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Wait and See

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“How is a castle in Scotland in winter romantic?” Michelle asked. “It is missing some roof.”

“Not like we’re going to be hanging out in that section,” Eggsy made a face at his mom. “And two nights alone with Merlin before I’m too giant to move? Hell yes.”

“I thought Valentine’s day was just marketing crap.”

“Mom, Merlin, my beloved Merlin remembered that marketing crap. Merlin came up with this idea on his own.”

“Bullshit,” Michelle said in awe.

“I know! Trust me, no Harry or me hinting. This was all him.” Eggsy packed his bag. “Just…two nights away from Zoe.”

“Hey, Tequila will be staying over, plus last I checked I’m a pretty good babysitter too. We got Zoe well looked after.”

“Yeah but you’ll be in London,” Eggsy said unthinkingly.

“Why would I be in London?” Michelle asked confused.

Eggsy bit his lip. “I…uh…I gotta go throw up.” He ran out of his own bedroom and down the hall.

“Oh I don’t think so,” Michelle said and hurried after him. He had locked the bathroom door and she banged on it. “What is going on, Eggsy?”

“Nothing!” Eggsy shouted through the door.

“Liar!” Michelle shouted and banged on the door again.

“I WILL NOT BE THE WEAK LINK!” he shouted and turned on the shower and some music to drown her out.

Tilde was walking down the hall, Izzy toddling along. “This is a lot of racket, isn’t it?” she said and Izzy babbled in agreement. “What is the fuss?”

“I am apparently going to London,” Michelle said. “Would you know anything about it?”

Tilde quickly gathered up Izzy and went down the stairs without another word. Well then, Michelle had two options go to the source, or go to a person most likely to crack. She walked down to the kitchen where Percival was already sitting and reading emails with a cuppa.

“Hi there,” Michelle said and sat next to him. He just nodded absently. “So, you and Harry have any plans for Valentine’s day?” she asked casually and took a scone from the centre of the table. She was pretty sure they were paying for Hamish’s kid’s college at this point with the amount of baked goods they were buying and the kid weren’t even born yet.

“No,” he said. “Going into the city, I think? Nice dinner out, maybe some dancing. Crash at the flat.”

“Happy to babysit Hunter for you, I know Tequila is spending the time here for Zoe, but happy to lend a hand.”

Percival smiled happily at her. “Thank you Michelle, I appreciate you providing back up.”

Michelle stared at him and tossed the scone down. “You can’t lie for shit. You’ve been told nothing, dammit you were going to be my answers.”

Percival shrugged. “Harry was keeping a secret. He did not share, saying I would ruin it. I assumed it was about Valentine’s day.”

“Shouldn’t you be more worried when Harry has a secret?”

“Probably,” Percival agreed. “But at this point I really have decided it is better for my blood pressure just to bat clean up.”

“That is terrifying,” Michelle said. She tapped her fingers on the table. “Merlin?”

“Even if he knows, he might not know he knows,” Percival said. “Roxy was in your room the other day with a notebook.”

“Thank you Percival,” she said. 

“Good hunting,” Percival said. When Michelle left, Harry walked out of the pantry and Percival pulled out the comm that had been in his ear that Michelle couldn’t see. “Thank you for feeding me what to say darling.”

“You are very welcome.” Harry looked around. “Where’s Hunter?”

“With you,” Percival said.

“With you,” Harry replied and they both looked at the empty high chair. Since Harry was already standing he ran upstairs. The comm made noise. “Mayday, mayday, he removed his own diaper. Dear god, it is in his hair. Help me!”

Percival crushed the little ear bud under his shoe and kept reading emails. It was a decent revenge for Harry making him take Hunter alone to the latest round of vaccines.

Michelle found Roxy upstairs finishing getting ready. “Why were you in my room, and what is Sean planning for Valentine’s day?”

“Reasons and things,” Roxy said calmly. She put on some earrings and nodded, liking the black suit today. “Now then, stop trying to find out and ruin his surprise.”

“I hate surprises,” Michelle said.

“We all do, but he has to learn that for himself.”

“You could have told him?” Michelle suggested.

