Wicked Lovely Page 43

Then, with a bow, they left.

Keenan opened the basket and pulled out another bottle of wine, as well as cheese and strange little fruit. "Our first breakfast."

Definitely not carnival food. Oops, faire food. She giggled. Then she looked up—behind him the carnival was gone. As if they'd never been there, all the faeries had left. It was just the two of them. "Where did they all go?"

Keenan held out the goblet again, filled with the same liquid sunrise. "It's just us here. Later, after you've rested, well talk. Then we can dance every night if you will it. Travel. It'll all be different now."

She didn't even see the invisible faeries that always lingered at the river. They were truly alone. "Can I ask a question?"

"Of course." He held a piece of fruit up to her lips. "Bite."

Aislinn leaned in—almost toppling over as she did—but she didn't bite the strange fruit. Instead she whispered, "Why don't all the other faeries glow like you do?"

Keenan lowered his hand. "All the other what?"

"Faeries." She gestured around them, but it was as empty of faeries as it was of humans. She closed her eyes to try to stop the world from spinning so madly and whispered, "You know, fey things, like the ones dancing with us all night, like you and Donia."

"Fey things?" he murmured. His copper hair glittered in the light that was creeping over the sky.

"Yeah." She laid down on the ground. "Like you."

It sounded like he said, "And soon, like you…" But she wasn't sure. Everything was blurry.

He bent over her where she lay on the ground. His lips brushed hers, tasting like sunshine and sugar. His hair fell onto her face.

It's soft, not like metal at all.

She meant to say stop, to tell him she was dizzy, but before she could speak, everything went dark.


They are not subject to sore Sicknesses, but dwindle and decay at a certain Period…Some say their continual Sadness is because of their pendulous state.

— The Secret Commonwealth by Robert Kirk and Andrew Lang (1893)

Early the next morning, Donia awakened on the floor, Sasha's body between her and the door. No one had brought her a message from Keenan. No guards had knocked on her door.

"Has he forsaken me?" she whispered to Sasha.

The wolf laid his ears back and whined.

"When I actually might welcome his presence, he's not here." She wouldn't weep, though, not for him. She'd done enough of that over the years.

She'd expected him to hear of Agatha's death, to come demanding she accept his help. She couldn't, but it would've been easier—safer—than what she'd have to do now.

"Come, Sasha." She opened the door and motioned Evan to her. At least he's here waiting.

The rowan-man joined her, keeping a respectful distance, standing in the withered grass in front of the porch until Donia said, "Come inside."

She didn't wait to see if he'd follow. The idea of inviting one of Keenan's guards into her home—even Evan, whose presence had been steadfast the past few decades— unsettled her.

Gesturing to the seat farthest from her, she asked, "Has Keenan been told about Agatha?"

"He was out when Skelley arrived at the loft. One of the others went to the faire to find him." Evan cleared his throat, but his stare was bold. "He was preoccupied with the new queen."

She nodded. So it's truly her. Beira would be furious, a force to fear.

It'd been so long since Donia had much to truly fear. Between Keenan and Beira, she was cosseted, safer than most any fey or mortal.

"I'd ask that you allow a few guards closer." Evan dropped to his knees, showing a respect his kind rarely offered any fey other than Keenan. "Let me stay here with you."

"Fine," she murmured, ignoring both his brief look of shock and her irritation at it. I can be reasonable. Then she said the words she'd never said to any of Keenan's guards: "Tell Keenan I need him to come. Now." It didn't take long for Skelley to summon Keenan—not long enough for Donia to prepare for the pain of seeing him in her home. When Evan led Keenan in, she stayed in her rocking chair—curled into herself, arms folded tightly over her chest, feet tucked up beneath her.

Before Evan had closed the door behind him—returning to the guards outside—Keenan was across the room, standing beside her.

Sasha moved closer, pressing his body against her, trying to soothe her. Donia absently petted his head.

She glanced at Keenan and said, "I wasn't sure you'd come."

In a strange mimicry of Sasha's position, Keenan dropped to the floor. "I've waited decades for you to want me around, Don, begged to be in your presence."

"That was before her." She felt foolish for it, but as much as she wanted Aislinn to take up the staff, she was jealous. Aislinn was the one; she'd spend eternity with Keenan.

"Things are different now." Donia tried to keep all of her emotions out of her voice, but she failed.

"I'll always come when you want me. How many times have I told you that?" he whispered, his words carrying that warm breath of summer. "That won't change. Ever."

She reached out, putting her hand over his lips before he could say anything else. A thin layer of frost formed where she touched him, but he didn't complain.

He never does.

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