Chapter 24 - Reunions
After I finally got over my stubborn stupidity, my emotions leveled out.
Then Laura and I had a long conversation. Specifically about all of the up and down drama that had happened, her boys part in it, and my part in it. For all of a few minutes, I thought that I was an eighteen-year-old adult. Then I realized that I was an eighteen-year-old kind of adult who had been stunted like hell and had a lot of growing to do.
Laura told me that she was waiting for the three of us to move past what happened, knowing that it wouldn’t take long, before pulling her mom card on all of us. She still fully agreed that her sons deserved their punishment. Not because of the concern over my protection or any of that, but because of the way they specifically reacted to me about it. She said she wasn’t going to say anything to them because I had made my point and she was proud that I did so.
But now it was time for me to own up. She actually agreed that certain measures should be taken for my safety. And she made me look at everything that Damien had said, dissecting it really, and then taking away some of the panicked items and leaving only the reasonable ones. She pointed out that increased patrols and me not being away from trusted individuals was not unreasonable. And I had to admit, no they weren’t.
She also made sure that I, and separately her sons, knew that our timing couldn’t have been worse. Coming out of my heat, hormones are bad. Like throw a snickers at her and run bad. More so after a female’s first heat and with everything else happening, well, boom. So that was a lesson all three of us got. Be mindful of shifting moods and all that.
All of this was new to me. I had taken our heath classes but Luna Cecily never really went over this with me. I had been taught a huge load of crap by Alpha Mark, but he had also instilled the fear of, well, everything. It was made obvious really quick that they had hindered just as much as helped. And that had blown up in the worst way. Damien and Ian had messed up a few ways too, but my built-up anxiety had catapulted the situation past critical.
So after the rightly deserved lecture and some honest and needed mothering, I coughed up my own apology. To their credit, they immediately accepted it. They still wanted to make sure security was higher and even though I was still not a fan of feeling overly guarded and trapped, I bowed out of arguing.
After that, the rest of the week went by in a blur. I had spent every day from sunup to sundown planning for this stupid party. At this point I was ready to say fuck it, trick them into marking me, and pretend I didn’t know any better. I was anxious as all hell about the whole thing and was making myself physically sick over it.
I had been avoiding or hidden from the spotlight my entire life. Taught to stay the hell away from it in fact. This was going against everything that had been hammered into me and I was not doing a very good job and building a bridge and getting over it.
“You need to calm down. There is no reason to get this worked up over a simple ceremony.” Tori was currently holding my hair as I threw up my lunch. Scolding me for being nervous the whole time. “Seriously, you’ve never been that shy about meeting people, and you’re only going to be ‘on stage’ for like five minutes. What’s the deal.”
“Meeting people isn’t the problem. Okay it kind of is. Meeting a few people at a time is one thing, being put on blast in front of a whole pack is another. And it’s just the last few days I’ve been feeling like this.” Tori had been caring for me each time I got sick. I made her swear not to tell Kota or my mates either. Those two were already ridiculous about making sure I was perfectly okay in every way. I didn’t want to see how they’d act if they thought I was over stressing myself. Yesterday I stubbed my toe on the table after breakfast. You would have though I tore it off and was going to die, based on the way they reacted.
Laura had warned me that it would likely get pretty bad, but I didn’t think it was going to be as extreme as it was. I was hoping that it was a bit of bluster.
I’d learned later that when she said she was practically attached to Charles hip by the time her ceremony came, she wasn’t even kidding. Charles had come by the other day to apologize for ratting me out. He felt a bit bad that he had unintentionally pushed the snowball down the already built-up hill. He then tried to help his boys by explaining the same thing Laura had about possessiveness, hormones, and all that.
Then he decided to give me a bit more of his and Laura’s marking story. She had left out the part about how, until he had marked her, on the day of their ceremony he all but carried her across to the podium. Wouldn’t let her be alone to even go to the damn bathroom. Utterly ridiculous I tell you. And sadly his sons seemed to be following that same path.
“Babe, are you sure that this isn’t... something else?” Tori was handing me a second bottle of water. I had downed the first to get the taste out of my mouth. “I mean it’s not normal to be this sick over nerves. I mean nothing about you is ever normal, but this is way past normal.”
“What do you mean?”
“Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”
My jaw dropped. “That’s not possible, they haven’t marked me yet. And my heat was only a week ago.” It was very rare that a female could get pregnant without being marked. Frankly, that was probably a good thing. We tended to be pretty sexual creatures and not everyone had my determination to wait for my mate. Case in point, my ex. Could I really call him an ex since we never even tried. Who cares.
