Never before would I’ve thought of the house where I’d spent many lonely years as something I want to come back to, start a family in. I used to think of this place as a ghost, one that always haunted the fringes of my thoughts.
Now it felt like a home, because my entire world was curled up a few feet away, sleeping peacefully. It even looked differently when we arrived yesterday. Brighter. Warmer.
This was going to be the place we would always come back to when we left. This was going to where we would raise our child, and I knew in my bones that every nook and cranny of this house that was once cold and empty would be filled with life and love. But home wasn’t really a place.
It was really a person.
Opening my eyes, I found myself back in the bedroom, standing at the foot of the bed. Josie was lying on her side, the sheet twisted around her hips. One of her lovely legs peeked through the sheets. Tempting. So damn tempting. Everything about her. Even the way her arms were crossed in front of her bare chest, her hands balled loosely. That amazing hair of hers, a wild array of blondes and browns streamed across the pillow.
Unable to help myself, I moved closer to her.
A raw knot of emotion crawled up the back of my throat. Damn tears stung the back of my eyes as I brought one knee onto the bed and then sat beside her.
She was psychi mou.
She was my everything.
Reaching over, I curled a finger around a strand of hair lying across her cheek and tucked it back behind her ear. Her hips wiggled, and her fingers curled on reflex. The corners of my lips tipped up as the sunlight creeping across the bed reflected off the diamond on her ring finger.
She was my wife.
A hoarse laugh parted my lips. My wife. Gods, I never thought I’d be married. Pretty sure the vast amount of people who’d met me would’ve never thought that, but here I was.
My hand drifted down her arm, over the curve of her waist to the flare of her hip.
Josie let out this soft little sound as she eased onto her back. Thick lashes fluttered and then lifted. Bright, beautiful blue eyes focused, and I was blessed with a sleepy smile. “Hey,” she murmured.
“Hi there.” I swallowed, but the damn knot of emotion was still there, choking me.
She turned her head to the open doorway. A frown pinched her face. “What time is it?”
“It’s early. The sun just rose.” I placed my hand on the other side of her hip.
“I didn’t mean to wake you.” That was the truth. “You should still be sleeping.”
Lifting her arms above her, she stretched that beautiful body of hers, arching her back and giving me one hell of a show. Her breasts jutted up, all rosy and perfect as she bit down on her plump lower lip. The sheet slipped, revealing her lower stomach. There was a larger…bump there, a roundness that stole my breath in the best possible ways. There wasn’t a scar left from Enyo’s attack. Not a single blemish save for Apollo’s mark.
“You’re staring at me,” she said.
I was always staring at her.
Especially when she was naked and pregnant with our child. Kind of couldn’t help myself.
When I didn’t answer, she lowered her arms. The lingering sleepiness vanished. Her brows knitted and then she rose onto her elbow as she cupped my cheek. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I said thickly.
Her gaze searched mine. “You sure?”
“I am.” I folded my hand over hers. “I’m just…thinking about everything.”
One eyebrow rose as she sat up. Hair fell over her shoulders. “That’s a lot to be thinking about.”
Lowering our joined hands, I kissed the center of her palm and then pressed her hand against my chest, above my heart.
“Why are you awake?” Her gaze searched mine. “Talk to me, Seth.”
“It’s nothing. Everything is okay.”
“Yeah. It’s just that…” I caught a strand of her hair and gently tugged on it. “I’m so damn lucky. I can’t stop thinking about that.”
She was quiet for a moment. “You think it was all luck?”
“I don’t know,” I answered truthfully.
“We’re both lucky.” She scooted closer. “But it’s not all luck that got us here. I think we worked damn hard to be here. We both fought hard to be here.”
That we did.
We had the scars that didn’t show on the skin to prove it.
“And we had help. Loads of it,” she continued, placing her other hand on my thigh. “And my father…”
It was hard to think of Apollo. There was a part of me that still got irrationally irritated just hearing his name, and the other half missed the annoying son of a bitch, popping in and out without any warning, but what he did for Josie and our son could never be forgotten. “Yeah, he really came through for us, didn’t he?”
She nodded, and I hated seeing the sadness creeping into her expression. I’d given her Apollo’s message once she remembered what had happened. It had been hard, watching as she fully understood the sacrifice Apollo had made. He’d given his godhood to save her and our child, and from what we could tell, his life as well.
And it hadn’t just been hard for Josie.
Alex and Aiden couldn’t process it even though they saw it with their own eyes. The god had been a part of their lives longer than Josie’s, and for Alex, it was also like losing a father.
It was hard for everyone.
“I wish I had…time with him.” Her gaze dropped. “To actually get to know him. You know? Because I really didn’t know him at all.”
“I’m sorry.” It seemed inadequate to say, but I was. “He loved you. At the end of the day, he proved that and then some.”
“I just wish he’d showed it in a different way.” And that was the damn truth. “Like, I don’t know, taking you out for ice cream or some shit.”
Josie coughed out a hoarse laugh. “That would’ve been nice. Spending any real time with him would’ve been… Well, I really wanted that.” She cleared her throat as she lifted her gaze to mine. “So, it wasn’t just luck. We fought to be here. People sacrificed everything for us to get here, and not just my father.”
No, it hadn’t just been Apollo who had given his life. Solos. Colin had, before we even met him. Countless others. Some were nameless, but their sacrifices were just as important.
But Josie was…she was right.
I wasn’t saying some of it wasn’t luck. I used to think there was no such thing, but I knew better. And maybe some of it was even fate. I knew enough to know fate was a real thing. Fate could be reshaped, but it was a damn freight train at times, running right over you.
But we did fight to get here. I fought to get here. It wasn’t just luck or fate. “It was us.”
She nodded. “And it’s over. It’s really over, Seth.”
Words I’d never thought I’d have the luxury of hearing.
“No more creepy shades. No more Titans,” she continued, sliding her hand along my inner thigh. “The Olympians know their place and we know ours.”
“Yeah, we do.” My cock thickened as her hand came precariously close. “Our place is here.”
“It is.” She leaned in, kissing the corner of my mouth. “And whatever crazy things may come our way, we’re going to face them. Together.”
If the remaining Olympians were smart and played their cards right, they’d make it their top priority not to piss either of us off.
Alas, the Olympians were not known for being smart or playing their cards well, even though the last time we’d seen them, things had been cool. One never knew what they were going to get from the Olympians, but I’d be ready for them if they ever tried to step out against us.
Or if they tried to stop our son from taking his rightful place among them when he was of age.
I caught the fierce glint in Josie’s eyes and corrected myself. We would be ready for them.