CHAPTER 23- ENEMY FREE AND FULL OF STRESS
It took me quite a bit longer for my hip to heal this time than it normally does, whether that was due to being pregnant or how bad I got hurt. We still weren’t sure what happened to cause me to be thrown across the room like that. I recently took up yoga to start re-stretching the muscles.
We’re all almost seven months pregnant and things have been running smoothly since we had taken out everyone that was corrupted by Tressler long ago, including Jason. I had every reason to be stress free now that I had no more enemies, at the moment, and yet I was full of stress. I read a quote once that said “I’m so accustomed to being tense that when I’m calm I get nervous.”. I have no idea who said it but it definitely describes me. I’m so accustomed to being on the go 24/7 that I don’t have any idea what to do with myself when I have free time. I went back to my original jobs working at the base re-certifying the Secret Service once a year now that they’re all trained but we also train certain members of the FBI and certain other members of the military, like military intelligence of all branches.
The guys do the physical parts of the training now that we’re pregnant, but we’re all ok with that. Closing the book on things that have been conspiring against us for years was a great feeling but we didn’t know what we were going to be doing with ourselves next.
We had always stayed so busy with our lives that when things slow down we start going stir crazy. Like now. Between all the kids and work we were still staying busy but not in the same way. We were still training to keep our edge but it wasn’t in the same way.
I decided to keep my siblings in the White House to stay on Presidential protection detail.
I have Jojo, Christiaan and David retraining the rest of the unit to make them sharper than they were. We needed them to be better than they were and as deadly as possible, so if anything happened again like this, there would never be any questions as to whether or not we really were the best there is. They also have to submit to monthly “lie detector tests” so to speak, which basically is nothing more than David and I invading their privacy to make sure we don’t have any more traitors in our unit.
We all got promoted again, which is sooner than normal, but the President felt that with everything we had done for the country that we had earned the rank. Plus, we got a few extra medals in there, which I had no use for personally, and the rest of the people in my unit felt the same way.
That became the routine. Home, work, home, kids, shower, eat, bathe kids, bed, up, take kids to school, work, and then one week a month back to the base to train new people. We were all pretty set in our routines and we made sure that things ran smoothly.
All the women were getting bigger than we were last time. Katie was getting huge, but she was expecting twins this time! As I was, again. Berdina was getting huge as well. Although she was carrying triplets this time so it was to be expected. Justin freaked out when he found out. Then again, that is a scary thing. Three babies at once now when they already have three. Autumn was only pregnant with one this time which she was extremely happy about. And so were the rest of us. The only one pregnant with multiples this time was Katie, me and Berdina.
A week later Berdina went into labor. She had a boy and two girls. She and Justin named the boy Quentin Tate, and the girls Laila Tacey and Daxia Faith. They were cute names I thought.
Two days later Katie went into labor with her twins. She was having two boys. She and Christiaan named them Ryker Gage and Rafer Wyatt. Cute names too. Unfortunately, the babies were so small they were going to have to stay in the NICU for a few weeks, but the doctors said they were strong babies and he saw no reason why they would have to stay in there for long.
. . . . . . . . . . . . A month later I was walking down the stairs after tucking the kids in and I slipped. I caught myself rolling down the stairs mostly, but I felt something pull and I knew it wasn’t good. Logan and Justin heard the commotion and came running. Logan caught me at the bottom on the stairs and scooped me up immediately. As soon as Justin saw what happened he started screaming out to Berdina that they’d be back and that I just fell down the stairs. I had never fallen down the stairs in my life. Walking into walls, yes. Door frames, of course. Tripping up stairs, I’m great at. But never down the stairs. This was a first. I felt like my hip gave out. Logan was running with me to the SUV and Justin was already in and behind the wheel. As soon as Logan had the door shut Justin had the car screaming out of the garage and down the road speeding to the hospital as quickly as possible, while simultaneously on the phone with them telling the doctor what happened. They were getting an O.R. ready for me for when I got there.
I reached down because I felt something and when I brought my hand up there was blood on it. I paled instantly looking at Logan and damn near bursting into tears straight away. Logan screamed for Justin to go faster because I was bleeding. I wasn’t bleeding much, or very quickly, but it was enough to scare the life out of me nearly. I couldn’t live through the loss of more children. Ten minutes later we were skidding to a halt outside the emergency room doors and Logan was running with me in his arms straight for the maternity ward operating rooms with Justin parking the car.
