The Moon Baby

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Chapter 36 - Ready or Not

I had to admit, once they put their mind to the idea of us working together, there was really no comparison. They spent quite a bit of time showing me, very thoroughly I might add, just how dedicated they were to us working together. And listening to me. They respected my line in the sand while at the same time leaving me feeling like Jell-O.

Unfortunately, after that, we had to sit down and actually discuss how we were going to handle the next few weeks. As much as I enjoyed our time, hiding in our room, bonding. That wasn’t something that we could do until the ceremony. There was a pack to care for after all. Plus, I would get really hungry.

All three of us knew and outright acknowledged that the bond and my lack of being marked would weigh on their wolves until the next full moon. We all had to accept that this was at least partially why they continually needed to touch me in public. Well, they liked touching me in private too, but the point was they wanted to show I was theirs.

I was going to rue the moment when I had to hear I told you so from Laura. I was not looking forward to seeing just how bad it would get. She really had warned me...

In some small attempt to mitigate their need to rut me on the dining room floor, potentially together, I conceded that them touching me in public was permissible; however, I set limits. One being that tongues didn’t belong down my throat, or on other body parts for that matter. The other was that no playing with me at the dinner table.

I had to put that particular rule down after day one of not swatting off touching. Both Damien and Ian’s hands just casually happened to start drifting during dinner. They didn’t just stay on a leg either. That, I could have been okay with and honestly figured would happen. However, at one point one of their hands ended up my dress and into my underwear while the other’s hand had moved and was climbing up my back. I am not an exhibitionist, or at least I don’t think I am. But, I did have to admit that it was kind of exhilarating.

At least it was up until I remembered, and by remembered I mean looked forward and saw that Daniel and our fathers were eating with us. So I ended that little fun spell right them and ended up pinching them both. They made it up to me later while I apologized for pinching them.

Daniel ended up asking to speak with the three of us the next day. I had feared the worst but it turned out he only wanted to tell us that it was understandable that they wanted to be touchy with me and that it wasn’t going to hurt his feelings. He explained that Charles and dad had been teaching him how to control his emotions and reactions. Trying to help him understand how to handle situations like the leader he would need to be. Those lessons were helping him deal with seeing the relationship I had with my mates.

I hadn’t considered Daniel my mate in any regard since before I actually left MeadowEdge. It had never felt right and part of me had wondered for a long time about mom’s theory. The one where Alphas around my age would be setup to be my mate, all of them. Given the feelings I had about Daniel versus the ones with Damien and Ian, I had my own theory. Mine was that although I might be setup to be an optional mate to those around my age, there was a true mating regardless.

I never felt the same tingles with Daniel, and I had shook his hand and even given him a hug recently. In full view and with my mates’ permission of course. I had also never felt the longing to be with him the same way I did them. I didn’t deny that a bond existed, but I did feel that Damien and Ian were always meant to be my mates. Daniel had just come across me first.

I talked to mom about my theory, to see what she thought. Since she had done so much research around the subject, she was as close to an expert as there way. She had always admitted that her theories were only that, theories. But she didn’t sweep mine under the rug.

She did tell me though, that had the dangers not been present when I was younger, I would have stayed in the pack. And if that course had been the one I took, I would have met Damien and Ian years ago and continued to see them. Because RiverRun had always been an ally to Moonlight. That was the reason they didn’t hide me here because it would have been obvious. I may have cursed that a bit but got over it.

I told Daniel about my theory too. The intent was more to push that he likely had another true mate out there. He had also admitted that the bond he had felt before I left his pack was pitiful at best and had only lessened over time. It was evidentially barely there when he saw me at the first ceremony attempt and was basically nothing now.

To prepare himself in case there was really some remnant left, he had been working with Charles and dad on reactions as well. They had been basically taking steps to mentally prepare him so that his wolf didn’t go ballistic. Turns out with proper instruction, he wasn’t doing too bad.

Once we got over the road bumps, we settled into a decent routine over the next few weeks. We would all get up, eat breakfast together and then get ready for the day. There may or may not have been more than a few attempts to derail our routines each morning. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Once we finally get out of the room, I would spend at least a few hours with Damien and Ian, learning some of the pack politics, going over the annoying paperwork, and hearing any grievances that made it up to their office. Luckily, there wasn’t much of that last one. The pack operated exceptionally well.

