|The Triad Bond by Lexi Bane|
“When you said ‘Come home, meet my family. We can do the holidays.’ I didn’t think you meant this!” Tony yelped as Aileen pulled him up the path to the front door.
“Well, if you had listened to her when she had her rant last night, you would have clued in that her family is a big thing,” Daniel reminded him.
Tony glared over his shoulder at the other man and scowled harder at him as Daniel laughed. “I listened, but I wasn’t expecting to see a bloody mansion!”
“I told you my family’s rich and my brother is the Alpha for the clan.” Aileen opened the front door. “They aren’t going to do anything permanent to you.”
“That’s less reassuring than you know,” Tony bitched.
“Aileen has rarely been the reassuring sort,” a tall brunet male snapped back. “Who are you?”
“Marcus, put the suspicion away,” Aileen said as she stood in front of him. “I’ve brought my partners home for the holiday.”
“Partners.” The man she called Marcus looked them over. “When did you form a trio?”
“We’re not fully there yet, Alpha.” Daniel moved to stand beside Tony. “We’re still working to settle in with each other, but we’re at the first stages of our bond.”
“Isn’t that interesting?” Marcus said as he stared at Tony. “What do you have to say?”
Tony took a deep breath and nodded once. “I’m with them.”
“I figured that out from Aileen’s grasp on your wrist.” Marcus raised an eyebrow and stared at Tony, expression dark. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“While you might not actually hurt me, you sure want to,” Tony observed. “But I don’t get why.”
“Marcus is my big brother,” Aileen admitted. She ran her hand down to his and changed her grip to hold it before she gave it a reassuring squeeze. “He’s being a snot because I’ve not brought anyone I’ve been dating home before, let alone two.”
Daniel’s eyebrows rose and he shook his head. “And it’s the holidays and that means family and good cheer and the like. Which can mean more drama and insanity. And that’s before you add strangers to the mix.”
“Right.” Marcus stared at them and waved his hands at them. “I know Aileen. But she hasn’t mentioned you two. I need names.”
Tony had a feeling he was going to be investigated down to his toenails, but he couldn’t see any way around it. “Antonio Costantino.”
“Daniel Trevelyan.” Daniel tapped his chest before staring at Marcus. “I’m a Were as well.”
“And I know Aileen is.” Marcus turned slightly to stare at Tony. “But what about you?”
Tony sighed slightly before he pushed his hair back from his ears. “Fae.”
“Huh.” Marcus stared. “Well, Grandfather is going to be interested in meeting you.”
Aileen perked up at that. “Grandfather is here?”
“He is.” Marcus waved a hand back toward the depths of the house. “And he’s brought a date too.”
“Marcus, you aren’t interrogating your sister and her partners in the foyer, are you?” A woman’s voice called.
“Kat’s here too?” Aileen asked before she dropped Tony’s hand and headed into the house. “Come on guys!”
“Better follow her,” Marcus said before he turned on his heel to head after his sister. “Because if you don’t, she’ll just come back to fetch you.”
Tony ran his hands through his hair and let the strands cover the points of his ears. He had no idea how in the hell he had gotten involved with two Were, but he had. And neither of them were letting him hide out and be a hermit like he was comfortable with. Evidence in point, Daniel took his hand and started after Aileen.
“You aren’t going to get to hide, Tonio,” Daniel told him. “You’ve done that for too long.”
“I have not,” Tony protested automatically. “And stop reading my mind.”
“I’m not. I can tell from the look on your face. Tonio, you have books that are older than the U.S. and bought them as soon as they came off the printing presses. You only moved to the U.S. because your family did and they started packing your library up around you. You would rather live in that library than with the rest of the known world.”
“I don’t know why they wanted to move,” Tony admitted. The move had been almost three hundred years before and he was still confused as to why his parents had packed everyone up and left Italy. He wasn’t going to touch the comments on his being anti-social. He liked people. Just in very small doses.
Daniel pulled him close and pressed a kiss to his temple. “Have you asked?”
