The Moon Baby

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Chapter 32 - Face the Music

I had a dream. Well, really I had several of them.

After I had been stuffed full of food, at least enough to satisfy Laura, she had me lay down to rest some more. I woke up a few hours after that and again, she had me eat and then go back to bed. She was taking the doctor’s recommendations pretty seriously.

Each time I fell back asleep, I dreamt of a few different things.

The first was that I was still back in that little house, with Riley. That was more of a nightmare at first because all she was doing was talking about her and Ian. In that dream I snatched her by hair and threw her around the small place. It might have started on a nightmare but it ended with me beating her to death. I really didn’t like that dream, even if I was the winner in it.

The second was that Riley had never come to take me. Instead, it was that Mark and Daniel had somehow won over the counsel into thinking that I needed to spend time with Daniel. In this one, I was locked up in a tower back in MeadowEdge and only talked to him. There wasn’t even a tower in that pack, but it was still the point. Firm nightmare all the way.

The last dream I had was of just waking up to Damien and Ian. Laying in our bed, me sandwiched between them. Both of them in some way cupping my very extended stomach. That was the dream I liked the most.

But then someone decided it was time to wake me up.

That someone was basically prodding at my shoulder. At least they didn’t shake me, but I was still really sore. I was so tired and groggy that I really didn’t want to open my eyes. Plus, I wanted back to my nice little dream world.

“Irie.” Some more prodding occurred which finally made me groan. It wasn’t as much that it hurt because whomever it was, was being really gentle. But I really didn’t want to wake up.

“Irie, baby girl, can you wake up.” Ian!

I started opening my eyes once I realized who was trying to get me awake. I was really only trying to open one at a time again. But once I did, I saw him sitting on the bed, hovering over me with Damien right next to him. It wasn’t exactly like the dream, but they were both here. Of the many big differences, one of the most easy to recognize was that both of them looked like crap. At least that made three of us.

“Hi.” Sue me if you want, I really couldn’t think of what more to say. I was very happy to see them, but it had been a long few days. And even though I am very happy to see them, seeing Ian in front of me reminded me that there was a small matter of a very unstable woman and her insanity that we needed to discuss.

No one likes having to discuss their ex. But when said ex kidnaps, drugs, and beats the crap out of you, you can’t really avoid needing to discuss the whole thing. I didn’t really have the energy to deal with that right now, but I knew we were going to have to. It wasn’t like that whole experience was one of the dreams I just woke up from.

“Sweetheart, mom gave us a really short rundown of what happened since we left and then ran to get you some more food. Your mom and Tori ran out with her in search of a few more things for you. We’re going to help you sit up okay?” I nod at him and they help me get situated. The pain in my back is far less that it was when I got back, but I’m still sore regardless.

Laura came in just after I got comfortable and sat a tray in front of me. Well, she really sat several things in front of me and looked ready to start her speech again. I found out after trying to stop her before, just don’t.

“The doctor said light foods were going to be your best friend today. And water. Plenty of nutrients, hydration, and ease on your stomach.” I’d heard parts of that already, but I had assumed previously that she was saying it for a reason besides just me listening. Usually for the others in the room.

I started eating but stopped after a few minutes, all of them are watching me. Everyone. Every eye in the room was watching me and it was creepy as hell.

“Is there a reason that you’re all staring at me like I’m going to vanish if you look away? I promise I’m not going to. At least as long as I have a choice in the matter.”

Laura says that’s her cue to leave and gives me a kiss on the forehead. Meanwhile, Damien and Ian start sputtering about how they couldn’t believe that Riley could have made it past all the guards and defenses both to get in and to get out. My commentary pushed this conversation right out and in front of us.

Their whole deal goes on for a while. Most of it was them sputtering, about how any of it could have happened and how they don’t ever want to lose me again.

“Just stop. Riley is insane. I think anyone could figure that out at this point. The big question I have is how much do you actually know about her? Did you know she both found and lost her mate?” Both of them look at me wide eyed, then shake their heads. That’s probably the biggest impact to her mental state. My question really is, how did she get through it without anyone noticing what happened. Seriously, how the hell did no one notice There had to be signs.