I would also spend a few hours each day with Laura. She would go over the different things that she specifically did in her role as Luna. She knew that I may do things differently, but it was a start.

The two of us had also spent some time talking about she who shall not be named. That’s what Laura liked to call her. After I called her out for stealing that from Harry Potter, and the resulting laughter, she got down to why she wanted to talk about it. She, like her sons, had no clue what Riley was up to. Evidentially, her sneakiness level was... really, really sneaky. And now that it was out and understood what had happened, it left a really, really bad taste.

I had heard the same from several at this point. Nearly everyone in a leadership type position that should have noticed something was wrong, felt guilty that they didn’t. Most of them also felt a bit of humiliation that they were played by her. Ian and Damien swore that they didn’t say anything to anyone, but I got the feeling that someone had let something leak. You can’t tell me that everyone all the sudden figured out all the plotting that Riley had gone through.

I ended up meeting with several pack members, some individually, some in groups, to explain that I did not and would not harbor any feelings of resentment over the ordeal. No we did not sing Kumbaya while in a circle and outside of Laura getting teary, no, no one else got weepy or emotional. Well maybe I did once or twice but I was blaming hormones. And the fact that the pack members involved were so determined to prove that they were loyal.

The rest of my free time during the day, when I had it, was spent with Tori as we both got to know more about the pack. Our tours before were limited and it was mostly about learning the layout of the territory. So this time around, we actually visited several businesses and talked with everyone we could.

Damien and Ian had held a meeting to introduce me and explain when the marking would take place. That was the other reason I figured that word had gotten out. No one asked why the whole thing was delayed or what happened. They were all just really excited. They all also somehow found out that I was already pregnant.

So, we toured the businesses and really talked to our new pack. Of course we were escorted by guards because Damien and Ian were not leaving anything to chance. That only served to reinforce the fact that there was something special going on. Since we weren’t advertising the whole moon baby thing, it was easier to just admit that yes I was pregnant.

All the running around tired me out quite a bit, but it was also necessary. As long as I kept busy, I wouldn’t sit and over analyze or get anxious about the marking ceremony. I knew it was going to take a while before I got over my anxiety about being in front of people, being out in the open. Getting used to it a little at a time with the visits was helping though.

Damien and Ian made sure that I got nice massages and comfy cuddles every night though. And if I wasn’t too tired, sometimes more than cuddles. Between mornings at nights, we did have to be careful. It would be far too easy to get overly hot and heavy and almost had a few times. I was absolutely regretting this decision.

Finally, we were only a week away from the next full moon. It wasn’t an understatement that we had all been counting down the days. Everyone had a different reason for it and different reactions too.

Damien and Ian were anxious as hell to mark me. They wanted their marks shown proudly to everyone. Specifically to say, she’s ours. Can’t change possessive Alpha wolf no matter how hard you try. And yes, they need to be damn near attached to me had ramped up several notches.

Their parents were just anxious to have it over with. To have their sons mate secured in the pack. They couldn’t wait for the pack would have a marked Luna again and their legacy would continue on. Not that it wouldn’t, you know, considering I was already pregnant.

My parents were sticking around for however long they wanted. Damien and Ian had told them they had a free pass and could stay as long as they liked. Even if that meant forever. Poor males had no idea what they had done. My parents were excited to see me finally marked so that all of the fears they had held onto since I was born could be buried. And the free pass meant that there was no reason that they couldn’t go back and forth to see both their children.

My mother had another reason though too. She sincerely wanted to see if her theory was correct. The way she had mapped it out, with very little evidence mind you, was that once I was marked, Daniel would just move on. She honestly didn’t think he’d even have a reaction considering the built up of my bond with my mates and the deterioration of the one with him.

