With Hands to Hold

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As soon as they got in, they headed straight to the kitchen. Vincent watched as the woman bustled about the kitchen cooking. He had tried to help throw together a salad, but seeing the mess he was making, Spiraea scolded him to sit down and wait.

With the lucky find of some leftover rice, she cooked up what was known as La Bandera. A dish of rice, beans, meat and salad on the side.

Vincent was absolutely fascinated with the familiar ways she moved around the kitchen, he loved how utterly relaxed she was. He loved how much she enjoyed it. There was a fluidity to the way she seasoned her pot, almost like dancing.

Before long she served up two plates, placing one in front of Vincent and the other to his right. She took her seat beside him, giving him a smile before digging in.

“So what did you want to talk about?” Vincent asked around a mouthful of stewed beans.

“Uh-uh, you first...”

She figured jumping right to ‘let’s adopt a baby from the nursery’ might’ve been a fuelled way to start the conversation. She still wasn’t entirely sure how he would react.

“Okay...” He trailed off, he gave her a suspicious look but humoured her nonetheless. He decided to start off slow, reaching over to take her hand in his.

He left a small kiss against her palm, smiling gently. A light sigh left his lips as he summoned the courage to speak. He barely noticed as his thumb traced an absent-minded pattern over her knuckles.

The girl was slightly taken aback, she wasn’t sure if the action was a comfort to her or for himself. She wondered what had him so nervous to speak to her. Vincent was never nervous, especially not with her.

“I kind of had a thought, because you said you don’t want any of the traditional human marriage stuff. Well there’s a ceremony that is usually held in the pack, called a Luna ceremony...”

Spiraea bit her lip, Vincents eyes immediately drawn to the sight. There was something sensual about it, but in that moment it only added to nerves that he didn’t realise that he felt. He wasn’t sure whether he should be quiet or keep explain himself.

“There’s absolutely no white dresses, fathers or churches. I don’t want you to feel like I’m pressuring you into it but I just thought it would be a nice idea.” He stammered, actually stammered. “It’s just something for you to think about. You do still need to be formally introduced to the pack.”

Spiraea bit back her chuckle. She was actually touched that Vincent had thought to think of something that might accommodate them both, it was quite sweet. Not to mention his obvious nervousness at telling her too. Everything he did for her was endearing, it warmed her heart.

“That’s a lovely idea,” She blushed under his gaze. Her shy smile widening when she saw a smile break out on Vincents face too. “I love it.”

“Alright, I’ll speak to my mother and father. We can all arrange it together.”

“I can’t wait.” Spiraea’s cheeks hurt as she smiled, because it was true.

She had never pictured herself in this situation, ever. Her life had always been darkness and misery— but now so many new things were happening.

She supposed she was kind of engaged now by human standards... She couldn’t wait to tell Marianne! Her best friend would be so excited for her, and of course she would have to help with planning this ‘Luna ceremony’.

“Alright, your turn.” Vincent smiled, enjoying every bit of the girls excitement.

The girls excitement dwindled slightly, it was her turn to be nervous. She didn’t see why she was, considering that Vincent had basically just asked her to marry him, (kind of), she didn’t really have any reason to be.

This was it. She was finally going to talk to him about adopting Max.

“Well, um, we only really briefly talked about the kids thing and then we found out that I—” Her throat thickened with the memory if receiving that news. It still hurt her every day to know that she would never give birth to her own baby.

Vincent, sensing her momentary distress, placed a warm palm on her knee. His touch soothing away the negativity— she would never get tired of his healing touch.

“Anyway I—” Spiraea was cut off by the sound of Vincents cell phone ringing in the other room. “You should get that.”

“It’s okay, I’m sure it can wait.” Vincent dismissed the ringing easily. As if recognising the command, the phone stopped ringing. “Continue, Little one.”

She gulped, “Alright. Well I—”

The ringing started up again, the girl sighing gently in defeat. Perhaps this was a sign?

He stared at her a moment, the air around them charging with a silent electricity. The spell broke when Vincent let out a small huff before going to retrieve the ever ringing phone.

He returned, moments later, confusing clouding his features as he looked at the caller ID.

“It’s Kate.”

Spiraea was instantly on alert, rising to her feet and taking an urgent step closer. She tried to hear the woman on the other side of the line as Vincent pressed the phone to his ear.

She heard somewhat muffled, but frantic chatter and the decipherable sound of crying in the back ground.

I’m sorry Alpha, I didn’t know what else to do. She’s the only one who can deal with him.′

“It’s okay. We’ll be there soon.” Vincent assured the woman, trying to calm her stressed mind as much as he could.

“What’s going on?” Worry coloured the girls tone and features as she looked to her mate desperately for an answer. “Is everyone okay?”

