Sentinel, p.10
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       Sentinel, p.10

         Part #5 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Page 10


  “Alex, you’re not responsible for those who died today. ” He shifted so that his face was right over mine. “Don’t put that kind of crap on yourself. It’s not right. ”

  But it IS right, whispered that voice. “People expect me to fight and kick ass. You can’t tell me the people out there didn’t expect me to take out those daimons. And if Artemis hadn’t shown—”

  “You would’ve snapped out of it. Just like you did,” Aiden said, cupping my cheek and forcing my gaze to his. “You’re being too hard on yourself. What you’ve been through is going to affect you, and you’re not giving yourself any time to deal with what just happened. You’re not okay, Alex, but you’re not broken and you’re not damaged. ”

  My breath shuddered from me. “Then what am I?”

  “You’re someone who is incredibly strong and brave, and who has been through way too much. Too many people expect too much from you. And it’s not because you’re weak. You’re eighteen, Alex. Even if you were twenty-eight, all this crap would be too much. ” His fingers trailed down my cheek, the path slightly uneven from the raised scars. “You’re the Apollyon, but you’re only one person. And you’re not alone. You have me. You have Luke, Olivia, and your uncle. You have Solos, and you have my brother, although he’s a little crazy. ” A small, quick grin appeared on his lips. “And tomorrow, you’ll have a whole army. You’re not alone in any of this. You’ll never be alone. ”

  I blinked back the wetness gathering in my eyes. “I think you spend your spare time studying a book full of the right things to say. ”

  He chuckled softly, and then his lips brushed mine in a quick kiss. “Nah. I just love you, Alex. ”

  Raising my hands, I placed them on his smooth cheeks. The tiny scratches from the birds had healed over already, leaving behind faint marks. “I think I’d go crazy without you. ”

  He kissed my cheek and then stretched out beside me, snaking an arm around my waist. In the quiet moments that followed, I didn’t feel numbness or fear. I was content, warm, and I felt a little like my old self. Tomorrow was going to be a big day, and who knew what was waiting for us beyond that. I didn’t want to think about any of that. Not right now.

  I rolled onto my side and stretched up, bringing our lips together. The kisses started off slow, nothing like this morning when they’d almost had a fevered pitch to them, but then they deepened and my heart kicked up, thumping in my chest. His hand curled around my hip, tugging my body to his. Pressed together, a shiver danced down my back as his fingers slipped under my shirt, skimming the bare skin of my waist. My hand moved across his chest, and I wished I had some kind of Apollyon power that made clothing disappear. That would’ve been really handy right about now.

  He eased me onto my back and slid a leg between mine. His tongue swept in, scattering my thoughts and pulling me in. A delicious tension built in my lower stomach, and when his body shifted against mine, I gasped. My reaction was immediate, rocking against him.

  Aiden shuddered as he lifted his head. Those eyes were heated silver. “We need to press pause for a second. ”

  I knew I couldn’t have heard him correctly, because he moved his leg in a way that had me trembling, then kissed me again, nipping at my lower lip.

  “Seriously, we need to talk for a second,” he said, his voice thick.

  A small grin pulled at my lips. “Then stop kissing me. ”

  “That’s an excellent idea. ” He pressed his lips to the sensitive spot under my ear. “Yet so incredibly hard. ” But then he did sit up, cross-legged beside me. “I want to talk to you about something. ”

  The way he said that made my stomach dip. And he was rocking the Aiden is being serious” face. “Okay. About what?”

  “About what Artemis said to you out there today. ”

  “About my hair?”

  He shot me a bland look. “No. When she said there was something inside you. ”

  “Oh. That? Weird, right? Apollo’s son—Hippo-whatever—said the same thing when I was in Olympus. ” I sighed, trying not to be too freaked out by it. “I have no idea what they’re talking about. ”

  “You don’t?” Surprise flooded his voice.

  “No. ” I frowned. “Do you?”

  Aiden opened his mouth and closed it. Several seconds passed, and then he thrust his hand through his hair, scratching his head. “Think about it, Alex. ”

  Crossing my ankles, I gave a lopsided shrug. “Enlighten me, wise one. ”

  “You’re really going to make me say it?” He swore under his breath as his hand fell to his lap. “Of course you are. Don’t you think there could be a possibility that whatever Artemis felt, or saw or whatever, means you’re…pregnant?”

  I stared at him. “What?”

  His dark brows lowered. “Pregnant. ”

  “No. ” I coughed out a laugh and rolled my eyes. “No way. ”

  Aiden looked at me like I was half-stupid.

