Ruby & Noxx 2

Chapter One

Noxx woke from his nap to the sound of his phone going off and he sat up from where he was resting in the grass and fished it out of his pocket. His heart jumped when he saw Ruby’s name. He quickly answered, worried she had had a panic attack or nightmare. He was generally pretty vigilant when it came to her. “Is everything alright?” He asked as he got up. read more

Mered & Ella

Chapter One

Ella punched her assailant in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him and feeling accomplished. He had went limp for just a moment and in that moment she felt she had just won but she soon felt razor sharp pain as he slashed at her, suddenly forming claws. Her scream was cut off as Mered startled her, pouncing on the man. He had been out with her brother, Nigel and Cadoc but she supposed now he was back. She could feel the anger coming off of him in waves and a new scream came from her lungs when the man she had been fighting cut his head clean off with his claws “Mered!” Tears streamed down her face even when she saw his body still moving. He simply picked up his head and it went right back on his body, his skin connecting with eachother again like it was a completely natural thing to happen.

He had told her he was impossible to kill but she had never seen anything like that before. The reality of her mate being basically indestructible was sinking in watching him fight this thing. Mered brought the man near death, wishing he could snuff out his miserable life but Ella was right there and he had promised both her and his daughter he’d never take a life again unless he had to. Angrily he spat his words at the man “I wish I could kill you, I want to so badly for hurting her but she wouldn’t want me to. If you so much as look at her again though you will be dead before you even realize what happened. Go! Get the hell away from her before I can’t keep myself from killing you”

The man limped and stumbled away fearfully as Mered walked over to Ella and lifted her up. She could see the worry in his face as he carried her back to their house and inside. Mered cleaned her wounds, waiting to ask her what happened until after he had bandaged her up. “You know how young male demons are. He saw me and wanted sex or a fight. I wanted neither but again, you know how young male demons are”

“This is why I shouldn’t leave you alone”

“I would have been okay”

“Your wounds say otherwise”

“says the man that got his head cut off”

“Almost anything can happen to me and I’d be okay. My body just puts itself back together unless you do it a certain way. I hope me loseing my head didn’t scare you”

“It did but you telling me and me seeing it are two different things. I mean wow, your head really did just go right back on”

“I’m sorry you had to see it. I hoped you’d never have to see anything close to that.”

She had a sudden thought and giggled a little. He gave her a questioning look and she said, “Losing your head.”

He huffed. “You mean like my temper.”

“Yeah, sorry, I think I needed the humor.”

He pressed his forehead against hers. “I’m just glad you’re safe. He didn’t do anything else before I got there did he?”

“No, I promise.”

“Thank goodness.” He was also relieved he really hadn’t had to shed blood in front of her. There would have been no way for him to hold back if he had raped or attempted to rape her. “Now I’m going to have to lock you up to keep you safe.”

“You better not.” She said with a laugh. She then reached up and ran her fingers along his throat. “I’m so relieved you didn’t die.”

He kissed her then cradled Ella in his arms to take her to their couch. It had terrified him to stumble upon her fighting something and he wanted her close. He knew all mates worried about each other but more terror than most gripped him when it came to Ella due to how he used to be. Anything could just come and try to kill her simply because it was fun. “How I wish you were basically impossible to kill like me”

“I am, just in a different way. My parents are amazing and taught me everything they know”

“Still, I’m keeping you close for awhile”

“You’re so sweet Mered” He ran his fingers through her hair “I’m so lucky…you’re irreplaceable Ella” He spoke softly, making sure she heard how deeply he meant them. “did you have fun at least”

“always Cadoc gave me a little too much information about him and my daughter but it was still fun” Ella giggled “He makes her so happy”

“Just like you make me Ella” He held her tightly against him, still trying to relax and stop worrying about her safety.

“How about I make us some tea and cookies.” Ella wanted him to relax, especially since she was okay.

“I can do it.”

She laughed, smiling lovingly at him. “Mered, I’m alright baby.”

“At least let me stay with you.” He brushed his nose over her cheek then pressed a kiss to her neck.

“Alright.”

He reluctantly let her go and followed her into the kitchen, letting her grab everything she needed and get the water boiling, then wrapping his arms around her from behind as she made the cookie dough. She hummed softly, the sound helping to relax him. She couldn’t help but smile at how protective he was, reminding her of a guard dog. Whether he believed it or not, he could be quite adorable.

