“It’s like she’s just beyond my reach. When I turn a corner, it feels like I just missed seeing her. I know I should be upset, but it’s like we’re playing a game of hide and seek. There’s always that hope that she’s still here, you know?”
“So it’s not that you can’t let her go, you just don’t want to.”
Dre shook his head. “I can’t and I don’t. I’m – I’m terrified I’ll forget the way she made me feel. The way she looked, early in the morning before she fully woke up, sleepy eyed and soft and so beautiful. Or the way she laughed, loud and long, like I was the funniest man in the world. Or the way the sun would make her eyes change to a pale lavender. I can’t lose that, it’s all I have left. It’s all I’ll ever have.” He turned to look at his brother, “Tony, what if she’s not there? What if she’s not waiting for me, like she promised?”
“Dear God…she’s gone. She’s – I don’t. I can’t – ”
She was dead. He’d been with her for 17 months and now she was gone. He was expected to live his life when he’d just lost the one person that made his life worth living. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fucking fair!
“I don’t think I can live without her. I don’t think I can wake up another day with her gone. I can’t do it. I can’t…”
When Tony reached out a hand to touch his shoulder, it felt like a massive weight that crumpled all his self-control. He heard himself sobbing and before he could stop himself, his twin had him wrapped in a hug. He stopped trying to fight the tears and just let go.
He didn’t know how long they sat there, him crying like a child and Tony letting him, but by the time he pushed away, he was exhausted. “I’m sorry,” he began but Tony cut him off.
“Don’t. Do not apologize for that.” Tony looked down at the beer bottles on the table. “Want another beer?”
Scrubbing his eyes, Dre said, “No, I think I’m going to hit the sack. All that bawling killed my buzz.”
Instead of laughing, Tony nodded sadly and began to clear the table.
An hour later, unable to sleep, Dre left his bedroom to grab another beer. As he passed Tony’s room, he heard him say, “I love you, too…Yes, I’ll tell him tomorrow, I promise…No, I can’t do that. Dre’s sleeping in the next room, what if he hears me?”
Dre kept walking to the kitchen. Tony was seeing someone? Why didn’t he tell me? He tried to think of how many times he’d actually spoken to his twin in the last year. Once or twice maybe. And each time, it had been to bitch about how hard it was for him to see Maya hurting. God, he was such an ass. He should have reached out, invited Tony to come out and meet her.
His siblings had come out to the funeral, they’d grieved with him for a woman they’d never met. Yet, he knew next to nothing about what was happening in their lives. When had he become this person? Dre took his beer into the living room and sat down. He wasn’t tired but he didn’t feel like doing anything. So he just sat and talked to Maya.
It was sometime later that he realized he wasn’t alone anymore. Sitting across from him was Siobhan, looking regal, bored, and dangerous all at once. “What the hell are you doing here?” It occurred to him that the better question would be how she managed to get in.
As if reading his mind – he wouldn’t put it past her – she said, “Really? I’m Fae, dumbass. Plus, Tony doesn’t lock his front door.”
For a fraction of a second, he considered arguing with her but he just didn’t care enough. “What do you want, Siobhan?”
She sat up, her eyes so intense that he wanted to look away – but couldn’t. “This might mean very little to you now, but just know you are the last.”
“The last what?”
“The last in the line of Romajin wolves.”
Andrei looked at Siobhan in confusion. “What does that even mean?”
“The curse on your family will end with you. You will have no other children; you are the fulfillment of the curse.”
“But I did have a child, I had a son and Ariany wants more…”
She cut him off, “That child died, did he not? There will be no more.”
A barrage of emotions were trying to push their way to the forefront of his brain. Anger won. “You did this.” He didn’t know how he knew it, but he was certain. She placed this curse on his family. She was the reason his son was buried six feet under. “You bitch!”
Siobhan bristled and magic crackled in her palms. “Watch your mouth wolf. I am a three thousand-year-old Fae Princess and I could crush you like the insignificant puppy you are.”
