Make Him Feel Beautiful
A month plus passed and Ahote started to show. It didn’t matter if he tried to hide it, just about everyone had caught on at this point. His smell, his mood, and the way he instinctively moved to shield is stomach at the slightest sign of danger made him a walking billboard sign. Despite this fact, he didn’t tell anyone except the caretakers and matrons that needed to know, and he went ahead like no one else but me, Kaya, his brother knew. Most of the pack respected that decision, but I could tell it was eating Aponi inside.
“Why won’t he tell me?” I looked up from the shirt I was stitching to stare at Aponi. I had come to borrow a needle from one of the housekeeper omegas and Aponi happened to be in the room as well. I had kept quiet for the most part, preventing myself from even glancing at her, and she had done the same until now. Her eyes were knitted into a frown, and clear distress was written on her face.
“Is he going to pretend the baby doesn’t exist when he has it too?” she continued when I didn’t give her a response, letting out a sign before taking a seat on one of the stools.
“I understand why he’s upset with me, but he’s never been this angry...” She went on, sparing me a glance. I stared back at her, licking my lips and looking away when I felt her gaze was too intense. It seemed like she wanted to blame me for them falling out of favor with each other.
“Beg him for me, will you?” she asked, and I looked up, my eyes going wide with surprise. She had her eyes on her lap now. She looked embarrassed to be asking for my help. “I want us to be close again, this is painful,” she went on. From what I knew Aponi was just a few years younger, but she was like a replacement mother to Ahote. They meant a lot to each other, and even though Ahote was giving her the cold shoulder I could see that he sincerely wanted things to go back to normal.
I nodded before I could stop myself and watched as Aponi visibly relaxed. “Thank you,” she said, and I could only smile a little to acknowledge her words. I wasn’t sure if he would listen to me if I suggested he and Aponi talked things out, but I decided it was worth the effort.
The room fell back into silence. Aponi kept working on sewing up the hole on the pair of kids’ trouser in her lap. A pile of clothes was pooled at her feet, and she was a long way from finishing. I watched her, having already finished sewing up the hole in my shirt.
“Can I ask you something,” I muttered, breaking the silence.
Aponi paused what she was doing to look at me. Her deep brown eyes stared into my blue ones, and they seemed curious to hear what I had to say.
“Is it normal for Ahote to be so withdrawn...” I trailed. “I mean, is it normal for pregnant people to not want to be naked,” I added, feeling my face burn up as Aponi’s eyes widened. With the weeks passing Ahote seemed more and more reserved. He didn’t want to be touched. He didn’t want to be kissed. Nothing. It was starting to bother me, and I had nobody to ask. Aponi was an Omega herself and since she wasn’t after my throat anymore, I just had to ask.
“I’m not sure if it’s a pregnancy thing or if I did something wrong,” I added when Aponi remained silent.
Aponi frowned, lost in thought for a bit. She let out a deep sign, muttering something under her breath before speaking up, “I just think he feels ugly. It happens.”
“Ugly? Why?” Ahote was far from that. No, he was the complete opposite. Why would he suddenly feel so insecure?
“When you’re pregnant your body changes a lot, and some people start to feel disgusted. It happens,” Aponi muttered, and a flash of Ahote pulling my hand away from him when I attempted to lift his shirt this money ran through my mind. He did seem a bit self-conscious.
“There’s really nothing you can do but remind him that it’s in his head,” Aponi muttered. “Intimacy is also very important. You have to insist. Hold his hands. His waist. Touch his sides. Go further if he lets you. He might just be afraid that you might not like him as much in his state,” she went on and I nodded, looking down at my palms. My face was beet red. I knew she was being technical, but it was still embarrassing. I opened up my palms as she started to list off a bunch of other intimate actions. I had been pressing down on the right one a little too hard and it was visibly red in the center.
“Okay,” was all I said, and just like that the room faded to silence again.
I had what Aponi had told me in my mind for the rest of the day. The afternoon faded into the evening—the hot sun giving way to cool breeze and the dim blue sky. Earlier, I had been carrying Elan around on my shoulders as I talked to other hunters, but now I was now standing in the small corridor out in the back on my own after he had been taken away by a matron and the other wolves and left to their own cabins and rooms.
I noticed people didn’t visit here often because there wasn’t much space to hold multiple wolves. The wolves in this pack liked to stick together in small crowds. It was something I still wasn’t used to, so I avoided the grounded patios and living rooms in the evening when I couldn’t be with Ahote.
A sigh left my lips, as my brows knitted into a frown. He was getting some couching of some sorts from one of the pack matrons. Something about expecting wolves. It seemed Ahote had never gotten when he was pregnant with Elan because he was depressed. I winched, recalling some of the experiences Ahote would talk about as we talked under the covers at night. Sometimes he would cry, and sometimes his expression would be numb as his eyes glossed over with unshed tears. I was glad he was able to have a normal pregnancy this time, and I hope that he could create new memories to replace the old ones.
“What are you doing out here?” I turned around, looking over at the only other blond-haired person in the pack; Zeke, Kaya’s mate who had joined the pack a while back. I blinked as I sidestepped to give him space when he walked over to me. He leaned against the wood pillar adjacent me instead, before reaching into his pocket and extending his hand to me. I gazed at it, noticing he was offering me a cigarette. I shook my head, and he just shrugs his shoulders and lit the one he had between his lips.
I didn’t answer his question from earlier, and he didn’t press me to, so we both just stood in silence, staring out into the open fields.
“Your mate is pregnant too?” Zeke said, just loud enough for me to here. I looked up from the ground to stare at him. He puffed his cigarette, licking his lips before continuing, “It’s alright if you don’t want to answer. I just wanted to ask some questions—ask for advice really,” he said. I watched him move his weight from one leg to the other. He looked nervous. Unlike the stereotypical wild rogues from Wibberville people kept describing.
“Yes,” I found myself saying, folding my hands over my chest. “A few months in.”
Zeke nodded. “It’s the same for us.”
A bit of a pause ensued.
“I’m scared I won’t be good enough.” A brief sentence, but it was heavy. I could feel the weight of his words on my shoulders as well. It hit close to home. Too close.
“I’m new here, and I haven’t really been in a proper pack,” he went on. “I’m not sure what to do, and I’m not sure how quickly I can learn to mesh with other people here. Everything’s different. They even look different.” Zeke laughed, looking at me to give me a warm smile. I smiled back, nodding my head.
“It’s overwhelming at first,” I said, finding myself frown a bit. “I’ve been here for months, but it’s still so overwhelming.”
“In a good way,” I added after a pause, looking straight at Zeke. It was a lot darker now.
“It’s overwhelming, but in a good way,” I repeated, sort of like I was trying to reassure us both. Zeke just nodded, and I smiled. We both went back to just staring out at the open fields.
“What time is it?” I asked when I started to get restless. I wanted to be with Ahote.
“About nine-thirty give or take,” Zeke puttered, after pulling up his sleeve to look at his watch. Excitement rushed through me. Ahote would be in his room now.
“Excited?” Zeke teased, watching me rush for the back door.
“Maybe,” I said, hearing his laughter behind me even after I closed the door. I wasn’t fazed. Of course, I was excited to spend time with the man I loved.