“Morning sunshine,” Zayne beamed, wrapping his arm around his girlfriend’s waist.
“Morning.” Millie sat up lazily. Her head was pounding. She was exhausted.
“You were worried…” His voice trailed off. He placed his arms on her shoulders, rubbing them gently. “She’s with her aunt. You don’t trust Charlotte now?”
“It’s not that,” Millie answered. “It’s just weird, not having her here. She’s usually busting in right about now, asking for breakfast or something.”
“This isn’t exactly the best place to meet people. Let Harmony hang out with her cousins every once and awhile. It’s good for her.”
She smiled. “You just want me all to yourself for another night.”
“And if I do?” He asked, with a mischievous smirk. He kissed her lips. “I miss her too, but we need our alone time every once and a while.”
“I know,” She whispered. “It’s been nice, living here. Without any evil vampires or-” Her voice dropped. “No Zander. You know, he wanted no part of Harmony? After I broke up with him, he just looked me in the face and told me that I was a mistake. Me, I was the one who was blamed, when he cheated.”
Zayne rubbed her back soothingly. How the hell could anyone hurt someone as beautiful as Millie? She was perfect in every way. “Zander is scum. He isn’t even worth our breath. Forget about him.”
Staring at her sluggish boyfriend, Millie let out a contented sigh. What if it was Zayne who had proposed and not Zander? She would have been ecstatic to marry him. But now, she was afraid. She was afraid that Harmony would lose another father. She didn’t fear that Zayne would leave her of his own volition, but there were other factors. After he had come clean about how he and Jeff had gotten here, she was worried. She knew her sister was angry at Jeff for lying to her, but she would have done the exact same thing in that situation. The same exact thing. Jeff and Zayne were strangers here. While Millie had her family, they had only each other. And what a life to be thrust into. He stayed through it all, and she knew he planned to continue their life together. But what of Mason? What of Audric? Just thinking about the pair of men made her heart drop. She didn’t know too much about Mason, but if he had mad Charlotte as livid as he had, she knew he must have been a terrible person.
And Audric? He was perhaps worse. It seemed as if he had limitless power. At least in this little safe haven that he had produced. She couldn’t shake the idea that he was controlling them, more than helping them. It would be so easy to dangle safety in front of them to get them away from Moonlight Falls. If that was his plan, it was working. She didn’t like him at all. Her twin who she had at one time been inseparable with, had spent every waking minute worrying about what the elf would think. “I can’t come over today, sorry. I’m helping Audric with some research.” It was always something. Research on most days, but others it was as silly as watching the house while he was off doing Watcher knew what. It was disheartening. She didn’t even know Astra anymore.
“What are you thinking about?” She heard Zayne’s voice. Se was afraid that Audric would do something to Zayne, and he’d be gone. Just like that.
“My sister,” She said quietly. “Astra.”
He knew how Millie felt, but he had never been in a situation as unique as this one. Frankly, he shared the same sentiments with his girlfriend. Audric’s attraction to with Astra was borderline obsessive. And Astra? He didn’t know her back then, but he didn’t care much for the girl at all. She was like a puppet with empty words. When she fought back with Audric, her words were empty, as if putting on a show for him. All he had to do was pull a string, and she’d do whatever he told her to do. “I don’t want to talk about her and Audric. It’s just too much, this early in the morning.”
“I know,” Millie mumbled. “It just popped into my head because I was thinking what Audric’s true intentions were.”
“You don’t think his intentions are true?” Zayne asked.
He sat up and motioned for her to move over. “Millie, babe. I’m sure it’s fine.”
“It’s easy to just forget,” She said. “It’s easy to just settle into this life. But what about my dad? What about Moonlight Falls? Declan is still out there, and my dad is put together but I know he’s falling apart. He needs more than just Grandpa and Burke. I wanted him to watch Harmony grow up. And grandpa, he’s destroyed because he lost his husband. We can’t take these two minutes of quiet and forget about everything piling up around us.”
Hearing that admission stacked on his heart like a ton of bricks. it was hard for him, but even harder for her. She was absolutely right. There was so much happening, but what could they had possibly done? He used to be a cop, fighting mortal danger. Not vampires and mages. It was easier for him to settle down into this life, but Millie was absolutely right. Things didn’t just get better because you left your problems behind. They were still there, unresolved. He looked down at her hand which had held his. How many chances was he going to get? He was so damn lucky to have Millie. He wanted her to have so much more than this fake life. He wanted her and Harmony to be happy.
