Chapter 34: Coming to Terms
My face fell as the words registered in my mind. David… David Tanner, the man who had me drugged, who tried to claim me against my will, who RAPED me on that cabin bed was their father. I looked over at them, my boys were sleeping peacefully, but something shifted inside me. You couldn’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.
I wondered if I would ever be able to look at them without remembering HIM and what he did to me.
“There’s no chance you are wrong, Doc?”
He shook his head. “No, it’s impossible. I ran the tests on all of you twice just to be sure. I could do DNA testing, but since you have only been with two men, it wouldn’t change the answer.” Tears ran down my face, I closed my eyes and laid back onto the pillow. I was crying so hard I didn’t even notice he had left.
The bed dipped and I felt the tingles on my arms and neck as Craig pulled me in to his side. He didn’t say anything, he just held me tight and let me cry it out. When I was finally done, I looked up from his now-soaked shirt and into his eyes. “He told you?”
He nodded. “He said you needed me.”
I started to cry again. “I’d been lying to myself, saying that they were Mark’s all this time. It made everything easier, thinking they were his. But, I still… I still love them. I hate myself for thinking less of them, but I love them despite it all.”
He kissed me gently, his hand cupping my face as his thumb cleared the tears away. “Look at them,” he said. I looked over, they were together in the bassinet, their foreheads touching since they were bundled up like little burritos. “So helpless. So innocent. They have done nothing, Ella, and you shouldn’t feel different about them. It doesn’t change anything about what you have been through, it doesn’t change them.”
As we were talking, Mitchell started to fuss and wake up. Craig got up and picked him up in his arms, the tiny baby contrasted with the muscled and strong young Alpha. “I don’t need wolf senses to see that he needs a change,” he said.
I sat up and moved over to the changing table. “Come on, it’s time you learn this.” He set him down and unwrapped the blanket, then loosened one tab of the diaper.
Mitchell picked this time to fully evacuate his bowels, his little face scrunching up as he tried to get it out. “Oh my Luna, what the HELL is that?” Craig put the tab back down and backed away, almost gagging from the smell.
“Baby poo.” I smacked him on the arm. “We talked about this from the book. Meconium poop. It starts like this, then changes color as he digests more breast milk.” He started to dry heave. “I thought you were a big bad Alpha male? A little black tarry poo and you’re useless.” I pulled the diaper back, putting it back down in case the cool air caused him to pee as well. “At least be useful, get some wipes ready.”
He stayed as far away as possible as I cleaned Mitchell up, just handing me wipes and a clean diaper when I was done. “I never expected THAT,” he said.
“Well, mate, you were right. You said it doesn’t change them a few minutes ago, but I guarantee YOU will change them.” He looked panicked. “I’m going back to bed to feed him, you get to do Darryl.”
His face was complete panic as he looked over at the other baby, who was starting to cry now that his litter mate was not with him. He looked at me for help, and I just looked at him with a raised eyebrow as I brought Mitchell to my left breast. He latched on after a few moments; I gritted my teeth at first, but once he got going he brought relief to my full breast. I’d gained about three cup sizes, I figured.
I watched with amusement as he picked Darryl up and changed him. I think he would have preferred to do it wearing a Tyvek suit and a SCUBA mask, but a few minutes later he was clean and dry and in my right arm, going to town on my right breast. “See? Not so bad.”
Craig sank into the chair by my side. “Not bad? I think we should use that smell to torture prisoners.” He watched the boys nurse and smiled. “Have I told you lately how amazing you are, Ella?”
“Not enough. Now, I need you to get Mark, Tom and Shelley and ask them to come in here. We all need to talk.” He nodded and left while I kept feeding them. It was only a minute later when Remi and Renee knocked and I told them to come in.
“Just in time, Mitchell needs to be burped.” Remi came over and took him from my arms. She looked at his face, her own face was lit up with happiness.
“Would it be all right if Renee did it?”
“Of course!” Renee sat on the chair as her Mom guided her through it. First the blanket over her shoulder, then positioning him there and how to pat his back until she got a good burp out of him. Once he was settled back into her arms, happily making faces with her, Darryl was done and Remi sat with him.
The door opened and Craig came in with Tom and Shelley following him. Mark went to get more chairs, and asked me if I was all right with Olivia coming too. I agreed, this was something that we all needed to talk about. Remi sensed something was wrong and asked if they should leave, but I told them to stay; she was like a mom to me, and Renee a little sister. “Open the bond with Doug as well, please.”
Everyone looked at me as I sat up in the bed. “Doc gave me some news a few minutes ago. The blood tests are conclusive. I’m so sorry, Mark… you are not the father.” Mark’s face fell, he was shocked. I heard Shelley gasp in surprise and start to cry, soon she was leaning on Tom who was trying to keep from crying himself.
Mark leaned over with his face in his hands as Olivia rubbed his back. I could hear him crying. I hated this.
