I woke up to Aaron sliding into my bed. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him softly.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he said.

“It’s alright,” I said softly. “What did your father have to say?” He sighed and sat up and handed me the note.


Whatever she says, no arguments.

I sighed, it wasn’t kind or caring. It was an order. But at least it was something. It wasn’t like Martin to be out of touch this long.

“He’s wrong on this,” he muttered, “she’s not ready. She’s confused and,” I laughed.

“You’re being over protective,” I chided, “she’s ready. I would know. I’d make her an officer if she were one of my recruits.” He smiled and I snuggled into his chest.

“There’s more to it than joining the army, Thena,” he said. I smiled.

“Not yet there isn’t,” I said. “We have to win before anything else.” I kissed him softly. “But you saw the note, Aaron, no arguments.” He laughed.

“He meant with him, love,” he said, rolling me onto my back, “not with you.” I grinned and we kissed again. “He told my mother that he’d be back soon.” I nodded.

“Won’t you be glad to see him?” I asked. He frowned and picked at the sheets. “Aaron,” I whispered.

“When he’s here, I feel,” he sighed, “out of place. Like I don’t quite count,” I ran my hands through his hair. “It’s not that I don’t love my father, just,” he sighed, “there’s nothing for me when he’s here.” I pressed my forehead to his.

“There’s me, now,” I said. He smiled gently.

“Yes there is,” he smiled. “And thank the gods for that.” We made love again. This time softer. He’s sweet, like this, gentle. I didn’t expect it. I also didn’t expect to like it. With Warren everything was rushed and I wasn’t much of a consideration. With Carlton, it was hard edged, urgent and fiery. “Would you stay?” I smiled. “If I asked, if we,” I said, “could you be here?”

“Are you proposing?” I asked. He shrugged.

“Not quite,” he said, “I’m proposing to propose. If it’s not what you want, I won’t bring it up again, and we can just, have what we have, for as long as we have it.” I looked at him.

“It is what I want,” I said softly. “But there’s a lot of work to do.” He nodded. “And I want to live here, someday. I’ve been happier here than I’ve been anywhere.” He smiled.

“We have a house in Dovetail too,” he said excitedly, “although, I suppose you’ll need to be in the Palace.” I laughed and kissed him gently. “I’ll ask properly. Do I need to write to your grandfather? I know the guilds have ways of doing this,” I smiled and stretched.

“No,” I said, “Tristan’s permission will be more than sufficient for the family.”

“Will he give it?” Aaron said. I laughed.

“I think so,” I said and kissed him. “He likes you.” We drifted off to sleep. I woke up before him in the morning and got dressed and decided to go to the inn where Wilcott was. I needed an answer to something that was bothering me. Annalise trusted that innkeeper, I was pretty sure I could too. I walked down into the village.

The girl who Aaron had been arguing with saw me from a cart and walked over. I sighed.

“I don’t suppose there’s anything I can say that would please you,” I frowned.

“When you leave and go back to Dovetail or is it Dorin?” She said. “Do you think you’ll hold on to him?” I swallowed. “He gets distracted you know, and Lady Lisette is really the only girl he cares about.”

“You don’t know me,” I said simply, “I’m sorry that you got hurt. But you don’t know me.” She stepped back. “If you’ll excuse me.” I walked towards the inn, agitated, and then inside.

“Lady Athena,” William smiled. I nodded. “Can I help you with something?”

“This may sound silly,” I said, “there was a messenger, last night.” He nodded. “He mentioned he was going to another inn, and”

“If there’s something you need,” he said, “I can do my best to get it.” I looked down.

“It’s silly, I thought I’d hear from someone,” I said. He nodded.

“They were messages from the Count?” He said. I nodded. “If something serious had happened to, this person,” I smiled, “I’m sure he’d have told you.”

“You know more than you let on,” I said. He nodded.

“It helps me to be of use,” he explained, “my uncle sent me here for a reason.” I nodded. “Again, Lady Athena, if there’s something you need.”

“No,” I smiled. “Thank you.” I wandered back outside and found a spot to sit.


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