“Orlando’s so good with the twins,” Lyanna said. “I was worried, when he talked about human babies hatching from eggs.”
“Should we help?” I asked. “Looks like they’re giving him a hard time again.”
Lyanna shook her head. “He likes how rambunctious they are, I think. It keeps him on his toes.”
Literally, if she’d just look behind her.
Each twin was hanging onto a different kite, their tiny wings pumping. Clementine was on her own…
And Griffin was hanging onto Fox’s foot. My kid wasn’t as adventurous as Lyanna’s, but when Fox was involved…
(Yeah, Fox and Clementine. Lyanna ate a lot of orange things while she was pregnant for some reason, but I just drank plasma packs with “prenatal vitamins” or whatever and googled “awesome stuff with wings” when Sunflower told me our kid would be fae too.)
Orlando’s screams and flailing were kind of funny. He should’ve known that’d just make the twins fly away faster.
Me, Sunflower and Griffin all lived in an old farmhouse right across from Lyanna and Orlando’s house. Their house was pretty too.
We got to live in nice houses mostly thanks to Orlando and Sunflower’s modeling careers. Sunflower went with him to a photoshoot once and they roped him into it too.
The pictures made me feel kind of weird and made my eyes glow sometimes.
“Oh cool,” I said. “Orlando caught one.”
It was smart, because when he or Lyanna started paying attention to one twin, the other would scream their tiny lungs out until they paid attention to them too. Orlando was teaching Fox to fly or whatever.
“Orlando says their flight is very advanced for their age,” Lyanna said proudly. She was so happy when she found out both her kids would be fae.
I was pretty sure Orlando was full of crap, but I didn’t tell my sister. Sunflower said that male fae usually never had anything to do with baby fae. The babies never even knew their moms either, which made me sad, since I had the best mom in the world.
But even if he never knew his parents, Sunflower was a really good, manly dad.
I didn’t even mind if he was Griffin’s favorite.
I wondered if Lyanna knew she’d always be Orlando’s favorite.
“Is Griffin using his wings more?” Sunflower asked me.
“Kind of,” I said. “Seems like he has a fear of heights, or maybe a fear of being alone. But he’s fine with Fox.” It was hard not to get distracted by how pretty and manly Sunflower was, even after being married a few years.
“I’ll feed him,” Sunflower said. “He looks hungry.” See, he was a really good dad, because I couldn’t tell.
The second Sunflower went inside, the twins started yowling. It was hard to tell which parent they were fighting over.
Lyanna’s dogs must’ve heard their yowls because all three of them crossed the street to get here in a hurry.
Primrose’s two pups considered the twins “theirs” most of all.
Lyanna said there used to be a third pup once, but she disappeared. Lyanna made me help her put “LOST DOG” signs all over Starlight Shores, but she never turned up. But we still had five dogs running around all the time, counting the two former leaf-dogs who lived with us.
“What’s wrong, Clemmie?” Lyanna said.
“Maybe she needs a nap,” I said, and not just because I was hoping to do gross stuff with Sunflower today.
Lyanna and Orlando and the twins and their dogs all went home right after that, but I learned right after Griffin was born that there was never enough time for gross stuff. Me and Sunflower were too busy, up until we put Griffin to bed together.
(Griffin’s favorite bug was a ladybug, because it had black-and-red wings like him.)
Griffin never wanted to go to bed, though, no matter how many books we read to him. He didn’t fight me or Sunflower, but he always looked so sad.
“And then the princess woke up and punched everybody,” I said. “The end.”
Sometimes I wondered if Sunflower used fae magic to get him to sleep through the night. I’d have to ask Lyanna if Orlando did the same.
“Dru,” my husband said in a low voice, taking my hands.
I kept my voice just as quiet. “Hold on–lemme change out of these clothes. I dunno if this spot is pudding or poop.”
I kissed Griffin lightly on the forehead before I left, but he still looked like he was carrying too many worries on his tiny shoulders.
At least we finally got some alone time together.
“Sometimes I wish we could just do gross stuff all day,” I said. “Maybe when Griffin’s older.”
Sunflower was quiet. “I’d like that too.”
I could hear his heartbeat when he held me against his chest.
“Dru,” he said, “we can’t stay for much longer. The realm of the fae needs its king and queen.”
“I know,” I said. “I’ll miss Lyanna and the twins and even Orlando…” It was nice, to have a couple years alone together and then a couple more with Griffin. “And my mom and dad and everybody else. But I made a promise…”
I still didn’t understand the whole queen thing, but I knew Sunflower needed me. And then there was our son…
“We’ll protect him,” Sunflower said, as if he knew what I was thinking. Or maybe he was thinking the same thing. “No matter what. I promise, Dru.” He pressed his lips to my palm.
And then I pressed my lips to his, and all my worries were forgotten.
One day, we’d rule a kingdom of flowers and magic and sunlight side by side, where our son could play and dream without fear, and humans and vampires and everybody else would be welcome.