Breaker (Riders of Apollo #4)

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Aurora Sterling

Okay, so, I think these three overestimate my abilities. This ballroom is stuffed to brim with gorgeous women from all walks of life and suddenly I’m grateful that B is not here to see all of them.

Their dresses are jewel encrusted in deep reds, purples, hell every colour in the rainbow and they all look perfect. Their makeup and hair done professionally with jewellery worth more than anything I’ve ever owned and jeez, they’re all really fucking nice too.

This should be illegal, I swear.

“Trust me, I thought the same thing when I first got here. They’re incredible, aren’t they? I’m almost positive that all of them are models.” Marielle links her arm with mine and winks, “do you speak Spanish?”

“No, I speak French and a little Italian... does that help?” Mari just laughs and winks at me.

“Stick with us, I’ve been learning conversational Spanish and most of them learn English as a second language so it’ll be fine.”

“Just promise you won’t leave my side.” She pinky promises me before we make the rounds, Saviour in front with people actually bowing to her as she greets everyone excitedly.

As usual, Lucia chooses a grand entrance. The double doors at the top of the marble stairs are opened by two bodyguards and in walks the Queen. She’s radiant, with a brilliant smile on her face and the crown, I still can’t get passed the crown.

Somehow, she walks perfectly in that dress and glides down the stairs like a pageant girl, her head high and her gloved hand brushing against the gold banister. I love when women.

The night continues slowly, I manage to have meaningful conversations with a few women. One was from Nigeria and is here studying paediatric medicine and she spoke with such flourish and excitement, like me when I talk about dance. She was wearing a bright yellow dress with prints on and a golden head piece with large golden earrings and bangles. I really liked her.

Another was from Madrid and spoke English with such a strong accent that I struggled to understand her, especially when she spoke fast. But she is a lawyer, a human rights one, and has been kicking ass globally for years. Her dress was more simple, black silk with long sleeves and conservative neckline with small pieces of jewellery. She told me never to settle for less than what you deserve.

The final one I managed to speak too before my brain almost exploded was an older lady from Russia. She was wearing a pantsuit in a light blue colour and studied art in college, now selling her painting and sculptures for up to 200K a piece. She was very straight forward and told me to never take any shit from a man because as a woman of my looks and brains, I can always find better.

If you couldn’t tell, she never married and prides herself on being Matias’ aunt that breezes in whenever she’s back from another sunny country drunk off her ass on vodka. Yes, she said that and yes, I love her all the more for it.

I step out on to the balcony for a breather and rest against the railing as I look over Lucia’s rose garden. She grew it herself with the help of google and gardening books and they’re gorgeous. All different colours and spreading at least an acre of their sprawling lands. “Are you okay, ma’am?” I spin around at the deep voice with mild panic. Good thing I didn’t have the heart monitor on because they’d probably take that as an indication of danger.

“I’m alright, it’s just anxiety that’s all. Been inside for a long time.”

“You alright if I stand back here? The Queen has requested that none of her guests be left alone in case of danger.”

“Oh, thank you. I’m Cassidy, by the way.”

“Steve.” I smile and try not to laugh. It’s amusing to me that in this large building of people of all different races with exciting names and flowing accents, I’ve found a guy from New York called Steve. He stands with me for a few more minutes before escorting me back into the ballroom for speeches and cake - cake being the main reason I came.

“Hello everyone, thank you very much for coming considering what happened last year.” Lucia is back at the top of the stairs with two guards flanking her and a glass of champagne in her hand. “My husband was very much against another party but I managed to convince him, as usual, and I’m grateful for everything you have said and gifted. It is definitely another birthday for the memory books. Now, I would normally force my sister Peyton to speak for everyone but she is carrying a gun and I don’t want to antagonise her so I think we’ll skip straight to the cake.” Lucia winks down at Saviour who just shakes her head in amusement.

As I had hoped, the cake is red velvet - at least the tier I got mine from - and I sink my teeth into it happily. I manage to sneak two more slices before Saviour catches me and takes the fourth piece for herself. “Don’t look at me all butthurt, missus, you’ll be sick.”

“I’m willing to make that sacrifice.” I stare down at the plate in her hands, literally willing to snatch it from her hands and swallow it whole like a snake. She stares at me in surprise before raising an eyebrow and smirking.

“Come with me.” She tugs me out of the room after picking up Mari and Lexie. She navigates the house with a struggle, having led us to three different dead ends before finding her room with the red letters on so that she can see it, yet still failed to do so. “I swear this house is a fucking maze.” She kicks the door open and the other two sit down on the bed while Sav disappears into the bathroom while I stand there awkwardly.

“Sav, what are you doing?” I ask as she ransacks the bathroom. The other two look unruffled, probably knowing this is her usual behaviour.

“Yes! I knew it!” She dashes back out with a plastic stick in her hand and I look at her in surprise.

“You don’t think...” I probably look like a startled deer as she thrusts the stick towards me and I avoid it like it’s the anti-Christ. I’m still in school - granted, I finish in like two months but still - and I don’t know if I’m ready for a baby or if Breaker even wants one.

“Honey, we’ve had our suspicions.” I drop onto the chair to the side of the bed while the other three look at me with soft smiles. “You pee so much, your favourite foods have changed and you’ve definitely been craving things more than usual. You were literally ready to eat my hand as long as there was cake on it and your anxiety has calmed down, you’ve been glowingly happy even if you were a little nauseous in the mornings. I know you’ve been blaming it on the stress of finals and credits and adjusting to the lifestyle... which it could be but maybe you should find out for sure...” I try to take in all the information Saviour just gave me while I stare down at my hands.

“You don’t have to, sweetie, it’s just if you are we want to make sure you’re getting your vitamins and pre-natal care...” Marielle comforts and I reach out my hand for the pee stick that will determine the rest of my life.

“Okay...” I shakily head into the bathroom and awkwardly do my business in a ballgown before capping it and washing my shaking hands. I open the door so that the girls can see me but slide down onto the floor of the bedroom, just outside the bathroom, away from the stick.

“Do you want a baby?” Lexie asks, dropping onto the floor next to me, the others doing the same.

“I always imagined having them, when Hendrix and I first got together I wanted a big family. Like eight babies as many girls as I could get but when we broke up I just thought that maybe I would never have babies... but I’d be happy with just the one as long as it’s B’s.”

“Trust me, honey, with them genes, these babies are going to be gorgeous. No matter when they’re born.” Saviour strokes my arm and I sigh, my eyes tearing up.

“What if Breaker doesn’t want kids?” I find my chest catching at the statement, we’ve never really spoken about it even though I know we should’ve before I got his name tattooed on me but even if he didn’t want kids it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. He’s everything to me and as long as I have him, I could go without.

“Cassidy, that man loves children. Have you seen the way he is with our babies? He’s sweet and gentle, kind hearted and amazing amounts of patience. Both of you will be amazing parents and your child will be the sweetest, most down to Earth person on the planet. I promise you, everything will be okay no matter what that stick says, okay? We’re family and we’ll do anything for you.” Lexie consoles, squeezing my hand tightly.

The timer on my phone goes off and I look over my shoulder at the counter where the stick is. I can’t gather up the courage to get it myself so Sav does it for me.

“I’m pregnant.”

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