“Do you see how much I love you, how much I want you?” Costin asked her, gently.

She nodded against his chest. Costin rolled onto his side and pulled her with him. He wrapped his arm around her, keeping his hand up under the back of her shirt. His fingers traced the markings he knew traveled the length of her spine, marking’s that matched his exactly. He kissed her hair and pulled her tighter against him when she shivered.



“I love you.” Sally clung to his shirt as she pressed her face against him and breathed his scent in. Breath after breath she began to calm, and she relaxed against him.

“I love you, Sally mine and I will love you more tomorrow.” Costin gently pried one of her hands from his shirt. She whimpered and tried to hold on.

“Shh, Sally,” Costin crooned to her, as he took the now free hand and slipped it under his shirt so that her hand was on his skin. Sally let out a sigh, as her hand slid up his stomach to his chest. Her fingers moved slowly against his skin and she didn’t realize how much she'd craved the simple touch of his warm flesh.

As Sally relaxed against him and her touch soothed him and his wolf he was finally able to process all that had happened. He had come so very close to losing her, maybe not physically, but mentally and emotionally, she was fragile and if he wasn’t careful he could hurt her even worse than she had already suffered.

He felt her breathing slow and realized she had fallen asleep. He buried his face in her hair as tears he had fought for so long slipped from his hazel eyes. He was holding her so tightly he feared he might hurt her, and still it wasn’t close enough. It was then, when she was unaware, that Costin fell apart.


“Decebel,” Cynthia’s voice came through the door.

Jen struggled to sit up, but he gently pushed her back down.

“Hey, just cause I said you could touch me again does not mean you get to push me around,” Jen snapped at him.

“Yes, it does,” he told her as he walked towards the door. He pulled it open to see a very tired Cynthia Steele standing before him.

“I know you guys want to be alone, but I really need to check on Jen and the baby.”

Decebel opened the door wider and stepped aside so that she could walk through. She walked over to the bed where Jen lay.

“How you feeling?” Cynthia asked, with a sympathetic smile.

Jen shrugged. “Well if you would like me to be honest, I feel like someone who has been beaten, taken against her will, given herself to the wrong man, lost her baby, screamed at the man she loved, and cried for things that hadn’t really happened.”

“Jennifer,” Decebel growled from the other side of the bed.

“Basically, I feel like crap doc,” Jen finished, without acknowledging her mate. He sat down on the bed next to her and took her hand. He brought it to his lips and kissed it gently.

Jen refused to look at him, she knew that if she did she would lose it and she wasn’t ready to lose it just yet.

“I need to listen to the baby for a minute and check your vitals okay?” Cynthia asked.

Jen nodded.

Cynthia pulled Jen’s shirt up to expose her abdomen and saw that she was beginning to show.

“When did this happen?” She asked.

Jen looked down at her stomach and saw the small hump.

“It wasn’t like that a week ago,” Jen told her.

Cynthia gently probed her stomach and then laid her head against it. She closed her eyes and listened for the fast flutter that would indicate that the baby was doing well. It didn’t take long before she heard it. She smiled as she listened. It was a strong heartbeat, a healthy heartbeat. Cynthia clenched her eyes tight as she thought about the fate of the little being with the strong heartbeat, a fate she didn’t deserve.

She lifted her head and smiled at Decebel and Jen. “She’s doing good. I’m going to do some research on the gestation of wolves, it’s been a long time since I’ve been around a pregnant Canis lupus, but I’m pretty sure the gestation is not the same as a human.”

Jen nodded as she pulled her shirt down.

“The Fates said they would take her in nine months’ time,” Jen pointed out.

Cynthia thought about it. She wondered if the Fates were jerking Jen’s chain. Surely, they wouldn’t allow her to have the child and watch her grow only to then die, in such a short time.

“With the Fates, anything is possible. I’ll look into it. It may just be that the baby will be bigger than a regular human child.”

Jen frowned. “That would not be cool.”

Cynthia got out the blood pressure cuff and stethoscope and checked Jen’s heartbeat and blood pressure, both of which were normal.

“Now, this might be uncomfortable,” she looked up at Decebel. “You might want to step out.”

Decebel’s eyes began to glow. “I’m not leaving her.”

“Dec, babe, calm down,” Jen told him, as she squeezed his hand.

“I need to do a pelvic exam Jen,” Cynthia told her.

“Doc, I know you must know about the birds and the bees, but in case you need a refresher, Dec had to have seen all this in order for me to end up in this particular situation.”

Cynthia chuckled. “Some wives aren’t comfortable having a pelvic exam done in front of their spouses.”

“Mate,” Decebel snarled.

Jen rolled her eyes. “He’s a tad touchy right now.”

Cynthia leaned over to help Jen remove the sweatpants that she had put on her before the curse had been broken, but Decebel gently pushed her hands away.

“I’ve got it,” he told her.

“What is your problem?” Jen asked, as he helped her remove the pants. He quickly covered her with a sheet and gently rubbed her stomach.

“Leave it alone, Jennifer,” Decebel said, not unkindly.

Cynthia did the exam as quickly and efficiently as possible, keeping it all very clinical. Decebel stared at Jen’s face the entire time and twice leaned down to gently kiss her.

“Okay,” Cynthia said, as she pulled off the medical gloves that she had donned and threw them in the trashcan next to the bed. “Everything looks good.”

Jen snorted. “Seriously, nothing in that area ever looks good.”

Cynthia laughed, a genuine sound and a much needed release. “Okay, I can agree with that, I guess I should say everything is as it should be.”

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