DARK MAGICK RISING (Part 9)
Copyright 2016 by M.L. Rhodes
Wesley snorted at that. “No kidding. Just trying to get him to stay put this morning was a battle.”
“Sounds like him. I don’t envy you dealing with that. Just tell me one thing.” Jarrad looked at him in earnest, his gaze intense once more, but in a different way from before. “Do you love him?”
The lump of emotion that had plagued Wesley earlier returned, hard and hot in his throat, making it difficult to speak. “Yeah,” he whispered. “I do.”
Jarrad slowly swallowed and then looked away and nodded. “I’m…I’m glad.”
Wesley studied him, experiencing another uncomfortable moment, and sensing a weird muddle of emotion coming off Jarrad. “Are you okay with this?” he asked. “With Wen and me?” After all, Jarrad was Wen’s brother and they were fairly close. Maybe it was strange for Jarrad to have to share his brother, or, even more, to have to share him with a friend.
Jarrad dragged in a breath, his shoulders sagging, but when he turned to face Wesley he was smiling and, on the surface, seemed back to his usual self. “Of course I am. I care about you both, so, yeah, I’m glad you finally figured it out.” He shrugged. “From what I could tell last night, I haven’t seen Wen this content in a long time. I…I think you’re good for him.”
Not quite sure how to respond to that, Wesley murmured, “I should probably go see Iann now.”
That seemed to fully bring Jarrad back to the moment. “I’ll go with you.” He stood and offered his hand to help Wesley to his feet.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Wes, you really do look terrible, and you’re not exactly steady at the moment. If you go report in on your own, one look at you, and Iann will likely have you in Lilia’s healing tent forthwith, and probably ask all kinds of questions about where Wen is as well. I can divert some of Iann’s attention. If I come along, I can do some of the talking. And you know me, I can talk my way out of, or into, almost anything.”
That was probably true, Wesley thought. “But you weren’t even there.”
“Not last night, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten the rundown from you this morning and can’t volunteer to do some scouting to be sure the soldiers really were all stopped. In fact, as far as Iann’s concerned, you and I just left Wen, who sent us to report, while he double checks the barrier in the area where you fought the soldiers, to be sure everything’s secure.”
“I’ll go check the barrier for real after we leave Iann. And then do whatever else is necessary, while you get some rest.”
“Wesley I can’t…” He took a breath, and then released it. “I couldn’t be there for you last night, and I can’t physically help you and Wen recover. But I can help keep attention off you for a while and make sure you don’t have anyone in the draeganjhere breathing down your neck today. You and Wen fought off a dozen soldiers last night and survived. You deserve to have some uninterrupted time to get some sleep. And while Iann will most likely agree about that, there will still be some follow-up required. If I’m there, I can make sure he assigns that follow-up to me and not you guys. Let me make that happen for you, okay? I promise, I won’t let anyone else know what you told me.”
Wesley stared at him, torn over bringing Jarrad further into the deception. But at the same time, wasn’t this was exactly the bond of family and friendship he’d always longed for, this solidarity when people you cared for needed help? Finally, he nodded, accepting what Jarrad offered. “Okay. Thank you.”
“Besides,” Jarrad added with a grin as he dragged Wesley to his feet, “you look like you’re about to puke up your breakfast any minute, so the least I can do is make sure you have someone to hold you up when it happens.”
“Ungh. Remind me again why you’re my friend?” Wesley grumbled, leaning against Jarrad until he got his legs steady under him.
“Because you wouldn’t be able to make it through your day without my witty comebacks and charming smile?”
“Not to mention your enormous ego.”
Jarrad chuckled. “Yeah, that, too. Come on.”
And that brings us to the end of chapter 2. Thank you for reading with me this far!! I’m making steady progress on this book–I’m actually working on chapter 17 right now. I’m about 70,000 words into the book. I’m not sure how long it’s going to be total, but I think at least 100,000. I’ll continue making updates about how it’s coming along on my “works in progress” page. And I’ll also post when True of Heart, Lords of Kellesborne, Fires of Ballian, and An Unexpected Magick are re-released. I was hoping to get True of Heart out by the end of December, and that may still happen, or it may be early January. And then I plan to re-release the others one at a time, every few weeks. This one will follow those…so maybe in March or so for this one? Not sure. Just depends on when I finish it, how long it takes to have it edited, etc. But I’ll do updates!
If you’ve left comments (and thanks to those of you have! I’ve loved reading them!! :)) I’ll do gift card/certificate winners on December 26th, so check back! Again, thank you, thank you so much for reading along!! This has been fun! I hope it has been for you guys, too! Stay in touch, and feel free to pester me if you want updates more frequently than I post them! LOL!