Cara was still angry and upset when Peggy pulled up in front of the house of Wamblee’s parents thirty minutes later.
All the way there she listened to the rasp of Wamblee’s breathing as he fitfully slept. She was worried he was going to die on her right there because she saw his mark completely disappear from his wrist almost before her eyes.
“He’s getting worse Peggy,” Cara whispered. “What if it’s too late?”
Peggy took a deep breath and turned the truck off. “Have faith Cara. He loves you and won’t want to leave you.”
“I know…there are so many things I need to tell him…” Cara said softly as she brushed his hair back from his face. Then kissing his cheek, she whispered, “Wamblee, wake up, we need to go inside.”
Peggy got out and walked around to open the door. Then, Cara carefully slid out they managed to pull Wamblee out also. He could barely stand, and they had to take most of his weight.
Wamblee staggered along, mumbling in his native language and Peggy answered him sometimes, though she looked puzzled as if he wasn’t making much sense.
Once they had him up the door steps, Cara banged loudly on the door.
It was only a couple of minutes before it opened, and his mom stood there.
Cara saw the shocked look that crossed her face as Cara said, “We need to come in.”
His mom looked behind her, then back at them. “I don’t think…”
“I really don’t care what you think at this point! I want to talk to Wamblee’s father and I’m not leaving until I do!” Cara almost shouted.
Wamblee raised his head at her raised voice. He opened his fever bright eyes, and seeing his mom, he whispered, “Ina? (Mother)”
Mrs. Claw drew in a deep breath as she stared at him. Then, moving back she said, “I’ll…”
“What are they doing here?”
Cara looked up to find Wamblee’s father standing further down the hall and frowning.
“YOU!” Cara yelled at him. “You did this to him. I don’t know exactly what you did, but you better fix it! If he dies, you better learn to sleep with one eye open mister because I will come for you!”
“Cara, so loud…” Wamblee muttered. Then, all his weight was suddenly on her as he collapsed to the floor.
Cara went down with him, she made sure his head didn’t hit the floor. She brushed his hair back from his face once more as sobs rose in her chest. He was hot and feverish, his skin like a furnace.
She looked up once more to find Mr. Claw had moved closer, his face blank.
“Why? Do you hate your own son so much that you wish him dead?” Cara asked as she cried. “My father doesn’t always agree with everything I do, but he would never do something on purpose that he knew would be harmful to me.”
“I did nothing to him,” Mr. Claw stated.
“Obviously you did!” she argued back. “If you didn’t do it, then why is he dying? He told me his eagle was dying, but it isn’t just his eagle anymore, it’s him and it started when you, no one else, YOU, banished him from the tribe!”
Mr. Claw snorted. “Banishing him wouldn’t cause his eagle to…”
“Yes, it would!” Cara shouted in disagreement. “He said his eagle couldn’t survive without the tribe, something about a bond and it being broken.”
Mr. Claw shook his head again. “No, it wouldn’t. He’s obviously just caught something from all of those people he is supposed to be healing.”
Cara wiped her tears. “Really? That’s all it is? Then how do you explain the fact that my mark he gave me disappeared yesterday. Then, on the way here, his vanished too? Hm…how do you explain that away?”
Wamblee moaned and she looked down at him. “Wamblee?”
His eyes fluttered open as if weighed down with heavy weights. His eyes looked glassy with fever.
“Cara? Where am I? I’m so tired and my body hurts…I’m so cold,” he whimpered pitifully. Then he began to shiver as his chest rattled.
“Wamblee, please, please stay with me! You can’t leave me, you promised me we would have a good life together. A good life means until we’re old and racing each other in our wheelchairs while our great-grandbaby eaglets look on.” She sobbed.
Wamblee gave her a small smile. “Eaglets. I wanted to give you a house full of them but the Wakan Tanka (Great Mystery) had other ideas mitháwichu ki (my wife).”
Cara shook her head at him and leaned closer. “No, he didn’t Wamblee! He brought us together because he meant for us to be! We’re still meant to be and to have that house full, starting with this one.”
She took his hand and lay it over her stomach. Then with tears streaking down her face she cried, “I need you to get better, so you can teach our little eaglet to fly, and to hunt baby rabbits, and…and…if it’s a boy to be a good man and teach him how he should treat his soulmate when he meets her. If it’s a girl, I need you to show her what a good man is by example and run off the bad ones who would break her heart. I need you Wamblee, with everything in me I need you!”
