I finish dicing the bell pepper in front of me to add to the salad for dinner. It is the last vegetable I am adding, so I reach out in my mind for my mate.
"Are you guys almost done?" I can sense he is sitting in his office upstairs, deep in discussion with Rowan.
"We are. Dinner?" I smile down at my salad bowl and grab it off the counter.
"Ready whenever you are." I feel him smile and stand. I focus back on what I am doing just in time to avoid stepping on April, Arrow's mini me.
"Hey sweetie, what are you doing?" She smiles up at me and raises her arms. I sigh but put the bowl down on the counter and scoop her up.
It is getting tougher to hold her now. She is the most adorable three year old, but she isn't exactly tiny anymore; And now with the extra bulk of my stomach....
I carry her out to the back patio. Mr. Cardinal - Vic as he insists- grabs her from me with a smile. I turn and head back to the kitchen for the food.
"You little munchkin!" He cries, tickling the little girl mercilessly.
Arrow springs up from the Garden, apparently hiding? I shake my head at her but she just waves her hand at me. Like usual, offering no explanation.
"Need help, Andy?"
"Thanks Row." She follows me back into the kitchen to grab plates and utensils.
"Are the boys coming down?"
"Right here, my love." Rowan sneaks up behind her and presses a sloppy kiss to her cheek. She squeals and wipes his slobber off.
Ryker laughs and comes up behind me, wrapping his arms around me. I sigh, content. He rests his hands on my little bump and our little boy kicks out at him.
"Woah little man!" He rubs my belly where the kick had landed. "Be nice to your mom."
"Hey, that was all for you." I tease. He smiles against my neck. I shiver as he presses a kiss against my mark.
"Ok you two, break it up!" Rowan jokes. I roll my eyes at him.
"As if you're any better." Ryker chuckles. Rowan winks at him before chasing after his mate who is struggling to get the door open with all the plates in her hands.
"How are you feeling?" Ryker whispers into my mind. I smile and squeeze his hand that is still resting on my belly.
"I'm good. Hungry."
"So let's go eat!" He cheers, dropping his arms from around me. I smile at him as he grabs the platter of chicken and sausage from the counter. I grab the bowl of salad and follow him out onto the patio.
I pause to watch my family as they all settle into their seats. Both of Ryker's dads are sitting at the far end of the table, smiling down at their eldest grandbaby who is chatting animatedly at them from his seat beside the former Alpha. Arrow had decided to name her son Evan to honour the first of our pack members that fell to protect me. He is barely two years older than April, but he is already looking more and more like his dad. Rowan is sitting beside him, helping his daughter to get her plate filled with whatever she points at. Arrow sits on her right, and she's smiling up at me. I smile back before stepping towards the table.
Ryker is already seated with the platter of meat in front of him.
"So I know what I'm eating," he jokes, "what about all of you?" I roll my eyes at him and the others laugh. I sink into my seat to his left and place the salad in the centre of the table.
Everyone starts digging into the food, talking quietly as they pass dishes back and forth. I smile and rest my hand on my belly, joy flitting through me as my son high-fives me. Ryker smiles at me, knowing what I am experiencing.
"Ok," he starts, calling everyone's attention, "thank you all for coming today. We thought it was important for us all to be together today, on our fifth anniversary." He pauses to smile at me and takes my hand. I roll my eyes at him, but the grin on my face can't help but to grow.
"To the love of my life... The mother of my child... The best part of my life. I love you more than anything. Thank you for being here, with me, through everything." He presses a kiss to my hand, and the same butterflies that I always feel when he looks at me flutter in my stomach. "To our future. May every day be better than the last." I lean forward and give him a soft kiss, and everyone at the table groans. We pull back with wide smiles.
"Now let's eat before the food gets cold!" Everyone cheers and starts eating. I settle back into my chair and just watch as I trace my hand back and forth over my swollen belly.
It is true that today is our five year wedding anniversary. But it is also ten years since we officially started dating, after the whole experience with Seth was finally completed. It had been a long, difficult road with lots of therapy, heartbreak and setbacks, but we had finally reached a good place.
Blake's betrayal to not only me, but werewolfs as a whole had shocked our community. It had taken a lot of time and effort to undo the hurt he had caused.
Everything from the moment I'd met Seth, to the moment I had ended their terror had been a scarring experience, but I had waded through it and come out the other side. I was stronger now, and nothing that life could throw at me would ever break me like they had tried to.
I think back on my life while I watch my family. The old wounds don't hurt as much, and happy memories greatly outweigh the bad. Happy tears I can't hold back start falling.
Arrow is the first to notice, and she wraps her arm around me.
"Are you ok?" I smile at her through my tears and take in a deep breath.
"I'm just.... really happy." She smiles at me
"Me too, Andy." She glances over at her family beside her who are all chatting animatedly. "Really really happy."
I glance over to my own mate, who is already smiling at me. He reaches over and wipes the tears from my cheeks, skimming his fingers back into my hair. I rest my cheek against his palm and I take in a deep breath.
Yeah, I am really really really happy.
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