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The sushi restaurant was a short distance from the hospital, and Hades held tightly to Lexi's hand as they walked to lunch with Lilith and Dion. Lexi's mood had improved since her visit with Charles, and Hades suspected she had worked her magic, as Dion put it. Soon, the doctors would be scratching their heads, claiming their patient's miraculous recovery was the hand of God, which suited Hades just fine. Faith in something positive, no matter what form it took, was not a bad thing.

The pencil thin waitress at Fuji Sushi seated them under an orange paper lantern, and Hades smiled at the girl as she passed out the menus. He couldn't help indulging in her open-mouthed response to his friendly gaze. Mortal women were easily distracted by a handsome god. Under the table, Lexi rubbed her ankle against his leg, letting him know she had noticed the extra attention he was receiving from their reedy waitress, and he blew her a kiss.

"I'm sorry you're having to spend your visit at Boston Medical, Lexi," Lilith said. "When the courier delivered your message yesterday, I started preparing a lovely picnic we could have on the beach."

"Maybe we can still do that before we leave. Dad will be back on his feet in no time. You'll see." Lexi patted her mom's hand while glancing at Hades. She appeared to be signaling him to read her mind about something. Based on the number of things she could be thinking, he wasn't able to manage it with certainty, so he opted for a subtle nod. She brightened as she straightened into her announcement pose. "Mom, Hades and I have something to share with everyone."

"Oh? Have you decided on a location for the wedding?" Lilith's mood appeared to lift as she waited expectantly for Lexi's proclamation. Hades knew Lilith wanted to host their marriage at the estate, but Lexi had put Nova Scotia at the bottom of her possible venues list. She wanted her mom to enjoy herself rather than succumb to a nervous breakdown.

"No, that's still up in the air, but this is equally exciting. Hades and I are expecting a baby. We're due around Christmas."

Lilith's jaw lowered and her brows raised as shock and joy replaced her previously sober expression. "I... I can't believe it. That's incredible news! I'm so happy for you both." She left her chair and Lexi stood as they shared a hug in the aisle, forcing a waitress to detour around them.

Dion offered Hades a congratulatory shake across the table. "I was wondering when Lexi was going to drop that bomb on us. I'll save my news for later. I don't want to ruin this moment."

Hades leaned in, his curiosity piqued. "Good news or bad news?"

"Good news."

"Then I suggest you share it. We need all the good news we can get, right now."

Dion nodded as Lexi and her mom returned to their chairs, and conversation was delayed when the waitress brought their drinks and took their orders. Lexi decided on a bowl of noodles, explaining the dangers of consuming raw fish in her pregnant condition, then Dion lifted his glass of water in a toast. 

"Here's to Lexi and Hades. May they enjoy a happy couplehood and parenthood." The sound of clinking glass was followed by another comment from Dion. "And, I have asked Stephanie to marry me."

Lexi coughed, spewing water across the table. "Dion! You could have waited until I swallowed." She grabbed a napkin and started soaking up the water as Dion chuckled.

"Sorry, Lexi, but your reaction was classic."

"When did you realize you wanted to marry her?" Hades asked. "Were you contemplating it during our spring visit? I remember telling Lexi that I thought you and Stephanie were smitten with each other."

"Yes, I was, although I knew she was the one about a month after we started dating. I bought the ring and asked her to marry me on our one year anniversary." He dug his phone out of his pocket and scrolled to a photo depicting a feminine hand wearing a several karat engagement ring. "She freaked out when she saw it. I'll never forget the look on her face."

Lexi stretched for Dion's arm and squeezed it. "Oh, Dion. It's a beautiful ring. I never realized you were such a sappy romantic."

Dion shrugged as he pocketed his phone, and Hades could tell the distracted gesture was done to hide his blush. Lunch passed amid a torrent of dialogue about weddings and babies, and when the meal ended, they started the journey back to the hospital. Hades noticed a taxi cab sitting near the hospital entrance, and he smiled when he recognized the fortuitous timing.

"I have an errand to run, if you will all excuse me," Hades said as he hailed to the cab. "I have committed myself to building a crib for the newest member of our family and I need a few items that aren't available in the underworld." He lifted Lexi's hand to his lips and brushed a kiss across it. "Will you be all right without me for a time?"

"Of course. You are always with me no matter the distance, my love."

Dion snorted. "And you call me a sappy romantic. That was pathetic."

"I suggest you pay attention, Dion," Lexi said. "You might want to pick up some note cards."

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