She wanted to keep the conversation going as she got everything ready so Mered’s mind wouldn’t dwell “so besides Cadoc talking too much, what did you talk about with my brother and Nigel”

“Vina is repainting their home and your brother mentioned us all going to Porthcawl but I definitely don’t want to do that now” she giggled “Mered, I seriously would have been fine and if we go you’ll be glued to my side, I have no fear of that”

“mm, well it wouldn’t be just yet anyway so lets not discuss it for now. My heart stopped when I saw that man trying to hurt you…I just think of the things I’m capable of and so many scenarios went through my head even in the few seconds it took me to close the distance between us. I was such a horrible man and I pay the price now with worry”

“I understand Mered, we’ll relax for the rest of the day and talk about it tomorrow”

Mered managed to relax a little more once they were cuddled up on the couch enjoying the tea she had made. The smell of cookies started to fill the house and he had to resist the urge to follow her into the kitchen when she went to pull the first batch out. He knew he had to be smothering her and he would hate for her to get upset over it. He could still hear her and stayed alert until she came back with a plate of cookies. “Calm down, baby, eat some cookies. Your heart’s beating so fast.” Her gentle, loving tone made his heart stutter.

“Sorry, thank you for putting up with me.”

“There is no, putting up with, it makes me happy you love me so much. My brother would do the same thing you know, he’d follow me everywhere until he was absolutely sure I was safe, so don’t feel bad.”

“I feel like a child. I keep thinking karma is going to come back and tear me to pieces.”

“I have a feeling you’d bite back.”

He huffed out a laugh and pulled her into him, kissing her. “You really know how to make everything better. Thank you, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

The next morning as they sat down for breakfast she brought up her brothers suggestion “you know, I would love to go with him to Porthcawl. He’ll be there and you’ll be there so nothing can possibly happen to me, you know that”

“I suppose it would be a fruitless effort to try and keep you inside” she smiled and he leaned over to kiss her. As he sat back straight she said “I’ll call him after breakfast and see who all is going and when”

“what is it with you and Atticus with your need to travel all the time”

“We grew up going places a lot, fighting evils and what not with our parents or just traveling to travel and we always came home just fine. Maybe Gregory will come, you’ve never seen him fight but he is amazing and his wife is a fairy”

“Gregory is the vampire isn’t he?”

“Yeah.”

“What a dangerous match.”

“Not for them, he’s never had an issue with taking her blood.”

“I see. I look forward to meeting them then.”

She took his hand, smiling. “Everything’s going to be fine, you’ll see. We’re going to have fun.”

“I know and I’ll try to lay off the worrying if I can.” They finished eating, Mered going through every scenario he could think of that could possibly put Ella in danger. He knew he was being ridiculous, but he wanted an out just in case.

Before he knew it the day was upon him, he was walking to Porthcawl with Ella, Atticus, Tamlin, Gregory and their youngest child, a teenager whom he had learned went by the name Taarmun. He felt a little more comfortable meeting them all in person. Time and time again it was confirmed in him his mate came form a fierce family. He felt he could count on them in any sort of fight, especially if she inspired even half the love in them that she inspired within him. “so is it true? You really have to be killed a certain way to die?” Taarmun asked and Ella answered “I actually just saw his head get completely cut off and it just went back on like it was a perfectly normal thing to do”

“Thats pretty cool, how did you learn you had that ability?”

“Its one thats run in my family quite some time”

“That’s lucky.”

“It’s more irritating than anything, especially if I have to search for a limb.”

Taarum started laughing, the sound contagiously moving through all of them, it taking longer for Mered to realize the humor in it. “Does that happen often?” Taarum managed to ask.

“A few times, but I managed.”

“I can just imagine the face you were making.” Ella said, her laughter starting once again. “I bet you were mumbling and cursing.”

“I think the most frustrating time was when an arm flew into a swamp, I seriously considered just leaving it it took so long to find my arm”

“well hopefully you wont lost anything this trip…even though I know you’ll be okay it still hurts to see you like that”

“Normally I wouldn’t let that happen, its rare when something can get the better of me. I was just so blinded by rage to see that thing hurting you” She grabbed onto his arm affectionately, giving him a loving smile that tugged at his heart. He was never going to let anything happen to her, he absolutely couldn’t lose Ella. Questions continued to flow back and forth, everyone seeming to be getting along well but Ella had expected as much. Mered truly wasn’t as bad as he felt he was and her family knew how happy she was with him.

Chapter Two

Taarum asked more question as they walked, his curiosity getting the best of him. Ella enjoyed their back and forth while she visited with her brothers. Mered split his focus between Taarum and Ella, answering questions as he let her scent curl around him and relax him. “So are you two planning on having any kids?” Atticus asked and Mered heard her heart skip a beat.

“We haven’t really discussed it. That eager to be an uncle again?”

“Of course. I need more nieces and nephews to spoil.”

Ella laughed. “Awe, how cute.”

“Children are a wonderful thing.” Gregory added. “Watching them grow into amazing adults is so rewarding.”

“I agree.” Mered said. “Raising Tahairah was something else.”

