“Zoya, it’s time to wake my love.” Matvei said softly and kissed her. She stirred, her eyes fluttering and a blush turning her cheeks pink. “Hey beautiful, it’s time for breakfast.”
“Can I shower first?” She asked and he smiled warmly down at her.
“You need to stop asking me if you can do things. You’re my mate, we’re equals. I’ll wait for you downstairs with everyone else.”
“Okay.” He kissed her again then headed downstairs. She still wasn’t comfortable being completely naked around him so he gave her some privacy. After breakfast they were going to pack and head out to find her sister. Kristof had offered to accompany them and had already packed his bag. Chthon had insisted they take the cart in the barn to carry their tents and bags and to make the trip a little faster. Kristof said he would drive so Matvei and Zoya could sit together in the back. Matvei sat down at the dining room table and waited patiently for Zoya. He didn’t want to eat without her.
“Hey, you doing okay?” Kristof asked.
“Yeah, just waiting for Zoya. I like eating with her.”
“You are such a sweet young man.” Ruth said and Matvei smiled.
“I try to be, especially for Zoya. I want her to always smile for me.”
Zoya showered as quickly as she could, wishing she wasn’t so worried about being naked around Matvei. After almost being raped by Allu she had become terrified of taking her clothes off if she wasn’t alone. She knew Matvei would never hurt her and that there were women living in the castle who had been through greater trauma than herself, but she couldn’t help it. She knew she should ask Reyna or Rika how they had worked through it, but she never got a chance to get them alone. She decided to try asking before she left, hoping it would help her be braver for Matvei.
Once she was dry she checked Reynas room but they were at breakfast so she tried Rikas door. She sighed when nobody answered there either. She then just went down to breakfast to sit with Matvei and eat. He smiled happily when Zoya entered the dining hall. “You could have eaten”
“I don’t like to eat without you” They enjoyed the breakfast Chthon and Ruths servants made. When Matvei was ready to go pack Zoya walked over to Reyna “could i talk to you after we’re done packing?”
“sure sweetie” Reyna said warmly. Matvei heard and said “why don’t you let me pack and you go ahead and talk to her?”
“Thank you, could I talk to you in private now then Reyna?’
“Of course, lets go to my room” The two couples exchanged kisses then Matvei went to pack while Zoya talked to Reyna. It worried Matvei a bit that there was a private matter Zoya needed to discuss with Reyna but he would let her have her privacy. Matvei packed slowly since Zoya was talking anyway. He made sure he packed all of Zoyas favorite clothes and the things she liked him in. He was nervous about meeting Zoyas sister and hoped she liked him.
“What’s wrong sweetie?” Reyna asked as they sat on their bed.
“As you know I was a slave in Matvei’s world, his slave. He never did anything too me, but another demon tried to rape me. He didn’t succeed, but it has given me a fear of being naked unless I’m all alone. I hate it and I feel like I’m being unfair to Matvei.”
“Oh Zoya, you should have said something earlier.” Reyna hugged her and she started crying without meaning too.
“I know what happened to you is way worse than what happened to me, but I’m just so scared.”
“Have you tried talking to Matvei about how you feel?”
“No, but he never says anything about it. He gives me my freedom.”
Reyna pulled back to look at her. “Neme really helped me after what happened at the hands of my late husband. He was incredibly patient and understanding. Matvei seems like that type of man so talk to him about your fears, let him help you through them.”
“Okay, thank you.”
“You’re very welcome and never be afraid to talk to me or Rika if you have questions.”
Zoya smiled and wiped at her face, not wanting Matvei to see she had been crying and thinking he was to blame. She and Reyna headed back downstairs where Matvei and Kristof were waiting with Chthon and Ruth. “I hooked the horses up to the cart and everything you’ll need is already packed in there.” Chthon said with a smile.
“You three stay safe.” Ruth said in a motherly tone.
“We will ma’am I promise.” Kristof replied, his smile reassuring her.
“Could I know what you and Reyna spoke about?” Matvei asked, unable to bridle his curiosity. “Later?”
“Later is fine” Matvei answered then pulled Zoya closer. “I hope your sister is where you last knew her to be”
“I hope so too. If not we wont stop looking right?”
“of course not. Do you think she’ll like me?”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
“I’m a demon and son of the man that took you”
“I’ll explain everything to her. I’ll tell her how you protected me, helped me escape and never hurt me. I’ll explain you were a victim aswell. She wont hold what your father did against you. I know her and can promise you that” Zoyas words brought him comfort and he just enjoyed having her close. He gently ran his fingers up and down her arm just to feel her and bring his mate comfort. It hadn’t been his intention but he lulled her to sleep like this.
Matvei smiled when he noticed. He placed a soft kiss on her head then kept rubbing to keep her relaxed. As Kristof drove he wondered himself what Zoyas familys reaction would be to them. A reaction of anger would definitely be understood but hopefully they would be as willing to listen as Zoya thought they would be.
“She seems to have something important on her mind of late.” Kristof said as he guided the horses and cart around a rut in the road.