Anyway, if we procreated that easily, well, there would be a hell of a lot more wolf teen pregnancies. That was not an MTV series we needed. Shivers.
“Okay... so you know how you don’t believe that you’re really special or anything even though you’re totes intelligent as hell most days and really, really good at diffusing situations outside your own?” And now I was glaring at her. Not just because I hated this topic but she had to rub it in about everything else.
After Laura got to me, I told Tori the start to finish about what had happened from my perspective. I wasn’t surprised to find out that neither Damien nor Ian had said anything outside of what they did to piss me off. I was surprised to find that Tori was a bit perturbed with me though. I secretly think Kota had gotten to her and she was seeing their point of view. She let it go but little bits like this were her dig.
“What if you don’t need to be marked? Take a test. You have all the symptoms and we all know damn well that you’ve been going at it with your mates.” I had been glaring at her before, not speaking, because of the other comments. Now I was glaring for another reason.
“What, you totally smell like them...in a good way.”
Oh shit! Not to the pregnancy part, I’m still not believing that. I mean it’s only been like a week. I was kind of freaking out about the smell thing. Because the best way to scent someone is with bodily fluids...
I was probably as red as a tomato after I remembered that lovely fact. Everyone I had been even remotely near probably knew just how much we’d been ‘going at it’. Including their parents. Again, I don’t exactly like the spotlight and that’s just outright embarrassing. I told her that too.
“Oh stop. No one in their right mind would say a damn thing about it. Not like we all don’t have that same issue. Now back to that test.” She whipped out a pregnancy test and slung it at me. I held back asking just where the hell she had gotten that so fast and exactly how long she had thought this. Seriously it had only been like a week!
“Do you really think this is necessary?”
“I can’t hear a heartbeat yet, but given that you couldn’t possibly be far enough along for any of the rest of us to hear that, this is really the only other way to know...” She trailed off and started tapping her chin. I could see the wheels turning in her head, which was normally a bad sign. Tori with an idea was scary at best. At worst. Run.
“Or we could call your mates over, explain my theory, and they can sniff you up and down or see if they can hear something.”
I visibly gulped. Males could always tell if their female was pregnant, maybe not right away, but it wouldn’t take long after a mate got pregnant that they would be able to tell. Something about how that intimate scent we give off to each other changes. That and males generally have slightly better hearing than females, so that itty bitty flutter of a heartbeat could be heard. Werewolf pregnancies were only about six month long versus a human’s nine too. Meaning development was quicker.
There were two huge problems with her idea. One, if I was actually pregnant, like she said, I wouldn’t far enough along in my opinion. Even my mates may not be able to tell. Scent changes when our bodies start to and this soon, it would have barely started. And two, if I was pregnant and those two brutes found out before I was marked, I wouldn’t be left alone. It was killing them to let me be until the ceremony tonight as is.
I love them, I really do. But after the stubbed toe ordeal, I was afraid they weren’t going to let me walk around on my own feet anymore. They had barely let it just be Tori and I in this room.
“Fine, I’ll take the damn test. No matter what the outcome is though, don’t you dare say a single damn word.” I made her pinky promise to keep everything to herself, then went to pee on that stupid stick.
You know how when you’re waiting for something, it always takes longer. I’m pretty sure it had been an hour, maybe three, by the time the test was ready to be read. I just kept thinking to myself that this is stupid and can’t be real. Then I’d think, what if it is real? Then there was another reason to keep me very guarded, which scared me. Then I went back to remembering Damien and Ian’s promise that they wouldn’t just stick random guards directly on me. No they’d rather be stuck to me themselves. Hornballs.
“Do you want to read it or do you want me to.” Tori was so excited about this, even if I didn’t say she could, she would probably jack the damn thing to look herself. The suspense was probably literally killing her.
“You can...” I’m too anxious to read that damn thing. It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea, I’m just...I don’t know, scared? I’m already abnormal enough, why not add super womb to it all.
“Well, the good news is you can stop getting upset about people thinking you’re special...” She trailed off and I was about to smack her and ask what that meant, then she finally finished the thought. “Because baby cakes you’re making a baby cake.”
Ya she was far too happy about that. There were plenty more names she thought up for me and I had to remind her of her promise to shut up. Then I had to promise that I would tell Damien and Ian after the marking ceremony. She made sure to threaten me severely, knowing how closeted I was. Eventually, we went back to the work at hand. Which was basically just getting me ready.
