Everest and Ledger
This takes place after The Ostin Rebel.
We had the keys in hand to our home. One Everest and I bought together. It was a short ten-minute drive from Lina and roughly a half hour from Lazlo and Presley. They were still close in case we needed them, which I hoped we didn’t. It was comforting to have them nearby.
The moment we had signed the paperwork, Everest sent a text to Crofton so he could cast wards over the house before we got there. Everest didn’t take any chances where I was concerned. Another reason I loved him so much. He cherished me like I never knew was possible.
Now we were here. Standing in the front yard of our new home.
It was two stories with white siding. There was a wraparound deck on the first level with a gray railing. We already had the porch swing in the back of Everest’s pickup, just waiting to be hung. Each window was framed in a dark gray, matching the roof over the home and the attached three-car garage. The front door was a shade lighter, matching the railing.
The yard was perfectly manicured with low shrubbery and white stones instead of mulch. A light gray flagstone path led from the front door to the driveway off to my right.
I didn’t need to see it to remember the small pond in the back or the half dozen mature fruit trees. I wanted to plant more. We had ten acres. A lot of room for Calliope to run, who was currently spending time with Lina and her dogs.
The best part, one of the reasons we were sold on this house, was the long driveway and the thick tree line near the road and surrounding the property. We couldn’t see our neighbors. At all.
Everest took my hand in his and together we walked to the front door. I stood with him as he slipped the key into the lock. It was more for show than anything. We didn’t need a key to get in and out. Crofton saw to that. There was a ward set up like Lazlo’s. Only certain people could enter the home. In our case, it was all the Ostins, a couple Kades, one Asteria, Lina, Novus, and Crofton. I still had yet to connect with the rest of my family. I wasn’t as close with them like my parents. With them gone, it was going to take a while, especially since I wasn’t in a hurry to travel. I had an aunt who was queen. She had twin sons who were in their twenties, and a daughter in her forties. They were eager to see me again.
Everest stepped into the home first; I was close behind, still holding his hand. There wasn’t any furniture in here yet, but I could envision it. We already had things ordered. It was a matter of getting them. We had an air mattress in Everest’s truck we could sleep on. Later today, we’d bring the trailer over with our belongings, as few as they were since the house we rented came furnished. Everest had sold all his old furniture. But I liked that. Everest and I were starting new. Just the two of us.
Dark hardwood floors flowed throughout the home. There was a staircase near the front door. On our left was a dining room, which opened into a big kitchen. The rooms flowed perfectly. On our right was a large living room with a stone fireplace. There was also a full bathroom down here and one bedroom. Upstairs were four more bedrooms and three baths. It was too much space for two people, but I loved every inch of it. I could picture Calliope running all over the place, her little nails clicking along the hardwood.
Everest released my hand and dragged his lightly over the wall by the stairs in the living room. “We should hang your artwork on these walls. It’s going to bring so much life to the house.”
I followed behind him, envisioning where I wanted each piece to go. Which colors would best complement the furniture we had coming.
We stopped in the kitchen with its bright white cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. Everest put his hands on my waist and lifted me onto the granite countertop. It was cool against my skin as I brushed my hand over the white stone with light gray lines marbling through it.
“It’s ours,” I whispered, still marveling at how we had this. How I had this with Everest. Not just the home, but this amazing life that was just beginning.
“It is.” He leaned forward to press his face to my neck. It was something I did to him often, but he’d taken to doing it just as much. Like he had to feel my skin against his to remind him I was okay.
I wasn’t the only one who had trauma, thanks to everything that happened. Everest’s was less than mine by a lot, but it was still there. Sometimes in the middle of the night he called out my name and reached around until his hand landed on me so he could pull me close. He checked on me often, making sure I was all right. I did the same to him, although he liked to brush everything off. It was his way of handling things and that was okay with me. He didn’t want to talk about it, not like I did either.
It was behind us. A brutal past I had no desire to revisit out loud.
Soft kisses were placed along my neck, down to my collarbone and up again. I tilted my head to the side, inviting Everest to taste every part of me he desired. I was pliant beneath his hands, letting him have his way with me. He was the one person I relinquished control to. Who I trusted above all others.
“You know,” he whispered, working his way to my lips. “The backyard would make a beautiful place for a wedding.”
My breath stilled in my lungs. He wasn’t talking about Arbor and Zeke’s wedding. They said their vows a week ago. “Ev…”
He lifted his head, his gorgeous dark eyes holding mine. “I already know I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but there’s something so damn sexy about having you as my husband. Would you want that? To marry me?”
I nodded, not trusting words to successfully leave my lips.
“I don’t have a ring. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. We can pick them out together.” He grinned. “I guess I should formally ask you, huh?”
I nodded again, emotion filling my chest and throat as tears built in my eyes.
Everest took my hand in his, rubbing his thumb over my left ring finger, while never releasing me from his gaze. “Ledger Asteria, will you marry me?”
I tried to nod but couldn’t seem to do it. I needed words this time… just one. “Yes,” I whispered, my bottom lip trembling.
“I’ll marry you.”
Everest engulfed me in a hug, whispered how much he loved me. I held him tight. Tears wet his shirt as they dropped from my cheeks. Everest was going to be my husband. I didn’t think I could be happier than I was when we walked into our new home. I was wrong.
My future looked bright. Hopeful. Full of so much love.
All because of Everest Ostin.