And because there couldn’t be enough anxious wolves around, we had to add in my brother. Aaron and I had been able to talk every few days and even had some video calls. Damien and Ian weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of me leaving the pack grounds until I was marked, so going to see him wasn’t really an option. We had too much to do here anyway. So that meant that we were just waiting for the marking, then they promised they would take me to see him. Aaron couldn’t come on his own before then anyway because he had his own duties to care for and hadn’t planned on leaving, so wasn’t prepared to do so.

And I of course just wanted this whole thing over with. Once the ceremony was over, there wouldn’t be any more crazy need to keep my origins under wraps. I wasn’t planning on screaming the truth, but I wouldn’t be afraid of anyone finding out either. I was actually excited about that.

The concept of finality was settling in on me. Being able to fully claim my males, come clean that I was pregnant to everyone, and just feel free. Those were all the things that kept me moving.

Laura, my mother, Tori, and I had started rearranging the ceremony details a few days before it was to occur. Of course, the Omegas had already been on top of getting all the food prep in order so there was very little to do. We commented only once about if everything was good to go. Nelly smacked my hand with a spoon and told me never to doubt her, ever again. Then she made me this amazing feast that made up for the spoon slap.

I reluctantly agreed that it would be nice to invite Mark and Cecily to the ceremony. After all, their son was already here anyway. I might have grumbled a bit about it when my parents mentioned it, but I still agreed. I was lamenting the whole idea that I should be warm and inviting.

The night before the ceremony was the worst. I had the jitters like none other.

I didn’t know if I was just nervous or what. The last ceremony had gone off without a hitch until Mark and Daniel showed up. And of course up until I was kidnapped. Ten more minutes and we wouldn’t even be doing this again.

“Don’t worry sweetheart. We have border patrols on high alert. Everyone knows to basically keep you in their sights all night. And frankly, there won’t be a single moment where we are not by your side. Attached to it really. I have no reason to believe that there is even anyone else who would attempt such a thing, but it would take an army to take you away this time.” Damien’s reassurance was appreciated, even though he was totally over preparing. Like really over prepared.

“Damien’s right you know. We are not leaving your side for any reason.”

“Oh really. And what about when I have to use the bathroom?” I may have been having a bit of fun with them lately. Trying to lighten the mood mostly.

“You don’t want to test how far I’m willing to go to ensure that we don’t lose you again.” Ian gave me a smirk and I wasn’t sure if I should be concerned about these lengths or not. I chose to forget that this part of the conversation ever happened because I wasn’t going to doubt him.

The next day went by so much quicker than it did last time and before I know it, I’m back up on stage with my mates. My parents and in-laws were in the crowd along with Mark and Cecily. Daniel had asked forgiveness for his absence, but in case of a freak out, he wanted to be locked away.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to repeat my speech from last month.” Damien starts off. “Suffice it to say, it’s been a difficult and interesting time for our pack. We’ve seen a lot since last time. I know everyone has been excited and I for one have been anxious for this since our last attempt. I promise this time, no interruptions.” There were several laughs from the crowd. And a few comments to get on with it.

“Before we complete this ceremony,” Ian pipes up and confuses me as to why he’s stalling. And of course he gives a dramatic pause before he continues. “we wanted to share some good news. Besides welcoming your Luna, officially, tonight. We will also be celebrating the next generation in RiverRun.”

Dirty rats. They didn’t tell me they’d be formally announcing this. I wasn’t sure if I expected to see confusion on faces or not. I knew most of the pack had an inkling but we hadn’t actually announced it. A few of the senior pack members already knew and were smiling ear to ear. They were probably the ones that had let the secret go in the first place.

“As some, or most of you probably know, our mate is already pregnant with our pup.” At least he didn’t draw it out any further or make it more complicated. Hoots and hollers of course rang out and then there was the wonderful comments like finally, they owned up to it. Damien and Ian let it go on for a few minutes then asked everyone to calm themselves, thanking them for the congratulations and cheers.

They both took up their positions, just like last time.

“Sorry to surprise you with that baby girl. We figured that it would be a great time to come clean. Plus, if there was anyone else out there thinking that it was a good idea to take you away, might as well scare them off.” Ian says from behind me.

“Are you ready sweetheart?” Then both have me steadied between them, waiting on my word.

“I’ve been ready. Let’s do this.”

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