Now her mind was consumed with children, she hadn’t realized she wanted any until her brother brought it up. Her life stayed so busy, especially with all their friends and the daughter Mered already had it simply hadn’t crossed her mind but now, she really wanted that but she was a little embarrassed to actually say as much. At least for now, she’d wait until they were alone to see if Mered would want to have children with her. She loved having four siblings so she wanted to have at least three children. She felt she was getting a bit ahead of herself since they hadn’t had a real discussion yet so she decided to bring up another topic.

It was their second night out when clicks and sucking noises startled Ella out of her sleep. She sat up, her eyes locking with a volucrix. They were disgusting creatures, with large, flat heads that resembled cockroach’s with spikes covering it. Their body’s were thin, sickly thin and their arms were more like scythes. Its long, spiked tail drug behind it and thats when she noticed it was a group. “Mer” she had started to say her mates name but almost in that very second they all lay dead, Mered covered in blood.

Ella stared up at him, shocked for a moment. For just a moment she could see that darkness slipping through and then it was gone as he crouched down to check on her, his eyes instantly warming. “Are you alright, my love?” His voice woke the others and they were all surprised by the carnage.

“I’m fine, just surprised.”

“I’m sorry.” He looked her over, making sure she didn’t have any wounds.

“We’re sorry sister.” Gregory said. “We should have been more alert.”

“It’s alright, Mered killed them before I even had time to scream.”

“Thank goodness.” Atticus said as he examined the ripped apart creatures.

“Why don’t you go get cleaned up, Mered, we’ll get rid of these.” Gregory said.

“I’ll go with him.” Ella said.

“I won’t be long baby, you can stay.” Mered worried what she must be thinking, that she would start to have doubts about him if he kept showing that side of himself.

“I want to.”

He didn’t want to argue with her about it so he let her come with him, a little surprised when she took his hand “Ella I’m covered in those creatures” he said gently “I don’t care, I can clean my hand just as easily as we’ll clean you up” They walked back to a river they had seen, careful to stay alert for any more of those creatures. Mered felt relief he wasn’t forced to be the monster he hated being around her. Ella began to help Mered clean off as she said “you’ve had your work cut out for you lately. I’m sorry”

“sorry? It’s hardly your fault”

“well, I wanted to come and you wanted to stay home” He stroked the side of her face, holding her cheek a moment before realizing he was getting her messy again. He rinsed off his hand then wiped off her face which made Ella smile “I love you Mered, you’re so sweet”

“you can say that after what I just did”

“you protected me, my siblings, Tamlin and my nephew. It’s astounding and shocking at times how fast you can be and how easily you seem to kill things but you only ever hurt anything any more to protect me”

“You will always be safe with me Ella, always”

“There’s nothing I’m more sure of” she kissed him and his heart trembled. As soon as he was clean he hugged her, kissing her head before they began to go back to her family and their friend Tamlin. Things seemed to be cleaned up so they all settled down for the remainder of their night, Mered holding Ella close to him.

After they had eaten breakfast the next morning, Mered insisted on carrying her. He was going to keep her as close as possible until they made it to Porthcawl. He was happy when she let him, knowing he was probably being ridiculous, but for now he needed to make sure he could get her to safety immediately. They took a break for lunch and he sat with her in his lap as everyone talked about the trip so far. Other than the near attack, everything was going smoothly and the day was bright and beautiful.

“You doing alright?” Ella asked once they were off again.

“Yeah, sorry if you’re tired of being carried.”

She laughed, the sound causing his heart to skip a beat. “Oh yes, it’s so terrible being loved and protected. I’ll be sure to file a complaint.”

He grinned before placing a loving kiss on her forehead. She relaxed a little more in his arms, enjoying the comfort it brought her. Once again her mind drifted to children and her smile grew a bit bigger at the thought. She could imagine him carrying them around instead of her on trips and how much fun they could all have together. The question was getting hard to keep back so she decided she was going to try and find a time sooner rather than later to talk to him. All she needed was time alone since she didn’t want to spring a question like that on him in front of people.

Mered was relieved when they finally arrived in Porthcawl and were no longer on the open road. He knew cities and villages could be attacked, he had been the cause of a few, but he had to admit that it was harder to sack a city than it did to surprise someone in the middle of nowhere. “Better?” Ella asked in a teasing tone.

“Perhaps. There are a lot of people around here though.”

She laughed and he smiled. “I could scare them all away for you.”

“I’d appreciate it.”

“You two are absolutely adorable together.” Tamlin said with a chuckle.

Mered gave his friend a look that was instantly softened by Ellas kiss. He didn’t like adjectives like adorable when it came to himself but he could take it when it came to Ella. With most recent events he supposed he should take any softening of his image he could get before this beautiful, amazing woman realized he didn’t deserve her. His past had been unforgiveable, despite the fact he now had friends and a mate that seemed to think the world of him. He knew better than to ever take this all for granted, that at any point he could lose these people and he’d deserve it.