“Go ahead. Do your worst. It can only get better now.”
Siobhan tilted her head and frowned. “You had a gift, a blessing, and this is how you honor her – by weeping and acting defeated. Do you know how many wolves would die to be in your shoes? How many have died searching for what you had?”
She turned away from him and studied a painting against the far wall. He watched her through narrowed eyes. “You call this a blessing? She’s dead!”
“And yet here you are, better for having known her. You found your wulfric, your true mate, and you had a year with her. Even I, who’ve lived for so long, would trade all these years for one year with my soul mate.”
Dre closed his eyes against the wave of anguish that flooded over him at the thought of never being with Maya again. “How am I supposed to go on? She…she’s gone.”
“Would you give your life for hers, Andrei Heron London?”
“Yes,” he said immediately, opening his eyes to stare at her.
“I must be insane.” Siobhan sighed and rose from her seat. “I will be in touch.”
Dre watched her turn around and walk out of the room. He didn’t know what the hell that was about but she had given him a lot to think about. He was the last of his line.
In the morning, Dre woke up to the smell of bacon. Not the synthesized stuff but real almost burnt bacon. His stomach growled, reminding himself he was still obligated to feed it.
Walking into the kitchen, he found his brother setting down a plate of food. “Just in time, I made bacon.”
“I know. It’s what woke me up.” He shuffled to a chair and dropped down into it. He had barely slept the night before. After Siobhan left, he’d dumped the rest of his beer in the sink and gone to lie down but not before walking around the house and securing all the windows and doors. “You should really lock up before you go to bed.”
Tony glanced up. “There’s no crime here. We aren’t allowed to keep anything important in our homes, so there’s no reason to steal anything.”
Dre looked around at all the expensive electronics Tony had lying around. “Yeah, okay.”
They ate in silence and Dre couldn’t help but think about how completely their roles were now reversed. He was the one whose heart was broken and Tony – was Tony happy?
“Siobhan came to see me last night.”
Tony frowned. “When? After I went to bed?”
“What did she want?” He didn’t seem too concerned that some crazy fairy had just waltzed into his home. Okay then.
“Apparently she came to tell me that our family curse was officially over. I’m the last of my kind.” He said this bitterly. Maybe she thought she was doing him a favor by telling him. But all she’d done was remind him how fucked up his life truly was. “On the bright side, I won’t have any more children. So Ariany might leave me alone now.”
“You’re still planning on going back to her? You’re never going to date again? Never even consider mating?” Tony stopped eating and watched him.
“No. Never.” If it wasn’t with Maya, he didn’t want to be with anyone.
They stared at each other for a long time, Tony didn’t know what to say and Dre wouldn’t want to hear it anyway. Finally, Tony said, “Okay, but just to clarify, you’re not the brother that passes it on, I am.”
“Technically, the second born passes it along and you’re gay. You’ll never have any children.” He took a bite of his food and glanced up to find his twin staring at him. “What?”
“Nothing Andrei. You’re absolutely right.”
Tony went back to eating and Dre thought he saw his twin – flicker, maybe? But it was just for a split second and then Tony was his normal self. He needed more sleep. Dre looked back down at his plate of food. Suddenly he wasn’t hungry anymore. When Tony stood up and left the room, he didn’t even think twice about it.
“I’m burning out, Brian.” Siobhan looked over at Brian and nodded in approval. She preferred him like this, natural without that stupid glamour he put on for the humans.
“I can’t believe you’ve managed this long.” Brian looked at her sympathetically. “Sometimes I wonder if you Fae didn’t do us a disservice by creating us to live so long. Perhaps it would have been better to live shorter, brighter lives. Like these humans.”
“I don’t know but I, for one, am weary of humankind. It used to be I could be dispassionate about it all but now, I don’t know. I’m starting to care about them.”
“All of them or just a certain family?” He smiled knowingly at her.
“Is it the same for you?”
Nodding, he leaned back on his sofa. “There’s something about that family, I don’t know. They suck you in and you can’t help but love them.”