“No, there was an off chance you might like surprises from him. We required the raw data.”

“Okay, Percival Junior,” Michelle muttered. “How big a surprise is it?”

Roxy softened a little. “Little one,” she promised. “Perfectly normal Valentine’s day surprises.”

Michelle took a few breaths. “Okay,” she said. “I can handle a normal surprise.”

Roxy looked at her. “Michelle?”

Michelle shook her head. “Been a long time since there was a good surprise from a man, is all. I do remember them,” she said. “And it is Sean, it will be lovely.”

Roxy bit her lip. “Are you sure? I can spill the beans.”

“No, it’s fine, I’m sure he’s put a lot of work into it.” Michelle gave a nod and went to get Daisy going for school.

Valentine’s morning when Michelle went downstairs she had a handmade card already waiting on her plate. “Thank you, Daisy,” she said and opened it. “It is lovely.” She kissed Daisy’s head. “Now then, what is the schedule?”

“Merlin and I leave pretty much now,” Eggsy said, “and we’ll be back late on the 16th.”

“Harry and I will just stay in the city after work,” Percival said.

“We’re going to be here helping Tequila with Hunter, Zoe, and Daisy.”

“Sean is so excited!” Daisy said and clapped her hands over her mouth. “I will not be the weak link!” she shouted. She then ran out of the room.

Michelle pointed her oatmeal spoon at Eggsy. “She’s been with you too much.”

“Bye,” Eggsy said and got up and kissed her head. “Happy Valentine’s day, Mum.”

Merlin also kissed her head. “Happy Valentine’s day, Mum,” he said and they looked at each other. “Aye, it never works does it?”

“Since I’m younger than you, not really.”

“I’ll buy ye something to make up for that.”

“Thank you, dear, now have fun in Scotland,” she said.

Tilde looked at her. “A car will pick you up at 4 and take you into the city to a hotel, where you will have clothes waiting, and you will dress for a nice dinner out and then enjoy an evening in a hotel room.”

Michelle relaxed. “Okay, yeah, that sounds lovely,” she agreed. Dinner and the privacy of a hotel room. That was good, that could be handled.

Harry touched her hand. “We’ll be at the flat. Call us,” he said. “We’ll be there.”

She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Thank you.” She got up and readied Daisy for school and went into work, which was insanely busy and also profitable since Mrs. Carsons charged triple for bouquets and roses on Valentine’s day. The scent of all the roses was cloying and reminded Michelle of all the apology roses Dean gave her. She hated roses. At least the price gouging meant she’d get a nice bonus cheque. At four a black car pulled up in front of the store and a driver emerged. Cap and everything. He came into the shop. “I am here to pick up Ms. Unwin,” he said and had a card in his hand.

Michelle took her apron off and went over. He handed her the card. It was a dopey valentine’s meant for first crushes and Sean had written in that he looked forward to seeing her and that Merlin had personally checked the driver’s credentials. She nodded. “Mrs. Carsons, I’m off!”

“Have fun with the multiple orgasms!” Mrs. Carsons shouted back.

Michelle turned bright red and stared at the driver.

He smiled politely. “I am given to understand those are enjoyable,” he said.

“Right,” Michelle replied, her scent well embarrassed. “Let’s go please?”

He nodded and they went out and he held the door for her and everything and soft music played the whole drive into London. Michelle was a bit terrified where they would end up and sighed in relief when they were in Kensington and pulled up to a nice looking hotel called The Bailey’s. “Thank fuck, it isn’t the Savoy or something,” she said relieved.

“Ma’am?” The driver asked.

“Well that is just so over the top you know?”

“I thought women enjoyed over the top on Valentine’s day?”

“Some perhaps,” Michelle said. The driver stopped and came around and opened her door. “Do I have to tip you or anything?”

“No ma’am,” he reassured her. “Just enjoy your multiple orgasms.”

“Oh lord,” Michelle said and lightly punched his arm and hurried into the hotel. It was a really pretty space, welcoming, nice mix of grandmother’s knick knacks on a modern frame. She wasn’t sure what to do and went to the counter. “Hiya,” she said, “I’m Michelle Unwin. I think I have a room to go to?”

