Black Spring Page 67

“But we can’t stay here forever,” Jude said.

“No, you cannot stay there forever,” Lucifer repeated, and he pressed his will against the circle again.

J.B. seemed awfully confident that the protection would hold, but I wasn’t sure. Lucifer was a lot stronger than J.B., even if this was J.B.’s home ground. And Lucifer was very determined.

“Nathaniel,” I said, but he had anticipated me.

The portal opened in front of us, and through it I could see the panting, happy faces of Lock and Barrel.

“See ya,” I said to Lucifer with a salute, and stepped into the portal with my baby snuggled close to me and Beezle on my shoulder.

My grandfather’s roar of rage followed me into the portal.

My son began to cry as soon as we entered. I couldn’t blame him. It felt horrible to pass through a portal when you were an adult. I couldn’t imagine what it felt like for a little baby, so recently snug and warm inside his mom and now exposed to a world that was loud and cold and hurt.

A moment later I was in my own living room, with the dogs clustering around me. I sat down on the floor, exhausted, relieved to be home and safe. Lucifer could not get me here. The power of the domicile was absolute over a creature like him.

Lock and Barrel stuck their wet noses into the bundle in my arms, sniffing the baby. He stopped crying as soon as the dogs approached, and I heard him make a little coo.

The horror of everything I’d been through—how close I’d come to losing my son forever—hit me then. When Nathaniel emerged from the portal, he found me weeping on the floor, holding my baby tight to me. Beezle sat on my shoulder, patting the side of my head. He flew away with a sigh of relief when Nathaniel arrived.

“Maybe you can get her to calm down,” he said.

He knelt down beside me, put his lips in my hair and his arms around me. “You are safe. You are safe. Lucifer can’t get him here.”

The others climbed out of the portal. They all dispersed to perform various tasks—Jude to dress, Samiel to cook, J.B. to walk to the front window and glance worriedly out. Jack stood with hands in his pockets, looking awkward.

J.B. went still as he lifted the curtain aside. “There’s a giant squid in the middle of the street.”

I laughed. It was a wet, surprised laugh, coming so close on the heels of my tears. “Beezle told you there was a squid.”

“And fire,” J.B. said, wrinkling his nose. “I can’t believe anyone on this block wants to keep living here. I wouldn’t be able to eat if I knew that thing was outside my front door.”

“Imagine how I feel,” Beezle said. “Calamari is one of my favorite foods, and I may never be able to stomach it again.”

“I’m not worried,” J.B. said. “I’m sure you’ll find something else to stuff yourself with.”

“Let’s get you into the shower,” Nathaniel said.

He helped me up and into the bathroom, throwing away the jacket that was wrapped around my waist. He held out his arms for the baby so I could take off my shirt.

I shrank back, holding my son to my chest. I didn’t want to let him go, not even for a second.

“I won’t let anything happen to him,” Nathaniel said gently. “I will care for him as if he were my own.”

“What if Lucifer comes?” I whispered. “He’ll figure out where I am soon enough.”

“Yes,” Nathaniel said. That was one of the things I liked about Nathaniel. He didn’t try to sugarcoat. “But he is not here now. I am. And you need to clean yourself. While you do this, I will wash the baby.”

“He needs special stuff,” I said helplessly. “Like baby shampoo and whatever. I don’t have any of that.”

“Madeline,” he said, and his voice was full of infinite patience. “I know how to do magic.”

“Right,” I said. I still didn’t want to let my baby go. He was mine.

“Madeline,” he said again, and he held his hands out. “I was the first person to hold him. Trust me.”

I did trust him. Because you couldn’t love without trust. And finally, after everything we had been through together, after he had protected me from harm over and over, I did trust him. I loved him.

But again, the circumstances didn’t seem right to tell him. I handed Nathaniel my son, and knew he would take care of him.

I took off my pajama shirt, shoved it in the trash bin (I seemed to be throwing away a lot of clothing lately) and climbed in the shower. I turned the water up as hot as I could make it and scrubbed all over until I felt really clean. My legs looked even worse than I’d thought. Birth is a messy thing.

My belly felt strangely empty. I poked the formerly taut bump and everything there kind of jiggled around.

“Oh, that’s sexy,” I said.

I turned off the water and climbed out of the shower, wrapping up in a bathrobe and putting a towel around my head. Nathaniel was nowhere to be seen.

When I entered the hallway I could hear a lot of ruckus coming from the kitchen. I padded toward the noise in my bare feet.

Nathaniel was washing the baby in the kitchen sink. Beezle was sitting on his shoulder, giving him instructions, which Nathaniel ignored. Jude and Samiel were making goofy faces at my son, and J.B. was watching all of it with an indulgent smile on his face.

“Nothing like a baby to turn perfectly rational adults into a bunch of goofballs,” J.B. said. “He is pretty cute, though. He looks just like you.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies