Lifting Nisha into my arms after sending her into a healing sleep, I pressed a kiss against the crown of her head. "Let's get you and our boys somewhere comfortable, hmm?" I murmured quietly to her peacefully sleeping face.
Halfway up the stairs, Nana called out to me. "This way, Jack."
Following Grace, I entered Nisha's light blue bedroom. Grace pulled back the white comforter while I laid Nisha on her bed. Nana tucked her in, leaning down to kiss her forehead. Straightening, she let out a long breath. "So, my time as a secret keeper can finally come to an end." Relief and worry filled her serious grey eyes.
Moving around the bed, I pulled the older woman into a hug. "I'm sorry you had to deal with it all alone."
Nana sniffled, patting my shoulder briefly. "Never you mind, dear. It was never what you wanted anyway. I'll...I'll go get started on making dinner for tonight."
Once Grace had left the bedroom, I glanced around briefly. The place was definitely feminine. Not exactly girly, but it did have an obvious touch of...woman.
Looking at the walls, I recognized the color as baby blue, white trim along the baseboards, along with white wood flooring. The bed frame was a very pale gray color with pastel flowers running along the head and foot of the frame. The knobs at the foot of the bed had been carved into the shape of a sparrow.
She had a matching dresser, wider than tall, with a window behind it. The window had been left open and a warm summer breeze was playing with the transparent blue curtains. An open door close to the bedroom entrance led into a small closet with a few boxes containing unknown contents on the top shelf. Several dresses, jackets, skirts, and a thick winter coat were hanging up, while her shoes covered the floor of the closet.
Sighing, I carefully moved Nisha's legs further back on her full-sized bed and sat down in the space freed up. Turning to face her, I reached out to gently brush back stray strands of brown hair covering her face and eyes.
"It hurts that you'll only let me this close right now when you're asleep, love."
Some fifteen minutes passed, but I couldn't find any strength to get up and leave.
Truly, contentment came from just being near Nisha. She was the only light in my life, the one thing I couldn't lose or ever give up.
A moan pulled me out of my own head. "Jhenmu?" I asked worriedly, leaning back so that I could give her space to breathe.
"Jack?" Nisha whispered faintly.
Letting out a breath of relief, I smiled. "Yes, I'm here. Wh, what do you remember?"
Her voice was even fainter than before. Without my superhuman hearing, I wouldn't have been able to pick up her confession.
A swell of joy tried to burst out of my chest. Unable to stem my elation, tears spilled down my cheeks. "That's…I'm so happy, Nisha."
I quickly raised my hands to my face, trying to hide the evidence of my feelings. Despite the fact that I’d known it would happen beforehand, it hadn’t been any easier to see that Nisha had completely erased my existence from her memories.
No matter how illogical, some part of me had been clinging to the hope that Nisha would still remember me even if her memories were sealed away.
"Jack, I'm sorry I forgot you," Nisha whispered painfully. "I know now that I didn't have a choice about it, but I'm still sorry. I wasn't trying to abandon you, I swear."
I let out a broken, harsh laugh. "No, I know you weren't." I lowered my hands to finally look at her face.
Nisha's beautiful features were twisted with guilt at seeing my breakdown. Her grey eyes watched me worriedly. "I do, though, have a lot of questions."
Sniffling, drying the last of my tears, I took in a breath. Giving myself a strong mental shake to get it together, I nodded. "O, of course. Anything you want to know," I assured her hurriedly.
"Why were you always so...different? You didn't act like a child. You reminded me more of an adult or a teenager."
I grimaced. "I suppose the easiest way to explain that would be because I am an individual who is reincarnated in the bloodline of my descendants."
"Your descendants?" Nisha frowned in thought. "The Frosts?"
Nodding, I sighed. "I am the originator of the Frost bloodline: Jack Frost, Winter Itself, before that duty was passed on to my descendants and things became as they are now."