He didn’t let those thoughts darken his mood though, especially not today. Ella had been through two close encounters and he wanted to have as much fun with her as possible before that stunning smile quit shining on her face. Atticus started leading them around,having a perfect memory of this place and everything there was to do there.

They joined a few games then found a nice resturaunt to eat at before calling it a night in their own rooms. “see, we’re all alive” Ella said with a teasing look. “Hm, I suppose we are”

“I’m so happy we came”

“Me too, but I’m happy anywhere as long as you’re there.” He sighed, feeling a little exhausted.

“Thank you for coming, I know you prefer being home.”

“I would walk through hell for you.”

She smiled as she pressed a kiss to his lips. “I love you.”

“Gods know why.”

“Mered, I know what you’re thinking and it’s not true. Your past isn’t going to change the way I feel about you. You’ve done so much to redeem yourself and you’ve been so sweet and gentle with me.” She let her fingers rub gently over the back of his neck. “I love you because whether you believe it or not, the man you are now has a big heart, is kind and generous and protective.”

“You see much more than I do love.”

“And I’ll keep telling you how wonderful you are until you start believing it. Which brings me to something I wanted to talk to you about. I don’t want you to be afraid to say no or think I’ll be angry, but I was thinking about maybe you and I having a baby.”

His heart thumped a little harder, it both touched and surprised him “you’d like to have a baby with me?” She had clearly just said that but he had to be sure that’s truly what Ella had suggested. “Yeah, I really think you’d be an amazing father and I want my own little family. My parents love being parents so much they occasionally just have to do it again” she said with a breath of laughter. He lifted his hand, resting it on the side of Ellas cheek, stroking it with his thumb “Ella, if you truly want children I’d love to have children with you. We can start trying whenever you want”

“I mean…we’re alone now” she was blushing and he smiled, moving to nibble at her ear. The soft moan it inspired already sending tingles of pleasure through him. Her clothes were on the floor moments later, his soon following. All exhaustion had left his body the second she had brought up children. It meant so much to Mered that she had that much faith in him and he wasn’t sure there was a point of exhaustion he could get to where he wouldn’t want to make love to her.

She wrapped herself around him and he held her close as he pressed hungry kisses to her lips, his hands drifting over her, savoring how soft and warm she was. Their lips parted on a moan when he pushed into her, her fingers gripping his back as he withdrew and rocked back into her waiting heat. He watched the pleasure play over her face, was humbled by the love and adoration he saw in her beautiful eyes. He held her tightly to him, moving in her a little harder as she quivered around him. “Ella, I love you.”

“I love you too, so much.”

He felt himself choke up and swallowed down that sudden lump in his throat. How did she do that to him, break down his walls until every emotion he kept hidden overwhelmed him. He pressed his lips into hers, his fingers tangling in her soft hair as he picked up the pace, her little whimpers of pleasure and the feel of her dancing around him, sending him over the edge so he flowed into her. He ran his fingers through her hair, let his lips play lovingly over her face in light kisses until she captured his face in her hands and rubbed her nose against his, a bright, adoring smile pulling at her lips.

He laid down next to Ella, pulling her close. They both fell asleep deeply hoping she would become pregnant soon. Mered was a little nervous about raising a child again but he was still excited for it. Tahairah had turned into an amazing woman and he had managed that on his own. Now he’d have Ella and he was sure his daughter would want to help with her new sibling any time she could. Life was about to change but as long as Ella stayed with him he knew nothing but happiness was in his future.

~ The End

Nigel & Vina 6

Chapter One

Cadoc was laying in a beautiful field of flowers when he felt someone grab his shirt and lift him into the air “what the” he began to say angrily but then he saw who had him, he was looking into Mered’s eyes, the father of the woman he was crazy over. Even if he wasn’t he was an intimidating demon ‘Do you have feelings for Tahairah or not you little punk”

“wha…what”

“I’m done having her wonder if you like her or not. You wont keep her guessing like this, she has better things to do with her time and has men far more worthy of her she could be talking to. Do you like her or not”

“I…I do, very much”

“then stop being a damn pansy and tell her”

“oo. okay”

“get some of these flowers for her too”

“yes sir” Mered dropped him the crouched down, his eyes menacing “I will not hesitate to kill you if you ever make her cry, you understand me”

“ye…yes sir” He knew Mered meant it, he could see it in his eyes. Cadoc laid there until Mered was gone then gathered up some flowers before going home to get ready to go see her. When Mered returned home Tahairah asked “where did you go”

“to talk to that boy you care so much for”

“You were nice to him right? I asked you to leave him alone”

“I was nice” she gave him a look and he said “you are my daughter and I couldn’t see you wonder anymore. I needed to get to the bottom of his feelings so you could be happy or move on to someone better”

“he’s the best”

“we’ll see”

“you should meet his family, they are all really nice”

“I know”

“You know?”

