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May wiped her sweaty brow with her equally sweaty forearm and took a breath.

She had been on the roof laying shingles for the better part of the day, and the sun's heat was relentless. Her only saving grace was the steady breeze rolling in off the ocean that cooled her bare shoulders and the skin of her neck. She sat back and surveyed her work thus far; at this rate she would be finished by dinner.

"Heyo," Em called, drifting up over the roof's edge with a glass of water in one hand and an apple in the other. Her clothes were coated in a fine layer of drywall dust from her work inside. "Thought you could use a hydration break."

It had taken a long time for Em to get the strength to fly again. After her imprisonment with the Loyals and the erasure of her previous life, she and May weren't sure if any of her abilities would return. But as her body healed and her mind settled, her Starborn traits resurfaced one by one. She wasn't as powerful as she once was, but that didn't bother her.

While May drained her glass, Em walked the roof and eyed her wife's work. "It looks great, babe! Do you think you'll finish today?"

"Oh yeah," May replied, pressing the glass with its icy condensation to her temple for some added relief. "I can't wait to be done up here."

Em crouched in front of her and gave May's nose a gentle boop. "All this sun is really bringing out your freckles. Damn, you're cute."

"You're just saying that because we're married."

"Ah, you got me." Em sank down to sit beside her. She tipped back her face—just as pale as the day they met—and let the ocean breeze play with her hair. She still wore it cropped close, which May found adorable. The cut suited her elegant features. Meanwhile, May had left hers to grow long and wild, changing which side she parted it on to avoid the awkward growing-out phase of her side-shave.

"I think you're missing the best part of all this hard labor," May said. She curled her arm in front of Em and flexed. "I mean, check out these guns."

"Oh, I have. Often." Em gave her a wink. "They're very sexy. Speaking of which, wanna makeout before the others get here?"

The sound of a horn blasting told them they were already too late. A pickup truck was speeding up their long drive, kicking up dust as it raced along.

The couple got to their feet to watch.

"Slow down, you animals!" May shouted. The truck skidded to a dusty stop below and responded with one last, long blare of its horn for good measure.

Em helped May back to the ground as Dom and Jeremy piled out of the truck.

"Heeeeey!" Dom cried, rushing forward and pulled both May and Em into a giant hug, which he regretted immediately. "Oh, ew. You're both disgusting."

"Hard work will do that to you," May replied, poking him in the stomach. "You should try it some time."

"Oy!" Jeremy called. He was standing on the running board of the truck's passenger side and leaning over the top. "Look who we found!"

He leapt down to make room for a third body, one far too big to be traveling on the cramped back bench of the truck's crew cab. Kai stepped out into the sunlight and stretched his arms overhead.

May let out a squeal and darted toward her brother.

"Be careful!" Dom shouted as Kai caught her around the middle. "She's so sweaty!"

"Shut up, Dom."

Kai let out a booming, good natured laugh. "I'll let it slide this one time."

"It's so good to see you," May cried, beaming up at her brother. "How are you? How's everyone back home?"

The Fire and the Sky (Book 3 of the Starborn Series)Where stories live. Discover now