Saturday, December 14, 2013

“You’re carrying a half European Werewolf inside you, a creature with teeth and claws.”

  (Small Fry Chapter 2)

“Aunt B,” our First greeted.

“Caesar,” I said perfunctory.

“I understand that yesterday you and Declan received some news which will affect your family.”  He began.

“Yes.” I shot off a glare to Ki.

However, he didn’t look remotely guilty for sharing my condition with the rest of the pack.

“I would ask that you consent to another scan by Ki this morning, and perhaps an examination.” Caesar said seriously. 

“Excuse me?”

“We need to take some readings of the cells that are growing inside you.”  Ki stated.

“Say what?” My mouth fell open in surprise.  “Why?”

“We need to ascertain how much the baby may resemble either you or Uncle Declan.”  Our Medicine Man elaborated.

“But why?”  I asked, taken aback.

“You know why, B.”  My mate said softly.

My overprotective Lokoti Werewolf instincts roared inside me first then outside second.

“Is that some kind of slur on Declan?”  I raised my voice.  “Are you worried about more European Werewolves being created?  I don’t care if I create an army of his breed, male or female!  I love my husband and I’m sick of the hypocrisy - ”

Then I was interrupted by a loud growl emitted by our First.

“Right now Aunt B THAT is the least of our worries!  We have to make sure that your body is even able to carry just one European Werewolf child.” 

“Oh please!” I rolled my eyes.  “Declan’s already been through all of this!  He tried to scare me yesterday, with a series of worst case scenarios and you know what I told him?  That he’s barking up the wrong tree!  This baby is also HALF Lokoti Werewolf!”

“But Lokoti Werewolves are born human, Aunt B.”  Tyson said gravely.  “This child will be born a Werewolf.  You’re carrying a half European Werewolf inside you, a creature with teeth and claws.” 

“Er, newsflash for you Tyson; DECLAN’S ALREADY BEEN THROUGH THIS!” I growled out between gritted teeth.

“Aunt B please,” Forrest said awkwardly, “we’re concerned for your safety.”

“Of course you are!”  I sung sarcastically.  “Just like you’d be concerned for Tyson here, if he were knocked up by a European Werewolf too!”

“Yeah, but I’m stronger than you, being a male Lokoti Werewolf.”  He tried not to laugh.

Caesar spoke in a low voice, “Bianca Grace Wisetail Elm Sabre, when your grandfather Emanuel Riverclaw chose my great, great grandfather Chiron Riverclaw, to be First upon his leave?  He made Chiron swear to keep a close eye on you.  When your Circulator mother took your Lokoti Werewolf father Hunter Wisetail, to the space time continuum with her?  He made Chiron swear again, to look after his only child; the tribe’s first female Lokoti Werewolf who’s also the world’s last Circulator.  Before Chiron left this life for the next, he passed the oath onto me.”

“Right that’s it!”  I hopped off the bench, to stand on my own two feet. 

            “Oh oh,” Declan muttered, as he watched warily.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

“Because we’re worried that you may not be Lokoti Werewolf enough, to carry a half European Werewolf inside you.”

  (Small Fry Chapter 2)

Once I’d finished, I stomped down the stairs.  I found Declan in the kitchen making himself, his mate and three other cups of coffees for our expected guests.  Crankily, I sat up on the kitchen bench, which made him move two of the cups aside, so I wouldn’t knock them over.  I watched him pour the boiling water into the mugs which had instant espresso in them, before he applied the milk and sugar, as he recalled who drank theirs which way.

“What was THAT supposed to mean?”  I glared however, his youthful face remained impassive as he carried out his task.  “Declan?”

“I’ve never seen you maul someone, B.”  He said coolly. “The only time I’ve seen you attack something with teeth and claws, was an animal during a hunt.  Whenever you fight a foe, you reach for your silver sword.”

“You mean my Katana.”  I corrected.  “It’s a Japanese sword, remember?”

“Whatever.”  He stirred all five cups, before tossing the teaspoon into the sink. He handed me my cup before picking up his.   I held my mug in between my hands, savouring the warmth before I took my first sip.  Declan continued, “This fact also worries me.”

“Why, because you’ve never seen me maul an enemy?”

“Sometimes you’re more Circulator than you are Lokoti Werewolf.  You don’t hunt as much as the male Lokoti Werewolves and you don’t use your predatory instincts as much as they do either.  You’d rather use your Circulator abilities instead.  This worries me about your pregnancy and I know it’s also worrying your Werewolf relations as well.” 

