• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 163)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(163) by Anne Bishop
  • She glanced at the statue of the male, then looked away. She couldn’t help the male, so she went over to the other statue and lifted the mug she’d brought with her.

    “I brought you coffee.” She poured the contents on the grass near the fountain. “Daemon’s gone to your cottage in Ebon Rih, like he does every year on the anniversary of your death. He’ll stay for a day or two, remembering you. When he comes home, he’ll sleep in his own bed for a few days while he wrestles with the question of whether having sex with me is being unfaithful to you or if still loving you is somehow being unfaithful to me. I think he’ll always wrestle with that question at this time of year. It’s not easy being the second wife, not when you were the first. I wouldn’t give it up, though.”

    She vanished the mug, then stuffed her hands in the pockets of her coat. “Jaenelle Saetien is a lot like you. I think that helps Daemon. I know it helps me, because watching him deal with her reminds me of you and Uncle Saetan. Hell’s fire, you should have seen him the first time he said no and she tried to negotiate to get parts of that no turned into a yes. I can’t laugh at him when he’s losing ground, because I need him to back me when I make rules, but it is fun to watch him deal with her. And not just fun for me. Beale and Holt are often in prime position to watch our little dramas. She’s not shy the way you were. I blame her uncle Lucivar for that. I think she absorbed some of his Eyrien arrogance while she was in the womb, just by my being around him. She throws herself at the world and is confident the world will catch her. And maybe it always will.”

    A tear suddenly spilled over. Surreal wiped it away. “I know you’re gone and can’t hear me, but I’ll ask anyway. You were Kaeleer’s Heart, and you were Daemon’s heart.Your death left a hole in him, and I don’t know if it will ever heal.”

    “It will.”

    Surreal jolted, then looked toward the stairs. “Tersa.”

    Daemon’s mother joined her and smiled at the statue that wore Jaenelle Angelline’s face. “She knew Daemon’s rise out of the Twisted Kingdom needed to be a slow journey in order for his mind to heal. The same is true of his heart. A slow journey, Surreal. Be patient. It will take time, but the hole inside him is filling—and you’re one reason why it can.”

    Surreal licked her lips and asked the question that had been circling in her mind ever since Nightwind showed up a few months before. “Has Jaenelle Angelline come back as Jaenelle Saetien?”

    Tersa shook her head. “No. Of that I am sure.”

    “But they’re so alike in some ways.”

    “Yearnings can be strange things. What kind of daughter did you yearn for in the long hours of lonely nights?”

    The question made her uneasy, but she answered it. “Someone like the golden-haired child I once knew, without the pain.”

    “Then you have the daughter of your heart. And isn’t she also exactly the kind of daughter Daemon needs in order to heal?”

    Surreal didn’t know how to answer that.

    “You worry without reason,” Tersa said. “One is like the other but is not the other.”

    “How can you be sure?”

    Tersa brushed her fingers along Surreal’s cheek. “Witch told me.”

    Daemon closed the cottage door and pressed his forehead against the wood. Most days the pain was a dull ache in the background of his life, a constant and faithful lover. Most days he barely noticed it while he was busy taking care of his family and the SaDiablo estates, and the Territory of Dhemlan.

    Most days. But not on the anniversary of the day he lost his Queen, his lover, his heart. Then the pain roared back, sharp and cutting. It wasn’t fair to Surreal, but he couldn’t be around her on this day. Couldn’t even be around Jaenelle Saetien, mostly because he didn’t want to explain the tears and the hurting to his little girl.

    Being invited to Jaenelle’s private place had been special, a pocket of time when they could be nothing more than a man and woman in love. He cherished those memories, just as he cherished the memories of the time they took for themselves each Winsol. He tried not to think about them too much during the rest of the year. He’d made a promise to Surreal to be a husband, and he did his best to keep that promise. But on this day, he wandered the acre of land that belonged to the cottage or sat in the front room and let the memories flow—the ones that made him laugh, the ones that made him cry.

    Later in the evening, he ate the food Marian left for him in the cold box. Then he lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. The dream would come—the one where he was dead and had a hole in his chest where his heart had been. It didn’t plague him as often anymore, but it would come tonight.

    Except it didn’t. Instead, he dreamed he was stretched out on the altar in the Misty Place, comfortable and passive, lulled by the steady beat of his heart.

    He opened his eyes and rolled onto his back, bumping against someone else on the altar—except she was propped up on one elbow, watching him out of ancient sapphire eyes.

    “Jaenelle,” he whispered.

    She tapped a cat claw lightly against his chest. “Stubborn, snarly male. But I guess that’s not surprising, since you always were.”

    The steady beat of his heart.

    He looked down. The hole was still there, a gaping wound. But not completely empty anymore. Half a heart now beat in his chest.

    “You taking that much back is progress, ”Witch said. “I’ll keep the rest of it safe until you’re ready to take it back.”

    “I want you to have it.”

    “No, Daemon. I had all of it for a lifetime. Eventually you’ll take the rest of your heart back in order to share it again.” She gave him a long, gentle kiss. “Sleep. I’ll watch over you tonight.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire