The boys had everyone packed in record speed. Faelen was the only one who was dragging his feet. Well so was Isabelle. “I’m not family.”
I smiled at the witch woman who was carrying our child. “No, but the bun in your oven says otherwise, and the vampire who’s taking us agrees.”
“Anthony doesn’t know a god-damned thing.”
I grinned at her. “Isabelle, he apologized. Give him a break.”
She looked around and when she saw that we were alone she leaned into me and pulled me down to listen to her five foot something self. “I only do it because he’s too sweet.”
I burst out laughing. “I’d never have said that about him, but you’re evil.”
“Until these twins are born…”
Isabelle grinned. “Didn’t I tell you? Between your boy, your weird ass heritage, magic, and the fact that predestined facts are in your favor.”
“In my favor?” I frowned. “You are telling me, you are having not one, but two improbable children?”
“It’s in your favor Nox.” Isabelle smiled brightly. She didn’t understand. I felt the entirety of my world shattering. The probability of my kids killing Isabelle before they were born just quadrupled. I sank to the floor unable to catch my breath.
I saw the numbers floating in my head. I’d done the research so long ago, but those numbers still haunted me. Just as the words from the fortune teller did. It was supposed to be something silly when Rosie took me inside the tent with Sage and Carla. Ms. LeCart read Carla first. ‘A child born to the full moon.’ Which was truth, Sage’s sister was a wolf, and her daughter would follow in her mother’s footsteps even though the father was completely human.
Sage’s was just as cryptic, ‘Lost and found, right in front of you.’ She never said what Sage would lose or find but it’s right in front of him. We may never know what the cryptic words were supposed to me.
But she looked at me and shrank back. ‘Nothing but darkness.’ She crossed her fingers like you might with a vampire, and backed away from me. ‘A mother dies and brings the darkness in her wake.’ The images were playing over and over in my head. The numbers overlaying the words in my head. Isabelle’s face swam in my head, her eyes closed, her body limp. My heart pounded. I could barely breath.
There was a crash down the hall that alerted my attention but I was unable to do anything about it. “What the fuck happened?” Alex said as he knelt down beside me trying to pull me into his lap.
Ant was there too I saw his dark sneakers peaking out from underneath my curled form. “What did you tell him Izz?”
“I just told him I was having twins.”
I felt the glee in Alex’s body, but Ant growled out, “Fuck! That will do it.”
“Why would twins make Nox go into a panic?” Alex asked.
“He ever tell you how improbable it was that he was alive and so was his human mother?” Ant asked.
“Probably,” Alex said, I could hear him rolling his eyes. “That’s all he’s thinking, that and some fortune teller’s drabble.”
“It’s like point zero one percent chance that both human mother and child survive the birth of a half-Venatori child. One hundred percent of children who do are Magnus.” I recited without really hearing myself.
“He’s not Venatori,” Isabelle said quickly. “He’s not anything we know of. And fortune tellers aren’t all fakes.”
Ant sighed. “Look at it from his point of view, Izz. He grew up knowing he shouldn’t be born. The birth rate of human mothers and werewolf fathers is not nearly so bad, but the odds are not in their favor. Women who are impregnated with vampire semen and manage to conceive 100% of the time have dead babies – either in miscarriage, or in still births. Human women with male dragons don’t fair so well either. The odds don’t look good Izz.” Ant took a deep breath. “And Izz, you are coming up on your twenty-second birthday. You have never in any life lived much past twenty-two.”
My heart pushed into overdrive – it almost hurt it was beating so hard. I couldn’t catch my breath as the dread seized my body. Holy fuck! Holy fuck! It was like a mantra in my head.
“Jesus fucking Christ Ant, you had to fucking say that,” Alex growled angrily.
Alex pushed a thought heavily into my body and my mind, Calm. Rest. Sleep. It was a mantra that soon pushed me into a slumber and I opened my eyes in the dream world. Except this time I didn’t wake up by a tree, I woke up in the middle of the fucking ocean on a small island with no one around except my blue eyed boy.
I was standing in a tuft of grass like Alex was sure I was going to melt down any moment, but his constant Calm. Rest. Sleep. echoed in my head. I didn’t know how he could divide his attention. “Alex?”
“I needed your body to reset.”
I smiled and nodded. “I know.” I couldn’t panic in the dream. Alex was keeping it so. Again I didn’t know how but he kept me from what was going on outside like a shield.
“It’s hard.” He grinned at me. “Nox. You have to let it go. Right now. The whole place can feel it.”
“Your fear,” Alex said. “Ant will figure something out. He doesn’t want to lose Isabelle. You’ll figure it out so don’t panic. Please, babe, just come back to me.”
“I’ve not gone anywhere,” I started to say and then I was gone, away far away – washed away by a tidal wave of my emotions. Alex’s growl echoed in my head as I churned in the lost cause.
I tried to swim, but the current kept sucking me under. And when I managed to find air, another wave would crash upon me and I would swallow the ocean again and drown in the depths of my own soul.
And then there was a light and a sound, and a pop and then I stood in my world – by my tree under the strange sun lit starry sky, staring at the blue ribbon wrapped around a flowering tree.
The next thing I knew I was blinking my eyes open staring at a strange ceiling with the ocean crashing just outside the double doors that were wide open on to the veranda. I could smell the fresh salt water and feel the warmth in the air across my skin. There was a distinct coolness on my wrist, in addition to my control charm. It was one of the kids bracelets – I wondered whose. But I felt better. Not like myself, but better. The thought of Isabelle dying tripped across the emotions, but it didn’t make me falter. I hated this thing, but right now it was allowing me time with my family. I would take it.
I stepped through the open doors on to the veranda and watched the scenes outside the beach house that I remembered as a child. I hoped I hadn’t slept long.