Fantastical Page 73

Phoebe stared up at me and said not a word.

So I kept right on going.

“Anyway, we still don’t know what’s going on but a quick update, I was transferred there and within minutes, I accidentally started a curse that, if it comes to fruition, will bring plague and famine to everyone in Tor’s land. Tor is married to the other Cora but he hates her as in, a lot, so, since this world-hopping business is about as usual there as it is here, that is to say, not at all, he thought I was her so he didn’t like me either. Obviously, since I’m now pregnant, he got over that. Then we were both transported back here and we don’t know why that is either. We also don’t know how to get back. What we do know is that when we do, he’s divorcing her, marrying me and I’m having his baby. So, I’m kind of his wife –”

“Cora,” Tor growled from behind me, interrupting me and successfully expressing his displeasure at my turn of phrase.

Therefore I hurriedly explained, “Though Tor isn’t fond of the ‘kind of’ part and just considers us hitched.”

Phoebe blinked. Then she looked up at Tor and blinked. Then she looked back and me and when she didn’t blink, I kept talking.

“So, as if uncertain travel between parallel universes isn’t enough for us to deal with, the Cora of that world, when she was in this world, was bitchy to all my friends, including, obviously, you, and now they all hate me. She also left my house and car a total pit, which was not nice but luckily at least that was easily remedied. She also got herself into some kind of trouble. We think playing poker. The Noctorno of this world is a cop and he’s involved with her somehow. There’s a shitload of money in my DVD cabinet and he’s, that is, the other Noctorno, or, I mean, the Noctorno of this world is coming back to collect his clothes sometime later. He can’t see my Noctorno,” I gestured behind me, “mainly because he’d freak. And now we need to get back to make sure the curse doesn’t befall Tor’s land and do it before getting arrested or whatever.”

Phoebe said nothing, just stared at me.

I held her eyes and tried to read something there, anything.

There was nothing. She was just staring at me.

My heart lurched.

But my mouth whispered, “I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. I can’t prove it except to point out the other Noctorno you’ve seen doesn’t have a scar and my Noctorno does. So, you might believe me if you saw both Tor and Noc together but I can’t give you that so… well…” I threw out a hand. “I don’t know what else to say. Except I hope one day, when you know I’m gone, you’ll know I’m back there, with Tor, in his world, married to him and making a family because I love him and you’ll know it wasn’t me who hurt you but it was me who always loved you and I’ll be missing you.”

She continued staring at me, unmoving, unblinking.

I had nothing else to give.

Then she asked softly, “You’re pregnant?”

“Yes,” I said softly back.

“With a hot guy’s kid?”

I pressed my lips together and tried not to hope.

I couldn’t not hope.

I nodded and felt the tears stinging my eyes as the hope clogged my throat.

Then I whispered, “In Tor’s world, I’m also a princess, I can talk to birds and they talk back, the air shimmers like there’s glitter in it and my clothes kick ass.”

Phoebe stared at me.

Then she asked quietly, “You love him?”

I pulled in breath through my nose and felt Tor’s heat get close to my back.

Then I nodded.

Then suddenly she tipped her head back and screamed at the ceiling, “My best friend is knocked up with a hot guy’s kid and she’s a princess in an alternate universe!”

Then she tipped her head down and launched herself at me, bursting into tears, holding me tight and rocking me violently from side to side.

I heard Tor close the door about half a second before I also wrapped my arms around her, burst into tears but mine were relieved as well as joyous.

We rocked back and forth crying for awhile then she reared back, grabbed my forearms, shook them, her eyes darting to Tor and back to me before she shouted, “Look at him! He’s tall, hot, those scars are way hot, I’ve never seen any man wear pajama bottoms that well and he has just the right amount of chest hair! Girl, you did all right.”

See! There was a reason Phoebe and I were BFFs.

“Girl, I know!” I shouted back.

“Sweets,” Tor murmured from behind me and I felt his hand warm on the small of my back before I twisted my neck to look up at him, “you may wish to calm down and rejoice far more quietly.”

“Sweets,” Phoebe whispered reverently, “hot.”

I smiled at Phoebe’s words but my eyes didn’t leave Tor’s face and I saw his eyes smile back before I said to him, “Right. That would probably be prudent.”

“Right,” he replied, leaned in and touched his mouth to mine.

“Hot,” Phoebe breathed and, incidentally, didn’t let go of my arms.

Tor pulled back, his eyes slid to Phoebe and back to me before he muttered, “I shall get dressed.”

Phoebe finally stepped away from me and as she did so, she stated, “Please, if you’re doing that on my account, I’m totally cool with you exactly the way you are.”

Tor looked at her then he looked at me then his mouth twitched, he shook his head, made no response and strode to my bedroom.

Phoebe and I watched.

Then I heard Phoebe repeat a breathless, “Hot.”

I looked at her to see she was looking at me.

Then, as often happened, sometimes for no reason whatsoever, we both dissolved into giggles.

And our giggles went uncontrolled when we both heard muttered from my bedroom, “Bloody hell.”

In fact, at that, we collapsed into each other’s arms and roared with them.

So much for being quiet.

* * *

I made my prince and my best friend blueberry pancakes and bacon and we went overkill by following this with red velvet cake.

But, whatever, it was time to celebrate. I was in love with a hot guy prince and future king, pregnant with his child and I still had my best friend. If that didn’t say celebration, nothing did.

And furthermore, if there was a time I could overeat, now was it.

While Tor showered, I filled Phoebe in on more detail about Tor and she breathed the word “hot” or drawled the word “nice” about seven thousand times while I was doing it.

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