I waved to Joe as we walked to the stairs, it wasn’t a far walk and Alex walked the stairs without grumbling. He was brooding over something and I left him to his thoughts. He’d talk to me soon enough I was sure.
He unlocked the door and led me into his dark apartment. It was so quiet in comparison to where we normally lived, but these three hours were ours, like totally ours. Ryan parked himself downstairs with Joe. They had become pretty good friends swapping stories, Joe about his family and Ryan about the girls he was seeing. It was humorous to listen to them living through each other.
I kicked off my shoes by the door then flipped on the lights in the kitchen and started working on our lunch. Alex was watching me move around his kitchen.
“Nah, Baby, it’s your kitchen.” Alex interrupted my thoughts. “And I love that you make yourself at home.”
“You want me to right? This is my home too.”
Alex nodded. “Yeah, baby it is.” He sounded sad.
“Is everything too much. Do you need space?” I asked.
Alex looked at me and frowned. “You think I’m a bad person.”
I laughed. “Fuck, no Alex. But I know family isn’t something you want. We agreed to two places. If you need to stay here I’m sure the kids will understand.”
Alex sighed as he sat down on the stool on the other side of the counter and watched me as I started our lunch. It was far fancier than lunch, but this was our time, and it was always special to me. I prepared lunch and Alex brooded for a good twenty minutes before he sighed again. “I love your family.”
“Our family,” I corrected.
“Our family, but…” I pressed my finger to Alex’s lips and he looked up at me as I slid his plate in front of him.
“Alex, no buts needed. If you need space no one is going to hate you. It’s a fucking shock to me too.”
“So come with me.” Alex grinned and then it faded. “I know you can’t. Ant won’t let you. Hunter needs you. You have training for the kids. Plus all these new things. What the fuck was up with Adrian on his knees.”
“Uh. About that. You know how I killed the Dragon and now have a Dragon Clan following me?”
Alex nodded and his eyes grew narrow and I knew he knew what I was going to say before it came out of my mouth. “Yeah, Adrian yielded the Lone Wolf Pack to me. And Alec before the Council meeting swore fealty – making me a Prince to his Master.”
“What?” Alex asked.
“I now kinda lead a clan of dragons, a pack of wolves and an entire vampire bloodline.”
Alex just blinked at me. “Okay,” he said stunned for a moment. “But I want you to know they aren’t all coming for dinner.” He smirked. “Then my news is sorta mundane compared to that.”
I smiled and waited for him to continue. He sighed as he knew I wasn’t going to ask. “You remember I told you I’d been married – had a kid?”
I nodded. “You mentioned it.”
“Yeah, my kid is a habitual runaway. Her mother is flighty, her boyfriends are almost always dick heads and none of them ever watch Quinn. I’ve had The Wicked Truth watching my ex and Quinn. That’s her name, my daughter. She’s ten now, she ran away the first time at six and I flew out to find her and take her back to her mother who didn’t even know she was gone. Every since then Sage sorta sends her my way. She’s on her way from the airport – should be here any minute.”
With unbelievably perfect timing there was a knock at the door and then Ryan opened it slowly. “Yo people entering cover up,” he shouted. Not that he ever cared before, for being a straight man he had walked in on me, Alex and on us together countless times and he was never ashamed. He openly watched. Alex hated when he did it, but it was Ryan you got used to it. The hundred year old teenager.
He came into the kitchen with a blonde girl with the tips of her hair dyed pink wearing a jean jacket and ripped jeans and a hello kitty t-shirt. She didn’t look ten.
She glared at Ryan who let go of her backpack. “Wicked called said you were expecting this rapscallion?”
Alex nodded. “This is Quinn, my daughter. Quinn say thank you to Ryan for bringing you up here safely.”
She glared at Alex, then at Ryan and spat out, “Thank you.” She returned her glare back to her father. “That okay, Andy? Or is it Brent? Or Bobby.” She growled, “Dad!”
Alex sighed. “Ry, you might as well stay up here, we won’t be getting any alone time anyway.” Alex tried to hug his daughter but she ducked underneath his arms and walked into the room proper.
Ryan smiled. “Can I eat too?”
Alex shook his head. “No the food’s all mine.” He rolled his eyes. “You know he cooks for you and Joe too.”
Alex pointed to me on the other side of the bar. “Quinn, this is Nox. My boyfriend.”
“Ew. Gross,” she said even before she looked my way.
“Quinn,” Alex growled.
“What?” she spat at him. “My dad kissing someone is gross. Sorry!” She rolled her eyes and focused on something else, before she turned to look at me. “You finally tracked down your monster kid.”
I offered her a freshly towel dried hand with a wide eyed surprise. Alex told his daughter a lot, but then she was probably a telepath.
She took my hand and I leaned over the counter and kissed her little hand and smiled, “A pleasure Ms. Quinn.” The ten year old trouble maker blushed.
Alex groaned, “Jesus, Nox, that’s my daughter you are flirting with.”
I leaned across the bar and kissed Alex softly. When I pulled away licking my lips I added, “Who better to teach your daughter how boys are supposed to treat her than her Dad’s boyfriend?” I smiled and pushed a plate towards Quinn. “Sit darling and eat.”
Ryan complained, “Where’s mine?”
Alex growled, “Make your own lazy bones.”
I passed him a plate too and he smiled happily. I ate on the other side of the bar watching Alex and his daughter have a mental conversation.