I looked back in surprise, to find his eyes were waiting to hold my gaze. 

I asked stiffly, “What’s this got to do with my pregnancy?”

            He spoke plainly, “Because we’re worried that you may not be Lokoti Werewolf enough, to carry a half European Werewolf inside you.”

But before I could rebuke him for saying something so stupid, we were interrupted by a loud KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

“Come in, Caesar.”  He called out knowingly.

We heard the front door open and the footsteps of four large males, enter then shut the door behind them. 

A second later, the elderly face of the 156 year old Forrest came to the fore, as he stood in our kitchen entryway. 

He was followed by the middle-aged appearance of our First, Caesar, who was 131 years old.  His son Tyson who stood behind him, looked like he was in forties and he was turning 100 this year.  Ki, who looked like he was in still his thirties when really he was 68 years old, stood beside our leader.  Such was the slower aging process of the Lokoti Werewolves, who could live for two hundred years.

All four sets of dark brown eyes were trained my way and their expressions were grave. 



Thursday, November 14, 2013

“Wake up, B! You’re carrying another European Werewolf inside of you."

  (Small Fry Chapter 2)

No matter how angry we were with each other, it didn’t interrupt our centuries old pattern of sleep.  Last night in bed, we lay on our sides, facing in opposite directions.  However, in our unconscious state, we inevitably came together with me curling up in his strong embrace. 

Thanks to his supernaturally hot body temperature, we never used an electric blanket, nor was the central heating left on overnight.  Winter evenings in Alaska could drop to -52°C and last night the fall temperature plunged past zero.  It made my nose ache from the cold, so subconsciously I dove my face into his hot chest, to warm up.

I was in such a comfortable sleep, tucked into my mate that when he suddenly sat upright, it startled me.

“Hmm?”  I stirred.  He sat still with his eyes wide, whilst staring at the end of the bed.   “Declan, what is it?”

“We’re about to have company.” He said stiffly.

“Huh?” I sat upright.  “Was that a call from the pack?  Are we about to fight something?”

Dazedly, I looked at the clock in the dim light of the morning, to see it was 7.23 AM.

“No, Caesar’s coming over with Forrest, Tyson and Ki.”  He reported, having received the message telepathically from our First.

“Oh… hang on, what?”  I had trouble processing, since I was still half asleep.  “But why?”

“Why do you think?”  He sneered.  “You think they’re bringing us breakfast in bed?  It’s about this baby business.”

“Oh.” I watched him climb out of bed and start to dress, by pulling on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt.  “But why is Caesar coming over so early, to talk about the baby?”

“Because he wanted to make sure he was the first to give us a Baby Shower present.”  He said sarcastically.  “Wake up, B!  You’re carrying another European Werewolf inside of you.  Why do you think Caesar is coming here as First of the pack, bringing your Riverclaw relations with him?”

“I don’t know!”

“He, Forrest and Tyson, have the same concerns as I did yesterday.”  He said sourly, as he sat down to pull on a pair of socks then shoes. 

“But what’s it to them?” I asked in annoyance.  “What, is the whole pack going to get involved with this pregnancy?!”

“I wouldn’t be surprised, I think everyone knows.”

“What?!” I squawked.  “But isn’t that a breach of privacy?!”

Declan turned to give me an incredulous look, “What, are you going to sue our Medicine Man for misconduct?”

“How about I maul him instead?” I growled out.

“You maul someone?  Now that IS funny.” He stood up and left the bedroom.

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?”  I threw off the bedcovers, before storming around the bedroom to dress.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“A baby Werewolf will probably move around a lot more than a human baby.”

  (Small Fry Chapter 2)


My mate looked on unimpressed, “Mr. Baker?”

“It’s my latest name in the academic circuit.”  I shrugged it off.

He asked grumpily, “And how old are you for this latest trip around fantasyland?”

“In my early forties.” I answered.  “So getting 'knocked up' won’t look too unusual.”

He reopened my laptop to look on my schedule again, when I snapped it shut once more.

“Quit it!”  He said in annoyance.  “I need to see how busy you’re gonna be in the next couple of months.”


“This isn’t a normal pregnancy B, this baby is going to drain you!  Can you imagine what it's going to be like when you venture off tribal lands?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?!” I fired up.

