Spy Glass Page 61

“Don’t worry about the weather,” Kade said. “You’ll have a sunny day. I guarantee it.”

“Oh! I forgot!” Mara laughed.

“You didn’t think I’d come without a wedding gift, did you?” Kade asked.

“I knew you’d eventually be useful, Kade,” Leif joked. “We could have used you that night the Storm Thieves ambushed us. Remember, Opal?”

“Er…” I shot Leif a significant look, but he prattled on, telling the story with relish. Already in trouble, he just dug me in deeper. My mother’s face paled as dismay filled her eyes. I hadn’t told her about that night for two reasons. I didn’t want her to worry about me any more than she already did, and wanted to avoid upsetting her by letting her know her youngest daughter was capable of murder.

When Leif finished the story, my mother met my gaze for the first time since I had arrived. I looked away. Her horror and censure were too painful to bear.

Over the next four days, my mother not only ignored me, but she avoided me, as well. I helped Mara when needed, and showed Kade how to gather and work with molten glass since we had the time now. Unlike during the storm seasons. He proved to be a deft student.

Visitors and guests arrived, filling the house with laughter. Cousins I hadn’t seen in years shared my room. We gossiped late into the night. Many others stayed in the local inns and stopped by during the day.

Yelena and Valek’s arrival created a buzz of excitement and anxiety. I hugged Yelena in genuine delight, but when I pulled away she held on to my arms and her green eyes drilled a hole into me. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

She shot Valek a nasty look before focusing on me again. “You’re a much better liar, but you can’t fool me. What’s going on?”

“My mother’s mad at me for being late.” Now it was my turn to glare at him. “It’s not a big deal.”

“We’ll talk later,” she promised.

Unaffected by my sour mood, Valek greeted me with a smile. He nodded at Kade, who entertained a gaggle of kids with a tiny dust devil he had created. “And you were worried he wouldn’t come.”

“He almost didn’t.”

Yelena pursed her lips. “I believe I haven’t been told the whole story.”

“No time, love. I wasn’t going to waste my first night with you in seasons on talk.”

She blushed, but his comment hit me like a physical force, knocking me off my snit. He had spent so much time training and helping me—time away from Yelena. It drove me crazy how he flipped from kind to killer and back again without batting an eye.

They both watched me.

I returned Valek’s smile and changed the subject. “Were you serious about your napkin-folding skills?”

“Yes.”

“Could you teach me? My mother would be thrilled.”

“When are the tables being set up?” he asked. “Tonight.”

“Swans or flowers?”

“Swans.”

“Consider it done.”

“But—”

“You have enough to do, Opal,” Yelena said. “We’ll talk after the wedding.”

It sounded like an order. “Yes, sir.”

Hand in hand they went in search of my mother. She squealed in delight and hugged them both. I wondered if she would be as happy to see Valek if she connected him to Ulrick’s death. A few of the local guests had mentioned his murder. Everyone assumed another prisoner had done the deed.

When the sun rose on Mara and Leif’s wedding day, it illuminated a brilliant blue and cloudless sky. No breeze stirred the tablecloths. According to Kade the morning chill would burn off in a matter of hours. The ceremony was scheduled to start in the early afternoon, followed by a meal and dancing.

Our houseguests ohhed and ahhed over the swan-shaped napkins sitting on every plate. Speculation over the midnight artist buzzed during breakfast. I kept quiet—it was more fun to hear their inventive guesses.

Last-minute preparations were completed and the wedding guests arrived. I retreated to my room to help Mara with her gown. By the time I wove through all the people in the living room and joined her, she already had the garment on.

She turned when I shut the door. I gasped.

“What’s wrong? Is there a stain?” Mara spun to the mirror.

“Nothing’s wrong. You are perfect.”

She pished at me. “You need to zip me up, and I still have to fix my hair.”

Mara continued with her list, but her actual words failed to reach me. I had meant what I said, and I hadn’t been referring to her big beautiful eyes or heart-shaped face or gorgeous cream-colored silk gown.

She had captured joy in her heart and it shone from every pore on her skin. A passion burned within her. I hoped it never died.

I zipped, primped, fluffed, pinned and brushed, fulfilling my Maid of Honor duties.

When I finished, I examined my handiwork. “No one is going to notice your dress. They’ll be captivated by your eyes.”

Which she rolled. “Get dressed, Opal. Leif’s Man of Honor will be here to escort you soon.”

And then the mystery will be solved. Traditionally, the people chosen as the Maid and Man of Honor were kept secret. I didn’t know why, and half the time everyone could guess. Mara’s choice would not be a surprise to anyone sitting in the courtyard below. Leif’s though was harder to determine.

I hurried into my own gown. Mara fussed with my hair. She tsked over the short length, but managed to sweep it up into an elegant twist which she secured with a set of combs. Sparks of green flashed from the jewels in the combs. I leaned toward the mirror to see them better.

Prev Next