Chapter 33: Bringing Forth
Moe escorted me out of the restaurant, his sons trailing us. I was exhausted and full, I wanted to get back on the RV and take a nap. “Moe, do you think they’ll find Marvin hiding down there?”
He helped me get up the stairs as he thought about it. “I don’t know. If he does something stupid, they might be able to find him. If he’s smart and lays low, he could retire there and die of old age as long as he still has money to pay for protection. The cats aren’t like us; there are no Packs, just individual territories. They don’t communicate with others and don’t associate much with humans. The only time they leave their territories is when the females go in heat and they go off in search of a mate.”
I sat on the couch heavily. “They have mates like us?”
“No, the females are solitary. They find a strong male, mate with him, then return to their territory and have and raise the kitt on their own. It must be a lonely life, but that is what they are.”
I didn’t like what I was hearing. “So what can we do then?”
He sat back as the bus got rolling, thinking about it. “Well, going down there is suicide. The big cats don’t like wolves on their territories. They aren’t vulnerable to human connections or intercepted communications. The only thing I can think of is to hire a cat to find him.”
“Is there one?”
“Yes… there is a panther that has a reputation for getting anyone, anywhere. She won’t be cheap, and she doesn’t take any old job, she has to find a reason other than money to help. I can reach out to her if you want.”
“You know her?”
“No, no one really does. I know someone who knows someone who might be able to reach someone who can reach her. She’s professional and discrete, and absolutely deadly. If you cross her, you end up dead.”
I thought about it for a while; as pregnant as I was, I wasn’t going after him and I couldn’t risk Doug’s people either. “Contact her and offer her $100k for the job.”
He laughed. “Black Ker isn’t like hiring a guy to put in a pool. She takes the job or she doesn’t, and the price she gives is not negotiable.”
“Do it.” I got up and moved to the bedroom, I was tired and needed my rest.
Things really calmed down at home after we sent our message; every once in a while, I’d get a text or message from someone congratulating me on my revenge. It was weird, but my tiny little pack had more allies and was feared more than when my parents were Alphas. And it was a Pack now, since I had my Alpha Male by my side. His wolf gave us the ability to bind our members together, even if it was just Marge and Mabel at first. I was a little shocked when Melanie Schefter asked to transfer to our new Pack. We had a long discussion about it; she felt at home here with us, and her old Pack had too many memories of her attack to get over. Craig agreed, so she and I called her Alpha in Chippewa Falls and worked out the details. We had her Pack induction in the back yard, and had a barbecue to celebrate.
I still didn’t have a wolf or a Pack link, and that pissed me off a little. My mark did stay, though; it scarred beautifully and other wolves could now see and smell that I was taken. I noticed a few other things; my mark was incredibly sensitive. All he had to do was kiss it, suck on it or bite it, and it was like a live wire straight to that part of the brain that controlled arousal. The tingles when he touched me intensified everything, and we were very active considering my advanced pregnancy. We were both making up for lost time.
Craig was basically restricted to our house and those on our block. We didn’t want it to get out that he was my mate, since he was supposedly killed in the failed abduction attempt. I wasn’t up to going out much anymore, so we stayed home and watched a lot of movies together.
Since I was getting so huge, my family made sure I wasn’t doing too much until finally it seemed like all I did was sleep, eat and pee. Craig picked up most of the slack; the team caught him up on what we had, and he filled in details where he could. A lot of what we were doing was damage control, it seemed.
Werewolves don’t like to be involved in human hospitals because it can create too many problems that could lead to us being exposed. A detailed blood test or DNA test would reveal differences that we didn’t want anyone to follow up on. Josh was kept busy hacking; not only did he manage to delete Olivia’s hospital records, but her billing records as well. By the time he was done, she didn’t exist. We monitored the autopsies for the two rogues, but the County didn’t dig too deep and the case was quickly closed. We got our guns back a week after the file was closed out.
The Sheriff’s investigators in Grand Forks were stymied; they couldn’t locate the victim and now her medical records were gone before they could be subpoenaed. Alpha David Lewis was released on $500k bail and has to wear an ankle monitor, which means he can’t shift or it will fall off when his legs change. He retained a lawyer, and is fighting to get the charges dismissed. The prosecutor is vowing to go forward with eyewitness testimony, with or without the victim.
We had Josh edit our surveillance video down to ensure no wolves were shown, then we mailed the file on a flash drive to the County Attorney. We figured this would slow him down a bit.
Craig, Olivia and I had a heart to heart about their old Pack and their parents. Alpha Michael was going to die at my hands, and we all agreed with that. Olivia wanted him gone after he kicked her out of the pack and cleared the way for Alpha Lewis to beat her to death. It was Luna Marie that was the source of disagreement. I had targeted the Alpha pairs since they were all in the meeting with my parents. I relented only when Craig told me he had talked to his Mom about that day, and she said she hadn’t fought.
