Just as Jax finished struggling with the zipper of his jeans, they heard an angelic voice on the other side of the adjoining room door.
Saraid glanced at everyone around her to be sure that everyone was dressed before she responded with, “Yea baby, come on in.”
Treasa’s little hand turned the knob and pushed the door open so she could peek inside. As she advanced further into the room, she met eyes with everyone there. When her gaze locked onto the vampire in the corner, her lips perked, and she let out a deafening squeal.
“Uncle Jax! You’re back!”
Jax dropped to his knees, eyes alight with joy and his arms wide open, “Of course I came back. I can’t stay away from you, Runt.”
“I’m not a runt. I’m a big girl,” she laughed as she ran into his waiting arms.
Jax wrapped his arms tightly around Treasa and lifted her, so she sat on his hip, “You may be right, Runt. You’re getting so big, I can barely hold you up.”
He made a move, feigning to almost drop her and caught her mid-way down, driving another round of playful laughter from her. Jax squeezed her again, ever so gently, before returning her to her feet.
Saraid found herself grateful for the relationship between Jax and Treasa. If anything were to ever happen to Liam and herself, it would be Jax and Guin whom took care of Treasa. Treasa loved Guin just as much as she loved Jax and Saraid couldn’t think of a better couple to care for her, in her absence.
She met Treasa’s gaze and smiled, “Good morning sweet pea. Did you have a good nap?”
Treasa took Saraid’s hand in her much smaller one, looked up into her face and said, “No, naps are for babies.”
“Naps are for everyone, even Mommy and Daddy take naps when we can.”
Not satisfied with the answer she had received, Treasa changed the subject, “I’m thirsty, Mommy.”
Liam crossed the room to stand beside the two most precious women in his life, rubbing Treasa’s pink cheek. “Daddy will get you something. What would you like?”
“NO! I want Mommy to get it!”
“Okay, Mommy will get your drink, but only after you apologize to your Daddy.”
“Because we should not yell at people.”
Treasa took pause to try to wrap her little mind around her mothers’ words before she looked back to Liam and smiled, “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
Liam took her into his arms and planted a kiss on her rosy cheek. The sight of the two of them together was everything to Saraid. The knowledge of her being a succubus threw Saraid’s world into chaos, to say the least, but Liam and Treasa were the very two people she lived and breathed for. She loved and cared for Chase, Jax and Guin, sure, but the love she had for them would never match what she had with Liam and luckily, they all knew, and understood that.
“Okay sweetness, do you want water?”
“Okay, I will get you some juice, but after that you have to drink some water. Deal?”
Satisfied when Treasa nodded her angelic face in response, Saraid turned to leave the room. As she made her way down the hall, to the staircase, she ran into Grady on his way back up.
“My Queen, we have finished processing your mail. There is something we must speak to you about, right away.”
She could see the worry on Grady’s face. Something was wrong. “Okay, I have to get Treasa some juice. Can you take the mail up to Liam and I will follow you shortly?”
“Yes, my Queen.”
Saraid quickened her pace, not wanting to miss any pertinent details. The look Grady had worn left her worried. Something about the letter had him confused, or troubled to say the least. It took a great deal to ruffle Grady’s feathers. Usually, he was calm and easy-going.
She entered the large kitchen and made her way around the wall of dark cabinetry to the refrigerator. The steel of the door felt cool on her hands as she pulled on the handle. The light from the refrigerator cut through the dim lighting of the kitchen, causing a sharp stabbing in the middle of her eyes. She reached in and grabbed the bottle of apple juice and sat it on the granite countertop and made her way to the cabinet, shutting the door to the fridge with her foot as she turned. Her hands were shaky from the excitement to get back to her room.
Satisfied when she had the lid to Treasa’s cup secured, she made her way out of the kitchen, leaving the juice on the counter. Normally, she was careful to clean up after herself to make it easier on the staff, but right now she had her mind on one thing and one thing only. Finding out what was in that letter. Her mind wandered off as she contemplated the many horrors that could be within that one piece of mail and before she knew it, her hand was on the knob and she was re-entering her bedroom.