“Did anyone ever notice anything wrong with her? Ever?”

Ian spoke up first. “I remember years ago, just after she really joined the ranks, she was acting funny for a bit. No one really mentioned it being a problem so I think most of us thought that it was a small case of depression because she hadn’t found her mate.”

“Ian and I headed a lot of the new trainings at that point. Dad was still in charge so a lot of our time was spent there. I think that might be where she first attached herself to us.”

I sighed. Audibly.

“I’ve never known anyone who has lost their mate so young. Maybe she survived because her mate died before they had marked and mated with each other or because they hadn’t had time to form a bond. I don’t know and I don’t think we’d ever figure that out. But her mental state was pretty obviously impacted. She also didn’t attach herself to both of you, mainly just Ian.” I was looking between them and watched the slew of emotions. Damien’s face showed a bit of confusion while Ian’s just showed guilt.

“I, I guess it was because I was nice and probably just really supportive of her. Since we hadn’t found our mate and thought that was why she was down, I understood where I thought her feelings were coming from.”

I know I need to ask the harder question about everything but Goddess I know it’s going to be bad. Deciding to rip off the band aid, I pushed forward.

“So you were too absorbed in being supporting to someone who you thought was going through what you were to see that there was really something else going on. Considering her issues with me from the get-go, I can only assume that up until I came along, the only female that occupied your bed here was either Riley, or she never saw any others, right?” I hate doing it, but I had to outright direct it to Ian.

It was painfully obvious before that neither of them wanted to talk about past relations. I got that and didn’t have a problem with it. Except this one had slapped us right in the face. And he was still trying to not talk about it.

Ian’s guilty face got worse but Damien was ready to defend them both. “We never made any type of show about any female we spent time with. We never wanted anyone to think that our engagements with them were more than what they were.”

“That’s great, but Riley obviously thought it was way more. She described how much she had dug and went out of her way to learn about what being a Luna was about. Spending time with your mom, all the seasoned pack members, trainers. Did that not set off any warning flags with anyone, ever?”

“We didn’t know she had gone that far.” Ian said.

“You know, I could understand not seeing it, all things considering, but how about the level of investment she had with you?” I stopped for a moment, just thinking about how to go about this. I was not gaming to be a brat here but I honestly felt that I deserved to vent my feelings a bit. Finally I just said hell and here we go.

“Ian, she was more than happy to describe to me, in what I should say was very, very graphic detail, every aspect of your relationship with her. I mean every, single, bit, of the relationship.” I had no intention of trying to hurt him, I really didn’t. I also already gleaned from the conversation that they had no idea just how far Riley really had gone with her infatuation. And given how this was going so far, I knew Laura hadn’t spoken to them. It was better that we talked first, instead of her getting to them. I was sure she was going to have words with them eventually regardless.

“I, I don’t know what to say.” Goddess, exactly what I was trying not to do was happening. He looked worse than when I woke up. I could feel his own misery over all of this just by the look on his face.

“Me neither. Even in hindsight, I don’t know if any of the actions I saw were really anything I would have been concerned about. I guess this is a good lesson about watching certain behaviors with our people.” Damien was just as sad looking but not near as down as Ian was.

I didn’t reply but continued eating and left us all in a palpable silence for a few minutes. I don’t want them hurting, but I know I was causing them pain right now. It wasn’t my intention and I knew I had to choose my words carefully so I don’t make this situation worse. I had really wanted to just explain what she said to me and get out a little of my frustration. At the same time, I knew that it was coming out like I was blaming them for her actions. I really didn’t, no matter how it sounded.

Crazy people have unlimited crazy currency to buy more crazy with. And Riley was loaded.

Finally I set everything down and took a breath. “Older wolves are more prepared when their mates pass and generally die shortly after if not damn near right after their mate. I’ve seen it several times when I helped at the clinic in MeadowEdge. Being as young as she is, even if it’s older than me, she hasn’t had the time to mentally prepare for such an experience. She was well spoken and, although spiteful, was well behaved in front of people. She held the respect of her peers; I could see it when we ate together. Even when there was a debate about something. I’m sure it’s not just you that feels fooled by her. I know it sounds like I’m saying you should have known better but that isn’t my intention. I’m sorry. This whole thing was just, well, it was both a mentally and physically painful. I don’t know where to go from here.”

