A chorus of disbelief rippled through the circle of woman, as they took in the information Peri had just shared.

“Is she okay?” Crina asked.

“She is fine,” Alina was the one who answered. Their heads all whipped around to look at the Alpha.

“You knew?” Sally gasped. “You knew and didn’t tell us?”

“Vasile advised me not to and you know when an Alpha advises, what he is really saying is don’t or else.”

“Vasile wouldn’t have done anything to you,” Elle stood up.

“No, but I set an example for other wolves. And, Vasile had his reasons for keeping the information to himself. Lilly is safe. Cypher has not hurt her.”

“And, who’s to say that he won’t?” Cynthia asked.

“Cypher won’t hurt her because he loves her and has chosen her as his mate.” Peri looked at Jen, and then at Sally. “I have one of the guardian Fae with him and she has reported to me that he has no intention of helping Mona. Lilly has talked some sense in to him.”

“You trust him?” Jen asked the Fae.

“I have known Cypher for a long time. He is a good man and only wants what is best for his people. He made a poor choice, but the Fates have given him a second chance with Lilly.”

“Yes, and we should all trust the Fates,” Jen growled.

“I need you all to know that he isn’t holding Lilly against her will. She wants to be with him.”

“He isn’t green with horns or anything is he?” Sally’s face scrunched up as she asked.

Peri laughed, “No, he is actually quite handsome.”

Jen cocked her head to the side and frowned at Peri. “Wait, why is he going to be hard to find if you have one of your fairies with him?”

“Because he is very powerful, and even though he is weakening, he has the ability to shield himself. Although, my Fae is with him I have no way of knowing where they are, no way of flashing to them, nor can Cyn, the guardian, flash to me. It’s really quite inconvenient.” Peri added in a tone that said she felt very put out by the King.

The women fell silent as the day wore on and darkness of night began to fall. Alina and Crina hunted and brought back small game for them to eat, and then they each, one by one, lay down for the night. They had set up a schedule for someone to sit with Jacque and rotated throughout the night. Jen was first. Just when Jen was about to take up her vigil next to her friend, she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. It was Cynthia.

“The doctor side in me is coming out, and I need to know how you are doing Jen.”

Jen smiled hesitantly. She was excited about her and Decebel’s baby, but it was also a source of pain. Jen sat and Cynthia sat across from her, legs folded in front of her, elbows leaned on her knees. She waited patiently for Jen to answer.

“I feel fine physically,” her hand instinctively went to her abdomen. “I haven’t even been sick, no pain, and no weird other female problems I’d rather not describe.”

Cynthia laughed. “As long as there isn’t anything weird, you don’t have to describe it. How do your moods seem to you?”

“At times I feel a little out of control, like I can’t decide if I’m okay or a mess, you know? Then other times I feel like everything is going to be fine. Dec will be back, he will fix this whole problem with the Fates, and we’ll have a healthy baby girl.” Jen looked down at the ground, absentmindedly tracing a design in the dirt. “Those are the thoughts I have to cling to.” She met Cynthia’s gaze and tried to smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I’ll let you know if there’s a problem, okay?”

Cynthia returned the smile. “Okay, but when you start getting farther along, we will have to start doing physical exams.”

Jen shrugged. “I’m no stranger to taking off my clothes doc.”

Cynthia chuckled as she stood and headed off to her make shift bed. Jen looked down at the dirt where she had been tracing with her finger and her eyes filled with tears, as she saw she had drawn the markings that covered Decebel’s skin.

She turned away from the drawing to face Jacque and took her hand. Jen held it between her own, rubbing it, probably more for her comfort than for Jacque’s. She looked at her red headed friend and her heart ached to see her in such a helpless state. Jen stared, pushing her will at Jacque as if that would be enough to make her open her eyes. If Fane were here, he would be going crazy; but he wasn’t. None of their mates were, and for the first time she felt alone. She needed Decebel, no matter how much it bothered her to need him, she did. Jen needed his strength and his comfort. She needed his brooding presence so that she would have someone to be sarcastic with and she knew he would be able to take it. Jen needed to hear him tell her she would be okay and that their baby would be okay. She needed him to tell her when she needed to shut the hell up, because as her fear rose so did her sarcasm and irritability and she knew none of the others needed that nor deserved it.

“Damn you Desdemona for taking him from me,” she muttered, into the cold, dark night. Her eyes narrowed and she looked out into the forest, wishing that the witch would come walking out in all her evil glory. Jen never though she was capable of being cruel, but she decided then and there that she would peel the flesh from Desdemona’s writhing body while she still lived. Was she a little blood thirsty? Maybe, but then the witch had taken her mate, putting him in danger and causing him immeasurable suffering. For that alone, she had signed her death warrant, not to mention all the other atrocities she had already committed in her long, meaningless life.

“Jacque where are you?” Jen asked her friend. “I want you to know that I will take care of you, always Jac. And, I’m going to give you hell for lying there on your back while we do all the work.” Jen snorted out laughter to herself as she thought of the remark Jacque would give to that comment.

Her heart sank as she continued to watch the steady breathing of Jacque, but no other signs of life could be found. Jen wanted to run. She wanted to shed the human skin and let her wolf run free, howling at the pain that she felt for the loss of everything. Jen missed her parents and she smiled to herself, thinking it was a feeling she had never thought she would ever feel. But, when she stood to lose something that she never imagined loosing, she admitted that she didn’t want to lose them, no matter how tense their relationship had always been.

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