**FIVE YEARS LATER**
“Momma, TJ has my doll and won’t give it back to me!” Rita yelled as she ran across the motel room.
“It isn’t a doll, Rita, and it’s mine,” TJ said calmly.
“I want to play with it,” Rita argued with a pout.
“What’s the ruckus about children?” Trenton asked as coming out of the bathroom.
“Rita took my action figure of Batman without permission, Dad. She also insists on calling it a doll,” TJ huffed in disgust.
Trenton laughed and Melissa laughed with him. Our children are so cute, but they are also quite a handful to be sure. TJ was the calm one who very seldom raised his voice, even when he was annoyed with his siblings. Rita was the tomboy; she’d had to be to survive two brothers. Nevertheless, she loved her brothers unendingly and would stand up for them in a heartbeat. Then there was Blake. He was a rascal who didn’t know when to stop. The only reason he wasn’t right in the middle of this feud was that he was still asleep.
“Rita, did you ask TJ if you could play with Batman?” Trenton calmly asked.
Rita poked out her lip. “Well, no…”
Trenton sighed before going over and picking her up. “You have to ask remember? He never says no to you unless he’s playing with it.”
“Sorry, Daddy,” Rita whispered. Then she looked over at her brother and said, “I’m sorry, TJ.”
“It’s okay, Rita, you can play with it until Blake gets up. Then he and I are gonna play in the car,” TJ said sweetly, handing the figure back to her.
Rita grinned at her brother, then at her daddy.
Trenton kissed her head before putting her down,
Rita went running off into the room that was hers in the hotel suite they’d rented for their stay.
It was almost Christmas and they’d decided to visit Trenton’s parents for the holidays. Lisa, her new boyfriend, Phillip, and Stella, plus Uncle Landon, Sonia, and their son, Jackson, would be joining them later.
It had become a tradition in the last three years to get together since they’d ended telling Trenton’s parents what Melissa was. They had thought all three babies were going to be wolven, but it turned out TJ was the only one of the three, and he’d growled at his grandmother before he was even a year old. Of course, Kay had been shocked because he’d sounded so animalistic. Thankfully, both she and Henry had taken it well. So, Melissa had ended up telling Stella who was also there.
Kay had told TJ it was rude to growl at people, especially his grandmother. He’d been young, but he seemed to understand her and hadn’t done it again.
Melissa looked down at the baby girl, Jasmine, in her arms and smiled. This little one had been as big of a surprise as her siblings because she and Trenton had decided three was enough. Rita had named her, saying she looked like princess Jasmine, the only princess tomboy Rita liked, with her jet-black hair.
So, since they liked the name it stuck. Jasmine was now six months old but looked closer to nine months. A good sign that she was a wolven.
“Are you about ready to go, little momma?”
Melissa looked up to find Trenton watching her with a smile on his face. She gently pulled the baby away from her breast, where she’d been nursing her, and handed her to Trenton. Then, fixing her shirt she said, “Yep, she’s finished now.”
“Come on kids, let’s load up,” Trenton called out, “we don’t want to make Grandpa wait!”
All three came running, although Blake still looked a bit sleepy.
Walking over to him, Melissa picked him up and kissed him. “Good morning, Blake.”
Melissa took a deep breath, taking in the sweet scent of him and his baby shampoo. Her wolven shifted inside at the scent of her young one. She pushed forward and Blake looked up, feeling the energy shift.
Blake grinned. “Momma’s eyes are red.”
She growled gently at him as she rubbed his back.
“I love you, Momma.”
Pulling him back to her, she nuzzled into his hair as she made growling sounds of affection. Then, turning to the other two, she crouched down and held out an arm for them to run into. They did and she showed them the same affection, continuing to growl low in her chest.
Standing up, she looked toward her chosen one who was standing there holding their baby. Moving closer to him, she tugged Trenton close to run her nose up his neck, lightly nipping. I love him, no matter what form I’m in and I’m not ashamed to show it in front of our children.
