Swallowing hard, I nodded. He was right. I couldn’t dwell on all that happened, but I would remember the faces of those frightened Luxen. I wouldn’t forget Kent.
Or even my mom.
I would be a part of that justice if it was the last thing I did.
“That’s not the only thing Daemon needed to talk about,” Luc added as he took my hand, walking us back to the house. “He said some supplies have been coming up missing. Food. Med stuff. Other random things. He didn’t know how long it’s been going on, but I’m under the impression that it’s been a while.”
An image of Nate formed in my mind.
“Why anyone would need to steal is beyond me. Needs are met here,” he continued. “Unless canned goods and jars of green beans are growing legs and making a run for the wall, someone is taking stuff.”
“Green beans.” I wrinkled my nose. “Ugh.”
He grinned down at me as we walked into the kitchen. “What if we only had green beans to eat?”
I thought about that. “I’d eat them and complain the entire time.”
“I can respect your honesty.”
“I should probably stop eating everything in sight, then,” I said as Luc turned on one of the lanterns. “I don’t want to add to any problems here.”
“If we need more food, I’ll get us food. It will be like caveman days. I’ll hunt and gather while you…” Luc trailed off.
I arched a brow, waiting. “I am dying with anticipation to discover which extremely sexist example you’re going to give. Tend the home? Cook the previous night’s kill? Wait patiently for my man to return?”
“I was going to say while you’ll be right there beside me.”
A downright boyish grin appeared, and it was almost shocking how adorable it was, and then he laughed.
I liked his laugh; it made me want to grin and snuggle close, so I did just that. Well, I did a less graceful version of snuggling. My face plopped against his chest. Surprise flickered through me at how easy it was to be like this with him, to be affectionate and close. I didn’t think I’d ever get used to how easy it had become in what was such a short, tumultuous period of time.
But was it really a short time?
Our history, remembered or not, spanned years.
Turning my head, I rubbed my cheek against his shirt, welcoming the heat beneath the thin cotton. It was time to tell him what else had happened. I lifted my head. “Something happened today.”
“Tell me all about it.” Placing his hands on my hips, he lifted me up so I was sitting on the kitchen island.
“And I think it might have to do with the missing food and supplies Daemon was telling you about, but you have to promise me that you’re not going to say anything to him or Cekiah or anyone.”
My brows lifted. “You’re just going to agree that easily?”
A slight frown appeared as he braced his hands on either side of my legs and leaned in. “I live life operating on a need-to-know basis. You know that, but besides that, we’re cheese and bread, Peaches. I have your back. You have mine. You tell me not to say anything, I don’t say anything, because I know you have a good reason for asking that.”
My heart squeezed as I blurted out, “I love you. I hope you know that. I love you so much.”
His features softened. “I know that. I’ve always known that,” he whispered, dropping a kiss on my forehead. “Tell me what happened.”
Pushing past the knot in my throat, I told him about finding Nate helping himself to some of the food we had in the pantry, and what little information I could glean from the kid.
“Damn.” Luc had moved away from the island, running his hand through the messy, bronze waves. “How old do you think he was?”
“I don’t know. I’m terrible at judging ages, but I would think he’s probably around thirteen, give or take a year? He looked like he’d been wearing the same clothes for weeks if not months.”
“And there’s more?”
I nodded. “I don’t know how many or where they are in the city, but if the rest are in the same condition, they have to be close to starving, Luc. And he was terrified of the Luxen. I can understand it. At least to some extent, but it’s not like he’s had access to the news to be fed more BS about the Luxen.”
“God only knows what he saw during the invasion and afterward, and he’s young. Hell, that kind of stuff traumatizes adults and creates the kind of fear that’s not easy to get over.” Crossing his arms, he turned to the dark sky beyond the kitchen window. “If I went to Cekiah with this, she’d launch a party immediately to find these kids and bring them in.”