“Cole can you help me out of this dress please? I can’t remember how I put it on,” I call out. He looks up from the book in his hands and gets up from his spot on the bed.
“Sure, love,” he whispers. I turn to face the body-length mirror and watch as he comes to a stop right behind me. His arms snake around my waist and his eyes lock with my reflection.
“You’re so beautiful baby. You don’t know how hard it is for me to exercise restraint right now. All I want is to have my way with you,” he mumbles into my neck, causing shivers to run down my spine,” but for the baby’s safety, I’ll wait. But know this, the minute it’s possible, I’m gonna fuck you hard.”
His seductive promise makes it hard for me to keep in a moan. I lean back into his hard chest and cup his cheek, my gaze never wavering from his.
“I’ll be impatiently waiting babe. I want it as much as you do.”
He helps me out of my dress and into one of his baggy old shirts. Then we make our way to the bed and lay down, facing each other.
The day had passed quite quickly after we sorted out the pack problems. We decided that Jace would go back to the Blood Earth Pack and explain to my father that I was in no shape to travel, because of the baby. Which was kind of true.
And after I have the baby, I’m going to go and talk to my father. Tell him that there’s no way I’m becoming Luna of his pack.
I am kind of worried about that part though. It’s been years and years since I’ve even seen my father, let alone talked to him. There’s so many questions I’ve got and so much anger for him. I just don’t know if they’re better off unanswered or not. Maybe...maybe ignorance is better than knowing the truth.
But I don’t have to worry about all this for at least another three months. All I need to do right now is concentrate on this pregnancy and my health. And with Cole by my side, it’ll be hard to think of anything else. His protectiveness is both cute and annoying. But he never got to see the early stages of the pregnancy, so I guess I can see where he’s coming from.
“Baby, what do you think the baby’s gonna be? Girl or boy?” I ask curiously. We haven’t really talked about it much, and when is better than the present?
He bites his lip and looks at my shirt-covered bump. He lays a hand on it and closes his eyes, humming for a minute. Then his eyes fly open and he smirks at me.
“It’s definitely going to be a girl. A beautiful, baby girl, who will look exactly like her mother. Right down,” he whispers,” to the cute little freckles on your shoulders.”
He pushes the shirt off my right shoulder and kisses the light sprinkle of freckles on my shoulder. I giggle quietly.
“Really? And why do you think that?”
“Because I know it. I don’t know how, but I know that this baby is going to be our baby girl. And she’ll be loved and cared for by you and I,” he caresses my cheek lovingly. I turn my head slightly to kiss his palm.
“Cole,” I breathe uncertainly,” how do you know I’ll be a good mother for her? I never had a loving family. Heck, I didn’t have a normal family!” I laugh bitterly. “All I wanted my whole life was a mother who loved me with her entire being. Instead, I got a mother who tortured me and left me for my stepfather’s abuse. I would never want to become that sort of mother for our child. She wouldn’t deserve it.”
I look down in shame. I’d never shared my deepest, darkest thoughts before. I’d brushed the surface, but never dug beneath. But, letting it all off my chest, was like removing a huge weight off my shoulders.
“Jade, I know with all my heart that you’ll be a great mum. You know why? Because I’ve seen you with that kid, Adrian. He adores you and you adore him. The way your eyes light up the minute he hugs you, or how your smile widens when he laughs. You care about him and you never snap at him. And he’s not even your child. Can you imagine how lucky our daughter will be with a person like you as her mother? Yes, you’ve had a terrible past with your mother and stepfather, but don’t let that make you believe that you’ll turn out like that. Don’t,” he says determinedly.
I smile up at him. He’s right. I won’t let the past define who and what I’m going to be like with our child.
“Thank you. That means a lot to me,” I breathe. He nods, smiling faintly.
“Okay, now, do you think she’s going to be a girl or a boy?”
I laugh at his non-subtle attempt at changing the subject.
“I don’t care, as long as he or she is healthy. That’s all I ask.”
Two months later
“Cole! Can you get some more lemons while you’re out? We just ran out and I need a lemon juice ASAP!”
