The child that was never to be
November 25th, 1986: 11:46pm
“I don’t want to do this,” the young woman said, glaring daggers at the man who was driving the car. He harrumphed, casting her a lazy glance from his rear view mirror.
“If you didn’t want to do this, love, then you should have kept your damn legs closed,” He sneered, his eyes glowing faintly. The other man who sat in the front seat with him let out a low warning growl. The driver cast him a sideways glance and smirked.
“And you, you big brute, you should have had more self control.” He sniffed. He caught the woman’s reflection-- her lips were trembling in fury, but she looked away from the mirror. Her long cascade of curls hid her petulant expression.
“You will not talk to her like that,” his large companion growled, his body shifting in his seat. The woman leaned forward, reaching out to grab his shoulder. She gave him a gentle squeeze and he let out a small, shuddering gasp as his body seemed to relax. The priest smirked, letting out a chuckle that was part purr, part growl.
“Oh, young people today-- raging hormones never seem to fail at getting you all into the worst sort of trouble.” He cooed playfully, leaning forward to turn on the radio. Just as Elvis Presley’s “Jail House Rock” blared to life over the static, a small cry came from the back seat. The large younger man turned, looking back at the woman. His eyes were wide and his face pale, matching the young woman’s wide-eyed expression.
“I’m telling you both-- had you come to me first, before all of this, I could have saved you a LIFETIME of misery. But would you listen to anyone?”
“Just drive, damn it!” The man snarled, his eyes blazing with fury. The priest just sighed and shook his head, but did not lose his smile. He knew the couple would not hurt him-- he knew too much and his disappearance would cause quite a stir among their town.
When the driver wasn’t looking, the passenger shifted his head so his eyes met with the woman’s in the mirror. His pain and sorrow matched her own, but there was nothing else to be done. He was a Lycan, and she a human-- a mated pair...a forbidden pair. With the way their people’s prejudices and beliefs ran deep within their respective cultures, they should not have even met, or been together. But they had met and been drawn together.
They had maintained a ruse of disinterest in one another, trying to hold their emotions and mutual feelings at bay but their bond-- the bond that was supposed to be forbidden between Lycans and humans --had proved too strong to hold back. Even the fear of retribution and death had not stopped them until it was too late.
A small whimper rose up from the basket next to the woman-- the proof of their love. The woman took a shaky breath and looked at the basket, her fingers reaching down into the blanketed depths to stroke the infant’s cheek.
“You didn’t have to come,” The man said, his eyes straying to the basket. The woman pursed her lips, her shoulders shaking. A passing car sped by, their headlights piercing the darkness and illuminating the backseat with light. The man saw the tears falling off the young woman’s cheeks and felt his heart break.
“We would have made sure that she was safe. You didn’t need to--”
“I am her mother! If I am to be separated from her for-forever, then I should be allowed to say goodbye,” She said, her voice shaking with conviction. The man reached out to touch his mate-- his pearl of great price --his mind wandering to the first time he had seen her, how he had tried his best to stay away from her until he could not control it anymore. He looked over at the basket, his throat constricting as he caught sight of a tiny pale hand reaching for him.
She was born from love, but a love that was never meant to be. The clan elders used to say a mating with humans was an abomination and would weaken the clan. So, they forbade lycans to mate with humans and if they did, they were charged with treason which was punishable by death, banishment, or demotion of rank within the clan. It all depended on how the elders judged the depravity of the crime…
He shuddered at the thought, being barred from her forever-- by death or by magic. He did not want that, and yet when she had fallen pregnant...he had no one to turn to, the future Alpha and Beta unable to gain aid or sway the elders...suddenly, the car came to a stop. Both of them looked up, their eyes wide as they realized where they were.
“We’re here. Or, rather, as near as we can get to the place without being seen or stopped from leaving,” The driver admitted, turning off the engine. He turned to look at the young man, then the young woman and their precious cargo. His lip curled in veiled disgust. A Lycan and a human...an abomination unto the Moon Goddess herself. And to have a child? The sacrilege.