“A baby Werewolf will probably move around a lot more than a human baby.  You could be standing there on a podium, doing one of your lectures when all of a sudden your stomach goes all wibbly-wobbly.  Your audience is gonna think you’re giving birth to an alien!”

I growled in frustration at his continued negativity, before I rolled onto my back to stare up at the ceiling. 

Declan continued studying my schedule, as if he were making mental notes.  His newly youthful face was a mask of consternation, as his bright blue eyes were wide.  I could almost see the cogs turning in his brain, as he was planning for the future.

“I don’t think you should speak at the University in Cairo.”  He spoke again.

“Oh yeah and why is that?”

“Because it’s in January and it’s gonna be 40°C in Egypt that time of year.  I’m a European Werewolf, which means I’m hot blooded and you've seen how excessive heat makes me go nuts.  With the half breed inside you, it’s gonna create problems.”

“Ever heard of air conditioning, Declan?  They’ve had this nifty invention since the 20th Century.”  I said sarcastically.  “Besides, I’ve never had problems with heat and I doubt I’m gonna start now.”



Monday, October 14, 2013

“A human doctor isn’t going to know jack about how Werewolves do blood transfusions,”

  (Small Fry Chapter 2)


Declan continued, “From January onwards, I don’t want her doing more than one lecture a month.  Then from June, she’s not going to do any for at least six months.”

“Excuse me?!”  I exhorted in surprise. 

“Maternity leave, B.”  He glared my way.

Oh, maternity leave…now why didn’t I think of that?  I had just been planning my schedule for months in advance and it had never crossed my mind!  It made it worse when Declan was the one who was anti-pregnancy.

“Yeah, you’d better take note of that, Aneet.”  I glared back.

“Would you like me to book you into seeing an obstetrician at the Hodge Endeavor Hospital in Anchorage?” She offered.

Aneet didn't know I was a Circulator or what that meant.  However from her confidentiality training, she knew that her boss was 'different' and my medical requirements had to be kept from the public eye.  But since I was also a Werewolf, I was hardly ever ill and if I were injured; the blood of my Werewolf kin could revive me.  I also had the tribe's Medicine Man whom was another Werewolf to treat me, or even the Medical Lab at Circulate HQ, which was run by the Circulate Mainframe.  The computer also oversaw Hodge Endeavor's Hospitals and the Legal Department, providing my mate and I with falsified birth or death certificates, to hide our real ages.

Abruptly, Declan darted forwards to cover the speaker with his hand, so she couldn’t hear.

“No, we do this with Ki.”  He frowned.   “A human doctor isn’t going to know jack about how Werewolves do blood transfusions, which is going to be a guarantee when you have this.”

I snatched my phone out from underneath his hand to say, “Thanks Aneet, but it won’t be necessary.  We have our own medical staff.”

Declan wasn't put off by my rudeness or glares.  Instead, he sat on the side of the bed to look on my schedule.  To stop him, I slammed shut my laptop.

“However, I will notify the Board of this news.”  She organized.  “Would you like me to contact your English relatives, the Worthall’s?”

“Um,” I thought on this, “I don’t think it’s necessary.  When Jarrod Worthall - the Engineer in ISF I told you about - calls next, I’ll let him know myself.”

“Very well.”  She acquiesced.  “Is there anything else I can help you with, Dr. Baker?”

“No thanks Aneet, I think that’s it.”  I signed off.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

My face flushed when two of my past identities were read out.

(Small Fry Chapter 2)


“You’ve been invited to a lunch at Cambridge University on 1st February next year."  Aneet continued.  "In attendance, will be several speakers on Ancient History in the Mediterranean.” 

“Ancient History in the Mediterranean?” I echoed.  “I don’t teach that topic.”

“It’s not a topic, it’s a field."  She said.  "With all your papers on Rome, Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Babylon, you do fall into that category.”

“Oh, I see your point.”  I conceded.  “But who else is going to be at this shindig?”

“Dr. Fielding, Dr. Golding, Dr. Jordan, Dr. Thewak and Dr. Humphries are just some of the many…” she prattled off, “…I think this is going to be some kind of symposium to honour past historians.”

This made me pause, "Which past historians?”

“I think they’re going to be honouring archaeologists and professors such as Dr. Jasmine Aviv, Dr. Jason Garret, Dr. Bianca Sabre, Dr. Bianca Wisetail and Dr. Ash Marzuq.”  She read out.  “That’s what it says on the invitation, anyways.”

