Savage love, p.31

Savage Love, page 31


Savage Love

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  Of the twins, Callum was so like Carolina that Patrick struggled to maintain his righteous anger. “Why didn't you tell someone?”

  “Justin said not to,” he replied meekly.

  Patrick thought Justin was turning out to be a handful, reminded him of himself when he was set on a cause, resolved and dangerous. “How did he get there?”

  Callum wished he'd paid more attention to his lessons on how to dematerialize. In a voice barely above a whisper, he revealed, “By casting a spell.”

  Patrick's eyes bored into his son's, looking beyond his elements of Carolina and his tone grew harsh, “I'm in no mood for games. How did Justin get to the beach?”

  Callum raised his right hand, “He has magic, both black and white that he rarely uses. Calder and I knew from the minute we were reunited with him that he possesses the arts to a greater degree than we do. He's powerful like you. That's how Calder and I have gotten better in our music and he's taught us some of our ancestral fay ways. When he can, he uses his skills to protect mom, like yesterday when he called the animals so the reporters would leave before she arrived home.”

  Patrick admitted to himself that he'd been wrong about a great number of things having to do with Gingernut, Dylan and the kids. Additionally, he was faced with the fact that Justin was causing him significant distress. His look grew in severity. “What else has he done?”

  Callum cleared his throat before stating, “When he was a captive fay he learned magic that would’ve allowed him to be born to mom again. He waited, hoping you would be his father. But when he was certain you weren’t in love with her and didn’t intend to have her birth Calder and me, he used his powers to be born to Dylan. Justin also used magic to search for mom over the years. When he escaped the kidnappers he simply thought himself away from them and eventually to mom's office building, but he deliberately allowed the men to hurt him because Justin believes good can come from suffering. He wanted us all together, knew mom would remember and reanimate him if he died, hoped his death would make her agreeable to seeing Dylan again.”

  Patrick finally realized just how driven love for Carolina and Dylan was making the boy, determined and reckless. “What is Justin planning?'

  Callum shoved his sweating hands in his front jean pockets and rocked back on his heels. “He was going to kill Liz like he did the couple who betrayed mom in their homeland but Calder convinced him not to. So Dylan went to bring them home a few minutes ago and he wants you to call him.”

  Giving the child a concerned look he asked, “If Justin got there on his own why can't he bring Calder back with him by the same means?

  Despite Patrick's patience so far, Callum knew he’d be infuriated by what they’d done. Worried, he tried stepping back but was unable to move. Looking into the rising flames of his blood father's eyes Callum blurted the truth, “Justin doesn't want to. He says Dylan has to prove he deserves mom, sacrifice everything for her, if not as brothers we've decided we won't allow mom to get married, sort of, like you did when she was going to wed that other guy. Justin has convinced us that if mom continues to be denied a strong mate who'll help her actualize balance of spirit, she'll one day choose not to exist. He is angry with you and Dylan as much as he is with Liz because in the past few days neither of you have shown her the respect she deserves. First Dylan slept with Liz and then you, knowing mom yearns for you constantly, set your desire toward Vega with no regard for her presence. Justin mostly, but Calder and I too believe your being here interferes with mom being fully committed to Dylan.” Callum, hearing familiar footsteps approaching, didn’t elaborate further.

  Carolina walked up behind Patrick, sliding her arms around his waist to give him a squeeze and a peck on the cheek before addressing her son, “Callum, where are Calder and Justin?

  Callum saw the flames rapidly extinguished in the depths of Patrick's eyes but still felt compelled to admit what he and his brothers had been up to, “Mom they're-”

  “They've gone with Dylan to get a surprise for you. Although I see he's already given you one, his mother's necklace.” Patrick ruffled Callum's hair, to calm, quiet and assure him that she need not be made aware of the trio’s doings.

  Carolina touched the smooth stones at her throat, felt their comforting energy. “This was so unexpected and I'm honored but I want it secured in the safe. Will you unfasten it, please?”