The doctors took me straight into surgery and said it took an extremely large amount of anesthesia to knock me out for my size, and they had to keep administering it throughout the procedure because my body was fighting through it and trying to wake. I tore the placenta slightly. Not enough to cause the babies to suffocate in the short amount of time it took us to get to the hospital but if it would have taken any longer than the babies could have possibly gotten brain damage or died even.
I was weak from blood loss when I woke up, and they were just wheeling me out of the operating room when I started waking which surprised them a bit, but they figured with as much as my body was going through the anesthesia I would wake soon anyway. This time, by choice, Logan and I decided not to find out the babies sex until they were born though both Jesse and Rory said they were girls. Eliana and Angelo said they were going to have two more sisters and Ryan and Taylor kept saying “Storm and Warrior” when they pointed to my stomach which I think meant girls. That was all six of my babies saying girls which led us to be sure they were girls and we bought all girl things. We picked the names Storm Aubrie, since the twins kept calling one of the babies Storm, and Valkyrie Jade for the other, since they called the other Warrior and Valkyrie is another name for someone bringing the souls of warriors to Valhalla.
I was happy that nothing happened to my babies and I got to have them in my arms, but this was not what I had in mind for their birth.
Over the next couple of weeks the women started filtering in day after day or every couple days between them until all had their baby. This time they weren’t all born on the same day. After me, Kristi was the next to have her baby. She had hers three days after I had mine, which was the same day I was getting out of the hospital. I was having a harder time healing this time, as well as moving around, but then again, this was my third c-section.
Kristi had a girl and she and Jojo named her Honey Valentine. It had a certain ring to it. And Kristi always loved Valentine’s Day. Plus, Jojo called her Honey so much that Caleb picked up on it and started calling her that, which was absolutely adorable to watch and listen to.
Two days later Becky went into labor having a boy and naming him Brody Grayson. I liked that name. He was a big baby too. Becky made Gary get a vasectomy after she found out she was pregnant again, as well. She figured two babies under two in her forties is enough. I don’t blame her.
The next day Rita went into labor having her and Andrew’s first boy. They named him Caine Aaron. He was a big boy like his daddy too. One of the biggest babies so far out of all of them.
Four days later Madison went into labor having a girl and she and Ben named her Aaliyah Baby-Jill. I thought that was simply adorable. She was small and looked kind of like Jill as well.
Three days later it was Angel that went into labor. She and Cooper had a baby girl and named her Trisha Aralyn. I had never heard Aralyn before so I thought that was definitely unique. I liked it. She was an itty bitty little thing like her mom too. It was nice seeing how far Angel had come since she had first come to live with us and it was even better seeing how close she and Hazel had gotten since then. It was great seeing her truly happy with someone that wasn’t dangerous or a monster as well.
That night, Dani went into labor and she and Major named their baby boy Zain Valor. He was a very inquisitive looking little boy. Like he was older than he was looking at his surroundings and trying to see what was happening.
Jamie went into labor a couple days later and she and Jessup named their son Valentino Xavier. He was a small baby boy but big enough that he didn’t have to stay in the hospital. He looked just like his mom, but he had his father’s dark wolf like eyes. That was what won me over in the first place. An animal recognizes one of their own, and he was definitely like me in many ways.
Autumn went into labor the next morning waking to it. She and David had a little boy, well little didn’t exactly fit, that they named Nicholas Alexander. He was a stocky boy and looked just like his daddy with the same animal eyes and instincts. It was easy to see already. He was already checking out everything and everyone in the room. He watched our hands, our faces, our feet. He watched how his daddy reacted to all of us and watched the way the doctor came toward him with the needle when he went to give him his shot. Nick never even screamed. He never flinched really. Everyone just stood there looking at him before Madison commented on how he was already just like his daddy and auntie with pain. We all smiled at her and we all took turns holding him and hugging on him as we did every time any of the women had their baby(ies) but it was easy to see he was more comfortable with his mom, dad and me. Everyone else he would let hold him but he looked at them with a sort of animalistic sense of caution. It was the same way all of my kids looked at everyone and the same way they all reacted to everyone except me, Logan and David. Grandmother was the only exception. They all knew they weren’t going to be hurt by the others but they were still cautious. Even for being babies. I wasn’t sure where that came from other than natural instinct.
Jenni was the last to go into labor. She also had a smaller boy naming him Tristan Xander. Well, technically she said Charlie named him but Tristan’s middle name matched Valentino’s too closely which made me think the girls had to have planned that as they were more like sisters than friends. Not that we all weren’t, but they were like Me, Madison and Berdina are; inseparable.