My face flushed when two of my past identities were read out.

“Um, can we please put the 1st February on the back burner?”

“Instead of clicking ‘accept’ or ‘decline’, would you like me to hit ‘tentative’?” She asked.

“Yep.” I agreed.  “Now, what’s next?”

“Aside from your papers, there’s not much else.  It's quite a few lunches in the next six months, but not many symposiums.”  She speculated.

“I’m not really interested in lunches.” I sighed reluctantly.  “All it is, is a bunch of academics who are normally bitchy to each other; hide their knives to stab you in the back with, to be friendly face to face.”

“Would you like to decline the academic lunches and charity dinners and just stick to the lectures, Dr. Baker?”  She offered, using my latest pseudonym.

“Yeah that'd be a good idea, Aneet.”  I decided.  “So how are we looking so far, one lecture per month?”

“Yes except for March, when you have two lectures."  She reported.  "You have the one at the University of Technology Sydney and the other at Columbia.” 

Suddenly Declan’s voice interrupted, which gave me a fright.


My head turned sharply, to find my husband standing in the doorway, listening in.  Then he came into the room to talk directly to my mobile phone. 

“Sorry Aneet, in March Dr. Baker will be five months pregnant, which means she’ll tire easily.  I don’t want her travelling around to do two lectures a month.”  He ordered.

She sounded surprised to hear his voice. “Oh er, Mr. Baker?” 

“No, it’s Mr. Sabre.”  He corrected sharply.

“Yes Mr. Sabre.”  She fumbled out.  But he made her so nervous, she mispronounced his surname.  Instead of saying Sar-bra it sounded like she said, Say-ber.  “Er, did you just say that Dr. Baker would be pregnant? I mean um, is pregnant?”

I could hear the shock in my secretary’s voice, as clear as a bell.  She had been my Personal Assistant for the past thirty years, and through two pseudonyms.  Although Aneet worked for me, she would also act as my liaison with the multinational company Hodge Endeavor, which was under Circulate control.  This meant they would also hear of this.  On my first day of being pregnant, the news of my 'happy condition' was being broadcasted.

The Circulate Mainframe, all the way at Circulate Headquarters on Taurus Six, monitored mine and humanities' timeline.  It sent instructions via email and text messages, to myself or the Board of Hodge Endeavour.  All I had to do, was turn up at the odd Board Meeting when an important decision was required. It ensured the company invested wisely and that I retained control for financial security.  The powerful company's political connections, were also ideal in protecting the Circulate's and the Lokoti's anonymity.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Your father never trusted me with you.

  (Small Fry Ch 1)

            Declan cracked several eggs in a glass bowl and proceeded to beat them so hard, the whisk made a squealing sound against the sides.  I watched him add the other ingredients for pancakes, as he prepared them by memory.  He was such an old hand at this, he continued to cook as he talked.

            “When it was just me and Finn working at the Garage; we would be leaning over a vehicle and he'd say as casual as can be, ‘So Declan, do you like soccer?’ I wouldn’t look up as I'd be in the middle of something and I'd reply, ‘Yeah I like it fine.’  Then Finn would say, ‘I was wondering why you kept watching the other kids play.  Here I was thinking it could be over a girl instead, who just happened to be running around the field with your little brother.’  In surprise, I dropped the wrench into the motor and hit my head on the hood!”

            I cracked up laughing, as I could very well imagine the late Finn with his cheeky sense of humor, bringing it up like that.

            My husband chuckled, “He'd only talk about it when we were alone.  Sometimes in summer, during the long daylight hours when the bloodlust was making me restless, we would stay up until midnight repairing engines.  It was when we talked the most.  He'd sneakily bring you up by suddenly asking, ‘So how’s your spectator sport going?’ We'd talk about you in the third person without actually saying your name.  We always referred to you as ‘that girl who liked playing soccer’.”

            I felt myself blush, as I hopped back up onto the bench to sit and listen.  He finished off the pancake mix and left it on the bench.  Then I watched him pull out another frying pan from one of the cupboards, to cook it in.

            He went on, “When the truth came out about us and we first moved in together?  Finn gave me an early mark every day for two months, so I could come home to you sooner.  When I felt embarrassed at the favouritism he was showing, he said in front of the whole crew, ‘You’ve done the hard work, Declan.  Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labours’.”

