Wicked Lovely Page 78

The snow melted, steamed away like vapor, as they touched.

"Shh," she covered his lips with hers, unable to agree to his foolish words.

Aislinn stepped carefully over the icy ground. The guards she'd had follow them were waiting alongside Seth. They were still unfamiliar faces, on loan from Donia for the winter months while the summer fey were trapped inside.

"No one disturbs them." She let her gaze drift over the guards, looking at each individually.

They waited, as quiet as winter nights.

She smiled as she added, "For any reason. If there's any problem, call me."

Aislinn nodded and held out a hand to Seth. "Come on. Let's go introduce you to Grams. If she can accept this" — she gestured around them at the faeries and at herself—"she can accept you."

He quirked his eyebrow. "You sure? Niall said I could bunk there."

"Trust me." She grabbed his hand.

He looked at his ripped jeans and battered jacket. "Maybe we could stop by the loft at least. I could change…"

"No." Aislinn linked her fingers with his. "I showed her the other college apps you picked up for us. She thought we could go over them."

His eyes lit up, and he pulled her closer. "I like the philo program at State best. They have a good poli-sci program for you too."

She laughed. "We can relocate if we want. Keenan and Grams are both petitioning for that."

Behind and in front of them, the winter guards spread out. None of the summer fey could come out in the blowing white drifts. Only the winter fey and dark fey played in the still night, solemn even in their revelry as she passed them—though more than a few snowballs sizzled into steam as the less easily intimidated fey saw her.

Even after almost three months, they weren't any less terrifying, not really, but Aislinn felt safe for the first time in her life. It's not anywhere near perfect, but it can be.

Using Seth's hand for leverage, she pulled him closer. "Let's go home."

They walked through the snowy streets, her skin glowing enough to keep them both warm. The rest—her fears, the court's demands, Keenan's worries—it would all wait. When the Summer Queen rejoiced, her fey would too.

And so she rejoiced, letting that feeling spread out to her fey, feeling it echo back from Keenan, seeing it reflected in Seth's eyes.

It's not perfect, but it will be.

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