“It worries me a little bit when she doesn’t talk to me, but I understand if she needs too think about things. Our relationship is a little odd I suppose.”
“Not so odd, I mean even Ruth was once human. So it’s not so strange.”
“Maybe not to Chthon and his family, but there are many demons and humans who would find out relationship unsettling. I worry her sister may turn her from me, especially with this very monster like appearance.”
“You didn’t ask for the scars Matvei, your father is and will always be a monster. As far as I can tell Zoya loves you very much and neither your appearance or her sister will turn her from you. So stop worrying so much and just enjoy being with her.”
“You’re right of course. I shouldn’t let my insecurities govern me.” Matvei held Zoya a little tighter and pressed another kiss onto her head before allowing himself to fall asleep. Zoya woke first the next morning and found herself unable to move.
“Matvei, wake up baby.” She said softly and his eyes snapped open.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, it’s morning and I’m hungry and need to use the bathroom.”
“Pulling over right now.” Kristof said as he guided the horses off the road.
“Kristof did you drive all night?” She asked.
She frowned and Matvei said, “After breakfast Zoya and I will take a turn while you rest.”
“Thank you, I just wanted to find Henrietta as soon as possible” Zoya ran off so she could pee without an audience while Matvei worked on getting them breakfast. Kristof stretched from staying in the same position. When Zoya came back he was still stretching so she asked “want me to rub your muscles?”
“If you wouldn’t mind” Kristof sat down so Zoya could kneel behind him and rub out the tenseness from guiding the horses so long. She worked him for only a short time before he said he was fine. Matvei soon came back with an animal to prepare. They readied it then enjoyed its meat. Wih full stomachs and empty bladders Matvei and Zoya took up the guiding while Kristof began resting in the carriage.
“So are you ready to talk to me now?”
Zoya frowned. “Yeah I guess. Reyna said I should.”
“Well then tell me what’s on your mind.”
She took a deep breath. “I hate that I am uncomfortable getting naked around you. It makes me sad that I can’t take a shower with you. It’s just that after Allu tried to rape me I’ve been scared and insecure. I know you would never hurt me, but I just get so nervous.”
He grabbed her hand. “Zoya, I love you and yes I want to shower with you and make love to you and fall asleep with the warmth of your skin pressed against me, but I can wait for those things.”
“But what if they never happen?”
“Then we’ll never do it. I won’t get frustrated or try to guilt you into having sex with me. I only want your happiness. If this is all our relationship will ever be then I will accept it and spend every moment making you smile, but you must promise me something.”
“Consider becoming a demon and staying with me forever. Let me wake up to your beautiful smile and listen to your amazing laugh for all eternity.” She teared up and he wrapped his free arm around her shoulders. “Shh I’m sorry, you don’t have too, I’ll still love you and stay with you.”
“It’s not that, it’s just you keep doing and saying the sweetest things and I feel like such a failure. I want to give something back, especially after you protected me for so many years.”
“All I need is your love Zoya.”
“I’m going to try really hard after we find my sister to give you more”
“Just keep in mind, I’m happy to go as slow as you need” Matvei continued holding Zoya with his free arm as he guided the horses. He felt relief to know the problem wasn’t anything really to do with him. Now that he knew nothing was wrong they could slowly ease her into being naked since she desired to get over her fear. This day was as uneventful as the last, only stopping for breaks to eat and use the bathroom. When night came Kristof was rested enough to want to drive again so he took over and let them cuddle in the carriage.
In the night a sudden upset in the horses startled Matvei and Zoya awake. Within seconds Kristof was struggling with what smelt like a mixture of demons and monsters. Matvei said ‘stay here Zoya” as he jumped out to help Kristof. Zoya covered her ears, not wanting to listen to what was going on outside. She thought of Matveis request earlier and felt this would be a time her being a demon would be an amazing idea.
Matvei and Kristof tangled with the creatures, fighting as hard as they could to keep them away from Zoya and the carriage. Matvei didn’t want her to be come the prisoner of unfriendly demons. Her scream rang out behind them and Matvei turned to see a half lizard monster trying to climb into the back of the carriage with her. He left Kristof to hold the others back and grabbed hold of the monster that had her ankle. He yanked it away from her, its claws scratching her leg. He and Kristof forced the demons and monsters back and were relieved when they finally fled rather than fight with the two stronger demons. Matvei climbed into the back of the carriage and pulled Zoya into his arms.
“Are you okay?” He questioned worriedly.
“That thing scratched my leg, but other than that I’m fine.” She was shaking with her fear and found herself clinging to him.
“I’m sorry I let it get to you. Let me see your leg.” He pulled her foot into his lap and looked at the scratches running from her calf to her ankle. They were’t serious, but they looked like they stung.
“I’m okay Matvei, you kept me safe.”
“Not safe enough.”
“Oh shush, Kristof tell him to shush.”
Kristof looked at them from calming the horses. “Zoya said shush so shut it. All that matters is that she is alive and safe.”
“I can’t believe we were attacked.” Zoya said as Matvei pulled her onto his lap.
