She jolted, her eyes widening. “Holy crap. You’re right! Only Cronus or Zeus could kill you… Wait. You sort of killed yourself, and you’re absolute. Wouldn’t that count?”
I picked up her hands. “Apparently not. At least, according to Zeus.”
Josie was still for a moment and then she squeezed my hands. “Did Zeus know this from the beginning? Know that you weren’t going to die, but you’d get…stuck?”
“Yeah,” I growled. “Yeah, he did.”
“What?” she shrieked. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“I wouldn’t kid about something like this.” I brought her hands to my mouth and kissed the tops of her fingers. “You were right, Josie. It had been a test—a test to see if a selfless or selfish act would be committed. It was a test that Zeus himself had failed.”
Never in my life did I ever think I’d say I saw genuine remorse in Zeus, but when he came to me in his temple and told me that he’d chosen wrongly all those thousands of years ago, I heard the raw pain in his voice. If he’d done what I had done, only the gods knew who he’d be today.
And who’d be sitting on the throne beside him.
“I came back as soon as I could.” I brought her hands to my chest. “I’m sorry it took me so long to find myself and to figure it out. I’m so damn—”
“Don’t.” She rose up to her knees. “You do not apologize. You gave your life, thinking that was it, to put an end to the Titans and to give me and our child a safe future. You do not ever apologize. You came back to me. You made it back. What I don’t understand is why no one told me. Zeus could’ve. And if Zeus knew, then my father had to.” Her cheeks flushed with anger. “Of course. He’s the God of prophecy. He knew. Oh my God, I am going to kill him.”
My lips twitched. “Bloodthirsty. Gods, I missed you.”
“He could’ve told me. He could’ve hinted at it. He could’ve given me hope!” Her gaze searched mine. “I was… It felt like I died right there with you, Seth. It felt like—”
“Stop.” Dropping her hands, I grasped her shoulders, I leaned in, resting my forehead against hers. “Don’t go back to that place. I’m here. You’re here, and nothing in this world or beyond was going to stop me from coming back to you.”
She trembled. “I love you. I love you so much, Seth. I love—”
I kissed her and I didn’t stop there. It had been far too long since I’d felt her skin against mine, and dammit, I wasn’t wasting another second.
Josie must’ve been feeling the same thing, because she reached for my pants at the same time I went for her shirt. We froze for half a second, and then Josie tipped back her head and laughed.
My damn breath caught in my throat at the sound. “You first.”
She bit down on her plump lower lip as she lifted her arms. I got a hold of the hem of her shirt and lifted it off. Then I looked my fill, quickly realizing my memories didn’t do her any justice. Those smooth shoulders. Those breasts and her—
Her body…her body had changed.
Now my damn heart stuttered in my chest. Her breasts were fuller, and there was this little bump below her navel.
“Gods…” I stared at her, at the first real signs of our child growing inside her. My vision blurred as I placed my hands on her slightly swollen stomach. “Look at you?” My voice thickened. “I missed this—when it happened. When did it happen?”
She placed her hands on mine and a slight tremor radiated from them. “Kind of feels like I woke up one day with the stomach, but it was slow. I had my first appointment with the OBGYN in New York.”
“Everything is perfect so far.”
Blinking back tears, I bent and kissed her stomach. I hated that I had missed that appointment. I wasn’t going to miss another one.
Her fingers threaded through my hair. She guided my mouth back to hers, and as she kissed me she went for my pants, tugging them down my hips. When they got hung up on my knees, I willed them off.
Josie’s laugh was like basking in the sun.
A heartbeat later, I was thrusting inside her. There’d be time to take it slow, to get reacquainted with every inch of her body, but not now. Neither of us could wait. Urging me on, she wrapped her legs around my hips.
We met each other, thrust for thrust. The rhythm increased until we were slick with sweat. Her hands were everywhere—in my hair, trailing down my back, and gripping my ass. And my mouth was everywhere—trailing kisses down her throat, capturing her taut nipple as my hands cradled her hips, and holding her still as I ground against her.
Lost in the blinding pleasure, I looked down when I lifted up far enough that I could see where we were joined together. The sight of my dick moving in and out of her was erotic and intimate. Higher and higher I went until she threw her head back. Spasms blew through her, rocking through me. Her gasping moans quickly escalated, and I quickly followed, my hips pumping furiously. It was like the never-ending orgasm. Quite some time passed before my movements ceased and I was motionless above her, my heart pounding.
She dragged her palms across my cheeks, catching my hair and tugging it back. “I really missed this.”
Easing out of her, I laughed as I shifted my weight onto my arms. “Not as much as me.”
Josie smiled up at me as she played with the edges of my hair. “I don’t want to close my eyes.”
“Me neither.” I shifted onto my side and brought her with me, lining up our faces. I touched her cheek. “There’s something I need to do. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while now and then. For a while, when I was stuck in that nothingness, I thought I missed my chance. That I wasted so much time. I’m not wasting another second.”
“What?” she asked, placing her finger on my lower lip.
My chest expanded. “I want to get married. Not six months from now. Not a week from now. I want to get married as soon as we can,” I told her, and I thought she might’ve stopped breathing. “I know this isn’t the most romantic of proposals, but will you marry—”
“Yes.” Josie shot forward, knocking me flat on my back as she scrambled on top of me. “Yes!”
“It’s beautiful,” I whispered, awed by my reflection. My gaze found Erin’s in the mirror.
She looked like she was about to cry. “It really is.”
Alex stood beside Erin, her grin impish. “There are so many buttons. How much do you want to bet Seth just gets impatient and rips that dress off?”
Heat blossomed in my cheeks and I ducked my chin, laughing. Seth wouldn’t rip this dress off if he got impatient. He’d will it off with his mind, because he was special like that.
“I just hope I don’t see his bare ass again,” Erin quipped. “Not that I’m complaining about his ass. It is a nice ass, but that was awkward.”
Alex turned to Erin, expression expectant. “Now how did you see his ass?”
My gaze centered in on my reflection as Erin explained how she’d learned Seth had returned from, well, being sort of dead. It had been the following morning, and since Seth and I had stayed up late that night just talking, we’d slept in. Concerned that I hadn’t gotten up yet, Erin had burst into the bedroom and got an eyeful of Seth’s bare behind.
That was an awkward welcome back.
Especially since Erin had been so shocked by Seth being there, she sort of just stood there gaping while Seth got up to find the shirt I’d been wearing.
Other than that, the last couple of days had felt like the best kind of dream. I got to hear Seth’s voice again, feel his touch and drown in his kisses. We got to play our name game, boy or girl, each night, before we fell asleep. Seth had been there when we opened his childhood bedroom door and had the room cleaned and aired out.
Seth was beside me, once more.
Basil and Karina hadn’t seemed all that surprised by Seth’s return. It made me think of how they’d given off the impression of waiting for him.
Maybe they knew.