Her lips rolled as she bit them, her gaze faded in thought. "Why are you reincarnated?"
Taking in a breath, I tried to force a smile. "I wasn't a good individual, way back when. Eventually, I got on the wrong side of a witch, one who was even more powerful than me. She used her abilities to punish me with a never-ending life filled with tragedy and unhappiness. Until I woke up and met you, at least."
"Why did you say I was your soulmate?" Her eyes narrowed as she waited for my response.
Rubbing at the back of my neck, embarrassed, I coughed to clear the tightness in my throat. "W, well, because you are. I don't know how to explain it so that a human can understand, Nisha. I…I suppose you could say that all the cutesy, cheesy words the poets say about the person you love is completely real and true for me. Or, if it helps, you could also say that every time I look at you, it's as if you have a neon sign above your head flashing ‘Soulmate!’."
Her face twisted in disgust. "Uh, what?"
Laughing at my own inability to express myself correctly, I tried again. "Look, did anyone have to teach you to breathe when you were born?"
"No," she shook her head slowly.
"Right, because it's built into the DNA of humans; into their programming. Certain parts of their life are learned skills, while others are merely thoughtless instincts. For me, knowing that you are my soulmate is like an instinct. I don't have to think about it, I just know."
She grew quiet for a time, before returning her attention back to me for more questioning. "Alright, I suppose I'll have to accept that answer. What are we going to do now?”
Humming to myself in thought for a moment, I smiled nervously. “Well, I was really hoping you’d return with me.”
“But,” she glanced down at her large belly, rubbing it affectionately, “there’s these two.”
I leaned forward to grab her hand, touching her stomach as well. “Nisha, I want you to know that I’m not angry with you about this.”
Her eyebrows shot up in disbelief and surprise. “Really? But you were furious earlier. How can you say you’re not angry about my pregnancy?”
I swallowed, trying to explain myself carefully. “I am furious, but not at you. Do you understand?”
She shook her head, hard. “No. I don’t understand you, Jack. How are you not mad at me? Any other guy would be angry if their loved one was pregnant with another man’s children.”
Running my hands through my hair roughly in frustration, I dropped my hold on Nisha. “Jhenmu, I don’t blame you for this. You had no idea what you were doing as your memories were tampered with. In your mind, there was no ill intent, so I feel no reason to direct my hostility toward you in kind. Does that make more sense?” I stared at her, hoping I was doing a better job of this explaining business.
“Though,” I bit my lip, clearing my throat nervously. “I do want to apologize for how badly I handled the situation when I first arrived. As you may remember, my kind is very easily swayed by our emotions.”
She eyed me for another minute in silence before slowly nodding. “I’ll forgive you this time, but don't make it a habit. ...Your explanation makes more sense in a logical manner, but emotionally I can’t quite understand how you can feel that way. Still, if you really aren’t angry at me, then I’m glad. But, even if I agree to go back with you, what are you going to do about the twins?”
Her grey eyes turned very serious, a light of protective wariness letting me know just what her thoughts on the matter were. Grinning, I took her hands in mine once more. “I plan to raise the children as my own. What’s yours is mine and vice versa, right?” Winking, I enjoyed the look of astonishment that came over Nisha’s sweet face.
“You mean it?” she murmured softly.
Leaning forward, I pressed my lips to her hands, kissing them lightly. “Love, I’m very serious about this. It’s a bit earlier than I’d planned, but if it’s your children, I want to be a father.”
Her eyes grew wide and watery. She tried to turn her head away to hide her tears, but I quickly moved closer to turn her head back toward me. “You don’t have to hide your feelings, jhenmu. Nana told me that they're boys. Have you decided on any names yet? I’d love to pick them out with you.”
My words only made her cry harder, so I took her into my arms, hugging her close.
The happiness I felt at that moment was something long absent in the years since Nisha had been taken from me. Holding her was much the same as having a piece of my own self returned to me after it was lost.
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, I was whole.
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