4 years later
Four years passed since Spiraea and Vincent had gotten married. Not much had changed in the short period of time.
Sean and Emilia had completely stepped down from any roles of leadership within the pack, choosing to let Vincent and Spiraea lead as they saw fit. The older couple spent their time with their grandchildren, and their community.
Marianne and Jaxon’s first child was born not too long after the ceremony, a girl which they named Leah. They had their own mating ceremony mere weeks after her birth, and in the 4 years that passed, they had made 4 more children. Two more girls which they named Jade and Ava, and twin boys, Leo and Apollo.
Larissa had grown, now at 6, she was one of the brightest pupils in her class at school. She would also spend plenty of time at the hospital with her father, or with her aunty Analise. Even at six, she was incredibly mature with a strong resolve- she was neither squeamish, nor sensitive and aspired to follow in her fathers footsteps to become a doctor.
For Spiraea and Vincent they were years of learning; how to be good partners to each other and how to be good parents to Max. There were still moments of insecurity, or times when communication broke down between them, but they fought each time to make it back to each other however they needed to.
Spiraea’s health was a lot better, in fact it wasn’t too long after they got married that she got her first period! It took a lot of adjusting initially for the girl to become comfortable in her body now that it had changed once again; now that she felt better, it was a lot easier on her mind.
Vincent was ever so proud of his mate, and helped her through things as much as he could. He had found during her cycles she would experience painful cramping and when he held her she seemed to be a lot more at ease.
One of the biggest and unexpected changes they had to face was what it meant to really be parents. Being parents had proved to be a challenge, but at every turn they rose to the difficulty.
Max had relaxed into his life with two parents and at five and a half years old was the most smartest, talkative, mischievous, bundle of energy ever. He found great enjoyment following Vincent about and imitating his seriousness when he could. Vincent would humour him often, and would even ask Max what he thought of particular situations taking great delight at hearing his toddler speak.
However the one thing that had changed their lives, was the fact that Spiraea actually fell pregnant. At one of her regular, routine check ups with Analise, the woman had found out the surprising news.
Analise had been very adamant to tell them that because of the trauma that Spiraea had faced there was significant damage to her womb and as a result, there was significant risks to both Spiraea’s and the baby’s health and there was no guarantee that she would even make it to full term. Nevertheless, Spiraea was determined to follow through with the pregnancy; it was probably the only chance she would ever get.
The pregnancy was hard; emotionally, physically and mentally on the girl- Vincent had forbid her from doing too much of anything, she would have to sit with her feet up to keep herself unstressed. It also helped to have Max, who was more than happy to receive his mothers attention.
Seven days before their wedding anniversary, and Spiraea was huge. She had gone up three dress sizes because of the size of her stomach, but she didn’t care— she was eight and a half months pregnant, and she had gorgeous maternity clothes courtesy of Mama D’Leau.
She had grumbled all night in bed the evening before to Vincent about letting her prepare lunch for all their friends and family on their special day. Vincent had wanted to tell her to rest instead, that he or his mother would take care of it all but Spiraea insisted.
The plan was to have a small gathering at their cabin that day before the big celebration with the whole pack on their actual anniversary.
Max, finding his mother in the kitchen, was always keen to help and whenever he was gentle and calm she would let him listen to his baby brother or sister growing in her tummy. He liked doing that.
Spiraea with Max’s help made some Peanut butter cookies— they were Max’s absolute favourite. Once they had cleared away all the mess, Spiraea was supposed to start on the rest of lunch but she decided to rest for a moment.
She sat herself on the sofa, watching Max play in her line of sight. He would come over to her every so often with a toy, or to give her a kiss before heading back off to play.
On his third trip back, he bought one of his little picture books. “Mummy can I read for baby?”
“Of course you can baby, what are you going to read?” She smiled running her stomach gently, the babe inside dancing happily at the sound of the two voices.
“You’re going to tell your baby brother or sister about colours? You’re such a wonderful big brother!” Spiraea praised her son, pulling him in for a hug and a kiss on the side of his head. The baby in her womb once more jumping about with all the commotion. “Look I think they’re excited to hear you read too, come feel.”
