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And now for today’s snippet. Please remember that when I post unedited draft work, it’s all subject to change or deletion. Anything you read will very likely contain typos and grammar issues that will be addressed during the editing process. For that reason, please don’t post this in other places. I hope you enjoy!
THE UNSEEN, Chapter Two
Finally, everything was done. Dragos had given away his demesne. It turned out, an old dragon could learn new tricks, do new things. Could decide on taking new adventures.
Rune and his mate Carling left their home in Florida to settle in a spacious apartment in Cuelebre Tower that had been specially fitted with Vampyre safety shutters, and Dragos had to admit that was one thing he never thought he would see happen.
All necessary paperwork was completed, the t’s were crossed, the i’s dotted. The official shit had been vetted by demesne lawyers. As for the unofficial shit…
Well, the Wyr sentinels were well versed in handling any unofficial shit.
They’d had a huge going away bash in the Tower ballroom. The food was fabulous, the liquor ever-flowing, and people gave them presents even though Dragos and Pia had specifically stated in the invitations, no presents, please. And if Dragos’s eyes had glazed over at the excruciating number of Wyr who got all fucking weepy at him, nobody mentioned it. Pia kept a close eye on him and rescued him whenever things became too heartfelt.
The main thing was, everybody survived and had a good time.
Pia got to dance with Quentin, her old friend and former employer. Now Quentin was a sentinel—another thing Dragos had never thought to see—and he was mated to another sentinel, the harpy Aryal, who had the dubious honor of being the most insane female Dragos had ever met.
Aryal tried to needle Graydon into a wrestling match. Graydon had resigned his sentinel position and was moving to Rhyacia with his mate Beluviel. They were new parents also, and Pia and Beluviel were close friends. While Pia did have Eva, Eva didn’t have children, nor was she mated. It would be good for Pia to also have Beluviel in Rhyacia, and Dragos had to admit, it would be good for him to have Graydon.
Annoyed with Aryal’s antics, Graydon kept brushing her off until she threw up her hands and walked away, only to circle around and tackle him from behind. That cleared a space around them quickly.
Startled into laughter, Beluviel dashed away from the pair. Graydon roared curses as he fought to get out of the harpy’s clutches. A betting pool was established within moments; the inhabitants of Cuelebre Tower were well experienced with how to respond to this sort of thing.
As Quentin wandered away from the fight with Pia on his arm, Dragos heard him say to her with a smiling shrug, “She’s my mate, not my problem.”
Dragos and Pia’s oldest son Liam took leave from college to attend the party, and Dragos used the opportunity to study Liam as his son cruised through the crowd, a smiling, easy-going predator.
Now fully as tall and as powerfully built as Dragos, Liam’s handsome features, blond hair, and blue eyes were like catnip to most of the women and several of the men. Liam fended off advances with casual poise, and Dragos smiled to himself as he realized Liam had learned a lot more from college than just schoolwork and magic spells.
He was the golden son, the heir apparent. New York was his for the taking if he wanted it, and New York was speaking its mind loud and clear as it said yes, please. But when it came right down to it, would Liam choose to take over ruling the demesne in New York? Only time would tell how that story played out.
Dragos kept the penthouse at the top of Cuelebre Tower. Maybe, eventually, he would give it to Liam, but that also had yet to be decided. For now, it remained his and Pia’s.
He also kept most of the money. (There was quite a lot of it.) Sorting out the money was the biggest headache out of everything, because Dragos had always treated his finances as fungible and moved funds from his personal and business accounts to the demesne, or back again as needed.
In the end, he kept his favorite business ventures, all of them steady money earners and capable of operating efficiently without his constant hand at the helm, and he resigned from the boards and signed over the stock from others. Nation building in Rhyacia was going to be expensive. He felt no compunction about keeping most of the liquid assets, while leaving the demesne enough in its operating budget to see it to the end of the first calendar year.
With the businesses he signed over and some decent management, the New York Wyr demesne would remain solvent and build back up to affluence within five to seven years. The rents alone from the businesses and restaurants located in Cuelebre Tower would fund the essential functions of the Wyr demesne. They had enough to pay the bills, all administrative, legal and sentinel salaries, and to keep the lights on. They would do just fine.
One night, when Dragos had traveled to New York for business and had left Pia and Niall at home upstate, the sentinels threw him and Graydon another, unofficial bash at Quentin’s bar. This one was a much more private and raucous affair. During it, Aryal and the others gave him a large, oddly shaped present. It stood waist high, and when Drago tore off the wrapping, he uncovered it was a gold sundial.
“Get it?” Aryal nudged his shoulder. “It’s a gold retirement watch! But this one will work in an Other land. Hahaha!”
As Dragos raised his eyebrows, Quentin said, “She’s been waiting weeks to say that.”
Aryal confessed. “Actually, it’s so big it’s gold plated—it’s not solid. But it’s plated with quality gold! We made sure of that when we stole it. Don’t you fucking love it?”
A giant gold watch made with purloined treasure. Dragos laughed. “I do. I really fucking love it.”
“Booyah,” Bayne said, eyes gleaming with a smile. “We thought you might.”
Eventually, close to dawn, that party wound down too. Graydon walked away with a giant bag of cloth diapers and a case of antique scotch. Dragos flew back to upstate New York with the sundial and a smile on his face.
All final tasks had been completed in a reasonable amount of time, and all challenges had been surmounted. While Dragos would never lay claim to understanding women, he had listened to his wife air her issues and he had pleased her well with her gift of toiletries. For someone who knew he was not a very good man, he liked to think he was a good mate and husband. He was a good dragon.
Liam promised to visit them in Rhyacia within the next month. The sentinels swore they rotate in visits for their vacations, and by the eagerness in their expressions, Dragos knew they were speaking the truth. Dragos, Pia, and Niall’s clothes were packed. Earlier that day, Graydon and Bel, along with their baby daughter and Bel’s cadre of dedicated Elven attendants, had already crossed over.
Everything was well in hand. Life moved on, even if not all of it was rosy. Over the weekend, Eva had broken the news that Elizabeth Creedy, one of Liam’s old elementary school teachers, had died in a car crash on Friday night. That saddened Pia deeply as she had liked Miss Creedy, but Dragos barely remembered what the woman looked like.
“She was so young, only in her forties,” Pia said. “And I don’t think she had any family. I remember she once said that the children in her classroom were her family. Liam’s going to be really sad to hear she died. She was so nice to him.”
Liam had also grown at such an accelerated pace he hadn’t stayed in one classroom for very long, so he hadn’t formed lifelong attachments to anybody. Dragos was rather proud that he avoided mentioning that, since he knew he wasn’t always the most tactful of creatures.
“Let’s not interrupt him any further while he’s at school,” he suggested. “He’s had enough disruptions this year. We can always break the news when he comes to visit.”
Pia gave that some thought. “That makes sense, I guess.”
The conversation moved on to other things, and the last hours of their remaining time on Earth flew by, until at last it was their final evening. Dragos looked forward to a good night of sleep and sex, not in that order, enjoying a great, homecooked breakfast in the morning, and crossing over to Rhyacia around midmorning.
Of course, that would be when things slid sideways, as they did every fucking time things went too fucking smoothly in his life.
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