Chapter 46: Pregnant
“You’re pregnant,” Charlotte said as her face fell. All of the sudden, she turned and looked at the bed like it was contaminated, then jumped up and ran into the bathroom. Gunny went to follow, but I grabbed his arm and shook my head no. She didn’t need a Dad right now, she needed Mom.
She had slammed the door closed and I heard the water running. I listened for a moment, she wasn’t crying, and she wasn’t throwing up. She’s just shocked, my cat said.
Kind of like me, I replied. How long have you known?
Since I first came forward, she told me. Don’t worry, they are fine.
THEY??? She had crawled to a dark spot in my mind and curled up, her long tail covering her eyes as she went to sleep. BITCH, GET BACK HERE AND TALK TO ME!! She started to snore, clearly we would have to take this up later. I knocked softly on the door. “Baby? Are you all right?”
The water stopped, and a moment later the door opened. Charlotte hugged me tightly, I could see she was crying. “I’m so happy for you, Mom. I’m happy for you both.”
“Thank you,” I said as I kissed her cheek. “Why did you run off?”
“I was shocked, then I didn’t know what to say, then I realized something and I couldn’t handle it so I had to leave. I had to force the nausea back down and clean my face before I could see you again.”
“Why, Char? It’s good news, you knew we wanted children together.”
“Yeah.” She looked at Gunny and smirked. “I just did some quick math in my head. Pregnancy tests can be positive about two weeks after conception, right?” I nodded, not sure what this was about. “I realized I probably heard my baby brother being conceived, and it skeeved me out.”
We both looked at her for a while, then started laughing. “It gives me some ideas for baby names,” Gunny said as he fell back onto the bed.
“Butterfly and King Dong are not acceptable names,” I said with a snort.
“MOM!!! Gawd, I swear, these are not conversations I need to be having.” She sat on the bed with a huff. “So, we can’t be pregnancy buddies now, unless you let…”
“Don’t even finish that sentence, Charlotte. You still have to finish high school and come of age, you have plenty of time for mating and babies. Plus, I like Josh. I don’t want to have to kill him,” Gunny warned.
“Next time around,” I promised her. “Never think I didn’t want you to have siblings, Charlotte, because I did. I just wanted to have a good man to raise a family with, and it never happened until now. I’m not replacing you.”
“I know, Mom, I want you guys to be happy and I want little brothers and sisters,” she said. “How big a family are you talking? I mean, Gunny’s ancient, he’s already retired, you probably don’t have much time before you’re changing HIS diapers and feeding him baby food.”
There was a low rumble and a squeal as Gunny grabbed her, throwing her down on the bed and rolling on top of her. She was quickly begging for mercy as he tickled her, and I grabbed her foot and joined in. “OLD? I’m not OLD,” Gunny roared, “Forty is the new thirty.”
She was doing a pretty good job of fighting back, since Gunny wouldn’t use his full strength on a human, much less his daughter. “You’re getting kind of weak, Pops! Have you been drinking your Ensure every day?” He doubled his efforts as she squirmed under him.
“You need to learn respect for your elders, Charlotte,” I teased.
“I’ll buy him some bifocals, so he can read your baby books,” she replied. Gunny started in on her again, she was laughing and trying to breathe. “STOP! You guys have to go, the senior special at the Pack House starts in ten minutes!”
We both stilled as the link activated. “Gunny, Rose, we need you in the Alpha’s conference room,” Craig sent.
“On our way,” Gunny replied.
We got up as Charlotte caught her breath. “We have a meeting, stay out of trouble,” I told her.
“I will. I’ll probably head back to the pool until dinner,” she said. “And Mom, Dad?” We stopped at the door. “You guys are going to be great parents; the baby is lucky to have you.”
“I love you, Charlotte,” I said as we walked out.
“Well, that wasn’t the reaction I expected,” Gunny said as he took my hand. “I thought she would be really excited, not mortified.”
“I’ve told her in the past, part of my job as her Mom is to give her something to talk to her therapist about. I think that night at my condo broke her. Hell, it almost broke me.”
“It was funny, though.”
“For YOU, maybe, you weren’t tied spreadeagle with a vibrator on high.”
“It worked, didn’t it?” I looked at him and we both broke up laughing. Oh, God had it worked. And worked. We made it to the conference room and entered, noting the Alphas weren’t here yet.
“Do you know what this is about?” No one indicated they did. William and Melody were seated, they had folders in front of them. Al was next to them, he was looking at a map. Josh was waiting for us, he jumped up and pulled out a chair for me. “Suckup,” I teased.
“Yes Ma’am.” I sat down, Gunny taking the other side next to Melanie and Jacob.
We all stood as Robert, Renee, Craig and Ella came into the room. Robert quickly got his pregnant mate settled while Craig turned on the television. The big news was from the Washington DC area; a man was dead, and Lisa Giovanni was the main suspect and a wanted fugitive. We watched for ten minutes, but clearly there was only so much information available. There was a helicopter shot of the crime scene at the airport, where her car was surrounded by crime scene tape, completely burned out.
“Something is fishy here,” Jacob said. “Why would she blow her own car up to kill a coworker? And why go all the way into Washington to bring him all the way back out?”
