A product of elven blood, even though the Tarinthfenix refused to admit it, Kieran had lacked any kind of sexuality until that moment. His breath caught, knowing that inside the shop was his mate. Stepping into the bright space, Kieran scanned the customers, and his silver gaze with hints of purple locked on a short man with dark hair and a light goatee.
His expression was one of shock, and there was little else to read in his heavily lashed green eyes. In his hand was a stunning lily of blue and black, which brought a smile to Kieran’s face. Somehow, it made perfect sense that the man he’d become instant friends with all those years ago was the other half of his soul.
Crossing the distance that separated them, Kieran’s grin grew as he delightedly considered the handsome man still staring at him blankly. “Hi, Scheredin.”
“Hi, Keladriel. I’m Brexton,” said the man at Scheredin’s side, who resembled him a great deal.
“A pleasure to meet you, Brexton,” Kieran replied immediately and flicked his attention back to Scheredin.
Brexton nudged Scheredin’s shoulder.
“Say hello,” he murmured to Scheredin, whose mouth snapped shut.
“Hi, Keladriel,” Scheredin whispered.
“Crazy, right?” Kieran asked. “Makes me kind of mad. We should’ve planned this a long time ago.”
“What does that mean?” demanded a broad-shouldered man with navy eyes and soft brown curls.
“Keladriel is my mate, Brogan,” Scheredin told the tall guy.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” yelled a man around Scheredin’s height as his hands rose to grab fistfuls of his blond ringlets, catching the attention of several customers.
“You can calm down,” Brogan growled. “I already know you’re going to give me shit for the rest of eternity.”
“Hi, I’m Dra’Kaedan,” the blond said, shouldering his way between Scheredin and Brexton to wave. “I was so excited I nearly forgot and tried to shake your hand.”
Kieran was seconds away from refuting Dra’Kaedan’s assumption that he was an elf, despite his ears and attire, when the name hit him. “Like, Grand Warlock Dra’Kaedan D’Vaire?”
Although he wasn’t allowed to explore the outside world, it fascinated Kieran, and he’d often read about the famous people within the Council. As far as Kieran could tell from the online newspapers, there were few families as reputable and powerful as the D’Vaires, so it made sense that people would name their kids after the royal family.
“He is Grand Warlock Dra’Kaedan D’Vaire,” Scheredin remarked. “We’re all D’Vaires. The tall guy behind him is his mate, Grand Duke Brogan D’Vairedraconis. At the table next to you pretending not to listen are Coven Lord Bridger D’Vaire and Coven Lord Hadley D’Vaire. They’re here to protect me in case you turned out to be a homicidal maniac planning to butcher me in a coffee shop or whatever other nefarious idea Brogan had for what might happen today.”
“Why does everyone always make me sound crazy?” Brogan demanded.
“Please, you do that all by yourself, Mate,” Dra’Kaedan muttered.
“Do you follow all elven traditions even though you aren’t a part of the Council?” Brexton asked, cocking his head.
Kieran wasn’t fond of lies, but there was no hesitation in his soul over his matebond. Although they had plenty to learn about each other, Kieran knew Scheredin’s character and was wildly attracted to him. He was ready to explore his new sexuality with the attractive man studying him, and Kieran understood that their belief that he was an elf named Keladriel could help speed up the process of binding them together for eternity.
Not only would Kieran not have to wait to be with Scheredin, but he could also finally walk away from the Tarinthfenix without guilt. Fate wanted Kieran to be with Scheredin, and he was fully on board with her plan. In fact, in Kieran’s eyes, she couldn’t possibly have done better. Kieran’s gift was his closest friend and a real, honest-to-Fate warlock to boot.
If there was anything that fascinated Kieran more than the Council, it was magic, and Scheredin likely had plenty. While building the foundation of the most important relationship of his life with dishonesty wasn’t the smartest choice, Kieran would explain who he truly was and give Scheredin his real, non-elf name as soon as they were mated. It was perhaps not the best way to speed up the timeline, but Kieran could find no patience, and his beast was egging him on.
Instead of answering Brexton’s question with a complete falsehood, Kieran went with his gut. “I’d like to have a mating ceremony as soon as possible if you’re okay with that, Scheredin.”
“I will honor your customs, Keladriel. It’s not like we’re total strangers.”
It rankled both man and phoenix to have his other half call him by the wrong name, even though it was the one he went by in the game, but Kieran set the outrage aside and smiled again. “Thank you.”