Chapter 29: Paternity Testing
It was late when we finally got home; Olivia had slept the rest of the way. She was already looking better, her wolf healing kicking in to heal the cuts, and her bruising had reduced quite a bit. She was nowhere near being healed, though. Moe carried him in and Mabel led him to a guest room she had prepared for her arrival. The Greens left for their own house while Mabel and I got her changed and into bed; she didn’t even wake up.
Sunday was a lazy day, normally. The Green children and mates plus Mark had planned to be out on the ATV’s all day, riding around the extensive properties I owned here. Moe and Theresa volunteered to run security while they were having fun.
Richard and Doris Darling had left on Saturday morning for their home pack; he only wanted a part time job and they missed their friends, so they would be gone a couple weeks.
Tom and Shelley had gone back to their old house to move some more things now that the cleaning crew had removed the bloodstained carpet and walls. Shelley still couldn’t bear to look into Mark’s room, even though he had cleaned out all his stuff. I was glad they were happy with the new house down the street.
The Spencers went to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Carl and Angela loved to travel, and they wanted Josh and Jane to see as much of the United States as they could. Angela worked the trips into her homeschooling plans for them, and she also thought it did Josh good to get away from the computer for a while. I made arrangements with allied Packs to allow their visit and to ensure their protection.
Melanie Schefter and Nadine Anderson had both stayed behind, so along with Marge, Mabel, Theresa, Linda and Katy, we decided to have a girl’s day. Chick flicks, ice cream and homemade pizzas. We had originally planned to go shopping in Minot, but I was still tired and Olivia still sleeping.
We had let Olivia sleep in, and when she woke up at two in the afternoon she found us in the theater room, surrounded by junk food and watching Beaches. “Hey Olivia,” I said as I got up awkwardly, my pregnancy belly making my balance off.
“You don’t have to get up, Ella!” She moved over to me and gave me a hug. “Thank you for getting me out of there.”
“You’re welcome, and don’t worry. I have to go to the bathroom anyway.” I moved past her and down the hall as the other girls introduced themselves. By the time I came back, Melanie had her lying down on a theater chair and was starting to work on her nails. The group of us bonded quickly with her, we all had been damaged in one way or another, and we knew how important it was for her to find a Pack now that her father and fiancé had kicked her out. Ours wasn’t conventional, but it was working for us. Even the ones who still belonged to other Packs could feel it.
By the time dinner rolled around, Olivia’s nails and toes had been done and she was sleeping on the chair with Melanie tucked in with her. They had both broken down and shared their stories with the rest of us, and now were emotionally exhausted. We left them in the quiet room as we moved to the kitchen. Theresa and her girls commandeered my kitchen, turning it into a production line of dough and tomato sauce. As you might expect in a werewolf household, the toppings were mostly meat, and veggie pizzas weren’t even considered. By the time the first pizzas were coming out of the oven, the boys had returned. Mark was meeting his parents in town, but the rest of us settled down around my big dining table as the food started coming out.
When I was done, I took a couple plates and a variety of slices back into the theater room and set them on the table next to their chair. My movements weren’t those of a stalking wolf, I was human and pregnant and I may have bumped some things, and it was enough to startle them awake. “Hi guys. We made some pizzas, I didn’t know if you were ready for the big crowd so I brought you some.”
“Thank you, Ella,” said Olivia as she rubbed her eyes. “I’m starving.” She sat up and grabbed a plate as Melanie moved to the next chair over.
“Thank you, Alpha.” I smiled at Melanie as she reached for the food.
“You’re welcome. If you want more, come back or give one of us a yell. We’ve got the Green’s over tonight. Olivia, if you are up to meeting the rest of Moe’s family just come on in.” I left them to think it over; Melanie was slowly warming up to the men around me, but needed encouragement. What she really needed, I thought, was to find her mate. I decided that I would start bringing her along when I visited other Packs to give her a better shot.
Actually, Olivia needed that too. Now that she was free of the bond her father pushed her towards, I wanted her to find her true mate as well. I guess it was a good thing my RV was arriving tomorrow.
