Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 3
“I’ll grab it, my lady,” Makayla whispered, a frown pulling at her full lips as she wiped at a tear that was making its way down her cheek.
“Stop, all of you. Look at me,” I demanded. “I’m barely holding my shit together, so you have to be strong. This isn’t forever; it’s only until after the wedding festivities have ended.”
“We just worry for you,” Darynda offered as her green eyes watched me. “You’re their mother, and sending them away can’t be easy on you.”
“No, it isn’t, but it will keep them safe,” I whispered as I swallowed the lump that seemed permanently wedged in my throat. “In the end, keeping them safe and protected is all that matters.”
Our hands froze and our heads snapped to the door as it opened. Olivia tentatively stepped inside and wiggled her fingers in silent greeting.
“Ristan sent me up.” She tentatively made her way to me and the stacks of folded clothes on the bed. “He said you could probably use a friend and maybe an extra pair of hands?”
Olivia and I had started out pretty rocky. I hadn’t liked her for what had happened to Ristan, yet she’d grown on me once I’d let my defenses down and let her through. She was Ristan’s better half now, and they were in love. I understood where she’d assumed the worst with him, and how she’d been played so easily by the Guild Elder, since I’d been raised the same way.
“Help is very welcome, Olivia. You cannot even begin to imagine how much stuff three babies need to go anywhere. It’s insane. I need diaper bags filled with clothing and the essentials. My mother and father will be here soon to take them to safety,” I chatted happily, as if my entire world wasn’t crumbling apart. “Hey, has Alden talked to you yet about the new Guild?” I needed to change the subject, fast. My eyes watched as she absently searched the room. “Olivia?” I called as I stopped what I was doing to look at her.
“Sorry, what?” she whispered timidly, her eyes filling with unshed tears.
I needed to gut something, tear it apart with my bare hands to get away from the crying shit, because I was about to join her and become a blubbering idiot.
“What is it?” I asked pointedly, watching her for any sign of something being off. Her hands trembled as she picked up and started folding a small shirt that had a multitude of tiny blue Dragons splayed across the fabric. “Spit it out.”
“Do you know if Ristan wants to have children?” She lowered her voice and bit her lip nervously as she looked at the others in the room. “I mean, I know he’s really good with your babies and that he absolutely adores them, but does he want children of his own? His father was an abusive piece of shit who was brutal to him. I wouldn’t blame him if he never wanted to have children of his own, but we’re together, and I sort of want and need to know.”
I gawked a little, watching as her hands absently touched upon her midriff before she swallowed and looked back up at me.
“You’re pregnant,” I guessed. I watched as the color drained from her face as she looked at the others in the room. “They’ll keep your secret; they’re bound to me.”
“I’m late, really late.” She wrung her hands. “I always wanted kids, lots and lots of them. But now that it might be real, I’m terrified. I don’t even know if I am ready for this. I mean, thinking you want it and really doing it aren’t the same thing. I’m not even sure if I’d be a good mother; I never had one of my own. I don’t really know anything about babies; kids, sure. I’m great with kids, but they don’t come out talking. I loved teaching, but when the bell rang I sent them back to their dormitories. I’ve never really even held a baby, much less taken care of one. I don’t know if I can do it. I’m freaking out, aren’t I?” she babbled, closing her eyes with an exhale.
“Darynda, bring me Cade, please.” I didn’t take my eyes off of Olivia as she tried to fight the tears that threatened to spill over. Once Darynda had Mr. Cuddle Monkey in her arms and was walking in my direction, I shook my head. “Hand him to Olivia—she needs to practice.”
“I…Uh…I can’t actually hold a baby,” Olivia squeaked with wide eyes as Cade was thrust into her arms and cooed happily. Panic consumed her features and she started to hold him away from her body. I raised a brow pointedly at her when he started to fuss. “What’s wrong with him?”
“Hold him closer to your body, and watch his head. He likes to head-butt sometimes. Randomly, without warning.” I waited until she did as I told her to before I went back to glamouring and folding clothes. “Babies aren’t tricky. I understand you’re freaking out, but they’re pretty damn easy unless you’re running on no sleep and they don’t want to go back to bed. They’re also partial to waking you up in the middle of the night for no other reason than to see if you open your eyes.” I laughed as she grimaced.
“I’m just a librarian, though, and I won’t be able to send a baby to a dorm for the night,” she mumbled.
“I was an assassin who killed people. I was pretty damn deadly, and good at what I did. You were a teacher and a librarian. You taught children, and I was kept away from them. If I can do this, you can. Holding them is half the battle, but when it’s your own child, it just comes to you. I was terrified I’d hurt them or drop them, but I’ve done neither of those things. My point is, if a trained assassin can be domesticated and figure out how to swaddle a baby, you’re going to be fine,” I finished with a friendly smile as she began to bounce Cade gently in her arms. “Cade is pretty easy; he enjoys boobs and getting his stomach filled with pretty much anything the handmaidens come up with. Cade looked up at Olivia and offered her a toothless grin before he rested his head against her breasts.
