and I smiled as the dressmaker walked to the wardrobe and glamoured a lovely creation of red.
“Red?” Madisyn asked as she bit her lip and tried to figure out what I was doing.
“Blood Fae,” I replied as I accepted the dress and carefully slipped into it. The design was simple: a high waist and a strapless bodice that had crimson lace sewn into the design. The crimson skirt fell in graceful folds to the floor. Not what I would have chosen if the wedding was up to me, yet it was lovely.
“You look beautiful,” Madisyn whispered as she wiped away tears. “This is the one.”
“It is,” I smiled. “Now, I want to see my babies,” I grumbled as I changed with a simple thought and enjoyed the soft fabric that covered my body.
“Let’s go see them then; you deserve it,” she replied as she slipped her fingers through mine and we sifted into the nursery.
The men were watching the babies when I sifted in. Each one smiled and went on playing with the babes. Ryder smiled and watched me as I made my way towards him and lowered myself to sit between his legs.
“You found the dress?” he murmured against my ear.
“Don’t get too attached to it, because I make no promises that it will be in one piece after you utter the words, ‘I do.’”
“It is absolutely so,” he laughed as he wrapped his arms around me and we watched the children playing with his brothers.
We had to find Ciara, because if we didn’t, she’d miss out on their entire childhood.
I spent an hour with the wedding planner, who gasped at each of my requests and shook her head. I knew that it was outlandish, but there were a few touches of my own that I wanted to add to my wedding. I wasn’t sure why we needed a wedding planner; Madisyn was like a wedding planner on steroids and a case of Red Bull. Once I’d finished, I met Ryder in the main hall and explained why I had to go meet up with Lucian. I stopped his grumpy response with a hand as I tilted my head and glared at him.
“You’re leaving to search for your sister. Our children are back where they are safe, and I have to speak with Alden. I won’t be the one to topple that freaky house of cards Lucian’s building, and you have to look for Ciara. If you can’t find her by wedding time, Adam will be my man of honor.”
“You can’t call for me if you need help,” he growled.
“I said I’d take Ristan and Adam with me,” I argued. “I’m taking an entire babysitting detail because I can’t take an entire armed guard detail with me, and you know it. It draws more attention than anything else. Ristan will call for you if anything goes wrong. I will meet you back here tonight, and then you can spank me for misbehaving.”
“See if Lucian’s learned anything else about the portals—and Syn, I don’t need you to be bad to spank that ass,” he smiled wolfishly.
“Watch it or I might tie you up and spank your ass,” I warned.
AMELIA HUTCHINS SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Unraveling DestinyEscaping DestinyFae Chronicles 01 - Fighting DestinySeducing DestinyTaunting DestinyDeath Before DawnClaiming the Dragon KingA Demon's Dark Embrace
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