  “What?” I made a face. “There’s no way it could be that, because that just isn’t possible. I would, like, know if that was it, and I would totally be…” Wow. I sounded kind of stupid, because it really could be that. I’d had my shots, but I honestly couldn’t really say when the last one was, and who knew if they were really a hundred percent effective, or if they even worked on Apollyons, and when was my last period? And…

  Oh my gods in Olympus…

  I sat up, nearly knocking Aiden off the bed. My eyes were wide. “Pregnant? Bun in the oven? A little Alex or Aiden running amuck? Okay. A little you would be so adorable, but preggers? Oh gods, have I told you how much I hate the word ‘preggers?’ Like, is ‘pregnant’ such a long word that you have to shorten it? I feel the same way about ‘hubby. ’ Seriously? Hubby and preggers are the stupidest—”

  “Alex, whoa. ” He chuckled. “Slow down. Take a breath. ”

  I tried to take a breath, but I couldn’t get it around the word pregnant. It formed a ball of “holy crap” in my throat. “It can’t be that, can it?”

  His chest rose, and then he nodded. “It could be, Alex. ”

  Whoa, I was blown away by the prospect. Pregnant? Me? I wanted to laugh, but if I did, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t stop, and it wouldn’t be the cute kind of laughter. It would be the hysterical, crazy-as-balls kind of laughter.

  “That…” I let out a stuttered breath as I glanced down. I was half-tempted to pull up my shirt and start pressing on my stomach. I didn’t, though, because that would cause me to have an absolute nervous breakdown.

  “That changes everything. ”

  I lifted my gaze, meeting Aiden’s. His eyes were a bright silver, and my heart skipped a beat. When they were that color, Aiden was feeling something strong, something good, but I didn’t know what to think. Pregnant with Aiden’s baby? I could not be a mother. Seriously. I barely remembered to brush my own teeth in the morning. Being responsible for a child, especially in the mess that was my life? That kid wouldn’t have a chance. It would end up getting eaten by wild coyotes or something.

  One side of Aiden’s lips tipped up. “What are you thinking?”

  “What are you thinking?” My heart was pounding.

  “I’m thinking…a lot of things, but if this is what the gods are feeling in you, we need to really think about what we’re doing. ” He reached over, tugging on my bottoms. “I know this isn’t happening at a good time. ”

  I did laugh at that. “Yeah, that would be horrifically bad timing. ”

  “But would it be so bad?” he asked.

  The look on his face, the open honesty, and—dear gods—the hint of acceptance startled me. “You would be okay with this?”

  Aiden lowered his gaze for a moment and then shifted so he was sitting in front of me. He took my hands in his, and I suddenly realized how serious this was. I was a little slow on the uptake. “This isn’t the right time for us,” he started, threading his fingers through mine. “Not with everything going on, but…b
ut how could I not be okay?”

  I was actually speechless. Someone needed to record this moment.

  “I love you, Alex. That’s never going to change, and although neither of us is ready for this, I can get ready for this. Both of us can, and we will face this together. I can’t be that bad at being a father. I mean, I basically had to raise Deacon, and he’s still alive. ” He laughed softly as a slight flush spread across his cheeks. “But if you are, we really have to think about what we’re doing. I know neither of us can walk away from what we have to do—what you have to do—but we need to make some adjustments. ”

  I couldn’t even fathom what kind of adjustments we’d need to make. If I was pregnant, could I really go out there and fight? Could I transfer power from Seth? And good gods, what kind of kid would I be popping out? Part half, part pure, and part Apollyon?

  This kid could destroy the world.

  But Aiden…gods, I wanted to cry. I wished I could get those tears to fall, because I was so lucky to have him. So many guys would be in another state by now.

  The tears didn’t fall, but I could move. I scrambled onto my knees, and he knew what I wanted. His arms opened, and I crawled into his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck and clinging to him like an octopus.

  “You’re perfect,” I said, my face buried in the crook between his neck and shoulder.

  “I’m not perfect. ” His hand sifted through my hair, resting against the back of my skull. “I just can’t be that upset over the fact that we might be having a baby. ”

  I squeezed my eyes shut as a sharp pang of unbridled emotion shot through me. Among the hailstorm of fear and confusion, a fine, barely-there sliver of…of happiness filled me like a wisp of smoke. Halfs were products of pures and mortals and not allowed to procreate. Besides that, Sentinels didn’t have kids—not even the pures who chose that kind of duty. They simply didn’t live long enough to raise them. So I had never really even considered the idea of having a child, but this—if this was what this was—would be Aiden’s child, and how could I not want that? Especially, even as unprepared both of us would be for something so major, Aiden would be right there with me. Not out of any sense of duty, but because he loved me and would love our child.

  And me? On every day that ended with a Y, I’d probably be the most irresponsible parent known to exist, but I’d love it with every breath I took.

  My gods, my brain felt whacked, because I never thought the day would come that I would even think that.

  Aiden pressed a kiss against my temple. “We need to see one of the doctors here soon and find out so we’re a hundred percent sure either way, and then…well, we’ll handle this together. ”

  Oh, wow. Making a quick trip to the infirmary for a pregnancy test? That was going to be so awkward. A thought occurred. “Marcus is going to kill you. ”

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