Cole turns back from the door and nods.
“I’ll be back soon, my love. Love you!”
The door slams and I lean back into the couch. My stomach pokes out in front of me, and my swollen legs disappear somewhere under it.
In the last two months, I’ve gained an extra ten kilos. TEN KILOS! This baby has really increased my hunger and need for food. I’m now eating at least three times more at breakfast and I usually have two lunches and two dinners. With snacks in between.
And don’t even get me started on the cravings. First, it was apples on crackers. That went on for about two weeks. Then it was peanut butter and Oreos. Now it’s lemon juice. Freshly squeezed.
I feel sorry for Cole. The amount of times I’ve woken up because of a craving and he’s gone out to buy some weird combo I’ve demanded. I’m sure the store workers know him as the guy who’s got a pregnant wife at home.
Or, pregnant girlfriend. I don’t know. In human terms, what are we? I mean, we are mates, we marked each other, we completed the mating process, everything. But, by law, we are still only boyfriend and girlfriend. So, technically, he’s got a pregnant girlfriend at home.
I slowly lean forward and somehow swing my legs into standing position. I groan as I stand, supporting myself with the armrest. God, all I want is water. Now I’m huffing and puffing like I ran a fucking marathon.
See, that’s another thing. My hormones have gone into overdrive. But instead of being an emotional wreck, I’ve become a cranky lady. I snap at the smallest things. I really don’t know why Cole’s still putting up with me.
I waddle into the kitchen and bend over slightly to reach into the cupboard for a glass. I feel something shift inside me. The baby’s moving. When I come back up, I feel a gush of liquid pour out onto the floor.
I gasp, looking down to see clear... stuff on the floor around my feet. Another gush comes out and I realise what this is.
“Cole! Get back here as soon as you can! My water just broke!”
I can feel his surprise and shock. “Shit! Alright baby take it easy. I’m only five minutes away. Hold on.”
I look down once more, not really believing what just happened. The baby’s coming! She’s finally here! Well, almost.
I calculate the dates, and realise that she’s about two weeks early. Damn. She’s classified as late premature.
During these two months, Cole and I had done a lot of research and reading, trying to make sure that we are prepared for when she comes. We’d gone shopping, buying clothes and baby furniture. A car seat and a crib. Although I originally didn’t want her to sleep in a crib. I want her to sleep with us. But I read somewhere that it could be dangerous if someone accidentally rolled on top of her, so I changed my mind.
The door slams open, the sound of running feet leading straight to the kitchen. Cole enters, his face a mixture of fear, shock and excitement.
“Alright alright. Baby, what do you need me to do?”
I realise that he’s gone into shock. “Go to the room and pack a set of clothes for me and the baby. Get some diapers and bibs. Blankets and beanies. She needs to be kept warm.”
He nods firmly and sprints up the stairs.
I remember reading that we don’t have to rush until the contractions are less than five minutes apart. Mine haven’t started yet so I try to stay calm. I turn to the kitchen tap and pour a glass of water. I decide to quickly whip up a sandwich each. It’s late and we’re both probably hungry.
Cole comes back down the stairs a minute later, a black duffel bag slung over his shoulder. The minute he sees me he drops the bad and darts over to me.
“What the fuck are you doing?! We’re going to the hospital NOW! How are you cooking at a time like this?” His face is hilarious and I start laughing.
“Calm down Cole. We don’t have to worry until the contractions are less that five minutes apart. Mine haven’t even started yet. We’ve got time. I’m making some food for us, in case it’s a long night.”
He still insists that I sit and watch him cook. My first contraction hits me and I gasp in pain. Shit.
“Are you okay?” He turns and walks over to me. He rubs my belly and I nod.
“I’m fine. We’ve got to start recording the time now. You continue that. I’m going to go change into something less...wet,” I reply. I slowly stand and walk up the stairs. Entering our room, I see that all the baby stuff has been moved out. Before, we’d put it all in corners around the room. Now, the corners are empty. Huh.
