Aideen clung tightly too Emery’s hand as they drove down the freeway. Her heart beat out a frantic rhythm, threatening to burst forth from her chest. She had never been in a car before, had only seen them speeding down lonely roads in the middle of nowhere. They were going to see Emery’s parents who lived in Capitola, California. Emery said it was a West Coast city that looked very Mediterranean. When she said she did not know what that meant he told her it was extremely beautiful and she would understand when she saw it. Her amber eyes widened when he took a corner going sixty five. She was not sure if she would be able to get used to this. They had waited a couple of months instead of the short week to tell his parents they were together. He had told them he was engaged when in reality they were married. He had explained that his family did things differently than her family. They expected an engagement and then a wedding. She was nervous about meeting them, afraid that they wouldn’t like her. On top of it all she had been sick to her stomach. She believed it was the anxiety.
“Don’t look so worried.” Emery’s voice broke into her thoughts. “They’re going to love you.”
“How do you know?” She asked with a frown.
“Because I love you and because they are very free spirits who love nature. My dad is an avid surfer and mom practices shamanism when she’s not doing photography. My baby sister lives there with them. She’s seventeen and loves stuff like elves and fairies and dragons. She’ll really love your ears.” She relaxed a little. If his mother was a shaman then the woman would probably recognize what she was immediately. She tucked a strand of red hair behind her slightly pointed ear. She took a deep breath and he brushed his thumb over her knuckles.
“You always know what to say.”
“Well we are connected, mind, body and soul. Your fear is my fear.”
“I’m so glad I have someone who understands. Putting things in words can be hard sometimes.”
Aideen just looked out the window hoping everything went well. She was glad Emery thought they’d like her. Every one Aideen knew in her world loved Emery. He fit in perfectly. She fell asleep not even realizing it. Emery was glad she did since he could feel how nervous she was in a car. He figured her anxiety would greatly decrease once she was out of the car and with his family.
He knew they’d welcome Aideen with open arms. Emerys parents had been so excited when they spoke on the phone. He let her sleep until they arrived. “wake up beautiful” Emery said then kissed her cheek. She was relieved when she noticed the car was no longer moving. They got out and approached the front door. Emery knocked and a man who was obviously Emerys father answered. They looked so much alike she was shocked. “This must be your beautiful fiance. Come in.” They both walked in and then Emerys dad hugged her. “It’s nice to meet you Aideen. I’m Dax.” He yelled for his wife.
She also ran up to hug Aideen. “I’m Alice. I’m so glad we’re getting to meet you.”
“Thanks for having me.” Aideen said with a smile. Emery wasn’t kidding. They were really nice people. “Zelda will be home in a little bit. She had a date today and I guess it’s running long. Please sit you two.” They sat on the couch and Emery threw his arm over Aideens shoulders. “How was the trip?”
“Uneventful” Emery responded.
“Aideen doesn’t look like it was uneventful.” Dax said.
“She gets really bad motion sickness.”
“Oh you poor dear, come with me and I’ll make you some tea.” Alice said with a smile that lit up her chocolate brown eyes. Aideen got up and followed Emery’s mother into the kitchen. She leaned against the counter while Alice moved around the kitchen, filling a teapot with water and setting it on the stove. She switched it on then faced Aideen. “I know what you are sweety so you don’t have to pretend around me.”
“Thank you. I’ve never been in a car, it’s terrifying.” She replied with relief.
“You get used to it dear. So how long have you known my son?”
“We’ve been together for a month, but it feels like ages. We were connected through a ceremony. We are deo amháin anam, forever one soul.”
“I understand and I know it must be hard to be away from your home. I had the back yard made into a place of nature and solace. If you ever need too take a breather feel free to go back there.”
“Thank you, I am honored.”
Alice grabbed a coffee cup and her tea ball and sat them on the counter. She went into the pantry and came back with a glass container full of dried peppermint leaves. She stuffed some into the ball and closed it then sat it in the cup. The tea pot whistled and she lifted it off the burner as she switched off the heat. She poured the water into the cup and then sat the pot on a cool burner. She opened a cabinet and pulled out a bear shaped bottle of honey then squeezed some into the cup and stirred it. They let it steep a few minutes then she handed the cup to Aideen. “This should help your stomach.”
“Thank you” Aideen smiled. “How’d you end up meeting my son?” Aideen explained about the rose bush and Emery following her. Just as they went back into the living room Zelda came in. She was blushing and her father pointed it out “Looks like somebody must have had a good time.”
“Hi Aideen! Nice to meet you” She deliberately pretended she didn’t hear her father. “My brother can be a handful. It’s not too late not to marry him.” Zelda winked and Aideen laughed. “I’m going to call my best friend to tell her about the date. I’ll talk to you later.” Zelda ran to her room before her dad could say anything else. “You shouldn’t have said anything Dax.” Alice said looking at him sternly.
“I couldn’t help myself sorry. She’ll come back out and I promise I wont say another word.”
“I hope you didn’t take offense at her going in her room like that. It really was Dax that scared her away.”
“It’s ok, I wasn’t offended”
“Dax dear why don’t you and Emery get their luggage and take it up. They look tired.”
“Yes ma’am. Come on boy before she throws something at me.” Emery smiled and followed his father. Aideen looked a lot better, like she wasn’t about to bolt or throw up. He felt bad and hoped she would be okay with his family’s teasing nature. He popped the trunk and lifted Aideen’s bag out. “So tell me son, is she pregnant?”
“What?” He looked at his dad in shock.
“Is that why you’re marrying her?”
“I married your mom when she got pregnant with you.”
“Dad, come on.” He laughed even though he wanted to put his dad in a headlock. “She’s not pregnant.”
“As far as you know you mean.” Dax said as he pulled Emery’s suitcase out and slammed the trunk shut.
“Exactly. I’m marrying her because I really love her.”
“I loved your mom when she was pregnant with you. I still love her. The idea of having you just sped things up.”
Emery shook his head and his dad grinned. Sometimes he wondered how he had survived his dad’s bluntness. He smiled at Aideen and his mom when they came in then headed upstairs to his old room which he was glad to see they had not kept as some sort of weird shrine. It was a beautifully decorated guest room. He sat the bag down and saw Zelda go by the door. He reached out and tugged her ponytail and she shot him the death glare like she used to do when they were younger. “Love you too Tinker Bell.” He said and she glared at him again as she headed downstairs.
They changed into some pajamas then told everyone goodnight. When they got back into the room and layed down Emery said “My dad is just as blunt as ever. He asked me outside if you were pregnant.” Aideen laughed but then wondered if it wasn’t nerves that was making her sick. She still didn’t want to mention it though. She was sure it had to be nerves. Aideen would hate for his parents to think they were getting married because of a baby.
“My mom gets up really early so I’m going to appoligize now incase she wakes you. She might do it on purpose just to spend time with you. I can tell she likes you a lot.”
“It’ll be fine. I’m glad they like me so far.”
“I told you they would. You’re impossible not to love.” He said as he ran his fingers through her hair. “Goodnight.” He kissed her and layed down with his hand still in her hair. Aideen smiled then let herself drift to sleep. It seemed like she had just shut her eyes when Alice was whispering through the a crack in the door “Aideen, are you up?” She sleepily said yes and she invited her to go on a morning jog. Aideen got up and put on some shorts and a tank top to run with Emerys mom. She gave him a quick kiss on the head before leaving the room.
She pulled her hair up as they stepped outside and Alice stared at her for a moment. “Zelda is going to love those ears.” She said and smiled. Zelda came outside also dressed for jogging. Her eyes widened and she squealed in delight.
“Oh my god look at your ears. They are pointed. Can I touch?” Zelda said as she moved closer.
“Of course.” Aideen said and Zelda ran her fingers gently around her ears.
“How did you get them like that?”
“I was born with them.”
“I’m so jealous.” They started down the road, jogging side by side. A car passed and some young guy leaned out the driver side and whistled. Alice glared, Zelda laughed, and Aideen arched an eyebrow in confusion. They went all the way to the outskirts of town before moving off the road and onto the beach. She breathed in the fresh air and enjoyed the salty spray coming off the waves. She wanted to go swimming, but could wait. She suddenly felt very sick to her stomach and ran over to some tall grass. Her stomach emptied itself, bringing tears to her eyes. She held her stomach, staying bent over until she was sure she was done.
“I think we should go back mom.” Zelda said concerned.
