The Next Chapter
Designed to control the subjects desire to protect them, from their round and large heads to the creases in their arms and thighs, and this particular baby makes me broody.
Tia can not have been any cuter. The tuff of hair on the top of her head, her button nose that seems to float on her face, small dimples in her cheeks that deepen the wider her smile became. Most importantly, the bubble of saliva she created every time she is taking in the world, and that is often.
"Can I take her home?" I lift the small human rubbing my nose into her stomach, making her gurgle, grabbing a fistfall of my hair. I pull Tia off sitting her on my lap, sliding some strands out from between her fingers.
"You know how to change a leaky nappy?" Marie asked, folding another baby grow and placing it in the basket.
"Can't I just hose her down?"
Marie looks at me shocked before a wide grin spreads across her face.
"You can't hose done a three-month-old baby, Luna."
"No, you can't." Stephan's arm wrapped around my neck, stroking the top of Tia's golden hair. "A compromise would be giving her a bath, or get better nappies." He pinched her nose, making the little girl go crosseyed before she smiles her pink gums on full display.
"I've always wanted to bath with my baby when I have one. I think it's great bonding."
Stephan jumped over the couch, landing next to u, forcing the weight to shift.
"We can all have a bath together," he whispered, kissing my temple. "Sorry, we couldn't be here when you gave birth, Marie."
"Honestly you wouldn't have seen much, I was holed up in the basement for a month and a half. Only Verna and Charley were allowed to see me."
Allowed was one way of describing it. When a female werewolf gave birth, the next moon forces her to take her wolf form for the first month or so of their child's birth, to protect the child from other predators and those who wished her harm. I'd heard stories of mother's attacking their own children during this time seeing them as a threat. It was mother instincts on steroids.
"Do you remember much of it?" I ask, genuinely fascinated by the ingrained habits of werewolves.
"Not really, I remember the labour, meeting Tia...but the next full moon was the next evening, so it was hazy from then on out. I just remember waking up in bed and Charley holding her."
"I guess that's one upside of having you Luna, no worry about a territorial wolf stuck in the basement." His finger trailed up my arm.
"No instead an exhausted mama bear who wonders when her body will tighten back up again."
Stephan chuckled, draping an arm over me as I snuggle close bouncing Tia on my knee.
"If I know you, it'll snap right back." Stephan rubbed his hand along my shoulder.
"You guys look like a family," Marie said, she has finished her folding and is just watching us. "Have some babies, I want Tia to have someone to play with."
"Take it up with the goddess," I laugh.
I cradle Tia as she had begun sucking on her fist a sign she is getting tired. I use the tip of my finger to stroke from her forehead down to the tip of her nose, the motion causing her eyelids to shut.
"You can't tell me that she isn't a natural," Stephan whispers, I caught him staring at us. His green eyes sparkling with wanting. I somehow managed to shuffle off the sofa and place Tia in her basket, draping her blanket over.
"Luna, want to help me put these stuff away?" Marie asks. I ruffle Stephan's hair, who in turn pinches my butt and pick up the basket from off the other sofa.
"I guess I'll just watch the kid?" Stephan whispers.
"Please do. Get some practice in while they're not yours," I reply back to him. Following after Marie as she headed up the stairs.
Charley and Marie's room was right next door to Austin and Claire's room. I hadn't seen it before, but I was sure the crib had been refurnished since the arrival of Tia.
Stephan's family lived for heirlooms, and this was one of them. Carved from the trees in the forest, the smell of pine and oak is embedded in the grain of the wood. Llyod's father had been just as into wood carving as his son. On the bottom are the names of each child that had slept in this crib from Llyod all the way down to Tia.
It is protection, a connection between their ancestors and them, Tia will be cradled by her great grandfather every time she slept, he and his wolf would watch over her. I graze my finger on the newly carved name.
"Your family are so sentimental," I say quietly, running my hand over the top bar of the cot.
"Werewolves are sentimental creatures, we treasure family and memories. They tie us together and with the goddess, our wolves keep that information to pass on when we die when they reincarnate into a new life a bit of us lives on."
"Maybe, however, our memories travel across quicker than we do."
Movies would suggest that when a werewolf died, so did their wolf, but that was false. Every werewolf would once again reincarnate in the future into the body of another person to be their wolf. Every wolf was once human, and every werewolf would one day be someone's inner wolf. It was a cycle that connected everyone together will simultaneously allow them to live and create their own memories.
"I can only imagine what it's like to have a thousand different memories inside you. What is it like Marie? When you shift." I sit on the bed, handing the brunette a small pair of socks for her to put away.
"It's like falling into a beanbag." Marie laughs, pushing some hair out her face, as she tucks the socks away. "Probably not the most glorious comparison, anyway, you've fallen into the bag, and it's deeper than you thought, but it doesn't worry you. Instead, you let the bag slide over you like a warm blanket, and there's a calm that envelopes your mind it's almost euphoric. Sometimes when I concentrate, I can hear the odd word or catch a fleeting emotion or feeling in my body, but the beanbag is so cosy, and it's hard not to just fall asleep."
"When you put it like that, it sounds almost intoxicating," I mention.
"Yes, however, when it's time to get out it's painful and tiring the beanbag seems warmer, cosier and every time you leave your body aches, you're that much more tired then you were the last time you got out of it."
I hand Marie another item of clothing, allowing her insight to settle into my mind. Luna wanted kids, she wanted a big family to compensate for the lack of one she had now. No grandparents, both parents died and no aunts and uncles to call. She wanted to never return to an empty room, she never wanted to be surrounded by silence. She'd spent enough time in silence as it was.
I, on the other hand, am surprisingly just as lonely as she is. However, while it was forced upon Luna, I had willingly accepted the silence and the empty room, it suits me. It's a choice, every day it is a choice for me like it's always been.
But how long before there is no more choice left to make, and the silence of the empty rooms kill me.
A.N. Who doesn't love some werewolf lore. I hope you guys are enjoying the book so far. Let me know what you think, most importantly, thanks for reading.