I think I did that right.

“I do. We are going to help you relax and heal, then spoil the shit out of you. Once you’re feeling better, we’re going to make amends for our errant ways and thank you properly for coming back to us.” Damien had moved to the other side of the bed and picked up my hand. He was massaging it while going into detail about how they were going to pamper me. Don’t get me wrong, that was nice, but not exactly what I was going for.

“I meant about...”

“I know what you meant. As far as what are we going to do about Riley, that isn’t for us to decide.” He stopped for a moment and I looked directly at him. “She will be tried by the senior pack members today and whatever sentence they feel necessary will be discussed with the counsel given her acts outside the pack as well. If there is an agreement, the punishment will be dealt out afterwards.” I was confused and I think he knew it. I thought it was their responsibility, as the pack Alphas, to pass judgement.

“Because her crimes are directly and, well, were personally impactful to the three of us, it is not fair that we hear her crimes and testimony, then pass judgement. We’re biased. No matter what, justice has to be fair. On top of that, she killed some wolves while she was orchestrating this thing. The counsel has anything that they’ve found on those issues, Kota will provide the details as we know them, Mark and Daniel are here to give their testimony as well, and she will be allowed to say her peace.”

“Given all the evidence against her, my bet is on death, but the benefit to her is that she has trained for a long time with the wolves that are deciding her fate. They could pass a sentence of long-distance banishment, but I doubt it. Even if they did, the counsel would then be allowed to pick her up and deal with her.” Ian nervously picked up my other hand, giving his own massage to my limb. “If the sentence is death, Damien and I will carry out the sentence as her previous and most recent Alphas.”

“So wait, Mark and Daniel are still here? And what should we do while we wait?”

“Yes to your first question. I think as part of their way to make amends for their wrong doings, or just being assholes, they want to do what is right. For the second question, as I said, we are all going to relax. If you feel up for it, we’re going to help you into the bath. If you’d rather we can continue this massage before that or after.” Damien was working his way up my arm. Carefully.

“The bath would probably be nice first, but...” I was still sore and the bath sounded very nice. But I didn’t know how bad my back looked. I hadn’t seen and although I know my wolf was stronger than when we first woke up, I didn’t know how much she had helped. Wolf healing was pretty speedy when we were healthy, but since I was still achy, I knew I hadn’t bounced back that fast.

“What’s wrong baby girl?”

“I don’t want you to freak out if you see...”

“Mom and the doctor already gave us a pretty detailed description of your condition when you got back. Part of the evidence against Riley are the pictures that the doctor took.” I didn’t know that pictures were taken and both of them immediately jumped to explain that it was only of any damage she did. Nothing else had gotten captured by a camera.

Once I was a bit less frantic about that, Ian had picked me up and was walking to the bathroom and Damien continued the explanation. “That was one of the many reasons that we absolutely couldn’t be part of her trial. We both went a little ballistic and Dad had to calm us down. Lucky for Riley’s ass, she was already in the cells. If she hadn’t been, it probably wouldn’t have ended well.”

I nodded and allowed them both to undress and help me into the tub. It wasn’t the same as the previous times they had bathed with me. They were so careful with each and every touch, almost like I would break.

They continued that as they helped get me clean and tried to get me to relax. I was down for some pampering so I let that continue. I did get a bit huffy with them carrying me because I knew I could walk.

They got me back into bed and assured me that the healing was already picking up, based on the look of everything, then climbed in on either side of me.

“I won’t fall apart if you cuddle or hug me you know. I will tell you if anything hurts.”

Tough enough to handle this and heal or not, I wanted to be hugged and cuddled right now and with that permission, they scooted in and held me between them. They were still pretty careful about their movements but having their arms around me made me feel safe again. That’s all I wanted right now.

“This doesn’t change anything you know.” They both tensed up, thinking I was going to say something else they didn’t want to hear. “I love you, both of you. After everything I’ve been through, I’ll be damned if I let some nut job take that away from us.”

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