Once care for the refugees was set up, the Granite family along with Cain and DG borrowed a horse-drawn carriage from a jitney service and drove to the manor house, where Betsy and Malachite discovered they didn't need to worry about Bornite Granite's reaction to their nuptials. The return of the Nome King had frozen his muscles. Sprite couldn't revive him with Viewer talents. The alchemist gave no hope of recovery as well.
Malachite was now the Steward. While he may have been an idiot with choosing his friends, he took charge fast enough. He set up the military chain of command, dictated explanations for the clerks of the Steward's office to refer to when people asked questions, sent the servants in a tizzy preparing guest quarters, issued a formal arrest warrant with the burliest clerk to take Slate into custody, and delivered the agenda for the public ceremony schedule for tomorrow to introduce the Nome King and Lord Platinum before they had a chance to fall asleep.
Cain hid his face under the pillow after DG read the schedule out loud. "I hope Betsy pistol whips him so we can get some sleep."
DG locked their bedroom door and chuckled as she climbed into the four-poster. "Somebody doesn't like public speaking," she teased.
"The last time I had to give a speech, it was for the Mystic Man's birthday and he made me."
"Threatened to send you back to desk duty?"
He stuffed the pillow under his head and looked at her kneeling on the mattress. "Considering you only had a conversation and half that you remember with the man, it's frightening how accurately you know him."
"I think it's more about knowing you." She slid the hem of her white shirt up, revealing more inches of pale peach thigh. That focused his attention. "I don't like public speaking either, but they're expecting us to say something." The shirt hem grazed her hipbones. He hardened more looking at her smooth skin. "We need our story straight."
The shirt stopped and he looked up at her raised eyebrows. "Um, don't say anything about the slavers and the eggs."
"Yeah, no need for scared people to know the best weapons are in their chicken coops." The shirt hem hit below her belly button, and his hands twitched. "But why did we cross the desert?"
"You're killing me, darling girl. Get over here."
"You're ready to go to sleep?" She shook with her teasing voice. "Just a little work, Lord Wyatt, before we can play."
"You want a story to tell the public?" He narrowed his eyes. "Fine, we were kidnapped, brought across the desert, Betsy rescued us, we decided to help her rescue her family, we played Roquat's game, he went nuts when we won, and I had to kill him. Does that cover everything?"
The hem of the shirt rested below her breasts. "Think so. And no mentioning eggs."
"No mentioning eggs." Cain licked his lips. "Where's Dani?"
"She stayed with Spencer. Said she was tired of listening to us mate." DG peeled off her shirt and tossed it to the floor. He sat up and she giggled. "My lord."
"You're getting a kick out of that."
She shrugged. "After everything I tried to give and you wouldn't take, it's funny to see you unable to give it back."
"You're the one who tried to make me a noble?" He ran his hands down her shoulders and arms. "Why?"
DG cupped his jaw. "Because you are. Certainly more than those people who hid in their estates and let the witch ruin the O.Z." She smiled. "Too noble to even accept it."
He caressed her bare back. "I turned down those rewards because they weren't what I would ask for." He pulled her closer to his bare chest, and his voice dropped. "And I was told, in no uncertain terms, that a washed-up Tin Man couldn't ask for what he wanted."
Her lips grazed his jawbone. "You could've asked me."
"I didn't know how without losing you." She brushed her nipples against his chest. His blood pounded in time with her breathing. "But now, Lord Wyatt wants to make his Lady wife scream." He laid her on the pillows and kissed her before propping on top of her.
She licked her swollen lips as she opened her legs wider. Her hands stroked over his shoulders. "Lady Platinum is ready for her Lord's pleasure."
He laughed, kissed the valley between her breasts, and peered at her face. "Tell me they don't talk like this."
DG laughed. "How the hell should I know? You're the only lord I've slept with."
He ran his tongue over her hardening nipple. "I'd rather be the last."
"First, last, and only." She arched more of her breast into his mouth. He took her hint and suckled. "You're going to be good at it." His fingertips grazed her sides, causing her to inhale. "Making sure your people are protected and taken care of."
"You're thinking too much." He nuzzled the underside of her breast.
She ran her fingers through his blond hair. "Thought you needed more convincing."
Cain repeated the same treatment on her second breast. "If it makes you happy to be Lady Platinum instead of Mrs. Cain."
"Hey!" She jerked up his head. "I'm not a title whore. Mrs. Wyatt Cain is good enough for me." She huffed. "You deserve the recognition."
"And what people think?"
"It better be 'damn, she's lucky to get a hero like Wyatt Cain.'" She pulled him up and kissed him. "And I care what other people call you, because I love you."
He kissed her, which ended her point-making. "I'm doing what you want, stop trying to convince me."
She smiled with hooded eyes. "So we should move onto the 'I reward you' stage?" Her right leg curled up and she ran her foot along his spine.
