The paper fell away. A flat, cherrywood box lay before her. She looked at him questioningly. He raised his brows back at her. She opened the box and froze. Inside were rows of pencils, plain and colored, as well as charcoal, pastels, a tiny ink bottle, and pens. A smaller box held watercolors, brushes, and a little bottle for water.
“If you don’t like it or if something is missing, I can have the art supplier make another,” Simon said very rapidly. “Maybe a bigger one. And I’ve ordered several bound sketchbooks to be made, but they aren’t ready yet. Of course, I’ll be giving you jewels as well. Lots of jewels. A treasure trove of jewels, but this is just something small—”
Lucy blinked back tears. “It’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen.” She wrapped her arms about his shoulders and hugged him close, glorying in the familiar smell of him.
She felt Simon’s arms lift to embrace her, but she remembered then. “I’ve got something for you as well.” She handed him the blue book.
He opened it to the title page and smiled widely. “The Serpent Prince. However did you finish it so fast?” He began leafing through the pages, studying her watercolor pictures. “I suppose I ought to give this to Pocket. It was for her that I commissioned it, after all, but—” He choked as he reached the last page.
Lucy glanced at it, admiring the handsome silver-haired prince she’d painted next to the pretty goat girl. It really was a fine piece of work, even if she did say so herself.
“You’ve changed the ending!” Simon sounded outraged.
Well, she didn’t care. “Yes, it’s much better now that Angelica marries the Serpent Prince instead. I never did like that Rutherford.”
“But, angel,” he protested. “She’d chopped off his head. I don’t see how he could recover from that.”
“Silly.” She pulled his face down to hers. “Don’t you know true love heals all?”
He paused just before their lips met, his eyes a silvery gray misted with tears. “It does, you know, your love for me.”
“I feel whole when I’m with you. I didn’t think that was possible after Ethan and Christian and . . . everything. But you swept into my life and redeemed me, ransomed my very soul from the devil.”
“You’re being blasphemous again,” she whispered as she stood on tiptoe to reach his mouth.
“No, but really—”
“Hush. Kiss me.”
And he did.