Chapter 29: Exile
May 1999, Grenada, St. George’s School of Medicine
“Jessica Ann Patterson.” Snake, Carson and I were on our feet, cheering as she walked across the stage in her cap and gown. She shook the hands of the College President and Head of the Nursing Program, accepting her diploma in her left hand. She walked off to the left as the next name was announced and returned to her seat.
I was so proud of her. Jessica Patterson, Registered Nurse. Top of her class, with a focus in neonatal care.
It was now five years since we had fled Minnesota after the attack on our clinic. In that time, a lot had changed for us. We spent months bouncing around the United States before we had everything ready for the move. We needed a place free of werewolves, where Jessica and Carson could get their education, and I could continue practicing medicine. We decided on Grenada and Saint George’s University and their medical school. It was popular with American and European students, the island spoke mainly English, and the weather was SO not Minnesota.
Jessica did well enough in high school and the community college she finished to get accepted into their college of nursing. I went back to school as well, enrolling in the MD-PHD program at Saint George’s; my graduation had been a week earlier. I was doing research into the biomechanics of spontaneous abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy.
Grenada was a beautiful island, and we all loved the University campus. Carson got a job at the university working security, and Snake took care of the house and took classes in Creole cooking. He no longer was a short-order cook, he could open his own restaurant if he wanted. The guys would love to have him back at the clubhouse, I bet.
I’d have become fat if we weren’t so active. Shortly after arriving, friends from Jessica’s class had taught us to surf, and we loved it. The island had miles of beautiful beaches, and we used them whenever we had time off. We had a Range Rover that could haul the boards, plus we each had small motorcycles we used to explore the island itself. The population was almost all near the sea, not near the thick jungle of the center of the island, including the volcanic peaks. The jungle was the only place we could safely let our wolves out, with Snake watching our stuff while we went off to run.
It was all coming to an end, though. Our educational visas were expiring, and it was time to return to the States. Our flights left in two days, a short hop to Miami then back to Minnesota.
I was hesitant at the idea at first, but Carson was the one who went back to check if it would be safe. He traveled back home for several weeks over Christmas, renting a car and quietly checking out the state. He didn’t smell any werewolf activity around the Clubhouse, which was good, although we didn’t have him make contact with anyone there. He drove up to the Boundary Waters pack and found the land empty. It had been sold to a developer who was planning to build vacation homes on it once it was rezoned. The Brainerd pack was more interesting; Carson had run into a lone wolf at a bar there who told him the whole story. They were desperate for children, but the SPUDS killed every woman who got pregnant, and that forced them out farther and farther in their search for replacements. They met their match in Montana, all of the warriors were killed, and that Pack took in the remaining women.
He traveled around the state, and all he found was lone wolves and broken men. Losing mates had not been easy, wars had been costly, and he estimated fewer than 10% of the wolves that were alive seven years ago were around now. Women were made of pure unobtanium now; there were standing offers of over a million dollars for a woman of childbearing age from Packs out west. The children, the youngest now six, were almost as valuable. From what he heard, there were only a half-dozen large packs left, and maybe another half-dozen smaller ones. The ones that didn’t get destroyed fell apart on their own, their members scattered or moving to other ones.
When he asked about Pack doctors, he was met with laughter. Carson told me about an old Werewolf he met in a bar in Alexandria. “There hasn’t been one of those in years,” he said. “Just a rumor of one caused a Pack to be wiped out. They are desperate, those Alphas. They are running out of time and women, and no one knows why, no one can do anything about it.”
“They all die?”
“There was a rumor of a female doctor that saved an Alpha’s child years ago, but I don’t believe it. It’s like a unicorn, a fantasy. The story is that she was killed by those sent to take her. Luna’s wrath will not be cheated, I fear. Our kind will destroy itself in the most painful way, and it’s our own greed and stupidity that will do it.”
“You think this is Luna’s fault.”
He sneered. “Of course it is. Every gift she gave us, we pissed away. Our Packs turned against each other, against themselves. They killed the doctors who were trying to stop this. We’ve been cursed, we’re dead, we just haven’t accepted it yet. My Sylvia, she was a good woman, a good Pack member. She died outside our safe room, trying to defend the younger women. She gave me five grandchildren, all are dead. I should have killed myself, it would be easier than this.”
