As they settled in the very back and looked around at the assembled, it was clear that the other vampires—and there were a good hundred at least—were also feeling strange. But whatever. When you could spend a night out with the one you love, who cared where you were?
“You know, I hate to move out tomorrow.” Ruhn looked up at the exposed rafters above. “I love that farmhouse.”
“Me, too.” Saxton thumbed the inside of his love’s wrist. “It feels like home.”
“It is home.”
Fritz had cleaned up the horrible remnants of the attack, an unexpected kindness that had left Saxton in tears when he had braced himself to go back there and do the job himself. But no. All was in order, the furniture righted and fixed as need be, the scuffs out of the floor, the paint matched and retouched where it had to be.
The blood washed away.
And there had been another reason Saxton had been determined to take care of the gruesome deed: He had been concerned that Minnie would come back unexpectedly and see the violence that had happened in her and Rhysland’s beloved home.
But as always, Saxton’s family—his true family, not the one he had been born into—had taken care of everything.
“Did we ever meet Minnie’s grandson?” Ruhn asked. “What was his name?”
“Oskar. That’s what the invitation said—and he’s marrying Novo’s sister. Do you know Novo? The trainee?”
“Oh, yes. She works out. Proper. She is very strong, not just for a female, but for anybody—”
Saxton wrenched around and got to his feet. “Minnie!” He threw his arms around the older female. “But you’re the grandmother of the groom, what are you doing in the congregation? Or…wait, is that the custom? I’m so confused.”
Minnie was dressed in a beautiful pale pink lace gown, her white hair all done up, her makeup on. And she was smiling like she had a secret.
“I just wanted to say hello to you both before things get started.”
“You look so well,” Ruhn said as he in turn hugged the female. “So well indeed.”
“How is my house?” she asked as she slid into the bench—pew, rather—with them. “Is it in tip-top shape?”
“It is.” Ruhn bowed and lowered himself back down. “I did the final repair on the furnace last night.”
“And we’re very confident that you will be safe there.” Saxton could not meet the female’s eyes—and not because he was worried about her. It was more because he was very aware of what had transpired between V, Qhuinn and Blay, and Mr. Romanski. “We have had very productive…discussions…with the developer. He has decided he has no further interest in your property.”
Actually, the bastard had decided to leave New York State entirely. Go figure.
“Well, that’s good”—Minnie clapped her hands together—“because I’ve decided to sell the property to someone else.”
A spike went through Saxton’s chest. “Oh. Indeed. Isn’t that marvelous news? And we were going to suggest that we move out tomorrow night anyway so that—”
“I want the two of you to buy it from me.”
Saxton was aware of freezing solid. Then he glanced at Ruhn. “I’m sorry—what did you say?”
Minnie reached forward and took both their hands. As she squeezed them, her eyes became glossy.
“That house was built by love…and needs to be lived in by two people who are in love. I want you to have it. We can settle on a fair price, and I’ll continue living with my granddaughter. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, and I have met some wonderful new people in her building—vampires and a couple of humans.”
“But what about your grandson and his shellan. Wouldn’t you rather they take it on, perhaps?”
“They’re on their own,” Minnie said dryly. “She hates the country, for one—and she made sure she told me this when I invited them to dinner so I could get to know her better. And for another, and this makes me sad to say, I’m not sure that love is what is tying them together. My grandson…he’s a different sort, I’m afraid, and so is she. But it’s not my life, and I will support them as best I can.” She squeezed their hands again. “So please say you’ll do it. It would bring me such joy to know that you two are taking care of my home.”
Saxton looked at Ruhn again.
Okaaaaaaaaaaaay, so that beaming smile was the answer, wasn’t it.
“One condition,” Saxton said. “Sunday night Last Meal every week together—and you bring your granddaughter when and if she wants to come.”
“Deal,” Minnie said as she hugged them both at the same time. “I only wish Rhysland had met you both. He would have loved you.”
After the female left, Saxton just sat there on the bench—pew, for godsakes, pew—and stared straight ahead at the altar thing with its cross and its depiction of a robed male with a beard and a beautiful face looking upon the assembly with compassion. There were males lined up to the right, and that suggested things were about to get started. He hoped.
“I think we just got our dream home,” he heard himself say.
“We did! We did!”
As Ruhn laughed like a little kid, Saxton gave his love a kiss—and he was just pulling back when two people slid in beside them.
“Hey,” the female said. “Can we sit with you? I’m Novo, from the training center—”
“Of course!” Saxton invited as he leaned around her and smiled at Peyton. “We would love the company—”
“Great, but we need to be on the other side, by the wall. Not on the aisle.”
“Oh…uh, okay,” Saxton said as he got up to let them pass. “But aren’t you the sister of the whatever they call it? Bride? Aren’t you in the wedding…mating, whatever this is?”
“I got kicked out, thank God.” She greeted Ruhn and then made Peyton shuffle by her and settle in right by the stained glass window. “Long story. How are you?”
“We just bought a house!” Ruhn exclaimed.
“Congratulations,” Peyton said with a high five. “That’s awesome. Where’s it located?”
“You’ll never believe who it belongs to…”
The bunch of them chatted until an organ began to play and then they settled in with the rest of the assembly. Right before things really started, Saxton took Ruhn’s hand and the male glanced over at him with love—and Saxton was aware of the other couple sharing a kiss and lingering stare.
And then Novo was leaning over. “Listen,” she whispered. “Can you two help me with something?”
“Name it,” Saxton said. “And it is done.”
Peyton rolled his eyes. “I just want to hit the groom. Once. Is that too much to ask?”
Saxton popped his brows. “Is that a human tradition for this type of ceremony?”
“Why, yes,” the male said. “As a matter of fact it is—”
Novo slapped her palm over his mouth. “No. It most certainly is not. And no matter how I might have felt about my sister in the past, I don’t want her special night ruined, okay?”
Peyton mumbled a little longer. And when she dropped her hand, he muttered, “First of all, I volunteered to do it after the pictures—and if it’s realllllly important to you, I could catch him in the gut and not the face. I’m willing to work with you.”
Novo started to laugh. “I love you.”
“I know you do.” The male kissed her. “And I love you right back.”
“Enough so you don’t hit him. How sweet of you. I’m touched.”
Peyton’s exhale was one for the history books. “Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.”
Saxton looked back and forth between the two of them. “Why do I feel like there is more to this story?”
Ruhn cut in. “Shh! They’re coming down the aisle.”
Saxton let it drop and relaxed as best he could in the hard seat, leaning against his male’s shoulder. As the music got louder, and a bunch of females in pink dresses with bows on their butts walked by, he just shrugged.