"What are you doing bossman?" Riley asks, placing Junior back down on the ground to play with the building blocks that Mia is happily sat playing with.
Junior is still bigger than Mia. Chunky, chubby thighs and a round stomach after eating. Mia is more slender but taller, her legs slim but longer. Each time I see them I find my heart expands that bit more. Juniors blonde hair growing slightly faster than Mia's brown tight ringlet curls.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you look absolutely miserable. Even as you fake a smile for their sake." He inclines his head to the babies.
"What do you expect me to do exactly Riley? She doesn't want me there or she would have asked. So instead i am here being a father to our children whilst she …" Has fun. Dresses up in a fancy ball gown and has her hair done perfectly. Whilst she smiles and probably dances with other people. My gut twists in jealousy. "She deserves to have fun."
"Do you know I once told her that she should make the most of every minute. That some things are lost to others like me but when you have a chance at something you take it." He sighs. "I didn't expect to have to have that conversation with you. You are smart enough to take what you want when you want it. You see opportunity when others see failure. You make things work and do it well so it helps those around you. I have seen you bring together rogues and place them in homes so that they can become a clan on your land. Yet you cannot see a way to bring you and her back together?"
"I am giving her time."
"To what? Sit waiting for you to make the first move? Am i wrong to think she was a virgin?" He asks and I snarl at him. "So i am right. Do you really think after the fact she came to you and made moves before. Putting herself out there only to feel like you traded her in for the model you wanted. Do you think she will do it again?"
"You think she has been waiting for me to make the first move?" I turn to look at him and he rolls his eyes, giving me an are you kidding me look.
"Yes. For such a smart guy you really are an idiot."
Could he be right? Has she been waiting for me to make the first move all this time? Wouldn't i know that though if she wanted me to? I've been giving her space and time. She seems so comfortable around me. She hasn't ever questioned staying in our bed every night or me holding her. We sleep in the middle she climbs in on one side but always gets in the middle anticipating the cuddle that will be coming. Have I been an absolute idiot?
"Bossman, that woman loves you. She never stopped and probably never will. If she hasn't yet after everything you've done i don't think she can. Hell she has sure tried when she was away but i've seen you both together. With these pair of munchkins and you are the real deal. These don't happen often." He says running his large hand over Juniors hair who turns to give him a quizzical look. "To have them and a woman you love, who loves you back. Don't let your nerves or ego get in the way. If you take rejection, get back up and try again in a different way. I doubt very much you'll be getting rejected though."
Damn if he isn't right. I've fucked up so many times and thought giving her space was the best thing i could do but what if i was wrong. What if all along she has been waiting for me to make that next move and i could have had her for the past three months.
It all feels very strange. To be back here in London. To have been getting ready in my old room again. Father is happy to have me home of course knowing it is only for the one night. I was surprised to see the guard with the scar. The one with a scar through his eye brow again but when I smiled at him he returned it in kind.
"What should i expect of tonight?" I had asked my father before the limousine pulled up outside the usual hotel functions like this take place.
"It is an informal gathering. The usual top of each area. Mostly we have been holding one every month or two to keep friction down and make sure we all stay united since our numbers have depleted." He smiles back.
We'd walked into the ballroom. Flanked by four guards. The usual beauty of the room and crowd inside. I heard some of the whispers about me being here and I knew that would happen so I held myself steady smiling as I entered holding father's arm.
"Don't worry everyone is just happy to see your return to us." He says placing his free hand on mine and gives it a comforting squeeze.
Father with Mia and Junior is like a different man. Is it the fact a vampire who has children is still very unlikely to have grandchildren? It is unheard of so for him it is a gift he never expected but so happily received.
We walked through the crowd that parted around us. Mostly because the four guards give them no choice but to do so. Keeping people at a far distance from us. Only now do i realise how much risk i have always been at coming to things like this. One slip up. One minor cut and everyone in this room would be in a frenzy of blood lust. How can I continue to risk myself now? Mia and Junior need me. I need them. Father finally stops when we are at the furthest table. Councilmen Rhys, Eloise and some others from the council are already there. They stand inclining their heads in respect as father waves off the guards to stand towards the edge.
"Emery." Eloise smiles rounding the table and pulling me from father into her arms. "Don't you ever disappear like that again."
"I won't." I smile at her. "Though i don't live in London anymore i will be back for these things. I promise and we can meet up sometimes."
We were both always too busy to do that often before and then I had guards with me at all times so it wasn't exactly girl chat. Not an open one anyway.
"Princess it is good to see you again and you look beautiful as always. Dark navy becomes you." He says with a charming smile. Rhys is handsome but nothing about him sets my heart off, my stomach to have flutters or my knees to weaken. Not like Dimitri does at just the sight of him. He could be in shorts or a tux. I would love him either way.
But I told him I didn't love him? I told him that when he came to the house and found me pregnant with his twins. I hadn't meant it of course. Had dreamed and prayed that i could be over the stupid feelings but now. I wish to have them forever only if he feels the same. I return Rhy's smile.
"Thank you. You look very handsome in your tux." I reply politely.
"Well shall we take a seat." Father says pulling out a chair for me to sit on. I do and thank him as he sits beside me.
He begins to get into conversation with others in the council when Eloise takes the free chair to my side.
"Anything new happened whilst i've been gone?" I ask.
"Not really. The negotiations with the wolves are getting easier since we have more of a control on things." She sighs. "I do feel bad. As many as we have slaughtered will not make up for how many of there's they lost."
