In my room I was going to grab Alex’s pillow and actually hide in the closet until I was needed again, but when I got there a particular blond girl was sleeping curled around the same pillow. Ant stood by the window staring out. “He told her to wait here while he dealt with whatever he was dealing with.”
“Ryan go with him?”
Ant nodded. “Yeah, she fell asleep. She’s exhausted.”
I sat down on the edge of the bed and I moved a strand of her pink hair from her face and she blinked ice blue eyes at me in fear. “Shhh. It’s okay. You are fine. Sleep, but I need you to take your shoes off, and climb in bed proper.”
She looked at me confused. But she let me help her take her sneakers off and I set them on the floor by the rug that we kept there. I pulled the blankets from underneath her and let her shimmy down into the warmth. “Sleep okay. No one’s going to hurt you.”
“Ant I need you tonight,” I said as I got up and decided I didn’t need the pillow. “Actually I need you now.”
He gave me a wry smile and nodded. But it was Vin who answered. “I’ll stay here. I can’t hide like he does though.”
“Stand outside then so you don’t scare her.” I smiled. “And so the other kids don’t scare her trying to get in bed with us. I’m not sure when that will happen.”
Vin nodded. “Right-e-o Nox. I’ll getter dun.”
I rolled my eyes. Vin laughed. “I didn’t think you’d like it but I’d give it shot anyway.”
“Just be you,” I said.
“Good advice.” Vin shoulder checked me. “Ain’t it boss.” He grinned at Ant.
“Yeah it is. Come on. Let’s go,” Ant said as he lead the way down to the next floor and into the dojo. We both kicked off our shoes and sat down to pull off our socks. The dojo floor was slick if you didn’t take your socks off just like it was meant to be.
And after a quick stretch Ant and I were circling each other. It was slow at first, while we both got our feed under us. Ant tried to chat me up, “You want to talk about it.”
I shook my head. “No, not really.”
He nodded and threw the first punch and I dodged just in time. He tried a few more times but before long we were trading blows in succession so that there was no time to talk only breathe. Though I suspected that was just me, Ant didn’t need to breathe as a vampire.
We moved and punched and kicked. There were no rules – at least nothing that pertained to what was fair and what was not. The only rule was we didn’t kill each other – drawing blood was frowned upon but we could do it. It was a whirlwind of hands and feet and magic. At one point Ant drew a fiery sword from nothing and I joined him in a simple sword fight until I squashed his with air and water in a valiant attempt to end the fight.
It only resulted in me on my back and kicking my way back to my feet as we continued. Time was irrelevant and by the time we stopped I was drenched in sweat and breathing heavily through my mouth trying to catch my breath. There was applause from the shadows and not only was Alex watching, but so were several of the Master vampires from earlier. But with a look from Ant everyone except Alex hurried out of the room including Ant.
I gave him a half smile and pulled my wet t-shirt from my body. I used all the elements to wash and dry the offending article of clothing before pulling it back on. All the while Alex leaned against the same wall watching me. I turned and looked at him and frowned. He wasn’t going to talk to me I didn’t know what to say to him. I’d already apologized to him over the text. I sat down on the far edge of the dojo and pulled my socks and shoes back on. But I didn’t get up just looked over my knees at the man I loved.
“Do we have room for Quinn?”
“Absolutely no question in my mind. She can have her own room. It’s not like we are worried about space.”
Alex shook his head. “Do we have room for another kid?”
“Are you telling me you can’t love your own daughter? That my family is too much to love? That there might be in some way no room for another kid in my heart?” I was being a sarcastic asshole and I knew it.
“We barely survive with what we have.”
“And we’ll make it work with one or a hundred more, Alex. Quinn is your flesh and blood, she’s part of you, she needs her father, specially because she’s like you, but all kids need their father. You know this as well as I do.”
“She’s a handful. She’s always running away. She back talks, she’s….” Alex growled.
“You love her. And Alex, that’s all that matters. Family is all that matters, otherwise what is the rest worth fighting for.”
“Do you feel better?” Alex asked.
I smiled. “Yes. Pent up aggression and energy was taken out on Ant.”
“Quinn said you’d told Ant you needed him now. I think she thought you meant in another way, like you were cheating right in front of her.”
“What did you think?”