“I think you’re right dear.” Alice rubbed Aideen’s back and she thanked her.
They walked back into town and Zelda said she had to go to the store and she’d bring back some pepto. Alice opened the front door and Aideen went upstairs to take a shower and get back in bed. She grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt. The bathroom door was locked and she could hear the shower going. She knocked on the door and Emery cracked it open. He smiled when he saw her and let her in.
He took off her clothes like it was a race and then grabbe dher hand leading her into the shower. Aideen laughed “I love you.”
“I love you too. Did you go jogging with mom?”
“yeah it was fun.” Emery pulled Aideen against him just letting the water pour over their heads. Aideen went to grab the body wash but Emery took it from her and started to spread it across her stoamch. He then washed her back then breasts. He washed slowly ran his hands covered in soap up and down her legs. When he ahd covered her all over with soap she rinsed under the water and soon felt his hands against her again. She giggled “Emery.”
“what I’m just making sure you’re properly cleaned and rinsed.” Aideen washed her hair as Emery just stood there admiring her. They got out together then put their clothes on. “I wish my sisters room wasn’t so close to ours. It’s going to be hard to resist having my way with you while we are here.”
“You’ll live.” They walked downstairs. Alice was making breakfast so Aideen offered to help. Between the two of them it was done quickly. While they were still getting plates out Dax leaned over and whipsered to Emery. “Zelda tells me Aideen threw up while they were on their run. I’m thinking she’s pregnant and hasn’t told you. She probably just wants to make sure you actually love her. I’d look into it son” They came in with breakfast and the plates so Dax straightened himself back up trying to look innocent.
They ate and talked about going swimming before lunch. Aideen loved the water. It was soothing to her. They agreed and Dax offered to get the boat hitched to the truck. “I would like that very much.” Aideen said with a smile as she finished her food.
“Hey sis, can you come with me real quick?” Zelda said, smiling nervously.
“Sure.” Zelda got up and headed upstairs. Aideen followed her into the bathroom, a little confused. “Is there something wrong?”
“I got you something from the store.” She handed her a small plastic bag and she pulled out a pregnancy test. She looked at the young girl who again smiled nervously. “I’ll give you some privacy.”
Aideen closed and locked the bathroom door before tearing the box open and pulling out the test and the small instruction pamphlet. She opened the pamphlet and red every word. She took a deep breath and used the test. She sat it on the counter and then paced nervously back and forth. Her heart hammered in her chest. She checked her watch, took another deep breath and picked up the test. Her heart stuttered when she saw that it said pregnant. Her legs felt weak so she sat down and just stared at the test. She wasn’t sure how long she was sitting there, but there was suddenly a knock on the bathroom door so she stuffed the test in her pocket and put the box at the bottom of the garbage can. She opened the door and smiled nervously up at Emery.
“Is everything alright?” He asked. “Your heart is beating so fast.”
“I have something to show you.” She pulled the test out of her pocket and handed it too him, waiting for what he would say or do.
A huge smile flew across his face. He about knocked her over with a hug after he set the test down. “so you’re happy?”
“why wouldn’t I be happy? This is wonderful Aideen.” She couldn’t believe how ecstatic he seemed. It made her smile. He just kept hugging her then excitedly walked downstairs holding her hand. Zelda, Alice and Dax looked at them and all knew by how their son looked she was pregnant. “Congratulations!” They all said at almost the exact same time. “Thanks for buying me a pregnancy test Zelda”
“No problem, mom and I thought you were and figured you two should know.”
“I knew too” Dax said grinning. “I hope your babies have the same ears you do Aideen. They’ll be so lucky!” Zelda said enviously thinking of her niece or nephew. “Can I throw your baby shower when it comes time?” Aideen didn’t know what that was but she nodded in agreement. She’d just ask Emery later. She could feel Emerys happiness. He hadn’t said anything about wanting kids so it shocked her how much he was bursting with pride and excitedness.
Dax got up “Emery help me get the boat hitched up.” Emery got up and left with his dad. As they got it hooked up Dax asked Emery “You excited son? You look like you got the best news of your life.”
“I’m beyond happy dad. I can’t wait.”
“Glad to hear it. I hope your child gives you the trouble you gave us growing up.” Emery laughed “Nothing I can’t handle.” They got everything ready and went in to get the girls. Alice packed a lunch while everybody put swimsuits on. She quickly threw hers on when she was done. They didn’t have room for everybody in the truck so Aideen & Emery rode in a separate car following them. “What’s a baby shower?”
“Its where they celebrate the baby and give gifts.”
“That sounds fun. I’m glad your mom wants to do that for me.It’s crazy how happy you are. You do know that right?”
“How is it crazy to be happy that I get to have a son or daughter with the most amazing woman in the world. I’ve gotten to marry you, my family loves you and now we’re going to have our first kid. Life couldn’t get better Aideen.”
They pulled up to the boat ramp and Dax backed the truck up. Emery got out to help his dad get the boat in the water then Alice pulled the truck away from the ramp and parked. They all climbed into the boat and Aideen gripped Emery’s hand nervously. “Don’t worry,” he whispered in her ear, “the water is calm and dad’s an excellent driver.” She smiled, but didn’t let go of him. Dax pulled the boat away and headed out to the open ocean. He went fear enough out that they could enjoy the ocean and be away from other boats, but stayed close enough that they could still see the shore. Aideen went happily to the back of the boat and stood on the flat platform just above the water. She closed her eyes and dove in, allowing the cool water to envelope her. She let the wild energy flow through her, hugging her and exhilarating her. She pushed herself to the surface and inhaled the fresh air.
Emery followed and swam over to Aideen. She looked happy, her cheeks flushed with excitement. He could feel her joy at being in the ocean. Natures energy drifted over them, played with their senses. He splashed her and she laughed and splashed him back. He reached for her and she dove under the water, his fingers barely brushing her arm. He dove after her and she swam quickly away. He finally caught up and grabbed her ankle, pulling her into him and kissing her. They swam to the surface together, laughing joyously. “You are so pretty when you smile.” He said and rubbed his nose against hers.
“You’re really sexy when you tell me how beautiful I am.” She said and kissed him.
“Get a room.” Zelda yelled as she swam near the boat.
“We had one back at the house, but I was afraid of waking you.” Emery shot back and Zelda blushed bright red then glared at him.
Aideen pushed gently against his chest and he let her go so she could swim some more. He lay on his back in the water and watched her. She liked how content he looked and that he enjoyed the simple act of watching her enjoy herself. She dove under the water, pushing herself as deep as she could. She saw a shadow moving in the water and squinted her eyes. She saw a fin and her eyes widened in fear. It was a shark and it was going straight for Zelda. She pushed herself quickly to the surface and screamed shark when her head broke the surface. The shark’s fin broke the surface of the water and Zelda screamed. Aideen closed her eyes and called the Undines to save this child and chase the shark away.
Zelda was terrified trying to swim away when she noticed the shark swimming away. It swam as if it was panicked by something. The water was a little dark so it was hard to tell but she could’ve sworn she saw little creatures that sort of looked like what mermaids were supposed to look like. She shook it off thinking it was all the books she read that were filling her head with such things. Everybody got on the boat while Aideen silently thanked them for helping. Dax was looking Zelda over “It didn’t bite you atall. Must not have been hungry.”
“Yeah it just swam away. I think something chased it off.” Alice looked at Aideen thankfully. Alice knew what she had done. Dax cleared his throat. “I doubt any of you are going back in then so why don’t we take a nice walk along the beach and just play in the ankle deep water?”
“That sounds good” Zelda replied still a little shaken a shark had come after her. They got back to shore and walked over to the beach. Emery held Aideens hand tightly. He assumed Aideen had been the reason the shark didn’t kill his sister.They all walked along the beach until Dax said “lets build a really good sandcastle!”
“You’re such a kid dad!” Zelda said teasingly. They all dropped down and began working. Dax and Emery looked so serious it made the girls laugh. Dax got up and drew a really large circle. “Build the moat Emery!” Emery saluted him then started digging along the lines his father drew. Aideen, Zelda and Alice were busy drawing designs in the parts of the castle they had already made. Aideen couldn’t believe how much fun she was having. She’d never be nervous to see them again. In fact she already knew she’d miss Emerys family when they went back home. She decided they needed to visit at least once a month.
