Page 155 of Court of Nightmares

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I could see it meant a lot to them. They were worried his reaction would hurt me or get between us.

“She was always like that.” He grins over at me, his eyes sparkling. No wonder my mother fell in love with this man. He exudes life and love.

“True. You didn’t see the time she tried to sneak out the window when you locked her in her room for misbehaving.” Simon laughs, munching on pizza. “She fell down the drainpipe and had to limp through the back door covered in mud and leaves.”

“She did not.” He grins, looking at me like I’m the best thing in the world. “You disobeyed me?”

I shrug and smile. “Always.”

“That’s my girl.” He winks and then leans back in his chair. “Simon, it’s nice to see that you are happy and you found a nice boy to settle down with.”

“Erm, you’re not upset that he’s a wolf?”

I’m quickly starting to realise my father has adopted Simon. Maybe he always did since no one ever really fucked with him. Now that I think about it, they probably didn’t dare to, and it only makes me care for the man more.

“Why would I be? He makes you happy.” That’s as simple as it is for this man. “Now, do I get a tour of this place?” He looks at me. “If that’s okay?”

“Of course.” I stand and wave my mates away as they get to their feet. “I’ll check on the monsters at the same time.”

“Sounds good,draya.” Nathair quickly kisses me. “We will get started on cleaning up.”

“No, take me with you!” Reve calls dramatically, and Conall just rolls his eyes and lifts him, carrying him from the room. Simon smiles and bids my dad goodbye before following after them.

“I like them,” he comments. “They make you smile.”

“They do,” I reply as I walk from the kitchen, and he follows me outside. “They are good men.”

“I can see that. I like them.” He shoves his hands into his trouser pockets as he walks next to me, looking around. “And this is one hell of a court. I’m not sure how we didn’t know about it.”

“They are good at keeping secrets.” I shrug. “And it was forgotten over time.”

He chuckles. “That is true. I don’t think they will forget last night.”

I hesitate slightly. “Probably not. Do you think I’m evil?”

“Never, Althea.” He pauses. “You did what you had to, what the gods ordered you to. Plus, our race needed it. You saved us, so do not ever see it any other way.” We start to walk again, this time in a comfortable silence that I hesitate to fill.

I lead him through the gardens, smiling when I see a pixie moving through the trees.

I look at him. “I spoke to Mum, you know?” He turns to me, gaping, so I stop walking to face him. “It was in a dream, but it was her. Twice.”

“Is she . . .” He hesitates, barely breathing.

“She’s okay. She’s passed on now. I told her it was okay. She actually told me to give you a chance. I would have anyway, but she listened and helped me through my reservations. She also left me a letter that I will let you read it. She loved you very much.”

“I loved her and always will,” he whispers. “I wish I could have seen her just once more. I hold onto her in my dreams every night, hoping to see her face and embrace her once more.”

“She’s waiting for us on the other side,” I admit.

“When it’s my time and you no longer need me, I’ll join her.” He smiles, but it’s a sad smile, and I realise I can give him exactly what he wants.

“Do you trust me?” I ask. I don’t know why I phrase it like that, but I don’t take it back.

“Always.” He holds out his hands to let me do whatever I wish, so I take them and close my eyes.

I bring up the dream with Reve’s powers and show him. I hear his gasp and feel his agony and love at the sight of her. “My love,” he whispers, and when she speaks, he smiles, and when it fades, he stares at me in awe.

“Thank you,” he whispers. “Whenever you need to see her, you can always look into my memories,” he tells me. “They are yours. All of them.”