“Some roads are more dangerous than others. As soon as we make it to town we should alert the authorities and let them know this part of it is not safe.” Kristof climbed up on the bench and clicked his tongue to get the hosrses moving, not liking the idea of setting still.
Thankfully the rest of the way to Zoyas old village was without another attack. Another thing they had to be grateful for was Zoya not getting infection in her scratch marks. Humans often fell ill with demon fever shortly after being scratched or bitten but she seemed fine. Before entering Matvei asked “How does this village receive demons?’
“With caution but they wont kill you for stepping in.” with that Mtvei insisted they find a healer and get her leg tended to before going to their old home. To Zoyas and the healers glee the village had the same woman tending to wounded as before Zoya was kidnapped. Lisette embraced Zoya with happy tears “O my god, i never believed I’d see you again”
“Me neither” They hugged and cried for a time before Zoya said ‘will you tend to my leg injury?”
“Of course” Lisette looked at the wound then put her healing hands on it “there, all is right now. You must be wanting to see your sister. She doesn’t live here any longer. The memories were hard on her and she moved away. I can guide you to her new dwelling.”
“That would be amazing.”
“Who are these demons with you?”
“Matvei is my boyfriend and Kristof is my friend”
“Did they save you from your captors?”
“Yes they did” Lisette went to them and gave them hugs “then you two are very welcome here.”
“Thank you ma’am.” Matvei said with a small smile.
“Thank you.” Kristof said.
“Well then lets go, I’m sure your sister will be shocked the poor dear.” They followed Lisette out of her home and through the streets of the small town.
“Excuse me, Lisette. Could you please tell the guards of this town that the demons and monsters roaming along the road we came in on?” Kristof asked.
“Yes of course, I would hate for some other innocent to get hurt like Zoya did or worse.”
Lisette took them out of town about a mile then onto a deer path. Zoya held Matvei’s hand as they walked and hoped her sister would be okay with him and Kristof. She knew her being kidnapped had probably put a bad taste in Henrietta’s mouth for demons, but Matvei was the man she loved and Kristof was like a brother to her. She wouldn’t give them up no matter what. Lisette brought them to a cottage in the woods with a vegetable and herb garden in front of it. She knocked on the door and Henrietta answered.
“Lisette what…” she started then saw the two demons and standing in between them was Zoya. “Oh my god, Zoya?” Tears filled her eyes and she felt herself get weak in the knees.
“Whoa don’t faint sweetie.” Lisette said and grabbed her by her shoulders. “Kristof will you be a dear and help me?”
“I’m fine.” Henrietta said and grabbed Zoya, pulling her into a tight hug. “It’s you, it’s really you. I can’t believe it.” They stood there and cried together, so happy to see each other again. “I’m sorry, I should have protected you.”
“Hush, it wasn’t your fault and Matvei and Kristof watched over me while I was gone.” Henrietta looked at the two demons, not trusting them.
“What if they’re tricking you?”
“They’re not, I promise.”
“Why don’t you all go inside and talk.” Lisette said softly. “I’ll head back home.” She gave Zoya another hug then left.
“Come on sister, just get to know them.”
“I guess I’ll try. How’d you meet them?”
“I was given to Matvei as a toy but he didn’t use me as such. He just protected me from the other demons. Kristof has been a friend a long time and came to visit every now and then”
“Why didn’t they just let you go if they are real friends”
“Matveis father was a cruel man and they were afraid of him. A demon named Chthon had to free us all” Henrietta just thought about it. “I’m just glad you’re back sister. I’m not trying to be unpleasant” Henrietta ended up saying. “I know, you’ve always been a loving, protective sister”
“are you three hungry or thirsty from your travels?’
“Can we make Sri Lankan Aromatic Yellow Rice? It’s what we were going to make the night I was kidnapped”
“Yes, I havent eaten it since”
“me neither” Zoya said. Matvei nor Kristof had ever even heard of the dish. The girls got busy while the men awkwardly sat there. They didn’t know how to act around Henrietta who didn’t seem to like them very much or trust them around her sister atall. Not that they could blame Henrietta in the slightest for her mistrust”So what is Matvei to you exactly?” Henrietta asked as they cooked.
“He’s my boyfriend.” Henrietta froze for a moment and had to bite back her angry response.
“Does he treat you well?”
“Of course he does. He’s the sweetest man alive. I know he looks frightening to some with the scars and horns, but he’s really handsome and loving. I’ve never met a man like him.”
“How did he earn his scars?”
“His father poured this chemical on him. He has them on one side of his body. It was before I was taken though and he doesn’t really talk about the day it happened.”
“Do you love him?”
Zoya smiled. “With all my heart. I know you think I’m crazy, but I really really love him and won’t give him up. Kristof neither, he’s such a sweet man.” Henrietta was conflicted. She hated demons, but the two waiting patiently in her living room didn’t fit the image of the monsters she had expected.
“You look worried Matvei.” Kristof said.
“I just don’t want Henrietta to convince Zoya to get rid of me. I need her. She makes me feel whole and she doesn’t see my scars when she looks at me.”
Kristof chuckled. “She’ll never leave you, she loves you. You’re insecurities are showing again my friend.”