They worked on the castle for hours. It looked amazing “I’m getting my camera for this one!’ He ran twords the car. “I think this is the best one we’ve ever done” Alice said happily. Zelda said that they should enter a competition again. They had won second place the last time they competed. “With Aideen on our team we’d get first.” Zelda added looking at her soon to be sister with a smile.
“I’d love to join a castle building competition with you all. Just let us know.”
“I’m going to hold you to those words Aideen” Alice said. Dax came back with the camera and must have taken about thirty pictures.”I’m starving.” Emery said. “Lets go eat then” Alice responded. They all started walking together to the car to get the picnic supplies out. They all ate excitedly talking about the castle they just made. Dax started bragging about the competition they were in a few years back. He agreed they should do one with Aideen by their side.
Aideen, Alice, and Zelda sat on the tailgate of the truck while Emery and Dax stood. They ate Alice’s chicken wraps and watched the waves climb up the beach. Aideen was excited about being a mother. She would love and cherish her child more than anything. She felt nauseas and hungry at the same time. It was a strange feeling. She asked the baby nicely to let her finish eating and it obliged. She rested her palm on her flat stomach, wishing that she was far enough along to feel the baby move. She couldn’t wait to tell her father. She knew he had always wanted to be a grandfather. It was one of his biggest wishes. Another thought entered her head, this one not as happy. She knew that Emery shared her pain and it was a bit unsettling that she would be hurting him while giving birth.
Emery noticed her frown and asked her to walk with him. They moved away from his family, hand in hand. She was worried again, but he didn’t know about what. “Tell me what’s wrong.” He said and kissed her temple.
“I’m afraid of hurting you while having the baby. You’ll feel my pain. I mean you won’t feel the urge to push or anything, but it might feel like a knife in your gut.” She replied, frowning up at him.
“I’m not afraid of pain. I can get through anything for you. Don’t worry about it. It’s a long way off anyway. Just enjoy being pregnant as much as you can. I know my mom threw up every day for nine months until Zelda was born.”
“I hope I don’t. I would hate that.” He smiled.
“I remember when I first felt Zelda move. I was so excited and happy that I was getting a sibling. You’ll feel the same joy when you feel our baby move.”
“are you enjoying my family?”
“Very much, we need to come often to be with them.” Emery smiled and kissed her “we’ll come as often as you want. Once you get far along though you probably wont want to leave the house much.”
“we can visit a lot up until then. How long are we staying this time?”
“I told my mom a few days to a week. We can stay a week since you liked them. I said maybe a few days just incase you weren’t comfortable.”
“I’d love to stay a week.” Aideen started feeling really sick again. Emery could tell and picked her up. “Lets go back and tell them you need to go home.” Aideen just layed her head against him as he walked back with her. They didn’t mind going back home. They got in their cars and started driving. All the way home Emery gently rubbed her hand. “I love you.”
“I love you too Emery.”
“I want you to lay down for a bit when we get home.”
“I want that too. I’ll go to bed as soon as we get there.”
“I’ll only wake you if you sleep until dinner. Our growing baby needs you to eat.” Aideen smiled. They got home and he carried her inside. “she needs to take a nap.”
“Why don’t you lay with her son?” Alice said. “You guys wouldn’t mind?”
“Of course not go.” Dax said. Emery took Aideen upstairs and helped her change into somthing comfortable to nap in. She sighed with relief when her head hit the pillow. Emery pushed up her shirt to rub her belly softly. It was relaxing and helped settle her stomach. “You’re the best husband in the world.”
“I know, I’ve got to be to keep you.” Aideen soon fell asleep. Emery kept rubbing her stomach even when he knew she was gone. He gently kissed her belly then started thinking of baby names. He hoped they’d have a boy first but he did want a girl too. If they had a boy first she’d have somone to look after her. After thinking about their baby for a long time he layed his forehead right up against his wifes and drifted to sleep. He awoke to a pounding on the door “Dinners ready!” They both got up and went downstairs to eat. “Sorry we slept so long.” Aideen said very appoligeticly. “You’re growing a person. It’s ok to sleep. Sleep all you need while you’re here.”
She tried eating, but she didn’t get much down. Her stomach turned and she pushed the plate away. She felt like she was disrespecting them, but everyone assured her she wasn’t and that they understood. She excused herself, needing some air. She sat on the front porch and a breeze swirled around her. She heard soft giggling and then the Sylph swirled into view. “I welcome you air spirit. What news have you brought?” She said in a whisper so as not to alert everyone inside.
“The King has become worried since your absence. There is an issue with the Salamanders he believes you would be better at resolving than he.” The Sylph said softy.
“I can’t leave now. Emery deserves equal time in his world. What is wrong with the Salamaders now?”
“As you know they are highly emotional creatures. A small group has become suddenly enraged at the thought of a human taking the throne when your father steps down. They believe humans to be emotionally unstable creatures who want nothing but destruction and death. They have seen first hand what many have done to this world and refuse to see those who are still good and honorable.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes shut. Sometimes being Princess was just as frustrating as being King. She had been spending more time at the palace so Emery could learn what it took to become a leader in her world. He was very interested in all the politics, but her head swam with all the information. “I will come as soon as everyone is asleep. Tell my father I love him.” She said, trying not to sound irritated.
“Will the Prince be coming as well?”
“I don’t go anywhere without him.” The Sylph disappeared and she got up and went inside. She would use Alice’s garden to get home if she had a fairy ring. She was sure the woman would at least have one made of flowers or stones if not toadstools.
“feeling better?” Alice asked. “A little.”
“Do you feel up to watching a movie?”
“Sure” Zelda jumped up “lets watch the dark crystal!”
“Haven’t you seen that enough times Zelda?”
“I could never see it enough times” Zelda said crossing her arms. Aideen laughed “let her watch it. I would love to see it.”
“That’s three votes since your baby gets one too” Zelda stuck out her tongue making Dax laugh. Alice pulled the movie off their bookshelf and put it in. Zelda sat on the floor so she could be closer to the TV. Dax and Alice sat cuddled together on the loveseat so Emery and Aideen had the couch all to themselves. Emery sat on the very end telling Aideen to lay down. She rested her head on his lap as he rubber her face with the backs of his fingers. It was so relaxing. He often put her to sleep that way. Aideen wouldn’t let herself though. She needed to stay awake until everyone had gone to bed.
She actually liked the movie. It had some creatures from her world in it. It interested her how the humans portrayed them. Some were precisely right but other things were all wrong. Dax teased Aideen “You look almost as interested in this movie as Zelda. I never thought I’d see the day.”
“It’s because she’s awesome. You picked a good one Emery.” Aideen smiled. When it was getting closer to the end Aideen had sat up on the couch to watch it. Emery wished she’d lay back down but was happy she got along so well with his sister. He didn’t enjoy this movie very much because growing up his sister seemed to only watch The Last Unicorn, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. She had about killed those movies for him.
When it was over Dax stretched “Time for bed everybody” Emery picked up Aideen and took her to his room. “It was so cute watching you watch the movie.”
“You never even looked at me.”
“Oh please, I was looking at you most the time you were just too wrapped up in the movie to notice. I get bored with it because Zeldas watched it so many times. You were much more pleasant to look at than the movie.” He kissed her. “I have to go back home tonight to help my father. There are problems with the Salamanders.”
“What kind of problems?”
“They are upset that you will be king when we take the throne. My father thinks I’ll handle it better than he could so he needs me. I’m sure we will be back before anybody gets up. I’m going to see if your mother has a fairy ring in her garden. I want to leave the second everyone is alseep.”
They lay quietly facing each other until the house fell silent. Aideen got up and cracked the door open, peeking out into the hall. She moved out with Emery close behind her and went down stairs. One of them creaked and she froze, listening. When she didn’t hear anything but their breathing she continued down and out the back door. She grabbed Emery’s hand as she searched the large backyard. She wished she had time to admire Alice’s beautiful work, but Salamanders were more important. They blew up volcanoes and started forest fires. They could be extremely volatile when they were overly emotional. She found a ring of stones about four feet by four feet. She stepped inside, being sure not to disturb any of the stones. If one was knocked out place the ring would be broken and they would be stuck. Emery stepped in next to her still holding your hand. “What are you two doing?” Zelda’s voice made them jump and they turned their eyes on her.
“Zelda go back inside.” Emery ordered sternly.
“Seriously what are you doing?”
