Burying The Hatchet
When I agreed to keep the baby, I didn’t want to dwell on it too much. I had tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that I was just pregnant, and I didn’t have to act differently. Things didn’t go as planned. I couldn’t help it. Randomly spacing out thinking about what the child might look like and touching the outline of my still flat stomach when I was alone was starting to be a pass time. No one could smell the little one yet, of course. It was still too early for anyone else to tell.
Alek didn’t help my plan of trying not to make a big deal out of things. He kept asking to touch me and would ramble about things he read up about pregnancy as we laid in bed together. I remember the first time I felt a pull in me that confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. Alek and I had just hugged in silent for a while, unwilling to make a big deal out of it yet because we still weren’t one hundred percent sure I would go through with things.
“I’m not pressuring you. It’s your choice. It’s whatever you want,” Alek had reassured me while holding my hands on a night I had a mini-breakdown about the prospect of having the child.
As scary as the pregnancy was, I still felt a lot calmer than I had thought I would be. I didn’t hate myself, quite the opposite really. I was excited. Most of my stress was centered around having to tell the people I cared about. A part of me knew my brother would be pleased, but I was still nervous. Aside from that, I got a mini headache just from thinking about telling Kaya or Aponi.
A sigh left my lips as I slouched forward and buried my face in my hands. I was sitting on a stool by the kitchen island. The midafternoon weather meant most people were outside in the sun or taking a walk by the river.
“What are you thinking about?” I stiffened at the sound of Honon’s voice before turning to face the door to the kitchen. The man had wandered in while I was lost in thought, and he was currently leaning on the wall with his hands in his pocket.
“It’s not your business,” I replied, watching Honon sigh before running his fingers through his hair. He looked frustrated. The dark circles that were forming under his eyes complimented the frown that he seemed to have been wearing permanently for the past few days. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a loose white t-shirt. The way he dressed said a lot about his removal from the pack. He didn’t look like any of us anymore, and anytime I saw him the thought would cross my mind. He should be down south in Toronto, not here.
“I guess so,” Honon muttered, removing his weight from the wall before walking over the kitchen island I was sitting by. “It’s not my business, but I’m intrigued,” he added, taking a seat on the stool beside me. He stared at me in silence for a while before humming and looking away.
Honon folded his hands over the stone surface, licking his lips as he moved his head from side to side in thought. “Five years ago, we couldn’t even sit next to each other without losing our minds—”
“Yes, that’s how bonding works,” I said, cutting him off. My tone had come off as a bit condescending, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to remember the past. I didn’t want to remember being desperate to make our relationship work while he hated my guts and crushed my spirit. I didn’t want to remember eighteen-year-old me crying in Aponi’s hands after Honon had stormed out of the packhouse yelling and insisting at the top of his voice that he wouldn’t accept me.
“Yes, I know,” he said, turning to look at me with a small smile.
“Our bond’s hanging by a thread now,” he said, looking at me with a narrowed look. “It’s good you met him. I’m happy for you. You know that, right?”
I looked down at my fingers. It was mid-afternoon and I was playing with some beads and fish line. I knew Honon was referring to me having bonded with Alek and having a relationship with him, but I didn’t want to thank him for his happiness. Not when he’d left me to die just because he hated had the fact that we were mates.
“I can see you’re also pregnant,” he said in a low tone when I didn’t respond to his words. I stiffened up, opening my mouth to say something but not finding the right words.
How does he know? I wondered, biting down on my lower lips before licking them and swallowing the spit that had built up in the back of my mouth.
“Our bond’s hanging by a thread. It’s not completely gone, so I can feel it,” Honon explained, and I just looked away from him as my face grew warm.
“I made a lot of mistakes in the past, and I’m sorry—”
“I could have died.” My voice was firm, yet low. “I could have died,” I repeated, feeling my eyes fill up with tears. I’d been so afraid and confused.
“I know, and you’re allowed to never forgive me,” Honon said, making me sniffle before looking back at him. “For what happened five years ago, and for what’s happening now,” he added, and I frowned a bit, not liking where the conversation was going.
“I’ve been here for a month. I don’t think Elan will ever see me as his father,” he mumbled, frowning a little. “I know it’s my fault, but I can’t help looking for someone else to blame. I’m sorry,” he went on looking out into the kitchen.
The room went silent. I didn’t say anything. I had nothing to say. He was apologizing, and although I knew it was stubborn of me, I didn’t have a place in my heart to forgive him and bury the hatchet. My chest burned, and my throat clogged. I couldn’t forgive him—at least not now, but maybe I will sometime in the future.
Honon sighed, drumming a beat with his fingers on the Island’s surface when the silence dragged on for too long without a response from me. “I’m leaving in two days,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I hope me asking for pictures isn’t too much to ask.”
“You could just hand them to Aponi to send them to me. You don’t have to do it yourself if it’s too painful,” he added, and my shoulder’s slacked thinking of Aponi. We’ve been fighting for weeks now, and we could barely stand in the same room without going at each other’s throats. I still wasn’t sure I had it in me to forgive her for bringing Honon here.
“I don’t think that’s too much to ask, is it?” Honon asked again after he was met with silence the first time.
I felt my jaw tighten and my hands shake a bit as I thought about his words. “Are you ever going to tell her?” I asked, referring to the woman he was seeing.
“I don’t know,” he sighed, brushing his hair back. “But I think I will. We’re engaged now,” he muttered in a low voice. I turned to look at him. My eyes widened, and my throat choked up with all the questions I wanted to ask him. Does he know you’re a werewolf? How long are you going to keep lying to her? How are you going to explain that you got a man pregnant?
“We’ve been through so much together, I’m sure she’ll understand,” Honon muttered, answering all the questions swimming in my head. But now I had new questions. This woman I’ve vaguely known about for the past few years was still very much a mystery to me. I wanted to ask what he was like. What were the things that they’d been through together and what was it about her that made Honon fight the bond he had with me? I nibbled on my lower lip, knowing that I couldn’t ask them even though I wanted to. We weren’t friends. We’d never be friends, and it was too personal.
“Well, that’s all I had to say to you,” he said, getting up from the stool. It creaked as he stepped out and started making his way to the main entrance. I heard the door close when I looked away. I looked out into the kitchen for a while, listening to the sound of playing children from the window as my eyes watered and chest tightened with nerves. I was supposed to feel relieved now, but what I was feeling was far from it.
I sat in silence in the kitchen, stringing the beads I had in front of me on the fishing string. I was making bracelets. Jewelry making was one of the many arts and crafts we often learned due to boredom.
My head shot up when I heard the door creak open. I looked over to find Kaya slipping onto the room. She gave me a warm smile as she closed the door behind her. She was wearing a long skirt and a little half top that sat under her breasts. Her short hair was combed back today, and I couldn’t help noticing how she made her steps—careful and quiet like she was trying to make sure no one would hear her. I raised a brow at her, following her with my eyes as she made her way to the stool Honon had been sitting on before he left.
She didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything. We both stared down at the surface of the kitchen island.
“Ahote,” she started, taking a deep breath. I looked at her from the corner of my eyes. Her hands were fidgeting, and she tried to mask it by squeezing them into small fists. “I have to tell you something.”
She turned her face fully to look at me, and I stared at her waiting for her to talk. Whatever it was must be serious because she looked on the verge of throwing up.