Chapter Forty-One

One Year Later

Early in the morning, I always liked to sit on the deck with my coffee, watching as the waves slowly rolled into the beach. The sun was beginning to rise over the horizon, bringing upon another day. A good, blessed day.

"Hey," a voice said, sitting on the swing next to me. I smiled up at Lysander, who held his own cup of coffee.

"Hey yourself."

"Your mom is starting to make breakfast. She kicked me out of the kitchen," he said as I nestled against his side, resting my head against his chest as he wrapped his free arm around my stomach. "I got a letter yesterday."

My coffee cup paused halfway to my lips. "Oh?"

He nodded, taking a sip of his coffee. "I think I should go see him."

I sat up straight again, turning so I could look at him. "I want to come."

"I don't think that's a good idea, Adelaide," Lysander said wearily. "He's finally coming to terms with everything. I think it's best that we ease into this."

I shook my head, looking down at the liquid in my cup, before back up at him. "He's there because of me. I've put him through so much. I'm part of the reason he's as messed up as he is."

"No," Lysander said sharply. I flinched, involuntarily moving away from him. He closed his eyes, composing himself. "I'm sorry, Adelaide." He put his hand on my knee, squeezing it lightly. "Look, you are not the reason that Piers is the way that he is. That is because of his father. Gideon messed up a lot of people during his reign of terror. All of the blame rests on him because we're all messed up in some form by what he has done to us as a whole. You are not allowed to blame yourself."

"I messed with his head, Lys," I said softly. "I was the one who used him. He no doubt knows that I was the primary mastermind behind the assassination. I didn't pull the trigger, but I was the one who planted the seed. I am the reason his father is dead."

"And you are the reason that we are all free now," Lysander said. "Octavia is doing an amazing job running the kingdom. After years of suppression and living with Gideon, she is the one who person who knows what the people of this kingdom needs. Piers was his father's puppet. For so much of his life, he was not controlling his own destiny. Now he is able to do so and that is going to take some time for him to become adjusted to."

I sighed, resting my forehead against Lysander's shoulder. "I want to help him."

"Giving him time is helping him," Lysander assured me as he set his mug down and pulled me onto his lap. "You are helping him."

I kissed him softly, the deeper, pulling him close to me. I wanted him to know that I was going to always remember all he had done for me. I wanted him to know that I appreciated him so much, that I loved him so much.

I drew away, looking down at his hand on my ever-growing stomach. Time truly does help to heal all wounds. It had taken Lysander and I many months before we decided that we wanted to bring a child into the world, even though we were not yet married. We were waiting for the kingdom to become more stable in order to plan the perfect wedding that we each should have had in the first place.

The kingdom had a long ways to go. We were both well aware of that, but with each of us now working in the Queen's court, we knew that it was heading in the correct direction. Never would we return to the terrifying world that we had lived in before. Never would we allow for our people to be suppressed. Everyone had a voice in the how the kingdom operated because we were all members of it. It did not matter if you were a man or a woman. Everyone was equal.

And that was what mattered.

Some who did not remember the old ways were having a more difficult time adjusting. Some who had been close to the king were struggling. We were going to be there for them, though. We were going to offer them the care and guidance that they required to adjust to the world that we now all lived in.

We would become a well-respected kingdom, not for the fear that we were able to inflict, but for the strength we had. The people of the kingdom were stronger than Gideon could have ever seen. He would never have won in the end. He would have been defeated.

"Lysander," I murmured, looking up at him. He looked down at me, smiling softly.

"Hm?"

"Thank you," I said, cupping his cheek in my hand. He arched an eyebrow. "If you hadn't trusted me with your truth, I wouldn't have been able to lean on you. I wouldn't have found the ability to trust in another person."

He pulled my head to his, kissing me deeply, holding onto my head as though he were afraid that I was going to slip through his fingers. And I held onto him. Because I wasn't going to lose him.

While I was writing Sage in the Sea, I created a Spotify playlist of songs that I used to set the mood for certain scenes. Below is a list of those songs. Thank you for reaching the end of the story that has taken me over a year to write. I hope that you have enjoyed the journey as much as I did. ~Dana

Blood / / Water – grandson

Keeper of the Flame – Miranda Lambert

Cry Pretty – Carrie Underwood

Little Victories – Malia Civetz

Nothing Compares 2 U – Prince

Queens Don't – Raelynn

Break First – Tim Mcgraw, Faith Hill

The Last of the Real Ones – Fall Out Boy

Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea – Fall Out Boy

One Foot – WALK THE MOON

Welcome to the Show – Adam Lambert, Laleh

Ghost – Ella Handerson

Break First – Tim McGraw, Faith Hill

…Ready for it? – Taylor Swift

Most Girls – Hailee Steinfeld

Tornado – Lea Michele

Red High Heels – Kellie Pickler

(F*** A) Silver Lining – Panic! At the Disco

Quarter Past Midnight – Bastille

Water on the Bridge – Chelsea Cutler

broken – lovelytheband

Crossing a Line – Mike Shinoda

The Rest of Our Life – Tim McGraw, Faith Hill

I Feel Like I'm Drowning – Two Feet

The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

1950 – King Princess

There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back – Shawn Mendes

Fighter – Christina Aguilera

So What – P!nk

Crying in the Club – Camila Cabello

Glorious – Machlemore, Skylar Grey

Never Be the Same – Camila Cabello

Brokenhearted – William Michael Morgan

She's So Gone – Naomi Scott

Preacher Man – The Driver Era

Heart Full of Scars – Rebecca Black

Stitches – Laura Bell Bundy

That Song That We Used to Make Love To – Carrie Underwood

Brick by Boring Brick – Paramore

Ghost – Badflower

I'll Be There – Jess Glynne

Lonely Call – Raelynn

In My Blood – Shawn Mendes

Ruin – MTV Unplugged – Shawn Mendes