“We don’t have time Emery, we have to go now.” She whispered the words to open the doorway between their worlds and Zelda stepped into the circle and grabbed Emery to get him to answer her. She was pulled into Aideen’s world with them.
Emery glared at his sister, not noticing her shocked expression. “What in the hell were you thinking?” When she didn’t answer he grabbed her shoulders and shook her. Her eyes jumped to his face.
“Where are we?” She asked, feeling confused and scared.
“We have to take her back Aideen. She doesn’t understand how dangerous this place can be.”
“We have no time. We have to get to the palace.” She replied. “We’re on the North side of the forest so we have to go West. It should only take a few hours.” She turned to Zelda and placed a hand on her shoulder. The girl looked at her fearfully. “You loved elves and fairies and all the creatures you have been told are mythical. I am an elf and this is my world. Everything you love is here. This is not a hallucination or a dream.”
Zelda was still in shock. If she had layed down she would’ve thought she was dreaming but she hadn’t. Zelda hoped she hadn’t fallen asleep at her computer. As they walked she finally asked “How in the world did you manage to find an elf girl to marry you Emery?”
“I’m just so handsome she came to me” He winked at Aideen. She laughed and started explaining everything as they walked. It helped calm Emery down. He was really worried about his sister being here. She was so curious and didn’t listen well. “Are you guys going to tell mom and dad?”
“Your mother could tell I was an elf right away.” Aideen said with a smile. They walked along constantly having to get Zelda to stop wandering in the other direction to look at things. Emery was relieved when he could see the palace in the distance. They walked up to the guards who bowed and let them in. “Why are they bowing?” Zelda looked at Aideen confused. “They bow because I’m the princess. Your brother is now a prince.” Zeldas eyes widened.
“Don’t look so shocked geeze. Besides it’s not that big a deal.” Emery said as they walked inside and into the courtyard.
“Not a big deal. Dude this is like my dream world. I am so jealous right now.” She said excitedly, back to herself. “It’s so beautiful here, I love it.”
“Just stay close. If a Sylph or Undine talkes to you then feel free to talk back. Stay away from Salamanders and Earth elementals unless one of us is with you.” They moved across the courtyard and into a breezeway. Emery had to grab Zelda’s hand to make her keep up. They made there way to the throne room and were let in by the steward.
Aideen ran to her father, giving him a hug. “How are you daddy?” She asked and kissed his cheek.
“Other than the Salamanders I am doing well.” He smiled at her. “How has my princess been?”
“I have some very exciting news, but I want to tell you after this issue has been resolved.”
“Who is the girl?”
Zelda blushed at the attention. “This is my sister Zelda. She got here the same way I did.” Emery explained.
“Completely by accident you mean.” He held out his hand and Zelda took it. “Very nice to meet you dear please make yourself at home. I must speak to your brother and Aideen in private, but I will have you taken care of.” He snapped his fingers and pointed at one of the young guards standing next to the door. The young man walked dutifully over and stood before his king. “This is Arden. He will show you around.” The young elf blushed at Zelda’s excited smile. She wrapped her arms around one of his and he led her out of the throne room. “Now that we are alone. I’m glad you brought Emery.”
“It would have been a show of weakness if I had not. It would have proven the Salamanders right. Now, tell me what we can do.” Aideen said.
“You’re so wise Aideen. I raised you well.” He smiled proudly at his daughter. “We should ask them to give some sort of test to Emery to prove he is worthy of ruling at your side Aideen. He passed the test to marry you perfectly and I have absolute faith he could do whatever they asked of him.”
“I think letting them test me is a good idea.” Emery said then Aideen nodded. “Arrange for us to speak with them father. Do you think you could get it done now? We really need yo get back.”
“I’ll see what I can do. Wait here.”
“Yes sir.” Aideen and Emery said in unison. Zelda was having the time of her life with the guard Arden. He loved her amazement and excitedness over everything. The guard found himself hoping Zelda wasn’t going to leave. Emery stayed so why couldn’t she. Zelda sat down beside some flowers. Arden was still just standing there. “Why aren’t you sitting with me? You just follow me around not saying much.” Arden sat beside her. “Well your brother is now the prince. I’d hate to upset you and have him angry at me. You’re fun just to watch if that’s not too odd to say.” Zelda smiled and blushed “It is odd to say but I’m glad you enjoy watching me. Don’t worry about upsetting me. I’d better enjoy your company if you’d speak to me more.”
Zelda patted the ground next to her and Arden looked around real quick before sitting down. “Do you always wear armor?” She asked.
“No, just when we’re afraid that something nasty might make an appearance or during ceremonies. Today is not a casual day.” He replied as she brushed her fingers over the flower petals. “So, what is your life like back in your world?”
“Well it was going good until the day before yesterday. My boyfriend, well now my ex boyfriend, decided he wasn’t ready for just one committed relationship. Three years and he wants another girlfriend.”
“Don’t be. He was a total jerk. He can suck it.”
Emery and Aideen waited in their room. He paced nervously. He wasn’t sure what kind of test the Salamanders would cook up for him. He frowned at the word cook swimming in his head. He didn’t want to be cooked. Aideen watched him, calm and collected. “Emery please quit worrying.” She said and grabbed his hand as he passed by again. She pulled him back to her and down onto the bed next to her.
“You have told me many times how easy it is to set one of them off, to make them explode, to turn them into a virtual bomb. I don’t want anyone to get hurt. I’m not scared for me, never me, but I am for you and your father and Zelda. I’m even scared for the guards.” He said and buried his face in his hands.
“You will do just fine. We all believe in you. They will try to get you to go out of control emotionally. Anger is one of the most potent emotions. You must center yourself. Allow yourself to float on an ocean of serenity. Imagine the Undines swimming through the ocean, drifting with the current. See the Sylphys and how they twirl along, blowing peacefully through the tree branches. Ground yourself with the Earth elementals. They are strong and unmoving, wild in their natures but never holding grudges. Hold them inside of you and absorb the fire and passion of the Salamander, allow it to wash over you, inside of you and embrace it. Don’t fight it, don’t show anger or fear.” There was a knock on their door.
“It’s time.” He said and kissed her for luck.
Emery followed Aideens dad away. Aideen thought she should find Zelda so the guard wouldn’t have to keep her company any longer. She walked around until she saw the two of them sitting by eachohter. They both looked happy talking. She wondered if she should disturb them or not. Aideen wanted badly to eavesdrop but Arden was very alert even when talking. He must be really interested in Zelda to not even spot her yet. She was very far away but Arden was chosen for his perceptiveness.
Aideen decided to go back to their room and just wait for Emerys return. She wished she could’ve gone with Emery but he needed to prove himself on his own. If she went they may still not respect him. When Aideen was out of sight Arden said “You can go back with your sister if you’d like. She was just here but I guess thought we were having fun and left us alone.”
“Aren’t we having fun?”
“Very much” Arden said with a smile. A huge Salamander stood before Emery. They asked the king and guards to go back. “Why should we even give you a test? A human isn’t even worth letting try. Aideen was foolish in choosing to marry you. A princess deserves better than a human. She’ll regret it one day. She had her choice of anybody in the land and she chose you. She’ll probably die of depression when she realizes her folly since she’s bound to you for life.”
Emery wanted badly to lash out at this idiot creature. The Salamander was beautiful with glowing red eyes and golden hair. Embers swirled around it, moving toward the sky. Flames moved over its body and gave off an almost unbearable heat. “Stupid idiot human man. The King should have gutted you when he had the chance.” It hissed. “We should string you up in front of your wife.”
He started shaking and the creature grinned, the fire becoming hotter. He felt a breeze brush his face and inhaled the fresh air that smelled of ocean. A Sylph had reminded him of swimming in the ocean. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to drift, feeling the ocean enveloping him in its cool embrace. He imagined himself sinking down deeper into the water until he touched the floor of the ocean. He sank his hands in and asked for strength. The fire moved around him, the Salamander’s warm breath on his face. He saw Aideen swimming toward him and he wrapped her in his arms. They were passion, love, and lust. They were one and the same. He breathed in, catching her scent on the wind and smiled. He pulled in the heat around him, breathed it in and allowed it to envelope him.