I had decided we needed a more comfortable way to travel, and I had the money, so I went for it. I bought a 38 foot Fleetwood Expedition diesel pusher Class A in March. A friend of Moe’s knew of a custom shop that would perform some specific modifications for cash and keep their mouths shut, and we sent it there. Some changes were simple, like the lockable “doggie door,” while others required more discretion. These included false backs to some of the storage compartments, a “safe box” under the master bed that was armored and lockable from the inside, and a false tank accessible from under the carpet in the living room. Moe had convinced me that these compartments would come in handy when we had to transport stuff that wasn’t so legal. The RV dealer had sent it to the shop and was delivering the completed rig to me, as I had bought it over the internet.
The next morning, I was sitting around my bedroom waiting for the RV to arrive and doing some of my homework. I ran outside when I got a text message from Luke who was manning the security center, the delivery was arriving. It was a thing of beauty. I had asked Moe, Mabel, Marge and Mark to be there as the sales representative walked through everything with it for the next few hours. He covered everything from operating the three slideouts to the microwave. Once we were comfortable with operating the gear, I invited anyone who wanted to come to go on the shakedown drive. Olivia wasn’t feeling up to it yet, so she stayed home with Marge. Melanie, Nadine and Theresa all wanted to come, so we all climbed on board.
Mark, Moe, Theresa and I took turns driving the bus-like vehicle with him giving us tips. It was weird being so high, but I got used to it quickly. We drove the sales rep to the airport, then grabbed some pizzas and had a little feast at a scenic turnout over the Missouri River. It was a lot of fun, and I really liked the comfort I could travel in as I was getting more pregnant- even if it was tough to get out of those big chairs without help!
“You know,” Mark said, “We don’t have much going on next week. I’m off school, and you said you’re almost done with your Internet schooling for the year. Why don’t we take a road trip?”
I had to admit, I was itching to get this thing out on the road. “Where to?”
“Well, you said you don’t want to see a human OB-GYN anymore because werewolf babies develop slightly differently late in the pregnancy, and you don’t need a human to see that if they are wolves. We could drive down to visit your Aunt and Uncle and have the Doc check you out. We could stay there for a bit, then continue down to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole.”
“That’s a hell of an idea, Mark. I’d love to see some things before I get too big and uncomfortable to travel! What do you think, Moe?”
He nodded. “That wouldn’t be a problem, your team is working well. I’d send some people with you, just to be safe. I need someone on this RV with you, and another watching at a distance.” He looked at Theresa. “You know, we wouldn’t mind that trip. It would be good to get back to the mountains and run for a while.”
“We’re not complaining,” Theresa said, “but our wolves need the break. Plus, I want to visit some friends.”
“It’s settled then,” I said. I made a phone call to my Aunt Remi, who was thrilled at the idea of us visiting. I told her Mark would be along, as he wanted to be there for the baby exam, and she said that would be fine- after all, he was the presumed father and he already knew about us. I told her there might be a few more, but that was fine too.
When we got home, we worked out the rest of the details. We decided to leave on Wednesday, giving us plenty of time to finish up projects and pack. I talked the girls into going; Nadine was thrilled as she hadn’t been in big mountain country before, and Natalie was excited to meet other kids. Melanie was reluctant, but she didn’t want to be left home either. Olivia needed a diversion, and this trip would be that.
Moe and Theresa were going to ride with all of us. Michael, Linda, Luke and Katy were going to trail us in the SUV. The unmated boys were going to stay behind and keep security going for everyone else. They were mad, but I told them there would be more trips, and they already knew their mates weren’t back home.
All of our luggage had been loaded by the boys when Olivia, Melanie and I walked out of the house. We all gave Marge and Margo hugs, they were staying home to watch over the Green boys, and walked onto the RV. I had made it up the stairs and was turning towards the living room when I ran into the back of Olivia, who was frozen in place. “Olivia?” She didn’t move. “What’s wrong?” I moved a little to the side and saw she was staring at Mark, who was sitting in a recliner looking at his iPad.