“he is the son of a good friend of mine, I can smell it on him”

“then why haven’t you gone to see Nigel?”

“he ended our friendship awhile back, I’m not sure if he wants to see me”

“but that was when you were bad right?”

“were?”

“you know you’re good now” he shrugged “well I wont assume and he has a family which I now know will drive a man to be defensive. You like this boy and I wont rock any boats”

“I want you to meet them, especially now that I know you used to be Nigels friend”

“Whoa, where’s the fire?” Nigel asked when Cadoc came rushing up to the front of the house. He and Vina had been laying out in the sun, just lazing the day away since it was so nice.

“I just need to get cleaned up to go see Tahairah.”

“You look panicked.” Vina said.

“Oh, well her dad came and…”

Nigel got to his feet, suddenly defensive. “Did he hurt you?”

“No he…”

“Did he threaten you?”

“Well, I mean it wasn’t that bad.”

Nigel started to walk away and Vina grabbed his arm. “Nigel, calm down. Cadoc’s fine and you don’t want to embarrass him.”

“Mom’s right, he didn’t hurt me or anything, he just wanted me to talk to Tahairah. It’s fine. Please don’t kill anyone.”

“You don’t understand son and I didn’t say anything until now because I don’t hold that young lady responsible nor did I want her to feel weird because of my past with her father but her father is a horrible demon, one that has no place coming around and threatening my son. I used to be his friend, back when I was no better than he probably still is. Just because he treats his daughter well doesn’t mean he isn’t still bad and I’m going to put him in his place before he does something. He’s done some pretty fucked up things”

“Nigel, for starters I thought we agreed no cussing in front of the children. Secondly, don’t go judging him before getting to know who he is now. That was lifetimes ago and people do change, they change all the time. You of all people should know that. Before you go over there raising hell our son is fine and you don’t need to over react based off who he used to be years ago. Tahairah is one of the sweetest young ladies I have ever met and that alone should tell you what kind of man he’s become. You remember the talk you had with Luca? You were pretty close to threatening yourself because dads go a little crazy over their little girls. Breath, talk to him, don’t go over there causing problems when your son is telling you it’s alright”

Nigel sighed. “Alright, you’re right, I…I’m sorry.”

Vina rubbed his back. “It’s okay, I understand. You know what it’s like to live in darkness.” She smiled at Cadoc. “Go get ready baby and we’ll all go over there together.”

“I didn’t mean to start anything.” Cadoc said.

“You didn’t.” Nigel replied. “I may have gone a little overboard. Just go on, you don’t want to keep Tahairah waiting.”

Nigel let out another sigh once Cadoc was inside and Vina turned him and slipped her arms around his neck. “It’s okay, Nigel, you’ll see. You told me about how most male demons treat their women, even their daughters and Tahairah hasn’t shown any signs of being abused.”

“I know.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too and I promise not to start anything.” He pressed a kiss to her lips. “It’s just after what happened with you, I don’t ever want my past to cause you or our children to suffer.”

“I think if he was going to hurt anybody he would have already done it. Cadoc and Tahairah have been hanging out awhile now. I think deep down even you know that or you would have stepped in”

“I’m sorry for not telling you”

“just keep me in the loop for now on. I wouldn’t have been weary of her because of her dad”

“I know, I guess I was just being stupid”

“we’re all entitled to be stupid every now and then. You’re an amazing, pretty much perfect mate.” When Cadoc was ready to see Tahairah they began walking over. Cadoc was nervous, even though her father had pretty much outright told him she had feelings for him it was still going to be hard to actually tell her. When she answered the door she took his breath away as she always did “Hi Cadoc, I’m so sorry if my dad scared you”

“it’s okay” she looked nervous as she asked “why are your parents here….are you guys mad…”

“No, we’re fine honey, we just thought we all should talk. Can you get your dad”

“I can try, come in and sit down. Cadoc knows his way around. You’re welcome to anything” Tahairah went upstairs and entered her dads room, she never needed to knock first. “dad, they want to see you. They don’t seem mad, they just want to talk. Please come, You said you werent seeing Nigel for me so I’m telling you I seriously want you guys to talk” Mered looked at his daughter a few moments before saying “alright, alright sweetheart…I really am sorry if this causes any trouble…I’ve never wanted you to suffer because of who I was more than you already have…I just really am worried Nigel wont want his son seeing you if he sees me”

Nigel stood as soon as Mered came down and gave him a nod. “Mered.”

“Nigel and this must be Vina.”

“My mate, yes. And yours?”

“I don’t have one.”

“I see.”

It was an awkward situation for both of them so Vina said, “That must have been hard, raising her on your own.”