“A baby?” Wamblee wheezed out, gasping to breathe. “You’re going to have a baby?”
“I am. I realized a couple of days ago that I hadn’t…um…had my cycle since we made love the first time,” Cara almost whispered to him. “So, I had Dr. Greg do a blood test, and made him swear to secrecy because I wanted to be the one to tell you, but you’ve been so sick.”
He tried to raise his hand, but he had no strength and it began to fall. As it fell back, she caught it and brought it to her cheek. “Oh, Cara. I love you and I wish…I wish I was going to be here for the baby. I won’t be though, I feel death coming for me…”
“NO!” she screamed in denial, and then looked up at Mr. Claw. “You did this,” she cried with great big tears rolling down her cheeks. “You fix it, fix it now! Please, I can’t…can’t…I NEED him! Don’t you understand? I love him, he is everything to me and without him my world is nothing but emptiness!” She heaved with her sobs as she stared at Mr. Claw pleadingly. “I know I’m not what you want for a daughter-in-law, but are you willing to lose your son over it? Do you have that little care for him?”
“I do love my son, never say I do not…” Mr. Claw started.
“No! No, no you don’t, or you wouldn’t have done this to him! If you really do care, you will fix it!” Cara screamed.
She knew she was pushing it because even as she yelled at him, she could feel his power as Ithanchan moving over her. She knew he didn’t like her disrespect, but she had to make him understand that his son meant everything to her and without him….
“Mihigna ki (my husband),” Mrs. Claw said softly as she lay her hand on her husband’s arm. “She’s right, what you did was wrong no matter how angry you were with our little golden eagle. He is precious to us both and it hurts to not be able to speak to him, to see him. You need to make it right before it is too late.”
Mr. Claw looked down at his wife and Cara almost saw his shoulders droop. She then saw him give a slight nod before he knelt next to Wamblee.
“My chinkshi (son),” Mr. Claw whispered.
Wamblee turned his head slightly to look at his father. “Até(father), so…so sorry I am a disappointment to you…”
“No chinkshi. I may not have agreed with what you did, but you are not a disappointment,” he sighed. “I let my pride get in the way too many times and now it has come to this. I am the one who is sorry my golden eagle.”
Then Mr. Claw pulled Wamblee from Cara’s arms. He put one hand behind Wamblee’s head and one on his heart, Wamblee’s back resting across his bent knee.
He began to chant, and Cara felt a strange warmth flow over her as Wamblee and his dad began to fade in and out. She blinked, thinking her eyes were going crazy as they almost disappeared in a heavy fog like mist.
As suddenly as the mist appeared, it was gone and Wamblee was sitting up straight in his father’s arms.
Mr. Claw stopped chanting and wrapped his arms around his son. “Please forgive an wichah˄cala (old man) for being foolish my little golden eagle.”
“Always Até eagle, always,” Wamblee told him as he wrapped his own arms around his dad for a moment before pulling away.
Mr. Claw stood up and wrapped his arms around Mrs. Claw who was now smiling.
Wamblee stood and helped Cara to her feet. “A baby?”
Cara laughed as she threw her arms around him. “Yeah, a baby. Just don’t tell my dad it was created before the wedding!”
Wamblee laughed. “Ah, but it wasn’t, because I married you before I bedded you.”
“In your eyes yes, in my dad’s eyes? Not so much,” she whispered. Then she gave a sad sigh as she held up his left wrist. “Your mark and mine are gone though.”
He kissed her forehead. “I can remedy that.”
A throat was cleared, and they turned to find Peggy smirking. “Are we all happy people now?”
Cara looked up at Wamblee. “I am.”
Wamblee nodded. “So am I.”
“Good, then I suppose this would be a good time to tell you I found my soulmate,” Peggy said.
“And who might it be?” Mr. Claw asked.
Peggy grinned. “Um…well…”
Mr. Claw grunted. “Please tell me he isn’t human!”
Peggy laughed, but it was a little unsteady as if she was nervous about telling them. “No. He’s a raven actually.”
“A raven? Where in the world did you find a raven?” Mrs. Claw asked. “I have not heard of a raven shifter in many years.”
“You remember a few months ago I went on that trip, just a week or so before the clinic opened?”
Everyone but Cara nodded.