Once all the women had their baby(ies) and were back at the house David went and got Grandmother again. She did the same thing as last time, performing the Cherokee Blessing of Protection on all the infants, one by one, after finding out their names. She would say their name in Cherokee and bless them as well as the women without their knowledge, which made David and me smile. This time, however, before she left, she brought David over to me and started a conversation in Cherokee so the others couldn’t understand what we were saying. They didn’t need to be a part of this conversation. When grandmother was trying to keep something hidden, it was for a reason. The people that weren’t members of my unit vacated the proximity of the area we were in, aside from Andrew, Logan and Gary.
When she spoke in Cherokee everyone looked at us in confusion because they knew that she wouldn’t do so unless there was a good reason why. My grandmother was not rude and wouldn’t deliberately have a private conversation in front of people, knowing they couldn’t understand, unless she had a very good reason to.
She told us, “Keep these children very close. Start their training now. Things have changed. The future has changed because of the events that have happened. You chose to ask for insight into the future before it was time to be given to you and now you must live with the consequences of your actions, Rain. Nothing will happen anytime soon, however, but you must start training the growing wolf pack you have before you. They will become faster, stronger, and deadlier than what you have now. Just make sure to teach them the difference between justice and revenge. Don’t let them become the thing without conscience. Don’t let them become what you both almost did in your quest for revenge. Both of you.
“Teach them to trust the instincts they already have. ALL of them. They have all been blessed in our ways, Rain. Now, you and your brother must teach them how to use it. How to become the thing that lives between pleasure and pain; life and death; this world and the next. Our people are warriors. Your family will not stay intact for as long as it should be, but if you can pass on what you know to these children, then all will not be lost. Our people will have a future and your enemies will never prevail. Teach them, so that they may teach the next generation and they the next and so on. Everything comes full circle. You know that better than anyone.
“They are ready to start their training. You have already started it with teaching them to listen to their instincts. Now intensify things. For all of them. Look at your babies. Both of you. Look at all of those babies. I have blessed them all with warrior blood. I have turned them all into Cherokee so they may be there to help. I have made the mothers give birth to warriors as you two have made warriors. Look in the eyes of these children. They are wolves. They are strong. A pack sticks together. Rain, you are their alpha. You command them. David, whether you acknowledge it or not, in the wolf pack, you are the beta, the second in command. You must own your place. There are things that only you and your sister can teach these children. I won’t be around much longer so you will have to start practicing the Cherokee ways again. Rain, you are next in line to be Medicine woman. If you cannot fulfill the title then it has to be passed to someone else but that has been in our family for generations and it is our family’s right, our honor, to serve our people. When I’m gone make sure you think of your decision before you speak it aloud or you will regret it forever.
“David, I know it hasn’t always been easy on you since you are older than your sister, but you must stay strong. You have done well. You have never complained about the way that things have happened. You accepted that this was the will of the people. That won’t be overlooked. But you must forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Both of you. If you don’t it will haunt you and you will be doomed to make your children repeat them. The hardest lesson for you both will be learning to accept what has to happen in order to make room for the things that are supposed to happen. If you can’t let go and stop trying to change the inevitable, then you will both die trying to change what is and what has to be, and that will change what the future holds for these children in a deadly way. You will have to lose people and grieve in order for them to fulfill their futures.
“Not yet, though. Not yet. Don’t grieve now and don’t let them know anything’s wrong. Tell them I told you to train the children now. Tell them I blessed them and that they will be safe and that they will become deadlier than you all ever were. Tell them you were instructed to teach them in the old Cherokee ways. Don’t share the rest with anyone, not even your significant others. You all have so many people here that you love. They’re all family to you. Spend the time with them that you can. Love them. Cherish them. Teach them. Lead them. Be what they need, when they need it. Don’t ever lead them down the dark roads that you were on before. Don’t go down those roads again yourselves when the time comes and you feel lost.
“Rain, please don’t ask to see anything else again. That was why you got hurt. You weren’t meant to see those things yet. If you had just waited a few more hours you would have been shown and things wouldn’t have changed. Because you asked you were shown when it wasn’t time and you threw off the order of things. Trust your mother’s judgment the same way you trust mine. The same way you trust your brother’s. That is the way you must trust those children’s now.”
“What do we do now, Grandmother?” I asked.
