Audrey, Sage, and Jin are part of my Dragons Next Door setting; its landing page is here.
“The centaur next door is foaling.” Sage came home late at night, his sleeves rolled up to his shoulders. “And the pixies in the mailbox could use some help… oh. Oh, Audrey, blessings from the bottom of the world, what…”
That had not been the reaction I’d been expecting, but I would take it. “It appears…” My voice was a little more shaky than I’d thought. I coughed, sipped my soothing infusion one-handed, and tried again. “It appears it’s going around. Kidding season, perhaps?”
“Kidding…” I had never, never in our years, heard Sage’s voice do that, that thing where it squeaked at the end. Never seen his composure shaken. “Audrey, did you do this on your own?”
I lifted up the tiny baby so he could see own firstborn. “Nonsense, Sage, you had something to do with it.” He was so distraught, I had to throw him a bone. “Mistress Gnomen served as midwife.”
“I was going to…”
“Plans change, my love. It’s all right.” Everything was all right. We had each other, and we had our son.
“Plans change, my love. It’s all right.” I lit the candle in the warmer and tried not to glance out the window.
“It’s his birthday.” Sage was pacing. My beloved was not very often distressed, but when he was, it was a sight to be seen. I was, truth be told, a little surprised that there weren’t sparks coming from his fingers. “He’s late.”
“He’s our son, Sage. Something probably came up.”
Sage’s cheeks darkened. No, that was not what I’d wanted. “Like his last birthday?”
“Sage, darling.” What to say to that? Yes, like his last birthday. Like the day Jin was born and many of the birth-days in between. But that would not help matters, when Sage was waiting impatiently to gift his firstborn with his adulthood, and that firstborn had, in the time while we were busy, gone and taken it on his own.
Sage sighed. “I know. But it’s his eighteenth birthday. And you made his favorite meal.”
“Sorry I’m late.” The door slammed. When you had teenaged boys, the door often slammed. “We got stuck in the middle of a pixie debate, and you know how those are. Oh, Mom, Dad… this is Bianna.”
A sip of a soothing infusion calmed me; by the time Jin and Bianna made it into the dining room, I was smiling and ready. Our son was home; everything was all right.
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