“It was, a man like me wasn’t exactly father material, but when I looked at her little face I couldn’t help but be better.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “She’s all I have. I wasn’t trying to be harsh with your son.”

“We understand and he knows he’ll be held accountable for anything bad he might do.” Nigel replied.

“I wouldn’t actually kill him.”

“I know, I get it. I have a daughter and with my past, I wanted to protect her from everything.”

“Then they can still see each other?”

“I wouldn’t lay either of our pasts on our children. They have no say in who their fathers are. I wouldn’t dream of breaking them up.”

“good, I’ve never seen Tahairah so happy. Speaking of which you two can go out and talk. I think we can be left alone” Tahairah was blood red from her fathers comments “Okay” Cadoc was also adorably red, causing his mother to struggle not to grin at them. Cadoc took her hand gently and they walked outside, leaving their parents alone. “so then what happened to her mother?”

“I killed her mother. You know even with how bad I was I never took parents away from children but I didn’t realize she had a three year old. I took her in because even I’m not that horrible. She was so little, so many terrible things could have happened to her if I had left her on her own. I never saw a father around so he must have done the typical male demon thing” There was a long pause before he said “I really am different Nigel. Raising her changed me and I would like to be friends. I’ve missed you, I missed the good times we had without doing bad things”

Nigel nodded “with my own past I’d be kind of a bastard if I refused to give you a chance.” Nigel offered his hand and Mered shook it, feeling happier and more relived than he realized he would. He had his old friend back and his daughter would have a mate.

“I’m really sorry my father threatened you.” Tahairah said as she and Cadoc walked. “I didn’t ask him to.”

“I know and it’s fine, he’s just being a dad.”

“Those flowers are pretty.”

“Oh, yeah. They’re actually for you. Here.” He handed them over, feeling more and more embarrassed with every step.

“Thank you.”

He rubbed the back of his neck as he pulled her to a stop once they were out of sight. “So uh I was wondering if maybe you…if you want to I mean…if you would considering being my mate.” He was terrified of being rejected even after her father had said she liked him. He wondered if his own father had been this scared. “I mean I know I’m not much, you probably deserve better, but…” Tahairah moved closer and pressed a kiss to his lips that shocked him into silence. It took his brain a moment to even register what had just happened.

When she pulled back she said “never try and tell me you’re not much, you’re perfect. I’m so happy when I’m with you and you’re always so good to me. I love you Cadoc”

“I love you too” he pulled her into his arms and held her, happy and grateful to be able to pull her close for as long as he wanted. Both their hearts were racing, especially Cadocs. He had so much on his mind. He wanted to be with her all the time but neither of them had their own home. He wanted to ask his father to help him build his own home but he worried she might feel pressured to live with him because he built a home to have the ability to live with her. He decided just to ask and make it clear he didn’t want her to feel rushed or pressured in the relationship, he just wanted the option to be there since he only wanted to go as slow in this relationship as she needed. He already knew in his very soul he wanted forever and a family with Tahairah.

“Tahairah, I…well….I’m going to talk to my dad about helping me build my own home. I want my own so that we can live together whenever you decide you’re ready for that. While I want you to know that I don’t want you to feel pressured to live with me. I’m happy to wait as long as you need me to”

“You’d want to live with me already?”

‘yeah” he stuttered a little bit. She blushed again “I’d…I’d be happy to live with you Cadoc”

Chapter Two

“Truly?”

“Yes, of course. Let’s tell our parents.”

“You don’t think your dad would be upset?”

“I’m his little girl so he might be a bit sad, but I know he wants the best for me.” She pulled him back up to her father’s home and they were both happy to hear everyone talking. Both Nigel and Mered seemed much more at ease and were reminiscing about old times. They both left out anything terrible they had done of course, neither of them wanting to bring it up in front of Vina. It was always in the back of their minds, but they did their best not to dwell on it.

“Someone looks embarrassed.” Nigel said as soon as they came in.

“Well, the thing is…” Cadoc started.

“Did you tell her?” Mered asked.

“Yes sir.”

“Daddy be nice.”

“I am, I won’t threaten anyone anymore.”

“Cadoc also asked me to live with him as soon as he has the house built.”

“Did you have to come out and just say it?” Cadoc asked, his face red. She gestured to Nigel and he cleared his throat. “Dad would you mind helping me build a home for Taharah and I? Mered, you could help too if you wish.”

“I’d insist upon it, my daughter would be staying there. I trust Nigels abilities but I will most definitely be helping” Tahairah ran over and hugged Mered “thank you” Mered held her tight “You just take care of yourself and if you ever need anything you come and let me know.” She kissed his cheek then went back over to Cadoc, reclaiming his hand “well, no time like the present to get started. I already know the perfect spot. It’ll be a little far for each of us but I’m sure you two will like having a little bit of distance between us and you” Nigel said and they left so he could show Mered where he was thinking of for them. Nigel lead them to a beautiful little area of the wood and while it was a bit of a hike it wasn’t that bad. Mered began inspecting it thoroughly, eventually saying “I like it, good choice Nigel”

“I was thinking perhaps a chicken coop or something in the back and there’s plenty of space for a garden.”