“I’m sorry, I know she loves me. It’s just she hasn’t seen he sister in a long time and I know her family is more important than me.”
“You and I are part of her family Matvei so by that logic we are both very important. If we weren’t she wouldn’t have let us come with her.”
“You are right, I know it. I’ll try not to worry. It’s just hard when you love someone”
“I wish i could say I understand”
“You’ll find someone some day”
“Maybe, Its hard to find demon women who aren’t either mindless from being raised to be a toy or complete bitches because they are convinced all male demons are evil SOBs. God, I got pummeled once just because I went up to a girl trying to ask her a question. Then of course to human girls we are the monsters under the bed so to speak. Yeah you have Zoya and Chthon has Ruth and Abraxas has Adette but dammit if you guys weren’t lucky. Fairy women seem more unsettled by our kind than humans most the time.”
“Theres vampire women”
“I’ve never met one”
“Nope, not a one. I’ve met a few males but not women. Probably hiding from me if you go by my luck with girls. If I dont scare them I get beaten by them”
“I never realized you had such difficulty”
“Girls didn’t start coming up until Zoya so it was easy to miss. Plus you had your father to deal with.”
“Yeah and of course my mother is one of the mindless demon women. She didn’t even have one before my father”
“yeah, I’m sorry about that Matvei. I couldn’t imagine not growing up with a mom like mine. Did she ever hug you or give you any affection?”
“No, she had me because my father wanted me. There was never any love. She never once said happy birthday, hugged me, kissed me, sang to me, spent time with me. She gave birth then servants took over my care.”
“we can share my mom. She has more than enough love for both of us” Kristof said with a smile and Matvei smiled back “thanks, she is a sweet woman. I’m glad she learned fast not to come around my fathers castle”
“Thats your castle you know. One of these days you should go back and take it”
“I dont want it. So many terrible things have happened in that place”
“Even so, if you change your mind you can always banish your father and the other men. It’s not like we killed any of them.”
“I should have killed Allu for laying his hands on Zoya, I should have ripped him to pieces and left him for the animals.”
“I should have let him bleed to death, but I couldn’t do it with Zoya there so I left him unconscious. You are no monster Matvei, you’ve never been one for violence even though you were raised in a house full of it. I know you thought you were ready to kill Allu when you found out he had tried to hurt Zoya, but I also know you wouldn’t have been able to exact revenge with Zoya there.”
He rubbed his neck. “I think I’ll stay away from my old home. Maybe Zoya wants to move here to be closer to her sister.”
Kristof shrugged and the smell of food filled the house. A few minutes later Zoya called them to the table and they started eating in silence. Zoya wished Henrietta would say something. “So did you become a shaman?” Zoya asked.
“Yes and my fire starting has become very powerful. One look and I can make something burst into flames.” Henrietta replied, looking at Matvei and Kristof as she said it.
“I have blood magic, one look and I can drain a man completely of his life.” Kristof shot back with a smile.
“Oh really, and what can you do Matvei?”
Matvei stopped mid bite. “Not much I’m afraid. I’m not very powerful. I have super strength, speed, and my senses are very keen. I grew up with a father who didn’t want a son more powerful than him. He beat me, poured acid on me, made me weak. So I never got to develop powers like other demons.”
“I’m sorry, that must have been terrible”
“It was but now I have Zoya so I don’t worry about my past any longer” They finished their food and cleaned up the kitchen. “Lets relax here for what remains of the day and then tomorrow we will reunite with all our old friends. They will be so happy to see you back alive and well.”
“I can’t wait to introduce them to my boyfriend and friend” Henrietta sighed though she tried not to. It was proving hard but she had to try and trust these men. She knew her sister wasn’t planning on letting them go. All she could do is protect Zoya this time and not faily her like the last. Henrietta was much more powerful so there wasn’t any way in the world she was letting them steal her away again.
They talked for while, Zoya and Henrietta going on and on about what it was like growing up and hoe Henrietta had been like a mother to her once their parents had passed. Matvei and Kristof enjoyed their chatter even if Henrietta didn’t like talking directly to them. Zoya yawned and Henrietta said, “It looks like it’s time for bed. I have one guestroom and a couch. You three can decide who sleeps where.”
“You two can have the room, I’ll take the couch since it’s just me.” Kristof replied then turned to Henrietta. “May I have a blanket and pillow please?”
“Sure, I’ll get them for you.”
“We’ll see you in the morning Kristof.” Zoya said and hugged him. “Thank you so much for coming with us.”
“It was nothing, you two are very dear to me. Good night.”
They headed off to bed, Zoya hugging her sister as she was heading back into the living room with a blanket and pillow which Kristof took with a warm smile. Matvei lifted Zoya off her feet once they were in their room and sat down with him in her lap. “Is something wrong?” She asked softly.
“No my love, I’m just glad to be alone with you.” She blushed and he smiled as he kissed her neck.
“Oh, I’m glad to be alone with you too.” Her voice sounded nervous.
He tipped her back onto the bed and she swallowed. “Why do you look so worried?”
“Well, we had that talk.”
