FOUR MONTHS LATER
Iwalked into the dining area, or should I say, I “waddled” in, to eat. River had started calling me “little duck” as I’d lost the ability to walk normally with how large I’d gotten during pregnancy.
I wasn’t sure how my legs were carrying my enormous stomach anymore. But it was almost time. He or she would be out any day now.
A wave of anxiety crashed over me at the thought, and I pushed it away. There were four of us, I wouldn’t fuck it up. I had help.
That had been a theme the last couple of months. We’d had peace, everything had been dream-like, but this worry inside me had grown and grown that I was going to mess all of this up. That I wouldn’t be a good mother.
“Everything all right, sweetheart?” Caspian asked as he helped me into my chair.
I smiled at him, putting on a happy face…which wasn’t hard. I had a lot to be happy about nowadays. “Just can’t believe it’s almost time.”
“I can’t wait,” he said with a wink as he began to lift the lids off five silver platters.
This was a tradition that we’d decided on once I realized that I was ready to eat at all hours of the day.
Caspian and I had started to have a big meal in between lunch and dinner because I couldn’t last.
It had become my favorite part of the day.
“What’s on the menu today?” I asked.
“Chicken cordon bleu, broccoli cheese rice, and sourdough rolls, it looks like. And for dessert, we’ve got peanut butter brownies and fruit.”
I was practically drooling already. I went to grab some of the chicken when a wave of freaking strong pain crashed through my insides.
Fuck. I’d just had a contraction.
“What is it? Is the baby coming? What just happened?” rushed Caspian in a panic.
I took a deep breath, waiting for it to pass.
“Just Braxton Hicks, I’m sure,” I murmured, finally getting the chicken to my plate. The baby was not coming today. I was not ready. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.
“Okay, what’s your guess today?” The pain was gone. Everything was good, and this food was so freaking good…as usual.
This was also a game we played, guessing the gender. My mind changed daily, and so did the guys’.
“Today I’m thinking a girl,” announced Caspian, taking a big bite of his buttered roll.
“And why is that?” I said with a laugh.
“You were snoring for most of the night.”
I sighed, shaking my head and knowing he wasn’t lying.
I had never snored in my entire life…until the last three months. Now I whistled and snorted all night long. River had to wear earplugs to get any sleep. It was…not my favorite—
“Ugh,” I cried out as my muscles tightened again.
“That was only five minutes. I’m getting the doctor.” Caspian leaped out of his chair but I grabbed onto his arm with gritted teeth.
“Nope. I’m totally good. The doctor said I had to be less than three minutes in between and over a minute long with each one. I’m not even close to that.”
Caspian eyed me doubtfully before sitting back down. I lifted some rice to my lips and then rolled my eyes in annoyance when he still just stared.
“I’m fine. Really. I’ll know when it’s time.”
And it was not time. Not today. I still had a couple more days until my due date. Panic was trembling in my veins, so I put a big bite of bread in my mouth. Because carbs could cure anything…right?
A minute later, my fork clattered to my plate as it happened again.
“That’s it! Hendrix! River!” Caspian yelled, his face paling, and sweat breaking out on his forehead.
“You don’t need to call them!” I snapped, right as Hendrix and River came rushing in.
They let us have our “linner” together every day, but they were always nearby, waiting for the moment we were finished and they could be with me.
“What is it?” Hendrix rumbled.
“She’s having contractions. Close together. That last one was only three minutes apart.”
“Stop timing me,” I growled, throwing him a dirty look. “I’m fine. I’m just hungry—” Right as I tried to take a bite, I shrieked with pain.
“Fuck! Okay. I’ve got this. Calling the doctor now,” River said in a rattled voice as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.
I clamped down on his hand. “We’re not calling the doctor!”
All three of them looked at me stunned. There were drops of sweat falling down my face from the intensity of the contractions.
Hendrix squatted down in front of me, softly grabbing my chin. “Little wolf…what’s going on?”
I burst into tears. All three of them crowded around me in alarm.
“I—I can’t do this!” I cried.
“Can’t do what, baby?” River asked cautiously.
“Have our baby! What if I’m a terrible mom? What if I mess it all up! What if I yell or I don’t know…forget to feed it or something. Our gummy deserves a better mom!” I wasn’t sure if they could even understand what I was saying with how hysterical my voice was, but it felt really good just to get it all out.
There was a long silence and then Hendrix pulled me into his arms, a tough task due to the beach ball I was packing.
“Little wolf. I have no doubt in my mind that you will be the best mother. Our child is so fucking lucky to have you. The luckiest, in fact.”
“We can’t say fucking when it gets here,” I sniffed.