Robin clenched his teeth as Chawlie careened around the cliff’s curves.
Darnation! He’s gonna wipe out and kill himself. I oughta tell him to slow down, but it ain’t right for me to complain. He’s gettin’ me up this cliff a whole lot faster than I could have on my own. So, I’ll just keep my mouth shut.
‘sellta. I’m gettin’ closer and closer.
I’m almost there.
Chawlie sped around another curve.
If I don’t freakin’ get tossed off the cliff first.
Preyuna stayed near the front door and listened to the sound of the approaching motorcycle.
He’ll gladly kill Mark Caten for me.
I know he will.
Mark took another sip of his wine as he watched the monitor.
I’ll give my little cupcake enough time to say hello to him. Then, I will enter the scene and take over. Robin will be so awed by my mere presence he’ll forget all about Preyuna, which is a very understandable reaction.
“After all, it isn’t every day a man comes face-to-face with a god. He will gladly kidnap Ambrosia’s lover for me. I know he will. After all—” Mark set his drink down. “—I am Mark Freakin’ Caten.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out an iron cigarette lighter. His heart ached as he remembered his daughter. “I always get what I want.”
Jay closed his eyes as Isellta convulsed in his arms.
I’m sorry, kid. I’m so sorry.
“I’m sorry I didn’t do anything more. I’m sorry I couldn’t think of anything more to do. I’m sorry I couldn’t get Robin to come back with me. I’m sorry that everything I tried completely failed to work.”
“Sweetheart.” Maelin leaned her face against his upper arm.
Jay exhaled a tearful breath. “It’s my fault, Mae. It’s all my fault. I should have known that Preyuna would find a way to get at him. I should have known that she’d force him into sleeping with her again. I should have known that he’d give in. I should have known that there would be consequences. I should have known. Darn it all, Mae! I should have known.”
“There’s no way you could have known that.”
He opened his eyes. “But I know how she is. I should have known.”
It’s my fault.
Isellta’s dying and it’s all my fault.
I know it is.
Maelin watched Isellta’s black wings fade into white.
“How much longer does he have, Mae?” Jay asked.
“I wish I could say hours. I wish I could say a few more days. But I can’t. Isellta’s going through the blanching part of a fey’s death process. It’s a sign that the temerititious links connecting his body to the fra nae shi are breaking down.”
Jay raised his tear-stained face. “How much longer?”
How can I soften this? How can I make this easier for him to hear? It isn’t possible. Not when he’s that attached to Isellta.
“Minutes. It’s all a matter of minutes.”
Dave burrowed his face into Hank’s neck. His shoulders shook as he cried.
Hank rubbed his lover’s back. ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, babe.”
Jay kissed Isellta’s head. “Do you remember, kid, the first time I kissed you? You asked me so nicely, so sweetly. It was my day off. So, I told you that I.” He took a deep breath and exhaled. “Um. That I wanted to just.” He cleared his throat. “Just spend the whole day with you. You were worried about. About if Robin wanted to kiss you. You didn’t know anything about kissing then. You were as innocent as a child. I kissed you. I gave you the step by step of how to do it. Remember?” He exhaled a shaky breath. “I do. Can’t we go back to that? Can we somehow delete all of the bad stuff that’s happened and just start all over again?” His voice broke on those last three words. “Can’t we?”
Maelin couldn’t keep resisting. Not when Jay needed her so much. She shuffled behind him and spread her hands on his back.
I can’t take away all of the grief, because that wouldn’t be right. But I can soften it.
She closed her eyes and used her peace dragon magic.
The tension in his shoulders lessened. “Thanks, Mae.”
“Not a problem.” She opened her eyes. “You needed that. I know you needed it.”