“Mate.” She said it so softly I could barely hear it, but every wolf in the area heard it loud and clear. I smiled as I watched her move towards him slowly, her wolf forward in her mind and her eyes darkening with lust. I started laughing a little; after all the weird turns my life had taken, to find out that my mate’s twin sister was the mate of my baby daddy? It was too much for me to handle.
Mark glanced up at me from his screen before his eyes went back to the screen in his lap. He paid no attention as Olivia walked up to him, picked the device out of his hand, and leaned forward and kissed him deeply. He pushed her off, causing her wolf to growl in anger. “What the hell? Who are you?”
She moved back in front of him. “I’m Olivia Anderson, and I’m your mate. What is your name?” She was running her hands along his thighs and leaning forward, bending down to get a good sniff of his neck.
“Wait a minute.” He pushed her off him again. “Olivia Anderson, as in the girl who betrayed my best friend and helped with her drugging and rape?”
She nodded, tears flowing down her face as she felt his anger through the beginnings of their bond. “Yes… I’m so sorry. I wish I had been strong enough to tell my father no.”
Mark stood up. “You disgust me. I don’t want anything to do with you.” He stormed off the RV, leaving Olivia collapsed onto her knees and bawling, as he ran back and got in the SUV with the Green kids.
Melanie and I helped Olivia up on the couch, and I held her to me as she broke down completely. I felt horrible for her; to have the best moment of your life turned into complete shit in seconds. Moe looked back at me; I nodded, and he put the diesel in gear and started to drive. We all buckled in, Melanie doing the honors for Olivia, and we let her cry it out as we moved towards the highway.
When the tears finally stopped, she looked up at me and I could see the pain in her eyes. “He hates me,” she said. “The only one who could truly love me, hates me.”
“He didn’t react well, did he?” I stroked her head and neck as she started to cry again. “He will get over it. You haven’t lost him.”
“But he said he didn’t want anything to do with me!!”
Melanie squeezed her shoulder. “He’s human, the mate bond doesn’t work the same way, but it does work,” she said. “He won’t be able to keep hating you.”
“Plus, I don’t hate you, Olivia.” I kissed her forehead. “I forgave you, and you’re my family now. It’s going to take some time, and you two are going to need a long talk, but he will come around. I’m sure of it.” I was going to have a long talk with Mark myself. He should know better. “I need you to understand a few things about him, though. Mark is likely the father of my babies.”
She bolted upright, her wolf forward. Her claws started to come out, and Melanie grabbed her from behind to keep her from striking out at what her wolf saw as competition for her mate’s affections. “It’s not that anymore, Olivia. We’re over, I’m your brother’s mate, I have no interest in him now.” I waited until her eyes changed, showing her wolf had retreated. “Mark has been a friend to me my whole life. When I was in the hospital after I was raped, he came and helped me. I turned to him as he drove me back home because I was weak, angry and I wanted to feel something again. He helped me heal. I thought I loved him, but I didn’t know love until I met your brother.”
“You slept with him, though.” She was still poised to attack, and I scooted back a little farther.
“Yes, until I met your brother. I had been told I was fully human now, that I couldn’t find a mate, so I grabbed on to the one human I loved and trusted. Mark is a good man. He helped me to recover from the trauma, to move forward again. He’s going to be a father to my babies, but he’s not my mate. Craig is. Craig is the only one I want, and Mark is yours.”
She reached out her hands for me, and I moved in and hugged her tight. “It’s going to be all right, Olivia. He needs a little time.” I gave her a squeeze. “Look at the bright side, he already knows about werewolves and the mating bond. He got dumped because of it.”
She snickered. “What do I do?”
“You need to tell him your side of the story, he only knows mine and he reacts too emotionally to it because of what I went through.” I took her phone and put his cell phone number in it. “Send him a text, let him know that you want to talk about it when he’s ready.” She did; she waited for him to respond but he didn’t.
I wished I could go back to the trail car and kick his butt, but I knew he was working through things too. I sent him a text, telling him she was family to me and I had forgiven her for what she had done. Then we waited.
