Captivated (Night Sky - Pentalogy - Book Three)

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Chapter Twenty-One: The Return of the Queen

“Have you figured out why Matrios heard four heartbeats, yet?” Gio asked his son, standing next to the bed where his wife slept, her hand in his.

“I just started, Father,” Pilar said shaking his head.

“Hurry it up,” Gio grumbled, lifting his wife’s hand to his mouth and kissing her knuckles.

“I hate back seat drivers,” Pilar mumbled.

“You got one right.”

They both looked at Gwyneth with a smile on their faces.

“You scared me, Tiey Vail. You passed out before we even got to the hospital.” Gio whispered as he kissed her cheek.

“I had the strangest dream,” Gwyneth said as she looked up at her husband.

“What was that, Tiey Vail?” Gio asked as he smiled and held her hand to his cheek.

Neither of them heard the door open or the two bodies enter the room.

“I dreamed that I was asleep for more than twenty years and our little girl is all grown up,” Gwyneth said with a smile.

“That wasn’t a dream Mama.”

They both looked at their daughter who stood at the foot of the bed.

“Gresha.” Gwyneth cried as she pulled her hand from her husband and held her arms out to her daughter.

Gio stepped back as Gresha moved into her mother’s arms and held her tight.

“I’m so sorry, Mama,” Gresha said as she cried against her mother.

“For what, baby girl?” Gwyneth asked as she kissed her daughter on the head.

“For not protecting you when Neesah attacked you,” Gresha said with a cry.

“Stop that,” Gwyneth said as she lightly shook her daughter. “I told you then, it was not your fault. And that is still my answer today.” Gwyneth said as she kissed her daughter’s cheek and continued to hold her.

“Sorry, Sister, but I need to check on Mom,” Pilar said as he stood on the other side of the bed.

Gresha wiped her eyes and stepped back from her mother.

“Don’t go anywhere,” Gwyneth said as she smiled at her daughter.

“I won’t,” Gresha promised as she shook her head.

They stood in silence as they watched Pilar check the queen over. He paused when he held the stethoscope to Gwyneth’s chest and looked at Gwyneth’s face, then listened again. He made the oddest look, then lowered the stethoscope to her ribs.

He took a step back and moved over to the counter to retrieve one of his other devices, then brought it back to Gwyneth and scanned her body. He shook his head and smiled at his stepmother, then looked up at his father and sister, then motioned for them to follow him outside.

“Pilar?” Gwyneth asked as she watched him walk towards the door.

“We will be back, Mom.” He promised.

Gio leaned down and kissed his wife, then followed his son out the door. Gresha kissed her mother on the cheek, then followed her father, Leih close behind her.

“What’s going on?” Gresha asked her brother once out in the hall.

“Have you figured out the heartbeats?” Stalson asked as he moved to stand beside his family.

“Gwyneth is pregnant,” Pilar said as he looked at his family.

“How is that possible?” Gio asked, stunned.

“She must have been pregnant when Neesah had killed her and we didn’t know,” Pilar said as he shook his head.

“Another one, Daddy?” Gresha asked her father with a laugh.

“How is it still alive?” Tenyar asked as he stared at Pilar.

“The suspended animation kept Gwyneth and the baby both alive,” Pilar said as he watched them.

“So, does that mean she’s having twins again?” Gio asked as he looked at his son.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” Masorien said with a nod. “Since Matrios heard four heartbeats. But that would make triplets.” Masorien mused as he held his hand to his chin.

“I don’t…”

“With a single heartbeat each,” Gio said as he nodded his head.

“It’s not…”

“Or it could be fraternal twins, one with two hearts and one with a single heart,” Masorien said as he pointed a finger at the door.

“It’s only…”

“I don’t see that happening. Unless she has two balls in her. But Pilar would have said as much.” Gio mused.

“That is what fraternal twins are, dear Brother,” Masorien said with a laugh.

“I found…”

“So, then what could it be?” Masorien wondered.

“Will you two let me get a word in edgewise!” Pilar hollered at them.

“Nice one, Brother,” Gresha said with a laugh.