The couple exchanged a glance, not failing to notice the pure disdain that the priest had shown to their union. They had preferred him to not know at all, or even offer his aid. They had wanted to run away, to be together, to grow old with one another and raise a family...but Lennon had discovered their secrets and now, he had deemed himself their savior, however unwanted.
“Now are you sure you do not want me to take the child? I might not have Lycan speed but I--” Lennon began, his hand reaching back to graze the handle of the basket. The young woman slapped his hand away, a terrified scowl etched onto her face. The man in the front seat scowled at the priest, barely able to contain his growl.
“Fine!” The priest snapped, tossing his hands in the air. “Take your bastard and say your goodbyes-- and hurry up. The Alpha is expecting me soon.”
The young man got out of the front seat and carefully closed the door, rushing with his Lycan speed to stand by the opened door. She did not even flinch when she saw he was there, his hands reaching for the basket.
“Allow me to carry her,” He said gently, his arms outstretched to take the basket and the baby from her mother. The young woman worried her lower lip looking between her lover and their baby. Releasing a shaky breath, she nodded and let him take the basket from her hands.
As his human mate rose out of the car and gingerly closed the door, he leaned his face into the basket, taking a deep breath-- memorizing his child’s scent. He could still smell the faintest tinge of his mate’s blood from when she was born, but overpowering that he could smell lavender, peppermint, and the faintest hint of cinnamon. Powerful, vibrant, and strong...beautiful. His fingers convulsed about the basket as his love stood beside him, her hand on his shoulder instantly soothing his unease.
“I don’t want to do this...I don’t know if I can…” she whispered, her hand reaching down to touch their precious child’s soft downy head. His arm reached about her waist, drawing her closer to him in order to support her as they walked towards the front door of the convent.
“It won’t be forever, my love. For now, she will be safe here,” He whispered, only half believing his own words. “It is what is best-- for both of us. And for our child.”
“I don’t trust him,” She sniffed vehemently, casting a sideways glance at Lennon. The man sighed, his hand rubbing a slow circle at the small of her back. He nuzzled the top of her head, taking in her scent. She should not have come...she had just given birth. She needed to be resting...yet she was strong and defied him to see their child off.
“We do not have much choice. If we do not do as he says, he might-- there’s the chance that you and I would be separated forever, either by his dark magic or worse.”
He felt his mate shudder beneath his grip and draw closer to him. They had reached the steps of the convent now. Both man and woman breath acted as one, their bodies shuddering in fear and sadness as their heart-- the proof of their love, their bond --was laid on the cold concrete steps. To be raised by another, forgotten about...forever and a day. At least until they could make changes and be together, true mates accepted by her lover’s clan and by society at large.
“Is he looking?” She whispered, her voice so low he had to strain with his Lycan hearing to catch the very wisps of her words. He looked back, watching Lennon fiercely. The old Druid priest sat behind the wheel of his car, studying his nails and glowering at his wristwatch.
“Not at the moment. Whatever you are to do, do it quickly,” He ordered, his voice strained. As soon as the words left his lips, the woman knelt and hastily placed a folded note inside the basket. Grasping his hand, the woman let out a small burst of speed and ran towards the car, her lover following close behind.
“Well that was quick. I’d have thought the Devil was following close behind. What’d--” Lennon began, a convivial smile plastered onto his face as they both hopped back into the car.
“Shut up and drive, damn you!” The man snarled, his fearsome beast coming out at last. The woman gasped, Lennon gaped, and the baby that was left on the steps let out a scream, breaking the silence of the night air. The car squealed, speeding away before the mother could change her mind and go to comfort her baby.
“You made the right choice, young ones. Never forget my kindness to you both.” He sneered. The young woman shivered, biting her knuckle to keep from screaming or crying out. Her lover did not look at her or Lennon, he just stared at the lines in the road as they traveled back to their city. His mind whirled and turned with the possibilities. He was lucky-- so lucky --to have found her and kept her safe. But he was unable to keep her safe from himself, from his clan, and from Lennon himself.