“How do you do it?” She took a seat on one of the many rockers in the room. “How do you face the Fae every day, knowing you killed a staggering amount of them in our world?” she questioned as she looked down at Cade nervously and back at me. “I know you did it. I filed the paperwork; every report from every mission you went on was archived. Now you have to live among them knowing exactly what they are capable of. You make it look easy, as if you were never on the other side, against them.”
I frowned and chose my words carefully, as she was trying to adapt to a world and lifestyle I had barely gotten a handle on myself. “I wasn’t just good at it, Olivia. I was the best licensed killer in the Spokane Guild. That part of my life, and yours, it’s a part of the past. They’ve killed ours, and we’ve killed theirs. Well, not ours per se, but you know what I mean. Humans and the Fae have been at war long before we were even born. I live among them, yeah, but they know exactly who I am. I don’t hide my past from them; instead, I’m very open about it. It’s who I am, and just because we’re here now doesn’t change what we are or how we got here. If you can take the blinders off and look beyond the hate that both sides have for each other, you can see the good in them too. It’s a choice, like everything else in life. You choose what you do, and how you do it. I choose to be happy and love Ryder, and anything else beyond that, for me, is trivial.” I watched as a little line creased her brow and a small frown played on her mouth. “Does it bother you, living among creatures we blindly hated, were taught to hate?”
“No, well, sometimes. I guess it does,” Olivia swallowed nervously. “Occasionally I see one of them, and I know exactly how it kills and what they do to humans, and I can’t help but hate it. I have every archive and word I’ve ever written about them stuck in my head. I can’t turn it off, and I know a lot of it was nothing but lies, but some of it was fact, and some of the creatures here are horrible.”
“Yes, they are,” I agreed. “Here, though, they’re not the same. Out there, in our world, it’s a different playground for them. They need rules, like everyone else. Like most children, when left to their own devices, they create chaos. Ryder kills those who kill the humans maliciously. He enforces his rules and laws. He protects the humans because I ask it of him. That’s what I choose to f
“I think he likes me,” she said, smiling sheepishly down at Cade, who watched her with keen interest as he sucked on his fingers.
“Have you told Ristan that you’re late?” I smirked distractedly at the way Cade’s fingers that weren’t stuffed in his mouth wrapped around Olivia’s.
“No, I needed someone else to talk to since I was freaking out. At first, I thought it might just be all the changes I went through, and all the drama of what was going on around us. Elijah would know more about my physiology, but I don’t feel comfortable talking to him about this. Ristan’s worried about you guys and the portal fiasco, so I didn’t think it was the right time to add to his stress.” She looked away nervously and began making little cooing noises at Cade.
“He’s pretty easygoing—and you could always offer him a heart to chew on while you told him.”
“What?” she asked with a deep frown. “The baby chews on hearts?” she gasped.
“Ristan, but never mind, it’s probably not a good idea anyway,” I laughed.
“Do you regret not being able to feed your children naturally?” She looked away, shy at asking such a personal question.
I winced and then shrugged. “I died. It wasn’t really like I had another choice. I can’t complain about it considering I’m still here to enjoy them. In the end, nothing else matters. I do intend to find the ones who tried to kill me and my children. I intend to rip their heads off while they’re still alive, but that’s a story for another time.”
“You just seriously said you planned to murder someone with a smile on your face,” she laughed nervously.
“Olivia, let’s get real for a moment. Do you really think I changed who I was, just because what I am changed?” I took a break from folding the babies’ clothes to talk. The babies had a lot of shit they needed to have packed, and we’d barely scratched the surface. Sure, my parents could glamour anything the babies needed, but I liked that they got the pampering and the mundane things done naturally. It made bonding easier, and I was hanging onto that. “I changed, but I am the same girl you read about. I’m the girl who was raised in the Guild to kill. My brother murdered my adoptive parents because he believed he had some magical way to siphon my powers for himself and become the Blood Heir in my place. He raped my foster mother, leaving her hanging between a mindless drone and a sex addict while my father watched. I had to be quiet behind a hidden panel in the wall as I watched everything that he and his asshole friends did. They were both killed in front of me, and my mother didn’t care because she had lost her mind. Alden and Marie saved me, but what happened became a huge part of me. It drove me to be the best. That psycho tried to rape me when I was in labor, and if someone else hadn’t stopped it from happening, he would have. Faolán will never stop until one of us is dead. I don’t intend to die, which means I’m going to have to kill him. I have to win. Winning will mean that I will never have to look over my shoulder for him again. He’s the kind of person this world is safer without.”
“I didn’t know about your parents,” she murmured. “I mean, I knew a little bit about your parents, but they didn’t archive the details. If they did, someone removed them because we were all curious about you, and we peeked a time or two. I actually can’t fault you for wanting him dead.” I nodded absently in acknowledgement of her genuine sadness for my parents and what Faolán had put me and my foster parents through.
“So,” I began, redirecting the subject back to her, since she was deflecting. “Are you afraid Ristan will leave you if you tell him you’re pregnant?” Without meaning to, I had read her emotions. It had been a challenge to put a lid on my powers lately; one of the more uncomfortable side effects was randomly popping into the thoughts going on in other people’s heads. I sensed her discomfort, her inability to tell him for fear he’d react badly and that what they had would crumble. She was also still scared shitless of motherhood and the unknown territory it brought with it. Having just experienced that myself, I could relate.
