Chapter Seven: Questions & More Questions
“What is this?” Paxton asked as he gently took hold of Laila’s left arm.
Park pulled out of her so he could sit up and see what his brother was looking at. His eyes widened when he saw the bruises on her arm.
“What the fuck Laila?” Park asked angrily as he took her arm from his brother.
Laila groaned. She had forgotten about the bruises. “It’s no big deal,” she said.
“This is no big deal?!” Paxton asked as he took her arm from Park and pulled it up so he could see it better. “It looks like fingerprints.”
She took a deep breath. “It’s where that evil, scary, crazy, sleazy, disgusting, vile, stinky, greasy, gangly, toothy, man, had hold of my arm last night before you guys saved me.”
The brothers looked at each other, then burst into laughter at her description of the hyena shifter.
Laila smiled up at them, knowing what they were laughing at. Paxton pulled her up off the couch and into his arms. She sighed against him as he kissed her. Park moved off the couch and lifted her arm into his hands, kissing the bruises. She sighed with bliss.
To think. These two incredible men are all hers.
It only took an hour to pack up what she needed. They tossed her bags into the back of their pickup and set the two cages carrying the birds into the back seat. Laila sat in the front between the two brothers as she had before, and both men took hold of one of her hands.
Everything was so perfect. How had she gotten so lucky?
“Is it okay if I let them out?” Laila asked when Park and Paxton each set a cage down in the cabin’s living room.
“Sure,” Park said with a smile, “but you’re cleaning up after them.”
Laila paused at the cage door of one of the Ospreys then looked inside the cage at the bird.
“You won’t make a mess that I will have to clean up, will you?”
The Osprey spread his wings and shook. Laila smiled then asked the other the same question, and she got the same response. Laila nodded, then opened both doors.
The Ospreys stepped out of their cages then sat on their feathery butts on the hardwood floor.
Laila smiled at them. “Now,” she said as she pointed at the cages. “If either of you needs to go to the bathroom, the cages are a whole lot easier to clean.”
Park and Paxton stared at her dumbfounded.
She turned to them and raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“Do you hear them talking to you?” Park asked.
She shook her head with a grin. “No, I’ve just always been able to feel what they want. But for some reason, I couldn’t with that wolf which had attacked me in the woods, or the bears who had come to my rescue,” she said with a shrug. “I couldn’t feel the hyenas last night either. I’ve come across several animals that I haven’t been able to feel.”
Paxton shook his head as he grinned. “You’re unbelievable.”
She smiled, “thanks. Everyone else thinks I’m crazy.”
“Crazy can be a good thing,” Paxton said with a mischievous grin.
Park pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead. “Don’t listen to them, love. You are incredible.”
Her smile widened as she wrapped her arms around his middle. “Thank you,” she said, then leaned up and gently kissed him.
With a groan, he pulled her tighter into his embrace and deepened the kiss. Paxton cleared his throat, and Park lifted his head from the kiss with a smile. She smiled up at him, and his heart skipped a beat.
Park looked down at the two Ospreys. He’s still confused as to why they had flown into the window. It made no sense. The only time a bird of prey has come around is when they smell death.
But that’s usually Vultures.
He’ll have to ask Mark his opinion on the matter. Paxton had told him last night that he’d made Mark their right-hand man. And he agreed with his brother’s choice. Their friend has more than earned it in the last hundred years or so- especially last night.
“Park,” Paxton said as he gently bumped his brother.
Park looked at him, and he nodded with his head towards the bedroom. He nodded back then kissed Laila gently on the forehead before he turned and followed his brother to the bedroom they had set up for their mate.
“We need to tell her everything,” Paxton said as Park closed the door.
Park nodded, “this weekend.”
“I think it should be sooner,” Paxton argued.
Park shook his head. “This weekend. Mark is coming over with Riley, and I think Laila is going to need her...”
“You’re right,” Paxton conceded with a heavy sigh.
“Prepare yourself, Brother. She may hate us once we tell her what we are.”
Paxton snorted, “you saw her excitement when she realized our bears had saved her more than once. And you saw her with the Ospreys, she loves animals.”
Park nodded. “Yes, but how will she react to discovering not only are those bears her new lovers, but she’s destined to carry their sons who will rule over the whole Animal Kingdom, not just the bears.
Paxton shrugged, “I think she will be confused but also excited.”
Park chuckled as he patted his brother’s shoulder. “I hope you’re right, Brother. I really do because I’m already more than half-way in love with her.”
Paxton grinned, “me too, Brother, me too.”
“Let’s go see what she’d like to do today,” Park said as he opened the door.
