One month after the ending of The Werewolf Prince and I
“Mama.” Little Dylan beamed at Misty before gurgling out the same word.
The others laughed as Misty’s eyes widened in shock at what her baby brother said. “Did you guys teach him that?”
Kelly opened her mouth to answer but closed it quickly at the warning look sent by her twin. Kevin was probably right. It just wasn’t the time yet to talk about Domenico. Misty might not appreciate learning that Dylan spent every night in their brother-in-law’s bedroom, with a freaking prince as his nanny.
And a few nights ago, Kelly herself had overheard Domenico teaching Dylan to say that very word. She had also forgotten how extraordinarily strong a Lyccan’s ability to pick out scents was, which allowed Domenico to catch her red-faced at the doorway.
Instead of giving her his infamous tight-lipped look – like the one he had when he discovered Kelly sneaking out of the Moretti compound to date the quarterback in her school – Domenico had simply given her a heartbreakingly wry smile and said, “It might help keep the other men away from Misty while I’m…not around.”
The memory made Kelly bite her lip very hard.
As she adjusted the yawning Dylan on her lap, Misty caught the look of worry in her sister’s face. “Hey. Is everything all right?”
Kelly bit her lip harder. To prevent herself from crying, she busied herself playing with her hair and fiddling with the sunglasses perched on her nose. The words “shiny, shimmery, splendid” from the Little Mermaid song had immediately come to mind on her first sight of the realm of the Faeries. Even though it was a late Sunday afternoon and sunlight never able to penetrate the realm’s protective shield, everything was still so glaringly…bright. Here, the grass shone like emeralds, the skies were the color of sapphires, and the lilies that floated on a nearby pond sparkled like diamonds.
She watched her sister smile and laugh with her other siblings. She so badly wanted to ask if Misty truly didn’t want Domenico back anymore. But Kelly couldn’t make herself say the words, not when the answer frightened her. She had never believed in true love until she had seen Misty and Domenico together. She needed a little more time to cling to her hopes…even if they’d one day prove false.
“I’m just worried about school,” Kelly finally mumbled when Misty kept glancing at her worriedly.
“Oh.” Concern darkened Misty’s gray eyes. “Is it anything I can help you with?”
Kelly forced a grin. “If you can teach me the latest routine for cheerleading---”
“Forget I even asked,” Misty answered hastily, making everyone laugh again.
A Faerie guard came then, his sudden appearance making Kelly start in surprise. She just couldn’t get used to how stealthy these Faeries were. And they got to be invisible outside their realm, too! Those were very cool abilities, and she didn’t want them to be cool. More to the point, Kelly didn’t want Misty to think they were cooler than Lyccans.
Misty nodded and when the uniformed Faerie retreated, she said in a very casual tone, “Your Lyccan escort’s here.”
Kevin shook their other siblings awake. The younger ones had fallen asleep after gorging themselves with fruit pies, candies made of dried fruits and just about all other dishes that could be made from fruits. One thing Kelly could say about the Faeries’ realm: it was without a doubt a dieting cheerleader’s paradise.
Nicole was awake now. She rubbed her eyes, opened them, and yelped. “Shiny!” Nicole gasped, quickly looking down. Her eyes scanned the array of dishes spread on the blanket for their impromptu picnic and she sighed in relief as she found her shades between the milkshakes and cheese platter.
“I don’t understand how you can stand to live here, Misty,” Nicole mumbled as she grabbed her shades. “And without sunglasses! Everything’s so…sparkly. It’s like living in the belly of Edward Cullen.”
Misty raised a brow. “I thought you’re never going to read Twilight.”
Nicole turned red. “That was before I learned stuff like vampires and werewolves were real.”
Kelly paid close attention to her Misty’s face when Nicole mentioned the word ‘werewolves’, hoping for a reaction – anything that would make her feel more hopeful.
But Misty only smiled. “Don’t forget Faeries. You should also check out books about Faeries and see if they have any inkling of truth in them.”
A little while later, when it was truly time to go, Misty asked the twins to stay behind. “We didn’t get to talk much about…what’s happening…because of the kids.” Misty took a deep breath. “I’m hoping you all could move in here with me.”
Before Kevin could say anything, Kelly blurted out, “I…don’t think it’s possible.”
Her twin gave her a questioning look. What are you doing? Kelly didn’t need ESP to read what that look meant. She gave him a look back, one that said just two words: Trust me.
“I heard Lyccan guards talking. They say the vampires are all around. If we move here, it’s going to be a big thing…they could know about it and we could be ambushed.” Kelly felt extremely guilty at the sad and appalled look in her sister’s eyes.
“Shick,” Misty whispered, seemingly more to herself than anyone else. Her shoulders slumped. “I never even considered what kind of trouble I’d brought you guys into---”
Kelly shook her head quickly. “No, no, don’t blame yourself, Misty. None of us would trade our lives now for anything in this world. Even with all the threats…we’ve never been happier. You know that, right?” She ignored Kevin’s look and continued, almost desperately, “You remember how we felt so much more complete with Domenico around?”
Shit. Shick. Shit. Kelly was so torn apart by the look on her sister’s face she was completely confused about which bad word to use.
Her sister squeezed her hand, and Kelly fell silent, understanding everything that Misty was telling her without words. Misty was the kindest person Kelly had ever known. The strongest, too, and it was that steely spine of Misty that told her not to talk anymore about Domenico Moretti. Most people thought her older sister was a wimp, a crybaby, but most people were stupid. They couldn’t see the real Misty, the one who had singlehandedly brought them up and made sure their selfish cold-hearted foster mother didn’t turn them into screw-ups.