“Hey, baby,” Trenton whispered.
She rubbed her hand up his back as she gave Jasmine a nuzzle. With a deep breath, she pulled the wolven in her back and murmured, “We should go.”
Loading up with what they needed, they left the motel for the restaurant.
They arrived at the restaurant fifteen minutes later. It was the same steak house they’d gone to so long ago because Melissa still loved her steak.
“Look, kids, there’s Grandma and Grandpa,” Trenton said as they all climbed out of the car.
Melissa thought she saw the flash of a camera as Trenton, holding Jasmine, met her and the three older children at the front of the SUV. However, looking around, she saw nothing, so she shrugged it off.
Kay walked up, hugging Melissa as she asked, “How are you, Melissa dear, you and that sweet new baby?”
“We’re doing well, and she is growing so fast,” Melissa answered.
Kay walked over to Trenton, hugged him, and took baby Jasmine from him.
Melissa watched as her children interacted with their grandfather and smiled. Henry had mellowed so much since he’d retired. He was almost like a different person and had even talked of coming to live closer so he could watch his grandbabies grow. She knew it made Trenton feel good because he worried that his dad wouldn’t have much to do with them.
She turned as she saw another car pull up. It was Uncle Landon, Sonia, and Jackson. As soon as they were out of the vehicle, Rita, Blake, and TJ ran for their cousins to give out hugs, so happy to see them all.
Sonia headed Melissa’s way, and after giving her a hug she cooed over Jasmine. “So, in a few months, Jasmine will have a little cousin to play with.”
“Oh, more babies!” Kay exclaimed as she gave Sonia a one-armed hug. Kay had welcomed Uncle Landon and Sonia right into the family and gave them affection as if they were family by blood.
“You’re finally having another baby?” Melissa asked. “Oh, Sonia, I’m so happy for you and Uncle Landon.”
After some complications with Jackson, Sonia hadn’t been able to conceive again. Melissa knew it had upset Sonia, but she and Uncle Landon had worked it out and become content to have just one. So, this was a happy surprise for everyone.
“Yes, and it looks as if we’re going to have twins this time, two boys,” Sonia continued. “We did the ultrasound yesterday before coming.”
Melissa hugged Uncle Landon, taking a deep breath as she always did to take in his wolven scent, so familiar, so much like her father’s. It had been hard the first year, to see him all the time because it made her long for her father. Her wolven had struggled the most with it because he smelled so much like her wolven father, but slowly they had accepted that he was not and were now content.
Pulling back, she stepped into Trenton’s arms and he kissed her head. She stiffened when she caught a strange scent, pushing back a growl as it caused her wolven to push forward. Turning, she saw Lisa walking toward them, holding hands with a tall blond man who was carrying a small child.
Lisa was all smiles and waved. When she was closer, she stepped close to hug Melissa, exclaiming, “Melissa!”
Melissa’s eyes never left the man with her and she growled low. He stiffened as he held tighter to the little boy in his arms. In a gruff tone, she asked, “Who are you?”
“Don’t be rude,” Lisa chastised. “This is Phillip and Justin, I told you about them.”
“Momma, Momma!” Rita yelled as she bounded away from her cousins to Melissa’s side. Looking up, she smiled at the newcomers. “Hi, Auntie Lisa, did you bring us a new friend to play with?”
Lisa smiled down at Rita. “Yes, I did, Rita. I’d like you to meet Justin.”
“Hi, Justin, I’m Rita,” Rita announced. Then pointing to her brothers and cousin she said, “That’s TJ, Blake, and Jackson.”
Justin gave a slight smile before burying his face in his father’s chest.
“Lisa, did you know he’s like me?” Melissa asked her quietly.
Lisa’s eyes widened as she turned to stare at her new beau. She stared at him silently, a stunned look on her face, and he silently stared back.