“Just kidding? You put us through hell and you’re only response is ‘just kidding’?” I’m so mad I could turn him into a toad. Or use a spell that would drag him outside and toss him in the ocean.
Kegan is sitting at the kitchen counter looking smug. “It was my idea to surprise you and Dagda agreed to it,” he says, finding way too much humor in the situation.
“Now I know who to kill first,” Kallen growls. He’s standing behind me with his hands on my shoulders. I’m not sure if he’s prepared to hold me back if I get too mad, or prepared to encourage me to do what I will to the green eyed, black haired Fairy that could be his twin.
“Last night, I fought Dragons who were threatening my family and I wasn’t nearly as mad as I am now. How could you let us believe Kallen was married to Raziel for one minute more than necessary?”
“Well, it would hardly be a surprise party if there was no surprise.” His logic may be sound, but his life is still very much in danger. He has had all day to tell us as we frantically searched old texts, but he waited until the first guest arrived to tell us the news. I suppose he figured we wouldn’t kill him in front of other Fairies. I’m still considering it.
Tabitha walks into the kitchen and smacks Kegan in the back of the head. “Ow!”
“That is what you get for lying to your grandmother and these two,” she says, pouring herself a cup of tea from the pot on the stove.
“Yes, Kegan,” Isla drawls as she places a full cup of coffee into the sink, she has been remarkably quiet until now. “Please listen to the Fairy who has just set such a fine example of honesty and trust.” The tension quotient in the room has now quadrupled.
Tabitha clacks the spoon she was using to stir her tea on the counter. “If you would have done something sooner, I would not have had to go to such extremes,” she says to Isla, not a single trace of apology in her words.
Isla’s response is to leave the room. On the way out, she says over her shoulder, “Kallen, Xandra, we need to make the best of this unwelcome situation.” The trail of ice her words leave behind could keep the entire population of New York City cool for many summers to come.
“Stubborn old goat,” Tabitha mumbles under her breath.
“You did almost start a war between this realm and the Dragon realm,” I say after grabbing a glass from a cupboard and pouring some freshly squeezed orange juice. I’m not ready to face the party guests yet. I take a big swig and then say, “Not to mention almost getting us all killed.” I’m trying hard not to think about what I had to do to ensure that we survived.
On the defense now, Tabitha picks her spoon back up and points it at me. “It was a fight worth taking on and it all worked out for the best. I will not apologize for that.”
I can’t help but laugh. “You’re starting to sound like me.” I lean back against the counter and take another sip of my orange juice. Tabitha’s cheeks are getting pinker by the second. “Why didn’t you just tell me what was going on? You know I’m a sucker for helping the underdogs.”
“What is an underdog?” Kegan asks.
I narrow my eyes at him. I’m not sure if he’s teasing me or not. My expressions are often new to the Fairies. “The little guy. The one being taken advantage of. What do you guys call them? Anyway, in this case, the Goblins were the underdogs.”
Tabitha sighs. “I was forbidden to discuss it with you.”
Now my cheeks are getting red. “Forbidden? By whom?” As if I don’t know the answer to that.
Realizing she just opened a can of worms she shouldn’t have, Tabitha sets her cup down on the counter. “There is a party out there in your honor. You should not be holed up in the kitchen. Go on now. Scoot.”
The tension quotient is not the only one to rise now. My anger has shot up as well. “Is he here?” I ask.
“Xandra,” Kallen says, a warning in his voice. “This is not the time.” He comes over and puts his hands on my shoulders again. “There is a room full of people out there who are going to be watching your every move for some sign that you cannot control your magic. Please do not give them an excuse to push the issue.”
I know he’s right. Ever since the whole Xenia incident, the Fairies have tolerated my presence, but they don’t trust me yet. There are a lot of them who think Dagda’s a fool for keeping someone around who is more powerful than he is, even if I am his daughter.
I’m still pissed, though. I take several deep breaths and the worried look on Kallen’s face lessens with each one. “Fine, I’ll talk to him after the party. I’ll play nice until then.”
A smile curves his beautiful lips upwards. “Thank you.”
I look down at my jeans and t-shirt. “I’m not really dressed for a party.”
Instantly, my clothes change. I am in a skin-tight, long black dress that clings to every curve I have. A slit up one leg falls open and a risqué amount of my thigh is exposed. The neck line dips low, exposing quite a bit of cleavage and the back is open to my waist. On my feet are silver sandals with tiny straps and four inch heels. My hair is slicked back in a bun at the nape of my neck.
Kegan lets out a low whistle. He stops when his stool swings out from under him. Kallen’s eyes never leave mine as his cousin tumbles to the floor. “Absolutely beautiful,” he says in a husky voice that makes me want to teleport us back to our bedroom.
“You are a jackass,” Kegan grumbles. He stands up and puts his stool to rights.
Ignoring him, Kallen changes his own clothes now and he’s wearing a black suit with a white shirt and black tie. It amazes me how the fashions here are so similar to back home. I’ve been told there are Fairies called ‘watchers’, who have the ability to see through ‘windows’ into the Cowen realm. They report back current trends there and some of them are adopted here.
“Are you sure this dress is appropriate?” I ask, spinning slowly so he can see me from every angle.
“You will be the envy of every female in the room,” Alita says from the doorway. She is dressed a bit more conservatively in a little black dress that doesn’t show too much of her long legs and has very little cleavage. She walks to Kegan and gives him a kiss on the cheek. “I am surprised to find you conscious and breathing after what you did,” she teases.
I respond before he does, “Thank you for the compliment and he’s still on borrowed time.”
Alita laughs. “Please go easy on him; we are planning our hand-fasting.”
“For you, I won’t kill him. But, I will get even,” I warn and Kegan doesn’t look so smug anymore.
“I have already started a list,” Kallen says with a grin. Now Kegan really looks worried.
“It is difficult to greet your guests from in here,” Dagda says dryly from the doorway. Taking me in, he says, “You are stunning.”
“Thank you,” I say through gritted teeth. “After the party, you and I need to have a talk about forbidding people from telling me things.” Okay, I’m having trouble playing nice.
If I didn’t know better, I would think he has no idea what I’m talking about. “About the Dragons,” I add, trying to jog his memory.
“You spend a great deal of time angry with me, mostly with good reason,” he admits. “I am afraid in this case, I am at a complete loss. I have not forbidden anyone to speak to you regarding any subject.”
Is he telling the truth? If he is, that leaves only one other person with enough influence to forbid Tabitha from speaking about something. It must have been Isla. Why in the world would she have done that? Looking up at Kallen, he’s just as dumbfounded as I am.
A thought trickles into my mind. Perhaps it had nothing to do with Goblins or Dragons. Maybe it has more to do with the Fairy who spent years studying them. The one who came back to this realm with us and who is still very much in love with her. Now I’m torn between being angry and understanding her reluctance to have me go charging into that realm. I sigh. I guess I’ll ponder that more later. “Okay, sorry.”
Kallen holds his arm out for me. The look of relief on his face that I’m not yet again attacking Dagda makes me feel a little guilty as we walk by him. Yeah, the guy may have wanted to kill me at one point, but I seriously doubt now that he ever could have gone through with it. He was angry, but he’s not the monster I once believed him to be. I’m not sure when that epiphany hit me, but I know it’s true. Holding tightly to Kallen’s arm I straighten my shoulders. Time to face the crowd.