Seven Years Later

            I was awoken by the sun’s rays peeking over the horizon. I got out of bed and went out to the balcony to look over the kingdom. The village was still quite. In the past years, I had been given the title Derek the Dragon-Heart by the people of our large kingdom. A pair of soft hands touched my bare shoulders.

“What woke you?” Annika asked.

“Guess it was time to get up and how are we doing today?” I asked.

            She smiled and rubbed her stomach. She was pregnant again. She was five months into this one. She wanted it due to her love for children. The kingdom gave her the name Annika the Giver. She gave help to the kingdom and the people were more than happy to give her that name. Today, we had to prepare our daughter’s seventh birthday.

“Should we wake her?” she asked.

“No, let her sleep. It is her birthday.”

“Should we tell her that she’s going to be an older sister?”

I smiled and went behind her to rub her stomach. “Yes, we should. It should be her birthday present.”

            Crystal was turning seven, but she was smart. When she noticed Annika was growing with her new child, she asked if it was because she was eating more. We then decided that I should have the party ready and she would wake Crystal. Valerio or Uncle Valerio as Crystal called him, was having a small house built as his birthday present for her. His green scales were beginning to fade as a dull gold was beginning to take over. He asked Vendril if he could stay in the Dragon Kingdom, but he was denied his request. He was now staying with Annika and me as the ambassador between humans and dragons. When things were looking good for the party, I walked back in the castle.

“Father!” I heard my daughter’s voice.

“Hey, how is the birthday girl?” I asked picking her up.

“Feeling lucky.”

“Well, you are seven today.” Annika added.

“Let’s get some breakfast.”

“Should we tell her first?”

“Tell me what?”

“Crystal, in about four months you are going to be an older sister.”

“What?”

“We’re going to have another baby.”

“I knew it! It’s like Uncle Valerio said, women have their tummies expand when they are having babies.”

“It that what he said?” Annika asked.

“More or less.” We heard Valerio’s voice.

“Valerio, good to see you.” Annika said.

“You too, Annika and how is the little princess?”

“I’m going to be an older sister, Uncle Valerio.”

“So I’ve heard.”

“We were about to have breakfast. are you hungry?”

“I hope there’s enough.”

“Damon, when have we not cooked enough?” I asked.

            He just arrived with Mackenzie and Katherine arrived with her husband Eliot. Damon and Mackenzie had their son, Aaron. He was a year younger than Crystal and Katherine was four months pregnant.

            Later that day, Annika and I watched as Crystal played with Aaron and her uncle. Annika and I watched as she did. I had my arm around Annika’s shoulders. She looked as her daughter was playing with her cousin and Uncle Henry.

“Do you think she should learn of her grandfathers?” Annika asked.

“There will be a time for that later. Not today. Let her enjoy her birthday.”

“But she should learn of them.”

“And what he put you through?”

“If he didn’t I wouldn’t have met you.”

“Those are true and look at us today: We’re still alive.”

“Even after the demonic sacrifice and when I tried to kill you?”

“It’s in the past. I don’t want to dwell on the past.”

“I know, but I never thought I would be here today. Married to a good man with a daughter and another arriving soon.”

"As long as you are under my watch, you'll be safe."

"Your watch?"

"Remember, my father put you under my responsibility."

"And as long as I am...I feel safe."

            I smiled as I leaned in and kissed her, knowing that we were still alive today without tragedy.

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