Okay, so I recently found this extra scene I wrote for Nocturna way back in 2015 for Father’s Day, a year before the book was even published. I had posted this on my website already, but it was hidden away and no one saw it. Including me, since I forgot I posted it. So I’m reposting it! (Especially since I couldn’t write the ending to the one that was supposed to be written this month.) This extra scene (or short story, as I’m calling it) takes place after Nocturna ends, so there are spoilers in it for the book if you haven’t read it yet.
If you want to read Nocturna before reading this, check it out here. You can even read the first chapter free! If you didn’t read my last author update, you should know I’m planning to republish it next year. It will be almost entirely the same, just written in third-person P.O.V. instead of first-person like it is currently. If you don’t care about spoilers, read away!
Spoiler Alert – Post-Nocturna
“What are you doing?” Alexei asked from his place on one of the garden’s many benches as Valon gathered a multitude of flowers in his hand. Valon walked over and tugged Alexei’s thin blue ribbon out of his hair, letting his silky black locks flow freely down his back, then wrapped it around the bundle of flowers.
“I’m making a bouquet for my dad. It’s Father’s Day,” Valon explained. Alexei still looked confused.
“But you cannot give it to him,” he stated then murmured a soft apology when Valon shot him a glare.
“I don’t care. I’m making one anyway to remind me of him.” Alexei fell silent and Valon looked to see him staring at the ground. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” he dismissed with a shake of his head. Valon’s eyebrows furrowed in concern and he sat at his side, placing the flowers down then taking his hand in his own.
“Tell me, please. What’s troubling you?”
He sighed. “You mention your father so easily, like you weren’t snatched from him and the rest of your family. Sometimes I fear that you will leave me to return to them.”
“That will never happen, Alexei. I stopped running, remember? I accepted you and my feelings for you. I would never leave you and Alessandros,” Valon replied, cupping his cheek and turning his husband to face him. “Now tell me what this is really about,” Valon said, and he smiled ashamed.
“Your father? Why?”
“You know he was never the best father to me,” he started and Valon interrupted with a scoff. Understatement. Alexei gave him an admonishing look and Valon grinned sheepishly, gesturing for him to go on. He rolled his eyes but continued, “But sometimes I feel like I should miss him, especially on days where humans and even monsters celebrate their family members. The day he died, I watched his murderer run out of the palace. I did not stop him. Instead, I watched my King collapse onto the floor, convulsing and foaming at the mouth, struggling to breathe, as poison overcame him, and I felt nothing. He reached out to me, asking me to save him. Those were his last words, ‘Help me.’ Diana was tormented for years after, but I only ever felt relieved. I should feel ashamed for thinking that of my predecessor.”
“Alexei, Gideon abused you. No one could blame you for feeling like that,” Valon tried to comfort him. “You were nine years old. You couldn’t have done anything even if you tried.”
“But I didn’t try,” he spat, and Valon pulled back in surprise. He exhaled slowly, his shoulders slumping in exhaustion. “I apologize, but that is the point I am trying to make: I didn’t try to save him. I let him die, I let his murderer escape, and I still do not regret it,” he whispered at the end, his face downcast. Valon shifted and wrapped his hands around his neck, pulling him down into a tight hug. Alexei’s arms hesitantly encircled Valon’s waist.
“That does not make you a bad person, monster, whatever,” Valon told him, assuming the unspoken, underlying fear. “And the way your father treated you will not make you a horrible father to Andy, do you understand? You have people who love you and will happily help you when you struggle. I love you, Andy loves you, and your sister and Julian love you. You care for Andy more than you care for your precious flowers,” he teased, and Alexei let out an exasperated puff of air. “You are a wonderful father and a wonderful husband.” Valon pressed a lingering kiss to his lips then stood from the bench, offering him a hand and pulling him up. “Come on, we have a surprise for you.”
“Papa!” Alessandros cheered from Di’s arms as we walked into the Main Palace. Alexei’s jaw dropped and he looked at Valon stunned. Valon grinned wide, nodding.
“He’s asking for you,” he confirmed.
“When did he start speaking?” Alexei asked, scooping the one-year-old into his arms. Di laughed as slobber ran down the baby’s chin, wetting Alexei’s white robes as Alessandros cuddled into the crook of his neck.
“Just this morning,” Valon answered. “How do you feel about being our child’s first word, Papa?” he questioned. Alexei walked over to Valon with a broad grin then swooped down, pressing his lips to Valon’s. Alessandros cooed and clapped his tiny hands, making Valon chuckle into the kiss. When Alexei pulled back, Valon kissed Alessandros’ forehead and the baby gurgled happily in reply.
Alexei curled his arm around Valon’s waist, tugging him close. Valon smiled up at him, absentmindedly running his fingers through Alessandros’ fine hair.
“Happy Father’s Day, Alexei,” Valon whispered.
“Happy Father’s Day, Valon,” he replied, pressing a kiss to Valon’s temple.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope you enjoyed it.
If you liked this story and want to read more like it, and you’re not already following my blog, remember to sign up with your email in the sidebar or below the post to get an update every time I post a new short story, which will be an actual short story next month.
And again, if you want to check out Nocturna, you can find it here.