With only a few days until it was her due date, they were cutting it pretty close, not that it mattered all that much.
During the whole pregnancy, Justas and Raphael had gone back and forth on whether they wanted to find out the baby’s gender or not, and Anastasia had gone a great job in keeping that little piece of information to himself. For the past couple of weeks, they had come to the consensus that they would wait until the baby was born to find out but it appeared that as of recent days, Raphael just couldn’t wait anymore and that was why, the three of them were now hosting a last-minute baby shower.
Just to up the antics, they had decided to accompany it with a baby shower and with the party set to start in an hour, Anastasia had still yet to get ready.
While she knew that the parties were being held in honour of Justas, Raphael and the new addition to their perfect little family, she wanting to be a part of the joy and celebrate both of her friends, excited to give them the present she had brought for them.
A knock sounded on the door but she wasn’t sure what the purpose of it was as not even half a second later, Raphael let himself into the room, not yet dressed either.
“How are you not dressed yet?”
“I could ask you the same thing.” Anastasia snorted from where she was sat on her bed, trying to pick out what type of makeup would look best with the dress that she had picked out earlier.
Raphael chuckled as he moved into the centre of the bed, crossing his legs underneath him as he seated himself next to her, reaching out to pick up a palette of warm tone eye shadows, perfect for a neutral look.
“I just wanted to speak to you about something before we got busy with the party.”
She frowned lightly and turned her head to face him, surprised with the sudden serious tone.
“Is everything okay?”
“That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. Are you okay?”
“Are you asking about the baby because if you are, everything seems fine. The baby is putting more pressure on my bladder this past week, but the pack doctor said that’s completely exhausted, especially since I’m so close to the due date.”
“That’s great to hear, but I was actually asking about you.” Raphael spoke softly as he placed the palette down on the bed and reached out for her hand, lacing their fingers together as they had done many times before in the past. “How are you doing? Not the baby, but you.”
“I don’t understand your question.”
Raphael sighed and lifted his head to meet her eyes, his eyes glistening with tears, some having already started rolling down his face.
“I know that you’ve been struggling a lot lately, more than you’re willing to let on but I want you to know, whatever it is, regardless if it’s about the baby or not, you can always talk to me about it.”
“How do you know I’ve been struggling?” She asked quietly, surprised that he had managed to pick up on things which she hadn’t had the nerve to voice aloud, afraid of just how true they were.
“I know this pregnancy hasn’t been easy for you, but I just want you to know that Justas and I are forever going to be grateful for doing this for us. You’re giving us this happiness, this joy and bundle of love that’s going to fulfil us both for the rest of our lives, and we’re never going to be able to repay this massive favour of yours.”
“You don’t have to thank me, Raphael, and I don’t need you to repay me either. I just want to see you happy and if there’s something that I can do about it, then I will.” Anastasia murmured quietly, her voice choked and her words moved with emotion at the little speech that he had just made, having not expected it. “You’re my best friend and I love you, but you know that already.”
His bottom lip quivered as he stared down at his best friend. Including Justas and this new baby, Anastasia Mulberry was one of the most important people in his world.
Shuffling around on the bed, he moved behind Anastasia and wrapped his arms around her, or as close as he could due to her protruding belly which made that difficult.
“I love you, too, Ana. So much, baby girl.” He murmured, pressing a kiss to her cheek as he held her, leaning forward to rest his forehead on her shoulder. “I just need to make sure you’re fine.”
“I am fine.” She insisted but with the way he kept lingering on the matter, she knew that he had picked up on her slight change of mood lately.
“I know you’re such a beautiful person, both inside and out and that you chose to carry this baby for us. But I don’t know if you considered the fact that you’ll have to give up this baby. It’s something that neither Justas or I considered either, as we were too busy focusing on the fact that we were going to become parents.” Raphael explained through a sigh, pressing his hands into the side of the belly, chuckling quietly as the baby kicked. “I’m sorry for not considering how this would make you feel, and for not being there more for you.”
Anastasia twisted slightly in his arms and gazed at her friend with a small frown on her face.
“How can you say that?” She asked in a quiet voice, slightly offended that he was taking the blame for something that neither of them could control or had even anticipated. “Coming into this, I don’t think any of us thought about the fact that the end of all of this, the baby would be yours and Justas. Don’t get me wrong,” she paused, silently pleading with him with her eyes that he would understand. “I’m so happy for you and I wouldn’t change a thing about this and if I could go back and do it all over again, I would still choose to carry this baby for you. But it’s just going to be weird that at the end of all of this, I’m going to head home alone.”
A moment of silence passed as Justas hummed in agreeance, quietly contemplating all the information she had just dropped on him.
“I kind of feel the same way, and you’re completely valid in the way that you feel.” He murmured quietly, a soft expression on his face as he stared back at his best friend, his arms still around her. “If the tables were turned and I could carry a baby for you, you know I would in a heartbeat, baby girl.”
