Two Years Ago
“I think it’s time you give me a commitment.” Lia pouted as she shut my office door.
“Lia, we’ve been over this. We are casual. This is casual sex. I will only commit to my mate.” I reminded her as I shook my head.
“I know, but it’s different now. I’m not like those other girls. And we may not be mates, but I love you, and sometimes taking a chosen mate makes sense.” Lia smiled softly as she moved around my desk and pushed my chair back.
“What makes you think you are any different? And while I was born at night, it wasn’t last night. You don’t love me. You love sex and that I’m a Beta.” I scoffed.
Lia’s smile faltered for a moment, but she remained undeterred. She hopped onto my desk, tight-ass drinking by paperwork. Not the first time she’s been on my desk. Not the first time she has spread her legs either. Her little black dress rode up to show toned thighs and no panties. She came here with a plan to seduce me as if that would change my mind.
“There isn’t any reason I would take you or anyone as a chosen mate,” I said firmly as I started to push my chair back.
I had somewhere to be. It is my little sister’s birthday. I wanted to arrive on time for the party. My family was expecting me, and Delilah was home for a visit. She has been in Bloodmoon for months. I wanted to catch up and see what she learned in her summer program. It had better be good for her to decide to spend two more years there studying.
“I know one reason that you can’t argue against.” Lia smiled as she snatched my hand.
I went to pull away as she guided my hand under her dress. The moment my fingers brushed her skin, my office door opened. Delilah’s green eyes went wide, a rose-pink blush stained her cheeks, and her cupid’s bow lips parted in a gasp. She stammered an apology and rushed out before I could explain the situation.
“Damn it,” I growled and tried to yank my hand back.
“Alexander, ignore the little bitch and focus.” Lia huffed, tightening her grip on my hand.
“Do. Not. Call. Her. That.” I snarled, feeling Lucius coming forward.
“Focus.” Lia snarled back, forcing my hand against her pelvis.
I was ready to snap when I felt it—a fluttering heartbeat inside her. Lia is pregnant. How… I know how I’m a doctor, but I am always careful. I could say I was careful all I wanted, but it wouldn’t change the heartbeat in her womb. She is eight weeks, based on what my powers could assess. And I know in the window of conception, we had sex.
Fuck my life!
I rushed from my bed, chasing the sound of a wailing baby. From the cry, it sounded in distress, and I feared for the worse. I felt like I was in a haunted house or horror movie as I opened door after door in this endless hallway, only to find a dead end. There was only one door left. I ran as fast as my feet could carry me and threw the door open. I finally reached the crib, which was empty as I pulled back the blanket.
I sat up suddenly, and as my heart raced, I looked around the unfamiliar room in fear. I pressed my hand to my heart, willing it to stop. I reminded myself that there was no baby. Not here in this guest suite in Massachusetts. Not back home in Madonie. And not in my life. The baby was never mine.
‘Not to sound cruel, but GET OVER IT. That bitch lied to try and trap you.’ Lucius grumbled.
‘I know. Don’t you think I know that? It isn’t like I wanted her… I wanted…’ I sighed as I flopped back to the bed.
‘I know. You wanted the pup. If he had been ours, I would have too. But I would never want her. I won’t let you settle for anyone but our mate.’ Lucius sighed.
I sighed, knowing there was no way I was going back to sleep after that. I don’t even know why I started having these nightmares again. It made sense the first month or two after Cesare was born. I should have listened to my family when they told me to do a DNA test before he was born.
I fooled myself into trusting her because the timeline added up. Because I became attached to him. Months of build-up, of being alienated from friends and family, of everyone judging my decision to stand by Lia through the pregnancy, and possibly worse, of radio silence from Delilah.
The idea that Delilah stopped talking to me hurt more than my family being distant is unbelievable. But it is what it is. Even more than André, I had thought Delilah would be someone who wouldn’t judge me, that wouldn’t cut me out of her life like some cancer. I guess I was wrong. Three years of friendship went down the drain when she walked in on that scene. I could understand how she’d have misinterpreted what was happening, but she never let me explain.
After all those months of feeling like a leper in my family and pack, I thought his birth would change everything. It certainly changed, just not for the good. There was no denying he wasn’t mine. I could have shrugged off him having dark hair. Lia has black hair. I couldn’t find any rational explanation for the green streaks and the golden eyes indicating he was a hybrid.
Lia insisted he was mine repeatedly, saying he couldn’t be anyone else’s. To confirm it and shut her up, we did a test, and of course, there was zero chance I was the father. The fallout from it left me disgusted. She’d known how cautious I was about sex, never wanting to have a pup with anyone but my mate.
