Kyri and I spent a little while longer in the comfort of the library, speaking among different topics and catching up. Our previous conversation still plays like a broken record in my mind, aiming to lure my distracted attention to dwell further on Kyri’s earlier statement. I hadn’t planned to discuss or question Delano about beloveds besides the knowledge of knowing that we were internally connected through the phrase.
To put it simply, there was only a brief conversation between him and I speaking on beloveds; when his mother mentioned it to me, only confirming it with him later at that moment. Now to question him directly, with no interruption, places my heart at an anxious pace fueled further with excitement.
Kyri was right, there is no reason for me to be nervous about speaking to him when I gave birth to our children, the actions of how they were conceived not too far in my memories. Ridding myself of wandering thoughts, Kyri grabs my attention and gestures for us to return to the room. Collecting the surrounding books, I leave a few on the surface of the table in a neat pile and take with me the ones I needed.
“The twins are about three to four months now?” Kyri asks on our venture down the hall.
Adjusting the books against my chest, I nod, smiling at the image of my children growing right before my eyes. “Yes. I actually still can’t believe they’re mine.”
She swipes a lock of her bright hair behind her ear, the echoes of our steps indicating the emptiness of the halls, bringing us closer to the stairway.
“Delano thinks the same thing,” she says, smiling, her blue eyes slanting to collide with mine.
I say nothing, absorbing her words. We arrive at the steps and descend their angles, soon reaching the bottom and taking the familiar path toward the room. A comfortable silence encases us both, the distance between us and the room gradually growing smaller.
“I have a question,” I address suddenly, keeping my eyes ahead.
“Do you have any knowledge of babies, in my situation, having fangs to feed?”
I turn my head and gauge her expression, once again met with raised eyebrows, and slightly widen eyes. With her smaller frame, she looks up at me a few inches beneath my chin, her eyes giving away her thoughts as she racks her mind for an answer.
“No, I have not,” she answers, cocking her head a bit before turning to face ahead. “This is my first hearing something like this.”
She crosses her arm over her torso while placing the elbow of her other on top, her hand stroking the column of her neck, brows furrowed in thought.
“I’ve been around for a while but not long enough to be acquainted with a situation liked this,” she informs me.
“I see,” I murmured.
Kyri sighs, a twinge of unhidden pain laced in the action as she speaks; “Moments like these, I wish my parents were still here, to inform us all of the things that we ourselves don’t have the answer for.”
A lake of silence stretches after her words, water spilling over the minutes as they pass. I say nothing, my words having no meaning to take away the pain that will forever be with her, simply: I reach and grab her hand, squeezing it to make it aware that I was here for her. She accepts it with her own response of squeezing back, nothing more to say. We eventually reach the last hall that paths to the room, pivoting around the corner, a dot of a figure emerges in sight, standing near the room’s entrance; as our pace grow near, my enhanced sight identifies the male figure.
At the sound of his given name, his body swivels in the direction of the call, our eyes locking in a stare. That familiar grin spreads across his lips, sending a wave of unknown nostalgia through my bones as he fully faces me, his smile growing wider.
He waited until we were a few meters from his position to become a blur of colors, appearing within my space in a shred of a second. His arms close around me in a hug, caging my arms at my side, leaning back to lift me off my feet. I could help the surprised giggle that escapes me and drifts into the air. as he spins me around, his own laughter ringing.
Placing me down, I look up at him with giddiness coursing through me, his familiar yet slightly different features bringing a sense of familiarity to my being as I look him up and down. I wasn’t aware of how much I’ve missed his energy and bubbly personality until now as he stands in front of me, that smile brings forth memories.
“It’s good to see you!” I tell him, reaching and giving him a proper hug.
“I can certainly say the same thing,” he responds.
“What are you doing here? Not that I mind.”
“I came to visit, it has been a month or so since the last time I have seen you,” his eyes access me up and down, brightening considerably, “you’ve changed a lot.”
“The pot calling the kettle black,” I jest.
