It was hard to think of those entombed furies as Erin’s sisters, because of what they had done to Colin. Erin was nothing like them.
The last time Erin had swung by the campus, Marcus had let her know that he’d heard back from one of his contacts and had gotten the profile of the pures who’d be likely involved in the crimes against the halfs. Several interviews had gone down, but there hadn’t been any breakthroughs.
“This is good news, though.” I ran my finger along the rim of the glass. “At least it seems safe for the students there.”
“It does, but…” Erin sighed when I glanced over at her. “I don’t know. I feel like we’re missing something, and I’m not taking about your friend’s body, either.”
I shifted my gaze from her. Every square inch of that campus had been searched for Colin’s body and nothing had been found. I feared what happened to him was going to be one of those mysteries that were never solved.
“Anyway,” Erin said, nudging me with her arm. “Cora and Gable are a thing now.”
“Really? That’s good.”
Come to think of it, I wasn’t entirely surprised. Gable was always staring at her when they were around each other. “How’s Erik doing?”
Erin rolled her eyes. “Good, I guess? I can’t stand his arrogant ass longer than five minutes at a time to really know how he’s doing, but the three of them seem to be fitting in at the University.”
I arched my brow at her, thinking her reaction to Erik was a little strong. I was happy to hear that they were doing well there. Even though there was no threat to them, they needed to learn about their heritage and what abilities they did have.
“Alex and Aiden’s time is almost up,” she continued. “They’re having a going-away party and they really, really want to see you before they go.”
I nodded, unsure of how to answer. Talking about visiting everyone was about as fun as talking about my father, who I hadn’t seen since he brought me here.
Erin was quiet for a long moment. “Everyone misses you.”
Uncomfortable with where this conversation was going, I looked away. “I miss them too.”
“Yes.” And I did miss everyone.
“Then why haven’t you’ve gone to see them? Or had me bring them over here again?”
I opened my mouth, but anything I was about to say died on the tip of my tongue. Erin knew why. The last time I’d seen Alex and Aiden, they’d been here, along with Luke and Deacon, and they wanted to talk about a funeral for Seth.
We’d had one for Colin even though there’d been no body, about two weeks after the Titans were entombed. Then about a week later, Alex had broached the topic of doing one for Seth.
“I know it’s not something any of us wants to think about,” Aiden had said. “But it will help give closure. Not just to you, but to everyone else.”
I’d shut down.
“They’re not going to push the whole funeral thing.” The fact she knew what I was thinking about was evidence of how well she knew me. “You know that, right?”
“I know.” Picking up my juice, I took a long drink. It was time to be honest. “I just feel bad.”
Her dark brows knitted together. “For what?”
“Being selfish, for starters.” I dropped my elbow onto the island and planted my forehead into my palm. “I know they need to say goodbye to him, and a funeral is closure. They need it, and I’m holding them back.”
Which was proof that I hadn’t entirely accepted that Seth was gone.
“You’re not holding anyone back. Having a funeral isn’t necessary,” Erin argued.
“I know that, but doesn’t Seth deserve that? The remembrance? The recognition?”
“What do you think Seth would’ve wanted?”
“Not a funeral.” I shoved my fingers through my hair as I squeezed my eyes shut and coughed out a harsh laugh. “He’d rather have people have a massive fight in his honor.”
Erin snorted. “Sounds like him.”
“I just don’t know.” I dragged my hand down my face. Guilt and unease churned inside me. Thank God I still hadn’t gotten any of the typical pregnancy symptoms other than feeling tired. I was already causing my stomach to be upset enough without hurling every morning. “I just…I miss him.”
Erin leaned into me, resting her chin on my shoulder. “It’s okay to miss him. You’re going to for a long time.”
The backs of my eyes burned. “I don’t want to feel like this forever.”
“You won’t.” Throwing an arm around my shoulders, she squeezed me. “I promise.”
I smiled at her, but I wasn’t sure it would ever change. Maybe I really need to let go. To move on. And maybe…just maybe doing something like the funeral was the right thing to do.
At this point, I was willing to try anything, because I needed to get better before this child made its entrance. I had to. Because I didn’t want to repeat history. I didn’t want to become my mom, emotionally and mentally absent.
I had to get it together.
Later that night, after a rather ridiculously long bath where I might’ve dosed off, I checked myself out in the standing mirror tucked into the corner of the massive bathroom.
I was starting to show.
The corners of my lips tipped up as I twisted to the side. My stomach had never been flat and it sure as hell wasn’t now. There was a slight bump, like a food baby, but that wasn’t what it was even though I ate more wings than any one person should ever consume.
Splaying my hands across my belly, I exhaled roughly as the image of Seth formed in my head before I could stop it. I could almost see him in the mirror, standing behind me, his hands where mine were. He’d kiss my cheek, tell me I was beautiful, and then kiss my stomach before showing me just how beautiful he thought I was.
I turned from the mirror and grabbed the shirt off the sink. It was one of Seth’s. Just a plain white shirt. When I slipped it on, it reached my thighs and wasn’t the most attractive sleepwear, but it was Seth’s.
It wasn’t that late, but I climbed into bed anyway. Throwing the covers over my legs, I rolled onto my side and watched the ocean breeze lift the curtains. My mind wandered, and when it started to linger on the conversations with Erin and Basil, I switched gears.
I knew exactly which room I wanted to decorate. Seth’s childhood room. Right now, it was dark and rarely visited, but I thought using that room would breathe new life into it. Erase the years of loneliness that clung to the walls. I thought Seth would approve of the choice.
When I had my next appointment with the OBGYN, I hoped I might be able to learn if I was having a boy or girl. My lower lip trembled as I thought about the game Seth and I used to play. I closed my eyes. I still played it. Every night since the last time.
My voice was thick as I said, “Boy or girl?”
A jolt ran through my entire body in response to the deep voice, and my heart cracked wide open because it was a voice I’d never hear again—a voice I’d give almost anything to hear again.
Which meant I was now hearing things. Great. That was all I needed.
The bed suddenly shifted. My eyes flew open…and the world stopped moving.
Even my heart seemed to have ceased beating for a full ten seconds. Then it picked back up in rapid succession. I couldn’t catch my breath, couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
He sat beside me, head lowered but the features painfully unmistakable. Perfect. Beautiful. Loved. Golden-colored hair brushed his shoulders. The curve of his jaw was hard and firm. Cheekbones I’d touched and kissed in what seemed like a different life were the same.
Light exploded inside me. A rush of emotions pulsed through me, stunning me into silence and immobility. Happiness, disbelief, love, fear, and confusion all warred to take center stage.
It was him.
Or I was also having visual hallucinations now.
That was possible.
But he looked real.
I inhaled sharply, rising up on my elbow as I caught the scent of lush spice and the crisp smell of fall.