“They’re fine. Max woke up, he won’t calm down.” He tried to calm her, though hearing that Max was upset only made the girl more worried.

Dinner forgotten, the only worry for Spiraea was getting to Max. They were out the door in less than two minutes, taking the path back to the nursery that they had taken less than half an hour ago.

When they arrived, Kate was pacing with Max in her arms still trying to hush the blubbering baby. She bounced him gently, trying to soothe him but nothing seemed to be working.

Spiraea rushed over in a flurry, practically crying herself. Kate was more than happy to hand him over to her Luna's eager arms. It was almost magical to watch her soothe the baby.

“Oh my sweet little baby boy,” She cooed gently, rocking him in her her arms. “Stop crying, you’re okay. Come on baby, its okay.”

Vincent smiled, his love for her blossoming further in his chest at the sight of her with him. It was evident that she felt strong maternal instincts towards him, anyone else could easily have mistaken her as the child’s mother.

“She’s an absolute natural with him... I’m sorry for calling you out so late.” Kate apologised one more to her Alpha.

“It’s quite alright.”

Vincent went over to his mate, Max’s tired eyes open and focused on her. As he approached the baby watched him inquisitively.

“You had us worried bud.” Vincent stroked his small chin gently, the small pup latching onto his finger as he pulled away.

His grip was firm for a pup, he couldn’t pull himself away. It was almost comical the small thing holding the large Alpha captive. Vincent was in complete awe of the small creature— delicate but strong, just like his mate.

“Good luck getting him to let go...” Spiraea chucked lightly at Vincents predicament. It didn’t take long for him to fall back to sleep, and Spiraea put him back down for the night.

But as soon as she put him down, he was up again, crying for her hold. She worried that she had spoiled him like Kate had warned her, but she was more concerned with trying to get him to sleep for the night.

It was getting late, Vincent had work to attend to the next day and Spiraea was also tired from her own long day. She had spent all day on her feet and wanted to rest, but if Max was giving trouble all night she might not even be able to leave the nursery!

“Uh oh,” Kate spoke as Spiraea picked him back up again. “Someone is being a grouchy pants tonight. Alpha, Luna, I know it’s short notice but perhaps you could take Max home tonight? You’d be able to get some rest, but still look after him there?”

Spiraea looked to Vincent in a silent question. A part of her realised how huge this was— if he said yes to one night, then maybe he would say yes to the rest of their lives with him too.

“Of course, I’m sure you and the other pack mothers would like some rest too!”

Relief filled the girl at Vincents response. Spiraea let go the silent breath she had been holding, shifting baby Max in her arms gently. “Hear that Maximilian?, you’re coming home with us tonight.”

“Let me get you guys his diaper bag,” Kate smiled before leaving.

Vincent smiled at Spiraea, offering his arms to hold the pup. Spiraea hesitated for a second— it wasn’t that she didn’t trust Vincent or anything like that, she just didn’t know if Max would like being held by someone else. He was always ridiculously fussy, tonight just seemed to prove it.

She shook away her worry knowing that if she really wanted to adopt him, Max would have to be comfortable with them both. She carefully handed over the small baby, biting her lip as he started to cry.

“I know bud, I know,” Vincent cooed. The crying baby was a little bit disheartening but he persevered anyway, bouncing him and cooing the way he would with his niece.

Max actually relaxed after a few more moment in his arms, sucking his thumb gently as he watched Vincent with his expressive brown eyes.

Kate returned with the baby bag, prompting Vincent to give Spiraea the now placated baby whilst he took the bag. Spiraea nodded to his baby blanket in the crib, Vincent picked it up dutifully.

“Thank you both for doing this,” Kate gushed— the relief she felt was practically palpable around her.

“It’s not a problem.” Vincent reassured her once more, Spiraea nodding in agreement. His woman seemed more than content with Max in her arms. He helped her to fix the blanket around Max, so that he wouldn’t get cold on the way home. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Goodnight Alpha, Luna.”

“Goodnight Kate,” Spiraea smiled politely. The couple once more leaving the nursery and heading home.

That evening proved to be far more hectic than the two were used to. They took it in turns to watch Max, first Vincent as Spiraea cleared up the kitchen.

Their half eaten meals were re-heated, Max laying on the sofa between them as they ate. Then Spiraea took him as Vincent went to shower.

Max had already been bathed and changed earlier that evening. It was both a disappointment and a mercy— Spiraea knew how troublesome bath time could be, but Vincent wanted the moment of bonding.

It was strange, he felt connected to the baby. More than just as a member of his pack— it was like seeing the closeness Spiraea shared with the pup, made him want to bond with him too.

Vincent came out of the steaming bathroom, clad in a pair of cotton sleep pants. He leaned against the door frame watching as Spiraea fussed over Max.

