Note before Reading: This is the third book in the series. Please start with Rein: The Spring of Jacer.
Rein put down his pencil and scanned over his answer sheet to make sure he answered every question. Once he was satisfied, the young man stood up and calmly walked up to the teacher's desk to turn his last high school final exam that he would ever have to take. The middle aged woman looked over the answer sheet before nodding up to him. "I'll see you on graduation day." She stated.
"Thank you, Mrs. Tillman." Rein whispered before heading back to his seat to gather up his things and leave.
He went straight to his car. No need to go to his locker. The thing had been emptied of his personal belongings earlier that week and his last text book had been turned in. There was no need to wait his brother. Fin had made arrangements to catch a ride home with friends. So Rein rushed him to get everything ready.
Coryn was coming to visit for the very first time.
It was exciting for Rein and he wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Well, it was going to be an exciting next few weeks. Tonight Coryn was coming. In four days Rein was graduating and that night they were going camping with friends and Fin. Then at the end of the following week he and Coryn were finally getting married.
Life was good.
No one was home when Rein got there. His brother and little sister were still at school. His father was in Ethentia handling matters as Lord Asby and his mother… She was usually up to her own schemes.
Rein first went to the garage and up to his little apartment. Everything was neat as he made sure there was nothing out of place. That and it didn't smell like a locker room. Not that ever would be a problem but he was a guy who did sweat a lot after an intense workout. Thanks to his mother's strict rules, Rein was never a slob.
Once satisfied, Rein went into the house to ensure the guest room was ready, and it was four days ago. There were clothes Nadya had picked up for Coryn in the dresser and in the closet. It was just enough for a day or so but Rein had intended to take Coryn shopping tomorrow while Fin was in school.
"Rein?" His mother called from downstairs.
Rein rushed down to find Nadya putting away groceries. "Yeah, I'm home."
Nadya smiled. Her hazel eyes shone with pride. "You're done?"
He nodded. "Graduation on Sunday and then I'll live at Hounds Hall fulltime." Rein went to help his mother put away things.
"Have you decided what you want to do about the honeymoon?"
Rein shook his head. "I was going to talk to Coryn about that tonight. There's her family's villa in Lavares. It's hers but she's never been there. It's nice and warm and tropical. Then again I could take her anywhere here on Earth or Ethentia."
"Tell us what you decide and your father and I will see to everything." Nadya stated as she folded and put away her fabric shopping bags.
Rein finished putting things away in the cabinet. "Do you need help with dinner?" He asked.
"No, I've got everything prepped." She smiled at him. "Relax. Nothing is going to go wrong tonight. I know Coryn is going to have fun."
Rein sighed. "I should go get them now, shouldn't I?"
"Go on." Nadya smiled.
Rein returned the smile. "Keep Bree out of my room. It's already going to be sensory overload as it is. I don't need her driving Coryn crazy."
Nadya laughed. "Go on, Rein. We're going out tonight to let you and Coryn have a quiet dinner. We'll be back at nine."
Rein's eyes widened. "Really?"
She nodded. "I think a quiet first night would be good."
"Thanks." Rein then took a deep and shifted across dimensions and landed in Hounds Hall. He walked through his ancestral home to find his father and betrothed in the main hall playing with the newest batch of puppies Marcel and Rein had brought over from Earth. Coryn was playing with a tiny little dachshund puppy. The tiny little thing thought he was some ferocious beast the it went after the scrape of rope.
Rein crept up behind Coryn and wrapped his arms around her. "Hello, beautiful." He whispered.
Coryn turned in his arms and kissed her cheek. "You're here."
He nodded. "I'm done and now I'm all yours." He stated with a satisfied smile. "Are you ready to go?"
Coryn nodded with a broad smile. "I'm so excited to see the world you grew up in."
"I can't wait to show you." Rein let go. "But first…" He put a hand in his father's shoulder. Marcel nodded. They shifted to Earth without Coryn. Rein left his father in the kitchen with Nadya before shifting back to Coryn.
They stood alone in the hall. Coryn stood in a simple yellow and white kirtle. It was something she was comfortable in and one of Rein's favorite dresses. He pulled her to him. "We're going to my room." He explained. "Then we'll go from there when you're ready." The reason Rein had chosen to start in his room was because it was his private sanctuary. He thought if she was in someplace he felt safe, she would too.
