Chapter 28 - Pink or Blue?
Ayla’s last month of pregnancy.
“Asher!” I giggle, stepping carefully. “Where are we going?!”
“Just a few more steps, angel. You’ll find out very soon.” I can hear the smile in his voice as he guides me forward.
This afternoon, Asher had barged into our room and picked out a dress for me, demanding that I get ready. He wouldn’t tell me where we’re going at all, even now that we’ve arrived at our destination. Before we left the castle, he had blindfolded me and I made sure to voice my displeasure in the hopes of him taking it off.
He didn’t budge though, not one bit. And now, I’m trying to guess where we are. I can tell that it’s the beach because of the smell of salt in the air and the sound of waves crashing against the shore. There’s no wind today which makes it feel warmer. But I don’t understand why we’re here. All he told me is that Astra and Fabian worked together to bring light to where we are going and that I’ll love it, just like the garden back home.
It’s not sustainable for a long period of time as the magic is highly draining, unless crafted by an elder witch. The elder witch who created the garden for Claire Antonov died shortly and chose to transfer all of her magic into keeping the garden alive otherwise it would not have survived.
“Yes!” I grin, not being able to sit still due to excitement.
He takes the blindfold off and I must blink a few times for my eyes to adjust. But when they do, tears instantly brim my eyes. Everyone I know is here including my family and Sage with Helios. There’s a flower arch standing proudly on the sand, a tropical themed sign beside it saying, “Welcome to Ayla’s baby shower!”
“This is amazing!” I breathe, kissing Asher when he leans down to peck my lips. “Thank you!”
“I can’t take credit for something even I didn’t know about until this morning.” He chuckles, looping my arm through his as he guides me forward. “Sage is the mastermind behind all this.”
I smile happily as she walks up to me, embracing her tightly with a muffled thank you. She wipes my tears with a laugh, scolding me for getting my makeup all ruined. We walk through the archway and I look around in amazement at the large tent made from wooden poles stuck in the sand with white fabric tied to the top.
Everything is boho themed with rugs on the sand and cushions on top, food platters in intricately carved dishes waiting to be tasted. There’s little vases full of daisies and baby’s breath, wooden tables placed here and there with wrapped gifts and shopping bags around them. There’s beach themed decorations too and a large cake with various treats sits atop a picnic bench.
“Mom! Dad!” I smile, walking over to them.
“Hey, princess!” Dad grins, pecking my cheek before my mom embraces me.
“How are you and the baby doing?” She asks worriedly, caressing my cheek.
“Okay, it’s tough sometimes but I’m getting through it. Everyone has been very caring and supportive, especially Asher.” I smile, feeling my mate come up behind me.
“He better be.” My dad mutters, narrowing his eyes at Asher when his hands grip my hips.
“Always, sir.” I hear his stern voice but I can also sense his amusement through our bond.
“Ayla!” Ivan walks up to me and I embrace him tightly...well as much as I can. “Good to see you, little sis.”
“Again, I’m two minutes younger! Two minutes!” I huff, shoving him playfully.
“Just think of all the wisdom I acquired about the world in those two minutes.” He replies seriously, green eyes shining with mirth.
Chuckling, I greet Valentina, Misha and Mikhail who all touch my belly and shout in excitement when the baby kicks. Sage has the results of what gender our baby will be and everyone is dressed in either blue or pink clothes. Asher and I greet everyone that came before we hear Sage asking everyone to gather round and for us to stand beside her.
I squeeze Asher’s hand in both excitement and nervousness as we walk up to her, slightly confused that she holds nothing in her hands nor is anything around her. How will she tell us the gender? I wonder to myself. She winks at me with a mischievous glint in her eyes, checking her watch before telling everyone to look up.
I frown in confusion when nothing happens then gasp as airplanes fly by leaving streams of blue smoke behind. Fireworks shoot up into the sky, all in blue color. Screaming joyously, I turn to Asher who is grinning as he takes me into his arms. Traitorous tears slip down my cheeks as I laugh, wiping them away before kissing him passionately.
“We’re going to have a boy!” I murmur happily, rubbing my belly when I feel him move.
He repeats my statement, as if he can’t quite believe it himself. “I love you both so much.”
