Chapter 33: Blood
“What do you want to watch now?” I looked over at Kelly, sitting in her theater chair with her hands over her belly. Pillows propped her in place, and a light blanket guarded her from the chill of the air conditioning.
“Terminator series,” she said. I cringed, we watched the original and Judgement Day at least once a week. We were on week five of our combined bedrest, and things were getting into a rut. Vivian had put me on bedrest at sixteen weeks, then Kelly joined me two weeks later. It turned out Kelly’s pregnancy was only a week ahead of mine, so our development was almost the same. Her pregnancy was high risk, due to her age and her blood pressure. She needed monitoring, and rest, and Viper couldn’t do it. The Club moved her in to a guest room, furnishing it so the two of us could spend our days together. So far, the drugs and bed rest were helping; if it flared up, it could result in preeclampsia, a dangerous condition for mother and son. Vivian had sent her to a cardiac specialist and an obstetrician specializing in high-risk pregnancies among older women. Between the three of them, Kelly couldn’t sneeze without a reaction.
She was having a boy, I was having a girl. We had been doing ultrasounds at least weekly to monitor development, more often as I approached the danger zone of my pregnancy. So far, I was good, no evidence of bleeding or abnormal placental developments.
I sat up and changed the disc in the DVD player, then tossed her the remote. We were just settling in for the opening scene when Vivian knocked and came in. “Jessica, it’s time,” she said.
I nodded, sitting up she helped me to my feet. Kelly took my hand, squeezing it lightly. “It’s going to be all right,” she said.
“I pray to Luna you’re right, because I’m scared to death right now.” Vivian pulled me into a hug, and I started to lose it. That pregnancy test had been a death sentence, the girl I loved that was growing in me the cause. I held on to her for strength, until I was able to stand on my own. “Let’s go,” I whispered.
She walked me into the clinic room and helped me lay down on the table. I smiled as Carson walked in. “Am I in time?”
“Perfect timing,” Vivian said as she prepared the ultrasound machine. I pushed my shorts and panties down far enough for my rounded belly to be exposed. She turned the screen so we could watch, my mate taking a chair by my head where he could hold my hand. The probe was cool on my belly, and we watched the screen as our little girl came into view.
She was beautiful.
Vivian was doing a lot of measuring and checking while the two of us just stared, open mouthed, at the life we had created. I loved her, I loved the way she moved within me, I loved when she got hiccups that felt like little butterflies inside me. I would do anything for her, and I had made my wishes clear to my mate and my doctor. Save her first.
“She’s doing well, right on track with her growth at week twenty-three,” Vivian said. “The placental attachment looks good. Are you ready?” I nodded. We had discussed this option for a while; she was going to inject me with betamethasone, an antenatal glucocorticoid. The drug would help speed her lung development, increasing her chance of survival when we have her delivered next week. The big change we had decided on was to deliver before the SPUDS symptoms began, thus avoiding the fetal stress and hopefully the fatal bleeding. She cleaned my shoulder with alcohol, then gave me the injection. “I need to monitor you every six hours over the next three days,” she said as she put the machine away. “There is a possibility of reduced fetal movement and heart rate, but this is normally not a problem. I don’t know if the placenta will be affected, and any problems I want identified early.”
“It’s important, so we do it,” I said. “One more shot tomorrow?”
“Yes, and if everything goes well, in one week we deliver,” she said.
Carson picked her up in his arms and carried her back to the room, his wolf needing the contact with her to calm his protective instincts. I smiled as I watched them go.
“Everything all right?” I smiled and turned around just as Snake pulled me in for a kiss.
“Yes, she’s doing well, no signs of SPUDS yet. Delivery in a week.”
“Are you ready for it? All your supplies in place?”
I thought about it. “Everything we can afford. I don’t have a spare seven hundred thousand around for that drug again, and even if I did, it didn’t seem to help that much. My real problem is blood.”
“I thought she was donating?”
“She did, but only two pints. Once the baby really started developing, I couldn’t afford to let her donate more. I have saline IV’s, but that just replaces volume, it doesn’t help with clotting or oxygen.”
“And ours doesn’t help because it’s too different,” he said as I nodded. “What can you do about it?”