“You do,” the woman smiled. “Room 407,” she said.

“Thanks,” Michelle smiled and went up the stairs and found the room. She knocked on the door and there was Sean. “Look at you,” she said.

He grinned, a bit bashful in the new suit and opened the door wide. “Hi,” he said and ran his fingers through his hair.

Michelle walked into the room and relaxed even more. It was a nice space, a lovely room with a king bed, but again, not a full suite, nothing too insane. “This is nice,” she said. She stood on tip toes and kissed his cheek. “Happy Valentine’s day,” she said. “I don’t recognize the suit.”

“I let Harry take me shopping,” Sean replied.

“Holy buggering fuck in hell, you must love me,” she said in awe. Her scent spiked into pure happiness.

“I think I now own seven suits,” he said sadly. “And bastard wouldn’t even let me pay for one. He was so happy that he had a personal Ken doll.”

“Worth it,” Michelle said, staring at the way the grey suit fit Sean. The ice blue shirt, and black tie, it was all just… “You probably have a reservation for dinner yeah?”

“I do,” he agreed. He leaned down and gave her a thorough kiss. “At 6:30, and we can walk to it from here, so you have time to change.”

Michelle had lived with Harry and Percival long enough to know that Sean was in a casual suit, so wasn’t too worried about what she’d find hanging in the bathroom. She gave him another kiss and went in and sure enough her make up bag and a dress bag were already in there. She had a quick shower to wash work off and then was relieved Tilde had packed her own hair dryer, hotel ones were miserable. For a moment she thought about leaving her hair down but Sean had never given a fuck about all her bite marks and she wanted it up tonight. Michelle put it up in a soft bun, and used a light hand on the make up, and put on Sean’s favourite pink lipstick. She opened the garment bag and nodded, pleased.

The dress was a simple blue wrap dress to emphasize her waist. She figured it probably cost a fortune, but that she would also be very comfortable in it. There were also knickers provided, because of course there were. Oh, and nice, almost knee high boots as well. She remembered how appalled Roxy had been when she said she loved tall boots, that they made her feel powerful and sexy. They were the thing in her old neighbourhood. And Roxy with all her posh, couldn’t quite get it. But she packed them for Michelle now. The girl was owed a giant kiss when she saw her tomorrow. Michelle finished getting ready and went out to the room. Sean was sitting on the small sofa and watching telly. His tie was already loose and his hair a mess.

He was so perfect.

“Sean,” she said.

“Just a sec, the bloody bastard needs to pass the ball!” Sean gave her a brief glance and then was back to the telly. It was barely a three count and his eyes returned to Michelle. “Bwha,” was what he said.

Michelle would have bit her lip all sexy, but dammit she had done a good job on her lipstick. “Hi,” she said.

He turned off the telly. “Hi,” he replied. He stood up. “It’s not that fancy a restaurant, we could order takeaway.”

“Nope,” she said. “You got all pretty, and I’m showing you off.”

“But boots,” he said.

“And think how you’ll enjoying seeing me walk in them.”

“It’s almost five blocks, can you do it in those boots?” he asked worried, looking at the heels. It had been a dry couple of weeks and there wouldn’t be any ice, but he worried about her ankles.

“Only a small heel,” she said and laughed when he tilted his head to look. “Darling, I’m a girl who rather had a lot going on in her twenties, I can go a lot further on a lot higher heel.”

“Didn’t know you then, haven’t even seen photos really, but I think you have a lot going on right now.” He went to the wardrobe and pulled out her overcoat. “Here you go,” he said and put on his own. He kept a protective hand on her the whole way to Bumpkin, worried she’d fall, but she didn’t have a single issue. “A little impressed,” he said.

“You were married, for how long? Didn’t she wear heels?” Michelle asked.

“Those tiny ones, pussy heels?” Sean winced. “Oh I know that was wrong.”

“Kitten heels,” she said, and did not laugh. She looked at the restaurant. “This looks charming.”