Her mate was going to die, that was punishment enough for her.
We made it into June, and with that I officially graduated from high school via the online courses. I elected to have the diploma mailed to me, not wanting to waddle across the stage in front of everyone in town. I had decided not to apply for colleges in the fall, as I was going to be busy with babies and revenge.
When I started getting Braxton-Hicks contractions in mid-June, Craig called Doc in the Johnson Pack and talked to him about how I was doing while I was napping. When I woke up, they were already packing my suitcase and prepping the RV to go down there. I was hesitant to leave, but they were right. I needed help that wasn’t here, and I was about ready to pop.
Moe, Theresa, Marge, Mabel and Craig were going to drive down in the RV with me, while the boys and their mates would follow us down in the SUV. Melanie volunteered to stay behind and keep an eye on things, and I gave everyone else a few weeks of vacation. Tom, Shelley and Mark were going to come down in a few days after his father closed out some business in town.
The trip went fast with how much I was napping. The boys were wearing me out, and I was always uncomfortable, moving around trying to relieve the pressure on my body. My back hurt, I had a bladder the size of a grape, and I was eating something almost constantly. “We get there, I’m telling Doc to get them out of me,” I told Marge.
“You’re doing fine, Ella. You want them to grow a little more before you kick them out, it’s still early.” She rubbed my back, making me moan as I lay on my side in the master bed of the RV. I was starting to drift off again when there was a knock and Craig poked his head in.
“Mind if I take over for a while?”
“Not at all.” Marge got off the bed and walked out, giving Craig a hug as she went. I was happy my mate got along so well with the important people in my life, and they were happy to have a man like him as their Alpha. We had a good thing going.
He took off his shirt as I watched him, my tongue unconsciously flitting out to wet my lips. He lifted the sheet and tucked in behind me, spooning my back as his left hand rested on my huge belly. The boys reacted to his presence, moving around under his fingers. “It won’t be long now,” he said.
“I know. I can’t wait, I’m ready to see them.” My hand went over his as he traced the leg pushing up against the skin.
“I had a long talk with Mark yesterday.” I stiffened, wondering where this was going. “Don’t worry, it’s not bad. He’s my sister’s mate, it’s not like I’m going to kill him.”
“He is the father of the boys, you can’t kill him.”
He buried his nose in my shoulder and kissed my neck lightly. “We all hope he is, but we don’t know. He told me what he had said to you when you found out you were pregnant. I know how I reacted when I found you, I had no right to be mad at you or him. When I knew the story, I was glad you had him to help you. But now? You have me, and he has Olivia.” He moved up on one elbow so I could see him. “We agreed on how we want to treat the boys.”
“YOU agreed. Without me?” I was getting a little annoyed.
“Yes, you know how territorial a werewolf can be, especially an Alpha. We’ve got Olivia to consider as well, no she-wolf likes her mate having feelings for another woman.” Well, I used to know, I thought. “What we decided is that it would be best for the boys if I was their father, and Mark was their favorite uncle. We think they deserve to have two parents together in their house.”
“And Mark is all right with this?”
“He is. If the children are his, I promised I’d never cut him out of their lives; I couldn’t anyway, he’s family. If they are not his, then I am their father and he is still the favorite uncle.” He moved a little behind me, and I could feel Craig Junior pressing against my butt. No surprise there, he always had that reaction to me, even when I felt huge and hormonal.
“What about his parents? They are so excited about this, about being grandparents.”
“He said he would talk to them. Will that be a problem for you?”
I thought about it for a while. “No, they have become like family anyway, it would be easy to have them be surrogate grandparents. My real worry is what happens when the boys find out the truth.” I wiggled back into him. “My story is out there, it’s going to happen. I don’t want them to feel bad because their father raped me, or because I had sex with his uncle before I met you.”
“When they are old enough, we can tell them the truth. And the truth will be that they are our children, regardless of DNA, and their family loves them.” His hand moved up, cupping my sensitive breasts as he snuggled in. “Of course, they’ll have a big family. I plan to keep you barefoot and pregnant, you know.”
I smacked his hand. “After these two are pushed out, you’ll be lucky if I open it for business again.”
He sucked on my mark, making me moan in pleasure as his hand continued to work. “I have ways to convince you, you know.”
“Really?” It turned out he did. He left me breathless and relaxed as I fell asleep in his arms.
I woke up about an hour away from the Pack house with a painful contraction. “Shit,” I thought, “I’m not ready for this.” My distress woke Craig, who tried to get me comfortable with pillows as he linked with Marge and Mabel about it. The pain soon passed, and after ten minutes with no repeat we concluded things were all right.
We were wrong. Another contraction hit, causing Moe to call ahead for Doc. He talked Mabel through what to do, which was mainly keeping me comfortable and hydrated. I put Craig to work massaging my back and hips; if he was going to be their father, he could damn well help Mommy through this. I called Mark and told him they needed to pack and get out here before they missed it.