I pushed him to a chair and sat in his lap, leaning back against him as his strong arms held me tight. “I’ve made some discrete inquiries on the internet to the remaining Packs. A pack in Wyoming responded, they have five pints of the right blood type available, but it has to be picked up from them and they want a thousand dollars a pint for it.”
“Why picked up?”
“Werewolves can’t afford to let their blood get out, so they won’t ship it, they have to know it is going to another werewolf. Plus, they will want to know who it is for and why. I can’t tell them that, and I sure as hell can’t go to Wyoming to pick it up.” It was suicide going onto any of the remaining Pack lands; well, they wouldn’t kill me, but they would keep and mate me, and that was a death sentence. “The only way to do it is to send Carson, and I can’t ask him to do that.”
“Because he might do it.” I leaned my head back against his shoulder. “She doesn’t have much of a chance at survival without the blood, and with it she still doesn’t have much of a chance.”
“He’s lost without her, and you aren’t giving him a choice.” He kissed my hair. “You have to ask him, he needs to know he’s done everything to save her.”
Shit. “Let’s go talk to him.” I had a bad feeling about this.
Three Days Later
I pushed the motorcycle faster, moving at close to a hundred miles an hour over the near-empty freeway in eastern Wyoming. It had taken me about a minute to make the decision to go get the blood, regardless of the risk. If my mate needed it to live, I needed to provide it. I loved her, I loved my little girl, and I wanted them both. Without her, my life was over.
It took two days of negotiation with the Sheridan pack before we got them to agree to four thousand dollars and no questions, and that was when I left. I was using my new Harley, purchased from a friend of Viper’s in Madison. I hadn’t transferred the title yet, so it wouldn’t trace back to our club. My driver’s license was still from my old Pack address, expired, but untraceable to our Club.
I looked to my side where Snake was riding, then in the mirror to see Dagger and Stain behind me. The three insisted on coming, even though they wouldn’t be allowed to enter Pack lands. They were going to stay in Sheridan while I made the exchange. We’d been riding hard all day, having left before dawn. The meetup was set at eight in the morning.
We pulled into Sheridan and found a steakhouse near the hotel we were staying at. Range fed beef… man, they knew how to make a steak here. The boys couldn’t keep up with me as I devoured my Porterhouse, dipped in au jus and ground horseradish. The beer was pretty damn good too.
The next morning, I left the IHOP and headed out of town towards the mountains. As soon as I turned onto the access road, I could feel eyes on me. By the time I got to the gate, I could see and smell wolves on both sides. I stopped the motorcycle, waiting for the guard to come check me out. “Carson Patterson, your Alpha is expecting me.”
He took a deep sniff of me, then checked my identification. “Stay to the road until you get to the Pack House. Deviate from the path, and your escorts will kill you.”
“Understood.” I fired my bike back up and drove another ten miles until the big log Pack House came into view. Pulling in by the stairs, I stopped the engine and put the kickstand down just as three large men walked down the stairs to meet me. “Alpha Stanton, I presume?”
The big man in the center stopped on the last stair as the other two moved to flank me. “I am, and you must be Carson Patterson.” I stepped forward and bowed my head as I shook his hand. “Did you bring the cash?”
“Of course, sir.” I reached into my pocket and removed the envelope. “Four thousand. The blood please?”
“It’s inside. Come on, we can have a drink before you go, they are bringing the blood up from the clinic.” He walked back up, counting the cash as we went. “So how is Doctor DelMara doing?”
I froze, just as the two big dudes behind me grabbed my arms and forced me to the ground. “She got sloppy, using the same IP address as she did six years ago when this all started. We suspected something, blood isn’t something you call ahead for unless you know it is going to be needed. And Doctor DelMara is the only one who has ever delivered a baby alive since this whole thing started.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.
“Oh, I think you do. You’re going to tell me where she is and bring her to me, Carson Patterson of the Boundary Waters pack. She is going to save my mate and my child, and my Beta is looking forward to a new mate. Denise said she’s quite the looker.”
“My mate. You knew her as Beta Denise Thorssen. She’s twenty weeks pregnant, and she’s the last female in this Pack until the Doctor gets here.”