“Here it is.” Eva King pulled a book from a shelf and looked down at the cover. “She wanted you to have it.”
Kieran didn’t have to ask who his mother was referring to. “That was nice of her.”
“Siobhan had her moments. She was a complex woman. Mostly because she was Fae.” Eva smiled sadly and handed the book to him. “I don’t know what’s in it but it looks well read.”
When Kieran was a Junior in college, a letter came from Siobhan’s estate attorney. She had a living will that stated if she should go missing or die that all her belongings should go to Eva. It was then that they had learned that no one had heard from Siobhan since she’d visited Andrei two years prior. The will had been executed and Eva now had possession of centuries worth of knowledge in the form of books, scrolls, tablets, post-it notes, talking mirrors, etc.
They’d taken a family trip to Dragon Valley to sort out her things. Siobhan’s house was situated in a remote area and was huge. It was actually large enough to be considered a castle. His parents planned to move in once Steph graduated college and turn it into a boarding school for the magical community.
It reminded Kieran of those old Harry Potter movies and he’d always wondered why something like that hadn’t existed until now. Better late than never, though.
He took the book from her and opened it to the first page. “It’s not a book. It’s a journal.” He looked up at his mom and saw her shock. “She left me her dairy.”
“I didn’t know…” Eva looked like she wanted to take it back and Kieran could feel her sadness and envy. He could understand wanting something that a loved one had treasured and he almost handed it to her but the words on the first page stopped him. It was a letter to him.
He moved to a chair and sat down at the ornate desk, placing the book on the surface, open to the letter. It was in an ancient Fae language and he began to read haltingly, his brain switching from language to language. He had inherited the skill from his mother. Taking a pen, he translated as he read.
“What did she write?”
Kieran exhaled and tilted the book so his mother could read the page. She had tears in her eyes by the end and he stood to pat her soothingly on the back. He really disliked seeing women cry. “Don’t cry, mom.”
She wiped at her tears and smiled. “I’m alright, Al. Honestly.”
He walked over to the couch and sat down, leaving the journal on the table. He was going to have a girl and she was going to be important. “Mom, has Siobhan ever been wrong?”
Eva sat down on the chair he’d just vacated and began flipping through the pages. “Not that I’ve ever known about, no.”
“I’m having a daughter.”
Eva frowned and traced Siobhan’s handwriting. “It would seem so. Kieran?”
Kieran sighed; he knew what was coming next. He could feel her emotions shifting from sorrow and loss to disappointment. He’d heard this argument a thousand times but his mother seemed to think if she brought it up just once more, he would suddenly agree with her. “I’m marrying her, mom.”
“I think it’s foolish to jump into a marriage just because she’s pregnant.”
“You said that already. Countless times.” Kieran slouched on the couch.
Eva stood and began placing books back on a shelf. She managed to put four books away before turning to glare at him. “Al, you don’t even know her. You can’t get married!”
“I do and I can. I am.” He stood up and walked over to her. “Mom, I want your blessing but I don’t need it. Why can’t you just be happy for me?”
“Are you sure it’s your baby?” He could tell she regretted the words the moment she said them but that didn’t help with the anger he felt at hearing them.
“Are you f – are you kidding me?” He glared at her. “You of all people should know better.”
Eva looked properly chastened but he didn’t care. He was going to get married, the sooner the better. He regretted asking Lorde to wait, especially if this was the reaction from the most important person in his life.
“Yes, the baby is his, Mrs. King.”
Kieran and Eva both whipped around to see Lorde standing in the doorway. She looked calm but Kieran knew that was a façade. He’d spent enough time with her to know when she was pissed. “Lorde…”
“No, it’s okay Kieran. We haven’t known each other long enough that there could be no doubt. I get it.” She turned to look at Eva. “But I assure you, I’ve been faithful to Kieran. No matter that my profession might imply otherwise.”
Eva frowned and Kieran cursed silently. He hadn’t told his mother what Lorde did for a living. He’d hoped now that she was pregnant and they were getting married, she’d quit. In which case, he saw no need for his mother to ever know.
Lorde glanced at him with a raised eyebrow. “You didn’t tell her?”
“Tell me what?” Eva asked.
“That I’m a stripper, Mrs. King.”
“A what?” Eva dropped the book she’d been holding and Kieran bent to pick it up, wishing he could skip the conversation like a page in a book.
“A stripper. I take my clothes off for money.” Lorde walked further into the room. “It’s how your son and I met, actually. I took him to a private room where he paid me to take my clothes off for him.”
She was enjoying this and Kieran wanted her to stop. He didn’t find it amusing at all. “Lorde, that’s enough!”
She flashed angry eyes at him and he was momentarily taken aback. But just as quickly as it had come, her anger was gone, replaced with a sad look and teary eyes. “Fine. I just came in here to tell you that it was getting late and we should start heading back. Sorry for interrupting your private conversation.”
Kieran felt like a jackass. He’d made it seem like he was ashamed of her by not sharing her profession and he’d chided her in front of his mother when all she was doing was standing up for herself. Fucking great, you idiot.
He turned to Eva, who was staring at him. “Mom, we have to go. I’ll call you when we have the details for the wedding. You don’t have to be there but it would make me happy if you were.”
He bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek and without waiting for a reply, turned and ushered Lorde out of the room, a hand placed low on her back.
They were in the car and driving towards the freeway when Lorde broke the silence. “I don’t know if getting married is such a good idea.”
Kieran let out a heavy breath; he knew she’d say something like that. “Lorde, I am sorry for earlier. I should have…I shouldn’t have…” He didn’t even know where to start.
“Kieran, I’m not ashamed of what I do. It’s a job. I chose to do it. If you’re not okay with that, then we shouldn’t be together.”
“That’s not – hell Lorde. I’m sorry, okay. I just didn’t know how and she hadn’t asked. I wasn’t purposely keeping it from her. My mom was still upset about the wedding, I wasn’t thinking about you at the time.”
Wrong thing to say. He should just stop talking completely.
Lorde stared out the window for a long while before saying, “If we get married, if we start a life together, you’re going to have to change that mentality. I want to be a priority to my husband. Not the woman he keeps around for sex and because she had his kid. If that’s what you’re looking for then I’ll give you back your ring right now.”
Kieran slowed the car down before pulling up by the side of the road. He turned to her. “That is not why I’m doing this and you know it. I want to be with you and the baby. God, we talked about this already!”
“Do you really? I sometimes think you just feel like you have to. I don’t want us to be like my parents, Kieran. I don’t want this baby to feel like a mistake. I don’t want to feel unwanted by your family. I’m going to keep this child whether you are in or out, I’m going to raise him or her. I don’t need you to do that.”
Kieran reached over and pulled her in for a kiss. “I know you don’t, but I don’t want you to do this alone. I want to be there for you, with you. Let me. Please.”
She studied him before giving a short nod. “Okay, but…”
He kissed her again, cutting off any further protests.