His build was different, leaner, and more noticeable, his shoulders a bit broader than before. His hair grew, naturally parted down the middle as it flops on either side of his face; not too long and not too short, those silver eyes daunting and striking like a bullet. The definition of his facial features was more prompted, his bone structure evenly seen, the baby fat that previously occupied his face was gone. In other terms, he appeared more masculine than the last time.
Abel grins, noticing where my eyes landed with curiosity, lifting his arms and flexing.
“They look good, don’t they?” he says, bringing his other arm and flexing once more, soon beginning to pose.
A chuckle rises from my throat, vibrating my chest with humor. “They’re new. ,”
“You could say he went through a second phase of puberty,” Kyri chimes in.
“Fuck yeah, I did, do you see these weapons?”
She simply shakes her head with a smile of her own, moving around his frame and heading to the door. Both Abel and I follow in suit, Kyri knocking on the wood of the door, the noise resonating in the halls. From the windows, the glow from the moon shines through the planes and paints the floor a light shade of blue, the only source of light beside the candles in their steel places among the walls.
“Where have you been doing, truly?”
“Delano set up a different security group for the kingdom, putting Eileesha and me in charge,” he explains, casting his eyes over me before returning to me. “Neither of us had time to roam since it was still newly formed.”
I make a noise of agreement at the back of my throat just as the room door opens, Eileesha’s frame standing at the threshold of the door, her eyes flickering between all of us. She drifts her gaze to Kyri last, dipping her head in greeting as she moves to the side.
“Princess,” she says.
Kyri smiles, stepping into the room with Abel and me in tow, her hands resting on Eileesha’s forearm briefly. “You can drop the formalities, we’re alone,” she assures before moving further into the room.
I was the last to enter, Eileesha closing the door behind me. My gaze immediately finds the two small beings that occupied the crib, still wide awake and eagerly looking to see who has entered the room. Glancing around for a moment, I notice a difference, two sofas placed horizontal and vertically of each other; creating a small sitting area near the door, a coffee table, and a bookshelf to finish the look.
“When did these arrive?” I ask, padding my way to the dresser.
“His Majesty had them sent to the room,” answers Eilessha.
Toeing off my shoes and placing them near the single-cushioned chair, the plushness of the carpet sinks between my toes, rising a sense of relief from my bones as I turn and make my way to the crib. Reaching the crib in a few paces, I finally realize the absence of Audrey, her usual aura nowhere in sight: brushing it off, I assure myself that she was not too far and doing other tasks that needed her attention.
Cassius makes a noise of excitement as my face pops over the banister of the crib, his gummed mouth stretching into a smile from his position of lying on his stomach, arching his back for a better view of me. A smile of my own slips across my lips as Adelia resembling her twin’s movements, both trying their best to reach me: stopping their struggles, I reach into the crib and pull them both into my arms and littering their cheeks with kisses.
“They’re getting bigger now,” Abel drawls from behind me, coming into view to stand next to me.
He waves to them both, cooing at the back of his throat. Adelia makes the act of dropping her smile and staring at him blankly, causing me to chuckle when Abel notices and frowns, leaning back into his full height.
“I feel like she doesn’t like me. . .”
“I doubt it. She’s like this with everyone.”
Abel scoffs, not believing a word I said as I shift away from the crib, heading toward the bed. I gently place Cassius and Adelia on the fabric of the duvet, leaving them to play with each other while settling my weight on the edge of the bed. My mind begins to run down the path I’ve tried my best not to venture down, pulling at the strings of my attention to relieve myself of this worry and anxiousness.
“Abel. . .” I begin, keeping my eyes downcast, “how’s Maddie?”
He didn’t answer me directly, causing me to look up, his eyes regarding me evenly, their usual lightheartedness momentarily diminished. He sighs and takes a seat beside me, careful not to hinder the twin’s movements.
“She’s fine,” he tells me, “doing better than the last time you’ve seen her. She and Adrian are actually scheduled to return back to the castle sometime this week.”
At his words, a weight is lifted from my chest, a feeling of happiness at the thought of her returning establishes a smile across my face, no longer having to deal with things on my own. Maddie brought me a sense of strength, she brings part of my life before transforming into what I am now.
“I promise, she is in good hands.”