“Dionysus is gone,” Millie continued. “I thought he was going to be the one to snap Astra out of whatever spell she was under. But she went and destroyed him too. He was supposed to help dad. This war was supposed to have been over by now. Maybe this is selfish of me, and I don’t want to blame my sister. I know it’s wrong. But every time I see her walking hand in hand with that man, smiling like he’s the only person in the entire universe, I want to vomit. I want to shake her and tell her to wake up. What’s she become…I hate it. Part of me blames her and her stupid, gosh! What do I even call him? Her boyfriend? Her captor?”
“Millie,” Zayne began. “I worked closely with that man, and I know that you distrust him. I will always pick this family above anything else. The Grays are my family. I haven’t felt this accepted since I had been hanging around with Jeff’s family. Whatever happens, my allegiance is with you and Charlotte and Adeline. Always. And Harmony and the kids, and even Erik. We’re all in this together.”
She nodded. “If only our strength was enough to break through, whatever this is. I just wish I had all the answers.”
“No one has all the answers,” Zayne whispered. “I don’t even think Audric does.”
Millie curled up to Zayne, laying her head on his shoulder. “I love you. That much I know.”
“If I haven’t made it clear before,” He squeezed her hand affectionately. “I’m not leaving.”
“I know, I’m stuck with your crap.” He stuck his tongue out at her, and she leaned up to kiss his cheek. “I didn’t know I had two children in this house. You baby.”
“I didn’t know you were so worried,” He replied. “I didn’t know you were harboring so much. I guess it’s unfair that we leave everything on Charlotte’s shoulders.”
“Yeah, she takes all of her stress and anger out on Jeff, even when she doesn’t mean to. It piles up and he just endures it all. We have to all step up. We have to help, even if it’s as simple as having the kids over our house for a sleepover so that she and Jeff can have a day together.”
“We’d have to take Caleb too,” Zayne said. “That big kid.”
“One more hand to help us watch, what is it 6 kids already?” Millie began to count on her hands. “There’s Harmony, Pax, Graciela, Waverly, Nerissa, Camilla, oh and Gregg. So 7. And the two little ones that Astra is expecting and Adeline’s unborn child too. Ten.”
“And yours.” He poked her belly. “Don’t forget.”
She nodded. “And ours. I hope that Astra doesn’t keep her children away from ours. They need social interaction as much as she does.”
The doorbell rang and Millie stood up to answer it. “I’ve got it. Don’t worry. I think it’s our little girl.”
“My princess is back?” A wide smile grew on his face. “Things get too heavy when she isn’t around.”
Millie laughed. “You’re telling me.”
“Mom!” Harmony threw herself into her mother’s arms when she opened the door.
Millie hugged her daughter just as tightly. “You’re going to tell me all about the sleepover after I go thank Auntie Charlotte okay? Dad is inside.”
Zayne heard the little footsteps, nearly falling over when the girl launched herself into his arms. “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad!”
Zayne held her in his arms. “Hey there beautiful, how was it? Did you have fun with your cousins?”
“The most fun! Aunt Charlotte read us comic books, and Gracie and Nerissa and I did each other’s hair. And Camilla told me a scary story! I couldn’t even sleep at all. We stayed up all night.”
“All night?” He raised his brow, actually happy she was having a good time. What was a few hours of lost sleep, if she was having fun? Millie would disagree with him, but she was outside and he was in here.
“Yeah,” She yawned. “But I’m not even tired.”
“Not even a little?” He laughed.
“No.” She shook her head. “Besides I can’t go to sleep until I tell you what Pax and I did in his video game. It was so funny!” She was talking a mile a minute. Ahh, what fun it was to be a child. So carefree. If only life was still about funny things in video games.
“I can’t wait to hear it.” She told him various things about her stay at Charlotte’s house. She talked about the cool stuff her cousins had gotten from Astra. She talked about how much fun it was to stay up all night. She talked about the mattress racing they did down the stairs. He would have to talk to Charlotte about that one though. Harmony was a little more frail than her kids, she wasn’t a vampire.
Finally coming in, Millie locked the door. There weren’t any threats here, but it was better to be safe than sorry. “Ok Harmony, you can tell mom all about what happened. Huh?”
Zayne held his hand up to his lips. Millie smiled when she saw her daughter passed out on Zayne’s lap. “She didn’t sleep at Charlotte’s house.”
“Was she scared?” A look of concern washed over her face.
He shook his head. “No, she had too much fun. I told you we need to let her do it again, but this time it’s going to be at our place. I heard the kids were mattress racing down the stairs. Honey!” He said sternly, watching her walk over to the phone. “Call Charlotte later to yell at her. We need to tuck our little girl in.”