Spiraea guides Max’s tiny palm over her swollen stomach, his tiny face a picture of awe as he felt the movement.
“Dancing baby!” He giggled happily. He pressed his ear to her stomach, whether to hear some kind of response or just because it was soothing to him, Spiraea wasn’t too sure. Either way she didn’t mind.
“Can the baby come now?” Max asked, almost impatiently. When they had told him that he would be getting a little sibling, Max was excited and he had made sure to ask, often, when the baby would arrive.
“Not just yet, the baby still needs a little bit more time to get ready.” Spiraea tried to explain, she was never much good with explaining things to their son, that was Vincents specialty. Where was her mate when she needed him?!
Max held out 10 of his little tiny fingers as if counting on his hands. “35 more day?”
“I don’t know, they will surprise us when they want to come.”
“I want them to come now!” Max sighed heavily, as if burdened with some great distress. He truly could not wait to see his new brother or sister.
“Right now?” Spiraea asked teasingly, “But what about the Peanut butter cookies? They should be ready by now.”
“Cookies!” Max shrieked, forgetting his upset at having to wait a bit longer for his sibling to arrive into the world. He charged off towards the kitchen.
“Max, no running in the house!” Spiraea called after the enthusiastic little boy. Max turned around blushing lightly as he faced his mother with a guilty smile.
“You’re forgiven sweet boy, I don’t want you to get hurt by bumping into something or falling over okay?” Spiraea explained gently as she scooted herself to the end of the sofa, preparing herself for the battle of getting back up. “Now, let’s go check those cookies! Daddy should be back with Grandma and Grandpa so let’s make sure they have a yummy snack for when they get here!”
“Yay!” Max jumped up and down, he looked like he wanted to run around again but remembering his mothers previous admonishment he knew that he shouldn’t.
Spiraea took a moment to rise to her feet, the heavy weight of her stomach and disrupted sense of balance made simple tasks a lot more difficult. It was somewhat inconveniencing, but the woman would never utter a word of compliant, knowing that she was lucky to have the experience in the first place.
As she straightened, she felt a small popping sensation, she thought nothing of it until liquid began to gush ferociously from between her legs. Her water had broken. Her first thought was to freeze, then panic. She had never considered what to do if her labour came on without Vincent around because in her delicate state, it was very rare that he wasn’t nearby.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” She was on the verge of freaking out when Max came back into the room to see why his mother was taking so long.
“Mummy the cookies,” He ran back. Then he stopped looking down to the puddle on the floor below the woman, his face furrowed into a mix of concern and sympathy. “Oh no! Mummy did you wet yourself? It’s okay, sometimes I wet the bed.”
“No baby,” Spiraea tried to explain just as her first contraction hit. The pain was dull, but noticeable, like one of those lingering, annoying aches that leave you uncomfortable. She tried to breathe through it, trying to keep herself calm and by extension Max calm too. “I need you to get the phone for me, can you do that? I need to call daddy.”
“Okay mummy!” The small child went clambering up the stairs to the phone that was left in Vincents home office. It took him a while, since Spiraea had told him not to run. In the mean time the woman managed to get over to the kitchen and turn off the oven; the last thing she needed was to be in labour and have the house burn down.
Max being the smart child that he was, had managed to dial Vincents number; it was programmed into the phone. Spiraea could hear him talking as he came back over to her. “Don’t be mad, or laugh at her okay? Peeing yourself is scary.”
There was the sound of Vincents gruff voice over the line before Max handed Spiraea the phone. She put it to her ear, not even giving the man a chance to say anything when she spoke. “My water broke.”
“What?! Max said you peed yourself, oh Goddess on high, okay. Just stay there, I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
Spiraea managed to get Max to put on some shoes; he was more than eager when she told him the baby wanted to come out now. She also changed into a clean dress, and put on a pair of flats.
Vincent arrived, just as he said, in 5 minutes. Then in less then than 5 minutes they were all packed, seated in the car safely, and taking the 10 minute drive over to the infirmary.
