Home > Queen Alpha (NYC Mecca #2)(15)

Queen Alpha (NYC Mecca #2)(15)
Author: Jaymin Eve, Leia Stone

I scanned my hand along the boxes until the tingling became unbearable. Trinkets. What mecca trinket were you hiding, Red Queen? Pulling the medium-size box down, I wasted no time tearing it open. The second the lid lifted I was assaulted by the floral fae scent, which I both recognized and hated now. It was faint, but definitely of fae origin.

Digging through the items, I tossed aside a few small ornaments, a pair of bronze ballet slippers, and some other pieces that didn’t interest me. Right near the bottom was a wooden box. My hand hovered over it and my heartbeat picked up speed. This was important; the box was practically vibrating with mecca energy.

Slowly I lifted it out and contemplated calling Violet to help open it. Now that I knew how powerful the mecca was, I feared it. The fear had started during my coronation when the energy had almost killed me, pressing in on me until I thought I would be crushed beneath it. It was reasonable to fear power like that. But I wouldn’t let the fear control me.

The second I had that thought, the mecca energy within the box lessened, almost as if it sensed my fear and wanted me to know it was safe to open. Okay, then … here goes nothing. Lifting the lid slowly, I blinked a few times as the object came into view. It was a beautiful, falsely vibrant, blue flower on top of a photograph. The flower glowed, the hue of the petals so deep and rich that I knew it was not of this world. Not to mention it was inside of a box with no water and no sun and still it lived.

Touch it or don’t touch it? As if against my will, my hand snaked out and closed around the stem of the flower. The second it was in my palm, my hand glowed the slightest bit purple, like when I touched the mecca crystal. Acting on instinct, I pulled it up to my nose and inhaled the scent of grass, sea water, and a sweetness that lay under the floral tones.

I was about to lower the flower from my face when I heard a crash. What the hell? Realizing it had come from the blossom, I pulled it closer to my ear and almost dropped it at the distinct sounds of waves, and birds chirping. In a rush, I set the flower down and backed up a few steps. Could this actually be possible? Was this some weird freaky fae mecca flower that was a connection to their world?

Why did the Red Queen have this? How did she get it? Could someone in the other world hear me now if I spoke?

I couldn’t think about that. I stepped forward again, planning on slamming the box shut and having Calista lock it in my jewelry safe, when I noticed the photo it was perched on. I stared at it for a moment, a surge of emotions tightening my chest and throat. As I reached out for the old weathered photo, a smile spread across my face; a war of both joy and sadness were fighting within me. It was my mom and the Red Queen.

As I traced my fingers along my mother’s face, I was surprised to see both her and the queen were pregnant in this photo. I recognized the surroundings and clothing style enough to know this was taken when my mother was pregnant with me. I couldn’t recall her ever telling me that her sister had been pregnant at the same time. This must have been one of the times the Red Queen miscarried. If my memory served me correctly, she had more than a few losses in her quest for a child. It was one of those sad stories in our royal history.

I brought the photo closer, really seeing my former leader. The Red Queen looked radiant, healthy and happy. She had her arm around my mother, holding her tightly. I never saw this side of my aunt. She was always so cold and distant to me and others. Maybe the multiple miscarriages did that to her. I didn’t know much about babies or pregnancy, but her belly was quite distinct here, which meant she lost the baby late in pregnancy. I couldn’t imagine such a loss.

It was one of the few times that the Red Queen ever failed: producing an heir. Luckily my mom had had Winnie and me to carry on the red line. Slipping the photo into my pocket, I closed the wooden box, trapping the flower inside. Anything to do with the fae was dangerous. I would not open that again until we knew more about what we were dealing with. Hopefully one of the magic born would find some useful information in the secret fae spell book room.

When I exited the storage area I tried to school my features so that none of my dominants knew I was bothered. I was bothered though – a fae flower in my home, in the former queen’s personal items. Did any of us truly know the Red Queen? Even the council?

I traversed the winding halls until I was back at my private quarters, exhaustion crushing in on me. Emotional stress was actually worse than physical activities. I needed a long hot bath before my dinner plans. I just wanted to wash this day away. As usual, Blaine and Victor searched my apartment for any intruders while I waited at the door with my other guards.

Blaine let out a shout. “What the hell?” And before I could think, I was running into the apartment, even though Monica tried to hold me back.

I’d never heard Blaine shout out like that. Generally he handled everything without a worry. Monica finally caught up to me, yanking me back hard so she could position herself in front of me as we skidded around the corner into my bedroom. I was so relieved to see Blaine, his body rigid, and before him … Violet.

“Violet! You scared me half to death!” Blaine cursed a few more times, running his hand over his hair, making it stand up.

That was it. That was all I needed to lose it in fits of laughter. Everyone looked at me as I laughed so hard tears streamed down my cheeks. I had been so stressed lately that when I finally had reason to laugh my body was just on overdrive with emotion.

Blaine shook his head, the slightest of grins lighting up his face. “Sorry if I scared you, Princess. She appeared out of thin air. I almost stabbed her.”

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