Chapter 16: Epilogue
Lazarus wouldn’t approve of Mr. and Mrs. Iron taking a stroll through Manhattan so late at night. Hand-in-hand, the couple relished the quiet night after their dinner at a fabulous and very romantic French restaurant. The idea was clearly Ashley’s because Isaiah had no idea about that such a restaurant even existed. Winter had come to an end with an exceptional Christmas, and finally the air started to warm everyone outside tonight.
“It’s a beautiful night to be out,” said Ashley as she laced her arm in Isaiah’s. “Maybe we could’ve had a picnic with Lazarus and the rest of the boys.”
“It’s still too cold to eat outside,” said Isaiah.
Ashley moped. “Fine, when it warms up more, we will have a picnic,” she said resolutely. “Christmas was fun, but summer is full of exciting activities too.”
Isaiah quietly listened as Ashley chatted away about going to the beach or the amusement park. He wondered how she came up with those ideas to take men like them to places like that. But Ashley didn’t see them as intimidating wolves, he was sure that she saw them like they were a bunch of pups. Well, that was to be expected from her. Isaiah circled his arm around her shoulder and pulled her to his side, where he loved how she fit next to him.
“How’d your trip at the Bacardi’s go?” asked Isaiah.
“It was good-” she paused for a breath of a moment- “very informative.”
“How so?” Isaiah puzzled.
She hid her secretive manner behind a smile. “Oh, it’s nothing,” she waved her hand. “I also have some exciting news to give everyone,” she told him.
Isaiah had been suspicious of Ashley for the past couple of days, because he felt like she kept something from him, and her scent told him she was. Initially, Isaiah thought he was mistaken but lately Ashley’s scent had changed and was getting stronger over the days. She had told him that she changed her perfume and body wash, but he didn’t buy it. A frown creased his face as he pondered over what the problem could be.
Isaiah’s phone buzzed in his pocket disrupting his thoughts. “Hello,” he answered as he watched Ashley’s distracted expression.
“When will you two be finished talking on the street like a bunch of hoodlums?” A very familiar and grumpy voice spilled through.
Isaiah sighed and handed the phone to his mate to handle, because he knew that his domineering brother was all mush around Ashley.
“Who is it? It is Lazarus?” she asked as she grabbed the phone. “Hello, Lazarus.” Ashley’s bright laugh filled Isaiah’s ears as they crossed the street. “You didn’t have to. We were just coming home.”
Isaiah turned his head when he felt that he was being watched. A black Mercedes was parked on the side in front of them. Lazarus stood leaning against the car door, his strong arms crossed and the phone against his ear.
“Don’t you have anything better to do?” asked Isaiah as he approached his beta and brother.
“No,” Lazarus glowered. “Get in the car, you two.”
Ashley leaned on her tippy toes and kissed Lazarus’s cheek, wiping off some of the frown from his face. “Thank you for coming to get us,” she patted his shoulder. “What about everyone else?” They all got in the car together. Isaiah closed the door behind him and Lazarus started the ignition.
“Ronin is taking your car home,” said Lazarus. He reversed the Mercedes out of the parked area and navigated onto the street. “And the other two are at home in charge of dinner.”
Ashley chuckled. “I’m surprised you let Zeiden cook in your kitchen after yesterday’s incident,” she said.
Isaiah sighed. “That boy might burn the house down next.”
“Why do you think I left Adrik with him,” said Lazarus. “That’s the only man who scares that boy.”
Ashley batted her hand at the notion. “Zeiden adores you both too much,” she said, “and he practically idolizes Adrik. But I suppose if anyone could keep Zeiden in check, it’s Adrik maybe even Ronin.”
Lazarus drove down the dark night streets taking them home. They all met up in the kitchen where Zeiden was cooking pizza by following Lazarus’s neat recipe, and Adrik was quietly reading a book. Ronin had returned Isaiah’s car keys before he joined Zeiden and Lazarus in the kitchen. Ashley stepped between them before everyone started hollering Zeiden for burning yesterday’s dinner. The welcoming noise had increased, and they all started to enjoy making dinner together. Although, it was quite late in the night, but it was never too late for pizza- that was if Zeiden followed Lazarus’s recipe correctly.
Isaiah seated himself on the stool. He was exhausted from the long day but it wasn’t in him to miss out on his family bickering as usual. A warmth spread inside his body, his eyes locked with Ashley’s who was also brimming with joy. Her radiance glowed around her and she imprinted on his mind, body and soul without any effort at all.
“Oh right-” Ashley moved around the counter and stood away from them- “I have something to tell all of you.”
Everyone silenced and they wondered what made Ashley so nervous, that she couldn’t come out and tell them.
“Is everything alright?” asked Lazarus, his frown deepened.
“Yeah, it nothing to get worried over,” she said reassuringly. Her blue eyes locked with Isaiah’s and a smile crept up her lips. “We’re having a baby.” All of their mouths dropped open and they… panicked before anything else.
Lazarus pushed Ashley over to a chair, that Ronin rapidly pulled out. “You need to sit down,” Lazarus instructed.
