Fantastical Page 74

Then, while I cooked and we ate (standing up in the kitchen with our plates close to our mouths, something else that made Tor’s lips twitch), I filled Phoebe in with more detail on everything else.

Then we retired to the living room.

Tor was dressed in jeans and a cool, light blue shirt he didn’t tuck in, I was wearing my nightie with my short robe tied over it and we were sipping after breakfast, after cake coffee.

Phoebe was curled in my armchair. And I was tucked tight to Tor’s side on the couch, the soles of my feet to the cushion, my legs having fallen into his thigh; his arm was curled around me holding me close when it occurred to me.

And what occurred to me was that my best friend was definitely crazy, a certifiable nut, but, even so, she’d bought our equally definitely crazy story really easily.

And that was weird.

“Uh… Phoebe,” I called when she’d taken a break from updating me on her life (doing so at the same time educating Tor to the fact she was definitely crazy and a certifiable nut) and was sipping from her cup.

“Yeah, babe,” she replied.

“Not to look a gift horse in the mouth because I’m glad you believe our story but why do you believe our story? I mean, when we told him, Dad freaked as in totally freaked. He accused Tor of being the leader of a cult and tried to kick him out of the house. You didn’t even blink.”

Well, she did blink, repeatedly, but she didn’t freak.

She grinned at the cult comment then threw out a hand and, as if she was not rocking Tor and my worlds, she blithely said, “Because Brianna’s friend Marlene’s friend Circe lives in an alternate universe.”

This time I blinked and I also felt my mouth drop open.

Tor’s body went solid at my side.

“What?” I whispered.

“Pardon?” Tor growled.

She studied us, eyes going back and forth.

Then she repeated, “Because Brianna’s friend Marlene’s friend Circe lives in an alternate universe.”

Tor leaned forward and since his arm didn’t move from around me, he took me with him.

“Explain,” he ordered, his voice low and commanding.

Phoebe’s eyes didn’t move from him as she whispered, “Well, I mean, I don’t know Circe and I’ve only met Marlene once at a party. But everyone in that circle knows Circe went to bed one night and another Circe was there the next day and the here Circe was gone. The here Circe also came back home so for awhile there were two Circes then the here Circe went back there. She’s there now, as far as I know.” She tore her gaze from Tor and looked at me. “She was also knocked up when she got back, by the way.”

I stared at my friend.

“More,” Tor demanded, his tone not having changed and Phoebe’s eyes shot back to him.

“I… well…” She sucked in breath then she looked at me and went on, “I don’t know the whole story and from what you said while you were making breakfast, Cora, it seems her other world is different. Maybe it’s another one. I mean, birds don’t talk to her, I don’t think. The air didn’t glitter either. Definitely. From what I heard, it was primitive, savage even. The place she went to was barren with rocks and stuff, they lived in tents and a lot went down when she was there, like, serious stuff and when I say that I mean, like, NC-17 rated stuff. She’s a queen, though, married to the king of what I think Marlene called a horde.”

“Korwahk,” Tor whispered.

I looked to him and asked, “What?”

He sat back (again taking me with him) and turned to me. “She describes Korwahk.”

“That sounds familiar,” Phoebe put in and we looked at her. “She’s, like, the Golden Queen?” she asked as if we could confirm then she shook her head and muttered, “I don’t know, something like that.”

“The Golden Warrior Queen of The Golden Dynasty,” Tor stated and I looked back to him to see he was looking at Phoebe. “Is she fair with golden eyes?” he asked.

“I don’t know about her eyes but yes, I think she’s blonde,” Phoebe answered.

“Honey?” I prompted Tor and his eyes came to me.

“It was reported through diplomatic dispatches while you were with me in our other world that Dax Lahn, the king of Korwahk, they are known as Dax in their language, has finally claimed his queen. She is known as the Golden Warrior Queen and it is said he’s also claimed their union begins The Golden Dynasty.”

Wow. That sounded cool.

“That sounds cool,” I said quietly but a strange flash in his eyes made me think it was anything but cool so I asked, “What?”

“It is nothing,” he muttered, turning his attention to his coffee cup and therefore I knew he was also totally lying.

So I repeated, “What?”

He took a sip and his eyes came to me. “It is nothing, my love.”

But his eyes were troubled.

I didn’t need troubled eyes. We had enough trouble.

So I repeated, sharper this time, “Tor, what?”

He held my eyes a moment then he looked to Phoebe, “She returned?”

I looked back to Phoebe to see her nod but she replied verbally too, “Yep.”

“Did she wish to return?” Tor asked.

This was an interesting question and his stress of “wish” made it more so.

Phoebe shook her head. “I don’t know, I mean, I’m not sure.”

“Do you know how she returned?” Tor went on.

Now that was an excellent question.

Phoebe shook her head again. “No, but I can ask Brianna to ask Marlene.”

“Please do so,” Tor murmured then, eyes locked on Phoebe, he finished, “Immediately.”

“Righty ho,” Phoebe whispered because my friend might be a nut but she was far from stupid but even an idiot could read Tor’s intensity. So she immediately pushed herself up, put her cup down on the coffee table then turned and then twisted to hang over the arm of the chair to grab her bag from the floor and get her phone.

Tor took another sip of coffee and it wasn’t hard to read that he was doing this to avoid me even though I was pressed to his side.

“Baby,” I called.

“Mm,” he murmured.

Totally avoiding me.

“Uh, Tor,” I called again and he turned his head to me. “What aren’t you telling me?”

Finally, he answered, it was just not the right answer.

“What it is is not for your ears.”

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