Sev looked at Tere when she got off the com. He was rocking Theo.
“Ciohar wants their engineers to head back today so we’re going to meet with them, Sev,” Tere said quietly so she wouldn’t wake Theo. “I don’t want to miss Alaric when he contacts us so tell him that it shouldn’t take more than an hour for the meeting.” Tere kissed Sev and Theo before she left the suite.
Sev took the baby into the nursery and put him down in the crib. He went to Alaric’s desk and opened the middle drawer. He had no idea why he was curious about the palace recordings. He put a chip in the viewer and read the date. The recording covered the six months after he had first rites with Tere. He turned the image viewer on and did a search for Tere Andrews. He opened the first recording. Tere and Alaric were together and were talking quietly in the palace library. Tere had tears in her eyes. Sev turned the volume up.
“Beautiful, he’s happy that you’re here,” Alaric said. He took Tere’s hand.
“I have nanos, Alaric. He won’t take them,” Tere replied. “Why won’t he take them?”
“He’s been the happiest that I’ve ever seen him these past four years. You gave him something to live for,” Alaric said. “Tere, the doctor doesn’t think that he’s going to live through the night.”
Tere nodded. “I want to be with him, Alaric. He’s given me so much,” she replied. Alaric kissed her cheek.
“Come on, beautiful. Let’s go and be with him,” Alaric said. He took Tere’s hand.
Sev fast forwarded. Alaric and Tere were in Theodopholis Adron’s room. Sev recognized it. It was the first grand suite. Alaric was sitting in a chair next to the bed. Tere was sitting on the edge of the bed. She took the Terran world leader’s hand. Theodopholis Adron smiled up at her.
“Don’t cry, Princess. You’ve been a light in my life for the past four years,” Theodopholis said in a coarse whisper. “Please take care of Alaric when I’m gone. He’s going to need you.”
“I need you, Theo. Damn,” Tere said crying. “You’ve been so good to me. Please don’t go.”
“You’ve been a daughter to me. You should be married to Alaric. He’s too good to be married to that woman that he’s married to. I never should have told him to marry her,” Theodopholis said. He coughed a deep, hacking cough. Tere took a cloth and wiped his mouth. “Promise me, Princess, that you won’t leave my son alone. He’s going to need you.”
“I promise, Theo,” Tere said. “I’ll take care of him.” She looked over at Alaric. He had tears in his eyes. Tere wiped the tears out of her eyes.
The doctor walked over and checked the world leader. “He’s just sleeping now. You should get some rest,” he said.
Tere shook her head no. “I’m staying with him. He needs me,” she replied quietly. The doctor nodded. Alaric walked him to the door. Tere continued to hold Theodopholis’ hand while he slept.
After several minutes, Alaric walked back into the room and sat on the edge of the bed. “Tere, you need to get some rest,” he said.
Tere smiled. “I’m staying. He’d stay with me,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me be alone and I won’t let him be alone.”
“Sam said that my father asked her for nanos for me,” Alaric said. “I told her that won’t be necessary. I know that you’re in love with Sev Kensington.”
“I’m in love with you, Alaric. You know who I am. You know that I can be in love with both of you,” Tere said. She cleared her throat. “When is Jal coming back? I’m sure that she’ll be here once the funeral is over. Why did you marry her?”
“I couldn’t have you, Tere. She’ll never have my heart. My heart belongs to you,” Alaric said. Tere looked at Alaric and smiled a sad smile.
“I don’t want him to leave me,” Tere said crying. “He’s like a father to me.”
“I know, Princess,” Alaric said. He took Tere’s hand and kissed it.
Sev forwarded through the recording. He had no idea that Alaric meant so much to Tere. He wiped the tears out of his eyes. He should have been there for them. He wasn’t even talking to Tere and didn’t answer her messages. He was too damned stubborn to realize what he had but Alaric knew. Alaric wanted Tere and Sev had no doubt that if Tere had never met him, Alaric would have been the married to her first. Sev watched more of the recording. The doctor was in the room again.
“He doesn’t have long. He’ll probably drift in and out of consciousness before it happens,” the doctor told Alaric. Alaric nodded. The doctor left the room.
“He gave me so much, Alaric,” Tere said. “He treated me like a princess. My father never treated me like that.”
“I know,” Alaric said. He sat on the bed behind Tere and held her. Tere put her head on Alaric’s shoulder. “I love you, Tere. My father always wanted us to be married. He regretted telling me that I should marry Jal.”
Tere touched Alaric’s face. “We can’t change that now,” she replied. Theodopholis called out for her. “I’m here Theo,” she said. She kissed Theodopholis’ forehead.
“Take care of my son. He needs you,” Theodopholis said. Tere took the world leader’s hand and nodded. “Promise me, Princess. Promise me that you’ll take him back to Emanai with you.”
“I promise, Theo,” Tere replied through her tears. “I’ll take him to Emanai but he needs to leave Jal here.” Theodopholis laughed and coughed. Tere smiled.
“I’ll be watching over you and Alaric,” Theodopholis whispered. “Tell Alaric. Tell Alaric that I can see his mother. She’s here for me. I think that I’ll be leaving now. Tell him goodbye for me, Princess. Tell him that he’ll never know how much I love him. I was tough on him but he’s turned into a fine man and will make a wonderful leader for Terran. Tell him that, Princess.”
“I will, Theo,” Tere said. She couldn’t hold back the tears.
“Don’t cry for me, Princess. You’ve given me a daughter. You’re the daughter that I always should have had. Thank you for your love for me and my son,” Theodopholis whispered.
Sev watched the world leader’s hand drop from Tere’s hand. Tere put her head down on Theodopholis and wept, deep heart wrenching sobs. She’d only cried like that twice before. When he was injured and almost died and when he brutalized her. He was angry that he wasn’t there for her and for his best friend. Alaric put his head on Tere’s back and wept with her.
“Damn it to hell,” Sev cursed. He wiped the tears out of his eyes. He listened for Theo. The baby was still sleeping. He forwarded through the recording. He stopped when he saw Tere in bed in the second grand suite. She was crying softly. The door opened and Alaric walked in. He was in his sleep pants on and no shirt. Tere looked up at Alaric and held her hand out to him. Alaric laid down next to Tere and held her until she fell asleep. Sev turned off the viewer. He didn’t know and she didn’t tell him. He put the chip back into the desk when he heard the suite door open. Tere walked into the bedroom.