“I know the owner, a little. Source meat from similar farms,” he said. He held the door open and Michelle went in. They were dressed slightly more up than the rest of the people, but not so much, she would feel awkward. Sean gave his name and they were lead to a corner table. The sat and took the menus. When they were left alone, Sean looked at her. “This hasn’t been too much of a surprise? There were hints that surprises were bad.”

“No, this is perfect,” she reassured him. “I’m not…I don’t want to talk about it tonight, but surprises have a history of being bad.” She looked at the menu. “Thank you for not filling the room with roses?”

“Do you know how much money that would have been? On Valentine’s day?” Sean said. “I love you Michelle, and I want to treat you well, but Christ on a cracker, that would have been like 400 quid. No thank you. Rather spend that money on getting you a piece of jewelry or something.”

“Tell me you didn’t buy me a four hundred quid necklace on top of all this,” she replied.

“I had Hamish make us truffles, and downloaded a couple old musicals onto my ipad for us to watch in bed.”

“You are perfect,” she said. The waiter came and they both ordered cocktails and then remembered to actually read the menu. “Sean? What looks good?”

He was scanning the options. “I vote the fixed menu for tonight. Bit of a sampler thing, gets us a little of a lot. I go option A and you go B and we can share.”

“Lovely,” she said. When they waiter returned they ordered, and then talked about everything and nothing. Sean about a new farm he had found for lamb, her about Mrs. Carson’s husband painting the family room and somehow putting a hole in the wall. They talked of Daisy and Eggsy’s pregnancy and Sean mentioned that his son had come in a couple more times and bought meat and walked away.

Michelle gave him a look. “Have you tried talking to him when he comes in? You know, more than, this is a nice piece of chicken?”

Sean gave her a virtuous look. “We briefly discussed the weather last time.” The appetizers arrived and he was relieved that it distracted her.

For a minute. “You could tell him that you miss him,” she suggested.

“I feel that was implied in the ‘brisk wind today’ comment I offered.” He ate a prawn and was pleased. “Nice,” he said. “How’s yours?”

Michelle tried hers. “Yum,” she said. “And not getting out of this.”

“I don’t want to scare him off,” Sean said after a minute. “He’s coming by, and if more occurs, then it does.”

“And your daughter?” Sean shook his head. Michelle reached out and squeezed his hand. “Well you’ve got us.”

He squeezed back. “And I’m lucky for it.”

Michelle knew to change the conversation a bit and during their mains rested her ankle against his under the table. He smiled and ducked his head a little. They were on dessert and a coffee when they were called to. “Sean?” a man said. “I can’t believe it!”

“Bugger,” Sean whispered and shot Michelle a look of panic and heartbreak. He then turned and smiled politely. “Jason,” he said and he looked a little behind the man. “Robyn, how nice to see you.”

Jason came over and actually hugged him. Sean realized that he had perhaps been spending too much time with Harry and Merlin when his first thought was which ribs he could slide a knife through. He wondered when he had even picked up that knowledge. Sean and Robyn just stared at each other for a moment. “Who’s this then?” Jason asked and held out a hand to Michelle. “Hi, I’m Jason.”

“Michelle,” she replied and shook his hand. “How do you do?”

“Well, well,” he said. “What are the chances, huh? Sean are you in London again?” The host came over and Jason smiled. “Hey can we have this table next to them?” The host nodded and Jason and Robyn sat down. “Well this is cozy,” he said.

“Cozy is certainly a word for it,” Sean agreed and settled back down. He figured it was twenty minutes at most.

Robyn gave Michelle a glacial stare. “You look well Sean,” Robyn finally said.

“You as well,” he replied. He felt Michelle press her ankle against his again and relaxed just a bit. “How’s the law firm?”

Jason beamed. “She was made partner!”

“Congratulations,” Sean said sincerely. “I know how much you wanted it. Should have happened years ago.”

“It should have, but I did have to take all that time off after you left, to help the children cope, it backed up my plans by a few years,” she said.

There was an awkward silence and then Jason coughed. “Michelle, what is it you do for a living?”

“Work in a flower shop a block over from Sean’s store,” Michelle said.