“So, it was just a talk. We don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, but I would love to kiss you right now if you don’t mind.”
“Okay, you can kiss me.” He leaned down and pressed his lips into hers, loving how warm and soft they were. He tugged at her bottom lip until she parted them and he let his tongue play inside the warmth of her mouth. He moaned and moved so he was laying between her legs. She gripped his shirt and felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness as his erection pressed against her. His hands slipped from her knees and up to her thighs and around to bottom. “W…wait.” She whispered.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean too.” He replied and got quickly off of her. “Please don’t be upset. I lost myself in how wonderful you feel and taste. It won’t happen again.”
“No, I want you Matvei…I told you. I’m just nervous” Matvei was still throbbing hard and he asked “do you want to see me naked and feel me? I wont touch you atall unless you give me permission. You can even stay dressed yourself” Zoya blushed, seeing his erection bulging his pants. “Yeah” she said meekly and he began undressing. It was a relief to have nothing holding down his shaft. It shot straight up as soon as his pants hit the floor. Zoya turned a deeper red than a fresh apple and had to look away “this is too much. I’ll dress” Matvei said in a husky tone. “No Matvei, just give me a moment”
When Zoya finally looked back at Matvei she was surprised by how big he was. She couldn’t pull her eyes away which made him smile. “what should i touch?”
“Anywhere you want. I will be honest with you though. I want you so bad and I may have to ask you to stop.”
“I don’t want to torture you”
“You touching me could never be torture my love. I just dont want my demon instincts to upset you. I would never force myself on you but I wouldn’t want to do anything atall that could upset you.” Zoya moved closed and felt Matveis abs. She had always enjoyed sliding her hands under his shirt to feel them and very much liked having free range of motion now.
“Can I touch?” She started to ask but grew too embarrassed. Matvei knew what she wanted to ask and said “yes baby, anywhere” She slid her finger tips across his solid length and blushed again. She wrapped her hand around it and he couldn’t hold back a moan. Zoya let go “sorry”
“It’s okay, I love your touch, do as you please.” She swallowed and reached back out, sliding her fingers over his abdomen and up to his chest, the fingers of her right hand moving gently over his scars. Goosebumps crawled over his skin as her hands moved back down, her fingers once again wrapping around him. She stroked him, blushing as she watched his face. He moaned and turned his lustful gaze on her, making her heart slam in her chest. His fingers bunched in her hair and he bent down, kissing her hungrily. He pushed her back, his hands grabbing hers and pinning them above her head as his lips moved down her neck to her shoulder where he gently bit her. She shook beneath him, her heart hammering against her chest in a fast, frantic rhythm.
“Matvei.” She exclaimed, her voice breathy.
“I’m sorry.” He said, his lips continuing to move over skin. “I need you, I really need you, but I don’t want to scare you.” He felt weak with his need for her, it nearly drove out all reason, but he pressed his forehead against her shoulder and tried to breathe it away. “I should stop.”
“No, it’s okay. I told you I wanted you didn’t I and I teased you and tempted you.” She could feel his shaft pressed against her thigh and was already wet from how excited she was. “I need you so please don’t stop.” He let go of her hands and gripped her dress, ripping it off and tossing it on the floor.
“You’re such a beautiful creature.” He whispered as he cupped her breasts, squeezing them and tugging at her nipples. He bent his head to her breasts, sucking and biting so she had to cover her mouth to muffle her cries. He ripped her panties off, his fingers rubbing over her and then slipping in her, surprising her. “I’m going to taste you.” He moved lower, nipping at her before covering her with his mouth. She whimpered as his tongue thrashed around inside her and he moaned at how exquisite she tasted. Tears sprang to her eyes as her back arched off the bed and her insides quivered, wrenching a loud cry from her throat. Her body fell limp and he kissed his way back up her. “Are you ready for me?”
“Y…yes, please make love to me.”
Matvei pressed his lips into Zoyas as he thrust into her confines. They panted and moaned until they found their release. Matvei immediately pulled Zoya into his arms and stroked her back “How was it?” He asked in a tender, hopeful voice. “amazing”
“I’m sorry I hurt you”
“When i first went in”
“It wasn’t so bad baby. It was worth all those other amazing sensations” Matvei gave her a soft kiss on the cheek “I’m glad” They fell asleep with happy smiles. The next morning they pulled on clothes from their bags then went out into the kitchen where Kristof was cooking “he insisted on cooking” Henrietta said as they walked in. “I was damn stubborn about it” Kristof said and Matvei smiled. Henrietta asked “How did you two sleep?” Zoya blushed and Henrietta choked on her coffee. “You ok sister?” Zoya asked in concern “yeah, I’m fine. Sorry” Zoya frowned, knowing her sister had choked like that because she wasn’t happy about them having sex.
Zoya wished there was anything she could do to make her sister comfortable with Kristof and Matvei. “I love you” Zoya said and Henrietta gave a genuine smile before grabbing Zoyas hand “I love you too. Very much, insainly much. I’ve missed you incredibly and I’m overjoyed to have you back” They enjoyed breakfast together, all the while Henrietta seeming to become slightly more comfortable with the two demons. When the kitchen was clean they pulled on their shoes then left so Zoya could see all the people she remembered.
