Made with Love
Marius had just finished putting the finishing touches on the pot roast he had simmering for dinner when the doorbell rang. He quickly wiped his hands on his apron before removing it and draping it over one of the kitchen chairs.
He opened the door and eyed the two hooded figures. “Can I help you?”
The mysterious visitors lowered their hoods and Marius blinked. After a few seconds he gathered his scattered wits. “Your Majesty, please come in out of the cold.” He stepped back and bowed as he held the door open.
“Thank you, Marius,” the queen said as she stepped inside.
Marius looked up and nodded at her consort. “Brennus.”
Brennus smiled. “Well met, Marius.”
Adelaide walked into the foyer from the front room. When she saw who was standing there her eyes widened. “Oh my.” She dropped into a graceful curtsey.
Queen Aleksandra of the Fae smiled at his charge. “Please, there’s no need to be formal.” She walked forward and took Adelaide’s hands in her own. “I’ve heard so much about you I feel as though we are already friends. Thank you for all you have done for my son.”
Adelaide frowned looking confused. “Son?”
“Darian.” The queen smiled as she said his name.
Adelaide smiled wide. “He was no trouble, not like my boys.”
“You gave him a place to call home when his own was denied him. He speaks of you with warmth and love. I will forever be grateful.”
Adelaide flushed at the praise before looking around. “Where are my manners? Won’t you join us for dinner?”
The queen shook her head. “Maybe next time.” She turned to him. “I have a debt to pay.”
Marius looked from the queen to Brennus and back. “Debt?”
She nodded. “Could you please take me to your mate Bronwyn?”
“Of course, please follow me.” Marius’ mind was racing as he led one of the most important figures in their world upstairs to see his mate.
When they arrived at his quarters he opened the door and invited them inside. His mate Bronwyn had decorated their living space simply. But despite the lack of opulence, it was warm and inviting. Everywhere there were touches of bronze, burnished oranges and golds. Potted and living plants provided a stark contrast in color as varying shades of green gave the room a pulsing hum.
Off to one side in their sitting room, his pale, wan mate sat knitting quietly. She looked up and gasped. “Your Majesty,” she whispered. She went to remove the throw covering her legs but the queen was quicker. She stepped across the room and knelt at his mate’s side.
Bronwyn stared down at her beloved queen. “Your Majesty, please, you can take this seat while I prepare some tea,” she offered looking quite overwhelmed.
The queen shook her head and kept her position. Marius looked to Brennus to see that the queen’s consort was watching on with a soft smile. It was as if the man saw his prestigious mate kneel before others often, which Marius knew was not the case at all.
The queen took Bronwyn’s hand and a soft light began to glow between their clasped fingers. “Thank you for all you’ve done for Darian.” The queen swallowed hard as tears gathered in her eyes. “When he returned home I was able to restore his light, but as I was doing so, I noticed traces of another’s light within him. The tiny beams were warm and filled with motherly love. It was you wasn’t it?” she asked. Slowly Bronwyn nodded and the queen continued. “You’ve been giving him small pieces of your own light. It helped him battle the growing darkness long enough to meet Amelia and gave him the strength to save his own soul.” The glow between them dimmed and when it did Marius gasped.
His mate’s once hallowed cheeks were filled and rosy. She looked younger, healthier and stronger than he had seen her in decades. Tears of joy streamed down his face.
Bronwyn smiled. “I’ve been watching over him since he arrived. I did not know how or why, but I knew he had a long and troubled road ahead. I tried to lighten his burden as much as I could.”
The queen stood and cupped his mate’s cheek in her hand. “Consider yourself family. Anything you need, you have only to ask.”
Bronwyn looked over at him shyly. “I have all I need.”
The queen walked over to where her consort stood, he wrapped an arm around her waist. “I understand exactly what you mean.”
Marius dashed the tears on his cheeks. “Your Majesty, please stay for dinner. I would be honored to serve you.”
The queen looked tempted. “I would love to, except Cord is waiting on us for dinner.” She sighed. “I was so hoping to try one of your cakes.”
Marius flushed with pleasure. “Just let me know what your favorites are and I will send them to you tomorrow.”
The queen brightened. “Anything with cinnamon.” When she beamed up at him he could see the sparkle of the girl she must have been.
Bronwyn chuckled. “Like mother, like son. Cinnamon is a weakness for Darian as well.”
The queen’s tinkling laughter made the room seem brighter. “When he visited last, I swear he ate every one of my favorites dishes. I had to beg Cord for more.”
“I will surprise you with something you won’t have to share,” Marius teased.
“Come along darling, before our squire sends out a search party,” Brennus said.
The queen nodded and held up her hand. On their far wall a portal opened. She looked at them impishly and lifted a finger to her lips. Marius nodded, then the royal couple stepped through and the portal closed behind them.
He quickly made his way across the room and knelt down beside his mate, almost exactly where the queen had just been. “Did you know they could open a portal anywhere?”
Bronwyn gave a lazy one shoulder shrug. “Fae are never surprised at what our queen can do.”
He reached out with trembling fingers. “You look stronger.”
Bronwyn pulled his hand forward and rubbed her cheek against it. “I feel so much better.”
Behind them in the hallway the clock struck on the hour. He felt torn. He wanted to spend time with his recovered mate, but he also had to get dinner served.
Grinning she pushed him until he fell on his butt causing them both to laugh. “Go. I’m not going anywhere. Just bring me a plate later like you always do.”
“I’ll hurry back as quickly as I can,” he promised standing.
“I know.” She smiled up at him.
He leaned down and kissed her gently before hurrying out the room. He knew if he stayed then he wouldn’t be leaving any time soon.
Bronwyn stretched reveling in the way her body felt. It had been decades since she had felt this good. Giving Darian her light had weakened her considerably, but she’d do it again in a heartbeat to keep him safe. Though nothing had been announced, she knew it in her heart that he was their people’s future.
She leaned against the headboard and watched her mate get ready for bed. Marius stripped out of his clothes revealing a body that still made her mouth water. His naturally silver hair gave him a distinguished older appearance that disappeared after the Great War when the older generation was all but wiped out. To her, it made him look powerful. She sighed happily.
He turned and caught her staring. He shook his head chuckling before climbing into bed with her. She scooted down so they could lay side by side.
“I feel so much better,” she said, hoping he’d take the hint.
Marius raised a brow. “Well enough to meet Meryn?”
Bronwyn frowned. “I don’t know.”
“She’s just like you love. She’s not used to being around others, but is very protective of the ones she cares about.”
“Is it true she set Aiden’s car on fire?”
Marius nodded his eyes sparkling. “From what I’ve heard, the boy had it coming.” He chuckled at the memory. “He has no idea how to handle her.”
“You’re taken with her.”
He kissed her nose. “Like I said, she reminds me of you.” His arms pulled her close. “How did you manage to sneak your light to Darian without him knowing?”
“He loves my cinnamon cookies.”
He pulled back and blinked down at her. “What?”
She winked. “They were made with love.”
“I love your cookies too.”
“You know what I love?” she asked as she trailed her hand down his abs.
“What’s that?” he asked breathlessly.
“Our nights together,” she tilted her head back for a kiss.
His eyes darkened wickedly. “Like you said darling, they are made with love.”