One week later
The honeymoons would have to wait, because the Club had a ton of stuff to do. It seemed like Steven and I hardly saw each other now; I was holed up in the Clinic doing research all the time, and he was coordinating security at three different sites.
The Northwoods group was moving like gangbusters; demolition had already begun. The architectural firm we had hired used plans for a resort hotel as a baseline, so we could at least get the walls started. After some discussion, we decided to forego log construction as we couldn’t get the timbers cut and delivered in a timely fashion. There was also concern about fires, and Steven wanted the place to be secure, incredibly secure. In the end they went with the use of poured concrete inside insulated forms, giving us highly insulated and strong walls. We were using a commercial building method for the floors, a lightweight poured and reinforced concrete, so we could have large spans without supports. The outside we went with a faux-log concrete siding product that was fireproof, and steel roofing. We also specified steel fire shutters that could be swung and secured in front of the windows. In the end, the entire place would be a safe room and storm shelter, able to withstand almost any attack short of artillery.
The nice thing about the construction was the speed, it was easy to raise the forms. Pouring the foundation had already begun, and the pours would continue 14 hours a day for the next week. We were hiring almost every cement truck from Duluth north. While they poured, we also finished the blueprints we would need for the walls, electrical, plumbing and other stuff. The well was already dug, and a huge septic field was under construction in the huge front yard.
With the frame, roof, windows and doors, and basic mechanicals in place, we would be able to continue construction through the long winter. The plans that had been shared were pretty cool, and the concept was being carried over all three locations. Each member was asked to declare a “Primary” location they would be at; in this location, they would have the equivalent of a large apartment including a nice kitchen and multiple rooms. At the other two locations, you would still have a designated room, but it would be more like a hotel room with a kitchenette, about a third of the size. Since the dream showed we were having werewolf babies, Steven and I had chosen the northern location as our base, as had all the other parents in our dreams.
I was worried the other couples would stay, like Snake and Mia, but they wanted all the girls protected. They both liked the area, so it wasn’t a big problem. I was worried about Mackenzie, but she decided that if her security company had a single client, they didn’t have to maintain a Twin Cities base. She was in talks to sell the company to a competitor, taking only Natalie with her.
After much discussion among the group, we decided the existing properties in St. Paul just didn’t work for us, and there was no room for us to expand. We didn’t want to go too far from the cities. The werewolves wanted land to run, the humans wanted a huge garage and storage, but still close enough to visit family and work if you were still doing it. I reminded them of a place we had used years ago, the game farm near Miesville, that was owned by Viking’s aunt and uncle. It was still operating, but barely, and in another year or so they would be bankrupt. Viper had kept in touch with them after their son’s death, and they were eager to retire. The Club made a cash offer for their land, throwing in an offer to have a permanent room at one of the three Clubhouse locations. Not surprisingly, after a lifetime in the harsh Minnesota winters, they picked Florida. The Clubhouse was going to be the same as the one up North, using the same plans. The huge, fully equipped garage and large gymnasium were also going to be the same. No matter which place you were at, it was going to be like a luxury resort, without the paid staff.
Hammer, Teri and Dumah had been checking in with the other leaders every night, updating them on the search in Florida. They had located over a thousand acres bordering the east edge of Ocala National Forest, less than two hours from Jacksonville. They were in negotiations with the owners, but a purchase and building would have to take place after we claimed our lottery winnings. We had at least one more winter in the hotels before we would be operational in our Southern chapter. On the good side, they had already leased an entire condominium building south of Jacksonville, so we would at least have a good place to stay.
Viper had engaged a team of lawyers, and they estimated it would be another month until the Club could claim the prize. Having this much money with fewer than a hundred members made things more interesting, and the lawyers were working on how to make it all work. In the end, we went with shares. Each existing full Club member and spouse got a full share, and children a one-third share. If they left the Club, their share would be sold back to the Club at par value for the current club asset value. If you stayed, you got full use of the facilities of the Club at no cost. This included use of one apartment, plus a small room at each of the other Chapters. The property remained with the Club, so all you could do was cash out your share. It was all set up so as Club rules for adding and removing members occurred, the Club and the corporation would go on.
