Raven, daughter of the king of the fairies, knows pursuing a relationship with Michael, a mortal, might get complicated, but she takes the chance because he has fairie blood and she can’t deny the connection she feels. She doesn’t count on accidentally Turning him just as they are falling in love. Her actions cause him to question their relationship while he deals with his sudden conversion to a full-blooded fairie and all its implications. She has to convince him their love is worth fighting for before the fairie council calls her to decide her fate for breaking one of her people’s most sacred laws. Even if she can’t prove her innocence to the council, she’s determined to show Michael how powerful their love is because she knows she could face even the harshest punishment as long as he stays by her side.
When Raven finally reentered the reception hall, no one was around but Lucy, Asyan, and Jennifer. Her brothers, Erik and Lucian, and Ewan were carrying gifts and flowers outside. Everyone was looking at her as if they felt sorry for her.
“Okay,” she began, “once again, I’m asking, did I miss something? Michael chose not to answer me, so someone here needs to.”
“You missed my brother acting like a five year old. I’m kind of glad you weren’t here to see it,” Lucy said.
“Because he got upset, you think he acted like a little kid?” Raven couldn’t believe that. They weren’t being fair to him.
Lucy looked at Asyan and Jennifer. “I tried to stop him as he stormed out. He turned and screamed at me, then flipped a table over.”
Raven followed Lucy’s gaze. One of the small marble tables was actually broken in half, and broken glass from a vase still sparkled on the floor.
“I can’t believe he did that.” She knew she was being a bit childish herself in saying that, since no one had any reason to lie about such a thing, but she felt like defending him. She couldn’t fight it because it seemed everyone was judging him too harshly.
“Raven,” Jennifer said. “You only spent an hour with him. He doesn’t do stuff like this all the time, but it does happen occasionally.”
“Maybe because it’s all anyone expects from him.”
Asyan cleared his throat, trying to be diplomatic. “Sweetheart, why don’t we talk about this later? I’m sure you think you’ve made some kind of connection with Michael, but you really don’t know him at all. You can’t defend or condemn his behavior because you weren’t here.”
She took a breath and thought about her father’s words, even though they made her want to turn a table or two over herself.
“I get that, dad, I’m just saying that, until someone else came along, he was fine. I think he got freaked out. He was talking and opening up, then he was reminded of his problems. It’s not a big deal. If he overreacted, I can deal with that, even if everyone else can’t.”
“We’re not saying that at all. He doesn’t open up to people, so it’s great he was fine talking to you, but it always ends this way. I’d hoped maybe it wouldn’t this time,” Lucy said.
“Then why bring him around at all? Why not just lock him up? If he’s always like this around people, maybe he shouldn’t be around them. If it ‘always’ ends this way, why bother? He got angry because your teasing embarrassed him. If you already knew he’s as sensitive as you say he is, maybe you shouldn’t have done that.”
“Raven, I’m sorry. I didn’t think teasing him would get this kind of reaction. He’s usually fine with it. I guess I was jumping to conclusions. He looked so happy standing there. I thought he was having a good day.”
“He was having a good day. I’m the first other psychic he’s ever met.”
Lucy’s eyes widened. “He could communicate with you?”
“Yes, he could. He said ‘hi.’ You can ask Elwyn. She had no problem with me talking to him. We didn’t know he was off limits.”
“That’s not what we’re saying. We just don’t want you to get hurt,” Jennifer said. “We only mean that you’re going to have to be prepared for this kind of behavior sometimes.”
Raven didn’t look at Jennifer. A small part of her wanted to be a bitch and say, You aren’t my mother. But she knew better than to cross that line. Jennifer was only trying to help her.
“Then what are you all saying?” Raven looked at each of them. “I almost never do as I’m told, but give it a shot. Just be honest with me. What are you saying?”
Lucy spoke first. “I’d love to believe my brother could be happy, be cured, whatever you want to call it, but I’m scared. I don’t want him to have even more to hurt about. It just surprised us. That’s all. We didn’t want to hide it from you or sugarcoat it.”
Raven sighed. “It’s nothing to do with me at all, is it? That’s what you really mean. It’s all up to him. He can like me all he wants, but his problems tend to tell him what to do more than his heart or his head.” Raven didn’t want to be right, but given the way he’d run from her and blown up at his sister, there didn’t seem to be any other options. How else could he have been fine one minute, then freaked out and angry the next?
Lucy sighed. “That’s a pretty good assessment. If you try to see him again, he might run away. He might yell at you. He might start crying or be embarrassed as hell. Or he could smile and apologize, then ask you to go out to dinner so he can make it up to you. He’s unpredictable, and that’s about the only thing you can always count on. He comes to his senses, in the end, every time, but the road there could get very bumpy.”
“We’re not ganging up on you, or warning you to steer clear of him. We all know we couldn’t tell you what to do anyway,” Jennifer explained. “We just want you to know how hard it could be just being his friend. He’s known me for years, but still gets a little antsy around me at times.”
“He really liked you,” Lucy said. “I could tell. It probably made his reaction worse. He just wanted me to leave him alone, and he probably got embarrassed because of the way he acted in front of you.”
“I can’t believe someone with such a beautiful smile could be so unhappy inside.”
Jennifer stopped what she was doing. “You got him to smile?”
Raven shrugged. “Sure. He smiled like twenty times.”
Jennifer and Lucy looked at each other. “Was he smiling when you went out there?”
Lucy shook her head. “But he looked decently content.”
Raven laughed in disbelief. “You’re kidding me? You don’t believe he smiled? No wonder he gets mad every time one of you comes around.” She hadn’t flipped anyone off in about thirty years, but she suddenly felt the need burning inside her. Instead she turned on her heels and stormed out of the room.
As she pushed past Ewan and Lucian, she heard Lucy dryly say, “Maybe they’re perfect for each other in their own freaky way.”
No one laughed, and Raven kept walking when Erik asked her what was wrong. She could feel her father’s concern breaking through his normally calm façade as she left the building. She ignored his mental nudge and pushed him away.