I stared at the letter from my father. My eyes were welling with tears. I felt his love and his pride, but his absence was made so abundantly clear with the yellowed letter I held in my hands. I was angry with him for not being here. He should be leading our people. Not. Me.
But, exhaustion was making me overly emotional. As I put the letter into the thick volume of the history of the fae, Bella padded back into the bedroom. Her hair was braided and her eyes were at half-mast. She crawled into the large, too-large for humans, bed. She pushed me back onto the pillows. “Sleep, m’aarenne,” she said, snuggling close to me. “I love you.”
“Love doesn’t even come close,” I said, my voice raspy. I felt her smile against my neck. I sighed, closing my eyes and holding her to my chest. Within seconds, I was asleep and dreaming of a world where the darkness did not exist and we got our happily ever after.
The next morning, I woke up and felt completely rested, despite the early hour. Bella was already gone, but I could hear her in the bathroom. I looked at the clock, seeing it was a little after nine. I went to bed just before three. I should be exhausted and sore. But, I wasn’t. I got up and picked up the book of our history, but shook my head. I went to my laptop, opening a new document. I began typing and drafting a speech for this livestream. On the intranet.
I can’t believe we have an intranet. How in the hell does that even work?
Bella came out, freshly washed and smelling divine. She arms draping around my shoulders and was reading, humming with approval. “That’s really good, Edward.” She kissed my temple. “I can feel the power behind it and when you say the words …”
“I’m afraid I’ll come off as being a pompous asshole,” I snorted.
“Stop it,” she said, moving the computer back and sitting on the desk. I pulled her into my lap and she giggled. “Not close enough?”
“Never close enough,” I snickered, kissing her nose. “I’m hopeful that my power as an orator, an attorney, will get me through this livestream. It’ll be weird, addressing people I’ve never met before. People who believe me to be their ruler. That shit is fucking beyond my scope of comprehension, Bella.”
“Edward, you’re brilliant, powerful, funny and loyal. Just be you,” she murmured.
“I’m afraid that being me won’t be enough,” I said, my insecurities coming out. “It wasn’t enough for my adoptive parents. For my old firm … I was a failure in their eyes.”
“I love you for you. Not because of this weird mating bond thing we have or for the fact that you got me out of my fucked-up marriage,” she snorted derisively. “You carry this aura of calm, but potent power. Even as a human, everyone pays attention to you. And it’s not because you’re hot.”
I shivered, making it snow around us. “Quite the opposite, sih’rena,” I chuckled. She rolled her eyes. “I’m ice cold.”