He glowered at the ancient Druid priest, wishing for all his might that he could have killed him. He was the one who often performed the ritual to unwind the ties of a mate bond between and Lycan and human. He had been careful...so careful, with his life and hers...and yet in the end, he had to speak with him.
In order for these more common cases to not occur, the Druid counsel and clan elders would consult with the Moon Goddess and alter the futures of those who had human mates, essentially forcing unions that went against the Moon Goddess herself…for the good of the clan and the bloodlines. And so their first born child would left, forgotten-- shrieking in the distance, for the sake of tradition and superstitions. And in that moment, the man knew-- whatever happened next --that he could never ever trust anyone, especially Lennon.
When she was found in the morning, Sister Junia nearly had a heart attack. Something so small and frail, yet her lungs were strong-- her voice vibrating and shaking the tops of the trees. Hoisting the basket and looking for any signs of visitors or whomever had dropped her off.
“My poor, poor thing,” the nun whispered, her fingers crazing the baby’s cheek. She began to scream again, her voice and noise so powerful it was all the nun could do to not drop the basket. Slamming the door shut behind her, the nun ran into the dining room where the other nuns were preparing to break their fast.
“Mother Maria! Mother Maria!” She said, huffing and puffing. All the other nuns gaped at her, their morning conversation and prayers interrupted by their latest recruit’s arrival with a bawling basket.
“Call the police! Get a doctor, and please assist me in warming the poor thing up!” Sister Junia gasped, passing off the basket to another nun before she collapsed in front of the fireplace, stoking the fire so it burned and flamed higher. Soon the room was warm, causing the nun’s to fan themselves and curse slightly.
Soon the doctor arrived, took one look at the infant and ordered the nun who found her come with him. She was immediately spirited away to the hospital where, after a brief conjecture, they determined she was only born one day prior, making her not only an orphan but an abandoned child.
While the name she was given in the hospital was Baby Jane Doe, the nuns at the convent felt she was so much more. When after meeting with the social worker and the doctor, they determined the safest and best place for the child was to keep her with the nuns- she would be educated, looked after, and most importantly, loved.
“We cannot keep calling her ‘baby’ or ‘Jane Doe,’ “ Her nun savior announced one morning as they washed the laundry. Mother Maria was sitting just outside the small laundry room, the infant hoisted in her arms and drinking from a bottle. She had a serene look on her face as she held the infant- as if she had been meant to have and care for children.
“You are right. She is more than a mystery. She is beautiful and will no doubt grow into something amazing.” Mother Maria thought wistfully, watching as the sun’s rays danced on the breeze and rattled the flowers growing around them. Later on that evening, when the infant had finally settled down into a sweet slumber, they discussed the matter at hand.
The first name given to her was Delta – in Greek, it meant the fourth letter of the Alphabet or the mouth of a river. The child certainly had a mouth and lungs to match, a thing the nuns knew well but were always surprised, as none of them had much involvement with babies or children, for that matter. Her second name given to her was Rose because of her flaming red hair and perfectly pouty red pedaled lips.
“But what of her surname?” An elderly nun aske, wheezing slightly. The nuns all puzzled over this, not quite sure what the best course of action might be. Mother Maria was holding the brochure from the hospital, noting the intricacy of the print when she saw it. The perfect name.
“Delta Rose Carter,” she announced, silencing the other nuns. “We will name her Carter after the hospital, for taking her in and caring for her as well as letting us take her in.”
“What will we do if she asks us about her family, or how she came to be with us?” Another nun- a middle aged Nottoway Indian woman - asked. The mother superior considered this before saying, “We take a vow to never speak of this- her being found on our steps in the dead of night, nor the note we found on her.” All of the nuns nodded and whispered their agreement.
“I also propose, that in order to keep ourselves from relaying the truth about her abandonment to anyone else, we take a vow of near indefinite silence once the child turns six years old-- three months out of the year, we may speak freely about anything and everything. But for six months, we do not speak. It is the only way to keep her and her past safe,” The mother superior insisted. And so it was decided in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere New York the course of young Delta Rose’s future: silence was the key to her safety as well as theirs.