“I know, babe.” Her bottom lip quivered at his beautiful words, touched by his heartfelt words. “I think it’s just the pregnancy hormones putting me down and making me feel this way.”
“Probably, but I want you to know that you’re forever welcome in our home and whenever you want to come over to see the baby. Even if it means that you permanently move in with us or if you want to come over in the middle of the night, I’m never going to stop you from seeing the baby, Ana.”
“I know.” She sniffled and turned around in his arms to press her face into his chest, a few tears rolling down her face
“Ana, you know that if you cry, I’m going to cry.” He protested even though his eyes were already glistening and the tip of his nose had begun to turn red.
“I know it’s stupid and that I knew all of that already, but I really needed to hear that.” She sniffled and pressed her face further into his chest, revelling in the comfort that he was providing.
“This baby is as much yours as it’s ours, and nothing is ever going to change that.” Raphael blinked through the tears and pressed a kiss to the crown of her head.
They both continued to speak quietly about the baby, Anastasia teasing him with the fact that she already knew the gender of the baby, threatening to tell him before the gender reveal party that was set to take place in an hour.
“If I didn’t know any better, I would say that the both of you are having an affair.” A voice sounded from the doorframe of her guest bedroom, a teasing smirk on his voice.
Anastasia giggled while Justas made a show of pressing another kiss to her forehead, cocking a daring eyebrow at his mate from over her head. She chuckled at his actions and pushed him away slightly so she could turn around and face Justas.
“Did you ask her yet?” Justas asked quietly, staring at his mate who was still sat behind Anastasia with his arms around her, hugging her to him.
“Not yet.” He chuckled and wiped away his tears, leaning back slightly to get a better look at her.
“What are you guys asking me about?” She asked, her voice laced with confusion and curiosity as she looked between both the mates, impatiently waiting for one of them to explain what they were referring to. “Can you stop with the secrets and just tell me already, please?”
“Do you want to ask her or should I do the honours?” Justas laughed softly as he asked his mate.
“Let me!” Raphael insisted, his lips stretching into a wide grin, visibly perking up at the prospect of finally asking her what they had decided since the moment they had decided that they wanted to have a baby. “This is an absolute no brainer, but Justas and I were hoping that you would be the Godmother.”
“Godmother?” Anastasia was a blubbering mess at this point as she bowed her head and buried her face in her hands, sobbing quietly, her heart so full. “You want me to be the Godmother?”
“Of course!” Justas snorted as he walked further into the room and seated himself on the edge of the bed next to them, staring down at all her makeup in confusion. “Who else would we ask?”
“Thank you so much!” She threw her arms around Raphael, reaching out to pull Justas into the hug too, eternally grateful for both of these wonderful men that were such a huge part of her life.
“I’m assuming that’s a yes?” Justas chuckled as he wrapped his arms around the both of them.
“Stop being such a smart ass!” She pouted, still blubbering, genuinely so moved and touched that they would do her the honour by asking her.
Once the three of them had recovered from the crying session and finished getting ready, they headed into the back garden where the gender reveal party was set to take place, everybody already waiting for them.
“Are you both ready to be parents?” She asked as they walked through the living room, standing in between both the mates, all of their hands linked.
“I could ask you the same thing.” Justas cocked an eyebrow and they all laughed before heading into the party where the big balloon was awaiting them, ready to be popped and reveal the gender of their baby which Anastasia had knew for months now but kept secret from them as per their insistence.
After they had completed a round around the party and made a point of greeting everyone, they headed to the front where the balloon awaited them.
“On 3!” Anastasia grinned as she stood off to the side slightly but still at the front, eager to allow Justas and Raphael to have this life changing moment.
“3! 2! 1!” Everyone chanted and screamed as both the mates raised the pin and pop the enormous balloon.
Justas and Raphael raised their arms and popped the balloon at the same time, a stream of blue showering over them.
“We’re having a boy!” Raphael screamed as he enveloped his mate and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips, everyone cooing at the sweet gesture.
After the gender had been revealed, everybody sat down for a wonderful dinner and as the party got into full swing and everybody was enjoying themselves, Anastasia very quickly grew tired and decided to call it a night. After giving both Justas and Raphael a kiss on the cheek and excusing herself from the party, she let herself back into the pack house with the intent of heading straight to bed.
However, it was as if her feet had a mind of their own as instead of heading to the third door, she found herself coming to a stop outside the first door in the hallway.
She hated to admit it, but she had been looking for him at the gender reveal party and was more than disappointed once she realised that he wasn’t there. She also knew that she wasn’t doing herself any favours by going to see him, but it was like she couldn’t move.
“How long do you plan to stay out there, Anastasia?”
Her breath hitched in her throat as he called out to her from behind the door, prompting her to let herself in.
Well, there was no going back now.
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