“Well, I went through a small town that was full of all kinds of supernatural beings. I admit, I was a bit curious because I could sense so many different ones. Anyway, I stopped at a little diner and when I walked in…there he was,” her voice and her face went dreamy. “He is so…so everything I ever wanted in a man, a soulmate. He accepted me right off and we’ve been seeing each other as often as we can.”
“So, when are we going to meet this guy?” Wamblee asked.
Peggy sighed. “Soon I hope, now that your drama is taken care of.”
“Hey!” Wamblee huffed. “That isn’t nice.”
“I’m hungry,” Cara stated.
Everyone looked at her.
“What? I can’t help it…I’m feeding…um…well, one, or two little eaglets-to-be and I’ve not been eating like I should because I’ve been so worried over Wamblee.”
“And that stops now winyan (woman)!” Wamblee demanded. “You will take better care of yourself and our little eaglet.”
Cara smiled. “I will, now that I know you’re going to be okay.”
“I have some leftover pot roast if anyone is interested.” Mrs. Claw said.
“It would give us a chance to get to know you better Cara,” Mr. Claw stated.
Cara turned to look at him, unsure if she really wanted too.
“Take his offer Cara. He really is a good man when you get to know him,” Wamblee whispered in her ear. “He’s going to be our babies grandfather, and their chief should they be shifter.”
Cara took a deep breath and nodded. She had never been one to hold a grudge and she knew how important Mr. Claw was to Wamblee, she couldn’t make him chose.
Mr. and Mrs. Claw led the way to the dining room and they soon all had big bowls of pot roast to eat in front of them.
“So, tell us a bit about yourself Cara,” Mrs. Claw said. “I only know what my mother tells me.”
Cara smiled at the thought of Ms. Dolly. “Well, my mom has been gone since I was twelve from breast cancer. By the time they caught it, it had spread to other her organs and it eventually took her from us. I have one sister, Robyn, and two years ago my dad remarried. Monica is a sweet woman and treats my dad well.”
Mrs. Claw nodded. “How did you meet Wamblee?”
Cara laughed and looked at Wamblee.
“His eagle made me fall down a hill!” Cara told them with a wink of her own and a laugh.
That broke the ice as far as Cara was concerned. The rest of the afternoon was filled with laughter because after Cara told of her and Wamblee’s first meeting, they told her of his childhood.
Cara learned much about him that afternoon.
“Wamblee,” Cara said softly later that evening as they lay tangled around each other.
He had remarked her, and they’d made love. Now they lay, her head on his chest and him rubbing gently at the slight bulge on her belly that was their growing baby.
“You are happy about the baby? I mean, we never actually talked about having one and I thought when we did it would be later.”
He pulled her upward so that she was laying on him and their noses almost bumped because their faces were so close. “I love you and I want as many babies as you will let me give you. It’s true, I would have waited but it was meant to be, so why worry about it.”
She gave a soft sigh and lay her head down on his shoulder after giving him a kiss. “I love you too and I’m so glad you didn’t…”
She felt the sobs rising in her chest and he rubbed her back gently making soothing sounds.
“Don’t cry Cara, everything is fine now,” he promised.
“We should have dad and Monica over for dinner and tell them,” she suggested, sniffling a little. “I know Monica will be so excited, not sure about dad though.”
“Cara, does Monica have any children of her own?”
“Mm…no, I don’t think so, I’ve never heard of her having any. I think she said that her husband couldn’t give her any because of a childhood accident and before they ever got around to adopting he was killed overseas.”
“He was military than?”
“Yeah, Air Force,” she said.
“So, she probably sees you and Robyn almost as her own,” he murmured.
“I suppose, though I think Robyn has burned most of her bridges. Dad still loves her, but he’s so tired of her drama. She’s made it hard on everyone.”
“Have you seen her at all?”
“No, not even in passing. Dad said she moved in with some friend of hers in the next town over. She transferred there with her job too,” she told him, then huffed a bit. “Is it bad that it makes me happy she isn’t anywhere close to you? I would have had to lay the smack down on her if she’d touched you again!”
Wamblee laughed and rolled them so that he was hovering over her. “You’ve been watching TV again, haven’t you?”
She pouted. “I couldn’t sleep because you were so sick and I though maybe I could drown my thoughts out with it.”
“Mm…and did it work?”
“No, I still cried with worry most nights,” she told him. Then whispered, “Make love me again?”
Leaning in, he gave her a long kiss and did just that.