After what seemed like hours, Dainin finally escaped the clutches of Tessa’s Grandmother. Lori had been proudly introducing him to her friends, and some apparent rivals, showing off her Granddaughter’s Alpha mate. Those few hours were by far the most intense interrogation he’s ever been through. Dainin found it very difficult to keep the pregnancy a secret whenever anyone mentioned Grandchildren. “It’s like they knew,” Dainin sighed, leaning against the wall to take in the cool air of the hallway. “Tessa would kill us if we spilled the beans without her,” his wolf cringed. He was also enjoying their moment of peace. If it wasn’t for Tessa’s Uncle stepping in to distract the women, Dainin may have told them everything.
During his thought, the front door opened, filling the space with the fresh scent of springtime, but Dainin noticed a new aroma mixed in with Tessa’s scent. Taking a deep breath, he picked up a hint of morning dew that forms after a cool night. Dainin smiled, knowing her scent changed because she was pregnant. Mates were usually the first to know when their she-wolf was with child. “It’s amazing what a few hours can change,” his wolf said while memorizing her new scent. Dainin’s heart warmed as his eyes scanned up her body from the ground up in appreciation, but when he saw her hands planted firmly on her hips and a brow raised in accusation, Dainin knew he was in trouble.
“Hey love. I was just coming to find you,” he said with open arms as he walked towards her. He was sure to flash his signature smirk and was relieved when the corner of her mouth twitched with a hint of a smile. “So, we’re not in too much trouble,” he teased with a wink as he took her hands in his, then he noticed Cadence was standing quietly beside her. “Conference room,” Tessa answered, meeting his eyes. “All of us, and please have Alan and your Gamma join us,” she requested, glancing at Cadence who was still lost in thought. “Alan, Leah, meet us at the conference room asap,” Dainin ordered, following the pair down the hallway. “We’ll be there. I just have to find your brother,” Leah responded. She was always having to track Alan down when it came to impromptu pack meetings. Alan was always easily distracted, especially if there was a party going on.
They walked silently through the pack house, with the only noise being the hum of conversation from the ballroom and their footsteps against the wood floors. Everyone was still mingling, and it made Dainin happy to know both packs were getting along. Movement caught his eye as Lori and Tyler stepped out, sending warm smiles to the trio. “Come with us please,” Tessa asked the pair from beside him. They each gave Dainin a look of confusion, but Dainin was just as puzzled himself. “It’s has to be about her visit to the prison. I knew we should have told her about the witches sooner or maybe we should have gone with her. What if something happened,” Dainin’s wolf rattled off scenarios, making Dainin roll his eyes. “Relax. Tessa is obviously fine and there’s nothing we can do about it now,” he shrugged, and walked ahead of the group to the conference room door.
“It could also be about joining the packs together or the baby,” Dainin pointed out. “We have a lot going on right now,” he finished, and opened the door for the group, giving Tessa a wink when she thanked him. It was his every intention to keep the atmosphere light as he didn’t want to spark another argument. Dainin was surprised by the fact Tessa didn’t plan on joining the packs together, and when she brought him to her office, he just wasn’t ready to hash it out before she had a chance to think it over. “It’s a good thing we know how to distract our mate,” his wolf said, boasting his ego. His attitude caused Dainin to roll his eyes again, even though her agreed with him. “Well, now we know her Grandmother is on our side so that might work in our favor,” Dainin hoped as he watched Tessa walk to the head of the conference table.
Dainin made his way to the closest seat next to her but stopped when Tessa raised her hand. “Hold on,” she said, walking over and pulling the chair beside hers at the head of the table. “You belong next to me, Alpha,” she whispered, running her hand slowly over his broad shoulders as she guided him to the chair. “I think your seat is on my lap but I’d rather we be alone for that,” Dainin growled through the mind link. He couldn’t hide his smile as he watched Tessa’s cheeks turn a bright crimson. “Everyone take a seat please. We are just waiting for three more people,” Tessa directed, after clearing her throat. Nobody else noticed their exchange, but the way her tongue danced over her lips and the shallow breaths she was taking were enough for him to know what was playing in her mind. Dainin couldn’t resist leaning in to give his gorgeous mate a kiss, mindful of their company in the room, before he sat down beside her. She would be the death of him.
Footsteps could be heard from outside the doors and as if on cue Zander, Alan and Leah walked in. “My apologies, Alpha. It took me longer to find Beta Monroe than I thought,” Leah apologized with a bow. “It’s okay Leah. You can both have a seat anywhere. We haven’t started yet,” Dainin directed with a smile. He didn’t miss the quiet growl Tessa gave off from beside him and he found he was smiling again. “I know you’ve all met Alan, but I never had a chance to introduce my Gamma. This is Leah Dean, my Gamma. She hasn’t really been able to leave White Sand territory since we’ve arrived,” Dainin introduced, receiving approving reactions from the room. “Nice to meet you all,” Leah bowed then returned to her seat. “Welcome Leah. It’s nice to have another female around here,” Tessa commented with a proud smile. “She definitely earned us some brownie points,” his wolf chuckled.
