She’s probably the only person in this world who truly loves me. And I love her right back.

“Evelyn. How are you, darling? I was hoping to see you tonight.”

With her arms still wrapped tightly around me, she tips her head back to answer me, but her nanny cuts in.

“Evelyn,” Mary, my old nursemaid, says in a chiding tone as she walks quickly over to us as if she’s trying to catch up. “What have I told you about throwing yourself into adults?”

Evelyn sighs and rolls her eyes. “That it’s rude and I might hurt someone.”

“That’s correct,” Mary says with a stern nod of her head. “Now apologize to Meredith.”

“I’m sorry, aunt Meredith,” Evelyn says. And though her voice sounds properly chastised, the glint in her eyes is anything but.

Thankfully, Mary can’t see it. I love Mary, I truly do. She pretty much raised me after my mother married Joseph, but she can be rather strict about propriety.

Matthew never had any issues with her, he was always her darling little angel. But me, I can’t even count how many hours I spent in the corner or writing sentences because I misbehaved.

I give Evelyn one more tight hug and lean down to whisper into her ear. “You can run into me and hug me anytime.”

Evelyn flashes me the brightest grin as I straighten and glance to Mary.

“How are you, Mary?” I ask, taking in all the changes to her that have occurred over the years.

“I’ve been very well, thank you for asking, Meredith,” she smiles at me.

Yes, I’ve probably warmed her old heart by showing some of her lessons stuck.

“Oh!” Evelyn says as she pulls away from me a little bit and places her hand on my stomach. With a look of wonder on her face, she rubs her hand against me. “There’s a baby in your belly, aunt Meredith.”

“What?” I gasp in surprise then laugh. That’s just… not possible.

Evelyn pulls away and gives me a hurt look.

Hating that look, I immediately try to explain, “I had a very big lunch, Evelyn. That’s all.”

Evelyn nods her head slowly, but she doesn’t seem convinced.

Sighing, I glance towards Simon, hoping he’ll back me up, but his face has gone white.

What the hell does he have to be worried about?

“Evelyn, I believe your mother is calling for you,” Mary says.

With a nod of her head, Evelyn says cheerfully, “I’ll see you later, aunt Meredith.”

Then she darts off in a swirl of pink skirts and blonde curls.

Mary smiles with affection, the wrinkles around her eyes crinkling, as she watches Evelyn skip her way to her waiting mother.

Then she turns to me.

“I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss what Evelyn said, Meredith” she says with a twinkle in her eyes. “Young children can be more perceptive than we give them credit for.”

16

Simon

By the time we pull into the garage, my blood is boiling with rage, hormones, and a passion I akin to something like burning alive in my own soul.

I know Meredith was pushing her limits on purpose, but the flames of the raging jealous beast inside of me threaten to steal my sanity.

Would I actually end James’s life because he pushed too close to Meredith?

Yes, without a second thought.

Lucifer’s rules and laws be damned.

The garage door fully shuts behind us and I prevent Meredith from unlocking the doors. Shutting off the engine, I allow my emotions to fully engulf me for five full seconds.

We sit in the pitch black garage, waiting.

“Simon?” Meredith whispers as her hand reaches out to touch my shoulder.

I can feel her delicate fingers resting on my shoulder even through the material of my suit jacket and dress shirt. A fire erupts inside my chest, roaring through my blood due to my hyper-sensitivity to this creature.

I can’t call her a woman, she’s so much more than that.

She’s my salvation, damnation, and my very essence.

She has so unhinged me from my world of laws and placement… everything about her destroys me completely.

Pushing open the door of my car, I slam it shut behind me and move with all the purpose I can in long strides around the car. She’s still waiting inside, more than likely unable to grasp just how fucking serious the moment is for me right now.

Sliding my hand into my jacket pocket, the black, cold grip of the stiletto nearly freezes my hand to it.

She’s going to be the end of me, I know it now.

One way or the other, my life will end with her.

I’ve lived far too long in this self-imposed hell. I’ve lived too long on my own accord, giving nothing of myself to the world. Part of my analytical mind rebels against the change she has brought to me.

From order she has wrought chaos. Chaos I simply can’t understand. In my life there are laws, as in nature. To violate these laws is to invite uncertainty in.

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