“My name is Emery, Prince of the Tuatha Dè Danann and someday your King.” He said as he opened his eyes and the Salamander stared at him in shock. “You cannot intimidate me, you cannot hurt me, and I will not run. Your fire is mine to control and mine alone. Know your place.” The Salamander gasped and stepped back, fear in its eyes. It started shaking and it’s fire diminished just a little, not as hot as before. “Get out of here and tell your little group of rogue Salamanders that I’m not going anywhere.”
When the salamander was out of sight Emery turned around to find his way back to the castle. He went quickly to reach Aideen. When he arrived he told the king what happened then he went to find his wife. “I’m proud of you.” The king said before Emery walked out the door to find Aideen. Aideen was in the room just staring at the cieling. She got out fo bed quickly and ran into his arms. “What happened?” He explained it to Aideen aswell.
“Where’s my sister?”
“Still with Arden. They looked like they were enjoying eachother so I left them alone.”
“Well lets go find her before my parents freak out that she’s gone.” Emery kissed Aideen then they started searching for Zelda and Arden. Aideen spotted them by the river. Zelda looking as curious as ever. Arden was smiling as he looked at Zelda. “we’re ready to go home Zelda.”
“Already?” She said sounding sad. “Yes mom and dad will worry if none of us are there when they wake up.”
“But I like it here.”
“We’ll bring you back somtime now come on.” Zelda sighed then hugged Arden. “Thanks for being so nice to me. I hope it wasn’t only because you had to be.” Arden blushed. “No I enjoyed being with you. I hope you’ll spend time with me again when you come back.”
“I look forward to it.” Zelda said walking over to her brother and sister in law. Arden set off for the castle to join the king again. “I’m glad you had fun. Don’t go telling people about this place ok Zelda?”
“I wont I promise.”
They held hands as they stepped into the ring and Aideen opened the door. They were tugged back and found themselves standing back in Alice’s garden and sitting there waiting was Alice. She smiled at them as they stepped out of the ring. “How is home?” Alice asked.
“Same as ever. Beautiful, bright, and somewhat dangerous.” Aideen answered.
“Sounds like quite the adventure. Zelda what are you doing out here in nothing but your nightgown?”
“She heard us get up and in her confusion accidentally followed us into the other world. She didn’t do anything wrong.” Emery said and gave his sister a one armed hug. “Tinker Bell here made a new friend.”
“Oh god, I’m so glad you didn’t call me that in front of Arden. That’s just what I need is another person calling me Tinker Bell.” Zelda said embarrassed.
“Well you do look very fairy like.” Aideen said with a small laugh. “Your brother has Peter Pan at home and I have probably red it five or six times.”
Emery and Alice laughed and Zelda turned red. “We should go back to bed before dad gets up.” Emery said and they started for the back door. They all went in, making sure not to let the door slam. They walked up the stairs, skipping the one that creaked. Aideen and Emery crawled into bed and he wrapped his arms tightly around her. “I’m so glad everything went well. I was so angry at first, ready to try and kill that Salamander.” He said and kissed her forehead.
“I could feel your anger, but then it was suddenly gone in an instant as if it had been a mere trick of the mind.” Aideen said softly.
“I did what you told me too. I thought of peace and of you. All of a sudden the thing had no power over me, but I had power over it.”
“You should be proud, no one has ever been able to control a Salamander.” She yawned and he kissed her again.
“You look tired love. Rest now because tomorrow I guarantee my mom will want to start planning the wedding.”
“Sounds like fun. We should have it here in the backyard. I’ll invite my dad and Arrow and even Arden.” Her voice became a whisper as she drifted off to the sound of his heart.
She woke up to the smell of breakfast. Emery was still holding her close. She kissed him to get him up. “Good morning.”
“Good morning beautiful’ He said smiling. They got up and got dressed then went into the kitchen. Just as Emery said Alice started talking about things they could do for the wedding. “Why don’t we have it in your back yard mom?”
“That would be beautiful! Is that really what you want?” Alice said very exictedly. “Yes” Aideen replied cheerfully cheerfully. Aideen, Alice and Zelda spent all day making wedding plans. Aideen couldn’t believe how fun it was. She made sure to mention Arden would be coming. Aideen could see a very happy look shoot across her face. Dax and Emery spent the day outside. Before they knew it night had come again. Aideen, Zelda and Alice all cooked supper still talking about the wedding.
When the table was set Alice said “we’ve almost got the whole thing layed out in just one day. Tomorrow we’re going to look at dresses.”
“That’s great” Emery said. Dax cleared his throat “You guys better have the wedding soon before Aideen starts showing. “Dax!” Alice said in a reprimanding tone. Aideen laughed “No he’s right, why dont we just do it before Emery and I leave. We’ve been planning a small one anyway. How do you feel about that Emery?”
“I think that sounds great”
Aideen enjoyed the chatter around her. She ate everything on her plate, almost surprised she had cleaned her plate. She placed a hand over her stomach. The baby was making her hungry. She hoped she was starting to get her appetite back and wouldn’t be puking anymore. Emery rested his hand on top of hers and she looked up at him. He was smiling while talked to his father. Dax was an ordained minister and had been for some time. He was excited too marry his son and Aideen. Dax also said he was taking Emery to the jewelry store in the morning to find the perfect wedding ring. After dinner Aideen went to sit out on the porch for a little while. Emery cam out and sat next to her, grabbing her hand. As they both stared at the ocean.
“How are you feeling?” He asked, breaking the silence.
“Tired and excited. I can’t wait till the end of the week. I have to send a Sylph to notify my father that him, Arrow, and Arden need to get over here.” She answered and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Your dad is going to be excited to walk you down the isle. I was thinking Arrow could be the best man and Arden one of the groomsmen. You could ask Zelda to be the maid of honor and my mom could be a brides maid if you don’t mind.”
“That sounds wonderful. I’ll ask her when we go dress shopping. I’m sure she’ll be happy.” They sat in silence a few moments longer enjoying the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Everywhere Emery took her was always so beautiful. His home in the woods and his families home on the coast we so magnificent. She sighed and then stood, whispering to the wind to carry a message to her father. He would have to be here tomorrow. She wanted him, Arrow, and Arden to meet and spend time with everyone before the wedding. She still had to tell her father that she was pregnant. She would wait until they were face to face.
They went inside again. Dax had brought out some board games. They all played and laughed until Zelda and Aideen started yawning a lot. “Ok girls we get the message” Dax said teasing. They all went to their own rooms and settled in for the night. After being in bed a few minuets Emery whispered “I want you so badly Aideen.”
“We can’t. We’ll scar your sister for life.”
“We can make love against the opposite wall so the bed wont make noise. I’ll be gentle but as fast as possible.”
“Well I don’t want to if you dont want to that badly.” He said sounding a little hurt. “I didn’t mean fine like that Emery.” She kissed him slipping her tongue into his mouth. Emery got up to make sure the door was locked then undressed. He practically ripped Aideens pajamas off of her. He pushed her down on the bed “But I thought” He kissed her breaking her sentence. “Just because I’m going to have you against the wall doesn’t mean we can’t have a little foreplay first” He nibbled and licked her until she started having trouble keeping quiet. He lifted her up making love to her genlty.
When they laid back down they fell asleep fast. They awoke to a loud banging at their door. Aideen and Emery got dressed opening the door. “Some men are here. One says he’s your father and the other your uncle. A younger man says he’s your friend.”
“More like Zeldas friend” Emery winked. Alice laughed “He’s a cutie.”
Aideen practically ran downstairs and wrapped her dad in a big hug. She then hugged Arrow and Arden. “I’m so glad you could make it.” She said with a bright smile.
“Honey, we wouldn’t miss this for the world. So what are the plans?” Her father asked.
“You three will be going with my dad and I today. I have to pick out a ring and get we have get fitted for tuxes. The girls are going to pick out dresses and shoes and other sissy stuff.” Emery said and Zelda punched him in the arm. “Ouch, don’t do that…” he trailed off and grinned and she glared. “Tinker Bell.” Zelda blushed and punched him again.
“Tinker Bell?” Arden smiled and she turned an even deeper shade of red.
“I just finished breakfast of everyone’s hungry.” Alice said and motioned to the dining room.
“We would are starving.” Arrow said.
They all sat around the table, eating quickly on their excitement. Aideen still needed to talk to her dad. She got up and went around the table and whispered for him to come with her outside. As they closed the back door, she heard Dax say he looked almost too young to be her dad. She had to smile at that. “What’s wrong princess?” He asked as they walked through the garden.