Tessa rose from her seat, still smiling at the fact that her mate had already accepted having a deserving woman in a leadership role before he even met her. Besides she and Cadence, there were no females in their region who held positions of power, other than Lunas. Unfortunately, a Luna was mainly responsible for running the pack household and party planning. It was very rare that they’d be used to make important pack decisions, her Gran was a perfect example. “Forget that,” her wolf huffed in distaste. “I think we’ll all get along. She has great energy,” her wolf noted, sharing in her happiness. Tessa couldn’t help but agree.
All eyes were on her and they were mostly filled with confusion while others seemed nervous. Thankfully, for the most part, she was about to share good news. “I know you’re all wondering why you’re here,” Tessa started, taking Dainin’s hand. “This may come as a surprise but this morning we found out I’m pregnant,” she announced with a nervous smile. “I knew it,” her Grandmother called out as she stood from the table. “How would you have known,” her Uncle Tyler asked, shaking his head. “Well, I’m many years young so I know things,” she replied, shooting daggers at him. “Okay, Gran. No one else is doubting you,” Tessa chuckled, motioning her to sit down. Everyone else was silent and when Tessa looked them over, she saw their eyes were wide with shock. “You knew you were pregnant when you took Elijah down,” Cadence asked, looking at Tessa’s stomach. “What happened,” Dainin growled through their link, giving her hand a squeeze. “Why are there witches in my prison,” Tessa countered and smirked when his hold loosened.
Standing tall, Tessa continued. “Yes, I knew then, but I’m still very early on. The doctor said about two weeks, so nothing really changes. I know my limits and don’t plan on changing things any time soon,” she shrugged. “Well congratulations,” Zander called out with a bright smile. “I’m so happy for you two,” Leah added. Even though she and Tessa just met she was beaming with joy. “Thank you,” Dainin responded. Tessa could tell his chest was swelling with pride. “Yes, thank you. I know we can count on all of you to protect our pup should anything happen to us,” Tessa added. She didn’t want to see the negative of this situation, but knew firsthand how unpredictable the future could be. Yet, even though she didn’t have her parents or brother, she knew her present family would be there for the child if she or Dainin couldn’t. “Alpha, I will protect your pup with my life,” Cadence proclaimed as she walked to Tessa and pulled her in a hug. “Thank you, Cade. I know you will,” Tessa whispered, fighting back her hormone induced tears. “These are going to be a problem,” her wolf commented, fighting tears of her own.
When Cadence returned to her seat, Tessa knew it was time for her to move onto the next heavy topic. “Now, I will admit I may have reacted too quickly when we were asked about joining packs earlier,” she started, and felt Dainin’s eyes boring into the side of her head. “I have not decided to agree or disagree at this point. I want you all to think about what this means for you. You have all worked hard for your positions and I would not want any ill will towards those who get to keep them,” she said, looking around the room. As expected, Alan and Cadence were already glaring at each other while Leah and Zander seemed indifferent. “I have no intentions of stepping down from my Alpha position, but that is something Dainin and I will work out. In the meantime, I want you all to think about the best solution and set up possible. I want to give the pack a few months to get acquainted and only then will we decide as a group. Is that okay with all of you,” she asked, taking in all of their thoughtful looks. “I think that will work,” Alan said with a cheerful gleam in his eyes.
Tessa wanted to share in his feelings, but things weren’t settled yet. “Great. Now onto the witches we have locked away in the prison. Elijah claims one is his second chance mate and swears there is more to their story than just blindly aiding that beast’s path of destruction. I’m not looking to forget their crimes, but who thinks we should hear them out,” she asks again, and the room falls silent. “The daughter saved me from my cell when I was captured. She claimed she was kidnapped and used by the beast as a pawn to control her mother after her coven refused to help him get rid of his human soul,” Dainin finally explained all he knew, but even with the new information, no one wanted to be first to make a move.
After a moment, Cadence stood with her head held high. “You’ve convinced me, Alpha. I would like to hear what they have to say,” she declares and the others in the room nod in agreement. Tessa smiles at Cadence with pride. “I think this is the right and fair choice,” Tessa assured her through the link, earning a smile from her Beta. “Very well. Start weaning them off the elixir so they are alert and in a couple of days we’ll speak to them to decide their fate,” Tessa ordered. After hearing what Dainin said, she knew there had to me more to the story, but at the first hint of a lie she would end them. No questions asked.