God of Ruin: Epilogue 1

MIA

THREE MONTHS LATER

Life has never made as much sense as it does lately.

Or maybe it started to make sense after Landon slid into my life and wreaked havoc on the very foundation of my being.

In return, he offered me himself—unfiltered, unapologetic, and absolutely unhinged.

Today, he’s offering something more in the form of a peek into his past.

He brought me to London so I could meet his parents over the summer vacation.

He’s tried to bring me here countless times, but I’ve always told him I wasn’t ready, more out of cowardice than anything else; however, he’s always respected my decision and hasn’t pushed me to make the trip.

His parents should’ve come to New York after he got shot, but Landon asked my father, who’s now a big fan of his—since he saved both me and Maya—to bury the incident so that his parents wouldn’t find out.

He disguised the injury as something minor he suffered while working out and said it was pointless to worry his parents.

“The time some prick stabbed me, they didn’t leave my side for days and Mum wouldn’t stop crying. I prefer not to repeat that,” he said.

Naturally, no police were involved in the incident due to my parents’ influence. Mr. and Mrs. Pratt were dumped somewhere no one but my father knows and their names were casually added to the MIA list. Landon’s name was never mentioned in regards to her death and he faced no legal inquiry whatsoever.

At any rate, I couldn’t push back the date to meet his parents anymore. Besides, I’ve always been curious about the two people who made Landon, Brandon, and Glyndon. Three siblings with entirely different personalities.

As we step to the front door, I pull on my blue dress, even though it reaches my knees. “Are you sure you told them I was coming?”

“On my face? Why would I tell Mum and Dad that?”

“Landon!” I hit his arm. “Can you not talk about sex when your parents are on the other side of the door?”

“Why not? They have sex, too. All the time, if I might add. We’re sex-positive in this household. If any of us were to bring home an alien, they’d welcome it with open arms.”

“Are you saying I’m an alien?”

“The sexiest alien.”

I’m about to hit his arm again, but the door opens and my spine jerks into a straight line.

“I told you to wait until they come inside,” a tall, well-built man with strikingly blond hair says. I recognize the resemblance between him and his sons right away. Lan and Bran have his jaw and the same mythical blue shade of eyes.

He has his arm on the small of a shorter woman’s back. Her green eyes, which she definitely passed down to Glyn, twinkle with mischief and I can’t stop staring at her shiny long brown hair that falls in waves. “I’m just a bit impatient to meet Lan’s special guest.”

Landon wraps an arm around my waist, mirroring his father, and says, “Mum, Dad. Meet my girl and your future daughter-in-law, Mia Sokolov.”

I stare at him.

Future daughter-in-law?

I don’t have time to focus on that as Landon’s mom, Astrid, offers me a big, welcoming smile. “It’s so nice to meet you, Mia. I’ve been dreaming about the day Lan would introduce us to his special someone. He’s never brought anyone over, you know.”

“None of them were worth it,” he replies simply, without batting an eye.

“I heard from Glyn and Bran that you single-handedly put a leash on Lan’s crazy,” his dad says. “I like you already.”

“We’re officially impressed,” Astrid says. “This one right here has always been a wild horse.”

“And always will be. I just happen to have a partner in crime now.” He pulls me closer to his side. “Let us in. I’m starving.”

Astrid grabs my arm and leads me inside, leaving Lan in his father’s company.

“Any news about your brother?” I hear Levi ask.

“Working on it. Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll make sure everything falls into place.”

“What about what we discussed the other day…?”

Their voices become distant and unintelligible as they stay behind while Astrid gives me a mini house tour. Their mansion is a lot bigger than I imagined, with rustic, high Victorian ceilings and wide, tall windows that overlook a manicured garden.

They have three built-in studios. One for Astrid, the second for Lan and Bran, and the third for Glyn. All of them were carefully constructed by Levi as gifts to his wife and children.

Astrid takes me to Landon’s room and shows me all his awards from multiple activities. Football. Art shows. Spelling contests. Language competitions. The overachiever has done it all.

Astrid seems absolutely proud of his wins, as if they were her own.

She sits on the edge of his bed as I study the keepsakes from the endless activities he’s taken part in. He definitely wasn’t lying when he said he’s a genius and a fast learner.

