The Culling

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8 Years Later

The squeals of laughter that were spilling from the children before me brought a smile to my lips. Five years ago, Darcy’s parents stepped down and turned the pack over to Darcy and I. The first year had been rough for me as I learned what was expected of me, but I had refused to give up.

It was during July of the second year that I discovered that I would soon give birth to our first child. I waited for three days before I broke the news to Darcy, and he was overjoyed. Lincoln had found his mate not too long after that and they wasted no time in bringing about their first child. “Easy there Ryder, you know that gentlemen do not push ladies.” Darcy’s voice pulled me from my thoughts and I smiled as I watched him speak to our oldest pup.

Ryder was quick to apologize to his younger cousin before helping her up. At the age of seven, he was already showing signs of one day being a good leader for our people. But Darcy and I had both agreed that if he didn’t want the title when he came of age, then it would fall to one of his two brothers. My hand gently slid across my stomach.

I hadn’t told my mate yet, but in a few months, there would be another addition to our small family. Ryder made a great role model for his four younger siblings and I knew that he would be a great brother for this little one as well. “Ryder, gather your siblings. Lunch is ready,” I call out just loud enough for him to hear me. He nods once in my direction before running after the others.

At six, Braxton loved following his older brother around wherever he when. There were times that I would look at him and see a little bit of my father in his facial expression or something that he would do. Our third son, who just turned five, was always glued to Darcy’s side. Orion was the carbon copy of his father.

After the three boys came our two girls. Darcy and I hadn’t been expecting them, but we loved them fully. Jessa and Tessa were just as rowdy as their brothers. “Are you alright Phoebe? You’re pretty quiet.” I looked over at my mate and gave him a smile. “I’m fine Darcy, I was just thinking about our little family.” Darcy laughed softly.

“They are a handful, I’ll give you that. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything in this world.” We stood side by side as we waited for the children to come take a seat at the picnic table so we could hear them. “I’m glad to hear that Darcy,” I say softly as I give him a kiss. “And I would never trade you for anything, my sweetheart.”

“I have a surprise for you.” Darcy’s eyes lit up as he hugged me. “And what is it?” Leaning closer to him, I inform him about our future child. The look of love and joy that shone from his eyes filled my heart and made me smile. “Are you sure?”

“I am. The doctor confirmed it yesterday. He or she will be here in a few months.” Darcy picked me up and gently spun me around, which brought laughter from our children. “You have made my life perfect Phoebe.”

“Just as you have made mine complete,” I said as we sat down and started handing out food. As I looked over my family I knew that there was nothing in this world that I wouldn’t give to make sure that they stayed as happy and loving as they were now.

“Momma, Poppa said that he was going to take us with him tomorrow to see Uncle Lincoln.” The excited chatter from my oldest three filled the summer air, and I laughed. Life may have thrown several trials my way, but I liked to think that I passed with flying colors.

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