If the pregnancy was hard, labour was even harder. Spiraea had endured labour for nearly 20 hours; crying, screaming and in intense pain. There was a part of her that had been completely terrified that she wouldn’t make it through the ordeal.
It had been just as traumatic for Vincent to stand by her, to try to comfort her, knowing that she was in so much pain and he couldn’t do anything to help. Every time another painful contraction hit, he would squeeze her hand, or his her sweaty brow and murmur endearing comments of praise and comfort.
Max wasn’t allowed to be in the room; especially seeing how difficult the delivery would be. Spiraea didn’t want him to have to see her in that state anyway; she already had a feeling the whole pack could hear her screaming and even that was enough to embarrass her.
After an additional hour, their tiny bundle of joy finally arrived into the world, a whole two weeks before she was expected. It was a girl with a full head of curls, weighing in at 6lbs and 14 ounces; which was notably smaller than most werewolf babies. Vincent was initially worried about how small, and light she was considering she was on the cusp of being born prematurely, but after both Ellis and Analise assured the new father that they would be keeping a close eye on both mother and baby for a few days, Vincents worry eased. He trusted no-one better than his brother and sister-in-law to look after his child and mate.
Max meeting the new baby, was a sight that brought tears to his parents eyes. He was always mindful to be careful and gentle with the tiny, delicate creature. She opened her eyes for the first time in his arms, her brown eyes looking into his baby blues. He knew then that he would cherish his little sister forever.
They named the child Dominica, a small adage to Vincent’s Grandmother who had shared the name but also because of it’s fitting meaning. The name meant ‘From the Lord’, and she truly was a gift, their own personal miracle from above.
Both Spiraea and baby Nica spent only 3 days in the hospital; thanks to Vincent’s support (and arguably his mark) Spiraea was able to bounce back faster than she thought she would, her body was still healing but she was safe to go home. Dominica had been cleared too, though slightly premature, she was fully developed; Ellis suggested it could be due to the fact that she had Alpha blood in her- she would most probably be a werewolf like her father.
The first day back at home, the Russo family was put through the ringer. Any time Dominica would cry, Spiraea would start to fuss and panic and then so would Max because he didn’t like it when the baby cried, so Vincent would have to calm three people down instead of one.
They had thought they nailed the parenting thing when they had adopted Max, but with a new born, and now two children in the house, the game had completely changed.
Spiraea had trouble nursing at first, which led to insecurity about her being a bad mother. Dominica would cry because she was hungry, and then Spiraea would cry because she wouldn’t eat; it took some time but eventually they found their way.
They found that Max was quite good at calming Dominica, she had taken well to him and he would play with her whenever he wasn’t following Vincent about. He was also very attentive to his mothers needs too, like whenever she needed to cook he would occupy Dominica if Vincent wasn’t there to. It was clear to both Vincent and Spiraea that Max was growing to be a very empathetic boy, and he would make a wonderful leader when his time came.
After a long day, dealing with the pack, and looking after two children, both Spiraea and Vincent would be much to tired to do anything else. Vincent let out a groan, just as Spiraea cracked opened her eyes to the sound of Dominica crying.
Spiraea moved to get up, but Vincent stopped her. “I’ll go.”
She watched his large frame as he rose, his cotton clad back to her as he left the room. She listened as the sound of the crying stopped, and the sound of Vincents soft cooing could be heard over the baby monitor. Spiraea chuckled, hiding a grin in her hands; she loved that even now, he could do the smallest things and it would make her blush, and he didn’t even know it.
She crawled out of bed, creeping over to the small room opposite theirs where they had installed a new nursery. She leaned against the doorframe, biting her thumb in an attempt not to laugh, or swoon (she wasn’t sure which) as she took the scene before her.
Vincent was sat in the rocking chair, which looked somewhat dwarfed by his size, holding their tiny infant who was even smaller by comparison. He was feeding her with a bottle, which Spiraea had expressed before she went to lay down.
Once Nica was done, he burped her and began to rock her back to sleep; it was only when he started to sing to her gently did Spiraea finally let out something between a breathy laugh and a sigh, did he see her in the doorway.