Alex sighed as he pushed away from the wall. “Honestly?” I nodded. “I was a little worried until I listened to the focus in your head. And then I knew how you were coping with what happened.”
“It’s better than hiding in the closet and bursting with energy.”
Alex smiled. “I hate when you and Hunter lock yourself up in a closet where no one else can help you.”
“Being alone is sometimes the only help we need,” I said.
Alex nodded. “I know, but i still hate it.”
Alex was standing in front of me and he offered me a hand which I took. He pulled me up and against him. The pressure of his body against mine made me weak and not just for sexual reasons. I sank into his arms and wrapped my arms around his neck. He was my everything I hated fighting, I whispered, “I love you. I’m sorry.”
I didn’t say for what, but Alex didn’t ask either he just held me tight. “I spoke with Ryan about that binding thing. We need to talk about that.”
I nodded against him. “Can it wait? Or is this something we want to do soon?”
Alex chuckled. “It can wait pretty boy. But I will say I want you to be all mine sooner rather than later.”
“I’m all yours now and always.”
“I know, but this just proves to me I can’t trust myself.”
“What do you mean?” I asked pulling away from him.
Alex blushed – actually blushed which I knew meant he was embarrassed by whatever he’d done. So I waited for him to say something. “I was packing a bag – not to come here – and not really to confront Shelly and her husband. When the golden boy back there walked into my room and asked if I needed help booking tickets for four.”
Alex took my hand in his and pulled gently towards the door. “I hadn’t planned on telling you, and I’d forgotten Ryan was still there, but Quinn had opened the door and was going to bolt so he had dragged her back in. He was still holding her by the shirt when I looked up at him. Quinn was kicking, hitting, scratching him. I think I saw teeth marks too but none of it phased him.”
Alex sighed as he opened the door and we left the dojo for the stairs back up to our rooms. “And that’s when I realized I couldn’t sneak away. So I packed a bag, and I grabbed Quinn’s and we came here via Ant since I didn’t want to have to chase her through the streets. But we got here and she threw up and laid down. Totally forgot to tell her what to do, but she laid down.”
The stairs were empty and Alex stopped on the platform and pushed me against the wall and pressed his head to my chest. It was a loving and vulnerable gesture and I just wrapped my arms around him. Talking wasn’t easy for him. “She told me you woke her up, made her get in the bed. Like it was no big deal. When I told her it wasn’t she was confused. I told her I needed to find you, and we’d introduce her to the family.”
Alex looked up at me with his bright blue eyes, there were tears in them from his emotional overload. I just wanted to kiss them away, but they hadn’t fallen and he was smirking already. “I won’t run away. And you need to stop too. No more hiding, no more running, I want forever Nox. And I’m not going to wait until we figure it out. I want you happy, and I make you happy. If you are happy I’m happy, it’s so fucking redundant. I know we fight. Fuck!” Alex frowned but he got down on one knee. “I didn’t plan on doing this, but Nox, Marry me?”
I nodded and pulled him up. “Yeah, I think I can do that.” I pressed a hard kiss to Alex’s lips before he could object to my answer. “That’s a resounding yes, by the way,” I mumbled against his lips biting at his bottom one. “No way in hell I’d say no.”
“I don’t have a ring yet, but I’ll get one.”
I tapped Alex on the shoulder, I’d made one soon as he’d asked it wasn’t hard, simple and easy. It was identical to Alex’s except my size. He looked back at me and frowned. “I’m supposed to do that.”
“How about you pick out the wedding bands – real ones. I know we aren’t doing a wedding, but there’s no reason we can’t have the bling.”
Alex laughed. “Oh fine.” He took the ring from my hand and slid it on my left ring finger. “Perfect fit. Not that I doubted you.” He smiled at me. “But you know I’d prefer if you make them. Neither of us do the jewellery thing, so we pick a rock and colors and all that and you make them. It’s free then too – just like you like it.”
I laughed. “Are you calling me cheap?”
“Not at all. But you make 80% of what you use except food and clothes – makeup the little things. Pencils, paper, piece of cake. This is just a trivial thing isn’t it?”
I nodded. “Yeah. I figured you’d want to spend the money though.”
“I’m good for now, do you have any idea what your watch cost?” He laughed at the look on my face. “We’ll figure it out,” Alex said. “Come on pretty boy, lets introduce Quinn to the rest of our family.”