Cain grinned as he moved down her body, pausing to kiss her stomach. He shifted her leg to the mattress, and pushed her knee out before peppering her inner thigh with kisses. DG moaned with her panting and he stroked her stomach and hips. Her moans included babbling once his fingers reached her other lips. He tasted her, and his name turned into a prayer. He continued nibbling as her orgasm shook her body. He tucked his forearms under her shoulders and held her while she recovered. "I love you so much, my wife," he whispered into her ear before kissing it.
Her hand pumped his penis before guiding it into her wet heat with a moan. She wrapped her legs around his thighs and clutched his shoulders. Her lips pressed into his neck before her teeth scraped his tendon. "I love you too." She ground her hips against his. "Show me more loving."
"How could I refuse?" He thrust into her.
They fell asleep after that round of lovemaking. But Cain woke up alone a few hours later. "DG?"
"I'm in the sitting room." After she yelled, he saw the door between the bedroom and the parlor was open. "Get cleaned up and dressed, 'cause we're going to have company."
"Is it tomorrow already?" he groaned.
"No, but it's getting ready for tomorrow." It wasn't in his best interest to argue, so he dug out a clean shirt and pants, showered, and shaved before exploring the situation in the sitting room. DG sat on the floor, using a coffee table as a desk. She bent over a sketchpad and a rainbow array of color pencils covered the wooden surface. A tray of food rested on the desk with a translucent blue glow over it. DG twisted and looked up. "That's yours. I woke up famished and didn't want to wake you. I kept it warm."
"That's alright, sweetheart." He kissed on her forehead before sitting down to the luncheon. "What are you working on?" he asked as he examined the meal.
The fork paused before his mouth. "Should I be worried?"
"Now you sound like the seamstresses. Why does everyone think I can't come up with something pretty just because I grew up on the Other Side?" She put her chin on his shoulder and propped the sketchpad in front of the carafe of fruit juice.
She had sketched a faceless man in a suit. The pants were the tan color he preferred, but the tailcoat was a dark blue with a silver design. "Shouldn't it be black?"
"Only if you were going to a ball. You need a dress-up outfit that's not black tie."
Cain took a deep breath. "DG."
"Before you go all growly on me, you can't go in front of the people as Lord Platinum dressed like a pirate. I can't either. But there's no sense in wearing things that make us miserable."
"What are you going to wear then?"
"Well, if you don't like this, how do you think it'll look on me?" She grinned at him and took her sketchpad back to the coffee table. He turned to his meal. It wasn't like she could find a seamstress crazy enough to follow her design ideas. Someone knocked on the door and DG jumped to answer it before he could.
"Sugarcane and his missus!" Quincy breezed through the door with a trail of servants carrying material following him. "Though a little birdie told me, it's actually a lord and his princess. Are we setting up in here?"
"Yes, please, Mr. Quincy."
"Just Quincy, your Highness." The black-skinned man directed the servants to set the bolts of fabrics around the room.
Cain grabbed DG's arm and pulled her from the fray. "What is he doing here?"
She blinked her wide, blue eyes. "To help with our wardrobe issues." His lips twitched; he knew not to trust that innocent expression. "It's okay, I'll protect you from the tailor extraordinaire."
Quincy shut the door behind the curious servants and rubbed his hands together. His red unbuttoned frock coat billowed like a cape when he moved. "So you need something for the special announcements tomorrow?"
"And a few other appearances." Cain rolled his eyes as DG flipped the pages in her sketchpad. "I want to start a new fashion trend," she said.
"Sounds intriguing." Quincy blinked at the sketch. "Most women only work in pants, your Highness."
"Please call me DG. And the problem is I can't function as someone to take seriously all frilled up. Besides," she smirked as she looked at Cain, "our return to the O.Z. will turn a few heads."
"And might as well try to make them spin?" Quincy looked up with an approving smirk. "And what about Lord Sugarcane?"
The growl slipped out before he realized it. "Stop calling me that!"
"You're the one who insists on wearing pants like that. But if you'd rather I call you something else, I can oblige, Lord Honeybuns."
The only thing that probably saved Quincy's life was DG collapsing against Cain, helpless with laughter. Cain gritted his teeth as he held her mostly upright. "Stick with Sugarcane."
"Whatever makes you happy, Quincy will provide." He picked up the sketchpad while DG recovered. "So you're more comfortable with a frock coat?"
"What kind of frock coats did she draw?" Cain helped DG collapse onto the couch while she recovered from her laughing fit. She hadn't colored those sketches, so they looked normal. "Those are fine. Solid colors though."
DG waved the silver color pencil in the air. "Needs some platinum."
Quincy tapped his smooth chin as his brown eyes darted between the pencil and the sketch. "She's right, you need to pop for your first introduction."