“Thank you, Sister,” Pilar said as he blew out a puff of air. “Now, as I have been trying to say,” Pilar said as he looked at his father then his uncle. Both men used their fingers as zippers across their lips. “There is only a single ball, and it’s not twins…”

“Then what could be making the four heartbeats?” Gio wondered.

“I give up. You two figure it out on your own, while I go talk to our mother.” Pilar said as he turned and stormed into the room.

“Nice one, Daddy,” Gresha said as she shook her head.

“What did I do?” Gio asked as he looked at his daughter.

“If you have to ask, you should stay out here,” Gresha said as she turned and walked into the room.

“Really, Uncle Gio,” Leih said as he shook his head with a laugh.

“What is going on?” Gio demanded.

“Pilar was trying to tell us what he had discovered and you two kept interrupting him,” Tenyar said as he leaned against the wall across from the door to Gwyneth’s room.

“Damn,” Gio grumbled as he opened the door and entered the room.

Pilar stood on the other side of the bed, holding onto Gwyneth’s hand.

“You’re pregnant, Mom.” He said with a smile.

“How?” Gwyneth asked as her eyes open in shock.

“We figure you were pregnant when Neesah killed you,” Gresha said as she took her mother’s other hand.

“How am I still pregnant?” She asked as she looked between her two children.

“The suspended animation kept you both young and alive. When we woke you from it today, it is as though no time has passed for you.” Pilar said with a smile.

“A baby,” Gwyneth said with a sigh, then turned and grinned when she noticed her husband. “Did you hear that Gio? Another baby.”

“I heard, Tiey Vail,” Gio said with a smile as he moved over to the bed and looked across at his son. “I’m sorry I didn’t let you talk out there, Son. Your uncle and I have been trying to figure this out since we got to the Hospital Wing.”

“It’s okay, Father. As I was trying to tell you out there, I know where the four heartbeats are from.” He said with an odd look on his face.

“Four heartbeats?” Gwyneth asked as she looked at her son. “Twins?”

“No,” Pilar said as he shook his head. “My new device can measure the ball. I built it when Neesah was out looking for the twins again. If it’s a single ball and the size is larger than normal, there is a large possibility of twins. Yours is normal size.” Pilar said with a smile.

“Then why is everyone hearing four heartbeats?” Gwyneth asked, confused.

“Because they hear yours and the babies,” Pilar said as he looked into her face.

“Mine?” She asked confused. “But I have one.”

“Not anymore,” Pilar said as he looked over at his father, who was looking at him with a shocked look on his face.

“How can that be?” Gio asked as he looked from his son to his wife and back again.

“I don’t know, Father. But Gwyneth is no longer an Earthling.” Pilar said as he looked down at her again.

“How is that possible?” Gresha asked as she looked at her parents and brother with a stunned look on her face.

“The Sobriehton blood,” Gio mumbled.

“The what?” Gresha asked confused.

“When she had lost so much blood, we gave her Sobriehton blood. We thought it had killed her.” Gio said as he held his wife’s hand to his mouth.

“But it had only almost killed her,” Pilar said with a nod.

“Which means, without meaning to, Neesah saved Gwyneth’s life.” Gio breathed with a laugh.

“I’m so lost,” Gresha said as she started to cry.

“I’m with you, baby girl,” Gwyneth said as she looked between her husband and son.

“If you had stayed in the room where I had put you, you would have completely died,” Pilar said as he looked at his stepmother. “But she stole you and put you in suspended animation. Which is a safe environment. It keeps you fresh and warm. And alive, if you go in there alive.”

“And if you’re ill or hurt, your body will naturally heal itself,” Gio said as he closed his eyes. “It’s how we used to heal before Pilar was born and started inventing cures. On Earth, they call it a medically induced coma, only with our method, you don’t age, because everything is frozen in time.”

“So, her body healed while in the pod?” Gresha asked as she stared at them. “But why does she have two hearts now?”

“Because giving an Earthling, Sobriehton blood, doesn’t kill them,” Pilar said as he looked at his sister. “Like we had thought. It stops their heart, to prepare it for change, from the DNA transferred in the blood.”

“It transforms them into a Sobriehton?” Leih asked as he stared at his mother-in-law.