The contractions were between eight and fifteen minutes apart as we got to the driveway. Moe pulled up in front of the clinic and Doc was first onto the bus, followed by Remi. They burst into the room just as another contraction hit. Craig had moved so he was behind me and I was leaning back against his chest; he helped me control my breathing through it as Doc did a quick exam. “Looks like you got here at the right time, Ella.”
“GET THESE THINGS OUT OF ME, DOC!”
He laughed. “They’ll be here soon enough. Come on, let’s get her into the room.” Remi and Doc each took an arm and helped me to my feet. I waddled to the front of the RV, everyone else was already off except Craig who was trailing behind me. I had a little difficulty with the stairs, and as soon as I stepped down to the gravel path I felt warm liquid splashing down my legs.
“Shit.” I looked down, my skirt was soaked and there was a puddle under me. “Water’s broke.”
“At least you didn’t mess up your favorite vehicle,” Craig said. “Come on, let’s get you inside.” I looked back as I waddled in, omegas were already coming out to clean up the mess. In minutes I had my soiled clothing removed, was cleaned off and put in a gown, and was resting on the bed with Craig behind me again.
Werewolf mates can get a little out of control watching their mates in pain, especially with a male doctor touching them down there, so they are kept at the top of the bed for everyone’s safety. Doc brought in the equipment he would need, then did a quick examination. “You’re dilated two centimeters, Ella. Just relax and get rest when you can, it could be a long night.”
When Doc and I had talked, I had told him I wanted a “natural” childbirth, no drugs, no epidural. This was normal for werewolves, as we could recover faster and our wolf side gave us a higher pain tolerance. After the sixteenth hour of back labor, I was cursing Mark, Craig, the Moon Goddess and my missing wolf for leaving me like this.
The nurse came in just after nine in the morning and did another check. “Eight centimeters, you’re doing great.”
“No man is ever touching me again.” I let out a choked cry as another contraction rolled through me; I just wanted it to be over. For the last six hours I had been falling asleep between contractions, but they were now five minutes apart and I was exhausted. Craig had wised up, he would hold my hand but only with one finger at a time. Wimp.
Remi went into the bathroom and came back with a cool washcloth for my head. Mark was sitting up by my head, with Olivia on his lap to help keep him calm. I looked over at Shelley, she had just come in with a glass of orange juice for me. I sucked it down and thanked her, having my family around made it easier to deal with the pain.
By noon, I was fully dilated and they were coming out. “Push hard, Ella, to the count of five.” I screamed in pain as I bore down to the count. “I can see the head, Ella, we’re almost there.” Doc looked back up at me. “When I tell you, I need you to push hard again.”
I was breathing hard, I was exhausted, and I was at the end of my rope. “Push, Ella, push until I tell you to stop.” I closed my eyes and pushed hard, my teeth gritted as the pain as my insides stretched to their limits. “You’re doing great, one more push!” I kept at it, and suddenly the pressure was gone as the first boy came out.
“Ella, he’s…” Craig was almost in shock. Mark was pale, his face a strange mix of love and horror.
Doc wrapped a towel around him and set him on my bare chest. “Beautiful, isn’t he?”
He kissed my hair. “Of course, but I was going to say he was a mess.” It was true, all the blood and fluids, but I saw right past that. Doc clamped the umbilical cord and Craig cut it. My arms held my firstborn as the contraction hit again.
“The second one wants out, it’s time to push again.” I knew what to expect this time, and as the nurse took the first to clean and check it, I focused on my other boy. It only took a few minutes before he was in my arms.
“Congratulations, Ella, you have two healthy boys. Times of birth, 12:47 and 12:52. Have you decided on names?”
I nodded as my firstborn latched on, I winced a little as he started to suck. “Mitchell Douglas Grey for this little guy.” My hand brushed his matted down hair as I memorized his features. “And this little guy,” I said as the second one was put in my right arm and started to look for the nipple, “This one is Darryl Thomas Grey.”
“Strong names for our boys,” Craig said.
“They will be honored,” Mark said. The nurse sent everyone but Remi out to the waiting room while she helped me with breastfeeding and gave them a good cleaning. Remi helped me out of bed and into the tub for a bath while the bedding was changed and the room was cleaned up. When I settled back into bed, the babies were bundled up and placed in my arms. I started to let people in, and they were held and loved on by a steady stream of friends and relatives.
Come dinner time, everyone left to go eat and I was brought a tray while the babies slept in a bassinet by the bed. “Ella?” Doc poked his head in. “I need to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
He sat on the bed next to me, a piece of paper in his hand. “We did blood typing on your sons. You are Type O positive, and Mark is Type B positive. Your babies are Type A positive.”
I looked at him, making the connection. “So?”
“Mark isn’t the father, Ella.”