I giggle when everyone surrounds us to congratulate Asher and I. Sage hugs me tightly, squealing in excitement about how cute the little prince will be before she all but tackles her brother to the ground. Helios hugs me after and slips me a tiny, silver ring. He winks when I look up at him in surprise, whispering that his father used to be a jewelry maker and he picked up the trade. I thank him gratefully before he moves on to congratulate Asher.
My family gather around me to congratulate us, showering me in hugs, kisses and well wishes. After everyone has met us, I move to the carpeted tent and take a seat between Asher’s legs, feet aching from walking around. He rubs my sore back as everyone fights over who’s going to give the first gift, my mom shutting everyone up as she yells over the din in the tent. I laugh as she passes over a gift from her and dad, a smug smile on her lips as everyone huffs and takes their seats.
While we open the gifts and thank everyone for providing us with things that we’ll need for our son, we all munch on the snacks and food platters full of fruits, cheeses, chutneys and cold meats. After, we move onto cutting the cake and enjoying the sweet treats. Misha and Mikhail have our parents running after them when they steal too many baked goods, their laughter and squeals echoing on the beach as they run by the shore.
I laugh at them as Asher helps Sage cut the cake and provide everyone a slice each. It’s a red velvet cake and so delicious! I chuckle when Asher sneaks me an extra slice, knowing how hungry I get. Thanking him with a kiss, I cuddle into his side as we enjoy the desserts. Vito and Corbin sit cross-legged before us, teasing me about how they’ll have a wild little prince to take care of now if his strong kicks are anything to go by.
As Astra and Fabian create a sunset using their magic and make the weather slightly warmer, everyone changes into their bathing suits and swimming shorts to enjoy some time in the water before it’s time to leave. I thank them both for doing this for me, knowing how much I love the sunlight. They congratulate me again and bid goodbye as Astra must get to another realm before tomorrow morning and Fabian has been called back home. The magic will wear off in two hours so everyone has plenty of time to enjoy themselves.
“Do you want to go swim?” Asher asks when we’re alone.
“No, I’m fine. You go, if you want.” I mumble, staring out at the water.
“You look fine, baby.” He whispers, rubbing a hand over my very swollen belly.
I shake my head, feeling myself get emotional over my weight gain. It’s not that I hate my body, in fact I feel proud and grateful to be creating and nurturing a life. But sometimes, my numerous stretch marks and well-rounded stomach don’t make me feel as confident.
“You’re going to deny me the pleasure of seeing my sexy little beloved in a bikini?” He groans, teasing my earlobe with his teeth. “That’s not fair.”
“I’m not sexy.” I sigh, feeling him still.
“Want me to make you feel like it?” He nips my jawline, making me swat his chest.
“We’re on a beach with a lot of people, including my dad who will no doubt rip you to shreds. I’d like our son to have a father, please!” I frown when he chuckles, amusement shining in his eyes.
“Come on, Ayla. You’re so beautiful, don’t feel insecure about your body. You know how much I love it.” He tries to convince me, kissing a traitorous tear away. “You look like an angel and it’s so hard to resist you when you’re so tempting, especially now that you’re carrying our child.”
My eyes flicker to the beach nervously before I look back at his reassuring eyes. Sighing I mumble out a “fine” before standing and taking off my maxi dress. He had told me to put on a bikini earlier so I had opted for a black two-piece that looked nice against my slightly tanned skin. And judging by the way Asher’s eyes brightened in lust, it seems he likes it very much.
“Okay now I regret convincing you.” He stands with an adorable pout on his lips. “You look so fucking hot.”
“I said no swearing around our baby!” I groan in exasperation, this is about the hundredth time I’ve warned him.
“Sorry.” He grins boyishly before taking my hand once he’s just in a pair of swimming shorts. “Let’s go.”
I follow him to the water where everyone is swimming and playing around. Sighing in content when the water caresses my aching and swollen feet, I walk in further until Asher and I are swimming underwater. We spend our time in the ocean messing about, our fingertips grazing each other’s skin teasingly before we come up for air and playfully splash each other.
He pulls me under the water once more by my ankle, pecking my lips softly before pulling away. Smiling at him, I push myself to the surface and pull him towards me immediately. Our lips meet in a passionate, hot kiss that warms me right up in the cold sea. His arms wrap around mine, sliding down to grip my hips as he pulls away with a soft smile.
“I love you.” He breathes, brushing my wet hair away from my face with a tender look.
“I love you more.”