The way the look on Alex’s face got darker and redder I knew the reason she was here wasn’t good. Their conversation was taking a turn and I saw it before Alex growled and got up and started for the door. I rushed in front of him and he blinked at me in surprise.
“Whatever it is Alex we can deal with it.”
Quinn started yelling, “Leave my Daddy alone!” But it was the mental blast that had me on my knees covering my ears and my instincts took over. The room filled with my power, the book on the counter glowed. The piercing pain stopped as Quinn had felt the power around her grow and it took all my effort to rein it in before it unleashed upon the world. It was harder than usual and I glanced down at the remnants of the mark on my hands. That had to go.
Ryan was on top of Quinn, his back to me and Alex stood between us but he wasn’t glaring at me he was concerned. “I’m sorry,” I said.
Alex shook his head. “There is nothing to apologize about, Nox. She attacked you, and I’m thinking had it been anyone other than our family that they wouldn’t have been alive.”
Quinn had broken down in tears. “Please don’t go. Please don’t go,” she kept muttering from the curled up ball on the floor in front of Ryan. The Chevalier knew exactly who to protect, there was no doubt in his mind that we’d be pissed off if something happened to her.
Ryan grinned at me. “I really am going to start to hate this job if I have to protect people from you.”
“I try not to attack my own.” I grinned back at him.
“But your power and that book go on autopilot.”
I nodded. “I know. I’ll figure it out.”
Alex was sitting next to his girl and they were talking in their heads. It was not fun being left out of the loop. “What’s going on Alex?”
Alex stayed bent with his daughter and held up a hand to tell me to wait and I let a growl go before I headed back into the kitchen to finish lunch. We were going to have to make some rules with three fucking telepaths around.
Ryan sat at the bar and watched me like he always did when I cooked, and I always did when he baked. He could cook too, but he hadn’t really done any of that since I’d moved in upstairs, Cari’s herd having found that I made enough for an army because of three growing teenage boys, they slipped up stairs to eat too. So I had six extra mouths to feed, and sometimes seven if Nick decided he wanted to join the land of the living. The empath was a strange man, but he was a reminder that Quinn could be a lot worse with all those voices in her head.
“I’m not bad!” she growled at me now sitting at the bar next to Alex.
“You’ve had a good teacher. I imagine the first time you ran away because your power kicked in and your mother didn’t believe you or ignored you.” She stared at me in disbelief. “I can’t imagine hearing everyone’s thoughts.”
“Then why do you leak so fucking much.” Quinn shouted.
Alex warned, “Quinn, language.”
I rolled my eyes. “Please, Alex, she’s your daughter.”
“What’s that supposed to mean”, he growled at me.
“Really Alex, like father, like daughter. Whatever. I’m going to lock down now, just a petty warning before I do,” I spoke the last so saccharine sweetly that I almost made myself sick but I pulled my shields around me and watched as Alex understood and his eyes went wide when I was gone from his head.
“Nox….” Alex begged.
I shook my head. “You want to take out your anger on me then go for it.”
Alex was feeling bad and I was pushing his buttons on purpose. I was being petty, and childish and I was pissed. So, I had no excuse for any of it.
I made three plates and then I went into Alex’s bedroom and shut the door behind me. I warded the room, including the bathroom and then let my shields go. Nothing in, Nothing out. My powers were contained inside of Alex’s safe space and while a little dusty I could envelop myself in him even though I was pissed.
I went into the bathroom and found the make up remover, an odd thing to keep, but there it was with the rest of Alex’s supply of make up. He wasn’t that kinda guy, made me wonder why he had it all and it was used. Probably for whatever con he was running. Which made me growl as I scrubbed at the mark that was left on my hand.
The bedroom door opened and closed and I heard footsteps come to the bathroom door. Alex was breathing slowly. I had let it all down so I could relax and Alex had no warning as he stepped past the barrier into it. “I still can’t believe you lock all of this away all the time. Look…”
I shook my head. “No, Alex. I get you and your daughter have this special connection, the same rules need to apply to you as they do to Cass. If you want a private conversation then you ask nicely and we’ll all leave or you can go into another room.”
“I’m sorry.” Alex stared at me his eyes still burning with anger. “You’re right, and I’ll teach Quinn manners – a lot of them, but can’t you cut us some slack here.”
“Why?” I looked at Alex. “You tell me I don’t ask enough questions. So Alex, why do you get to break the rules with your daughter.”
“She was telling me about her step-father. The things he did to her. All the things her mother knows about him doing to her. She wouldn’t say it out loud. She’s afraid to tell anyone. And then you tried to stop me when I felt like going to kill them. Which I’m grateful for, thank you. But Quinn was an emotional wreck and she reacted without thinking.”
“I’m not mad at her, or you for that.”
“I know. You’re mad because I shouted at you over something stupid.”
I washed my hand of the last of the make up remover and shook my hands as I walked past Alex and flopped down on his bed face first and buried face in his pillow. “Go deal with your daughter, Alex I’m fine.”
“You aren’t fine. You’re seeking sanctuary and I’m the one who’s making you seek it.”
“No you aren’t. It’s just everything piles on top of me and I just need a break.” I laughed into the pillow. “You want a break and I don’t blame you.” I stood up and smiled then pressed a kiss to Alex’s lips and pulled my shields around me but I didn’t block everything or try to keep Alex out. “Deal with your daughter. I’ll go lock myself in a closet someplace I won’t hurt anyone.”
I walked away but Alex caught my arm. “Your kids our our kids, but my kid is my kid?”
“That’s the way you want it isn’t it? Your space, your life, your friends, your job, your new place of business. I ask you about your day you say it was good. No more details. You don’t want to let me into your life and that’s fine Alex. But whatever is mine is yours – forever and always. I just want you with me Alex.” I stood there waiting for him to let me go and Alex nodded. I added, “If you don’t want to be anything more than Alex to my kids, then that’s fine. I won’t ask anything more from you than to accept that they are important to me.”
I pulled my arm from his grip. “Nox…” Alex said with sadness.
I sighed and I took Alex’s face between my hands and I pressed a kiss lightly to his lips. “I love you Alex. And I will take you anyway I can. Don’t worry about it. Take care of your daughter, just don’t go killing any one. I get you are pissed, I am too that someone would do that to a kid, and maybe if you tell me about it I could help. But you don’t want to so I should go so you can deal with it.”
“I didn’t want to bring up bad memories,” Alex said as I reached the door.
“Of what Alex? Garrett? My nightmares. Just because they are gone doesn’t mean I don’t still see them in the dark places. I’m a lot stronger than you give me credit for.”
“It’s not that Nox. She was abused – physically and sexually and…” Alex growled but he couldn’t finish his sentence. “And if I tell you, you’ll fix it like you fix everything else.”
My gut instinct was to stay and to help. “You fix it then,” I said and opened the door dropped the ward around the room and I left. Ryan got up and I shook my head. “Stay with Alex, Brandon and/or Valence might come for him since he had the book last.” I wove a net of air and pulled the book from the counter to me. “I’ll put it back in the vault.” I slipped my shoes back on and I left all before Alex left his room.