There weren’t going to be slackers, not with the need for protection and upkeep. If you didn’t work outside the Club, your job inside would come with a salary and benefits. It helped with the IRS, and gave everyone something to do. By the time school started, it sounded like all the jobs would be filled, even for the teenagers.
Since I was a senior person in the Club now, thanks to my Master-At-Arms mate, I had to be part of their nightly webinars. We used a business program so we could all talk, plus any of the sites could bring up photos or documents as required. That, food, sleep and sex were about the only times I was out of the Clinic… and sometimes the latter three took place there too.
The results of my testing were conclusive, and I didn’t know whether to be shocked at the result. From the notes and journals I had inherited from Vivian, werewolves had never been able to reproduce with humans. Even in later times, with modern medical testing, no evidence of successful fertilization existed. The issue was simple; as I had told everyone, the DNA of a werewolf and a human were too different to allow reproduction. The strand numbers didn’t match up, and the resulting embryo was not viable.
Vivian had checked on In Vitro techniques during her research into SPUDS while still able to talk with other Pack doctors early in the outbreak. One doctor in Washington had tried it on an infertile couple, hiring a human surrogate. In five tries, the pregnancy never took. I reproduced part of his tests and had to agree, it couldn’t happen.
And yet my testing, and the dream, showed different. I looked at the clock, it was just after three in the afternoon. I needed to talk to everyone before the nightly meeting, at least every human female who was in the dream as being pregnant. I spent the next hour setting up the conference for six PM, right after I could eat more of Mia’s amazing Italian food downstairs.
I saved everything to my laptop, leaving it in the conference room before heading in for dinner. The clubhouse was boisterous, it had been that way since the weddings and the lottery announcement. The idea that our Club was central to reestablishing the entire Werewolf species was a big thing, and we had all rallied around Eve and the others to get there. The only ones who seemed depressed were the werewolves that would have to wait almost nineteen years for a mate of their own. Steven had another dream, very brief, that told him no more weddings for wolves, and that Luna was ’handling everything.”
They all had faith in the Goddess, even if they didn’t have patience.
The room smelled amazing; fresh bread on the tables along with herb-infused olive oil. Big bowls of salad and vegetables. I looked at the pans, smiling to myself. “Manicotti?”
“Manicotti Al Forno,” Steven said as he led me to a table, “With normal or spicy Italian sausage.” This stuff was the bomb, he was assured. We found an open spot across from Viper and Kelly and sat down, almost immediately food was passed down the long table our way.
I took a bite of the manicotti, moaning in pleasure. “I swear, if Snake had fucked things up, I would have married Mia just to keep her here and cooking,” I said.
“I knew the right answer when given,” Snake said as he sneaked up on me. They sat next to us, Mia thanking me for the compliment which was ‘one of the nicest things anyone had ever said about her cooking.’
“We still love you too, Snake. Best of both worlds. I’m glad you two are going up north with us in the spring so I don’t have withdrawals.”
“It’s fine,” she said. “I was hoping to open a new place in Minnesota someday, now I have it. Snake and I have carte blanche on the kitchen design, plus the new house in Miesville will be an exact match. It’s going to be soooo cool when it’s done.”
“So many to cook for, especially with the baby boom coming.” Snake kissed her, and they went back to filling their plates, the kitchen now shut down as we were some of the last people down. “So this meeting tonight, what is going on?”
“Later,” I said, going back to my vacuum act on the food. I had worked through lunch, so I was starving. A few minutes later, I was patting my belly and looking at the ice cream bar. “Baby, I’m still hungry,” I said softly to Steven.
“Please.” He got up and went to the bartop where the setup was. He took two of the large bowls, knowing that I’d take whichever one I thought had the right proportions. He started with a fudge brownie, putting two scoops of Mint Chip on top. Another brownie on top, drown the whole thing in hot fudge, and top with whipped cream and you have the famous Hot Fudge Goopie.
Also known as heaven on earth.
I moaned loudly as I dug in. “You make the most amazing brownies, Snake.”
“I know, you’ve been stealing them since you were thirteen!” It was true, I used to hide them and take them home with me, they were so good.