“Looks that way,” Pilar said with a nod.

“Then how did Matrios find her, using mine and Aunt Gretchen’s Earth blood?” Gresha asked, still a bit confused.

“Because we thought she was an Earthling. So, he was only looking for the Earth scent.” Pilar said as he shook his head and smiled.

“What does this mean?” Gwyneth asked as she looked at them. “Am I going to die?”

“No, Mom,” Pilar said with a laugh.

“Two Hearts,” Gresha whispered. “She has two hearts!” She hollered as she jumped up and down.

“Gresha,” Gwyneth said, shocked at her daughter’s reaction.

Gresha pushed past her father and jumped into her mother’s arms.

“Heaven’s sake child.” Gwyneth breathed as she laid her hands on her daughter’s back.

“You’re going to live like a Sobriehton,” Gresha mumbled against her mother.

Gwyneth looked down at her daughter then up at her husband. “Am I?”

“Looks that way,” Gio said with a grin.

“You mean, I get to watch our daughter grow up? And be there for everything?” Gwyneth asked as she cried.

“You will live to a ripe old old old old old old…” Gio stopped when he saw the look on his wife’s face and laughed, then leaned around his daughter and kissed his wife on the lips. “You’re going to watch our great-great-great-grandchildren grow up.”

“Gio.” Gwyneth cried as she held her arms out to him.

Gio leaned over his daughter and let his wife wrap her arms around his head. Their daughter refused to let go of her mother, and he laughed softly as he wrapped his arms around two of the most important women in his life. His family is whole, once again.

~*~

“Is she awake?” Nahla asked as she opened the door to her mother’s room.

Gresha turned from her Mother’s side and smiled at her little sister. “She’s asleep.”

“Can I see her?” Nahla asked as she moved closer to the bed.

“Of course,” Gresha said as she leaned down and lifted her sister onto the bed.

When she and her father had told Nahla that their mother was alive, she had run around the room so fast they had had trouble catching her. When they had finally caught her, she had stood in front of them and jumped up and down, shouting and cheering. It had taken them over an hour to calm her down and Leih laughing hadn’t helped any.

“She’s still so pretty,” Nahla said as she grinned at their mother. “She doesn’t look old like Aunt Gretchen.” She mused as she tilted her head and looked at Gwyneth.

Gresha couldn’t help it, she laughed and kissed her sister’s forehead.

“Does she know about the babies?” Nahla asked as she looked up at Gresha.

Gresha shook her head. “Not yet. She has too much on her plate, right now.”

“What’s on her plate? Is she hungry?” Nahla asked as she watched her sister.

Gresha laughed so loud their mother stirred in her sleep. Nahla placed a finger to her lips and Gresha covered her mouth as she giggled softly, then removed her hand and smiled at her little sister, who was so Sobriehton.

“It’s an Earth expression.” She said as she brushed the hair off her little sister’s forehead.

“Oh,” Nahla said with a frown. “I didn’t get to learn Earth expressions.”

“No. But Leih raised you well. You’re still the best little sister in the world.”

Nahla got to her feet on the bed and jumped off the mattress into her sister’s arms. Gresha caught her sister with a laugh.

“What’s going on?” Gwyneth asked groggily.

“Sorry, Mom,” Gresha said as she smiled down at their mother.

“Who do you have there?” Gwyneth asked as she smiled at her youngest, knowing exactly who Gretta was holding.

“It’s me, Mama,” Nahla said as she turned in her sister’s arms and smiled at their mother.

“Who’s me?” Gwyneth asked as she eyed the little girl, who looked so much like her husband, she was surprised no one had noticed, even through the memory serum.

“Nahla, Mama. Did you lose your memory?” Nahla asked as her little face crinkled in a frown.

Gwyneth laughed as she held her arms out to her baby. “No, baby girl. I was just playing.”

Nahla grinned as she moved from her sister’s arms, into her mother’s. Gwyneth smiled as she held onto her daughter. Both her girls have gotten so big.

“I love you, Mama,” Nahla said as she cuddled against her mother.

“I love you, too,” Gwyneth choked, holding her daughter close.

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