The day his life changed for the better Brayden spent most of it in a semi daze. Bray watched Quinlan argue for hours with his council over the wedding which was due to take place in less than three hours. Everything was moving so damn fast. He’d wanted for years to get away from his cousin, but had never expected this outcome. His stomach churned as he realised that he was going to have sex in front of these people. They were going to be the witnesses who made sure that the marriage was consummated properly and according to the laws of the realm. How the hell was he supposed to perform with a bunch of strangers in the room watching his every move? This wasn’t how he wanted his reunion with Quinlan to be. What if he was bad at the whole sex part? Still being a virgin he wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. All he knew for sure he was glad Quin was the one who would be taking that title away from him. Just like they had discussed so long ago when they’d been children—even back then Bray knew he belonged with Quin.
Bray groaned when he saw the heated looks Quinlan kept throwing his way. The hunger in the man’s eyes definitely were helping with his nerves. He needed to keep breathing so he didn’t pass out before the actual event
“He really is quite the catch isn’t he?” A somewhat vaguely familiar voice said as a beautiful young woman approached him
Bray turned and stared at her. “What?”
“King Quinlan, he’s quite the catch. You should feel honoured to be chosen.” She turned and bestowed a breathtakingly beautiful smile on him that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “But then, you were always the one he was going to choose. Not one of those women who came today ever stood a chance.”
“What do you mean?”
The woman chuckled softly, “You’ve owned him body and soul since he was eleven years old.” She turned and stared at Quinlan, “Maybe now he’ll finally get what his heart has always desired.” She turned back to Brayden and again her eyes turned Ice cold. “If you ever hurt him, even unintentionally, you better run, because I’ll hunt you down and cut off what’s most important to you.”
Brayden gulped; with that one warning he realised who this woman was. “Ingrid, I see you’re still as protective as ever of Quinlan as you always were.”
“I’ll always protect him... in case you’re wondering I’m now his official bodyguard now. His well-being is mine to take care of. You on the other hand, not so much.”
“What happened to the nice young girl who was our best friend?”
“You left, and she grew up.”
Brayden sighed, “I never forgot either of you. Just so you know you were both in my thoughts every single day.”
Ingrid looked at him sceptically. “Yet not once in the last ten years have you come back. I was the one who had to pick up the pieces after you walked away. I was the one who had to put him back together when his whole world fell apart. You weren’t here to see the hell he went through.”
“No I wasn’t. I was too busy living in my own personal hell at the hands of my cousin at my uncle’s estate. Quin wasn’t the only one suffering. I would have come back if I could have.” Brayden snapped without meaning to.
“What do you mean?” Ingrid turned and placed her hand on his arm. “What did that arsehole do to you?”
Brayden wasn’t sure that he was ready to share his shame; but knew Ingrid would eventually find out, children as she always had. Taking a deep breath Bray finally said. “Until this morning I had been confined in the same rooms of my uncle’s estate as he put me in when we first left the city.” Tears burned at his eyes but he blinked them away before they could fall.
“I made the mistake of telling him on the ride there that I was going to run away and come back to Quinlan. He made sure that I could never run. He said he wished it were otherwise, but he needed to keep me safe.”
“Oh for the love of...” her words trailed off as Quinlan walked toward them.
“Please don’t tell him, I’m not ready for him to know.”
Ingrid pushed up onto her tip toes and laid a gentle kiss against his lips. “Your secret is safe with me, and I’ve decided you’re also more than worthy of my protection.”
Brayden smiled and gave her a quick hug. Grateful his secrets weren’t about to be spilled.
“You’re not trying to steal my intended husband, are you?” Quin said with a mock pout as he approached them.
“Oh please... as if I’d do that. I think my body has the wrong parts for me to steal the interest of your man away from you.”
“And I thank the gods for that every day,” Quin chuckled.
Quinlan turned serious, and Bray wondered if there was something wrong. “Are the boys okay? There’s nothing wrong I hope.”
“They were fine when I left. Alexis says they’re eager to meet your new queen.” Ingrid snickered.
Brayden was confused, “I thought Arella was the mother of your children.”
“She is,” Ingrid explained, “but Arella has since left and married Lord Ellison. She has nothing to do with the children.” Ingrid smiled. “My sister’s now the boy’s full time carer. Well, when they’re not with their father that is. According to Arella, Quin’s still the biggest child of them all.”
“Now don’t be scaring Bray before I have the marriage ceremony fully performed. If you tell him too many of my secrets he’ll run.” A flash of something akin to sadness filled Quinlan’s eyes.
Brayden and Ingrid looked at each other for a long moment before doubling over and bursting out laughing.
“What... what did I say?”
Brayden and Ingrid both wiped their eyes, “It’s nothing—just something Bray told me before—it was a ‘you had to be there’ moment.”
Quinlan shook his head at them. “Well okay, but you do know you’re both acting weird right?”
“So what’s happening now?” Ingrid asked.
“Now it’s time to go and get ready. I’ve decided to bring forward the wedding. I’m not giving anyone the chance to interfere. I’ve waited too long for this day to allow someone to screw it up.”
“What? Wait a minute. Are you telling me that we’re getting married right now?” The note of panic was in Brayden’s voice couldn’t be helped. He needed to tell Quin he’d never had sex before—what if he did it wrong?
Quinlan grabbed Brayden’s hand and began dragging him from the room. With a cheeky grin Quin turned to Ingrid and announced. “Gather the witness’s we are getting hitched.”
“Quin, there’s something you need to know.” He started to explain as they left the room. Bray just hoped like hell no one laughed at him. Embarrassing Quin wasn’t on his list of things to do.