“Oh I bet you’ve been dreadfully busy the last few days,” Jason joked. “Want to choke any panicked men with some flowers?”

Michelle laughed. “One or two,” she agreed.

“Well bet you get sick of flowers,” Robyn said. “And a boon for Sean, because when he forgets an important anniversary, he can excuse it that you already are surrounded by flowers.”

“Robyn,” Jason chided. He looked at Sean, “And how’s your shop doing?”

“Really well,” Sean said. “The blog has upped traffic a good bit, had to hire a second worker. Twitch, is an…interesting person, but he and Mikey are getting on like a house afire.” Sean looked at Michelle. “I actually have a spot of good news as well.”

“Oh, shop almost in the black?” Robyn asked sweetly. She froze a little at the murderous glare Michelle gave her. She didn’t expect Sean’s tart to look so scary.

“No, been in the black for years,” Sean said calmly. “Actually, with the blog success, decided to call my old book agent. Sent him a couple chapters from the new book I’ve been working on. He liked it and took it about. Old publisher not interested, not famous enough anymore, but there is a small publishing house, actually pretty interested, and looks like I’ll be signing a contract in the next couple weeks.” Sean blushed a little.

Michelle squealed. “Sean! That’s incredible. Oh my god, baby!” She couldn’t stop herself and got up and went around the table to give him a giant hug and snog. She pulled away and grinned at him. “I’m so proud of you.” She sat back down. “Oh we have to celebrate. The pack will lose its mind.”

Robyn looked at him. “You hate packs, find them antiquated and useless. Said you’d never bend your neck for one.”

“Haven’t yet,” Sean said. “They just pull you on in.”

“They’re sort of like malaria,” Michelle explained. “Get in, and just never leave.”

Jason laughed at that and they ordered food and Sean asked for their bill, wanting to be gone before the whole night was ruined.

“So your pack shares you, that explains all the bites on your neck,” Robyn said. “Explains why Sean went for someone so much younger than him.”

“Jesus Robyn, what the hell?” Sean asked.

Jason was looking at Robyn in shock. “Robyn, it’s been how long? I thought we were at bygones be bygones point.”

“Especially since you were the one stepping out on Sean,” Michelle said sweetly. “Actually a bit surprised, because this is the bloke you were shagging in your marriage bed right? Rather thought you’d have moved on.”

Sean stared at Michelle in surprise. “Uhhh…” he had to admit he had no idea what to do. He looked for the waiter who of course was nowhere to be seen.

“Formerly semi famous chefs, don’t have money, and that will have dried up years ago,” Robyn said. The two women were completely ignoring the men with them. “Your sort doesn’t seem like the type to stay where there is no money.”

“My sort?” Michelle asked. Her tone was dangerous.

Robyn looked at her neck again. “Though I suppose late 30s, looking to latch onto anything before the looks are completely gone. And you can live with the disappointment of him being distant and let’s be real, not that good in bed.” At this point the tables around them were listening in and Jason was clearly regretting coming over.

Sean made a noise low in his throat and Jason and Robyn stared at him in shock. The neutral beta never had growled, even when he had found them in bed together. “You will not speak to my mate like that,” Sean warned.

“She isn’t your mate,” Robyn replied. "Neutral beta, you can't even mate, not really." She sneered at Michelle. “I’ve seen the blog, you use your daughter to latch onto Sean, hook him in, playing on his guilt over his real kids. You’ll take him for the little money he has and then what?” Robyn couldn’t even explain why she was saying all this. But Daniel had mentioned starting to see Sean, and there was the blog with him looking all happy, and now running into them. She just was so angry that he was giving someone else everything he didn’t give her.

Michelle tilted her head and blinked.

“Oh fuck the tilt and blink,” Sean said. “Waiter!” he shouted. He didn’t care how many eyes were now staring at them. He had to get them out of there before she went full Harry or Merlin.

“Thank you,” Michelle said.

“Thank you? You are so thick you don’t realize I was insulting you? Jesus Sean since when do you like dumb bottle blondes?”