“No,” Tony admitted. “Well, I did when we moved, but I was told that we were moving for a better opportunity and land. We still own the land in Italy and I’ve been back. It seems like it’s just as good as the land here.”
“Tonio, land in Italy in the early 1700s was likely over-farmed and not producing all that well. Italy has been settled for thousands of years after all,” Daniel reminded him. “Moving to more fertile land would be a good idea if you wanted to feed your family.”
“Point,” Tony conceded. He thought about what he remembered of the family farm from then. While he was fae, he hadn’t thought about his original home in years. The memories were…faded and rather indistinct from a lack of interest in them. But from what he could remember, he was sure Daniel was right. “I think you have the right idea. I’m not sure, but I remember being hungry sometimes. And I think the crops failed the year before we left. We were much better fed after we started the farm here.”
“And when did you leave, little one?” a lilting baritone voice asked as they rounded the corner into the room Aileen had led them to.
Tony stiffened and stared at the older fae before him. Whomever he was, he was High Court and Tony wasn’t. He pulled himself together and bowed. “Antonio Costantino, sir. And we left Italy in 1723.”
“Cynbel Caderyn Ap Brenhinol.” The older fae introduced himself. “And as I remember, there was a drought in Italy that decade. Terrible thing.”
It took a moment for Tony to mentally translate the older being’s name into English. He wasn’t expecting to meet up with the man with the earned name of War-Leader, Son of the Royal House. His love of history was certainly informing him of who he was. “Umm, is there any part of that which you want me to call you, sir?”
Ap Brenhinol raised an eyebrow at him. “Well, at this point, usually I tell everyone to call me Grandfather.”
“Sir, I don’t know if I can do that,” Tony admitted. Despite living in the United States for almost three hundred years, his early training wouldn’t let him call the being before him such a familiar title. He was barely comfortable with calling the older fae sir.
“Lad, you’re dating my granddaughter. I’m reasonably certain I can ask just about anything I want,” Ap Brenhinol informed him. “Call me Grandfather.”
Tony glanced at Aileen and Daniel before looking back at Ap Brenhinol. “Yes, sir.”
Ap Brenhinol threw his head back and laughed. “Ah, lad. You’ve got a spine under all that quiet, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir,” Tony confirmed. He walked over to Aileen and took his place at her side. He felt better, more settled to be there. When Daniel took her other side, he could feel something slot into place. From the sharp look Daniel gave him, he could feel it as well. Tony had a feeling the burgeoning bond the three of them shared was growing stronger.
“Stop picking on him, Grandfather. Not everyone is going to be comfortable around you,” Aileen said sharply. “I didn’t bring either of my partners home for you lot to interrogate.”
“Aileen, you had to know they would be though. This family is nothing if not nosy,” a dark-haired woman commented as she pushed her way through the crowd. “I’m Kat, married to Marcus and Liam. Welcome to our home. Please ignore the busybodies I call my family. They really can’t help but be the way they are.”
Daniel started laughing and Tony relaxed as he did. If Daniel was fine with the situation, he could be as well. Tony raised an eyebrow at Kat and tipped his head in the direction of Ap Brenhinol. “I’m not upset or anything, but I am going to be respectful. That’s just how I was raised.”
“And Grandfather will have to deal with that,” Kat confirmed as she stared at the older fae. “Won’t you?”
“Fine,” Ap Brenhinol huffed. He turned to look at Tony and smiled. “Don’t worry about things, lad. I’m an admitted busybody who likes to stick his nose in the lives of his descendants. Marcus and his siblings are endlessly fun to be around, so I’m here often enough to know them well. But I won’t torment either of you too terribly while trying to get to know you.”
“Thank you, Grandfather,” Daniel said with a smile. Tony gave him an abbreviated bow in appreciation.
“Yes, thank you, Grandfather. Maybe you can teach Marcus that skill,” Aileen said. Tony watched the muscles in her back relax by degrees as her family all made agreeable noises.
“I’m not that bad,” Marcus protested as he looped his arms around his wife.
“Darling, you are,” Kat told him. “You tease your siblings as badly as I tease mine. And you rarely stop when they ask.”