Siobhan laughed, “I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I love them, I just can’t seem to ignore them when they start whining. That damn Nyema. She had to mess with Rae Rose.”
Brian nodded again. He felt the same way. Nyema meant well but all she managed to do was create a web of trouble.
“Do you have a cure for that Tony boy?”
“Unfortunately no. Whatever triggered it was biological not magical. It’s as if his body is rejecting its major organs, like they are foreign bodies. It will be a long process, but I think I can at least make it painless, as long as I can keep his skin intact.”
“Why don’t you just kill him outright, get it over with?”
“Siobhan!” Brian said, shocked at her words. Wasn’t she just saying how she cared about this family?
“What? It’s the kindest thing you could do for him. Otherwise he will live a short but miserable existence.” She looked at him, daring him to deny the truth of her words. He couldn’t.
“I cannot do that.”
Siobhan shrugged. “At least the Anthony boy is fine. He is the last of his line. That dreadful curse is finally done. I hope he’s grateful to his brother.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. Was that your curse?”
“Have you forgotten? Of course it was! That vile woman, what was her name? Cwen. She took me in when I was exiled. I was indebted to her for years, the bitch.”
“But shouldn’t the curse have died with her? I had quite the difficult time helping Rae with the boys.”
“Well, I fixed it didn’t I? They both lived.”
Brian laughed. “Come now, we both were in that room and you know damn well you had nothing to do with that boy surviving his change. That was all Rebecca.”
Siobhan shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. He did not die.”
“So are you going to tell me?”
“Tell you what?”
“Why it lasted so long.”
“Cwen wanted a curse that ended the line of Romajin. But she wanted Connor to suffer too. Since I cast the curse during a Witch’s Moon, the backlash was greater than Cwen was expecting. I tried to warn her, but she wouldn’t listen. It could only be lifted if a Romajin wolf returned to her and rejected the Romajin name. Silly woman didn’t realize that she was unintentionally cursing her own line. Both Riley and Maya are descendants of Cwen. The London boys both chose one of her line. It was sheer luck that Rae refused to let Caleb take the boy. By refusing the Romajin line, the requirements were met.”
“Wait. You were the one who asked Rebecca to keep the line going. There wouldn’t be any Romajin wolves if you hadn’t interfered.” Brian looked at her in awe. “You did it on purpose. You set the whole thing up.”
Siobhan preened. “I wouldn’t go as far as all that.”
“No. It’s true though. Without a line, those boys wouldn’t have been able to fulfill the requirements. But leaving Rebecca in that state for so long…was that really necessary?”
“What state? She was free to roam around, wreaking havoc in town. Do you forget Dillon, the psychopath? She did that. Her one job was to keep those wolves under control. If Caleb hadn’t killed him…I shudder to think of all the ways we lucked out with that one. Plus, she got her happy ending, didn’t she?”
“I don’t understand.” Brian was thinking about all the intricate plans and the patience something like that would take. Over a century of plotting.
“Didn’t you see him? Connor…the first one? He was there that night. He gave up his soul so the boy could live.” Just thinking about him caused a pain in her chest. Connor, I didn’t know. But I fixed it, just like I promised.
“So that’s what that was! I knew I felt something. Wait, but that would mean…”
“Connor wasn’t her soul mate. Never was. The brainless chit lived with her mate for thirteen years and she never even knew it. She was finally released from her guilt that night. Her soul was freed, and she is probably frolicking along fields of grass with David, etcetera, etcetera. This is why I dislike humans. There is so much that needs to happen in the span of their short lives that they never see the bigger picture. Be grateful that you can, Brian.”
“What’s next then?”
“Next? I convince Caleb to change his last name back to London. Can’t have little Romajins running around, can we? Then I move on. I only came here to find out about Anthony’s condition. The rule of three and all that.” Siobhan stood from the couch and smiled. “I’ll be in touch, Brian.”
“What are you going to do?”
“They are the key to my Undoing. I’m going to finish what I started.”
I’ll be with you soon, my love.