Shockingly, he didn’t ask if I was going to take the deal.
“And now you’re telling me there’s no chance of the demigods getting their abilities? Then what is the point? If that’s the case, then give me a heads-up and I’ll take Josie and go someplace that it’ll take decades for the Titans to find us.”
“You’d do that, wouldn’t you?”
I met his gaze and then I really thought about what I’d said and what I’d do. And then, damn if I didn’t think about what Zeus had said to me. “That’s what I would want to do. That’s what instinct tells me, but I don’t…I don’t want my child to grow up in a world that could end at any given minute. I don’t want a world where Josie has to look over her shoulder every second of the day. So, I guess my answer is no. I wouldn’t do that. I would want to, but I couldn’t. I’d figure out a way to entomb the Titans.”
Apollo held my stare for a moment and then looked away. “What you would do for love and for your child is…admirable, Seth. That I can say.”
I stared at him.
“Love usually doesn’t make people better. People want to believe that it does, but in the end, love usually makes people selfish. And for us? Gods? Love is more of a poison than a gift,” he said, and I had no idea how to respond to any of that. “What would you do to ensure that your child is birthed into a better world?”
I didn’t hesitate. Not for one second. “I would do anything.”
My chest sort of hollowed out as I stared at Seth. We were supposed to hook up with Alex and Aiden so I could finally meet Ares’s son when Seth dropped the bomb that Apollo had been here, at the Covenant, and that there was no other way of unlocking the remaining demigods’ abilities.
We stood in the hallway, just by the stairs leading to the second floor. It was early in the morning, so the hall was quiet while we waited for Aiden and Alex.
“He was here, at the University?” I felt like I needed to clarify that. Maybe he meant that he’d talked to Apollo in an alternate dimension or something. “Like, right here, in the same building as me?”
I opened my mouth, but closed it. A moment passed. “And you didn’t come get me?”
“You were sleeping.”
Mouth gaping, I blinked slowly and then I shot forward, smacking his arm. “And you didn’t think to wake me up?”
Seth caught my hand as his eyes met mine. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” Irritated, I tried to pull my hand free, but Seth held on. “I can’t believe you didn’t wake me.”
“I know.” Seth pulled me to his chest, clamping one arm around my waist, trapping my arms so I didn’t hit him again. He still held onto my hand as he dropped his chin to the top of my head. “And I am sorry, Josie. I really am.”
I didn’t get it. Why would Seth not wake me up? He knew how badly I wanted to see my father, to talk to him—to force him to talk to me. Seth more than anyone knew.
Then it hit me.
Sucking in a sharp breath, I pulled back, and I did so with enough force to break Seth’s hold. Understanding dawned, and damn, it hurt. “He didn’t want to see me.”
Pain flickered across Seth’s face, and I knew I was right. “Josie—”
“I’m right, aren’t it?” My entire chest burned.
Jaw grinding, he looked away and didn’t answer, and that wasn’t good enough. I wanted to hear him say it. I didn’t know why, but I needed to hear him say it.
“He only wanted to talk to you, but didn’t want to see me. That is why you didn’t wake me up.”
“Josie, babe, I…” He trailed off, finally looking at me again. “Don’t make me say it.”
“Why?” My heart pounded in my chest and the burn had crawled into my stomach. “It’s the truth, right? What’s so wrong with saying it?”
Seth stepped toward me, and I knew he was going to pull me back into his arms, and if he did that, I was going to cry. Because I was a mess and I wanted my dad to be a dad, but Alex and Aiden’s door finally opened and they stepped outside.
Relieved by the interruption, I spun toward them. “Hi!”
Both drew up short and looked between Seth and me. Probably had to do with my overly bright greeting.
“Hey.” Alex smiled faintly. “I hope you guys weren’t waiting long.”
“Not at all,” I chirped, ignoring the frustration that rolled off Seth.
Aiden looked from Seth to me. “We are so sorry to hear about Colin,” he said, his voice heavy with compassion. “We didn’t know him well, but he seemed like a really great guy.”
“He was.” I pressed my lips together, not wanting to think about Colin. I knew that was wrong, but it hurt too much to do it. I drew in a shallow breath. “So, you guys ready to head up?”
“Yep.” Alex stopped beside me, her heart-shaped face tilted up as she placed her hand on my arm. “Everything okay with you?”
Swallowing the knot in my throat, I nodded. “Yeah. I’m okay; the baby is okay.”
Alex squeezed my arm. “I’m happy to hear that.”
And I knew she meant that, which made me want to cry again.
Good Lord, was this pregnancy hormones? Or was it everything to do with Colin and my father? Probably a mixture of all of those things, but thankfully, we got to walking up the stairs.
Unfortunately, Seth lingered back and said, “We need to talk,” his voice low as Alex and Aiden rounded the first flight of stairs.
“I don’t think we do.” I didn’t look at him as I gripped the railing. “I know the answer. It is what it is.”
“Josie…” He moved so fast, he was beside me and then he was right in front of me. “I don’t like seeing you this way.”
“I don’t like feeling this way. I just…” Casting my gaze to the window on the landing, I shook out my shoulders. “I’ll be okay.”
Seth lightly touched my cheek. “Tell me how I can make you feel better about this. Tell me, and I’ll do it. Anything.”
My heart squeezed in response to his words. If I told him jumping on one foot would make me happier, I really think he would’ve done it. “I’m not mad at you.”
“I know that.” The door above us creaked open. “This isn’t about me.”
It was all about Apollo. Closing my eyes, I shivered when he brushed his nose along the side of my cheek and then kissed the corner of my lips.
“Let’s go,” I said. “They’re waiting on us.”
Seth didn’t move for a long moment, his warm breath dancing over my lips, and then he pulled away. Taking my hand, we walked up the steps. Alex and Aiden hadn’t stayed in the stairwell, but they waited out in the hall. Obviously they knew something was up and were giving us space.
Feeling my cheeks heat, I cleared my throat. “Do you think he’s awake?”
“Yeah.” Aiden walked ahead, to the third door on the left. “Time difference. It’s actually in the afternoon for him.”
“Oh. Good point.”
I had no idea what to expect when Aiden knocked on the door; a few moments later, it opened, but I had not expected to get an eyeful of male nipple and a whole lot more.
“What the hell?” Seth cocked his head to the side.
Ares’s son stood in the doorway wearing nothing but a towel folded around his hips. The guy was lean and tall. He was also fairly good-looking, with high, cut cheekbones and a wide mouth.
And apparently he didn’t realize he was about five seconds away from death, courtesy of either Seth or Aiden.
“Did you forget to put clothes on?” Aiden clipped out.
Erik arched a dark brow in Aiden’s direction. “I just got out of the shower,” he said, and oh my, he had an accent. Nice. “Do you have a problem with that, mate?”
“I do.” Seth stepped in front of me, blocking my view, and I rolled my eyes.
“All righty,” Alex murmured under her breath as she turned slowly and raised her brows at me.