"I don't pop." Cain crossed his arms with a scowl.
Quincy rolled his eyes as he headed to the fabric. DG shook her head. "Wyatt, do you even see yourself when you look in a mirror?"
"Some customers never realize how fabulous they truly are, Mrs. Sugarcane." Quincy carried back three fabric bolts. "Silver grey pants with this navy blue frock coat and to tie them together, a waistcoat out of this." He laid down a silky cloth in a deep blue divided with silver lines forming diamonds. "You can say it. Quincy, you are a genius."
"Quincy, you are a genius," DG repeated. "Do you like it?"
Cain nodded. "That won't stick out in Central City."
"You aren't wearing this to sport tin in Central City," DG retorted as she pointed at the material. Cain blinked, surprised he understood what had come out of her mouth. A blue flash enveloped the material and when it passed the finished garments laid besides the bolts.
"Well, I still have to get paid for the material," Quincy said after he closed his dropped jaw.
"You still have to alter if I didn't do it right."
Cain carried the garments into the bedroom without saying a word. He returned to model the clothing. They broke off arguing about DG's outfit, and Quincy nodded. "Needs a little adjusting." Quincy gestured to a small footstool with his measuring tape, and Cain assumed the seamstress position with a long-suffering sigh. "My, my, making sounds like that and I haven't even touched you yet."
DG chewed on her bottom lip as she looked up at him. "Do you like it?"
"Do you expect me to wear it everyday?"
"Only when you have to."
"Then it's fine." And it was, once he got used to it. DG broke out in a huge grin and dug into the fabric while Quincy finished marking for the adjustments. By the time Cain had changed again, DG had a pile to try on.
"You two will be my quickest commissions ever." Quincy folded the garments into a skinny box, and looked at the closed bedroom door. "Do her parents know about the two of you?"
"Why do you ask?" Cain met his skeptical brown eyes easily, but that didn't shake the shrewdness from them.
"She's only got one outfit sketched for her. Everything else is for you, Sugarcane. In my world, that means giving you options to put your best dressed foot forward."
Cain sighed. "It's not me."
"She knows. Otherwise, she wouldn't have kept drawing the wrong hat on most of them." He showed a sketch of a suit Cain hadn't seen, and there was a battered fedora on the featureless head. "She wants to make a statement, and you need to step it up a notch."
DG returned wearing a grey pair of pants and an emerald green tailcoat. "I like it, but I'd rather match Wyatt."
"Mrs. Sugarcane, they expect a princess of the Outer Zone to show the green." Quincy tapped his fingers against his chin as DG climbed on the footstool. "And you might as well make some silver shoes to keep them from asking about those too."
She glared back. "I'm not wearing heels."
"You could make them thigh-high boots and nobody will tell you different." Quincy had her extend her arms to test the fit. "But I won't let you wear thigh-high boots with those pants." He helped DG off the footstool. "You don't need any adjustments."
There was a knock at the door, and Cain opened it for a maid. "The Nome King is asking to see the Princess if she's available."
"Wyatt, don't kill him; I'll be back in a minute." She ignored the look of exasperation Cain aimed at her as she rushed to follow the maid.
He looked down at the sketchpad. Quincy was right, other appearances meant the Queen. It was a small display of sass, a united front in pants, but it meant a lot after she had mentioned wardrobe differences in her time loop projection. She was trying to take something back for herself. He turned to the colored suit she had shown him earlier. She was also trying to make him comfortable with the pants and hat he preferred. If that's what it took, he'd suffer a little discomfort for DG to show her sass. He had suffered worse already for her. He brought the colored sketch to Quincy. "She's proud of this one. Showed it to me right before you got here."
Quincy wiggled his eyebrows. "She has a very good eye."
"If the collar could go a little lower than that, and a matching set."
The tailor shook his head with a laugh. "Sugarcane, you better pray for sons."
"What makes you say that?"
"More girls like that one and there won't be anything left of you to wrap around any fingers." He quickly plucked the tan material for the pants out of the rest, but the blue ended up being harder. They settled on a silk with a more geometric design embroidered in silver.
When DG returned, they were looking for a collar tall enough for a tie but low enough not to strangle. "What did the King want?" Cain asked.
"My opinion on some jewelry." DG touched the blue silk bolt on the coffee table. "What's this for?"
"We need suits to return to the O.Z. court in." He braced for it this time and Quincy ducked out of the way of the squealing woman.
She latched onto Cain's neck. "I thought you weren't going to go along with it!"
It was too easy to make her happy, and he didn't think she should realize how happy it made him to make her happy. "The look on Zipperhead's face is worth putting on a tie."
She giggled and released him. "I've been thinking of Az's reaction, actually."
"Okay, enough plotting." Quincy clapped his hands. "Make with the magic 'cause you still need shirts."