“Simple,” Melanie said. “She didn’t kill him, she was the target. Someone set the bomb in her car, but she crossed them up by catching a ride with someone else.”
“Shit,” I said. I opened my phone, scrolling to the contact info I’d put in for the Assistant Attorney General, Charlie Watson. “Josh, I need a burner phone.” William just reached into a drawer under the television, removing a phone in its original packaging. He pulled it out and turned it on before giving it to me. “I need to warn him, he helped us. But what do I say?”
“You shouldn’t say anything,” Josh said. “The NSA’s Echelon program, its voice recognition might pick you up. Same with Gunny, me, the Alphas… pretty much any of us are going to get flagged.”
“I could text him…”
“Texts are even easier to intercept. No, we need someone who isn’t of interest. Hey, you figure out what you want to say, I’ll be back in a minute.” He ran out of the room while I thought about it.
“First problem is how do you identify who is calling,” Robert said. “Then how to warn him he may be targeted, and finally what do we do about it?”
I tapped my nails on the table. “Can we offer sanctuary?”
“Sure, but we’re kind of far away,” Robert replied.
“Do you know any Alphas closer to the DC area?” There had to be a way.
“I’m on it,” Renee said. “I’ll make some calls.” She got up and returned to her office while we figured out what to say. Josh came back in with his sister Jane, he must have pulled her from the pool as her hair was wet and she was dressed only in a T-shirt. We briefed her on what was needed until Renee returned with a piece of paper. “Alpha Ross Nichols of the Thurmont Pack said he would help us. He said something interesting, though. He said he can’t make it for the big party, but our Aunt Lisa wants to drive out to visit after she and her husband Ron finish their honeymoon.”
“I don’t have an… oh my GOD, he’s got her?”
She nodded. “And she found her mate in his Pack, that’s the only way to interpret it. If they mated, he needs to get her through the change before they can travel.”
I had Jane pull up a chair next to me and we went over the call. When she was ready, she dialed his private number. It went straight to voice mail. “Hi, Uncle Charlie, it’s me. Gio’s car broke down at the airport, she’s stuck at the repair shop tonight. Rosie saw you at the airport, she wanted to offer you a nice place to stay. Her good friend Ross has a clean apartment you can use, call him at 301-555-1987 and he can come pick you up. Call me! Love you!” She hung up.
“Nice job, Jane,” I said. “Keep the phone on in case he calls or texts you back.” We had already talked about what to do if he called back, mostly to get a better number to call from and to call a second burner I was carrying. She headed back towards the pool to work on her tan with Charlotte and her friends.
“Well, as long as we are all here,” Gunny said, “What’s the latest on our prisoner?”
“Clammed up and lawyered up,” Robert said. “He wouldn’t talk. We went back down and told him about what happened with his sister, even let him watch the news so he knew we weren’t messing with him. He just blames werewolves. His lawyer is with him now, he’s talking about taking us to Federal court. He’s going to file a Habeus Corpus to get the trial moved off Pack lands.”
“Good luck with that,” William said. “Legally, we are on firm ground. The treaty that ended the war is essentially that with another nation, even if we are within US territory. As such, it is above the Constitution.”
“I hear you,” Robert said, “But a lot of people won’t understand that. Plenty of judges out there that would grant the motion just to drag it out. The treaty hasn’t been tested in court yet.”
“I gave his lawyer a copy of our Pack Laws and trial procedures. Trial is set for nine AM tomorrow. We should have most of the Alphas and families that requested to attend here by now.” It was true, I had noted a number of new scents in the house as all the guests arrived.
“He’ll try and stop it,” I said.
“We’ve got a few ideas for that, Rose. Don’t worry, justice WILL be served.” We talked for a while longer about the threat and the investigation. I was still hoping Luis would give someone up, but I wasn’t planning on it. Josh was bringing in some of his hacker friends to covertly look for trails.
“I’d like to ask that Melody take the lead on the investigation for the Cell,” I said.
“Really?” Renee looked at me as my hand went down over my belly, her eyes got wide with understanding.
“Yes… Gunny and I are expecting.” The room erupted with cheers and congratulations. “I’m exhausted, hormonal and Gunny is still recovering from his wounds. Plus, we need to get our Pack House ready, so we don’t overstay our welcome.”
“You’ll always be welcome here, Rose. You’re family.” I got up and moved to her, hugging her as she cried with happiness. “How far along?”
“Just a few weeks,” I said. “I think I was pregnant when I made the change.”
“It won’t matter,” Craig said. “The panther gene is dominant, you’ll have a kit just like you.”
“Yeah, and having babies is MUCH easier as a cat than a wolf,” Ella said. “You can stay in cat form, and the baby can be born as a cat as well. I’m never having a baby in my human form again.”
“You can bet I’ll use that for Charlotte to get her to go cat,” I said.
Robert looked at the clock. “Come on, it’s lunchtime. We all need to be there to eat with our guests.” I followed them out, Gunny was glued to my side. In the short time we had known, his protectiveness was off the charts. He didn’t like all these strange wolves around, not one bit.