All the food was already outside as the Omegas had gotten warriors to do the dirty work of carrying it all. The bonfire was ready to be lit, Charles and Laura were going over everything for the 100th time, and my mates were somewhere outside, making sure everything was ready. Or freaking out because I wasn’t plastered to one of them. One of the two if not both was sure to be accurate.
“Alright love bug, you ready to do this?” Tori got to be in charge of basically the management of me and was more than loving it. Since I can’t mind link anyone until I’m part of the pack, which would be by initiation or marking, she gets to be my living walkie talkie service. Also my guard in lieu of my mates.
The plan is that Damien and Ian will ‘walk’ around with me as I meet as many of the pack members as possible before the moon starts to rise. Considering their pack is quite large, I likely won’t meet everyone before then, but I had met quite a few on the little walks Tori and I had gone on. Once the moon rises, we go to the podium so they can officially announce me to anyone we hadn’t talked to as their mate and Luna, then mark me. Then I get to mark them. After that, it’s party time for the pack. And hopefully some damn rest for me.
Tori opened the door for me and I walked down only to be immediately greeted by Damien and Ian. They both looked like they were going to throw me over their shoulder and cave man me around. Not a chance boys, not a chance.
“Don’t even think about it.” I kept a smile up as I said it, not wanting any more attention than necessary.
Damien leaned in to kiss me and then whispered, “We have a surprise for you.”
“Wha...” Before I could finish asking what they had done, I was tackle hugged by an older, but petite woman.
“Catherine, you’re going to squish her.” I knew that voice. It was one I hadn’t heard since I was six years old.
Instead of letting me go, my mother squeezed me tighter. My father joined her and I turned into a bawling mess. I’d love to blame it on hormones that I’m not admitting to but I know that’s not it. Also, I’m not even going to talk about that right now. Instead, we stood there crying and hugging for some time.
“So, we still need to have Irie meet the pack members.” I could see Damien trying to weasel in between my dad and I, unsuccessfully I might add. Charles and Laura are laughing at him from the side lines while Ian seems baffled as far as what to do. Or maybe he’s just smart and staying away from the emotional mess that is the three of us. I mean, I could only imagine how insane it looked.
I squeeze my mother a bit more before I let go and step back a bit. I really didn’t want to leave them but I also wanted to get this over with so I could get back. “He’s right, I kinda have a job to do right now. Can you stay a bit?”
“We’ll be here as long as you want us to be.” My father responds. “Although, you could delay this you know. I haven’t vetted your supposed mates yet.” I wasn’t sure what to say. I kind of wanted to call him out on being funny but thought better of it. He was always serious when I was young and I doubted that changed. He might actually try to stop this...
Damien swept in and tucked me into his side as Ian comes to stand on the other side of me. Already putting their stance on his comment right there on the table.
“We’ll be sure that you get to spend as much time as you want together, no need to delay anything. Right sweetheart?” Sheer panic was obvious in his voice.
I just giggled at them all. “That’s enough now. We really do have to start mingling.” I gave my mother and father another hug and made triple sure that they would in fact still be around after the ceremony. Then made sure they knew I wanted and was more than happy to do this.
Damien, Ian, and I then continue to walk around and meet pack members. I was introduced to hundreds of them in the span of a few hours and was completely exhausted by the time the moon was rising and we started walking to the podium. I had thought I had met a lot of them before. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
“Ready baby girl...” Ian asked as he and Damien clutched my hands.
“Yes.” No need for a more complicated answer, I was ready. I wanted to proudly wear their mark, to officially be theirs and only theirs. Also, I couldn’t think about everything else happing right now. Between my parents, a pup, and this...I needed to get one thing out of the way here. Maybe then my nerves would calm, at least a bit.
We stood in front of the entire pack, everyone watching and listening as Damien started speaking.
“As you are all aware, Ian and I have been searching for our mates for a very long time. We were prepared to be your Alpha and your Beta once one of us found our mate. As most of you know by now, instead of finding mates, the Goddess blessed us with your new Luna, who is not only mine but Ian’s mate as well. As of today, with the marking of our shared Luna, we will officially and until our heir takes over, stay your Alphas. Both of us, together.”
Cheers erupted from the pack as Damien and Ian positioned themselves at my back and front. “Sweetheart, we will both mark you at the same time. Hold onto us if you need to.”
I’m not ashamed to say that I was pretty aroused at this point. I kept reminding myself that it was natural. I held onto Damien’s bicep holding my right side and Ian’s arm snaked around from the left, then braced myself as I felt their canines extend and scrape at my neck.
“Oh what the absolute fuck now!”