  Patrick looked at the glowing teardrop hanging far above the gold medallion he'd given her and felt great palpitations in his chest. In his countless years of existence, he'd seen the one-of-a-kind stones before gracing the imperial throat of an empire's great mother. Even if he'd been so inclined, he couldn't remove the necklace from Carolina. Dylan Savage, keeper and hider of many deep secrets, or his father were the only two beings who'd be able to release her from the charmed collection of pale pink gems. Patrick shook his head at her. “No. He wants you wearing it.”

  Carolina unable to resist the feel of the guttiform shape at her throat was absently caressing the smooth jewel as she watched Vega, her daughter Constance and a little guest stroll over to them. Carolina cast a suspicious sidelong look at Patrick, carefully attending to his expression as Vega raised his hand to her lips. He smiled warmly at the beautiful woman and bowed gallantly to her equally stunning daughter.

  Happily, Vega announced to him, “Chris needs to talk to you about your Calder and our Constance. But first I found this little cookie sitting all by her lonesome.” Vega drew Vienna forward to stand along side Callum.

  Carolina beamed, reaching out to comfortingly stroke Vienna's peachy cheek. With a raised eyebrow at Patrick she inquired, “Was there a problem?”

  He hunkered down in front of the little girl. Taking her face in his hands, he asked softly, “Orange-blossom, would you like a snack?” At her nod, Patrick patted her lustrous brown hair before rising to address Vega, “Please see to her for me. I'll be there after I talk with Carolina. Callum you go too, keep Vienna company.”

  The boy was set to object, “But I-”

  Patrick's gaze forcefully swept his son from head-to-toe until the teen hung his head shamefully. Callum and his brother's were no match for him, no matter how angry or justified they might believe themselves to be, and he wouldn't tolerate their cheekiness. “You will attend to Vienna until I say otherwise.”

  Callum raised his eyes apologetically. “Yes sir.” He took the little girl's hand, walking off with Vega and Constance following behind them.

  In a tone pitched to deter her from argument, Patrick told Gingernut what he felt she needed to know about the fates of Vienna's dad and his associate, “I relocated Cliff and George.”

  Her eyebrow rose higher, “Are they alive?”

  He remained perfectly still, holding her gaze. “At my behest, they were transported to the southeast coast by Dr. Bixby. Earlier today, the residence Vienna was assigned to burned down with the owners inside. The children who were staying there were safely assisted from the facility before the blaze started.”

  Carolina was surprised; she'd believed the men fairly reformed. “Why did Cliff and George burn down the foster home?”

  He gave her a penetrating look. “They didn't. Vienna willed the blaze to start. The owners had been making her and the other children sick in order to get more money from the state. Therefore, after she was healed, Vienna decided to stop the couple from ever hurting anyone else. Some of the children died because of the maltreatment they’d suffered. I conversed with the departed little angels myself when I allowed Vienna to see them so she'd calm down, know they were safe and being cared for.”

  Carolina stated sadly, “I understand about the home and its owners, but why isn’t she with her father?”

  Patrick continued staring at her for a few seconds unable to believe she was so senseless about what he was telling her. He watched her fingers leave the teardrop diamond to clutch his gold medallion that lay mid-breast atop her purple blouse and he felt a somewhat familiar sensation in his chest. “C
liff can't raise her now. When you healed Vienna, I think feeling the loss of your babe caused you to change her so she's now very much like us, needing to balance the scales of justice with lethality. Therefore, when I was getting birth certificates for the new Savage babes I had Vienna's natal records altered to reflect you as her mother and me as her father. Additionally, those horrible social services files detailing her life before she came here no longer exist in mind or actuality. I know she won't replace your other baby but you'd already made her yours and I thought my assuming paternity of her would please you. So now, after a fashion, I've given you an additional child of our own to fuss over. I sent Cliff and George off without the ability to recall her or anything that even remotely has to do with you, Dylan or your combined family.”

  Taking Patrick's hands in hers Carolina allowed some of her energy to flow into him, just a little, but enough hopefully, to keep him from changing his mind about allowing Cliff and George to live. Shifting her voice to the lyrical quality of there emerald homeland she stated, “Thank you for bringing Vienna back to me. Of course we’ll nurture her, but I want you to give those men their memories back and if Cliff wants to see her, he can. But, for the obvious reasons, George shouldn't ever come here again.”