Rein tightened his hold on her. "Close your eyes and don't open them until I tell you." He shifted back to Earth with her this time after he made sure she had her eyes closed. He looked around his room briefly and then down at Coryn who still had her eyes tightly closed. "Keep your eyes closed." He stated as he backed away.
Coryn pouted playfully but did as she was told. Once he was in place he said, "Open them."
She opened her deep blue eyes. She took everything in as she turned slowly. "Wow, things are so different."
"Yeah." Rein stepped up to her. He took her hand and coaxed her to walk around the room with him. He pointed out things that he had told her about like the television, his computer. He showed her how to work the electric lights and where to find light switches.
He showed her the car that pulled up to the house to drop Fin off from school. "Will I get to ride in one of those?" Coryn asked excitedly.
Rein smiled and nodded. "Of course. I'll be driving you to the mall tomorrow so we can get you some more clothes."
"Mall?" She asked.
"Oh yeah," he chewed on his lip. "I like a market place."
"Will we have enough time to have clothes made?"
"Oh no, we buy clothes already made." He shrugged. "This world is big on convenience." Rein then noticed his parents and Fin leaving.
They waved up at them. Rein opened the window. "All of you getting Breanna?"
"We'll be back tonight at nine." Marcel called back. "Welcome to Earth, Princess."
"Thank you, milord." Coryn smiled cheerfully.
"It's Marcel or Dad now." Marcel called back. "There's no lords and ladies here."
"I'll do my best to remember that." She then turned to Rein as his family climbed in their SUV and drove off.
"You ready to see more?" Rein asked.
Rein showed her all over the house and how things worked. The shower absolutely fascinated her that was until he taught her about bubble baths. That was something she couldn't wait to try. So Rein backed away. "Dinner won't be ready for a while." He stated. "How about you try a bath now while no one is home. I'll be downstairs to keep an eye on the food. "Come down when you're ready."
Coryn smiled at the thought and nodded. Rein started the bath and put in the soap. She went to get her clothed and once he stepped out Coryn eagerly went in. As he went downstairs, he made a note to make sure to buy bubble bath for Coryn along with any other girlly stuff she might like to go with it. Just what fragrance would she like?
Rein made his way into the kitchen and noticed the note from his mother. It was instructions on what to do and how to serve dinner. He then checked on the oven and stirred what was on the stove. After a while, he heard Coryn leave the bathroom upstairs. He decided to go ahead and start to set the table. The private dinner was definitely not what he had expected. Then again, he and Coryn had never had dinner like this. They'd never really been on a date. But then again, couples in Ethentia didn't date.
No, he and Coryn usually had a chaperone of some type around. Even when they were in a closed room or traveling there was always someone else nearby. Usually it was Coryn's maid Staisa. That was why Rein was surprised when his family had left them alone. Then again, he and Coryn weren't actually the young teenagers they appeared to be. Rein was now almost twenty-one and Coryn was a few months into her twentieth year. Not only could Rein hop back and forth between worlds, he could also jump time. There were a few rules such as he couldn't travel to a time he had already been in. Hence the reason Rein was still eighteen according to Earth. Although, if someone wanted to get really technical Rein was seventeen and Coryn was sixteen because their names were written in an enchanted cook that kept them from physically aging. After the wedding, the pair planned to have their names stricken from the Book of the Ageless at least until they aged up so they would no longer be perceived as the children they appeared to be.
Coryn came down the stairs just as Rein finished setting the table. He stood straight as she wore a pair of blue jeans and a cute pink and white t-shirt. Her long black hair was pulled back into a barrette. "You look nice." He stated.
"So women can wear breeches here?" She asked.
"Pants. If you call them breeches, people might look at you funny." He stated with a laugh. "And yes, what you're wearing is what most girls wear."
"Supper smells delicious." She sniffed the air.
"It won't be ready for another hour." Rein stated.
"I'm surprised you have no dogs here." She said as she walked to the window in the living room.
"Yeah, we didn't while I was growing up because Dad didn't have access to a Book of the Ageless. Now when we get a dog we take it right to Hounds Hall." Rein explained.
"Because Fin's thinking about staying in Ethentia instead of going back to school. Then Mom and Dad thought that if he decides to go, the whole family will just go too."
Coryn's eyes widened. "Then you all will leave all this behind and not come back?"