She glanced around the room over her shoulder as she shut the door quietly. Liam had just passed Treasa back to Jaxon when Treasa caught sight of the cup in Saraid’s hand. She couldn’t help but smile at the look of anticipation on Treasa’s face. Oh, how she longed to have nothing more to worry about than a full sippy cup. She crossed the room to Treasa and immediately handed the cup over, smiling gently as she did.
Grady’s rough whisper pulled Saraid’s attention and she made her way over to him, where he was standing huddled with Liam and Chase.
“So, what’s the verdict on the letter?”
Grady cleared his throat before turning his worrisome eyes on Saraid.
“The letter is clear of any hazardous materials, so it is safe to touch. However, it is the letter itself that has me confounded.”
“How so?” Liam asked.
Grady’s eyes moved quickly between the three of them and his posture stiffened when they finally settled back on her.
“It is better if I just show you, my Queen.”
He passed a folded piece of paper that looked like it had seen better days. It had begun to turn yellow and the page felt rough and brittle. She opened the letter by the crease, careful not to rip it and saw one sentence. He’s going to kill her!
That one sentence left a thousand questions dancing through her mind. Who was he? He’s going to kill who? How is she supposed to be able to help without knowing the answers to the previous questions?
“Is there anyway to track down where the letter came from?” Liam asked of Grady.
“I’m afraid not. There was no return address and no postage. Whoever sent this letter placed it in the mailbox themselves.”
“How did they get passed the wards I had set along the perimeter?” Saraid cut him off.
Grady’s head bowed as his shoulders lifted and then slumped.
“I’m not sure. The only explanation I have is that it happened during a shift change.”
There was no point in putting wards in place if someone could get through them and still get passed security, Saraid thought to herself. She would have to strengthen her wards and have Guin tighten up security. They need to change up their routines regularly.
“Keep a look out for further mail from unknown senders. It appears someone needs our help, but they don’t want anyone else to know about it.”
Grady folded his body in a deep bow as he responded with a curt, “Yes, my Queen.”
Grady turned on his heels as soon as he had returned to an upright position. Once the door closed behind him, Jax broke his silence.
“Who in the right mind sends a letter asking for help without leaving a way to get in contact with them. It makes no sense. You guys need to be vigilant and watch your backs because it could be a trick to lure you out.”
“But it has been quiet. There have been no talk or rumors of any further rebellious acts or anything of the like. It has been, peaceful.”
“You had no idea that the rebellion was gaining momentum until it was right under your nose,” Jax pointed out.
“Actually, she didn’t, but we did,” Guin stated.
“When we first got settled in and heard the rumors of a possible rebellion, we didn’t want to tell her until we knew for certain that it was more than a rumor,” Liam explained before Jax could show his anger at their admission.
“Well, let’s not make that mistake again. The last time I checked, most of you work for her. You need to be honest about everything rather than taking the chance of something catching her off guard.”
Jaxon’s voice had turned to the menacing growl that had left goosebumps along Saraid’s spine numerous times in the past. He was pissed, but at least this time he was pissed on her behalf.
“Jax, Liam and I share the throne equally. I do not consider any of the people in this room as under my employ. They are my unofficial partners, per se. That includes you too. I understand your frustration, but I also understand their side as well.”
Jax seemed to let Saraid’s works sink in and his body relaxed. He was just as confused and troubled by the letter as the rest of them and just like everyone else, he was powerless at figuring out who left it.
“Okay, well I think I have had enough excitement for one day and right now I just need to rest and spend time with my little princess and her Daddy. I am going to try to go back to find Wendy in the morning.”
She saw the hope return to Chase’s eyes and she sent a silent prayer to the heavens. Please let this work. I don’t want to disappoint him again.