“Loving his brother enough to do anything to protect him isn’t one of them though.”
“No, it isn’t.” James shook his head. “I won’t lie to you and say every decision we make is the right one, because it isn’t. Usually the ones we all make together aren’t so bad, but the individual ones—those are sort of a crapshoot. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong, and sometimes it takes several thousand years before we fix them. And in the twins’ case, it’s especially bad, because the only thing keeping Walter from reversing his decision is his pride. But it’ll work itself out eventually, and in the meantime, look at it this way—now that you’re on board, you can show us the error of our ways.”
“If the only thing I do during council m Singyou caeeting is point out how wrong everyone is, no one’s going to listen to me.”
“True, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save those moments for the things you think are really important,” said James. “You’ll have my support. Henry’s, too. I can’t speak for the rest of them, but you won’t be alone. Most of the time, anyway.” He grinned. “Try to undo one of my rulings, however, and it might get a little tense.”
I managed a smile in return. “I’ll do my best. You seem to have pretty good judgment though.”
“I do, don’t I?” He bumped his hip against mine—which, given how tall he was, was sort of like he was nudging my liver instead. “You know, after everything I did, I think I deserve that kiss.”
I rolled my eyes. “Not in a million years.”
“What about a million and one?”
“I might be willing to give you a peck on the cheek, if you don’t screw up too badly between now and then.”
He pouted. “You’re terrible to me, you know.”
“You like it.” And no matter how romantic and beautiful Greece was, I wasn’t going to break my vows to Henry, even if they technically didn’t apply for the next six months. I loved him no matter which season it was. “Do you think Ava’s going to undo the curse?”
“Doubt it,” he said. “Walter’s angry enough as it is. Remind her in a few years, once he’s had the chance to calm down. You might have better luck then.”
“Right,” I said, frowning. “I’ll try to remember.”
He reached out and patted my shoulder, keeping the distance between us. At last he seemed to be getting the picture. “You’re a good person, Kate, and it isn’t by accident that we chose you to become one of us. We know you’re going to challenge things, and the majority of us will welcome it. Don’t sweat it so much.”
“Easy for you to say,” I grumbled. He ignored me.
“But right now you’re on vacation. A pretty great vacation, if I do say so myself, and it’s about time you start enjoying it. No more chasing after gods with bad tempers, all right? From here on out, all I want to see you doing is sipping fruity drinks and lying out on the beach. A topless one, if you’d like. They’ve got plenty of those around here.”
So much for him catching on. “Perv,” I said, cracking a smile.
He broke out into a boyish grin. “Hey, a guy can dream.”
By the time we’d found the road, my anxiety had melted away, replaced by the promise of six months of sun and relaxation and not having to worry about what was to come. Eventually my reprieve would be over, but no matter how nervous I was about facing the other gods, September also meant getting to see Henry again.
Besides, James and Lux were right. I was one person, but so was each and every member of the council. Despite what Lux seemed to think, they were good people, and they knew the difference between doing something because it was Scauuncil. the right thing to do and because their pride didn’t allow them any other choice. All they needed was someone to point it out to them. I could be that person—I would be that person, because people like Casey and Lux deserved it.
And if Walter wanted to smite me for it, then bring it on.