I don’t think Carla dislikes me. I think she probably just treats everyone this way. She’s shown herself to be quite narcissistic as time has gone on. It’s gotten more and more apparent to me the closer we’ve gotten to the wedding that she wants everyone else to feel beneath her and lucky to be in her presence.
I adore her husband, Whatshisface’s stepdad. John is a kind, caring, amazing guy who has the patience of a saint. As was Rick’s grampa who died a few months after I met him. His grandmother is sweet as pie. And she’s one of the reasons I agreed to rush the wedding plans, to give her a reason to celebrate her first anniversary without her departed husband. Rick’s sister Gloria is also lovely. And if she lived here instead of in England, I’m sure we’d be besties.
Carla is just a bit much, especially since she’s seeing this wedding as a way to show off to her friends and business associates. The pressure has been steadily mounting, landing squarely on my head.
Skye is attractive, fit, great skin with dark blonde shoulder-length hair. She’s wearing a white denim jacket over a long tan maxi dress with brown suede booties. Her smile looks genuine. But clearly, she’s not going to help me by guilting her son into giving this up. So I have no choice but to be standoffish.
“Well, I’d better be going,” she says. “It’s not my style to crash your honeymoon.”
“You’ve just shown it is,” Mason mutters, but it’s with humor.
“Besides,” she continues, “Mason’s father and I have plans too.” Her cheeks glow rosy while her eyes widen. “Big plans.” She now jabs her elbow toward her son.
“Information I did not need,” Mason grumbles.
“Well, blame it on the moon. And the fact that we’re not dead yet,” she says, smiling wide with a shimmy of her shoulders. “But if it kills us, it’s probably the best way to go.”
Mason throws his head back and laughs. “Can’t argue with that.”
She smiles a beaming smile at me. “Too late for a little brother or sister for him, but that’s okay, right? Maybe there will be the pitter patter of little paws soon enough anyway.”
He laughs harder.
And it feels like my insides twist and shrivel up.
“The end of this moon cycle is expected to send mated females into heat,” she says.
Not only is she not going to help me, not only does she not give a crap that her son has abducted me, but she’s expecting grandchildren.
“Paws?” I ask, tucking my hair behind my ears while feeling my face go fiery hot.
She waves dismissively. “Figure of speech. Feet that’ll eventually be paws. Maybe. Most shifters don’t experience their first shift until adolescence. Super alphas experience shifts earlier, though. That’s something that often signifies a future council alpha, shifting as a younger child. Mason shifted that first time when he wasn’t even six months old. They all still go through that rough puberty period with the uncontrollable shifting, but when they have a few shifts as infants or kids, that’s a sign. But never mind all that for now… I guess you’ve got to get caught up on how things work. Many half-blood shifters don’t shift, but chances are that your children will since he’s a super-alpha. But if they don’t, that’s not a problem. We’ll love them regardless of whether they’ve got toes or toes and toe beans.”
“Well, unsuspecting humans giving birth to a litter of puppies would definitely throw them off,” I grumble, feeling my insides shrivel a little more.
She laughs. “It sure would. If you have any questions about life here, about being mated to an alpha, don’t hesitate to ask. Mason’s father’s alpha. Not a council super-alpha, but close enough. My Andrew is smart and strong enough, he could’ve led his own pack. We preferred to stay here where we grew up, though. And it was good that we did since Mase exhibited super-alpha traits from babyhood. We had a strong feeling he’d be a council alpha. And we were right.”
“I don’t know what most of that means,” I say.
“I’m sure you’re a little overwhelmed. Any questions, don’t hesitate. I’m happy to help you get acclimated.”
“Thanks, but I won’t be staying.”
Her eyes bounce between me and Mason and then she straightens her denim jacket collar before opening her mouth to speak again.
I speak first. “So, I take it by your reaction that you’re not bothered by the fact that I’m asking for help here.”
“She did help, wildberry,” Mason answers. “She dropped food off. And a gift basket for you.” He gestures toward the basket.
“Wildberry. That’s adorable. Get the rest of that food away, Mase. I’ll get out of your hair.”
“This is all down to witchcraft, Mrs. Quinn,” I say. “And I’m sure that’s not what you want for your son. I know it’s not what my mom would want for me or for my sister.”