Henrietta took them back into town, afraid of what people would think with her sister dating a demon. Zoya walked happily holding Matvei’s hand while she looped her other arm through Kristof’s. They both smiled down at her, one with complete an utter adoration, the other with the love of an older brother who thought his sister the cutest thing in the world. They went to the town center where one of Zoya’s best friends sketched on sunny days. She called his name and Eugene looked up, smiling when he saw her then dropping his pencil and sketch pad when he saw Zoya. He came quickly to his feet and was running to her, his arms going around her and he hugged her tightly.
“My god, Zoya, it’s really you.” He pulled back, tears in his eyes. “We thought you were dead.”
“It’s so good to see you Eugene.” She hugged him again then pulled out of his arms. “These are the men who protected me. This is Matvei, my boyfriend, and this is Kristof, he’s like a brother to me.”
“And demons too boot.” He laughed and wiped at the tear running down his cheek. “Thank you for looking out for our little Zoya, she’s not much of a fighter.” He shook the hands of the two demons, uncaring what they were.
“I could do nothing else, especially since she would have been the prime target of the other males if she had not been given to me and if Kristof had not helped with keeping up the ruse that she was my toy.” Matvei replied.
“Then I am truly grateful you two were around. Zoya is a sweet and gentle soul, I would have hated to see her broken if those monsters had touched her. Anyway, the twins will probably want to see you next and then Thomas. He sure loved when you two would help him gather wild herbs. He’s fifty now, but acts our age. It is so good to see you Zoya.” He hugged her once again. “I keep thinking I’ll blink and you won’t be here again.”
“I’m not sure if I’ll be living in this village again but I will never be stolen away again. Kristof and Matvei wouldn’t allow that to happen.” They left him and went to the twins house. When they werent there they tried a spot in the woods they liked to be in. Sure enough there they were. At first Kari couldn’t believe her eyes. once she knew what she was seeing was really Zoya she ran to hug her, Levarious quickly following. “Zoya!” Kari exclaimed when she slammed into her. “Wow, you two look different” kari giggled “yeah, I dye my hair now. Do you like it?”
“It’s cute, don’t you two think so?” Zoya asked Matvei and Kristof they agreed then Zoya introduced everybody. “thank you two for getting her out of there” Levarious said and Kari nodded. “never expected Zoya here to be dating a demon but best of luck” Kari added. They stayed out there talking, catching Zoya up on the happenings in her years away. Kari ended up making Kristof laugh when she said “May i just say you look bad ass kristof, seriously. Those red eyes and your horns. I like that necklace too”
“Thanks, I’ve never been called bad ass”
“It would be cool if I had red eyes.”
“Green eyes suit you well” Kristof answered with a friendly smile. “Lets go see Thomas now” Zoya suggested. “Lets” Levarious answered.
Thomas cried the hardest when he saw her and Zoya couldn’t believe how different he looked. As a child he had always been pale and sickly and there had been times when he couldn’t even come out and play. She had visited him every day, even on the one she was taken. Now he was strong and well built, his skin sun bronzed and his eyes glowing with life. “I missed you so much.” He said and she hugged herself tighter to him, shushing him as he cried into her shoulder.
“I can’t believe how much you’ve grown and you’re not sick.” She replied and he pulled back to smile at her.
“A woman came through after you had been taken, a healer I guess. She saw me crying on the porch of my mother’s house and asked what was wrong. I told her I was upset I couldn’t help search for you because I was sick. She gave me this tea and told me to take it every day for a month. It fixed me.”
“That’s amazing, thank goodness for good people.”
“And who are these two?”
“Matvei is my boyfriend and Kristof is our very good friend.”
Matvei caught the small frown on Thomas’ face at the word boyfriend. It quickly vanished and went back to a smile of genuine happiness as he let Zoya go to shake their hands. “It’s really nice to meet you two, I am truly happy for Zoya.” He meant it though everyone there, with the exception of Zoya, could tell he had been in love with her. “Just promise me you’ll treat her right.”
“I promise, I wouldn’t dream of hurting her.” Matvei grabbed Zoya’s hand. “She’s my everything.”
Henrietta started to feel a little bad she was so apprehensive about the two demons when all their friends seemed excited and happy to meet them. Unless they were hiding it extremely well none of the other had any worries about the two. She knew it was probably her double protective nature since they were both sisters and Henrietta felt like Zoyas mom in a way. She tried to open up by talking more to Kristof. She found him to be hilarious and she had to admit he was handsome. She could tell Kari also found him handsome and she actually ended up thinking about who he would choose if he had a choice between either of them. Henrietta blushed and suddenly quit talking to Kristof as much.
Kristof noticed and hoped he didn’t do anything wrong. At dinner Thomas insisted that he got to cook for everyone so they let him have his wish. Levarious offered to help but Thomas wouldn’t have it. The meal he made them was decadent. Everyone cleaned their plates and had seconds. Thomas smiled happily, almost crying again. He couldn’t believe Zoya was really back and unharmed. It also made him happy she had love. Now that he knew she was safe and in love herself he could move on.