I change into a fresh pair of underwear and sweatpants. I pull on a shirt and walk out the room.
“Hey Cole! Where’s all the baby stuff?!” I yell down the stairs. There’s a minute of silence before he climbs up, a shy smile on his face.
“Follow me,” he whispers. I shrug and do so, waking behind him towards his office door. Across from it, is another door, which we haven’t honestly been in yet. Or so I thought.
Cole opens the door and leads me in, letting me in first. I look around and gasp.
A nursery. The walls are a baby pink, so light it almost looks white. Purple flowers decorate it, the white crib we’d bought against one wall, the changing station at another. The wooden rocking chair I’d insisted on is in a corner, a fluffy rug under it and an equally fluffy blanket laying on it.
I turn to Cole, who is already staring at me. His eyes bored into mine and I step closer.
“How...how did you-”
“At night, when you are asleep. I’d come here and do a little. Just for a few hours everyday. I wanted it to be a surprise,” he shrugs, as if it’s nothing.
I hug him tightly, feeling another contraction, yet ignoring it, recording the time mentally.
“Thank you Cole. So much. You don’t know what this means to me. Our baby has a beautiful room in a beautiful house, with a beautiful father. She’s going to be so loved. Thanks to you,” I sniffle. He smiles down at me, brushing a strand of hair from my face.
“Don’t forget her beautiful mother. The one she’s going to look so much like?”
I choke out a laugh, cuddling into his side, my smile widening as he kisses my hair. Suddenly, my smile is replaced by a frown, then a scream.
“Jesus Christ it’s seven minutes now. Come on. Let’s finish getting everything ready,” I say to Cole, patting his arm in a way of telling him to let me go. He sighs, letting me go.
“I object. I will get everything ready and you will lie down on the couch and record your contractions. Okay?”
I grumble as I make my way to our bedroom, lying own on the couch in the corner. I watch as Cole goes from one end of the room to the other, mumbling and shuffling things here and there.
Half an hour later and my contractions are four minutes apart. My screams are becoming more frequent now, and every time Cole comes to sit beside me and stroke my hair, whispering loving words into my ear.
“Come on baby. It’s time to meet our first child,” he says, excitement and nervousness laced in his tone.
He gently picks me up, 85 kilos and all, and carries me down the stairs. He lightly sets me down, careful not to bump me and jostle me too much. He grabs the bag, keys and phone, and walks me out the house.
We get to the garage and he helps me into the SUV, which already has the baby seat strapped in. This man really did think of everything.
“Just relax love. And remember, the next time you come home, it will be with a baby in your arms,” he looks over at my frazzled state. I smile, the picture of a swaddled baby in my arms imprinted into my mind.
We get to the hospital as my next contraction come over. Three minutes.
The pack doctors all rush over to help us. Two nurses help me onto a bed and wheel me into the room where I’ll be giving birth. Cole isn’t far behind them.
“Nurse! Nurse, is it possible for my mate to have an epidural?” Cole inquires. I look up, not waiting for her to answer.
“No epidural. Please. Cole,” I say, turning to his bewildered expression, “I want to experience this. All of it. No matter how painful it will be. With you, it’ll be worth it.”
“Shit. Okay baby it’s going to be fine. I will be here, and soon, we’ll have our family,” he reassures me. I smile up at him, grabbing his hand. “Will you let me squeeze your hand?”
He chuckles lightly. “You can squeeze my hand as much as you need. If it gets our baby here, I don’t care about the pain.”
He leans down and captures my lips with his, softly tracing my lips with his tongue. He pulls away when the door opens, the doctor walking in.
“Good evening Alpha, Luna. We’ll just do a quick examination of the Luna and check how far along she is. Okay?”
She looks down at me, smiling politely. The examinations continue as the contractions get harder and harder. My screams increase with every one, Cole’s hand probably numb by now.
“Alright Luna, I’m going to need you to push. Push really hard,” comes her calming voice. Although right now, her voice is starting to annoy me. I push and push, for about half an hour, the same voice, the same instructions, the same feeling down below.