“Robyn, what the fuck? This isn’t you,” Sean said stunned. The waiter came over with the bill. Sean reached for it and Michelle gently took the black folder. She put her platinum card in it and handed it back.

“I’m sorry, I thought -” Jason shook his head. “I don’t know what I thought. Robyn’s been under stress, our grandbaby has been sick and -” Jason watched Sean flinched and remembered that it was actually Sean’s grandchild. “Shit, Sean.”

Robyn shook his head. “It is your grandchild, Jason, not his,” she snapped. “And why did you thank me? And what are you proving paying with what is probably a card Sean gave you?”

“I’m thanking you because you proved my skin care regimen is working. Mid-forties, not late thirties,” Michelle said. The waiter came back and she signed and gave a very generous tip. “For causing a scene on Valentine’s day,” she explained when the waiter glanced the amount.

“Not been that much of a scene ma’am,” he said.

Michelle smiled at him. “It is about to become one,” she explained. She turned her gaze properly to Robyn. “Now, I get it. It is damn hard to run into an ex when out and about, especially on a day like Valentine’s day,” she began.

“I’m sure you would know all about that,” Robyn replied.

“Oh no, now you stop talking and listen,” Michelle said and it came out in Merlin’s cadence.

“Michelle, we can just go, she doesn’t matter,” Sean said, and realized in that moment it was true. “You are what matters.”

Michelle didn’t even look at him. “I love you,” she said. Her scent in an instant went angry, which on an omega is an acrid thing and the tables near them flinched away. “That credit card isn’t from him. I have far more money than he does. That is the card for the pack account. The Mathe pack, which is mentioned on the blog. And if you looked them up, at all, you would know we own a very successful video game company, have a man in our pack with 4 or so titles, whose cousin sits in the House of Lords, and is on a first name basis with several princes. And of course one member of our pack is a fucking Princess of Sweden. So if anything, Sean, is using me for my pack’s money and influence. He could be consider my toy if you wanted to put it in those terms. Except of course he isn’t, because he is a good man. How small are you to attack him like that? He did you wrong, but you know what, and I know you know this, you did him wrong too.” Robyn opened her mouth and Michelle reached over and took Jason’s steak knife and just started tossing it in the air. Everyone just watched the blade spinning in the air and her not looking at it catching it easily. Robyn stayed quiet. “Sean is a good man,” Michelle said, “and I’m lucky to be his, and he is lucky to be mine. You will be furious at yourself later for being so wretched tonight. And I just want you to know, you’ll be even sorrier if you are ever this wretched again. Because if you ever talk to us again like this, the audit you had a few months ago, will seem like a joy ride. If you call me names again, or treat Sean as inferior in any way, you will be destroyed. Financially, emotionally, in any way you can imagine, I will see you ruined. And when you are in the gutter, and try to apologize, I will laugh in your face and leave you to drown there.” Michelle pointed to her neck. “This bite? That man he tried to destroy me. He beat me, raped me, let his friends do what they wanted to me. He tried to murder our daughter when she was still in my belly. And we survived. And I destroyed him instead, put him in jail, and he died there, in very odd circumstances, for what he did to me. Do you want to be odd circumstances?” Robyn shook her head no. “Then fucking leave off then.” Michelle stood up. “Enjoy your Valentine’s dinner,” she said and caught the knife with one last flick and slammed the blade into their table. She walked out of the restaurant without waiting for Sean, without looking back.

Sean stared at them and just shrugged. “Jason, I’m glad you are well,” he said. “Robyn?”

“Huh?” she said completely shaken.

“Treat me like shit again, try to stop what Daniel and I are repairing and I’ll just let her loose on you,” Sean said. “Happy Valentine’s Day.” He grabbed their coats and went outside. He had to run to catch up to Michelle she was already a block up. He put the coat over her shoulders. “You know, I thought the chicken a little dry,” he said.

Michelle stopped and turned and looked at him. The heels helped but she still had to look up at him. “I couldn’t. She can’t…I’m not trash.”

“No, you aren’t,” he agreed.

“You aren’t either. And all the shots she was taking at me, were really about you,” Michelle said. “And no one is allowed to treat our pack like crap.”