“Baby, he’s fine.” The man strolled over to his mate, kissing her forehead sweetly. “Go on, take a shower. I’ve got him.”

She nodded heading into the bathroom. She took her clothes too, a pair of white underwear and some pyjamas (that was really just one of Vincents shirts). After they mated, it had become an unspoken comfort to them both, she loved being surrounded by his scent, and he loved seeing her in his clothes.

Vincent laid beside Max on the bed gently, the small thing trying to roll over. The man’s long arms pulled the small child closer, lifting him to lie comfortably on his chest.

Max cuddled in closer, sucking his thumb as he rested against Vincent. The small weight on his chest along with the rhythmic stroking to the tiny creatures back was soothing to both man and baby.

That was how Spiraea found the pair after her shower. Vincent dazing, and Max asleep on his chest— she fought the urge to ‘awww’ at the sight. Her heart squeezed, she couldn’t help thinking how happy it made her to see her boys together like that.

She turned off the main light, switching on her lamp before crawling into bed. Vincent cracked open an eye to watch her as she smiled over at them.

“What?” He asked groggily, wincing as Max stirred lightly on his chest.

“Nothing,” She smiled. “It’s just that this... It's kind of perfect. I love you.”

Vincent was careful as he put the finally sleeping baby down between them, raising up on his elbow to kiss Spiraea. She basked in the taste of him, moaning gently and fighting disappointment when he pulled away before he kiss went any further.

“I love you too.”

She laid on her side, her fingers playing with the small buttons on Max’s onesie as he slept soundly beside her.

“Earlier on,” She whispered, knowing that with his enhanced hearing skills he would be able to hear her. “I never got a chance to say what I wanted to talk about...”

“Yeah, what is it Little one?”

“This. Let’s adopt Max.”

The next morning, Spiraea awoke only half rested. Max had woken up twice during the night— she tended to him the first time while Vincent dealt with the last time.

Initially, she had been rather disappointed. Vincent had told Spiraea that they couldn’t just make a decision to adopt Max right away.

Vincent did very much want to adopt the baby, he had fallen in love with him from the moment he grabbed his finger, but there was so much to sort out first.

They weren’t ready just yet. Their home wasn’t ready to hold a baby yet, there was a few changes that would have to be made.

Spiraea made breakfast, a full buffet of eggs, sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms, toast and of course baked beans. She also made sure to prepare a bottle for Max, grateful for Kate for including his formula in the diaper bag she packed.

Vincent came down not too long after with Max in his arms, the baby was a awake and somewhat calm. Though judging by his pink tear stained cheeks and snotty nose, it had taken some effort on Vincents part.

Vincent cleaned his face, watching as Spiraea tested the bottle on her forearm before handing it over. Vincent cradled the small thing in one arm, and used the other to feed him the bottle.

“That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? You woke up hungry didn’t you, bud?” Vincent chuckled at the greedy baby. Max latched on eagerly, sucking contentedly on the warm milk.

Spiraea smiled, plating up breakfast for them too. She couldn’t help laughing as Vincent suddenly looked down to his full hands then back to his plate with a forlorn expression.

“I don’t have enough hands...”

Spiraea picked up his fork, feeding him a few bites. He gave her a look, a heated look that said ‘if I wasn’t holding this baby right now I would jump your bones.’ She simply laughed.

For the first time, she finished her plate before Vincent, relieving him if baby duty so that he could eat properly. Once he finished eating they both went back upstairs to get ready for the day ahead.

They changed, Vincent putting on slacks and a button up, Spiraea in a t-shirt and some flowy pants. Vincent also had a fascinating moment as he watched Spiraea change Max— it was well practiced, almost effortless.

He was glad that she had asked to adopt him, it was something that had come to his own mind after seeing how well they all fit together. But he also knew that now wasn’t the time, there were still things to be done, and he wanted to make sure everything was as close to perfect as possible before starting a family.

The situation with Damien was a particular worry for him, he didn’t want to start a family under such tense circumstances. Perhaps they would adopt Max after Vincent was sure it would be safe.

It was selfish, but Vincent also knew there was a possibility that he might leave them if he got hurt or worse. He didn’t like the idea of leaving Spiraea alone, especially not with a baby on her own. Again, he knew it was selfish, but he wanted the best for her, for them and the family they planned to build.

They walked to the pack house, Max particularly enjoyed the bright colours and the warm morning air. Vincent dropped Max and Spiraea off at the nursery, making sure to return the diaper bag to Kate with much thanks.

He kissed both Max and Spiraea goodbye— it was so natural he almost didn’t even realise he had kissed the baby. As always he told his mate that he loved her and would be back that evening to pick her up.

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