“Do what you were planning on doing anyway. Hire more bodyguards for the children and another nanny until they are ready and won’t need them anymore. Build on the property. Homeschool the kids like you’ve been doing until they are ready for college. Continue your job with the base and military but stop there. Only work at the company with Logan if you need to. If you don’t, then spend that free time honing the kid’s skills and abilities, starting with Jesse, Rory, Eliana and Angelo, or I should say continuing onto what you have already been teaching them. From there keep going by age. Once they’re old enough to start understanding intuition then start working with them on it, which if I’m right isn’t going to be long for the newborns as most have pretty sharp skills already, and the toddlers all are pretty intuitive and can start their training as well as beginners. David can start with them. Once the babies can walk then start them on the physical things which you already started the bigger kids on. Intensify that with them. Start it with the toddlers. They’re ready. Then, move on to weapons; knives, then bows and spears with guns last. Teach them how to survive in the wilderness with nothing as you all know how to do; as you’ve taught your team to do. You’ll know when they’re ready. Teach them how to do as our people do as well. They need to know how to go through people’s minds. It will be useful to them. Teach them how to categorize and transfer that information to each other when needed. Teach them our language as early as possible. Lastly, teach them of their heritage and where they come from. Make sure they know where their warrior blood comes from.
“I love you both and all my great grandbabies. All of them. They are all special. You will have to recognize they will all have their own strengths and their own weaknesses. You need to use those and teach them to use those things to their own advantage. And let your other sister teach them as much as she can about medicine with Becky. You’ll never know when they’ll need that. Let Logan teach them everything he knows about business. They will need that. Just like they will need everything you will teach them. Hold the pain inside, you two. You’ve always been good at it and that’s helped you become as strong as you are. My journey is almost over. But yours has just begun. You still have a long way to go. You’re not done yet. Do as I say. Oh, and Rain, your gifts…they’re not done manifesting in you yet. They’re going to get much stronger. You were meant to be the strongest of all the medicine people of the Cherokee. Don’t be scared when new things start happening to you. You’ve already started getting a taste of them. Have you been thinking that you’ve heard what people were thinking at all. That isn’t intuition. That is the spirits of our ancestors getting you used to hearing things from other people’s head so that you learn to listen. It’s so when they let you hear the things in someone’s head that is really important, something they think you really need to know, you can understand why you hear it and do something about it. Some of the kids will develop the same gifts as well and early on so you will have to teach them how to harness those abilities as well.”
The entire time she was talking David and I had our mouths slightly open and were looking back and forth from her to the kids and the others and back again. We looked like some cartoon characters looking back and forth with a dumb look on our face talking in some foreign language and I could tell that was what the others were thinking as well just by the look on their faces. I swear it was almost like I heard it. When my grandmother finished what she was saying I looked astonished since it had already begun and was happening as she was saying it. She just smiled at me.
She stopped talking and kissed us both on the forehead before walking to the door where Gary was waiting. She looked back at us and then to the kids before saying goodbye and that she loved everyone and finally walking out the door. David and I just stood there looking at each other for a moment longer before we finally swallowed down the emotions that we could see were bubbling up in the both of us. When we were able to we turned and walked over to everyone else who looked at us cautiously. At first we didn’t say anything but Madison asked what that was.
David answered, “What?”
Madison rolled her eyes. “Oh you know. The big long conversation in Cherokee where you guys looked like something was wrong as you kept looking at your grandmother, to us, to the kids and back. You looked mortified like something was…not right. Tell us what’s going on or we’re going to assume the worst. You know we wouldn’t ask normally but we saw the way you were looking at everyone and we know something is wrong.”
I stopped her. “Madison, nothing is wrong. Our grandmother was just telling us how she thinks of all the kids here like her own great-grandchildren and how, because she has blessed them all in the old Cherokee ways, they are protected and they are all part of the warrior packs as well. They are turning Cherokee. Wolf pack to be precise. Part of my wolf pack actually. She was telling me of how my wolf pack was growing. She also told me of how I needed to start training the children now. She told me what needed to be done with each child and how they would end up becoming better than we ever were. Better than I ever was or am. They will become a deadlier wolf pack than the one in this room. My people, David’s and mine, will live on through the children in this room. They are all Cherokee warriors now. That is their destiny.”
Everyone looked surprised as I was telling them the things my grandmother told us, well, the cliff notes version anyway. The surprise, then, turned to one of pride on all of their faces.
“So tell me, Rain, what do we do now?” Berdina asked me.