Mered nodded. “And a spot for firewood as well.”

“Yes, good idea. I wouldn’t want either of them walking through snow to get to it.”

Vina just sighed and shook her head, a smile on her lips as she stood there next Cadoc and Tahairah. “There will be no stopping them.”

“I hope they don’t go overboard.” Cadoc said. “It doesn’t have to be that big, just big enough for us and maybe children?”

Tahairah kissed his cheek. “Of course children. You should get over there and help them plan.”

“Is there anything specific you want?”

“I’ll be happy with anything as long as we’re together.”

“Alright then, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Vina sat with her soon to be daughter Tahairah “are you excited?”

“incredibly , I really do love your son very much”

“I know, I’m glad you two met”

“I’m glad my dad will have a friend too now, especially if I’m going to move out”

“It’s crazy they avoided eachother all this time”

“Mered has always been a good dad and he was truly afraid he’d ruin things for me. I guess he should have known Nigel knew already” They continued talking as the guys worked. Vina had realized that Cadoc was serious about Tahairah long ago but now them getting married and having kids was close at hand so she wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to get to know her better. They even cooked together when it came time for meals since the guys were doing all the hard labor of building their home. It proved to be a lot of fun, something Vina had missed since Panya grew up and moved out with Luca.

“I can’t believe how much we’ve accomplished already.” Cadoc said as they headed back to his parents home for dinner.

“It helps when you’re a demon.” Nigel chuckled. “It would probably take humans much longer.”

“Are you nervous about living together?” Mered asked.

Cadoc blushed. “Yeah, a little. I mean…” he glanced at Mered, “well you know.”

Nigel nudged him. “So pure.”

“By the time we were your age age we had bedded many women.” Mered teased.

“Now, now don’t lie, I wasn’t nearly as bad as you.” Nigel replied.

“True.” Mered slapped Cadoc on the back. “It’s good you haven’t screwed everything on two legs. Being experienced doesn’t equal being amazing at it. Sex is easy, but love is something all together different.”

“He’s right.” Nigel said. “Loving your mother is far different than the short, meaningless relationships I had before.”

“Does mom know about everything?”

“Of course she does and she loves me still. Finding love is a stroke of luck for creatures like us and being raised with it is even luckier. We both know you’ll be a good mate to Tahairah.”

“I hope so, Tahairah knows everything too..you know…my old gambling problem”

“good, honesty is important and Mered he was cured of that years back when he got his mother into some trouble because of it and I’ll be the first to kick his ass if I hear of him falling back into that stuff.” he looked at his son again “you’re going to be starting a family soon so it’s now more important you don’t let yourself gamble” He nodded and Mered said “well, if thats the worst he’s ever done he’s still a saint compared to us” Mered was curious about what happened but he’d ask Nigel when Cadoc wasn’t around. He didn’t want to rub salt in an old wound, especially if it was something so bad he was instantly cured of ever gambling again. Vina sounded like such a sweet woman, he hated thinking something terrible happened to her.

“How’re your other kids?” Mered asked remembering Nigel had at least one or two back when they were still talking. “You remember Wexsel, Anna and Brody?”

“to be honest, not specifically, I just remember you did have some kids back when we still talked”

“Vina and I try to get around to see them but we all miss eachother a lot. Vina and I have different homes in two other worlds and then we travel. My older kids travel a lot too so I really only see Panya and Cadoc.” Nigel sighed “They love me and the man I’ve become but I don’t think they’ll ever care about seeing me that much. I was such a shitty dad for so long and I can’t take that back no matter how much better I am now. I’m really glad I’ve gotten a chance to be a good father with Vina, that I have children that really care how much they see me. I’m not trying to complain..I guess I’m just sort of explaining that we do see them but not a whole lot. They adore Vina, They like her more than me” Nigel chuckled as he said the last bit.

When they made it back, Vina and Tahairah greeted Nigel and Cadoc with a kiss then Tahairah went and hugged Mered. “You guys look exhausted.” Vina said.

“Not at all, it was a good day today. We’ll be done before you know it.” Nigel said as he pressed another kiss to Vina’s lips. “Something smells wonderful.”

“Why don’t you three get cleaned up then you can eat.”

“Yes my love.”

“I have to admit, I’m a little jealous.” Mered said as he sat on the couch and waited for his turn in the bathroom.

“You’ll find someone daddy, just be patient.” Tahairah said as she left him in the room with Cadoc.