Rein shrugged. "We can come back if you want, but Ethentia is our home. It's where we belong. He guided her to the couch to sit. "In this world Mom, Fin, and I have to be very careful to not reveal our magic. Sorcerers don't exist. Magic here is nothing but illusions. I especially have to be careful because I barely have to think for my magic to work. I've caught myself shifting from time to time when I was think hard about a place. I've ended up in Rome a few times while working on a paper for school."
"A city on the other side of an ocean." He stated flatly. "Anyway if I were caught, things could be disastrous."
"Oh." She looked down. "So, Ethentia is a safe place for you."
"Coryn, I want to live in Ethentia because it is where you are. It is our home."
He pulled her back to relax with him. "So how are things back home since I've had to be out of touch because of exams and all."
"Oh." Coryn giggled. "I think you were right about Dannette and my brother." She turned on the couch to face him sitting on her knees. Rein smiled at how bouncy she was from being so giddy.
She leaned in. "Dannette was giving my brother yet another one of her famous tongue lashings." Coryn then rolled her eyes. "I don't know about what but knowing my brother, he deserved it."
"Knowing him." Rein laughed with her. The goings on between King Cadryn and the maid Dannette had been a bit of personal entertainment for Rein and Coryn since Dannette served as Cadryn's nurse shortly after Rein had rescued him from imprisonment after the Hordes of Merca had taken the city of Galvan.
Since the moment the king came under the kind and gently Dannette's care, he pushed her buttons no man had ever been able to do before. It was the first time Rein had ever seen the woman become cross with someone or even raise her voice and she dared to do it to her king.
Coryn asked Rein once why her brother antagonized the maid so? They fought and butted heads constantly. Despite that, Cadryn had asked Dannette to serve as his personal maid in Galvan after they managed to take the city back.
Rein answer to all that was that he guessed they liked one another. Coryn scoffed at the idea but Rein went on to explain. Cadryn probably knows he's drawn to her and knew the moment he saw her and tried to run her off and she was probably too stubborn to back down.
Coryn found holes in his theory. If Cadryn wanted to run her off, why then did he ask her to serve him permanently. Rein couldn't help but smile at his answer. Cadryn probably riles her up now just to see her angry. He probably likes to see her all stirred up. Rein certainly liked it when he could get Coryn all ruffled.
All theories set aside Rein asked his father about the situation but Marcel just replied that they should just stay out of it.
"Anyway," Coryn went on with her story, "I was supposed to meet with my brother but I stayed hidden seeing the fight. Too curious and all."
"You, never." Rein teased.
Coryn rolled her eyes. "Then I saw it."
"Cadryn grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her." Coryn stated. "I honestly didn't know my brother had it in him."
Rein smiled. "From the stories I heard he was a very passionate man before his wife was killed."
"You think that's why he tries to deny his feelings?" She asked.
"Could be." He shrugged.
Coryn nodded ant turned to lean back into the cushions. She sat quiet for a while deep in thought. Rein just watched her. He loved seeing her think things through. She'd chew on the pad of her thumb. Her brows would furrow. Her eyes seemed to go a darker shade of blue.
Then she looked up at him. "I hope my brother moves on. I'd like to see him and Dannette happy and maybe have a few babies."
"Then you would no longer be his heir." Rein added.
"Good riddance." Coryn waved dismissively. "I've had my taste of the throne. The idea of just being Lady Asby is just fine for me." She then looked to Rein. "I'd be more than happy to be an advisor for my nephew or niece of course, but they can have the throne."
Rein smiled. "Good because the idea of being king was a bit daunting." He then leaned in to kiss her. "You should tell your brother how you feel."
"I should." Coryn frowned. "I'd hate to be the reason my brother won't seize his happiness."
Rein pulled her into him and shook his head. "No, you wouldn't be the reason. Just an excuse because he might be too afraid to admit the real reason."
The couple sat in silence for some time until the alarm for the oven started to go off. Rein put everything out on the table and filled Coryn's plate.
"This is wonderful." She said as she dug in.
Rein took a bite of the roast. "I'll be sure to tell Mom." He then cleared his throat. "So after the wedding, where do you want to go? Do you want to go somewhere in Ethentia or here on Earth?"
Coryn took a moment to think. "I don't really know."
"We could do both." Rein suggested. "We could go to your villa for a few weeks."