“Lan did everything while growing up—the good, the bad, and the entirely screwed up,” she says with a sad smile. “He thinks we didn’t realize this, but his father and I always knew that he took part in countless events and activities to fill the emptiness that kept growing inside him. The bigger the hole got, the more intense his hobbies turned. Levi and I let him do whatever he pleased and gave him room to enroll in violent sports, not because we encouraged it, but because we were at a loss for what could benefit him. Therapy didn’t help. Restraining him had the opposite effect, and monitoring him made him vindictive. I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you, Mia.”

I face her, hugging an art award to my chest. “I…didn’t do anything.”

“You gave him the balance he spent his entire life searching for, and that’s everything. You gave him what we couldn’t.”

“That’s not true. He knows you tried your best. That’s all that counts.”

She smiles, her expression soft and reminiscent. Now I get why Lan really cares for his mom and dad and didn’t want to worry them about his injury. They let him be himself when he needed it the most. They did it in the hopes that he’d get back on the right path one day, and I think he realizes how hard it was for them. More importantly, he knows the many troubles he caused them over the years.

“He’s also been showing me his most recent pieces and saying he found his muse,” she says. “I’m guessing that’s you.”

“I suppose. I wanted to ask you since you’re an artist yourself. Is there anything else I can do to help him?”

“Not really. Just be yourself. He’s finally finding his distinctive style and it’s euphoric to watch.”

“He hadn’t before?”

“No. I don’t deny that Lan was born a genius. He has the perfect technique and a unique imagination. I’ve always told him that he surpassed me in his teens, but he often showed me his work and I felt happy that he still sought my validation. But ever since he started being a professional, I could see his creative and technical superiority, but there was no soul. Lately, that’s fundamentally changed. Now, I’m sure he’ll soar to the sky with his talent. With your help, of course.”

“I don’t really do anything. I just sit there.” And sometimes suck him off just to mess with him.

“Don’t underestimate the role of a muse. Some say it’s inseparable from our souls.”

Why do I like the thought of being part of Lan’s soul? Probably because I’m as possessive as he is and want to engrave myself inside him as deep as he’s inside me.

Astrid stands. “Come on, let’s go down for dinner. Maybe I can dig out his baby albums afterward.”

I grin. “I would love that.”

When we get downstairs, we’re greeted by two new people, or more like, one new face.

I recognize the first one as Eli. I met him fleetingly in the Elites’ mansion and Landon always made it a point to separate me from him. For some reason, that made Eli more insistent about interacting with me, which, in turn, provoked Lan’s toxic, over-the-top possessive traits.

The man accompanying him is Aiden, who’s an older copy of Eli. Tall, imposing, and intimidating without even trying.

I don’t see him in that light, though. According to Lan, his Uncle Aiden has always been his number one fan, the enabler of his anarchy-driven mind, and the one who understands his antisocial behavior the best.

His dad does, too, now, but it took him some time to come to terms with the fact that Lan is and always will be different—mostly because he used to treat his siblings in an antisocial manner.

“And what are you doing here?” Lan glares at Eli.

“What’s with the cold welcome, dear cousin? I was terribly wounded in my nonexistent heart when you invited Dad for dinner and didn’t consider including me.” Eli wraps an arm around his father’s shoulder. “We come as a set.”

“Did he force his way to come with you, Uncle?”

“Pretty much,” Aiden says with a poker face. “He said, and I quote, ‘Of course my presence is welcome. Who wouldn’t enjoy my godly company and stimulating conversationalist eloquence?’”

“Me, for one.” Lan grins. “I can think of someone else who wouldn’t either. Maybe I should text that someone so they can judge your stimulating conversationalist eloquence.

“Dad…” Eli says, all humor absent. “Remember when I said I want Lan gone?”

“Yes, constantly.”

“I still want him gone.”

“Too bad I’m here to stay.” Lan makes a face. “And stop asking your dad for help like a little bitch. How old are you? Six?”

“You’re playing with fire, twat.”

“Burn, dear cousin. Burn.”

“Boys,” Levi says, pinching the bridge of his nose. “When are you going to grow out of this meaningless rivalry?”

“Let them be.” Aiden smiles. “It’s amusing.”

Lan’s expression goes from playful to burning hot when he spots me with his mother.

He comes to escort me, his hand landing on the small of my back as he guides me to the center of the living area.

Eli offers me his charming smile. “We meet again, Mia.”

“Hi.”

“Isn’t it about time you decide this one right here isn’t worth your time?”

“Ignore the waste of space.” Lan doesn’t even pay him attention. “Uncle, meet Mia. The future queen to my kingdom.”

