They were halfway across the deck when Owen stopped her and tilted her face up toward his with a finger beneath her chin.
“Lydia…” His fingers ghosted over her face, tracing her nose and lips. “I don’t want you to be nervous.”
She forced out a quiet chuckle. “That’s going to be hard.”
His thumb stroked her cheekbone, and she moved into the touch. “No, it really is not. If you’re here, then you’ve decided to go through with it, yes?”
This was it, she realized. Her throat constricted. This was the moment when she could say she had made a mistake and walk away. He would know she was chickening out of it, but it would be better than not being sure.
Except… she was sure.
Owen nodded as though he hadn’t expected anything different—as though long seconds hadn’t passed between his question and her quiet answer. “Then that’s all there is to it. The important thing is that you want it. The rest will sort itself out in time.”
“That’s easy for you to say.” She was unable to keep an edge of accusation from her words. Owen inclined his head. “Yes, it is, because I’ve gone through the same thing. I was as scared as you are now. I wondered if I was making a mistake just as much.”
She wanted to protest—she didn’t think she was making a mistake, she was sure of herself and of the decision she had made—but Owen continued softly and she was loath to interrupt him. He was sharing more about his siring than he ever had when she had asked a few hesitant questions.
“And I didn’t even have the assurance that my Sire would love me. She just cared about my paintings; there was nothing more to our relationship.”
A hint of old pain crinkled the corners of his eyes and drew his eyebrows closer. She couldn’t stop herself from reaching up and smoothing the unhappy lines with her fingertips until his forehead was smooth again, his eyes, clear.
“You and I…” He pressed his hand on top of hers, holding it to his face. “We have more, don’t we?”
… continued in Second Vision of Destiny