“I have so very exciting news. You’re going too be a grandpa.” He came to a stop and she watched his face. He smiled really big then lifted her into the air and spun her around.
“That is wonderful news.” He said and hugged her tight. “A little baby.” She saw tears in his eyes.
“What’s wrong dad?”
“I remember when you were just a baby. How time flys even for creatures such as us. You are going to be the most wonderful mother and Emery will be the greatest father.” He hugged her again. His little baby had grown so fast.
They went back inside. Emery saw how happy his father in law looked “You told him then huh?” Drake hugged Emery “She did, I’m so happy for you two.”
“we all need to get going. I knwo the girls are going to take all day.” Dax said. Emery hugged Aideen byw while Dax hugged Alice. Zelda went just to walk to the door when Arden grabbed her wrist pulling her into him. “Now that you’ve hugged me once I can’t let you leave me without one.” Arden whispered in her ear as he held her against him. Zelda felt warm with how much she was blushing. He let Zelda go and they all parted ways. Ardin was sad that he just got there and would already have to be without her. He had thought about Zelda constantly.
When the girls were in the car Aideen turned to Zelda “you two are really hitting it off huh?”
“I think so.” She said still slightly red. “You’re graduating soon. You should come live in my world and be with him. I can see how much he likes you. You wouldn’t mind right mom?”
“Of course not. As long as all of you visit us often and let us come there.”
“will you be my bridesmaid mom?” Alice got teary eyed “Oh yes I’d love that sweetheart.” Aideen then looked at Zelda again. “Will you be my maid of honor?” Zelda said yes excitedly.
Aideen sat in the passenger seat of Emery’s car while Alice drove. She took them straight to the dress shop. It was called Marion’s. She explained that it was named after John Wayne. When Aideen said that she didn’t know who that was Aice looked at her like she had just sprouted a parasitic twin. “I’m going to have to make you watch True Grit and McLintok. You should always know who John Wayne is.” She said and Zelda laughed really hard. They got out of the car and walked into the store. It was a little overwhelming how many dresses there were. “So what kind and color should you like?” Alice asked.
“I know I want something red. It’s Emery’s favorite color.” She said. She had never been shopping for anything but the little bit of groceries it took to restock Emery’s house.
“I know, lets go Greek goddess.” Zelda said. “You can wear red and we’ll wear white with red accents.” She grabbed Aideen’s hand and started pulling her through the store. They had a whole section dedicated to red. Zelda started going through the dresses until she found a long flowing one that had one strap. “Try this one.” Aideen took the dress and went into the changing room. She pulled her clothes off then stepped into the dress. She looked at herself in the full length mirror. She thought she looked like the beautiful Aphrodite, her red hair fell around her shoulders looking like fire. Her amber eyes seemed to glow brighter next to the deep crimson of the dress. She really liked this one. She stepped out, wanting to show Zelda and Alice. They gasped when she came out and she blushed.
“You look so amazing.” Zelda said, bouncing up and down.
“Very beautiful.” Alice agreed.
“I love it too! I want this one!”
“Now we need to find dresses for us” Alice smiled. It was much harder finding Zeldas and Alices dresses but they all had fun. They were laughing and posing for pictures. Hours passed and they finally bought the ones they picked out. Emery wished he could make a custom ring for Aideen but there wasn’t any time since they wanted to get married before the week was up. He decided to ask how fast they could engrave something on the band. “We can do that in store in only an hour or two. What would you like engraved?”
“I want you to put a rose on each side.” Emery pointed out the ring he wanted and the man took it back. They informed the man they’d be back after getting sized for suits. Dax and Drake got along amazingly well. They acted like they had always known eachother with how effortlessly they got along. Emery was really starting to like Arden too. When they got back to the ring shop it was only a few more moments and the ring came out. Emery was very happy. Dax payed and they went home. Arden hoped Zelda would be back waiting for him.
When the boys got home Dax started cooking dinner. The girls arrived a couple of hours after the guys. Emery almost laughed at the excited look on Ardens face. “Calm down, she’s coming” Emery teased making Arden blush. Alice smelled that her husband was cooking “Oh thank you Dax! Emery you are going to be at a loss for words when you see your bride.” Dax had put dinner in the oven for them and they quickly ate. “Tonight we need to watch True Grit and McLintox. Aideen doesn’t know who John Wayne is!”
Dax shook his head “that should be a crime” Emery laughed. Dax got up and grabbed the movie. Dax and Alice sat in the loveseat again. Drake sat on the Sofa chair while Aideen, Emery, Zelda and Arden shared the couch. Aideen was in Emerys lap. Zelda was sitting right beside Arden. Not long into the movie he got brave enough to put his arm around her. He waited worried she’d make him move his arm but she didn’t
Aideen was way into the movie. She laughed when John Wayne put his wife over his knee and spanked her. It was an all around good movie and she looked forward to more. She glanced at the clock and realized it was starting to get late. She still had to call about the flowers tomorrow and Alice said she would make the cake. “I think it’s time for bed.” Dax said and stretched. “We have a guest bedroom upstairs and a pull out couch. You three can decide where you want to sleep. Whoever gets the couch there are blankets and pillows in the closet upstairs, theirs door on the left.” He stood and held out his hand to Alice who took it happily.
Emery stood with Aideen in his arms and started upstairs. She wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head on his shoulder. He was exhausted from the events so far. He carried her into his room and kicked the door shut behind him. He lay her on the bed and she smiled up at him. He tugged her socks and shoes off then her jeans. He undressed and crawled in next to her, resting his head on her chest and his hand on her stomach. “I wonder what we’ll have.” He said as he brushed his thumb back and forth over skin.
“Probably a wild, nature loving little boy.” She replied and ran her fingers through his hair.
“I hope the baby has your eyes and my dashing good looks.” She giggle and he kissed her stomach.
“I think we should take my dad, Uncle Arrow, and Arden out to the ocean tomorrow. I can ask the Undines to watch over us and I bet Zelda would love to see the elementals.”
“As long as we don’t see anymore toothy man eaters I don’t’ mind.”
“How unfair to the shark. They are so misunderstood. I mourn for them sometimes.”
Emery frowned because it sounded like he had hurt her feelings. The emotions that flooded from her to him confirmed that he had. He looked up at her and cupped her cheek. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I know they’re misunderstood. I watch enough Shark Week to know that. I’m sorry.” He kissed her softly and she smiled when he pulled back. He lay his head back on her chest, listening to her heart as she drifted off. He kissed her stomach one more time before allowing himself to fall asleep.
Alice woke up Zelda to help her cook brekfast since it would have to be really big this morning. She thought she should let Aideen rest since she was pregnant. It was just the two fo them up. Alice and Zelda tried to be quite since everybody was asleep but it was hard since Alice was in a really good mood. The two of them joked and played while they cooked until Zelda let out a loud laugh. “shh sweetheart” It was too late though. Her laughter woke up Arden. He smiled as he layed on the pull out matress.
It was an amazing way to wake up. Dax came in “Good morning girls. I can see you two are having fun.”
“Sorry daddy.” Then she noticed Arden and Drake. “oh god I’m so sorry.”
“It was a nice way to wake up” Arden said slightly blushing. Breakfast is done Dax go get Aideen and Emery. He kissed his wife then ran up the stairs. “they’ll be down in a minute.” When they were both downstairs they all started eating. Emery said “Lets go back to the ocean today. I think it would be fun with everybody.”
“That sounds great” Dax said enthusiasticly. “First I need to call about the flowers.” Aideen added. As soon as Aideen was done eating she found the phone and talked for about fifteen minuets. When she was doen everybody was getting ready. Dax had givin Arden and Drake some of his older swimsuits. They were soon ready and out the door.
Drake, Arden and Arrow road in the back of the truck while Alice and Zelda rode up front with Dax. Aideen rode in the car with Emery. They made it to the boat launch and got the boat in the water. Everyone climbed in and Dax pulled out into the ocean. Again Aideen was the first in the water, followed closely by Emery. She asked the Undines to keep sharks away as the others were diving in and could see the beautiful water elementals swimming around and beneath everyone. They stayed mostly out of sight. Zelda looked nervously around, her eyes wide and fearful. Arden pulled her close and assured her they were perfectly safe. He dove with her under the water and pointed out the Undines moving quickly through the water. They came back up and she looked more at ease.