“My sweet optimistic child.”

“I think she’s right.” Cadoc said. “There are so many people out there, so many worlds, so many souls. Your mate is bound to be among them.”

“Maybe, but if not, I’m just happy she’s happy.”

“She’s amazing…thank you for raising her…if you had just left Tahairah to fend for herself I may never have met her” Once each man had their turn washing up for dinner they all sat around the table to enjoy the meal the girls prepared. “this is amazing” Mered complimented and his daughter beamed while Vina said “thank you, Tahairah is a good little cook”

“she showed an interest in it pretty young. I let her start trying to cook when she was five”

“well she has an amazing skill because of it” They enjoyed their meal then spent time together. They had come so far on the house and they were all going to be family soon so spending time together was more important than rushing to get things done. The next morning the girls went back with them to see where the men were “I already love it” Thairah said and Cadoc felt his heart beat out a relieved rhythm. Her father chuckled “wait until you see the finished product sweetheart”

The men worked hard and on the last day Nigel and Mered sent Cadoc with money away so he and Tahairah could pick out furniture. “I can’t believe she’s grown already.” Mered said as he ran paint over the living room wall. “It seems like just yesterday she was climbing trees and I was yelling at her to get down.”

“I feel the same about both Panya and Cadoc. It’s shocking when they go from wanting to spend all of their time with you to independent adults, but I’m proud of them.”

“I’m relieved Tahairah didn’t take after me. I was so worried at first that she would pick up bad habits, but she’s so intelligent and beautiful. I know I’m going to worrying about her even though I know you’re son is a good man. How do you do it?”

“It’s not easy letting them grow up, but Vina made sure I gave them their independence when they got older. She didn’t want them afraid of the world and she was right. They have to be able to grow up and make mistakes.”

“You boys look tired.” Vina said as she stepped inside with glasses of lemonade. “Why don’t you take a break and let me paint for awhile.”

“You don’t have to baby.” Nigel said as he sat his brush down and took one of the glasses from her.

“Let me, you’ve been at this nonstop so relax. You too Mered.”

Nigel took a long drink and decided to give in to her wishes “alright my love. Thank you”

“Cadoc’s my baby too and we didn’t get to help Panya. Luca already had everything together so I’m excited to do something. Paint I can handle” Nigel kissed her, lingering in it a few moments before going to sit down and get some fresh air with Mered. Just the fresh air in his lungs was a relief as he found a nice place to sit outside. “so Mered, you really don’t know any women you could romance?”

“No, Once I was any good to be around I sort of devoted myself to raising Thairah. Plus…is there a woman out there who can forgive as much as I’ve done? Vina forgave you a lot but I was worse and for longer”

“believe me, there is, lots of the Aponte women have forgiven some pretty terrible, well, once terrible men. Then there’s Thorn and Gloria” Nigel was going to continue talking but Mered interrupted “Thorn Hardison, there isn’t any way Thorn Hardison has a mate….even to me he was someone not to be around…even if you get past everything else how did this woman forgive him for being a rapist?” Nigel shrugged, finishing his drink “maybe because he waited to tell her awhile and he never hurt her. The news shocked Gloria when he confessed his past”

“I would imagine. Why would she even give him a chance?”

“She made him find and apologize to every woman he ever wronged. He even let them hurt him and offered up his life to them.”

“There’s no excuse for being that way.”

“He knows that, but he managed to gain their forgiveness or at least some form of it. He knows he was a monster and it’s something he has to live with for eternity. He can never forget the things he has done, none of us can, we just have to work hard for redemption.” He took another drink. “You just have to show people that you’re worthy of forgiveness.”

Mered nodded, seeming to go deep into thought. Nigel just gave him a few moments, enjoying the cool drink and relaxing. Finishing their kids house only took the rest of that day and half the next but it was perfect, absolutely everything they wanted for Cadoc and Tahairah. The two were excited and extremely grateful to their parents. Mered lifted his daughter into a tight hug “I hope you two stay happy sweetheart but you can always come home if you ever need to and you can always just come to me for anything in general. You’ll always be my little girl”

“I know dad. I love you”

“I love you too, so much” He set her down then let her go in with Cadoc so they could have their first evening alone in their own home. Vina sighed “well lets get going…it’s so hard to let them go” Nigel swept her off her feet “They are close enough for you still to see him all the time. We see a lot of Panya and Luca and they are a little farther than this”

“I know” Mered was struggling to but he wasn’t putting words to it and he wouldn’t cry, not in front of anyone. He had grown so attached to her, had grown so fond of having someone around every day and now he’d live alone again. Nigel and Vina had Mered over for dinner that night and many nights following. Nigel knew his friend was too proud just to come over as he adjusted to not having a child at home any longer and he was truly enjoying rebuilding their friendship.

~ The End