Staring at my mother in disbelief, my body floods with both relief and apprehension. Who the hell is at the light council if she's here?
"Start at the beginning, and then tell me why you're here in Drackus's house," I whimper through restrained sobs while throwing my arms around the real mother I've missed more than I realized.
My tears start pouring out, rush my face with their heated flow. Her arms hold me almost too tightly, proving she's missed me as much as I've missed her.
"Shh. It's okay, Alyssa. I'm okay. I'm here."
"But where were you?"
Before she can answer, there's a loud blast against the side of the house, telling us someone just tried to walk through the barrier. I jump in reaction, and Mom's grip becomes protective.
"Drackus," she whispers warily, looking to him for answers about the intruder.
He doesn't have to investigate. The slightly open window gives us the chance to hear the feverish cursing going on outside. My heart pounds heavily in my chest when I realize it's Gage who is spewing profanities.
With the door being solid, I can't see him, and I'm really, really thankful for that. My whole body is tensed up right now. Both he and Kane make me physically react to just their presence.
"Since when can't I materialize inside your damn house?" Gage gripes through the closed door, apparently noticing the open window as well.
Mom cocks her eyebrow questioningly when she feels my reaction to his mere voice, and I refrain from rolling my eyes.
"You can come back later, Gage. I'm dealing with other matters," Drackus says dismissively, seeming bored with the dark user's presence.
"I know she's in there, Drackus. I saw her car. Let me talk to her and clear up the bullshit you've stuck in her head."
"Call her," Drackus says with a haughty grin and a shrug.
"Been there. Tried that. She won't answer, and I need to speak to her. You have no right to—"
"I have every right, and you bloody well know it," Drackus growls, letting his usually subtle British accent roar free with more of a distinguished air.
"She needs to know everything, and I'm sick of covering it up. Just let me in so I can talk to her."
My head jerks to Drackus, and my mother stiffens against me. Drackus grips his head, and my mother avoids eye contact when I look to her for answers.
"Go upstairs," he whispers to my mother, keeping his voice too low to be overheard.
He doesn't want Gage to know about my mother?
"Do you trust him?" Mom whispers back.
"Do I trust him? That's a rather gray area. I don't have a blanket answer."
She rolls her eyes, casting her disapproval of his vague response.
"Fine," Drackus mumbles. "I trust him with this—just not with our daughter. Don't tell me you're siding with him."
"Absolutely not, and you know that. He's right about telling her, and I want to be with you when you do. He should be here as well."
What the hell is going on?
Drackus groans as Gage pounds on the door, impatiently demanding an invitation.
"Very well. Gage can come in," he begrudgingly strains out through gritted teeth, and the door swings open to reveal the dark user I thought I was doing well to avoid.
His jet black hair is the perfect bedroom messy style that makes my knees wobbly, and his blue eyes find mine instantly. It's hard not to want to taste the cool silver of his lip ring right now. It's even harder not to think of the hot steel in his tongue.
He looks to Calypso, seeming confused by her presence.
"Does the light know you're here?" Gage asks, moving toward us as he speaks.
"The light is living with an imposter," I snarl. "Just like I said to begin with and you told me it was impossible."
His brow scrunches in confusion. "It is impossible, or at least...it should be."
"It's apparently not," Mom says, releasing me before she turns to walk toward the study. "But that's not what you came here to discuss. This is something we'll handle. My daughter needs to know about who she really is, and since you're part of that prophecy, you've been let in."
"Part of what prophecy?" I ask while turning to Gage. "What's going on?"
He breathes out heavily, and my mother leads Drackus into the study, giving me some privacy with the dark user. Drackus relents with a begrudged motion, but he flashes Gage a warning glare before the doors shut.
Gage doesn't waste time pleading his case. He walks over and pulls me to him, letting the back of his hand caress my cheek.
"Alyssa, I swear I wasn't working for Drackus when I came to be with you. I haven't lied. He wanted me to stay away until after Thad was killed. I told you then he asked me to come. Considering you couldn't have pried me away, I gladly went along with it. I swear everything I've told you has been true."
I sigh in relief, as his lips find mine, pulling me into the kiss I didn't know I wanted quite so badly. My hands tangle in his hair, tugging at his incredible locks, and he jerks me up to wrap my legs around his waist.
"Alyssa," he murmurs against my lips, barely able to pry himself away, "I lo—"
"Don't," I interrupt. "Don't say it."
I pull back to see the sting in his eyes from my preemptive rejection.
"So you're still in love with the night stalker? You're choosing him?"
The hurt in his tone is undeniable and heartbreaking, and he slowly slides me back down to where my feet touch the floor. I shake my head, my whole body tingling with uncertainty.
"I don't know, but I can't do this now. Why are they saying you're part of a prophecy that deals with me?"
His lips tighten, and he pulls my hand in his before kissing the back of it.
"Let's join them, and you'll see why the night stalker isn't the one you're meant to be with."
I tilt my head, but he pulls me to the study, avoiding my questioning eyes. Drackus glares at our contact, but Gage simply ignores him as he tugs my hand, leading me to a large chair near the fireplace. He doesn't give Drackus the fear he desires or deserves when he pulls me onto his lap.
"What the hell do you think you're—"
"Just drop it, dear," Mom interrupts. "Let's focus on the prophecy and then let her decide, since he obviously isn't going to be of much help."
Dear? Since when does she call him dear?
Drackus curses under his breath, but he walks over to a picture and pulls it down to reveal a safe. With quick strokes, he keys in the combination. A clicking sound drums out, and then he pulls out an old relic of a book. The pages almost look too fragile to be touched, but he turns them anyhow, searching for something.
"I'm not going to be of much help because you don't know for certain you're right," Gage chimes in before dragging his lips over my knuckles and pulling me closer. "As a matter of fact, I think you're incredibly wrong."
Mom tightens her lips to a thin line as she sits down on the edge of the couch adjacent to us. Her eyes find mine as I give into the comforting touch of my dark user and lean against his hard body.
"I'll start while your father searches," Mom says softly, focusing her sole attention on me. "Alyssa, you're not a typical witch, but that's something you've known for a while. You're an anomaly for which there are no words to describe. I didn't realize the cross you would bear when I fell pregnant with you, and I never believed the prophecy when I learned of it the third month you were inside me. It wasn't until you started showing signs of your powers... all of them...that I realized the proverbial promise held merit. Now...now I don't know what to tell you."
I look at Gage and his lips gently stroke mine the second I give him the angle. Fortunately, Drackus's head is buried in a book, so he doesn't notice.
I pull away, gently patting his chest, and then I sit up and move to the arm of the chair, distancing myself slightly from the distracting dark user. Though I really enjoy his touch, I still can't stop thinking about Kane.
My phone hasn't stopped ringing since the other night when both men had deal-breaking issues. It's either been Kane or Gage calling me at all times of the day and night. Now that Gage is here, I simply wish it was Kane.
"How about you tell me what prophecy," I murmur softly as Gage's hand comes to rest around my waist, pulling me back onto his lap against my silent protest.
Kane's probably at home with Amy, but Gage is here—for me. He has been since he met me. Perhaps I should just get over Kane despite how much I still want to be with him.
Oh this is so frigging frustrating.
"Very well. I'll start at the beginning. You've heard of Freya and her two daughters—Estella and Dragona, correct?"