  Patrick felt her warmth sneaking into his system, rubbing up against his stiff and ancient soul trying to bring about some flexibility and he grinned at her furtiveness. “For the safety of the entire clan, what's done will not be altered. You may not see the rightness of my decision now but later you'll know I've acted with your supreme protection in mind. I know I didn't want you running about executing our enemies but pregnancy and motherhood has made you entirely too bighearted with them.”

  She heard his voice as if it were coming from far away and fragile parts of her consciousness began to crack. When he smiled blithely, the regrets about not being his legal wife resurfaced, although she knew she had to let go of her lifelong dream for the sake of her future with Dylan. Trying to shake feelings of longing, rejection and the deep, persistent cracking sound in her head, she gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek, refocusing, hoping he wouldn't be upset about the new babes. Delicately she offered, “I appreciate you taking care of the birth certificates but we need a few more.”

  “I got three for the little Susans and in case some busybody reporter starts nosing around I'm having medical records prepared for you lovely ladies.”

  “You're extremely efficient. Nevertheless, we need three more. Come on, I'll show you.” Carolina hurried him along to the nursery where she pushed open the door expecting to find her eight sleeping babes but what she discovered stunned her. Perched atop each of the five cribs was a songbird, three yellow warblers and two scarlet tanagers. Hesitantly she walked over to peer at the colorful little creatures. They fluttered their wings and flew three to one of her shoulders and two to the other. She felt Patrick at her side when the remaining three babes shifted into an indigo bunting and two more scarlet tanagers, flying to land atop her head. Carolina reached up to capture the rascals from their merry pursuits in her hair, scolding tenderly, “Get back in bed the lot of you. You're far too young to be experimenting with your fay skills.” Her winged offspring tweeted happily before flying back to their resting places, immediately transforming back into their human selves.

  Patrick was dazzle by their transformations and being ever protective counsel her, “You should be sure to keep the windows closed so they won't fly off.” His doubts about the babies were assuaged; however, questions about Dylan Savage were mounting.

  Walking over to little Patrick he lifted the wee dote from his crib. Holding him tightly, he sniffed a not so sweet smell, answering aloud the babe's request he heard in his head, “I'll sing later. Now you need a fresh nappy.” Adeptly Patrick set about changing the little devil, dodging the forceful stream of urine the mischievous imp deliberately sent his way. He cleaned the babe, and then applied a cotton diaper to his little bottom, before tucking the scamp back beneath the covers. Patrick’s actions were carried out as if he'd spent a millennium cradling children. Looking down the row of cribs, Patrick's visual survey stopped and he stared impassively for a long while at his face in miniature on one of the new babes, his chest further tightening with all the emotions he dared not give voice to least he compromise Gingernut's future as her eldest son's accused him of. Using tremendous self-control he resumed counting and classifying all the babies, asking her for verification, “There are eight in total, a girl and two boys, new today?”

  At observing his fatherly manner with baby Patrick and the pride he tried concealing over the new male infant that resembled him astoundingly, both of whom he should have given her himself, she wanted to scream, demand to know why he couldn't be in love with her. She'd not known first blush, romantic fairness in either of her lives. Perhaps if she hadn't been such an easy wench, her fay mate might have stayed with her longer than the time required for dew to dry in Death Valley during the height of summer. Perhaps, Patrick would’ve legally married her to claim what she’d stupidly and eagerly given away. Maybe he would’ve respected her more and viewed her as an appropriate mother for his children, had she not spread like room-temperature Kerry Gold butter on a hot scone. Willing herself to calm down, she inhaled deeply then allowed the arrested breath to escape her slightly parted lips to fill the room with the spicy-sweet perfume of 'Fragrant Cloud' roses in an effort to soothe her own ruffled feathers, and she wished it would rain, so she'd be temporarily cleansed of her awful desire for him. Inhaling deeply and feeling a bit more under control, she answered, “Yes. Their older brothers and Savage uncles will name them later today. Dylan told them it would be alright. You don't mind do you?” At his negative head motion, she felt bad that he wouldn't get to name the child that was so facially like him, but resigned to her life never working out in a manner that made sense she asked breezily, “By the way, did you pick up my dress?”