She’d sunk so low as to retrieve sperm from a used condom. Her plan failed because the fertility clinic she went to outside the pack ‘mixed up’ the sperm, and she never knew. I cut her out of my life after that night, but I know through other sources that the sketchy clinic she went to couldn’t find viable sperm in the ‘sample’ she provided and decided to use a sample they had on hand.
That wake-up call was a catalyst for me becoming celibate. I haven’t been with anyone since. Honestly, touching a woman makes my skin crawl, which is not helpful as I’m on this trip to build alliances and look for my mate. I’ve been introduced to so many unmated females in three dozen packs. They all bat their eyes and flirt while I’m choking back vomit and suppressing shudders of disgust.
Maybe I keep having these dreams because Regina is pregnant. This trip is causing my family to miss a lot of important moments. We were not there when Regina attended the ball, where she found out Ivan Furlan was her mate. A ball that Delilah attended and, as far as I know, Delilah didn’t find her mate. Though maybe she did, and no one considered telling me. I know she looked gorgeous in her dress, and a part of me hated every faceless male who even looked at her that night.
I groaned, pressing the heels of my palms into my eyes. I need to stop thinking about her. She hasn’t talked to me in over two years. I knew she had a crush on me, and other than that one mistletoe kiss over four years ago, I like to think I didn’t encourage it.
I thought we had built a friendship. I was wrong about her. She was just like every other girl. She got close to me, hoping for something more. Then when that conniving bitch told everyone we were dating and that she was pregnant with the future Madonie Beta heir, Delilah dropped out of my life.
I hadn’t realized how much of a fixture Delilah had become in my life till she was gone. I missed our phone calls that sometimes lasted hours. Sure, we mostly talked about plants and medicine. She was always interested in that, and medicine is my profession.
It wasn’t always work we talked about. We talked about our lives. I told Delilah things I hadn’t even told André. She had become a close friend and confidant. I thought it was mutual. She told me her dreams and things she hadn’t told her sisters or mine. We didn’t talk about anything sexual. I always steered our talks away from that, not wanting to cross a line.
I don’t know if we will ever return to that, but I still hope we can be friends again. When this trip ends, I can sit Delilah down and discuss things. I know she is back home, so it’s not like she can use living far away as an excuse to avoid me. Or at least I hope we have both grown and matured enough to have an honest conversation about it and move forward.
I was considering going back to bed if I could fall asleep after that nightmare when my cell phone started to blast ‘It’s Raining Men.’ I sighed, mentally reminding myself I should change André’s ringtone. It’s not like he could get ahold of my phone and change it back till I’m home. I quickly grabbed my phone as my gut said something must be wrong.
“You need to come home immediately,” André said before I even got a word of greeting out.
Well, I was right. Something must be wrong if André called me home with three months left of the trip.
My heart raced as I heard the bone-chilling cries of a baby. I threw back the covers and rushed out of my room. Where’s the crying coming from? I felt like I was in a haunted house or horror movie as I opened door after door in this endless hallway, only to find a dead end. There was only one door left. I ran as fast as my feet could carry me and threw the door open. I finally reached the crib, but it was a pool of blood as I pulled back the blanket. I sat up with a scream, my hands immediately reaching protectively to my abdomen. What did that dream mean? Are the babies okay? I moved my shirt higher and slowly ran my hands over my stomach, trying to feel each of them. I felt the faint kicks of babies A, B, and C. My heart was in my throat when I couldn’t feel Baby D. ‘Don’t start to panic. The doctor already said we have high blood pressure. Just remember what they said about being patient and doing something that usually stimulates movement.’ Helia reminded me. I nodded and tr
I knew that André and Darren had found a surrogate that met all their requirements in November. By December, she had successfully undergone IVF with an embryo fertilized by André and another by Darren. To the surprise of some, except medical professionals that understand how genetics can behave, both embryos divided, and the surrogate went from carrying two babies to two sets of identical twins. I haven’t kept tabs on the progress beyond what I’ve heard from conversations with André. I trust Annamaria to handle things. She’s an excellent obstetrician. I’d considered telling André to trust Annamaria regarding the surrogate’s care. However, the words died on my tongue when he told me the surrogate had suffered a placental abruption. Medically speaking, there isn’t anything Annamaria could do about it. She could only put the surrogate on bed rest, monitor the babies, and prescribe medicines to help the development of the babies to increase survival chances if it was to get worse and