Isaiah came over to her side, kneeling on the floor. “How long have you known?” he asked. “Are you feeling fine?” Then he remembered how rough he was with her last night, his frown intensified. “Do you need a doctor?”
“We should call Dr. Stone,” suggested Zeiden as he covered her with a blanket.
Ashley chuckled at their frantic reaction. “Stop panicking,” she grabbed Isaiah’s hands. “I already went to the clinic and the doctor said that I’m fine and so is the baby.”
“When did you even go?” asked Lazarus, clearly rattled that Ashley went anywhere without security. “And how come I don’t know about this?”
“The day you went to Veronica Bacardi’s house,” answered Isaiah for her, because he knew something was off about her that whole night and day. All his suspicions were proven correct, he knew something was off about her. The reason why her scent had darkened was because she was pregnant, which was the reason Isaiah could smell another scent on her.
Ashley nodded. “I wanted to surprise all of you-” she stopped talking when she noticed their expression were full of excitement, even though she knew that they were all tense. “Come on guys, we’re going to have a baby Iron running around in nine months.”
They were all stumped at first since they never had the opportunity to come across such a great gift. None of them ever experienced what it was like to go through something like this, but now they did, and it was all thanks to their alpha-female.
One by one they hugged her close and thanked her for such wonderful news. Adrik had surprised all of them the most that night, he had smiled when he touched Ashley’s cheek with his fingers. “Oh Adrik-” if it was in Ashley’s will she would’ve hugged Adrik, but she held back for him.
“We’ve never had a chance to do something like this before,” said Zeiden as he sat next to Ashley. Lazarus put his arm behind her, like he was protecting her, even though there was no safer place for her and the baby.
“You’re all going to amazing uncles,” declared Ashley.
Lazarus frowned. “We’re going to have to do some research on how to handle this procedure properly,” he informed them sternly, like the iron beta he was.
Ashley chuckled. “I’m pregnant, Lazarus. I’m not going on some mission,” she jested.
“It’s the same thing,” remarked Ronin. “Sucks we don’t have another woman in the house.”
“No, I don’t trust anyone other than myself to handle this,” said Lazarus. Zeiden and Isaiah agreed with their brother.
“I’m guessing all of you are coming with me to the next appointment then?” teased Ashley. She was just joking, but they took it seriously.
Lazarus crossed his arms. “I think we should call the doctor here,” he proposed. “It’ll be more efficient and we can keep Ashley safe.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” agreed Isaiah.
“Why do I get the feeling I’m not going to be able to go shopping anytime soon?” asked Ashley with a frown. She looked between Lazarus and Isaiah who had clear expressions telling her that her suspicions were accurate. “But I want to go baby shopping.”
Zeiden laid his hand on her shoulder. “That’s why online shopping was created,” he suggested.
“It’s not the same thing though,” sulked Ashley.
“When is your next appointment?” asked Isaiah.
“In two weeks on Friday,” she answered idly, but her mind was still on the shopping issue.
Isaiah looked up to Lazarus. “We’ll arrange the appointment here, so the doctor can come on Friday,” he instructed.
Zeiden’s baby blue eyes warmed, he held onto Ashley’s hand. “I know they’re a bit controlling, but bear with them,” he said. “They never thought they’d become an uncle or a father one day.”
Ashley’s eyes stung with the threat of tears. She turned on her chair and hugged Zeiden tightly in her arms. “I’m glad all of you are as excited as me,” she said. “Nothing means more to me than you guys.”
“The same goes for us too,” Isaiah said softly.
Suddenly, they were all staring at each other confused when Ashley scrunched up her nose. “What’s that smell?” Ashley covered her nose; her cough alarmed the guys in the kitchen and they shot off their seats. Thick smoke filled the kitchen at a rapid speed setting off an alarm.
“The pizza is burning,” said Adrik nonchalantly.
Zeiden ran off the chair over to the oven. “My pizza burned!” he astonished with a sob. “No! I worked so hard this time.”
Finally, after Ronin turned the blaring alarm off. Lazarus stomped across the kitchen and plummeted Zeiden into the kitchen ground. Isaiah quickly opened the windows near the dining table, the cool air sucked out the smoke and eventually the kitchen cleared.
Ashley wiped her watery eyes. “That was a close call,” she said. “How’s the pizza, Adrik?”
Adrik pulled out the tray from the oven. “We’re doomed,” he said as he presented a round block of dough burnt to a crisp, which was as black as coil.
“How could you burn our dinner… again?” astonished Lazarus.
Zeiden bared his fangs at his brother. “It’s not like I was trying to burn it,” he snapped back. “I got distracted.”
Lazarus raised a brow at his baby brother’s tone. “Distractions happen,” he preached, “you’re supposed to be prepared for them.”
Adrik shoved himself between the two brothers. “Knock it off before I feed the pizza to you,” he threatened coolly.
“Are you okay?” Isaiah checked on Ashley whose eyes were still watering from the smoke.
