The knock on the door woke me up. “John, Jessie, it’s dinner time, then we need to meet with the Council,” Stan said into my mind.
Jessie was still sleeping soundly on my chest. “We need to visit the Pack Doctor first, please have them hold a meal for us,” I sent back.
“Everything all right?”
“I think everything is going perfectly, but she isn’t recovering as fast as before and I need the doctor to run some tests.”
“Go to the doctor right after dinner, I’ll push off the meeting for a while. Patrick and Mischa just landed in Duluth an hour ago with both sets of parents, they’ll be here after dinner. I’ll ask the Councils to talk to them first.”
Now I had to get up. I kissed Jessie’s forehead, pushing her onto her back and kissing my way down her face and to her neck. She moaned in pleasure, her arms reaching up around me as I sucked and nibbled on her mark. “It’s time for dinner, love,” I said as her hands moved down my back. I relaxed into the tingles as the bond filled with our love for each other.
“No time for…”
“I’m sorry, Jessie, but we do have to go. We need to eat, see the Pack Doctor and then we are meeting with the Council.” I rolled off her, feeling the lust through the bond as I stood up and walked over to get clean clothes. “Later, I promise. I’ll love you until you beg me to stop,” I said.
I felt her naked body press into my back, her erect nipples pressing against my undershirt. “I’ll hold you to that,” she said before she moved away to get dressed. The meeting was important, so instead of jeans I was wearing dress slacks and shoes with a long-sleeved shirt and sport coat, no tie. Jessie pulled on a teal dress that was below the knee with three-quarter sleeves, and a black sweater and shoes. I growled a little as I looked at her, she was beautiful and she was MINE and she was pregnant. I could already feel how much more protective my wolf felt about her now, he didn’t want her out of touching distance. The males we met would quickly learn to avert their eyes from her, and NO ONE was going to touch her. She took my hand. “The Pack Doctor is a mated male, he will have to touch me,” she said, her wolf having informed her of what my wolf was thinking. I walked her to the door, going out first to make sure there were no threats. “Is this how it is going to be now? I’m not helpless, you know.”
I walked down the hall towards the dining room, my senses hyper-aware for threats. “I think it is. My wolf sensed the baby, I can’t help it. I start going nuts if I’m not touching you, and he’s on edge any time we are out of our room.” I held her back as we got to the main entry area, checking for threats.
“We’re in an allied Pack, with the Councils and a dozen Alphas here. What threat are you thinking is out here?”
“Unmated males.” She snorted. “I can’t HELP it, you’re going to have to get used to it. Every male is like this when their mate is pregnant.”
“When can we announce it?”
“When the Doctor confirms it. Werewolves have a tough time conceiving, but miscarriages are very rare due to our healing capabilities. In another week or two, the smell will be so noticeable there would be no point in hiding it. You do need to be careful, though, and stay in human form.”
“Why? I love wolfing out.”
“The change while pregnant can be tough on the baby, especially as the pregnancy goes on. You wolf will resist changing unless it is needed to protect our child; you can call for the change but she will refuse.”
“What about my magic?”
“I really don’t know. I see how draining it is on your body, sometimes it takes days for you to wake up, even longer to restore your energy. Even now you aren’t back to where you were before you found Linnea. We can seek out guidance from a Coven, but for now…”
“I shouldn’t use it unless I have to.” I nodded and squeezed her hand, we were on the same page. It was yet another reason why I would be so protective of her.
We reached the dining hall, it was filling with people and the food had not been served yet. The Councils and Alphas were at an expanded Alpha table at the front, the table stretched the width of the room. With mates, there were forty-some people seated around the tables that had been put together.
“John, Jessie, over here,” Alpha Stan said as he pointed to the seats next to him. He was near the far end of the table, and I put my hand on Jessie’s back as we walked over. He offered Jessie a hand as I pulled her chair out, bringing it to his lips before she sat down. I fought back the growl, he was my Alpha and was happily mated, “no threat to mate” I said to my wolf.
I sat on the other side, satisfied that she was protected on both sides I could relax a little. She refused wine, asking for some hot cider instead, and I ordered the same. Dinner was excellent. Alpha Sven’s Pack Chef had gone all out with ribeye roasts, cheesy potatoes, green beans and salad. The ribeye covered most of my plate! It was almost two inches thick, done rare as our wolves liked it. Jessie’s slice was a little smaller, but her appetite had grown since she let her wolf out.
The dinner was pleasant, conversation was cordial, and I kept a close eye on how she was eating as I polished off my own. As her mate, I was responsible to make sure she was fed, cared for and protected so our genes would continue to the next generation. After the third time I moved more food onto her plate, she grabbed my hand and pushed it away. I just smiled and went back to eating.
