Home > Eden (Providence #3)(13)

Eden (Providence #3)(13)
Author: Jamie McGuire

The fairy tale was over.

Once we were in U.S. airspace, I immediately dialed Beth to see what the situation was at Titan. Sasha worked to make life difficult for everyone, and Grant was more than ready for me to return so he could leave for his own vacation. Just a few weeks of school left, and then summer hours would be enforced.

Ryan was stil recovering in the hospital. Beth noted that Claire never left him alone for a moment. Her comment made me think about the times I visited Ryan in the hospital after he was attacked, and I wondered if he had taught her the Logo game. I couldn’t imagine Claire sitting beside his bed giggling and being sil y. She was more likely to pout in the corner, trying to ignore his vies for attention and incessant questions. I hoped that I was wrong.

The pilot announced on the overhead speaker that we would make out descent soon. Jared tightened my seat belt and kissed the tender skin in front of my ear, whispering that it would be okay. I didn’t feel particularly nervous about the landing, but I assumed he meant life in Providence. With everything that had happened in Little Corn, it was easy to get lost in that other world, and pretend real life in Rhode Island was just a bad dream.

But the bad dream was real, and we were about to live it.

Descending the stairs of the jet, and then walking across the tarmac to the waiting car was eerily similar. The ground was wet from a late-spring thunderstorm; the air was so thick it seemed palpable. Samuel stood a hundred yards away, staying in the background, but all owing us to see him.

Jared already knew he was there, so I knew his presence was for me. This time, though, Jared didn’t go to him. He walked with me to the car, and nodded to our driver, Robert, as he held the door.

My cel phone buzzed and I answered. Grant wasted no time updating my schedule, hinting that I should come in right away. An important meeting was scheduled during one of my classes the next day, and he wanted to go over some key points with me to compensate for my absence.

I hung up the phone and sighed. “Maybe I should—”

“You’re already looking forward to several days of makeup work and tests, and don’t forget Finals coming up soon. Grant can handle it.”

I nodded. “You’re right. I’ll meet with him this evening. He has an hour, and then I’ll hit the books.”

Jared shook his head.

“What? What did I say?”

“You. Agreeing with me without a single argument. It’s something I’ll have to get used to.”

I pressed my lips together in a hard line, trying not to smile. I must have been a true nuisance to him. I owed him a nice, long vacation from my stubbornness.

“I can’t believe I’ve been so awful to you. I’m sorry.”

Jared took my hand in his, and turned to face me. “You have not been awful. You’ve had an incredible amount to deal with, and doing things on your terms was important to you. Making choices was the only shred of control you had in this entire, crazy situation. I’ve never begrudged you that.

In fact, it’s one of the things I love about you.”

“Regardless, consider it significantly toned down.”

Jared smiled. “You don’t have to apologize for coping. It’s been tough for everyone. It’s been a lot. However, I won’t lie and say I’m not going to enjoy the new attitude.”

I leaned in and kissed the corner of his mouth. “You’re going to see a lot of new from me. I don’t want to be a victim, anymore. I am now an active participant in what happens to me and my family. We’re going to get through this together or not at all .”

Jared beamed. “You amaze me every day.”

“Wel , if you’re quite finished being amazed, I need to go into work for a bit. Robert? We’ll need the Escalade.”

Robert glanced at me in the rearview mirror with his wrinkled, kind eyes. “Yes, ma’am.” He made a turn, taking us to our home. That was one thing very different from our last trip to Little Corn. Home was no longer the loft.

The tires crunched across the gravel drive, and Robert slowed the car to a stop next to Jared’s SUV. The door opened, and Robert lent me a hand. “It’s good to have you back, Miss…,” Robert seemed flustered for a moment before speaking again, “I deeply apologize. Mrs. Ryel.”

I smiled. “Just for that, you get a raise, Robert.”

He nodded to Jared, and then popped the trunk, pulling our bags from the back. “I’ll have your things laundered and returned to your room.”

“Thank you, Robert,” Jared said. He grabbed my hand and led me to the Escalade, pulling open the door. He lifted me into his arms and placed me gently in the passenger seat. “Since I don’t have time to carry you across the threshold, I suppose this wil have to do.”

I laughed. “It’l do,” I said, placing each of my hands on his cheeks for a quick kiss.

Providence seemed different. Remnant rain dripped from the trees, the beautiful buildings stil loomed over the streets, and the traffic stil made walking across the post-storm street a chal enge for pedestrians who wished to remain dry. But it was foreign somehow. Providence would always be home, but for now it was a battleground—a place to stand off with those who would harm my child. For the next months until I gave birth, I would walk the streets on guard, in constant suspicion of everyone I came across, and cautious of every dark street. Having no idea when Hel would act, or what they had in store for us, it was important now than ever to be prepared and vigilant. all things considered, I was glad it was on my own turf.

My ancestors weren’t just Rhode Islanders. I was Nephilim. We survived King David, the flood, and the yel ow fever epidemic of 1797. My husband was half angel. I could stand up to whatever they could throw at me. That was what I would keep tel ing myself, anyway. No sense in worrying myself to death about it.

“What is that?” Jared said, referring to whatever emotion he was sensing.

I shrugged. “Courage, I think,” I said. “We can do this. I believe in you. I believe in us.”

Jared’s eyes darkened a bit, and he reached over the console to grab my hand. The muscles under his jaws twitched, and his fingers tensed as they intertwined with mine. “I definitely like the new attitude.”

Chapter Six


Titan’s tal , block-and-mortar façade loomed over Fleet Rink. Summer was just a few weeks away, and the rink had been transformed from its usual icy amusement to a popular hangout for local rol erbladers. Jared parked in his usual spot, kissing my lips before I stepped out onto the sidewalk and to the front entrance of the lobby.

I paused, the first few steps without Jared felt strange. Except for the few hours I spent getting ready for the wedding, Jared and I had been side by side every day for a week. An unsettling feeling came over me, as if I’d forgotten my cel phone or locked my keys inside the car.

I pushed through the front door and walked across the lobby, dismissing my unease. Jared remaining in the car meant that everything was just fine. If he sensed even the slightest bit of danger, he would be next to me.

“Get a grip, Nina,” I whispered to myself. Inside the elevator, I pressed the button, and took a deep, cleansing breath as the doors slid closed.

When they opened again, the relaxing breath proved to be futile.

“Wel . Look what the cat dragged in,” Sasha said. One hand on her hip, one hand holding a short stack of papers, her long red curls set off her sharp features. A mature person would admit that Sasha was beautiful—I, however, had accepted long ago that Sasha brought out the stubborn, angry child within.

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