Ashley nodded. “The smoke is still burning my eyes though,” she told him. Ronin handed her more tissues that she gladly used to keep the water from ruining her makeup.
“I’m sorry, Ashley,” Zeiden’s face grew grim.
She shook her head. “It’s fine, Zeiden,” she said. “Don’t be so hard on him, Lazarus.”
“I can’t believe my own blood sucks this much at cooking,” Lazarus slumped his head down. “What a disaster.”
“Hold on, why didn’t we just order pizza?” asked Ronin leaving the guys stumped.
“Because we’re not very bright,” said Adrik indifferently, but they all felt the burn of that comment more than the destroyed pizza. Ronin picked up his cellphone and ordered six extra-large boxes of pizza on their behalf.
“Come on,” Isaiah kissed Ashley’s head, “let’s get you off your feet.”
“Goodnight, boys,” Ashley waved back at them, “and stop scolding Zeiden, Lazarus.”
“You heard her, Lazarus, get off my back,” Zeiden glowered.
“I’m going to make sure you never burn anything in this lifetime again,” gritted out Lazarus.
Ashley and Isaiah couldn’t see the rest of the brothers’ battle, since they had reached their bedroom. Isaiah took Ashley to their room, so she could rest in a place that didn’t smell of smoke and ashes.
Isaiah pulled off her red stilettos that went with her blush pink dress. “You wore these heels even though you’re pregnant,” he said.
“I wanted to look nice for our date,” she said as she slumped back on the bed and nestled back comfortably.
Isaiah sat next to her. “You need to be more careful,” he said.
Ashley pulled him down to her, he rested all of his weight on his arms and knees making sure not to crush her or her belly. “You’re going to make a wonderful father,” she said warmly.
“I hope so,” he said. “The last thing I want is for anyone to have a father like mine.”
Ashley combed her fingers through his short hair, which he started to prefer more over the days since it was easier to take care of, so he kept it short for the time being. “What about your mom?” she asked him.
“I never knew her either,” he told Ashley. “So, I want to give the best for our baby girl.”
Ashley lifted her head. “What if we have a baby boy?” she asked.
“I want a girl,” he said as he nuzzled her neck and kissed his mark planted there perfectly. “A girl with blonde hair and big blue eyes, like her mother.” Isaiah kissed Ashley after she laughed at his cute wish for a good long moment.
“You’ll never be like your father,” she reassured. “And I’m sure even if you do step out of line, the boys’ downstairs won’t stand for it.”
Isaiah smirked. “Lazarus would kill me,” he believed confidently.
“I’m sure he would, right after, Adrik, Ronin and Zeiden get a piece at you,” she giggled.
Isaiah slumped his head on her chest. “I was so rough with you the past couple of day,” he groaned. “You should’ve told me, so I could’ve been more careful.”
Ashley sighed at the fond memories these past couple of weeks. “That much isn’t going to kill me, Isaiah,” she said. “Also, I’d like to remind you that I’m stronger than I look. I even took two bullets to save you.”
Isaiah looked into her determine gaze. “I know you are,” he said. “You’re stronger than me, that’s for sure.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” she said.
“You are and everyone downstairs knows it,” he countered.
Ashley took his hand and put it on her belly. “We’re both going to have to be as strong as we can for this baby,” she said.
Isaiah firmly rested his hand on her stomach, where in a couple of months would grow into womb for their child. “I love you,” he whispered softly.
Ashley gazed into his misty grey eyes, that she always called beautiful in the sweetest voice. “I’ve always loved you, Isaiah,” she said. “And I always will.” Isaiah hugged her close and held her for a moment that felt like eternity… which with her… even that fell short.
A/N: I cannot believe that I finished this book in record time. It was a short novella but I truly fell in love when writing all of these characters. Ashley and Isaiah are my favourite and I can’t say it enough how much they mean to me. I am so glad so many readers enjoyed their love story as much as I did writing it.
Thank you to everyone that supported this book and loved all of the characters. Isaiah, Lazarus, Zeiden, Adrik, Ronin and Ashley will always be in my heart and I hope they’re in yours too. This is not the end of this awesome and loveable group. More is to come for sure!! I hope you enjoyed this side sequel from the Centauri wolf pack.
I was going through a rough time mentally as I was writing this book. But Isaiah and Ashley and the rest of the boys made me feel happier than I was. All of your comments also helped me a lot to get through the days where it was even hard to breathe. I know I took a dark turn, but I want to be honest with all of you because you feel like family to me.
Writing these books has become my haven and I’m lost without it. Writing saved my life, so when I see everyone enjoy them so much, I feel so happy and alive. I love all the fans and thank you for reading this book. These past couple of months I’m not at the best that I can be, so thank you to everyone for understanding and being so supportive.
I know I’m slow at writing and it’s so annoying because I want to give you guys all the books for every character. But bear with me, I’m slowly getting to that goal.
Lots of love from me and the Iron Blood Pack. Please stay safe and thank you so much for reading until the very end.
With love, yours truly, AK!!
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