45 Days Until Love And the Uncertain End
Evester woke in a fright, his heart racing. He rolled over and saw Zeydar watching him in the dark. The soft snores of the others echoed, and Zeydar’s eyes were tracing him. It took a moment for Zeydar to realize that Evester had woken but as soon as he did, their eyes met and held each other. What time was it? How long had they been asleep? Evester wondered if Uly had gotten back from talking with Maverin.
Zeydar then mouthed words and got up. Following, Evester left the room; Uly was nowhere to be seen. The pair made their way to Evester’s room, past Europa’s room. As they passed, Evester saw his sister walking to her room with a glass of water. She glanced to him and said nothing as she opened her door. Evester knew without having to look in that Uly was in there with her, and that she was taking care of him. He had been sober by the time that he’d spoken with Maverin, but Evester also knew that he’d had a terrible headache. Evester wondered what his father had said to Uly. It was not something he was ever supposed to know, he knew that. Yet he wanted to know. Zeydar who shut the door behind them as they entered Evester’s childhood bedroom.
“I heard Maverin.” Zeydar’s first words startled Evester.
“Unlike you, I did not get sick drunk.” Zeydar answered sitting on Evester’s bed. “I followed him to listen in.” To get a better idea of things that were not overtly stated in the gold book, Evester figured.
“I should not tell you what was said. Maverin was very explicit that it cannot be said to you or any Igilistal child for that matter.”
Evester shrugged. He knew that.
“It was about what he’s going to have to face as a person marrying into the Igilistal’s. That was his last time being a mess.” Zeydar said things that Evester already knew. “Igilistal spouses have it difficult. Did you know that your father got death threats?”
The information struck Evester in the chest. “Because he married my mom?”
“Yes.” Zeydar sighed. “By the time he talked to Uly, Uly seemed sober.”
“That is because he was. We made him crash early.” Evester had been the one to make the EverDanger method. Uly had to get to his worst, get sloppy, and then come down from there before talking with Maverin. Uly was never a sloppy drunk, but he had been a mess. “What else?”
“I’m not worried about what he said. I’ve dealt with worse.” Zeydar sighed crossing his arms. “I also have magic.”
Assassination attempts. Evester had known it was a possibility, but he’d never known how much. Evester shifted on his feet before he went to sit next to Zeydar. “Why were you watching me as I slept?”
“Uly and Europa really love each other.” Zeydar avoided the question. “Shawn and May seem to, for some reason.”
“Kim and Heia.”
“Their relationship makes more sense to me than Shawn and May. I swear I think they hate each other at most times.”
Evester laughed, he had to agree at the idea. He saw Zeydar starring at him again, and felt a bit of worry. Since their night together, Zeydar had been too busy to stay at the house. They’d had to focus on other things, and while Evester figured that there was nothing to talk about, he worried if he had been mistaken. Just being near each other, that should have been enough.
“You were clingy.” Zeydar got closer. “All day.”
“You’ve been away.”
“And here I worried you got tired.” Zeydar was teasing him, which meant that there was nothing wrong. Although Evester knew Zeydar well enough to know that there was something on Zeydar’s mind. “Is love enough?”
“What?” Evester asked.
“Is it enough?” Zeydar whispered. “To give up everything and to risk your life? Is it enough to face the wrath of the world?” Was that what Maverin had asked Uly? Was that what was on Zeydar’s mind? “Do you know what Uly said?”
“That he was already an Igilistal. Love does not matter. Duty does.” It seemed like an Uly answer. Zeydar then laughed. “That no. He’d never die for her.”
For a moment Evester wondered if he could picture Uly saying that. He knew that Uly was rational but to that end?
“He’d live for her. Because that was the one thing she needed: his support.” Zeydar grabbed Evester’s face in his hands. “One day I will have nothing that can hurt me, but you.” The words were like a slap. Evester felt himself gasping for air as soon as Zeydar said them. He grabbed Zeydar’s hands in his own and went to speak when Zeydar shook his head. “Don’t you dare do anything stupid.”
Evester was forced to contemplate the words for a few seconds before he knew the answer. It was the only one he could give because it was the only one that Zeydar would accept. He could not say he’d stay out of danger, because it was a lie. Zeydar needed the truth from him. “I can’t promise that.”
“That’s why I love you, I think. I think that’s always been why I’ve loved you.”
There was a long moment before the words fully registered for Evester. How had Zeydar gotten the jump on him to say it? He had been waiting for weeks to say it and instead Zeydar said it first? As Zeydar smiled, Evester knew he’d say something cheeky about the elder being responsible to say it first. “I love you Zeydar Arcadius.”
“Arcadius has never suited me.” Zeydar mocked him. “Perhaps I should try your’s.”
The words made Evester’s heart soar. With quick movements, he pressed Zeydar back and kissed him. Zeydar laughed as Evester whispered words meant to tickle rather than to be heard. Evester let his mind wander off and thought dissipate as he focused on Zeydar. Zeydar would always be the one he focused on.