[This post is from Matt’s point of view.]
Footsteps echoed quietly down the path. Hecate must have heard them before he did, because she stiffened half a second before the sound reached his ears. Then she exhaled and leaned against him, her eyes sliding shut.
“It’s J.T.,” she murmured before he could turn to look. “I can tell by the sound of his footsteps. I think Leinth’s with him. Sounds like her.”
The hairs on the back of Matt’s neck stirred and he exhaled. “How do you—”
“Practice,” she murmured, tugging his arms tighter around her before she wrapped both of hers around his waist. “Instinct. A touch of magic. Habit.”
He shivered. It was a habit that had kept her alive—that much he knew for certain—and the knowledge made him ache inside. Too many years wondering when the next blow would fall, too many years wrestling with her demons and dodging people out for vengeance or to use her. Matt hugged her a little tighter, if only for a moment, then pressed a kiss to her temple. Hecate sighed.
“You’re worrying,” she murmured into his neck.
“Is that such a terrible thing?”
“Yes and no.” A sigh escaped her and she relaxed slightly. “I don’t want you to feel like you have to worry. But I know why you do and I love you for it.”
Matt smiled crookedly and she looked up to meet his gaze, smiling back.
“We have forever this time,” she whispered. “The rest of our lives and then whatever comes next.”
He didn’t want to talk about the whatever comes next part. Matt was concerned with the here and now and the immediate future, with the years—decades, he hoped—that they’d have in this life. That was what mattered today.
They could worry about everything else later, think about the rest of it later.
He was about to tell her that when J.T.’s voice interrupted.
“Hey. I think we might need to talk.”