Emery held Aideen close. Even though he trusted the Undines, he wasn’t willing to leave anything to chance. It would kill him if anything happened to her. She was very calm and just relaxed against him. He kissed her forehead and let the current take them. The Undines made sure they stayed close to the boat, gently pushing them back if they started to get to far. “I love you so much. Everything you do is so amazing.” He said and kissed her softly.
“I love you too. I’m very happy to be with you and very happy we’re going to have a baby.” She said and wrapped her legs around him. “You do amazing things too like stand up to Salamanders and refuse to go home when you’re told.”
“I wasn’t aware my happening into your world was amazing.”
“It was the best thing you ever did. It took heart.”
“It really was. I’m glad I waited for you that night and caught up to you before you went home.”
“we need to let Zelda stay with us frequently until she graduates so she can spend time with Arden. Look at them.”
“I know and I think that’s a great idea. I think they’d see eachother regardless. Arden is absolutly captivated by Zelda.” The hours flew by because everybody was having so much fun. Alice got on the boat then yelled “Lets eat lunch and then I need to go home to start working on the cake!” Everybody swam towords the boat to go back to shore. Dax had a hard time not teasing Arden. He was trying way too hard to not stare at Zelda in her swim suit.
When they got to shore they set up the picnic and began eating. More hours passed because everybody was doing more talking than eating. When they were all done they got towels and went back to the house. As soon as they got back Alice said ” Aideen and I don’t need your help Zelda if you and Arden want to hangout together. Maybe the two of you can go on a walk somwhere.”
“Would you like to go out with me Arden?”
“I’d like that very much” He said trying to contain his excitement. She grabbed his hand and they headed out the door. Alice laughed “I wonder when those two are going to get together.” Dax started laughing “I know. Did you notice how hard he was concentrating on not staring at her on the boat? Atleast he’s respectful.” Drake added “He’s a good man. Very smart too.”
Aideen helped Alice with the cake. They made the batter then Alice poured it into three round cake pans. She slid them into the oven and set the timer then ventured out back to the garden while the ment talked. “So have you two thought of any names for the baby?” Alice asked.
“No, at least I haven’t. Emery might have a few ideas since he’s been less exhausted than me. I know I’ll love whatever he suggests.” She answered with a happy smile.
“How about giving birth. Do you know where you’d like to have the little boy or girl?”
“Whichever world I happen to be in when my water breaks I guess.” Alice laughed and hugged her.
“You are pretty easy to please aren’t you?”
“Yes, I’ve never been picky. I think it makes life easier for a lot of people.”
Emery sat on the couch listening to his dad tell the shark story. Both Drake and Arrow looked very at ease. He had a feeling they knew that Aideen had saved Zelda’s life. He was still amazed that they both looked so normal for a King and his Captain. The only peculiar thing was how young they looked compared too most men. He knew his father was still a little bit confused about that. He decided if his dad asked he would tell him that they just aged well. He would have to say the same thing about himself when he never aged. Being connected to Aideen had halted his own aging process.
“Emery wake up.” Dax said, making him jump.
“Sorry dad, what did you say?” He smiled.
“I said too bad you don’t get to have a bachelor party.”
“Don’t you mean thank god.” His dad laughed and Drake and Arrow looked confused. He would explain later.
“Let me guess, the only stripper you need is Aideen.”
“Dad, what the hell.” His dad laughed and Emery glance at Drake and Arrow. Maybe he wouldn’t explain later.
Arden and Zelda had been walking around aimlessly just talking and getting to know eachother better. They ended up walking down a really long pier and coming to a stop at the end just to look at the ocean. Zelda noticed Arden suddenly looked uncomfortable. “What’s wrong Arden?”
“It’s nothing Zelda don’t worry about it.”
“I am worried about it what’s wrong? If you’re tired of me we can go back to the house.”
“Oh Zelda it’s not that atall. It’s the opposite. If you’re going to assume horrible things like that I’ll just tell you to spite how it may end up embaressing me. I just would really like to kiss you. You’re so beautiful and I love everything about your personality and” Zelda had grabbed his face and pulled him into a kiss. He instantly relaxed as he slid a hand into her hair. She almost laughed when she let go of him but he didn’t seem to want to let her go. A few moments after she had taken her hands off his face he slid his hand back out of her hair.
Zelda hugged Arden “I want to see you as much as possible Zelda”
“Well I’m easy to get to and when I’m done with school Aideen says I can live there.”
“So, Could I be your boyfriend then until you’re old enough I can marry you?” Arden asked nervously wanting to take back the last part and just ask her to be his girlfrirend. It was agonizing when Zelda didn’t say anything at first “That was too much I’m so sorry.”
“No Arden it was just a bit shocking. I’d love to be with you.” Arden held her tighter then kissed her again. “We should go back now.” Zelda said as his lips left hers. “Ok” Arden said looking really happy. They walked in the door holding hands. Dax grinned as they entered “So you asked her out. Good, you two are cute together.” Arden looked at Emery and the king wanting their approval. The king nodded and Emery said “You just be good to her. That’s my little Tinker Bell”
“Emery stop calling me that!
“I could always show him the poster in your room or Halloween pictures.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“I would dare.”
The timer went off in the kitchen, making Alice and Aideen come back in. They got the cakes out and sat them on the bakers rack to cool. Aideen listened to the chatter in the living room. Emery was teasing his sister again, making everyone laugh. All the love in the house made her feel like she belonged in both worlds. She was very lucky to have such amazing people in her life. “You look exhausted.” Alice said and rubbed her back.
“I am, sorry.” She replied and yawned.
“There’s no reason to apologize. Growing a baby can be hard even early on. Why don’t you go upstairs and relax. I’ll get Zelda and Arden to help me with dinner.”
“Are you sure, I can help?”
“Go on, get out.” She shooed her and she smiled as she passed through the living room and went upstairs.
Emery got up and followed Aideen. She looked like the day had beat her down. She was half asleep when he walked in the room. He closed and locked the door behind him and got in next to her. She smiled at him and he brushed strands of her hair out of her face. She was very beautiful even when she was sleepy. “You alright?” He asked and brushed his fingers over her cheek.
“I’m just so tired. All the noise and running around and swimming have sucked the energy out of me.” She snuggled closer and he shifted onto his back so she could rest her head on his chest. “Your mom asked if we had picked out any names for the baby.”
“I’ve been thinking, but I haven’t quite found the ones I want. How about you?”
“I don’t have any. I’ve been so wrapped up in everything I haven’t given it any thought. Don’t worry I’ll have a couple of names picked out before nine months is up. How about where I should have the baby?”
Worry shot through him, increasing his heart rate. “I want you to have the birth you want to have, but honestly I would want you to have the baby in a hospital. I know it’s just my manly way of wanting to protect you and I won’t order you to do it. The idea of you having the baby anywhere else makes me feel anxious.” He said softly.
“I’m fine with having the baby here in your world. It wouldn’t bother me. I just want the baby to be healthy.” She felt him relax and smiled then closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Alice came up the stairs when dinner was done. She gently knocked on the door waking Aideen up. Emery hadn’t fallen asleep. He just layed there holding her the whole time. After they ate Emery excused himself then whispered in his dads ear. Dax got a mischievous grin on his face. Zelda shot them a glare but they both still went away. They came back with a couple of photo albums and set them on the table after they were cleared. Zelda dropped her head on the table. Arden looked at her concerned. He layed his hand in her soft hair and said “are you ok?”
“No I’m going to my room. I hate you Emery.” Emery grabbed her as she went to walk away “You’re not going anywhere. To make it fair we brought out some younger pictures of me for Aideen to see. Now sit back with Arden before you break his heart.” Emery said commenting on Ardens sad look when she had gotten up. They all flipped through pictures laughing and talking about where they were from. “We should all head to bed. We’ve got a wedding tomorrow.” Alice said happily.
“If you’d like to take some of the albums of Emery home Aideen we have plenty of copies.” Dax said smiling. “That goes for you aswell Arden but with Zelda of course.” He winked. Everybody went to bed for the night. and woke early. The flowers were a little late coming but it wasn’t a big deal since it was going to be just the people that were already there attending. Emery was excited to see his wife in her dress. After everything was set up Alice, Zelda and Aideen had locked themselves in Alices room. The men got their tuxes on and got into their positions.