Why did André call Alexander? Okay, I know why. With Alexander’s gift, there is a high chance he would be able to repair the placenta issue that caused the bleeding and put Baby D in danger. And I wouldn’t dare try to put my comfort over the health and safety of these babies. It’s just, why did it have to be Alexander? It would have been easier on me if he’d asked Alec to recall Damon. It’s been over two years since I’ve seen him. I thought I’d changed. I thought that I’d overcome this crush. Yet the butterflies were back when André called him. And I know these aren’t the butterfly feelings I get when the babies move. Nope, this feeling is reserved only for Alexander Petridis. I both love and hate it. How can he still have such power over me? I may have taken the suggestions of my Bloodmoon friends and gotten Alexander out of my system by dating. It isn’t like there was a lack of cute males between Bloodmoon and Silverclaw. However, many were apprehensive about flirting with me. I
‘Get it the FUCK together, Alexander!’ Lucius growled. ‘Don’t you think I would if it were that easy?’ I growled back as I held the side of the garage for support. I know he’s pissed at me. I’m pissed at myself. But this isn’t something I have control over. It’s not like I wanted to have this reaction to Delilah, let alone to her being my mate. Why didn’t anyone tell me she was the surrogate? It would have been nice to have some warning before finding her like this. Pregnant with my cousin’s babies. I choked back the vomit as I tried to control my reaction. Seriously, why do the actions of that damn bitch still mess with me? Wasn’t it bad enough that I haven’t been able to touch a woman since I lost all trust in their gender? Now the ripple effect of what she did has me throwing up after meeting my mate. I don’t think anything in my past made me deserve this. I closed my eyes and let myself slide down the garage wall to sit on the ground. I groaned as I pulled my legs up and pl
What is this strange feeling? It feels familiar but foreign, like lounging in a field of flowers on a sunny day. I feel so safe and warm. That’s why it feels familiar. This feels like every time Alexander held me or at the least hugged me. But there’s something else that makes it feel foreign. This electricity makes every cell in my body buzz in response. And nothing responded quite as much as my nipples and vagina. ‘Mmmm… mate.’ Helia practically purred. That was enough to make my eyes fly open. All the feelings of exhaustion and heartbreak from when I went to bed were gone. I felt energized, hopeful, and, I’m embarrassed to admit it, horny. I’m not unfamiliar with that last feeling, especially when associated with Alexander. I won’t ever admit it aloud, but he was the first man I fantasized about. So opening my eyes to see Alexander sitting on the edge of my bed with his hand under my dress felt like a scene from one of those fantasies. Maybe I am dreaming. That would be my luck.
I usually don’t mind when I’m wrong, and Lucius is right. But I hated that he was right about having to touch Delilah to heal her. Mostly I hated that he was right about how it would affect me. I don’t know why I thought I could fool myself. I’m not above the mate bond and its magnetic pull. Even if she weren’t my mate, I’d still have rushed to help her. It doesn’t matter that she cut me out of her life. It doesn’t matter how bad she hurt me. There was no way I could stand by and do nothing to protect her or keep her safe. And that included having to touch her to heal her. I thought I was prepared for what would happen when I touched her. I thought it would be minor as I was only checking her pulse on her wrist. I’ve touched her wrist and her hand in the past. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. Yeah, I was wrong. No amount of being told about the mate bond can prepare anyone for the intense feeling when you touch your mate, especially for the first time. I had to close my eyes and b
A part of me felt like I deserved this. I deserved Alexander to treat me as just another patient. I am the one that went no contact. I’m the one that ended our friendship. So why should I expect his feelings to change suddenly? The mate bond can do much but can’t erase the past. He was hurt by my pulling away from our friendship. He wouldn’t be acting like this if he wasn’t unless he’s like this because I’m a surrogate for André and Darren. And if that’s the case, well, too bad. André is his cousin, maybe not by blood, but still. They are family, and more than that, André is his Alpha. He should be supportive of anyone offering to carry the heirs for Madonie. Then a part of me says Alexander can go to hell. I don’t deserve to be treated so coldly. He knew why I stopped talking to him. I couldn’t stand around while Liar played him like a fiddle. I couldn’t stand by and watch the train wreck. Plus, she was pretty clear that night I needed to stay away and went so far as to point out th
The run from André’s villa to the pack hospital didn’t help clear my mind. It felt good to be home, however. Spending nine months away had been hard. There’s a reason that rogues tend to be more aggressive and unstable. They have no connection to a pack and a territory. They can’t ever feel ‘home.’ It’s similar, but to a lesser extent, when a wolf spends extended periods away from their pack and territory. It explained why the three of us had grown increasingly agitated the longer we were gone. I’m amazed Papa hadn’t cracked being so far from Incubi and Mama. Then again, maybe that’s why he’d been the more level-headed of us. He may have been far from her, but the bond remained. Meanwhile, Zoe and I didn’t have that. I feel bad for the packs they still had to visit, mostly Ironfur, as it was next after Silvermane left a bad impression on all of us. I can only hope the males of Ironfur aren’t sexist Neanderthals that try to talk down to her. If they are well, I hope Alpha Finn is cool