"Did the vampires kill that many wolves?"
She nods. "I have only been in contact with packs in the surrounding areas but i know those all over the UK have been impacted. One single night. Then for weeks after we have taken out so many of the supernaturals."
"You can't feel too bad. Eloise you are doing your best to make amends." I put a hand on hers and she gave me a warm smile.
"I've done all i can for now. I have given proof of every action we have taken to control the situation and reassurance if the sky was to turn red again. All vampires who believe that excuses breaking rules long since governed have already been killed."
I squeeze her hand before taking mine back and sipping at my wine. Eloise did not have any hand in the killing of our kind but she had to see evidence of each and every single one. That alone seems to have a lasting effect on her.
"Is there more to this?" I ask leaning towards her so that only she can hear me.
She nods looking so lost in her thoughts. "The pictures. Names. There were so many but I recognised some. Only a few of course because i don't have contact with rebels or rogues. One was not always a rogue though."
I feel her pain. I feel like I understand where this story is going but I don't stop her or press her to continue. Giving her time to divulge as much as she is comfortable doing so.
"He was a ranger. One of my guards. We couldn't help ourselves. I felt such a connection with him and when his commander had found out he was pulled from the guards. I never knew what happened to him. He never even contacted me again but I have always thought of him. Missed him."
Was he her one? Soulmate? The man she was fated to.
"I guess now after so long i have an answer to that. He wouldn't have felt any pain though. His was a quick slaughter." Yet she doesn't sound at peace with her knowledge she sounds pained.
"Are you going to be ok?"
She gives me a fake smile that doesn't reach her eyes or bring joy to her face. "Of course i am. Now let's drink to you returning."
So we did. We drank. Laughed and caught up about silly trivial things. Not that i mentioned me having twin babies nor did i about Dimitri. The man I am head over heels in love with. That i could really use some advice on, or just how to find my lady balls enough to kiss him.
"Princess would you honor me with a dance?" I look up to see councilmen Rhys standing to the side behind my chair. I smile and accept his waiting hand as he helps me from my chair.
He leads me to the dancefloor and many people part as we arrive. A high standing councilmen with the princess. We are gaining attention that is for sure. His hand holds mine as his other finds the appropriate place on my low back, pulling me to him but not against him.
Rhys is not an ugly man. An old vampire. Easily close to or maybe older than my father but he must have been turned in his early 30's and still has a handsome face and strong body. Yet nothing. Nothing comes to life in his arms. Between my legs still as dry as the desert. Only does it seem to come to life around Dimitri. Every damn night.
"I believe you have set the gossip wheel turning."
He nods then looks down at me. "These people would gossip even if there was nothing to gossip about."
There isn't of course.
"I do believe this is the first time you have ever asked me to dance."
"Yes. I find that this time you seem different. More relaxed and comfortable. Confident in yourself too. Does this have anything to do with your sired brother who plotted to have me murdered not being here?" His smile doesn't falter and I know he doesn't believe me involved. He would be too arrogant to think i was capable
"Some. Dustin was never a nice man to me. To say the least. My time away has given me perspective. Which is why I decided to live away from here but come back when I am needed."
"A wise head on your young shoulders." He doesn't sound like he is being sarcastic which is nice.
"Very wise, I am a lucky man." I turn my head so quickly at the sound of his voice that I hear a resounding click in my neck. "Pixie."
Dimitri stands in a tux. The same kind that nearly every vampire here is wearing. Yet on his six foot six toned, tanned and broad body. Mine begins to hum with excitement. Why is he here? Why is he dressed like that? Last time he made a point to wear a suit and not in a black and white colour. He didn't want to fit in and I think I grew to love his stubborn behaviour. Admire his ability to stand out and be proud of his differences. Be it in opinion or upbringing.
"Dimitri, what are you doing here?"
He steps closer. "I am exactly where i should be. Wherever you are. I knew it before but tonight may have taken me a few hours to realise."
My heart flutters in my chest and my stomach seems to be filled with butterflies taking flight. Rhys steps back, dropping my hands and inclining his head with a knowing smile. I appreciate him knowing when to leave. Not hovering for the gossip as others are. Those that have stopped dancing and are now focusing fully on us. This should feel awkward but nothing with Dimitri does. Even him holding me every night and then each day as I wait in hope he'll say sweet words to me, kiss me.
"What about …"
"Safe and fast asleep with Riley sleeping in our room. Because it is our room Emery. I couldn't sleep there without you. I can't do it anymore pixie." He says taking a step closer still, until I have to look right up at him. One large hand taking my cheek. A gentle thumb running over the skin. "I cannot be with you but not have you anymore. I need you. I love you with all I am. I have been waiting for you to want me but then Riley …."
"Waiting for me to want you?" I interrupt feeling rather confused. I have wanted him this whole time but haven't known how to make a move. Plus I have been insecure that since he helped me give birth he may have been put off. May have not been appealing to see a human head be pushed from the area I want him most now. "I've wanted you this whole time. I never stopped loving you and i apologise for saying I did, it was a lie to try to save some of my dignity. You kissed me after Junior and I thought maybe things had changed. But then you haven't kissed me since."
He looks at me for what feels like too long. His eyes searching mine. Is he now not believing my love for him? What is going through his mind? I wish I could read him better but this needs to be said. We can't continue to live like a couple but not be one. Its killing me and it's time I know where I stand with him.