The doors opened, and I smiled as I saw them come in. Beta Patrick was in the lead, his mate Mischa on his arm, him in a suit and her in a beautiful gown. Behind them, Betas Peter and Abigail followed, along with Alpha Viktor and Luna Marina. I saw the Council chairs rising to go greet them, but nobody was faster than my Jessie. She was up and running their way before I could react, and she almost crashed into Patrick as she hugged him. “Patrick! You’re back!”
I was hurrying over as Mischa started to get jealous, but just as quickly Jessie had let him go and was giving Mischa a big hug. “Oh my god, I’m so happy for you two! I’m sorry I missed your engagement party!”
She recovered quickly as Jessie stepped back into my arms. “It’s all right, you were busy yourself. I’m so glad you made it through, and you’re a wolf and you have your mate!”
Jessie looked up at me with a smile, then she thanked her and went to greet his parents and finally the Kstovo Alphas. “I’m so happy to see you, I’ll never be able to repay you for the kindness you showed me when I was in trouble.”
Marina smiled and pulled Jessie into a hug. “We’re so proud of you, everything you have done since we met have proven it was worth it all. You also brought our Mischa her mate, and that is something I’ll never forget.”
I was an afterthought, and so were the Council members. I led Jessie back to the table as they went through the rest of the welcomes. “I hope we can spend some time with them,” she said as we sat down again.
“Probably not tonight, though,” I replied. “We still don’t know for sure what the Council wants.”
“With Patrick and Mischa here, and him being a Beta in the Moscow Pack now, I figure they want a decision on what I want to do with my birthright Pack.”
“We should talk about this, there are options. You are my mate, you could come with me to Scotland and take a place at my side there. We could take over the Moscow Pack together. Or we could stay here with the St. Croix Pack, I’m sure they would let us.”
“I wish they’d just give me time to adjust. I’ve not been aware of any of this until recently, I just got witch powers and a wolf, and I know very little about Pack life. Being Alphas right now, with a baby coming, I don’t know if I can handle it.” Her shoulders slumped, I could see how she wasn’t confident in herself the way I saw her.
“We can tell them that, they will understand. You are a rich woman, you don’t need to do anything you don’t want,” I said. It was true, she had the half of the money Yuri paid to get her killed, a hundred and fifty million in cash and properties, and she was soon to inherit a lot more from her father’s estate.
As the plates were removed and replaced with a turtle cheesecake or chocolate cake with ice cream, Alpha Sven stood up, his fork clinking his glass, and the room quickly went silent. “As host of this gathering, I would like to thank each of you for attending the trials. The cooperation among our Packs and the and guidance of the two Councils proves again why our form of governance is both just and needed. Threats to our Packs have been eliminated, and new friends and alliances have been formed in these past few days.” He paused as the room erupted in applause. “I know some of you have to travel, and buses and drivers are being arranged for those who need it. Those who are staying the night, I would invite you to join my Pack for a run. We’ll start at ten PM behind the Pack House.” This was greeted with cheers, since Pack runs were always fun and built bonds.
He let things settle, then pulled Linnea up next to him. “We also have an announcement.”
Linnea smiled widely and said, “I’M PREGNANT!” That got a standing ovation.
We finished our desserts and made our escape, needing to see the Pack Doctor before it got too late. We were greeted warmly at the clinic, her healing magic had helped many survive or recover faster. “Can you see Jessie for a moment?”
The doctor sent us to an exam room, and one of the nurses took my vitals which were all normal. The doctor came in a few minutes later as Jessie sat on the exam table. “What can I do for you? Still feeling weak?”
“John thinks I’m pregnant,” she said.
“Well, that’s an easy one,” he said as he reached into a cabinet and withdrew a test. “There’s a bathroom there, pee on the stick and wait three minutes. I’ll be back in a minute to take a blood test.”
He stepped out, and Jessie went into the bathroom and took the test. She came back out, sitting on my lap. “I can’t sit there and wait three minutes,” she said as I pulled her head onto my chest.
“It’s all going to work out, love. I know you’re scared, I am too, but if we are having a child I’ll be the happiest man around, and you’ll be an amazing mother.” I watched the clock, letting her know when the time was up. “Come on, let’s find out,” I said as I helped her up.
I walked behind her into the small room, her hand shaking as she held it up. Two lines. “It’s positive,” she said. “I’m pregnant!”
She turned and buried her face in my chest, her arms squeezing me. “I love you, Jessie.”
“Marry me then.”