Sean didn’t deny that was what he was. He cupped her face and kissed her. “Christopher talked crap about her when she and I broke up, but no one has ever stood up for me like that. All our friends took her side in the divorce, the kids…it just all fell apart, and you know what? She helped it fall apart.”

“She did,” Michelle agreed. “She’s dreadful.”

“She isn’t, at least...she's not always dreadful,” Sean said. “She’s just…she had a dream of how we would be. And then it wasn’t what you expect a dream to be. It was never a nightmare, it was just…”

“Life?” Michelle said.

“Yeah,” Sean nodded a little. They started to walk back to the hotel. “I know it doesn’t compare to what you went through -”

“But it still sucked,” Michelle said.

“It did, and I never let myself think about how much I got fucked over in it all,” Sean said. “Gee, isn’t this a fun Valentine’s?”

“Trust me, I’ve had worse.”

“One day, if you ever need to, you can tell me you know,” he held her hand and kissed her fingers.

“One day, maybe,” she agreed. They were almost at the hotel. “Want her murdered?”

“I thought our pack wasn’t supposed to joke about that sort of thing?” Sean held the hotel door open for her.

“Who said I was joking?” Michelle countered.

Sean shook his head. “No murder,” he said. “Let’s just forget it?”

Michelle absolutely wasn’t going to forget it, and would make sure the pack wouldn’t either. This woman was in for a world of hurt. “Of course. And you know, in all that mess, I do believe I remember hearing some good news. Something about contracts for a cook book?”

Sean smiled and ran his hand through his hair. “Small press, limited run, but yeah. It’s gonna get published.”

“They’ll have to do multiple printings. Especially if we let Roxy loose on the marketing.”

“I’m sure they have a marketing team,” Sean said.

“Oh, it’s cute that you think we won’t all get heavily involved in making you a success.” Michelle kissed his cheek and he opened the door.

“Success is secondary,” he said. “I just hope the book helps bring some families together, teaches them about how awesome food is when cooked together.”

“She was a fool, to not see how sweet you are,” Michelle said softly. She sat on the chair to take off her boots.

“I wasn’t this sweet back then, I lost it for a while,” He stared at her legs. “They could stay on for a bit?” he suggested.

Michelle stood up and there was extra sway in her hips when she went over to him. “No more exes talk tonight I think.”

“I can get behind that,” he said. He bent and nuzzled her neck. His nose dragged over the bites. “I’ve never cared a whit about these,” he whispered.

“I know,” she said. She wrapped her arms around him. “We’re you and me. Who we were before, shaped who we’ve become. Sean, the you and me in this room? They are magnificent.”

“You are,” he said.

Michelle shook her head. “She’s done in your brain." Michelle knew she wasn't the only one who carried ghosts in her head, who whispered nasty things in the dark of night. "We are mighty, and loving, and a team that will conquer whatever comes before us and slay our enemies and dance in their entrails.”

Sean leaned his forehead against hers. “That was a little Harry-esque.”

“He isn’t wrong about love. You fall in love, and you fight for that love, every day.”

“Is it cool if I mostly let you slay the dragons? Because frankly you are a lot more badass than me,” Sean said. “What the fuck was with that knife throwing? It was scary and sexy.”

“I’ve seen you with a cleaver,” she said. “Pretty fierce.”

“I’ll slay the baby dragons,” he offered. “You handle the big ones.” Michelle’s scent went odd and Sean worried that he said the wrong thing. “I mean, I can slay your dragons, and I just…oh crap, I’ll support you, and just, I don’t even know what I meant,” he started to babble.

Michelle kissed him. “No man, has ever, ever believed, I could take care of myself, take care of them. No one has believed in me like you do. That is the best Valentine’s gift ever, baby.”

“Wait until you try the chocolates,” he suggested.

“Want me to eat those in just my knickers and boots?”

“Oh yes, please,” Sean said. “How naked do you want me to be?”

“Go for sexy disheveled, loose tie, rolled up sleeves for right now,” she suggested.

Sean kissed her and did as she asked. Because he always would try to do what she asked.