“So how long will you be staying?” Thomas asked as they were getting ready to head back to Henrietta’s.
“I have no idea. What do you boys think?” She asked Matvei and Kristof.
“We’ll stay for as long as you wish.” Matvei said and Zoya smiled.
“How about a week and then we see what happens.” She said and that made her friends smile. “I’m sure we’ll see you all tomorrow.”
“Okay, be safe.”
The twins started home and Matvei lifted Zoya into his arms as they walked down the road. She smiled and rested her head on his shoulder and he kissed the top of her head. He took her to the bathroom when they made it back, wanting to relax with her in the tub after a long day. Kristof flopped down on the couch with a book in hand and Henrietta sat down on the other end, watching him out of the corner of her eye. “Something you wish to say Henrietta?” He asked, his eyes moving to her face and making her blush.
“No, I mean not really.” She hated this sudden nervousness.
“Well if you say so.” He moved his eyes back to the book.
“It’s just…I…would you like to help me make some cookies for Zoya?”
He closed the book, smiling because he knew that’s not what she wanted to say. “Sure, I’d love too.”
Matvei sat behind Zoya in the warm water, his arms wrapped around her as they relaxed. He kissed her temple and she smiled at his gentleness. “Thank you for coming with me to meet my friends. I was glad they were so sweet to you and Kristof.”
“I was pleasantly surprised. I thought they would have been a little worried or at least scared.”
“Because of the way you look? I love you scars and all and my friends are a lot like me, they look past a person’s outward appearance.”
“We should have come sooner”
“We haven’t been free all that long my love.”
“are we going to live at Chthons forever?”
“With my father alive we are safest there but I’ll live wherever makes you happy Zoya”
“We shouldn’t live in fear of your father…it might be nice to live here around everybody.” Matvei turned Zoyas head and kissed her “If here would make you happy we can find a house or we can all make one. Between Kristof and I it will be easy. So with your help and probably Henriettas it wont be hard.”
“Then i want to live here. We should probably go and tell Chthon we’re leaving his castle”
“we will after we’re all set here.”
“you sound nervous Matvei”
“I just dont want my father to come attack us”
“Chthon I’m sure scared him enough for that not to happen.”
“True, only a stupid demon challenges Chthon”
“I want to hear stories about all that makes Chthon so great. All the demons talk about him but I dont know much”
“I know a lot about him. Would you like me to tell you of his life while we soak?”
“Please” Matvei began telling his tales as Zoya listened in awe. He didn’t even get to finish before the water became cold. They dried and Matvei said “i’ll continue the stories tonight”
“He truly does sound amazing”
“He is, he was born strong, has trained himself and has grown stronger. That mans only weakness is his family.”
“He seems so kind, you wouldn’t think a monster like that would be living just underneath that face.”
“He is kind, he’s just also a monster.”
“You’re not a monster.”
He smiled and gave her a kiss. “Yes I am, just not to the people I love.”
Henrietta and Kristof sat at the table as they waited for the last batch of cookies. Kristof rested his chin in his palm and stared at Henrietta. She blushed under his scrutiny and looked at her hands. “You look adorable when you blush.” He said and her eyes flew to his face.
“I think you heard me.”
She swallowed nervously. “Why are you flirting, you seemed so into Kari so why are you flirting?”
He gave her a peculiar look and Matvei and Zoya who heard them talking went to their room instead of the living room. “Into Kari? We were just talking, she was the one flirting.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry you thought that.”
She turned a deeper shade of crimson. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed. I mean by the way you look it seems like you’d have girls falling all over themselves for you and that you’d have a slew of lovers.”
He chuckled. “I have women who flirt with me, but in the century that I’ve been alive I’ve only had a couple of lovers and one girlfriend who broke up with me after I asked her to marry me.”
“Don’t be.” he said with a smile then continued “so you think I’m handsome then, thats good since I think you’re beautiful.” Henrietta didn’t know what to say in response so she sat there speechless. Kristof moved his chair closer to hers then kissed Henriettas cheek, chuckling again when her face heated more. “calm down” he whispered happily. Kristof loved how she was reacting to him and was hopeful somthing was developing. The oven timer went off and Henrietta almost launched out of her chair.
“Should we get them for cookies?”
“Let them rest. The cookies will still be good tomorrow. We can just eat them together until we want to go to bed”
“Ok” she said then put them on a plate with the other cookies before returning to the table. As Kristof and Henrietta talked in the kitchen Zoya and Matvei discussed Zoya becoming a demon. They settled on changing her after the house was built. that way she could visit her friends more and could more easily help with building.
The next morning Matvei woke first and smiled down at Zoya. She looked beautiful in her sleep and he couldn’t but kiss her. She woke to his lips moving gently against hers and wrapped her arms around his then pulled him until he was on top of her. He made love to her slowly, just savoring being completely connected her. He smiled adoringly at her after and rained feather light kisses over her face. “Good morning my beautiful mate.” He said softly.
