“Lady Dugarry,” A page walked in, “Mistress Emily DuCray is here to see you.” I stared at him.

“What?” I stood up.

“Should I show her in?” He looked confused.

“Of course,” I said. Emily walked in breezily, with a baby in her arms. “Emily, what on earth?”

“Athena invited us for supper,” she explained, “which was kind of her, since she was infuriated with us yesterday. Alex is still giving her space but I had to see you.”

“I’m glad,” I said and hugged her. “What did you do to Athena?” She sighed.

“Hypothesized about Calla’s future,” Emily said. I looked at her. “I know, we got carried away.”

“Calla’s future is tied up enough in her role as heir,” I said, taking the wiggling Carlo from her. “Besides you have your own plans to make, for this handsome devil.” She laughed.

“He is handsome isn’t he,” she settled in. “How are you?” I sighed. I wanted to tell her everything. Even a few years ago I would have. But we’re so distant now.

“I’ve been better,” I managed to admit. “But I’m glad to be back here. Pantona is so far away from everything.”

“Isn’t that what you wanted?” Emily asked. I sighed.

“Yes,” I smiled, “turns out getting what you wanted isn’t always wonderful,” Emily laughed. “I missed you,” I said, “and I am so glad to meet you, Little One,” I bounced my nephew and he giggled.

“Caro, are you busy,” Annalise flew in, Emily flew to her feet and into a curtsey. “Hello Madame DuCray.”

“Your Majesty,” Emily said softly and rose. “I’m sorry if you need my sister.”

“Don’t be silly,” Annalise said, “I’m supposed to meet with the seamstresses about my clothes for Westran. It isn’t important. I thought you might like to come.”

“Of course,” I said. “I’d be happy to,” I started.

“Enjoy your family,” Annalise smiled at me, “I’m very happy to meet little Master DuCray,” she looked at Emily. “You must stay for dinner, please send for your husband too.”

“That’s very kind of you my queen,” Emily said quickly, “but my husband and his cousins aren’t,” she sighed.

“The twins will cope,” Annalise said gently, “Caro clearly needs her family right now.” I smiled gratefully at her.

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” I said. She nodded.

“I’m sorry to have interrupted,” she said, “Madame DuCray.” Emily bobbed another curtsey.

“I think that’s the most she’s ever spoken to me,” Emily said.

“She came to your wedding,” I reminded her. “Probably the larger honor.” She rolled her eyes.

“Well, yes,” Emily said. “Honestly, though she’s always so friendly.” I smiled. “You’d never know she probably prayed for your death.”

“If Annalise prayed for my death, I’d be dead,” I laughed. “She’s chosen of two gods.” Emily laughed. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too,” she said softly, “Papa,” she started and I stared daggers at her. “He has regrets, Caro, truly.”

“Does he?” I said sharply. “Then why is Andrei’s challenge still active?” She looked at me. “Even after all these years, after that day in the guild hall? After Geno all but declared it over, why is my father still claiming my husband isn’t my husband?” Emily sighed. “And why is my husband’s family still doing business with him?”

“You’re right,” Emily said, “but I don’t think they will for much longer.” I looked at her. “Alex has been buying ships, some Rastani, some Phania, where do you think all of his information comes from?”

“Of course,” I said, “but enough?”

“Well, not yet,” she admitted, “but soon, I think so. The Old Man already scaled back Papa’s contract, with barely a thought.” I looked at her, more than a little shocked.

“Hello Emily,” Tristan walked in. She smiled as he leaned down and kissed her on the cheek.”I’m glad to see you, Athena seemed concerend we might not.”

“Speaking of,” Emily got up and went to the desk, “I’ll send Alex a note about dinner,” Tristan raised his eyebrows at me.

“Annalise insisted,” I smiled, “Kiss your Uncle Tristan, Carlo.” Tristan laughed taking the little boy. I smiled. We needed to fix this. He needed to be a father.

I had to give him that.


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