Before Aunt Orena and Mom dissolved, there had been a beautiful garden here. Once they were gone, there was no one to tend to it. Nocturne set Bleak and Sadie into the yard to tear up the dying plants. Now, it was a big field with a few trees in the distance and two benches in the middle where Uncle Resnick was now sitting with Nocturne.
Lafeyette stayed a few steps behind her. She didn’t know why. Uncle Resnick liked him.
Nocturne raised her hand in a wave. Bleak raised her own to return the greeting. What felt like a boulder hit her in the middle, knocking her backwards into another boulder.
“Rayne, Divine, leave Bleak alone.”
Bleak got enough air into her lungs to clear her vision. The two boulders were little boys.
She grabbed little Rayne Tahylur-Stelwart around the middle and turned him upside down, draping him over her shoulder. Then, she grabbed the unknown child by the collar and brought him to her face.
The power these two children already held was potent and fierce. Just being around them made her skin itch.
“Hello, Aunt Bleak.”
She patted Nocturne’s little boy’s stomach in greeting and turned to the other child. He had to be Rayne’s older half-brother. The last time she saw Divine Stelwart he was much smaller and had far less attitude in those bright red and black eyes. She put them down.
“Do I know you?”
He didn’t get the insolence from his father.
Nocturne reached them, finally, and ruffled Divine’s hair.
“Your father didn’t teach you to talk to adults that way.”
Divine pouted. “Sorry, Bleak.”
She grinned. “Little monsters.”
Divine looked up at her with his head cocked. “Mommy calls us that, too.”
Mommy? Nocturne ran her fingers through Divine’s hair and beamed. Wincing, Divine turned those eyes onto her and batted her hand away. Bleak bit her cheek to stop from smiling. He called her mommy. How sweet.
Beside their eyes, the boys took their looks from their mothers. She’d never met Divine’s mom, but he only resembled his father in temperament. If their powers were this potent at seven and eight, she didn’t want to think what it would be like when they reached her age. Little monsters indeed.
Bleak turned to the beaming “mommy.”
“Bley left you to deal with both of them on your own.”
Uncle Resnick gave a hearty chuckle. Nocturne turned a scolding eye on him.
“Tell Aunt Bleak what you did.”
The boys stood side-by-side looking at their feet.
“Rayne,” she said.
He shuffled his feet. “We blew up Josephine’s room while she was still in there.”
Nocturne scowled. Bleak decided not to laugh. Divine chuckled and received a nice hit on the head.
Bleak gave a small smile. “Didn’t Mommy settle this?”
Divine folded his arms. “I can tolerate Josephine. I don’t have to like her. Besides, it was fun.”
Tolerate. Big word for such a little boy.
“Show her what Nee did,” Nocturne ordered, shaking her head.
The boys turned and lifted their shirts. Lafeyette snorted out a laugh.
The wounds were healing. Not enough to hide how badly Josephine had burned them. Another little monster.
Nocturne looked at Lafeyette. Her face lit up. He had done similar things to Vayle when his little brother first arrived. One prank ended with Vayle throwing Lafeyette out of a second story window.
“Lafeyette, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Nocturne said.
As expected, Lafeyette glared at her.
“Please, child,” she grabbed his arm and steered him away. “My brothers are more frightening in their sleep.”
Uncle Resnick walked over. Divine yelled and chased Rayne around the yard.
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