  “Of course, I bought things for Vienna too and thanks again for accepting her. Now I must dash, there's still a great deal to be done before tomorrow's ceremony and Gingernut, will you please accompany me on Monday to the hospital to heal the other children? I know some of them won't survive beyond that without your attention.”

  The thought of helping children lifted her spirits. “You couldn't keep me away. In fact, I'll change into a Peregrine and fly over to the hospital before Dylan and the boys get back. I'll ask Callum and Vega to mind these mites while I'm away.”

  His jaw dropped before he composed himself. “You can change into a falcon?”

  “Sure. The babies inherited their shifting gene from me and their beautiful voices from you and Dylan. Unless you've hidden talents of transformation you've never shown me?”

  “At this point anything is apparently possible. Like the three new babes, they are the ones you feared lost yesterday but Dylan brought them back to you?”

  “Yes, from the lavender field where I buried my loss beneath the moonlight.”

  “So their existence is due to your magic, not his?”

  “I know my treacle bear is totally responsible for our babes being back in this world, but he doesn't accept the credit.”

  Patrick laughed heartily at her term of endearment for Dylan, shaking his head in wonder at how much in love she was. The emotion made her pulse with a vibrancy that threatened to captivate him. “Why did you never truly reveal yourself to me Gingernut?”

  “At first I thought the truth would interfere with your loving me. Then there wasn't any point because our relationship wasn't such that you'd ever need to know more. You weren't going to marry me and-”

  The strong fragrance of roses continued swirling around him and he envisioned her dressed in the bridal gown they'd chosen, his voice growing raspy, “We are wed.”

  With a sad look, she denied his claim. “You never even thought of giving me children so there weren't any fairy babes flying about that needed explaining.”

  Patrick studied the miffed tilt o
f her chin, unable to discern if she truly didn't remember Dylan telling her the real identities of Callum and Calder’s parents or if she was simply pretending not to know in order to shield herself from the pain. In either case, he longed to right the wrongs between them. In a rich velvety tone, he told her, “Gingernut I'm committed to you. What Dylan said this morning is true. He and I agreed that if something ever happened to him I'd legally wed you.”

  In utter exasperation, she tossed up her hands and when they came down, they landed at her hips, her stance angry and ready for battle. She couldn't believe he'd be so beastly. “You'd legally marry me for him but not because you adore me and want my happiness? I care not for the plan nor do I want the two of you teaming up to make decisions for me. And I warn you, Vega better not become ripe with your seed. I fear I have little patience left for your arrogant disregard,” she finished with a pout, crossing her arms stubbornly over her bosom.

  Patrick assayed her obstinate manner and announced strongly, “Dylan, my little brother, feels there's no other man on earth good enough for you and our offspring, so in the unfortunate event of his passing I will legally wed you, end of discussion.” Reaching out he pried her stiff arms from across her chest and forced her to keep them at her sides. “Now I'm leaving. The sick children were taken to the local community hospital.” Sliding his arms around her waist, he gave her a tight squeeze and a quick kiss on the forehead, felt her relax and knew her pained mood had passed.

  With a last look at the babies and a wink at little Pat he strolled from the nursery. Still in motion, a few feet away from the door, he pulled out his cellphone and dialed Dylan's mobile number. The phone rang five times before connecting with an answering service. Patrick no longer wasted time walking. He closed his eyes and willed himself to where he wanted to be, standing behind Vega, his gentle, statuesque intime. Placing his hands on her shapely, silk covered hips, he shifted her aside to wave at Callum, Constance and Vienna. He then whispered to Vega, “I'm off to get Dylan and the boys. Carolina is going out for a few minutes. Will you and Callum sit in the nursery with the babes and little Vienna until she gets back?”

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