"I'd like to go." Coryn stated. "I've never been even though it was given to me at birth."
"Then we'll go." He stated. "And we'll go anytime you want afterwards."
Coryn smiled at the thought before going back to eating. They ate in companionable silence. Then after their meal, Rein stated to clear the table.
"Let me help." Coryn took her own plate.
They cleaned the kitchen and put away the leftovers. They chatted about their plans for Coryn's stay. She was honestly excited about meeting his friends from this world and finally meeting his little sister Breanna. Of course cleaning up took longer than it should mostly due to their flirting. Once they finally got it all done.
Rein took her to the den where they sat and watched a movie. Of course Coryn was fascinated by everything so he kept it safe with keeping the TV on sitcoms and romantic comedies.
They stayed like that for the rest of the evening. Rein had his shoes off and was stretched out on the couch with Coryn curled up at his side. His family came home shortly after nine o'clock. Marcel had to carry Bree in to keep her from running through the house to find Coryn. Fin heard the TV in the den and went to check on the couple to find them asleep. Nadya peeked in behind him.
The younger Asby son walked in and touched his brother's shoulder. Rein jumped slightly and opened his eyes. Fin hated to wake his brother. Rein had always had a hard time sleeping.
Rein started to sit up but stopped when he realized Coryn was asleep on his chest. "What time is it?"
"After nine. We just got home." Fin stated.
Rein turned to see his mother standing in the door. He then gently woke Coryn. She sat up sleepily and looked around to remember where she was. Then she saw Fin and smiled. "You're home."
Fin smiled back. "And I have a very eager little sister dying to meet her fist real princess." Coryn took Rein's offered hand and walked out to meet his little sister. Breanna finally broke free of her father and ran up to Coryn. "Hello, young miss Asby."
Bree looked up to Rein. He kept hold of Coryn's hand. "Bree, this is Coryn, my betrothed."
Breanna looked up at Coryn. "You're really going to marry my brother?"
"Of course." Coryn said as she looked up to Rein.
"Cool!" Bree cheered loudly and startled Coryn. "I'm gonna have a princess for a sister."
Marcel scooped his daughter up. "Okay, you'll see Coryn at breakfast. Time for bed."
"Aw." She whined as she was carried upstairs.
Nadya looked around the kitchen. "You cleaned up the kitchen." She looked to Rein.
He shrugged. "Something to do."
"Please tell me you didn't let Coryn help." She turned a suspicious eye to her eldest child.
"Why not?" Coryn asked after Rein flinched guiltily.
"You are a guest in my home." Nadya replied.
"I'm about to marry your son." Coryn stated with her chin up. She was a head shorter than Nadya but she was going to see the woman eye to eye. "In two weeks, I'll be his wife. I don't think that makes me a guest."
Nadya frowned. "Even so, you are a guest in my house."
"And I will happily help out." Coryn stated with finality in her tone.
Rein stood back and smiled. Nadya sighed and started upstairs. "I better make sure Bree is getting ready.
Rin was leaning on the wall with a smile. "Well, good to see Coryn won't bow down to the in-laws."
Rein pulled Coryn to him. "What did you guys do?"
"Summer clothes shopping for Bree, pizza and a movie with talking animals."
"Animals talk?" Coryn asked.
Rein kissed the top of her head. "No, it's called a voice over. An actor's voice is recorded and played back to make it seem that the animal is talking."
"You working out in the morning?" Fin asked his brother.
"Like Dad would let me get out of it." Rein laughed. "Knowing him, he'd track me down on my honeymoon to make sure I kept up with my exercises."
"Sh… Don't give the man any ideas." Fin hushed him and looked up the stairs cautiously. "I don't really care about you but I want to get married someday and I don't want good ol' pops showing up."
Coryn laughed when Rein flinched with his brother. Marcel was quite known to be relentless in training his sons. "This isn't funny, Princess. He'd do it." Rein shushed her.
"Then he'd have one very unhappy daughter-in-law."
The brothers laughed. Fin sighed. "I've got some studying to do. I'll see you two in the morning."
Rein looked to Coryn. "You want to go on to bed?"
"I should." She looked up the stairs.
Rein squeezed her hand. "I'll be down in the den to be nearby."
"You should sleep in your own bed." She protested. "I'll be fine." She stretched up on her toes to kiss him on the cheek. "Good night, milord."
"Good night my delicate flower."