How much do you think a faery dowry would be for a highborn prince? Owen gets a bit of a shock when he finds out, but I don't put a number on it. I'll leave it to your imagination but I can assure you Owen and Bran are going to have a lot of fun spending it.
“Bran dear,” Aggie said when they were all safely inside, “why don’t you try on some of your new things? I’d love to see what you bought.”
“But I can show you—”
“I’d rather see you wear them,” she repeated, a sharp note underlying the uncharacteristic sweetness.
Bran’s eyes widened in surprise, but he shrugged and headed for the stairs, still laden with his bags and boxes.
When Owen made to follow, Aggie stopped him.
“I need your help in the kitchen,” she said, straight and to the point as ever, without any of the softness she seemed to have acquired around Bran.
With a sigh, Owen gave Bran a rueful shrug, getting such a bright smile in return it was almost worth it to step back and watch him climb the stairs.
“Stop looking at his arse and get yours in here,” Aggie called sharply from the kitchen.
“I was not— Oh, what’s the point?” He set the remaining bags down on the floor in the hall and obediently trotted into the kitchen. Aggie was sitting at the table with a piece of paper in her hands.
She seemed uncomfortable.
“I’ve turned the gold into numbers,” she said, her hands nervously fluttering as she fed the paper through her fingers.
“O-kay. Was there a problem?”
“No. No problem. I just wanted to talk to you about it without Bran.”
“Because… You need to remember, Owen, that Bran is a prince. He might not appear to be. He’s a sweet boy and not arrogant like many of the fey I know, let alone royalty. Nevertheless, he is royalty and even though he is not in his kingdom, he… His parents are anxious that he doesn’t have to struggle. They are…not confident you will be able to provide for him in the way they’d like, so—”
“Not yet,” Owen complained, but I will. I only have a year left on my degree and then I’ll get a job and…”
“Owen, are you listening? Bran is a prince, a prince. What kind of job do you think you can get that will adequately provide for him?”
Owen scowled and Aggie looked even more uncomfortable.
“He’s not like that, Aggie. He doesn’t act like a prince, and he’s excited about everything. This place is so different to his home, he—”
Aggie slapped her hand on the table making Owen jump.
“You are not listening. No mater how excited he is or how he acts the fact remains. No fae king will allow his only son to be dependent on any human, and certainly no fae queen will permit her son to live a lowly life.”
“O-kay. Got it. Bran’s parents want him to be well looked after and don’t trust me to do that. Fair point. I figure that’s why the chest of jewels, right. I mean, if we’re careful that can surely buy us a nice little house with all the clothes he ever wants and holidays every year to wherever he wants to…”
“Don’t get angry,” Aggie said with her most no arguments or else face, “and do not breathe a single word of discontent to Bran or I will disown you.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
Aggie gave him another scowl and slid the paper across the table. Puzzled, Owen picked it up and glanced at it.
If he’d been standing he would have sat down – fast. “I… I can’t… I…no. No, I can’t. It’s just. I can’t.”
“Yes, you can, and you will. You will go home tomorrow, without Bran. I’ll keep him here safe for the day,” she added when he would have complained. “You will talk to your parents and tell them everything. You will give your father this paper and he will help you work out what to do with it. You cannot do this alone, but together we can make sure you are both where you should be.”
“What about my degree? I can’t go back and tell them… Shit, I can’t leave Bran. I can’t…”
“One step at a time. You can make decisions as they become necessary but there is no need for final ones right now. Indeed, you should make none. This needs time and careful planning.”
“Planning? Have you seen how much is in there? And he said there’d be more. We could live forever on that. In a mansion in Las Vegas or Beverley Hills or something. We could buy the whole village, sheep and all.”
Aggie grinned. “That’s my boy,” she said, pretending not to notice that, even thought he joked, his
Owen was dragged from his thoughts, that were gloomier than they should have been given his sudden change in status, by light steps on the stairs.
“I didn’t know how things are supposed to go.” Bran’s voice came from the hall moments before he appeared in the kitchen doorway, his head bowed, examining himself critically. “I had trouble with the shoes. I don’t usually wear shoes.” He glanced up. “What?”
“I… You…” If Owen had had trouble speaking after seeing the balance of his bank account, he was struck doubly dumb by the sight of his faery prince in figure hugging black jeans, a soft, pale blue cashmere jumper and a pair of badly laced high tops. Somehow, the stylish, well cut clothing made him even more beautiful and even more unearthly than when he was wearing nothing at all. Owen had quite simply never seen anything so lovely in all his life. He smiled tentatively and Bran grinned back.
“Do I look okay? Did I do it right?”
“You do everything right,” Owen breathed, and ignoring Aggie, surged to his feet and embraced Bran, losing himself in a heart-melting kiss.