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Lexi was famished when she sat down to supper, and it took all her willpower not to devour every roll sitting in the basket. Fiona made the best yeast rolls, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Hades seemed particularly keen on watching Lexi as she covered her plate with honey and dragged her roll through it.

"So, the council meets with the titans tomorrow," Hades said as he poured himself a goblet of wine. "Have you formed any opinions about this divine communication Phoebe received from Gaia?"

Hades didn't look at Lexi as he spoke. She knew this wasn't to keep the wine in his goblet. He probably didn't want her to notice his pouty expression. His emotions piqued whenever her duties required her to spend time in Olympus.

"I haven't a clue, but I think it's going to be an interesting meeting, and I'm looking forward to seeing your mom and dad again." She spoke around a chunk of bread, following it with a gulp of wine.

"Didn't you talk with Rhea on the scrying mirror two days ago?"

"Yes, but it's not the same as seeing someone in person." Lexi glanced at Hades over her goblet, wishing she hadn't spoken so enthusiastically about the parents he rarely saw. She hated how careless she was sometimes, especially when she was distracted.

Hades offered a benign nod, dropping the subject and redirecting his attention to wiping a drip of honey off the honeypot. Lexi wondered if he'd had a reason for bringing up the topic in the first place. They were both diverted by Blythe as she hurried through the kitchen door, a tray expertly balanced on her hand. It carried individual crocks filled with a savory smelling soufflé, as well as a heaping bowl of glazed carrots. Cerberus, who laid at Lexi's feet, raised his heads to sniff the air.

"Thank you, Blythe. Everything smells amazing," Lexi said as Blythe set the crocks in front of them, a gracious smile brightening her face.

"Let me know if there is anything else your ladyship wishes," she said to Lexi. "And be sure to save room for dessert. Lacy has made something special from the blueberries we harvested in the forest."

"Ooh, wonderful." Lexi helped herself to the carrots, sampling one before it made it to her plate.

"I wondered, my lady," Blythe continued. "Would you be available for another quick measurement after dinner? I want to be sure I have the dimensions right."

"Sure, Blythe, but the wedding is still six months away. You have plenty of time to make my dress."

Blythe's expression turned serious, although being a nymph, she still looked cheerful. "I want it to be ready well before. I don't want you to worry about anything when the day draws near. Time has a way of slipping away from us when we are preoccupied with other things." Blythe sneaked a glance at Hades, who raised his eyebrows as if he knew of no such preoccupations.

"You are right, Blythe. Thank you for being so conscientious," Lexi said. "I will meet you in the sewing room after Hades and I have watched the sky turn."

"Very good, my lady."

Blythe curtsied and scurried back into the kitchen, and Lexi lifted her spoon, ready to dig into her soufflé when she remembered the toast. Not the kind you ate. She and Hades had established an evening meal ritual of giving thanks for something. It was unlike her stomach to detour her, and Lexi noticed Hades wearing a covert smile when she finally acknowledged his raised goblet.

"May I ask what is so funny?" she said as she picked up her wine.

"I was merely noticing what a healthy appetite you have this evening." He gestured pointedly to the empty bread basket. "And what a lovely glow you have, like a summer daffodil."

"I didn't realize you found daffodils so glowing, but who am I to judge. Shall we toast to daffodils, then?"

"Certainly, and to the fact that we do not have to travel far to enjoy their splendor."

As their goblets clanked and Lexi brought the wine to her lips, she added the prayer she kept to herself.

May Hades love me until the end of eternity.


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