My cheeks heat and I hope it’s not as obvious as I think it is. What’s with him and all the labels today?

I offer my hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. King.”

“Please. Call me Aiden.” He returns the shake with a firm but brief one. “I must say, you’re one brave young lady for putting up with someone like Lan.”

“I’ve been saying that for months,” Eli agrees.

“Hey.” Lan seems offended. “You’re supposed to be on my side, Uncle.”

“It takes courage to put up with you, so of course I have to give credit where credit is due.” He leans over. “Give me a call if this one gives you trouble.”

“Me, too,” Levi says.

“Dad!” Lan scoffs.

“Leave my boy alone.” Astrid wraps her arms around his waist in a hug and he smirks, then pretends to be wounded.

“See, Mum? No one understands my worth.”

“I’ll add my number to the Landon Hotline,” Eli says, almost too excitedly.

“Can’t be busier than the Eli Hotline,” Lan shoots back. “I know because I’ve been taking care of the fallout for years.”

Eli glares at him and Lan merely waggles his brows.

Aiden and Levi share a look, then shake their heads, almost exasperatingly.

I only just met this family and I already love them.

They’re different from mine. While I always thought we were so close-knit, what Maya did ruined everything.

We’ve been taking it slow, but I’m learning to forgive her. She hit rock bottom after that incident. Apparently, as I suspected, she had a major crush on Ilya, Jeremy’s senior bodyguard, and probably even started a secret relationship with him.

But evidently, she did something so unforgivable, he broke up with her. Then the thing with Mrs. Pratt happened and I cut ties with her.

She had a mental breakdown.

I was there for her. Unlike what I would’ve thought, I couldn’t just watch her disintegrate. She’s still my twin, and like Bran said, it’s in our DNA to love our twins, no matter what they do.

Our family has been healing, but I’m not sure how long this process will take. I guess, as the family counselor said, it can take as long necessary.

The positive thing is that Nikolai apologized again for ignoring me that day and promised not to interfere in my relationship with Landon from now on. There’s no love lost between them, but I’ll take any peace offerings I can get.

“What are you thinking about?” Lan whispers in my ear as we fall behind while everyone else goes to the dining room.

“How much I like your family.”

“Everyone except for the nuisance Eli, you mean!” he shouts the last part.

“The only nuisance is you, prick!” Eli shouts back without hesitation.

“Hey, Lan.” I stop in front of him and wrap my arms around his waist.

More than his gorgeous statues, he’s the brutal beauty that always, without doubt, steals my attention.

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for letting me into your world.”

“Thank you for being my world.”

“Thank you for helping me get my voice back.”

“Thank you for letting me hear it.”

“Seriously, you’ve been taking Bran’s lessons so well.”

“No lessons are needed. Besides, Bran is the one who’s in dire need of lessons, not me.”

The bell rings and he frowns. “Mum, are we expecting someone else?”

“I invited someone over.” Eli comes rushing through.

As he opens the door, Glyn jumps Lan in a hug. “Surprise!”

The surprise is, of course, that she brought Kill along.

I wince. This is such a terrible idea.

It doesn’t matter how many truces exist between the Heathens and the Elites. Lan and Kill can’t stomach each other to save their lives.

“Your presence isn’t enough, so you added another obnoxious presence?” Lan asks Eli.

“Of course. The more the merrier, am I right, Kill?”

“Right.” My cousin grins as I greet him with a hug. When I back away, his face reverts to the usual coldness. “Landon.”

“Killian,” he says with the same destructive energy. “For the record, I still don’t like you.”

“I don’t like you either.”

“The solution is simple. Leave my sister.”

“Only if you leave my cousin.”

“No.”

“We’ll agree on that, then.”

I meet Glyn’s gaze, which looks so done with their shit, and we both roll our eyes.

“My favorite psychos.” Eli grabs each of them by the shoulder, but they disengage. Lan grabs my hand and Killian does the same with Glyn.

“Rude,” Eli mutters under his breath.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” Lan whispers in my ear.

“No. I’m not bailing on your parents. Besides, this is fun.”

“As long as it amuses you.” He seems unhappy, but he’s definitely faking it.

I get on my tiptoes and kiss his cheek, then murmur, “I love you, Lan.”

“Fuck.” He smiles a genuine heart-stopping smile. “You sure know how to calm the beast inside me, little muse.”

And I always will.

It doesn’t matter how the world sees Landon.

He might be crazy, but he’s my crazy.


Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Options

not work with dark mode
Reset