Guardians of The Demon Slayer(10)

By: Ruby Raine

She was thankful to Mathew the wonder-potion maker, too. They were still speaking, in secret, about their mission to return William's humanity, and the Guardian had concocted a way to keep some of her thoughts to herself—and out of the mind of the vampire who had such easy access to her constant stream. Not that she'd even felt him try to enter her mind. Regardless, she wasn't ready to share her new venture just yet.

It wasn't so much that she had some need to hide it from William, but they had barely spoken more than a few words to each other since he'd returned. And it wasn't something she could just blurt out, without the time to have a proper conversation. And with everything going on, that moment hadn't happened. But she'd learned her lesson about keeping secrets and didn't want this hanging over their heads like a weight threatening to drop. But even if tonight wasn't the right time, it was the right moment to break their silence and say something, other than general niceties and useless small talk.

She could not fault his distance though. He'd returned home to find out about Courtney—something Melinda hadn't told him because it had just been too much on top of what they'd gone through already during his detox.

And what did she say?

What could he say?

They loved each other.

They were each other's deepest wish—one life together—but now what?

Wishes didn't equal reality.

The unknown knotted her insides as she swept to the doorway of the study and watched him moving about. But he stilled as she slid into the room. Not that William hadn't known she was closing in on him. But it was their first real moment alone since he'd returned. He'd sensed she needed the space and time, just like she had with him. But they couldn't put this off forever. Whatever this was. And that was the undying question that lingered heavily in the unsettled air between them.

Melinda decided something then. This would have to be William's choice. He'd need to make his claim on her like she had on him. Yes, she'd fight for him. For his humanity. And even if it wasn't irreversible, she'd fight to be with him however that worked out. But he had to decide he wanted it. That he wanted her. She was aware straight down to her bones that he did, but revealing it during a drug induced detox haze was one thing—revealing and accepting it in real life, well, that was all that mattered most. And he already knew how she felt about him. She'd made it quite clear she was all in.

"How's it going out there?" he asked with a gentle smile.

"No change. Although, you'll be happy to hear that Annie's fitting right in. I like her. I think we're all falling a little in love with her. And she's a huge help too." Melinda left off the silent—no way in hell is she going to ever replace you.

"Annie has that way about her. She puts people at ease. It's as natural as breathing for her. And unusual for our kind." Who at first meeting, most often came across as something to be afraid of. Hunters seeking prey. Both Annie and Jean were like that though. It was addictive to be around and William didn't realize how much he had missed it.

"She definitely thrives on being busy and helping out. And well, we need all the help we can get until this—whatever the heck it is—ends."

"Yes. You are correct in that assessment." William was quite glad Riley's gift had pushed their return to the Isle. "And how's Courtney doing?"

Melinda's nose twitched and she got a gleam in her eye. "Fine. She's really taking to her new self. Although, she seems to be trying to avoid Annie and is extra grumbly when she's around."

William lifted an eyebrow. He hadn't noticed that. But he'd been rather preoccupied and was more concerned with her eating habits.

Courtney had broken down, though, and explained about her coven, and Bree, her dead fiancé, and how they were murdered. She had believed by the Feyk, namely Stricker—Sir Tinkham Sickereaux. But as it turns out, the bastard was on orders from someone else. Possibly someone Courtney's coven had known and trusted. And who might still be hunting her.

They'd all promised to help, of course.

"Anyway, I'm heading back out in a bit to relieve Charlie. Lizzy's first shift, if you haven't heard...." Melinda smarted with an eyeroll, because, like, it was impossible to forget or not know this was about to happen.