It was the most comfortable trip I’ve ever made, even though things were awkward. Moe and Theresa alternated driving, while we watched movies and played card games back in the dining room. The best part was being able to move around if you had to. Need the bathroom? Get up and go. Hungry? Grab something out of the fridge. We made sure to time the runs to long flat sections of road. We made one stop for gas, but Mark ran off to the bathrooms so Olivia didn’t get to talk. Just before dinner we had arrived at the turnoff for the Johnson Pack.
Moe had linked with his Alphas as soon as we were within range, so I knew they had been updated on all the going ons, especially with Mark and Olivia. Introductions went quickly, as the Greens went back to their room. The girls stayed close to me, mostly because they were nervous about being around so many people. Aunt Remi welcomed them with hugs, and said she would give them a quick tour before dinner because Mark and I had something to do.
Doc waved us over to the clinic, and took me back to an exam room where he had me change into a gown. He and Mark came in a few minutes later. “All right, Ella, let’s see how those babies are doing.” I laid back on the table as he prepared the ultrasound machine. Mark and I were entranced by the images on the screen- we had talked earlier and decided we wanted to know the sex of the babies. We were on a “wiener hunt,” so to speak.
The image moved around of the first baby, he was so much bigger than the last time! Doc adjusted the position until he had a dorsal shot, along his back while he was flashing a moon to the camera. I said “he” because the ol’ twig and berries were clearly visible from this angle. “Baby one is most definitely a boy,” Doc said.
He took some measurements, and then adjusted the machine until the second baby came into view. “Another boy,” he said. “Most likely identical twins.” Tears were flowing down my face as his little face came into view. Doc had clicked a few times to take photos, which were printing away underneath the screen. A few minutes more, then he turned the machine off. He wiped the gel off my belly and helped me sit up. “Everything looks good, Ella. Your boys are growing well, right where I expect werewolf babies to be at.”
I looked at him in shock. “Werewolf babies? They aren’t human?”
He shook his head, I could see Mark’s disappointment out of the corner of my eye. “No, I’m pretty sure they aren’t. Werewolf pregnancies advance quicker, the growth rate is higher. These two are too big for this stage of pregnancy to be fully human, even if they were single births. They are about a month farther along at your six month point than a human baby would be.”
I closed my eyes and my fists clenched, then I relaxed. “So Mark isn’t the father.”
“I can’t tell for sure,” Doc said. “You’re a unique case, Ella. Never before in our history has a female lost her wolf and gotten pregnant at the same time. I’ve been doing research, and it is inconclusive. It is possible you were fully human when you got pregnant, yet the eggs your body carried still had the werewolf genes. If that is the case, Mark could still be the father. It is also possible that you and your eggs were fully human, but the father was a werewolf. The only possibility I can throw out right now is your eggs were fully human and Mark is the father. The ultrasound shows that can’t be the case.”
“So how do I know?” I held onto Mark’s hand, I was shaking.
He sat back in his chair and crossed his arms. “Well, the simple way would be to wait until they are born and do a blood test. Or, we could do an amniocentesis, which is a procedure where I insert an instrument and take a sample of the amniotic fluid. I would then send that to the werewolf lab in Oregon, along with DNA samples of you and Mark here. The lab would be able to prove or disprove Mark as the father, and we know there is only one other option.”
Mark looked over at me and kissed my forehead. “It’s all right, Ella. I don’t need to know.” He put his hand on my belly. “I told you before, these babies are mine no matter what. I don’t want you to risk them with a procedure that isn’t needed.” He looked over at Doc. “There are risks, right?”
“Yes, they are minimal but it does have a risk of early labor or fetal harm.”
Mark patted my tummy again. “Think about it, Ella. You have two healthy werewolf babies in there. Nothing you learn from the test will change anything about how I feel about them. Would it change yours?”
I started bawling as his words settled in my mind; he really didn’t care. He was such a good man, even if he did deserve a Gibbs slap for pushing Olivia away. I reached for him and he hugged me tight. “I don’t want to know,” I said. “Mark is their father.”
Doc smiled as he collected the printouts. “Well, Dad, here are some baby pictures for your album. Now get out of here, dinner’s about to start.”