“So Maggie is making a full recovery?” Kat ate another bite of donut. “Mmm, delicious.”
“You say that about everything you eat,” Olivia said with a laugh.
“Just feeding my boys.” Kat winced and put a hand to her very round belly. “Settle down, you two! I’m eating as fast as I can.” She looked at Liv and shrugged. “See? Can’t help it—they want Krispy Kreme donuts. So—Maggie?”
“I’ve been keeping a good eye on her at the Med station and she’s getting better every day. It’s a miracle, really. There were some recording devices stationed in the town square and I saw what happened to her—she should have died of those injuries. All she had was some blood loss.”
“According to her, she did die,” Becca Malone said quietly. “She claims she was brought back for a purpose.”
“I believe it,” Kat said, looking uncharacteristically somber. “The Goddess spared my life too, you know—she did it for Deep when he offered to switch places with me and die in my stead.”
“That’s exactly what Maggie said Kor told her that he was thinking…or praying or whatever, when Lissa started channeling the Goddess,” Liv said.
“The Goddess recognizes and rewards self-sacrifice—especially when it’s between a bonded pair,” Kat remarked. She looked at Becca. “Hey, you were almost a nun—what do you think about all this?”
“I think Maggie is a lucky girl but she’s brave too—she went out to face the demon knowing it could kill her,” Becca said. She sighed. “I only wish I could be that brave. Sometimes I think my whole life has been about taking the safest paths and making the decisions I thought would ruffle the least feathers.”
“Speaking of decisions…” Sophie put a hand to her temple and winced. “I’m afraid your own personal decision is headed our way, Becca. Sylvan just bespoke me and said that Truth and Far are both on their way to our suite.”
Kat groaned. “Not both at the same time? There’s always so much tension around those two—it’s like being caught in the middle of a lightning storm when you have to be in the same room with them.”
“Do they still expect you to choose between them?” Liv asked.
Becca nodded. “Ever since I finally announced that I was giving up my calling to the Church, they won’t leave me alone.”
“Oh, so you definitely won’t be a nun?” Sophia asked sympathetically. “That must be hard.”
“Harder on my family than me.” Becca sighed. “My mother cried for days and my father threatened to disown me. But I just…” She looked down at her hands, trying to think how to put it. “After what I experienced in the Sacred Grove that day with Truth and Far…it’s like…like a part of me was woken up. A part I didn’t know I had, but now that it’s awake I can’t put it back to sleep again.”
“That part wouldn’t happen to be your sex drive, would it?” Kat asked frankly.
“Maybe.” Becca felt her cheeks getting hot. “I just can’t take a vow of celibacy now that I know—at least in part—what I’d be missing. It wouldn’t be honest to myself or to God. It wouldn’t be right.”
“You have to do what’s right for you,” Liv said. “Don’t let your family or Truth or Far or anyone else dictate your life—you choose what you want and who you want to be with.”
“But speaking of that, how can she possibly just choose one?” Kat protested. “That’s like saying you’ll choose which half of your body to keep.”
“It might seem like that to you, Kat. But I…” Becca shook her head. “I can’t be with both. It’s already killing my family to know I failed to take my vows. I can’t tell them I want to be with…with two men at once on top of that.”
“I used to feel the same way.” Kat nodded. “I was worried about my grandmother—she’s really strict.”
“Not as strict as my parents, I bet.” Becca looked down. “You know they sent me away to convent school when I was just seven? I never even saw a boy who wasn’t my brother until I was eleven or twelve.” She sighed. “That was because my father wanted to keep me pure. And he thought he had succeeded. Until now.”
“Oh, hon…” Kat reached over and squeezed her hand. “You can’t beat yourself up over what happened with Truth and Far or about how you feel now. After all, the heart wants what the heart wants.”
“But I don’t know what my heart wants,” Becca protested, pushing a reddish-brown curl behind her ear. “When I’m with Truth, I’m so drawn to his fire but when I’m with Far, I love his quiet intensity. And I just—”
Suddenly there was a soft chime at the door and all the girls but Becca groaned.
“And there they are,” Sophia muttered. “Becca can you please tell them to keep it down? Kaleb and Kara are napping and if they wake up too soon I’ll have a terrible time with them tonight.”
“I’ll do better than that.” Becca put down her half eaten donut. “I’ll take them on a walk and keep them away entirely.”
There was a chorus of protest.
“Oh, no, hon—you don’t have to do that,” Olivia protested.
“As long as they keep their voices down it should be all right,” Sophia said.
“We know how you don’t want to be alone with the two of them at once,” Kat remarked. “I mean—have you ever, since the, uh, wedding?”
Becca shook her head. “No, I’ve spent time with them one-on-one and I’ve spent time with them together when we were in a group of people, but I haven’t been alone with both of them at once since our first meeting.” She took a deep breath. “But it’s time I started facing my problems and stopped using my friends as a buffer.”
“But you don’t have to—” Sophia began.
“Yes, I do,” Becca said firmly. “Maggie was brave enough to face certain death when her man was indwelled by a demon. I can at least be brave enough to face the two men I have to choose between.”
“All right then,” Kat said doubtfully. “Good luck, doll.”
“Do you want any of us to put on a think-me and bespeak you after a little while—you know, pretend there’s a problem and we need you back here?” Olivia asked practically.
“No. I’ll be fine.” Becca didn’t know if she was trying to convince her friends…or herself. Her heart was pounding as she made her way to the door of Sophia’s suite but she forced herself to keep moving. She let her hand hover over the door release and took a deep breath. Here goes. Then she pressed the latch.