Not on my watch!
Another warning: the next two and a half chapters (this one included) are going to deal with quite a heavy topic. It has to do with a decline in mental and physical health of a woman who recently gave birth. If you think reading about something like this could be harmful to you, I advise you to skip them. They are necessary for the plot to move further, but you will not get lost inside the story if you don’t read them.
Rey expected the situation to be bad, but this? It indeed looked like a scene out of one of her nightmares. The first thing she noticed as she walked inside the room was the absence of light. All the curtains were drawn, and the only source of it came from behind her.
She had to squint her eyes before she even managed to recognize the outline of a king-sized bed put in the centre of the room and there, covered with tons of blankets and pillows, lay Elaine.
Rey was only sure it was her because she yelled for her to get out as soon as she opened the door. But leaving was the last thing on her mind.
What the hell was happening here? Why so much darkness? Why did the whole place smell like no one opened a window for days? And most importantly, where was the girl? Shouldn’t she be with her mother? She was barely a week old.
“You never listen to me, do you?” A voice from behind her reached her ears and Rey spun around to confront it: “What is going on here?”
Brynn ignored her question and said: “I told you not to come here. I have the situation under control.”
“All due respect, but how is this the situation under control?” Rey threw her hands around to attract the attention to the state of the room and Elaine.
Was Brynn not seeing the same things?
“And where is the baby?”
Her words triggered a reaction out of Elaine because the next thing, Rey became aware of, was the pillow that hit her in the back of her head and Elaine’s angry: “I said, get the hell out!”
“Come with me,” Brynn grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the room. “We will talk elsewhere.”
She closed the door behind them, leaving Elaine in complete darkness once more, and pushed Rey down the stairs and out of the house.
But Rey was too impatient to let her carry on any longer. “Talk to me. Now!”
Brynn sighed, the look of determination on Rey’s face, a clear indicator that she wouldn’t be able to get out of the conversation. She started talking: “The baby is fine. We managed to get her to sleep and I would like for it to stay that way. So please, keep your voice down.”
Satisfied with her answer, Rey asked a little calmer: “What about Elaine?”
“She is not feeling very good at the moment.”
“Oh, really? I didn’t even notice that.” Rey’s sarcastic self came through once again, but what was it with Brynn and her dumb answers?
“I can’t explain her behaviour to you because I don’t have a name for it. All I know is that I have seen it happen a couple of times. Giving birth is not an easy task, Rey. It takes a lot out of a person, mentally and physically.”
“So, what you are telling me, is that she is exhausted from giving birth and that’s why she is pretending to be a vampire?”
“One of the reasons. Yes.”
Rey took a moment to process her words. Not giving birth on her own yet, made it hard to empathize with Elaine, but she could imagine the whole thing couldn’t be easy on her. But there was one specific thing she couldn’t wrap her head around.
“Exhausted or not, why is the child not with her?”
Werewolves tended to be extremely territorial over their friends and lovers, but none of them were as possessive as mothers were on their children. As the child grew older, the overprotectiveness grew weaker, but no one would be able to separate a mother and her newborn baby and live long enough to tell the tale.
Brynn sighed again, and Rey could swear she heard a curse come out of her mouth.
The woman never cursed.
What the hell was going on?
Brynn took a deep breath and said: “Elaine has problems adapting to the fact that she is a mother now, Rey.”
Rey heard the words that came out of Brynn’s mouth, but her brain failed to understand them: “Human language please?”
“She doesn’t want to see the baby, damn it!” Brynn gritted through her clenched jaw.
These words Rey could understand, and they lightened a fire inside her: “She what?”
“See, this is exactly why I didn’t want you to come here,” Brynn gave her a defeated look as she continued, “I knew you wouldn’t be able to keep your calm once the truth comes out. You are too damn hot-headed for that, and now you are going to do something stupid.”
“She refuses to see her own child and I am the stupid one?” Rey asked disbelievingly. “Well, okay. Let me be stupid. But no one abandons their child. Not on my watch!”
She aimed for the house once more, the loud thumps of her feet following her.