“Silas is having an anniversary party next month. There are bound to be numerous single women there.” I chuckled as I thought of my friend. “Any excuse to do some matchmaking. I swear he grew a pussy when he mated.”
Kieran laughed, then shrugged. “Maybe, but at least it ups the odds that some of us will find our fated mate.”
“True.” I cocked my head and smiled in the way only a brother can when he’s about to fuck with his sibling. “I’ll call Stephan in the morning before he goes to bed and tell him we’re taking him to the party.” We walked toward the door to the garden, and I added, “Hog-tied if we have to.”7SeleneThana hushed me when I started to talk after we stepped outside. “If we’re going to girl talk, we need to be farther away. Kieran and Athan have great hearing.”
She practically dragged me across the patio and into the garden. I looked around in awe at the flowers surrounding us. “Wow, this is so beautiful.”
“Yeah, Kieran and Athan definitely inherited a green thumb along with their vampirism.” Thana huffed, which I found hilarious.
I bent over at my waist, slapping my thigh as I giggled. “Remember that time in science class when we had to measure plant growth, but you almost failed because you kept killing your sunflower? Even though Mrs. Walters said they almost grow themselves?”
“Don’t remind me.” She planted her hands on her hips and glared at me. “She was so awful about it, acting as though I’d killed the stupid plant on purpose or something.”
I straightened and grinned at my best friend. She looked so grumpy about the memory from almost a decade ago. Moving closer, I gave her a big hug. “At least she didn’t get the chance to fail you.”
“Only because you rescued me by planting three different kinds of plants and bringing me the one that sprouted the quickest.” She laughed and shook her head. “I ate the crap out of that darn radish once the assignment was over even though I don’t like them. I just did it to spite her.”
“Oh, my gosh.” I giggled so hard that tears streamed down my cheeks. “I totally forgot about that. You waited until Mrs. Walters had lunch duty and brought the radish into school even though you bought lunch, just so you could eat it in front of her. Man, she really hated you after that.”
“So much,” Thana groaned, dropping down onto a stone bench and tilting her head back to stare up at the night sky. “My mom gave me this huge lecture about not being petty with authority figures, but then she went into the school and raised hell with the principal about how Mrs. Walters better not take the whole thing out on me.”
Sitting down beside her, I gripped her hand in mine. “Your parents really were the best.”
“I miss them so much,” she whispered, resting her head against my shoulder.
I hugged her close. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you when they died. I hate that your aunt took you away and never brought you back.”
“I never blamed you,” she vowed, squeezing me back. “All’s well that ends well. Now that you and Athan are together, you’re going to be a part of my life forever. And after the crap my aunt pulled when Kieran and I met, we’ll probably never see her again.”
Shifting to face her, I asked, “What exactly happened with Aunt Judy? You were kind of vague about everything that went down with her last year, which I’m guessing had to do with the fact you were trying to avoid the whole vampire thing.”
“Girl, I’m so glad I can finally tell you the entire story.” She proceeded to blow my mind with a tale of her surprise arranged engagement that led to the death of a nightwalker and her being claimed by Kieran.
“Whoa, that’s wild.” My eyes were wide as I stared at her. “And here I thought the way I met Athan was unusual. My story pales in comparison to yours.”
“I don’t know.” Thana tapped her finger against her chin. “Athan finding a ring that was meant for you a whole century ago is kind of shocking, too.”
“Yeah, it’s hard to wrap my head around all of this.” I stared down at the amethyst that had belonged to one of my ancestors and sighed, “But I can’t deny that some part deep inside me knew that Athan was mine right off the bat.”
Thana bumped her shoulder against mine. “I’m not even shocked by how easily you’re accepting all of this. You used to love that show with the girl in high school and the vampire brothers that came out a year or so before you were shipped off to boarding school.”
I giggled over her vague description of the show I made her watch when we were tweens. “I guess it isn’t a surprise that I ended up with a vampire since I’ve always been kind of obsessed with them. Before I discovered The Vampire Diaries, I was addicted to True Blood.”