“Well, for now, we hire more bodyguards and add more homes on the property some more. We hire another nanny and teacher to help Becky out because we’re going to keep homeschooling all of the kids. I’m going to continue working on post one week a month and doing whatever deployments I get sent on, but other than that I won’t be doing much else. Logan, unless you specifically need help with something I’ll be staying at home to start teaching the kids like Grandmother suggested I do. I won’t be doing much, if any, consulting with many profiling cases anymore either. I know that maternity leave doesn’t last long for most of us so we need to make sure we all have all the legal paperwork in place again for everything, especially now that we have the new kids to add to things.”
This time it was Jojo that spoke up. “Rain, we’re not idiots. We know there was more to it than that. We can tell by what you just said. But we also trust you and if you say this is what needs to be done then this is what we’ll do. Just know, we’re not doing it because we don’t think that there isn’t anything going on. We’re all glad to know what our kids will become, but something tells me that we won’t all be around to see it.”
I couldn’t do anything or say anything. I just sat there with my chest heaving like I was going to have another panic attack until David touched my shoulder. He had to answer because I couldn’t.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. We know something will, but we don’t know what it is, to whom, or how far in the future, just that it will be out a ways. That was all Grandmother knew and all she could tell us. You aren’t even supposed to know and because we just told you that could have changed things. We learned that the hard way. Whatever happens this time, there won’t be anything we’ll be able to do to stop it, or to protect whoever it is that it happens to; and if we do anything to try to change it then we can change the children’s destiny or even put them in danger. Yeah, look at your faces. This was why we didn’t say anything. You’re all going to be terrified to do your job now. The thought of leaving behind a loved one, or a child, is crippling, but you can’t change things because you know now. You have to stick with things. You have to stay in and you have to do your job. We all do. It’s our job to keep this place safe until our kids are ready to take over. We have to keep things safe for them. Grandmother said they would become faster, stronger and deadlier than any of us. That means they won’t be the ones dying. If we have to go then so be it. We have to protect Rain while she trains the kids to where they can protect themselves, and then we have to keep protecting them until we can’t anymore. With our last breath.”
I couldn’t tell if there was a tsunami inside of me threatening to wash away everything that I was made of, seeing the looks on everyone’s face and knowing I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop this, to protect them, and that I may very well have been the cause of this all, or if it was a drought scorching my very soul until there was nothing left but dust scattering my bones into the wind and threatening to carry me off if I didn’t find a way to anchor myself down from the storm brewing inside of me.
Christiaan was the one who piped up. “It doesn’t matter if it changed anything or not. We aren’t going anywhere. You don’t have to tell us what we have to do to protect our families because we already know. We’ll do whatever it takes. Rain, we’ll give you as much time as we can to make sure that you can train them in every way possible. Just do us a favor. Don’t tell our families about this conversation. And if anything does happen to us, you better take care of our kids. We know you will but don’t let them grow up as angry as we were. It’ll destroy them.”
David and I laughed and blurted out that that had been exactly what Grandmother had told us about the kids growing up in our footsteps.
Everyone got into a conversation about how they weren’t waiting any longer to have a big wedding. They all wanted to get married now, so if something happened soon they could at least say they were married to the person they loved the most. They also said they had to make sure to contact an attorney tomorrow and have him get started on the paperwork for making Logan and I the other children’s godparents, as well as dealing with life insurance policies, living wills, power of attorneys, splitting and setting up their trust funds (for the ones that had them, anyway) etc..
When I looked over at Logan he was still looking at me quietly with a hurt look on his face. He nodded in the direction of the library so I got up and followed him. The others wouldn’t see us come out of the living room so they wouldn’t go in where my team is and hear the conversation going on in there.
“So just like that, you weren’t going to tell me what your grandmother said? If they hadn’t asked then I wouldn’t know. I think I have the right to know so I can get things set up on my end just in case as well.”
“You do, Logan, but I couldn’t chance telling you. What if it changed things? What if it sped things up? What if it made you a target when you weren’t one originally? I wasn’t willing to chance it.”
“Rain, we’re partners. You have to trust me to make my own choices and take my own chances. I love you. I understand why you have to do this your way, now you have to understand why I have to do things my way, and be a part of them too, as well. We can do this together for as long as possible.”
EVERYTHING IS DETERMINED, THE BEGINNING AS WELL AS THE END, BY FORCES OVER WHICH WE HAVE NO CONTROL. IT IS DETERMINED FOR THE INSECT AS WELL AS THE STAR. HUMAN BEINGS, VEGETABLES, OR COSMIC DUST, WE ALL DANCE TO A MYSTERIOUS TUNE, INTONES IN THE DISTANCE BY AN INVISIBLE PIPER.-ALBERT EINSTEIN