“Terrified of it,” she exhaled. “I want kids, but the thought that it might be happening so fast scares the shit out of me. I didn’t have a mom, and I know next to nothing about having babies, or what happens when you do have one.”
“Ristan would never leave you. He’s loyal, and yes, he can be stubborn as hell, but he loves you, Olivia. He loves children. It’s true, and it’s no secret that his own childhood was utter shit, but so was Ryder’s. Ryder is a pushover when it comes to our babies. He was terrified of them at first, of the fact that we were having a baby, then two babies. He’s the best father I could ask for my children, though. He’s their protector, and their calm, their comfort. He only has to hold Kahleena and he melts. The entire Elite Guard is made up of the fiercest warriors of the Horde, and each and every one of them turns into a giant man-child when they enter the nursery.”
“That’s reassuring, but I’d like to keep this between us for now? At least until I know for sure that I am, and I can figure out how to break the news. He has so much on his plate already, and I don’t want to add to it.”
I studied her and nodded. I didn’t want to keep it from Ristan, but it was her place to tell him when she was ready. Girls had to stick together in this place, since the numbers weren’t exactly on our side.
“Fine, but Cade is asleep and I need help packing,” I laughed. “Set him in his crib and help me pack these bags. My parents will be here soon, and I need to at least get their favorite blankets and toys packed. Adam and Ristan keep bringing more and they keep getting spoiled rotten,” I explained and watched as she smiled and nodded, red curls bouncing as she agreed. “I’m going to the Guild tomorrow to see what is needed for the rebuild; would you like to come with me?”
“Last time I was there, the upper levels were all rubble.” She grimaced as her cheeks flushed with unwarranted guilt.
“Pretty much, but the main level is stable and the catacombs are still secure,” I clarified. “We have to get it up and running as fast as possible. With the problems with the portals, it’s going to be needed now more than ever.”
“Mmm, beautiful girls with beautiful babies…so domesticated.” Masculine laughter accompanied a smooth, even baritone. It made me smile. I lifted my eyes to the familiar voice and found silver eyes watching me as Vlad leaned against the doorframe lazily. “I never pegged you for a domesticated creature, Synthia. However, it does look good on you.”
“Dracula, this is Olivia,” I introduced. “She’s Ristan’s better half.”
“We’ve had the pleasure of meeting already,” he countered dryly, and winked at Olivia as she left the room. “Ryder said you planned to go to the Guild. Soon?”
“Very soon,” I agreed.
“He explained the situation; are you sure it’s wise?”
“No, it’s probably not wise but what other choice do we have? I won’t allow the Horde to slaughter my hometown. Right about now, I’m guessing it’s total chaos out there.”
“You’d be correct.” He sat in the rocking chair that Olivia had just vacated. “Bedlam and total chaos,” he mused as he folded his hands in his lap and stared at me. “Lucian is using ancient magic to keep the hell gates closed, but it won’t last forever. The Witches in Metaline Falls have no idea what is happening around them either. Smart, but then again, he seems more than capable of managing chaos than most people. However, the Guild is in shambles, and it’s being watched by a small group of Seattle Enforcers. It looks like they’ve been sitting on it since we paid them that last visit. My guess is that they’re waiting for you.”
“And you’re going anyway,” he grumbled.
“Yes, I am. Tell Lucian I expect him to pay us a visit and that I am in need of Alden for a few hours tomorrow. He can see that my uncle is escorted and safely delivered. I will make sure he’s returned later, when we finish with the new layout and name the new Guild.”
“You expect me to tell Lucian what you want him to do?” Vlad raised an eyebrow skeptically. “He won’t just do as we ask, Synthia. He’s dealing with his own mess, and from what I’ve seen, he isn’t enjoying it. I’m only aware of what is going on because I’ve had people watching him and reporting back, which I’m sure he’s aware of. Not much passes his notice.”
“He’s got his hands full, I’m sure. I can’t imagine he’s enjoying keeping his distance from Lena. It doesn’t change anything, though. I need Alden with me tomorrow. I promised him that I would keep him updated on anything that pertains to the new Guild. I’m not afraid of Lucian, and I respect that one single mistake could bring down everything he’s worked on since we left them. On second thought, you keep Ryder busy, and I’ll go,” I said, with a wicked smile on my lips while Vlad swore violently, then swore again as Zander giggled at his words as I vanished.
I entered the lavish nightclub, my eyes seeking out any hidden threat as I made my way to the bar. Behind the bar was a silver fox; his green eyes watched me carefully as I approached him. His jaw was covered in a five o’clock shadow, and the first few buttons of his freshly starched white shirt were left undone. I wanted to order a drink, but the elusive owner was already aware of my presence in his establishment.
“What would the lady like?” The bartender moved in front of me and set his hands on the polished bar. His eyes slowly slid down my body until he found the pulsing brands I’d glamoured. “Fae?” he smirked. “We don’t get a lot of Fae in here, not before the downstairs club is open for business.”