“Tom, Shelley, you both have been so good to me through this pregnancy and everything that has happened. He isn’t related to you biologically, but I do want you in their lives. They need a Grandpa to take them fishing, and a Grandma to make them cookies.” They smiled underneath their tears. “However you want to do it, I want you with us. You can be their godparents, or we can just have them grow up calling you Grandma and Grandpa.” Craig held my hand as I waited for them to react.
Shelley jumped up out of her chair and hugged me tight, her tears still falling. “We would be honored to stand in as their grandparents, Ella.” Tom sat on the other side of me and we all hugged. I gave it a moment, then held my hand out for Mark.
He came over and sat next to his father. “Mark, you’ve been the most loyal and loving person through all this. I really wish they were yours, but just like your parents, I want you involved in their lives. You talked to Craig about this, right?”
He nodded. “I’m going to be the fun Uncle then, the one that sneaks them candy when I visit.”
I started to bawl as we hugged each other. “You’ll be the best, Mark.” I hugged him until I could feel Craig starting to get uncomfortable, and Olivia wasn’t that thrilled either.
I asked Tom and Shelley to hold the boys for a bit, and then I pulled Remi onto the bed with me. “You’ve been the Mom I needed, Remi, and I want you to be their grandmother as well. They need grandparents with a wolf side as they grow up.”
She hugged me tight and started to cry. “Of course they do. Doug and I already consider them our grandsons.” She sat back up. “Do you want to do the Pack introduction at dinner tonight?”
“Yes, please let everyone know.” It took a while, but eventually the babies were sleeping again and Craig and I were alone. A tray of food had been brought in along the way, and they all kept reminding me how I needed to keep my strength up. Twins were plenty, but werewolf twins grew faster and took even more out of you. “Will you do it tonight? I mean, if you still want to.”
He kissed me gently. “Of course I will.” He snuggled in next to me and we took a nap, banking sleep was going to be so important.
Remi came back in just before dinner with a few things for me, and Craig left to get dressed. She helped me into a beautiful white lace dress with gold accents. “This is the same dress I wore when we introduced my children to the Pack.”
I twirled around, looking in the mirror. The dress hid my stomach, which still wasn’t flat, and had room up top. I hugged her before she opened another box. “Now, I never had twins so I didn’t have any, but my Gamma pair has. They wanted you to use these.”
I opened the box, inside were two outfits, made of soft cotton and silk with a howling wolf embroidered on the breast. “They are perfect,” I said. Dinner was almost upon us, so we got the boys fed and changed and then we each took one and walked across to the Pack house.
The whole Pack was gathered in the dining room for this important event. Doug joined with Remi, who passed Mitchell on to Craig as they went in front of us. Tom, Shelley, Mark and Olivia lined up behind us. As soon as the doors opened and the Alphas emerged, the Pack went silent and heads bowed in respect.
We walked to stand in front of the head table and then Doug started to speak. “Today is a day for celebration. Our niece and Alpha, Ella Grey Anderson, has given birth to twin boys and they and their mother are healthy and strong!” The assembled wolves howled and clapped until he raised his hand again. “Alpha Craig, mate to Ella, the floor is yours.”
Craig stepped forward a little with me as I held one baby in each arm. “Most of you know the past events that led to this day. I will just say, as much as I hate what my mate went through, I love how it ended up.” There was clapping and he continued. “My mate, my choice, my babies. They are of my blood, of my line, they are my heirs.”
He reached into his pocket and took out a jeweled ceremonial dagger. Taking it to his palm, he sliced deep enough for it to bleed. I held Mitchell’s hand out; using the sharp tip, he poked his forearm until a drop of blood appeared. “Child of my blood.” He covered the blood on his arm with his bloody hand; I could feel a zing of energy as their wolves bonded together. I handed him to Remi, who wiped the blood off and held the towel on it so it would stop bleeding.
I held out Darryl’s arm, and he poked him with the knife, causing him to cry. “Child of my blood.” He placed his hand over the wound, and the zing came again. I handed him to Doug as he took a handkerchief out of his pocket, wiping the blood off the dagger and his hand before returning it to the sheath.
“All of you are witness to the adoption of Mitchell Douglas and Darryl Thomas as my sons and heirs.” The hall burst into applause as we hugged, then hugged the Alphas, Mark and Olivia.
I had the boys handed over to Tom and Shelley, moving them forward along with the Alphas. “I wish my parents were here to see this today, but I know they are in Luna’s embrace looking down on us with pride and happiness,” I said. “There are four people here who are so close, so important to me, and by choice they are standing in to be the grandparents of our sons. Alpha Doug and Luna Remi, and Tom and Shelley Harris. I love you so much.” The hall gave them a rousing ovation as we hugged; finally, we filed around the tables and sat down. A bassinet had been placed behind me for when the babies slept, but right now they were being passed up and down the table as we all ate.
Tears of joy went down my face as I looked around. Truly, I had not been this happy since this all started. Craig kissed me tenderly and we shared a dessert. My mate, my babies, my family and two Packs.
Nothing could ruin this feeling.