“FUUUUCCK!! Oh god oh god I can’t do this! Damn it I can’t do this,” I scream. My sight starts to go blurry as tears fill my vision.
I slump down in defeat, my hair matted to my forehead with sweat. I turn to look at Cole, his face scrunched up in pain, his eyes watching my every move.
“Baby please. Just a little more. Think of our family. Of our little baby girl. Push baby. Come on. Push!”
His loud, demanding voice breaks through me.
One last time.
I grit my teeth and push, using all my strength. I try to distract myself by screaming as loud as I can. I squeeze Cole’s hand, and I swear I hear it crack.
“Keep pushing Luna! I can see the head. You’re nearly there,” the doctor calls. I pause for a moment.
The head. My baby’s head.
Hearing that my baby’s coming out, gives me renewed vigour. I suck in a deep breath and push. Push. Push.
I can feel a loss of weight and feeling down there, and I hear a faint cry. I fall back, staring at the ceiling in disbelief.
I did it! I fucking did it! My baby’s here. Our baby is here.
“Alpha, Luna, I’m happy to announce that you have a beautiful baby girl. She weighs 2.5 kilos, a little under the average, but that’s no problem. She was born at 7:23pm.”
I barely register her words as she comes into my line of sight, a slimy figure laying in her arms.
I hold my arms our for her, and the doctor places her against me carefully.
I look down, completely mesmerised by her. Her cheeks are slightly raised, red and blotchy. Her tiny fists are raised and curled up. Her head is covered in wet, dark hair. Her lips are pursed, pink and beautiful.
I’m immediately in love.
I hear a choked sound behind me, and I turn to look at Cole. His eyes are plastered on his daughters face, his eyes swimming with tears, forming beautiful oceans. I watch his Adam’s apple bob with emotion.
“Sit here,” I whisper, patting the spot beside me. He obliges, his eyes never leaving her.
I reach over and place her against him. His arms curl around her tiny body, his hand going under her head.
“She...she looks just like you,” he chokes out. I smile fondly, this moment forever ingrained in my mind.
It’s true. Her cheek bones are slightly raised, her nose is thin and delicate, like mine. I stare at her face.
Suddenly, her eyes open, and I gasp. Crystal blue pools of water stare back at me.
“She’s got your eyes Cole,” I whisper. I watch a tear drip onto her cheek, her hands waving in protest.
I look over to Cole who’s silently crying. I take our daughter gently from him and his arms immediately encircle my body.
“Thank you. Thank you so much. You’ve given me my family. You and our child. I love you. So much,” he whispers.
I nuzzle into him, our daughter staring up at us. “I love you too.”
It’s been a day since I gave birth. In that time, doctors and nurses have been testing her hearing, sight, sense of smell and feel. So far, everything is good.
I woke up earlier to feed her. Cole is sleeping soundly beside me. The nurse had taught me earlier how to breastfeed. My milk is coming in just fine. Her weight has dropped a bit but the nurse says it’s normal, and that she’d gain it all back within two days.
“Good morning love. Good morning my precious daughter,” yawns Cole. He sits up and watches me feed her, a small smile on his face.
“Good morning baby. How’s your sleep?” I smile at him. He leans over and kisses me. “Wonderful.”
“Well, in the few hours I’ve been up, I remembered that we haven’t chosen a name for her. Do you have anything in mind?”
He looks up at me shyly. “Yeah, but it’s okay if you don’t approve,” he whispers. I shake my head. “No, of course not. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s beautiful.”
He takes a deep breath. ” Cassandra. Cassandra Evelyn Winston.”
I smile up at him. “It’s beautiful, I love it. Where did you come up with that?”
“It- it was my mothers name. Cassandra Evelyn Smith. Before she became Winston,” he whispers. I gasp. No way.
“Cole, we’re naming her that. After her grandmother. Definitely. I love it,” I breathe. I’m so happy he thought of that. He deserves to have a living memory of his mother.
“Thank you love. It means a lot to me,” he kisses my cheek.
“I know. Now, let’s go home for the first time as a family.”