Edward is grateful he’s not the family company’s CEO and that he doesn’t have to make the decisions his brother Henry has to make. He supports Henry, of course, but signing contracts with a fire wielder while they’re earth wielders could be dangerous, with Purity threatening them.
Bay is happy working for Dakota, even though he’s kind of jealous of his best friend for finding love. He’s more than happy to help when the Long brothers, who Dakota’s mate is working with now, are threatened. Bay is assigned as a bodyguard to Edward, who’s charming and sweet—and it turns out, also Bay’s mate.
But Purity is still a threat, especially after it attacks. Faking Henry’s death might have been a good idea, but it also could be putting Edward’s life in danger, and Bay isn’t sure he can stand up to Purity, not on his own, not when Purity has someone working for them on the inside.
Edward didn’t want to go to the meeting. He looked at his reflection in the mirror and straightened his tie for what felt like the tenth time.
Why did he have to go, anyway? Right. It was because he’d already met Benedict and Dakota while Henry hadn’t.
His bedroom door slammed open, and Henry stepped in, still buttoning his shirt. Edward glared at him through the mirror before focusing on his own reflection again.
“You look pretty, don’t worry,” Henry said.
Edward had to turn around so his glare would have a better effect. His tie was fine, anyway. He leaned against the dresser and crossed his arms over his chest, looking at his brother. “Why are you here?”
“I wanted to talk to you before the meeting.”
Edward sighed. “I should never have given you a key. And why are you buttoning your shirt?” Edward squinted. “Wait. Is that my shirt?”
Henry gave Edward a remorseless grin. “I spilled coffee on mine. Sorry.”
“Why were you even having coffee in my kitchen? Why are you in my apartment? I need you to give me back my key.”
Henry shook his head. “No way. I have to be able to come in if something happens to you. I don’t want you to end up dead in here and not be found for weeks.”
Edward needed strength to deal with his brother, and he wasn’t sure he had enough. “What did you want to talk about?”
Henry finished buttoning the shirt. “How are they? Dakota and Benedict, I mean. You said they’re dating, right?”
“Dakota is Benedict’s boyfriend, yes.” It should have been obvious to Edward as soon as he’d stepped into the office.
He hadn’t wanted to ask who Dakota was in the beginning, because it wasn’t his business and because he was walking on eggshells around Benedict. Everyone was. The man was ambitious, and he was trying to do a good thing, but Edward hadn’t known if he could trust him, and he still didn’t, not entirely. He wanted to, but he wasn’t stupid. No matter what Benedict and Dakota said, they might be lying, and Edward couldn’t afford to believe them entirely.
“And they wield different elements,” Henry continued.
“I didn’t ask them to prove it to me, but they said they do. We know Benedict wields fire, while Dakota apparently wields earth.”
Henry wrinkled his nose. “It’s weird, isn’t it? That they’re together even though their elements are different. How did they even meet? Elements don’t mix.”
Edward shouldn’t have been amused, but he was. “You’re sheltered. The only people you know are the ones who share our element or humans. Not everyone is like you, though.”
Henry glared. “I’m not sheltered.”
“You are. Everyone in the company either wields the earth element or is human. And I know why.” They both did. It wasn’t their fault. Even if they tried hiring a diverse pool of employees, only earth wielders applied. It was how things went, but maybe now, it would change. “But we can change it. We can change the world as we know it.”
Henry sucked in a breath. “Sometimes, I wonder if it’s the best thing to do.”
Edward wanted to reassure him, but he wasn’t sure he could. He wasn’t even sure they should be doing this, no matter how right it was. “We’re doing the right thing.”
Henry wrinkled his nose. “Some people don’t believe that.”
“And does what they believe matter? You’re doing this for the right reasons. Hell, even if they were the wrong reasons, it would still be the right thing to do.”
Because Edward truly believed the elements were meant to mix. Why would some of them find their mates in other elements if that wasn’t the case? Of course, not a lot of people did these days, but that was because they didn’t give themselves a chance, not because it wasn’t possible.
“We still have to trust Benedict Hunt if we’re going to do this, and I don’t know if I do. Why is he doing this? Is it really because he believes in it the way we do?”
Edward had heard Benedict had been attacked and that he’d killed people. He didn’t know if that was true or not, but even if Benedict had killed his attackers, Edward didn’t blame him. He’d had to defend himself. If Edward had been in Benedict’s place, he would have killed the person who’d attacked him, too.
Or maybe not. He probably would have been killed, but then, he was who he was, while Benedict was a strong man who had the support of many people. Not that Edward didn’t. Henry would always be there for him, and so would their mom, even though she was always busy.
But they were the only ones. Edward didn’t like people, and he didn’t do relationships, for reasons that were out of his control. Maybe it was better that way, but he couldn’t help how lonely he felt some days.
He shook his head, pushing the thoughts away. “I don’t know for sure. Benedict seems to be a good and serious man, and from the conversation we had, I truly think he believes in what he’s doing. It’s business, of course, but it was obvious to me that he was aiming at something more.”
“Do you know why? It can’t just be because of his boyfriend.”