I laughed, I was planning to shop for a ring as soon as we got back to the Cities. “I think it’s tradition that I ask you, so at least give me a chance to do things right,” I said.
“Fine, but don’t take too long.” I wouldn’t.
Council Chair Robert’s POV
Francois and I sat at the conference table with the other European and American council members filling the chairs, watching Patrick lead Mischa out of the room. I waited until the door closed before I turned to my European counterparts. “I see what you saw in them, they are impressive,” I said.
“They have all the potential to be a fine Alpha pair. Her bloodline is solid, and he has Alpha blood as well, though not direct,” Francois said.
“He’s doing better than I expected in the Moscow Pack,” Javier said. “Mischa has grown up knowing she might be a Luna, and is well trained for the position. Once they are mated, I would vote in favor of them being given a Pack. He will not stand in the way of Jessie taking her birthright, but if she passes on it, that would be the Pack I would want him to have.”
“And if Jessie wants Moscow, we might have to use him to pick up the pieces in St. Petersburg,” Francois said. “The Pack felt the bond with Yuri break. He hasn’t been found yet, but the Pack is with his mate Natasha. I don’t think she is ready, and Anatoly is only five.”
“I don’t want a caretaker Alpha, and Yuri has destroyed that Pack with his mob ties,” Javier said. “I would rather have a stable Alpha pair in place to help that Pack heal.”
I nodded, unable to understand how an Alpha of a large Pack was also a feared mob boss. “So, we just have to know which one.” I had my own headaches. The Iron Range Pack was without an Alpha, and we didn’t see anyone there capable of stepping up. The Pack was too far from Alpha Sven’s pack to merge without the members having to move, and most weren’t willing. The Beta had requested my assistance in finding a new Alpha pair. “I don’t know much about Jessie and John, what do you think they’ll do?”
“I don’t know, but they’re here,” I said. I went to bring them in, introducing them to each of the Council members before sitting them at the center of the table. “Thank you for coming in. Before we begin, I want to express my gratitude on behalf of the American and European councils for your help in rescuing Alpha Linnea and repelling the attackers,” I said. “You have both proven your strength, fighting ability and courage to us all.”
“Thank you, sir,” John said.
“We just did what we needed to protect the Packs,” Jessie added.
“And that is one reason we all believe you will make a fine Alpha pair,” Francois said. “What we wanted to talk to you about is where that might happen.”
“The Moscow Pack was your fathers, say the word and it’s yours,” Javier said. “Patrick and Mischa have already agreed to step aside, and no others will stand in your way if you want it.”
“What will happen to them if I take Moscow,” Jessie asked.
“They will be given another Pack elsewhere.”
She looked at her mate, then nodded. “We would request that Patrick and Mischa be given the Moscow Pack.” Jaws around the room dropped, it was a large and prestigious Pack to be turning down. “No offense, but John and I have talked about this. We have no connection with that Pack, and I never knew my rapist father. I’m going to take his money, because I can use it for good, but I’m not ready to be Alpha and I know those two will do a good job. Mischa will have her parents to help and a strong ally on her Eastern border, and her presence will settle the Pack.”
Francois leaned back, thinking before he spoke. “What about the St. Petersburg Pack?”
“I have no interest in that pack, either. I planned to return the properties I bought from Yuri when he was having his fire sales, and Patrick can take half the money to get things running in Moscow. It was never my money, not really; it was a way of bleeding Yuri dry. The surviving Pack members shouldn’t have to suffer and lose their property because their Alpha was a bad man.”
“That’s very generous of you,” Javier said. “So what will you do?”
“We need to finish the case in the Moscow court, then we are returning to Minnesota to have our baby,” she said with a wide smile as John kissed her cheek. “This is my home, we are going to ask Alpha Stan to let us stay with him.”
“If I may make another suggestion,” I asked. “Do you like this area?”
“Of course, Alpha Sven has been a good friend to us and we love the lake country,” John said.
“Take over the Iron Range Pack now that Alpha Michael is gone. You’ll have Sven as your neighbor, you’ll stay in Minnesota, and you will bring strength and stability to a Pack that is reeling from their Alpha’s betrayal right now.”
They looked at each other, talking over their bond. Finally, John spoke as Jessie fought back a yawn. “We are interested, but we cannot commit now. Things need to settle down first.”
“Of course,” I said. “After you return from Russia, we can arrange a visit, let you meet the Pack and see the territory. The Beta will just have to run things until you decide.”
“I believe that concludes our business then,” Francois said. “Congratulations on your mating and your child. Why don’t you take her and let her rest, as we have a Pack Run to join.”
We all got up and shook their hands before they left. “I did not expect that,” I said. “But I love how it ended up.”