I pulled myself back to the present time with the commencement speech wrapping up. The ceremony ended, her cap was tossed in the air, and we went into the crowd to find her. She leaped into Carson’s arms as he spun her around and kissed her deeply. When they were finally done, Snake and I got in on the action. We looked out at the cove, back at the buildings of the university that we had grown to love, and I sighed. I would miss it.
I woke up the morning after the graduation parties, and immediately ran for the bathroom. I barely got the toilet seat up before I was puking my guts out. I heard Carson come in, he handed me a glass of water to rinse my mouth out. “Too much booze last night?”
I just shook my head as I went to brush my teeth. He made sure I was all right, then went into the shower. I didn’t drink all that much, and it didn’t explain why I had thrown up yesterday. When I was done, I opened the door of the apartment’s shower and joined my mate. He pulled me into him, kissing me before going to work on my hair. When it was done, he moved down my body. “Careful,” I said, “My boobs are really sensitive today.”
He felt them gently. “They feel larger, too.” I started adding things up. “Oh fuck me… oh shit.” I got out of the shower, drying off quickly and pulling on some clothes. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes. Want something from the bakery?”
He was a little confused. “Are you all right?”
“I don’t know. I’ll get breakfast.” I ran out of the complex, down the street to the pharmacy where I bought a box of pregnancy tests, then stopped to get muffins and juice from the bakery. I practically ran back home, leaving the food on the table. I didn’t even acknowledge Carson as I rushed into the bathroom to pee on the stick.
He knocked on the door as I was washing my hands. He came in, catching sight of the test on the counter. “Are you all oh shit are you are we…”
I kissed him just to shut him up. “Two more minutes,” I said. I passed the time just holding him, his arms wrapped around me as my brain worked through how the hell this could have happened. We had taken precautions during my heat to keep our wolves from taking over. Both of us wore silver necklaces coated with plastic; we couldn’t shift, not even our teeth, and our wolf instincts were pushed down. It was enough to make sure that we used protection during the week of constant sex.
Finally, it was time as my watch beeped. I let him go, we looked at the test, and it showed a plus sign.
99.9% effective when used properly wasn’t in our favor. “I can’t believe it,” he said as he pulled me close.
I was maybe eight weeks along. My wolf was thrilled, she was yipping in my head, already in love with our little one. My human side was absolutely terrified. I started to black out, my legs giving way as Carson scooped me up and carried me into bed. I was crying, I was having trouble breathing, I couldn’t think straight. Carson just laid down with me, pulling me on top of him as he talked softly in my ear. “Focus on your breathing, breathe with me,” he said. “In. Out.” I tried, but I’d start to sob or hiccup and I’d be short of breath again. His hands rubbed my back and neck as he talked me down. It took ten minutes before I was calm enough to talk again.
“It will be all right, my love,” he said in my ear as tears continued to fall slowly from my face to his chest.
“It won’t be, and we both know it,” I said. “I need you to promise me something.”
“Anything, my love.”
“When the time comes, and there is a choice between trying to save me and saving our child, you save our child.”
“I… I couldn’t.”
“You have to,” I said as I pushed myself up so I was straddling his waist. “I’ve seen what happens. Vivian does her best, but she can’t stop the bleeding once it starts, no mother has been saved yet. Even if there was a miracle, she has to remove their uterus. This baby,” I put a hand over my belly, “This baby is the only chance you have to keep a piece of me around. The only way I continue to live even after I’m gone.”
“I can’t give up on you, Jessica. I love you.”
Tears dropped down, landing on his broad chest. It was hard, but it was the only way. “The baby can live. Vivian is an amazing doctor, but she can’t do two things at once. You stay with me until I’m gone, but she has to save our baby.”
He closed his eyes, tears flowing down his face as well. “I love you more than the baby,” he said. “I can’t promise you that.”
I leaned down and kissed him. “You will, though. The first time you see our child, you will love our child enough to do what is needed.” I laid my head down on his chest as he held me tight and we cried together.