Paxton nodded and followed Park out into the hall.
When they entered the living room, they found Laila and the Ospreys missing. The brothers started to panic until they heard banging in the kitchen.
“Okay, okay,” they heard Laila say as they entered the kitchen.
They each leaned against the wall on either side of the doorway and watched their mate with the Ospreys. With their magnificent long talons, they looked wickedly dangerous.
But around Laila, they looked like house pets.
Park chuckled, and she looked up at them with a grin.
“They were thirsty,” she said as she set a large bowl of water in front of the two Osprey.
The birds fought over the bowl, and without a thought for her own safety, she split them up.
Park and Paxton moved away from the wall at the same time, but neither of the Osprey laid a claw on her.
“Share,” she said as she pointed at each of them.
When she backed away, they both took a drink from the dish. She turned to Park and Paxton with a brilliant smile on her face.
“They fight like siblings. I wonder if they’re brother and sister. Because they don’t seem like mates,” she said as she moved towards her own mates.
Park grinned, “that’s a good question.”
“How did you get them to listen to you?” Paxton asked.
She shrugged, “it’s something I’ve always been able to do.”
Another piece of the premonition floated into Park’s memory. ‘She will love all animal kind, and they will love her in return and follow her as their chosen queen.’
Park watched as the two Osprey followed Laila out of the kitchen. He had thought that would happen after she was given her ring like it would be her gift or something. But no, it was part of what they were supposed to look for.
She looked so at ease with the two birds of prey. As if she was used to birds who could tear out your throat with their long talons or gouge out your eyes, following her around like little lost puppies. And he had a feeling this wasn’t new to her.
Nope. He thought with a smile when she stepped outside, and the birds followed her. Not new to her at all.
Paxton’s eyebrows raised at him, and he told his brother his thoughts.
Paxton grinned, “well, if we hadn’t been sure before, I sure am now,” he said, still smiling. “We’ve found our mate, Brother.”
Park chuckled as his brother slapped him on the back. “We have Brother. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend a moment away from her,” he said, then followed Laila outside.
Paxton chuckled as he followed his brother outside. This weekend she will become their life mate.
The days went by fast. Park and Paxton helped Laila move her supplies from her clinic to a shed they had converted into a clinic for her, so she didn’t have to travel back and forth every day.
It was actually big enough to hold all of the animals she had in her care with enough room to have an operating room which they had walled off.
The Ospreys had fully recovered days ago, but they refused to leave her side. She didn’t mind though she’d gotten used to them following her wherever she went.
Except for the bedroom, she drew the line there. That was hers and the twins’ private space. And she wasn’t sharing it with anyone.
The boys had told her the other day that Riley and Mark were coming over for a visit this weekend, and she couldn’t wait to hang out with her best friend. It seemed like forever ago that they had spent almost every day together.
As a matter of fact, it was just over two months ago when that had all stopped. Around the time Riley had met Mark. Okay, they both have some explaining to do.
She sighed as she closed up her clinic for the day. No new animals and everyone was comfortable. She’ll check on them later tonight. But right now, she wanted to find that field again. The one Park and Paxton had taken her to the other day for a picnic. She wanted to take some pictures of some of the birds and animals around that area.
She looked around and didn’t see the Ospreys anywhere. “Avel!” She called out. “Nova!”
She looked around and frowned. Those two were usually under her feet. She wondered where they’d disappeared to. Maybe they’d finally returned to the wild. She frowned. If that were so, she would miss them terribly.
She doesn’t know where the names had come from. But she always gets a feeling that they’re correct.
She shrugged as she went into the house to find her camera. They’re more than well enough to be on their own, but she’d really hoped they’d decided to stay with her. They remind her of Mekhi.
She wiped the tears she hadn’t realized were sliding down her cheeks and picked up her camera.
Today she is going nature hunting.
Park watched as his brother knocked over another tree. They wanted to clear the land so they can build a large house for their mate and her animals. They know how she hates keeping the sweet-natured ones in cages with the more feral animals.
It costs too much money to pay someone to clear the area, and it’s faster if they just do it themselves in their bear forms. Plus, they rip the roots out of the ground when they knock it over themselves. And this way they make money, instead of spending it when they sell the wood from the trees. After they take what they want or need, of course.
“How many more do you want to do today before we return to Laila?” Paxton asked, looking at his brother.
“Two more,” Park said as he walked over to a tree to take it down.
Being shifters made them much stronger than an average bear. Park was just as anxious to see their mate as Paxton was. It has only been a few hours since they had last seen her, but it felt like days. As the tree fell, a scream vibrated through the woods.
“Laila!” The brothers shouted at the same time.