Aideen quickly showered then slipped into her dress. Alice did her hair, pulling it up on top of her head and then curling it so her hair fell down to her shoulders in beautiful waves. She stared at her reflection in the mirror while Alice and Zelda got ready, feeling suddenly nervous. She hoped he liked the dress and her hair. She never did anything with it. Her heart was beating really fast and she tried to calm herself, knowing Emery could feel it. There was a light knock on the door and Alice hurried over, cracking it open. She pulled it all the way open and Drake stepped in. He looked so dignified in his tuxs, looking like a king even then. She stood and he smiled. “Well look at this beautiful vision before me. My goodness you look so much like your mother. My gorgeous girl.” He hugged her and she felt something wet hit her shoulder. She pulled back to see him crying.
“Oh daddy, don’t cry.” She wiped his tears away and he smiled.
“Sorry, I know you are already married in our world. I just can’t get over ow fast you grew up. I remember teaching you to ride a horse and how to talk to the different spirits and elementals. You were such a stubborn child with a spirit like fire. Now you are grown and becoming a mother.” She hugged him again.
“Alright sweety, we’re going to go outside and wait for you and Drake.” Alice said.
Alice and Zelda slowly walked outside where Emery, Arden,Arrow & Dax were. Once Drake had himself together Aideen wrapped her arm around her fathers and stepped out. Emery could barely breath when he saw Aideen. She was absolutely stunning. Even more so than she was daily. When they were almost there tears started falling down Drakes face again. Dax had them repeat the vows. “You may now kiss the bride.” Now Alice and Zelda were teary eyed.
Alice ran in to get the camera. She had them kiss again then got pictures of everybody together. Dax took a turn sometimes so Alice could be in pictures. “I’m so glad we did this Emery”
“me too. I didn’t think it was possible for you to be more beautiful but then you came out in this dress.”
“Zelda and Alice looked pretty too.”
“Yeah” Dax got the music set up and it was time for the bride and groom to dance. Alice took almost constant pictures of the two of them. She only stopped when she started crying too hard to see. Dax hugged her and kissed her head. Arden just looked at Zelda. She looked positively dreamy looking at her brother and Aideen. Arden thought Zelda looked radiant in her dress. When the music stopped Dax yelled “Father daughter dance time!” Dax grabbed his daughter and Drake bowed to his. This song was a little faster and they had a lot of fun with it.
Emery knew Arden knew nothing of how human weddings worked so he leaned over “You’re going to get a turn to dance with Zelda too so don’t worry.” Arden smiled “I’m glad. She looks so beautiful if you don’t mind me saying.” The music stopped and Emery whispered again “Go dance with her.” Emery got up and went back to his wife as Dax lifted his wife off her feet carrying her to where they were dancing. A slow song started the dance. Drake cried again, not only because of the wedding but in memory of his wife. He wished Aideens mom was seeing this.
When they were finished dancing they quickly ate and the Dax carried the cake into the dining room. Aice had taken a lot of time to decorate it. Around the sides were beautiful blue Undines made of icing and on top was an red rose also made of icing. Aideen had never seen anything so wonderful. She smiled as she and Emery cut the cake and Alice took a million pictures. Everyone sat together, enjoying the butter cream icing and raspberry filling.
“Now it’s your turn.” Dax said as he nudged Zelda with his elbow. Zelda blushed and Arden choked on his cake. Alice ran into the kitchen and got him some milk to help wash it down.
“Dax, you nearly killed the poor boy.” Alice said as she rubbed Arden’s back.
“I’m alright ma’am, really.” Arden said and drank his milk.
Emery smiled knowingly at his sister and Arden. He wasn’t an idiot. It had only been a couple of days and Arden was already smitten with Zelda. He had a feeling the younger man would be using the fairy ring in the backyard a lot. “Oh I almost forgot.” Alice said and left the room again. She came back holding an envelope. “Your father and I got you two a gift.” She handed the envelope to Emery who opened it and pulled out two plane tickets to Italy.
“Mom, you two didn’t have to do this.” He stood up and hugged his mother.
“Of course we did.” She kissed his cheek then sat back down to finish eating. “Rome is beautiful this time of year and you deserve a wonderful honeymoon.”
“Thank you so much.” Aideen said with a smile. She had never been to Italy, had only seen pictures in some of the books Emery had.
After cake they all changed back into normal clothing. “I guess Arrow, Arden and I will leave tonight since their tickets are for tomorrow morning. Thank you so much for welcoming us to your home.”
“It’s been so nice having you here. You’re staying atleast until after dinner right?”
“Good, It’s been fun.” Dax stood up to ask”Why don’t we all go play Volleyball? Aideen & Emery you are welcome to come but I understand if you want to consummate your marriage.”
“Dad!” Emery exclaimed.
“You should think about what you say somtimes.”
“well do you two want to come?”
“I’d love to” Aideen said. Emery had told her about volleyball and she thought it sounded fun. Emery explained to them how to play so they wouldn’t have to ask. Alice was extremely skilled at the game so they made it girls against guys even though there were more guys than girls. They played until the sun went down. “Mom you’re better at that game every time we play. You girls crushed us.” Emery said laughing. Zelda and Aideen were very worn out but Alice seemed like she could have played through the night.
Emery picked Aideen up to carry her back so she wouldn’t have to walk. Arden nervously asked Zelda if he could carry her since she was tired. Zelda nodded and he swept her off her feet. She wrapped her arms around Arden filling him with butterflys. Arden wasn’t tired in the slightest. he had to do workouts all the time as the kings guard. He was glad of it so he could fully enjoy holding Zelda in his arms. He felt sad when they reached the house and had to put her down. Zelda gave him a kiss on the cheek as he placed her on her feet.
“I don’t want you to leave.” Zelda said as she hugged him.
“And I don’t want to go. I would stay here forever if I could.” He whispered. He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled back to kiss her. Her fingers gripped his shirt and it took everything he had to pull away. “I’ll be back, I promise. Don’t look so sad, please.” He stroked her cheek.
“I graduate in a couple of months then I can come with you.” She smiled and sat down on her bed. “Will you stay until I fall asleep?”
“Are you sure your mom and dad are okay with that?”
“They keep telling me I’m pretty much an adult and I can do whatever as long as I’m not doing drugs or driving drunk.” She lay down and he closed her door then got in next to her. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. “Thank you.” She whispered sleepily.
Emery lay tangled around Aideen, his head on her chest and his hand gently stroking her tummy. “You’re never going to get tired of doing that are you?” She asked as she stroked his temple.
“No, never in a million years. I love this baby more than you know and it’s not even big enough to move yet.” He said and slipped his hand under her shirt. “You are so amazing, creating life and giving me everything I’ve ever wanted.”
“I love you too, very much. My ring is beautiful, I love the roses.”
“A rose brought us together. If I had never had that plant I may have never seen you. Something told me to plant it, something inside me. It was a burning desire that I couldn’t get rid of like the universe was trying to tell me it would bring me something special. The universe was right. Without it I wouldn’t have you.” She felt tears burning in her eyes and he looked up at her as her emotions washed over him. “Are you alright?”
“You know I am. I just love when you say things like that.” He kissed her gently, feeling her lip quiver against his.
“I love you with all my heart Aideen and always will.” He scooted up and pulled her into his arms so she could rest her head on his chest. “Sleep now baby.”
Drake whispered into Zeldas room when they had to leave “Are you coming Arden?”
“Yes sir. I will meet you outside.” He whispered back. Drake and Arrow went outside to wait by the fairy ring. Arden gently took his arms from around Zelda and gave her a soft kiss on the cheek. “Goodbye my love. I really do wish I could stay.” Arden walked out despondently and met Drake and Arrow. He couldn’t wait until she could come with him and they could sleep together every night. “Don’t look so down Arden” The king said when they arrived back in their world. “She’ll be here before you know it” Arrow added.
When morning came Aideen woke up excited. She couldn’t wait for their honeymoon. As soon as breakfast was over they hugged everyone and told them what a wonderful time they had. Dax and Alice drove them to the airport. After one last hug and thank you Emery and Aideen boarded their plane. When Dax and Alice got in the car Alice said “Our babies are so grown. Soon even Zelda will be getting married.”
“It’s a good thing honey. Don’t you want them to be happy with their own lives” Alice started to cry “Yes but they’ll always be my babies.”
“Well lets go home and spend tons of time with Zelda before she’s gone too.” Alice nodded and they drove home making plans for all the things they could do with Zelda one last time before she finished growing up on them.