I looked at my phone, the meeting was in ten minutes. Kissing Steven, I went to clean up and set up. Steven, Snake, Mia, Viper, Kelly, Gabriel, Mackenzie, Michael and Natalie were here. Alan and Alice, Adam and Eve were up north. As soon as everyone was there, I started the meeting. “Thanks for coming on short notice, everyone. For the last week I’ve been running tests on the blood I took from you last weekend, plus my own blood. Mia and Kelly are my controls, they are with humans. I was bitten almost two weeks ago.”
“So does the bite matter?”
I nodded. “Now, it shouldn’t. I found these notes in Vivian’s journals. IVF with a human host has been tried in the past, but it never worked. What happened was that the DNA of the werewolf embryo was different enough from human DNA that the human immune system attacked it and destroyed it. You can’t stop this effect, they even tried suppressing the human surrogate’s immune system, but you can’t do that for a whole pregnancy. Even with the placenta, the human body attacks and destroys the baby.”
Alice looked crestfallen. “So we can’t?”
I showed them some tests I’d done and followed under the microscope. “This short video shows what happens when small amounts of werewolf cells are placed in Mia’s blood.” We watched for thirty seconds as the white blood cells attacked and consumed the werewolf cells, which I had stained to differentiate from the human cells. “Now watch this.”
The next video ran almost two minutes, the stained cells moving around the blood cells. Instead of being attacked, the white blood cells moved past and ignored the werewolf cells. “Wait… they didn’t do anything,” Snake said.
“Exactly. This blood is mine, taken yesterday. When I tried the blood I took last week, it didn’t work.”
Alan looked confused. “So, it takes time to establish?”
“That appears to be the case,” I said. “There is no way to know for sure until we actually try it, but this has never happened before. It wasn’t just the loss of Pack bonds or Alphas when the curse was broken, this got made possible as well.” I pointed my finger between Steven and I.
“Almost like Luna knows what she is doing,” Steven said.
I just nodded, and let things settle in. Mia was the first to make the connection. “Wait… I don’t have a werewolf mate. How am I going to get this change, so I can carry the baby?”
She looked at Steven, he just shook his head. “Not from another male, we don’t want to risk creating a mate bond. I don’t think it would happen, not without sex, but I think the safest thing would be to have Eve bite you.”
“Yes, I think they and their husbands would be more comfortable with you doing it than one of the men.”
Mia looked at Snake, who nodded his head. “When should she do this?”
“The next week or two,” I said. “I expect that Eve will go into her heat cycle around Thanksgiving. We will need to start hormone treatments to spur egg production, but a first heat is never an easy thing to predict. We need all of you to be ready, I’d rather inseminate and directly insert the eggs instead of having to freeze them. Much higher success rate that way. I will have to use hormones on you, especially Mia with her history, to make sure you are receptive to the transfer.”
I had discussed the basics of this with everyone earlier, and I was going to get more specific soon. I had been doing a lot of research and ordering the equipment I would need to perform the procedures. “One last thing, all my facilities are here, not up north. When it comes time, I need to bring Eve and the others down here to do this in my Clinic. You should be here about a week, we’ll need to make sure security is handled for that.”
“We can restrict the clubhouse and keep you upstairs and out of sight most of the time,” Steven said. “A disguise while coming or going too. Bring a van down, something she can’t be seen in,” he said.
“I’m going to go up north for a day or two every week to look for signs of her cycle starting, and once it does I’ll stay there doing the hormone treatments and monitoring until it’s time for the procedure. Then we all come back to the clinic.”
“Thanksgiving on the North Shore?” Alice looked at us. “All of you are welcome to stay with us, the other house is full of men and doesn’t have much space. I’d love to spend time with my sisters,” she said.
“Me too.” We talked for another twenty minutes, then ended the call. We were close, it was going to happen, just like in Steven’s dream. I knew from his dream at least one of those girls was mine; we had talked, and I was going to transfer four eggs into me. I wanted to make sure, and I wasn’t afraid of multiples. The other girls were taking between two and four, at least that is what we thought now. Add in Kelly, who hadn’t been seen in the dream, for reasons unknown, and we had a huge baby boom coming. I couldn’t wait.