He sent her one of his dashing smirks, the one that he knew she loved, the one that held a promise for later. It made Spiraea’s knees weak, and she couldn’t help but bite her lip in love and anticipation.
It didn’t take very long for Dominica to fall back to sleep. The man pressed a gentle kiss to her head, right on top the little bed of curls before putting her back down into her crib gently. The sight took Spiraea back to when they had brought Max home, Vincent had been just as gentle and mindful with their son as he was with their daughter.
They both fell back into bed, Vincent attacking Spiraea with kisses, on her forehead, cheeks, nose, chin then finally soft and sweet against her lips. His lips grew fiercer, more frantic as their need began to grow.
“I love you, little one. Let me show you how much I love you...”
“Vincent,” Spiraea rasped between his kisses. “Please.”
He kissed her deeply, and Goddess knew he had missed this- finding time to be with each other with one child was difficult, worse yet now that they had two.
His hands began to wander, tracing her form with the reverence of a man in worship. Spiraea sighed at the feeling of his finger tips over the fabric of her pyjama top, waiting for him to make the next move. He reached her hips, hand flexing gently against her, fingers hooking into the waistband of her leggings and her underwear.
Spiraea waited eagerly for him to do exactly what they both wanted, both needed, but it did not come. The sound of soft footsteps padding against the floor, and their bedroom door creaking open caught both their attention. Spiraea let out a small chuckle at Vincents ‘oh goddess’ moment; he pulled away to lie beside his wife looking over at their son by the door.
“What’s the matter baby boy?” Spiraea called over to him in that warm motherly tone she had come to perfect.
“I had a bad dream.”
Vincent turned on the small lamp beside their bed, before patting the space between him and his mate. Max didn’t hesitate to climb onto the huge bed to sit between his parents.
“Do you want to tell us what was this bad dream about?” Vincent prodded gently, Spiraea shot him a look to tell him that he was stepping into dangerous territory with his question.
“I dreamt you didn’t want me anymore, ’cuz now you have Nica, ’cuz I’m not your baby.”
Spiraea couldn’t help the gasp that left her, tears burning her eyes. “Who told you that? Why would you think that?”
“Because I don’t look like you or daddy.” Max sniffled, either holding back tears from seeing his mother upset or still calming down from his previous crying. Sometimes he was far too smart for his own good.
“You are our baby and we will always want you.” Vincent sat the small boy in his lap, looking at him with the most sincere he had. Goddess knows that if he only looked over to Spiraea’s tear streaked face, he would probably start crying too.
He wondered if she was having the same thoughts as him- wondering if they were bad parents, or weren’t looking after Max right. He knew they were unfounded doubts, but he couldn’t help but think them anyway. He had no choice but to tell his son exactly what he believed and hope that Max believed him too.
“We chose you to be our baby. Just because we got you in a different way than we got Nica doesn’t make you any less a Russo.”
“We love you so much, you are our greatest joy. You’re an amazing son, and now an amazing older brother. You were meant to be a part of this family just as the Moon Goddess meant for us all to have mates.” Spiraea kissed the top of his head gently.
“I’m sorry, I love you daddy.” Max hugged Vincent tightly, clutching his t-shirt in his fists and taking in the familiar and comforting scent of his father.
“I love you too little Alpha.” Vincent ruffled Max’s hair, pressing a kiss there before the child crawled away from him and over to Spiraea to do the same, offering her a hug and a kiss.
“Don’t cry mummy, I love you too.”
“I love you too baby.” Spiraea sniffled, kissing his cheek gently.
The three of them snuggled together under the warm comforter. Max’s soft snores filled the quiet room whilst Vincent’s fingers intertwined with hers in a silent comfort. It felt almost like a protective cocoon. There they were safe, loved and nothing could hurt them. Spiraea thanked the Moon Goddess, though she was not a believer, for giving her Vincent and by extension all the things that had come from that- good or bad.
She knew that whatever came their way, they would overcome as long as they had each other. She was truly happy; for the first time she did not have to dream of a better tomorrow, it was already here. In fact, she could not imagine a better tomorrow because she had everything that she needed and everything that she could ever want.
She had found in Vincent more than just love, she had found her family. She had found her peace.
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