Spy Glass Page 56

A squeak woke me from a light doze. Kade’s shadow crossed the floor. He paused and I waited. Then the steps groaned with his weight as he climbed the stairs.

15

I COULDN’T BLAME HIM FOR GIVING UP ON ME. I’D lost Kade. Despite the wrenching inside my chest, I ruminated on the word lost as I stared at the ceiling. Lost his love, not the man since he slept upstairs. I had planned to leave early in the morning if Kade couldn’t stay with me. Why wait? I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not now. Quartz enjoyed traveling at night and she had all day to rest.

But I needed to say goodbye. Tiptoeing upstairs, I paused on the landing. Three closed doors ringed the short hallway. Which one was his?

I stood in front of each door as I decided. A slight draft caressed my bare toes from under the door on the right, but air blasted my feet from the left one. Only Kade would have his window wide-open.

Biting my lip, I tapped on the door before turning the knob and peeking in. If he was asleep…

“I’m awake,” Kade said.

With no shirt on and wearing only short pants, he lay on top of the bedspread. A knot formed under my ribs and I shivered.

“I understand your decision. I’m leaving tonight and wanted to say goodbye.”

He gazed out the window. And I studied his face, committing the strong line of his jaw and his smooth skin to memory. The consequences of my quest had been very high. I turned to go.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Home for Mara’s wedding.”

“You can’t leave so soon. If I’m going to spend time with your family, it’s only fair you spend a few more days with mine.”

I spun around.

He pushed up on his elbow. “I don’t want to give up on us. This thing with Devlen isn’t love, is it?”

“No. He’s like my Story Weaver.”

“And he’ll help you?”

“Yes.”

Kade drew in a deep breath. “You know what I want and need. And you love me.” He quirked a smile. “I can be happy with that for now. After the wedding, you know where I’ll be.” He patted the bed and I slid in with him. He settled back and I snuggled in close.

“Although,” he said, “you’ll have to deal with my mother for the next couple of days.”

Dealing with his mother seemed a mere inconvenience. I’d been given a second chance with Kade and I wasn’t going to blow it. My thoughts returned to my earlier assessment of Sarrah. “I think I know why she hates me so much.”

“After one day?”

“I’ve learned a great deal about human nature from Valek.”

“Go on.”

“She needs to know you still love your sister. Your father already knows you’re not trying to replace her with me. When you released Kaya’s soul on the Northern Ice Sheet, you had a moment with her that your parents missed. You said goodbye, and even I experienced her joy at finding peace. They didn’t. I think if you tell them what happened, your mother might feel better about us.”

“Once I decided to let her go, I never considered waiting. So wrapped up in my own grief, I had forgotten my parents’ pain.” He looked at me. “It was a very selfish thing to do.”

“At that time, you couldn’t see past your own pain.”

“Sounds like you have some experience with this.”

It would explain my actions with Devlen. “Yes I do, and it usually leads to trouble.”

When I woke the next morning, Kade was gone. I stretched and felt a rare moment of contentment before getting up to find him. Halfway down the steps, his mother’s voice reached me. I slowed.

“Sounds like wishful thinking—harvesting Kaya’s soul. Honestly, Kade, you’re a Stormdancer not a Soulfinder. You didn’t have these delusions about your abilities before you met that girl or got that horse. All this running around, for what? Nothing.”

I cringed for Kade. Deeper issues lay between him and his mother, and I might have made it worse. His reply was too quiet for me to decipher.

“Why can’t you pick someone like Helen? She’s beautiful, talented…”

Unable to endure any more, I hurried through the living room and out the front door. When had she met Helen? I thought the Stormdancer’s new orb maker worked in Thunder Valley during the off-season, selling her glasswares.

Helen was pretty and her glass statues were unparalleled works of art. And she was sweet. And she spent three full seasons working with Kade. I stopped that line of thought. Despite all the pain I caused, he had stayed with me. Love trumps logic.

I found Quartz and Moonlight grazing behind the shed. Her copper-and-white coat looked fuzzy and unkempt. Shedding season. I retrieved a shedding blade from my saddlebags and pulled the thin metal loop through her thick cold season coat. Hair rained to the ground, piling around her hooves like drifts of snow.

Kade arrived. He groaned with annoyance. “I combed her last night.” He gestured to the piles of hair. “Not that you would know it.”

Moonlight snuffled Kade’s hair and sneezed.

“Ugh.” Kade wiped his face on his sleeve. “Good morning to you, too.” He scratched the horse behind his ears and then sighed when he noticed the black hairs sticking to his hand. “Now he’s shedding.”

I ducked behind Quartz to hide my smile, but Kade joined me. “I’ll finish grooming Quartz. You need to get cleaned up.” He wiped horsehair off my chin.

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