“Good morning. We should go see if Kristof and Henrietta are up. Maybe we could cook breakfast if they’re not.” They got out of bed, pulling on their clothes and heading out into the living room where they found Kristof sleeping sitting up on the couch with Henrietta’s head on his shoulder. They smiled and went quietly into the kitchen, cooking a big breakfast. The smell of food woke both Henrietta and Kristof, the latter blushing when she realized she had fallen asleep on Kristof’s shoulder. He just smiled and stretched before getting up and going into the kitchen. He poured glasses of juice and sat them on the table then grabbed a cookie and started eating it.
Over breakfast Matvei and Zoya let them know they would be moving into town and wanted to start getting things ready so when they went back to Chthon’s they could just pack. They told Kristof that he was welcome to live with them and he smiled at the idea. He liked being close to them and now he had Henrietta to look forward to seeing every day. After breakfast they went into town and told their friends who were very excited about helping them build a house and Eugene offered to draw up the blueprints for them. “You have him draw up the blueprints however you want them.” Matvei said.
“But what if you and Kristof want something and I don’t put it in there?”
“We’ll be happy with whatever you decide, right Kristof?”
“Huh?” Kristof looked up from staring at Henrietta and everyone laughed, though Kari looked a little disappointed and Henrietta blushed cherry red. “Oh yeah, sorry, anything you want is fine. You’re free now and should have the house of your dreams.”
Eugene and Zoya spent the day working on the blueprints for Zoyas dream home while everyone else visited and had fun. It was becoming more and more obvious to everyone that Kristof and Henrietta were attracted to one another. The next day they were able to start building. There was plenty of land around where Henriettas was so they built their house near hers. Every one of Zoya and Henriettas friends helped so even the building was fun. Matvei and Kristof made sure the structure was sound, insisting the girls be no part of it. They both shook their heads and waited. When they gave the ok they rested that day even though Matvei wanted to go ahead and change Zoya.
He barely let her finish breakfast that following morning before asking “you ready to become a demon?”
“Can henrietta be one too? I don’t want to live forever without her”
“Yes, kristof will help us perform your changing then I’ll help Kristof change Henrietta. He can do her comforting and i can do yours” Matvei said with a smile. “you want that Henrietta?” Zoya asked, Kristof tense in wait of the answer. “yes, of course” she said so they went to the bedroom Henrietta had given Matvei and Zoya. They performed the ritual, it being more taxing on Matveis heart than he thought it would be. Matvei put Zoya in bed then they changed Henrietta. Kristof with tears in his eyes picked her up when they were done and asked Matvei “do you think she’ll get mad if I lay with her?”
“She’ll want you there” Without another word Kristof laid henrietta in bed and held her. Matvei went back to Zoya and pulled her close. They both woke up a little after dinner in pain/ Both men ran to where henrietta kept pain medicine then brought them back some.
“Thank you.” Zoya said as Matvei helped her drink the bitter liquid. He sat the bottle down when it was all gone and pulled her into his arms.
“I’m sorry I hurt you.” His words sounded sad and she kissed his cheek.
“It’s okay, it was worth it. I’m truly overjoyed even though all of my muscles felt like they had been shredded.” He frowned as he kissed the top of her head.
“It’s never okay to hurt you.”
She tipped her head back too look at him and raised her hand to cup the side of his face and brush her thumb over his cheek. “Please don’t be upset, not when I’m this happy and besides what about when we have babies. Are you going to blame yourself even then or are you going to share in my joy?”
He grabbed her hand and kissed the palm of her hand before pressing it against his chest. “I will definitely share in your joy my love. Just hearing you express wanting to have children with me makes me absolutely jubilant.”
“Then smile and be happy for me now because you get forever with me.”
Kristof held Henrietta and stroked his fingers through her hair while she ran hers over his chest. His heart was beating overly fast and she wondered what was wrong. “Are you okay?” She asked softly.
“Just a little upset at seeing you go through so much pain and I stayed here in your room without your permission.”
“I’m glad you did, it was nice waking up with you holding me. I don’t think I would have liked being alone and being in that much pain.”
He took a deep breath trying to calm himself. “Now that you’re helpless and have no way to escape me if you get embarrassed, I wanted to ask you something.”
“Yes.” She replied.
“But you don’t even know what it is?”
“I don’t care, the answer’s yes.”
“So you’ll be my girlfriend?”
“Absolutely.” His heart gave a leap of joy and he tipped her head back to kiss her.
After Zoya and Henrietta were well enough to travel, they all four headed to Chthon’s castle. Thomas asked to tag along since he had never been away from his home. Everyone in the castle was very happy to see them and welcomed Henrietta and Thomas like they were one of their own. They were sad to see them moving away, but smiled at their joy and helped them pack. They stayed for a couple of days, letting Henrietta and Thomas get to know everyone. Henrietta was surprised that there were so many nice demons living in the castle and promised to never judge someone because of their species again. Thomas made fast friends with everyone, especially Kandara who spent time giving him a tour of the castle and setting with him in the large garden. When it was time to go they all promised to visit again and rode off, looking forward to the happiness the future had to offer.