            “Finn said that?”  I asked, touched.

            “Finn, my Mom and your Mom then your grandparents, seemed like the only people who didn’t have a problem with our coupling.” He said in irritation.  “I felt your Dad and Ian’s uneasiness for years.  Your father never trusted me with you.  If you had become pregnant by me at that time, your father would have had the same reservations that I spoke of; what carrying a European Werewolf could do to you.”



Friday, September 6, 2013

They met to talk about the tribe’s first female Lokoti Werewolf, who was also a Circulator.

  (Small Fry Chapter 1)


            “Man, I feel like an idiot.”  He shook his head at himself.

            “Why?” I looked on closely.

            “We could have done this ages ago!”  He sounded annoyed with himself.  “Just imagine what it could have been like, if this happened 273 years before.  We could have started a family then, if I let you turn me into a Circulator sooner.  My Mom would have been thrilled for us, if she were here.  I wish I could have seen my human mother hold my daughter, before she died of old age.”

            I felt a strong sense of longing inside of him as he pictured this.  Then he let go of his wife to continue with cooking.  I leaned against the kitchen bench as I watched and listened.

            “Derik got to have the happy family life, with the wife and kids.  He gave my Mom two grandchildren, whom she loved to death.  I just wish that I could have done the same.  I wish that the pack hadn’t feared the idea of me creating more European Werewolves, in the forms of children.  I wish that your father trusted me enough to take care of you.”

            This made my chest ache as I felt these old wounds of his, never healed.  His expression was more than wistful, it was a mask of pain.  He momentarily looked away from the food to meet my waiting gaze.

            He recanted bitterly, “I remember the meeting the pack had with the Council of Tribal Elders, like it was only yesterday.  They met to talk about the tribe’s first female Lokoti Werewolf, who was also a Circulator.  Your Dad was beside himself with worry, he was scared that you might escape with your greater speed and kill a human.  Then it was a Tribal Elder that came up with the idea of mating you to another Werewolf, who could stop you from craving human as well as help your training.  Then everyone immediately looked at Grant, like I was invisible or something.  Nobody glanced my way, much less thought of me as a possible suitor.  When I spoke up by reminding everyone that it had been me who had stopped you from crossing the border of Lokoti land?  Your Dad put a stop to it immediately.  Hunter Wisetail walked over to stand beside his best friend Ian Elm and his brother Grant, and said that a female Lokoti Werewolf should be mated to a male Lokoti Werewolf.  Of course the Tribal Elders all liked the sound of that.” 

            I heard the jealousy in Declan’s voice which never faded, even after 279 years.

            “You mean Grant wasn’t asked?” I frowned.  “When I first found out about the arranged marriage, he told me he had been asked.”

            “Yeah he was formally asked at the meeting, by the Tribal Elders.  But with your aura and your pheromones, they may as well as have announced that he'd won the lottery!”  He snorted.  “I’m sure my feelings for you were suspected, even if they weren’t spoken of.  Finn and your Grandfather made mention of them, just a couple of times.  But they both knew I had to keep my distance before your change.”

            I watched him slap the bacon bad-temperedly into the frying pan which instantly began to sizzle, before he threw in a couple of hashbrowns too.

            “Finn and Grandfather knew?” I echoed in surprise.

            Back then I thought our forbidden love had been a secret?

            “At dinner at your grandparents house one night, when I was eighteen and you would have been fifteen years old; you walked off angry after one of our fights.  Your Grandfather caught the expression on my face and gave me a close look.  He asked, 'enjoying those sparks, Declan?'  That was the only thing he ever said about it, as he probably thought I was just attracted to your aura.”  He explained.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

“Our baby will be the world’s first half Lokoti and half European Werewolf.”

 (Small Fry Chapter 1)

            We exchanged surprised glances before we departed the room to find our medical practitioner, his scanner and his ‘medicine bundle,’ were gone.

            “Oh.” I said taken aback. “I guess he thought the emergency was over.”

            “That and I think he’s gone to Caesar to have a talk about us.”  He frowned.

            “Why?” I asked in alarm.  “You did let go, eventually.”

            “Well B, let me put it this way," he casually leaned against the wall. "The tribe’s first female Lokoti Werewolf turns the last European Werewolf who is her mate, into another Circulator.  For over 250 years, everyone thinks she’s barren and then bingo!  Her handsome husband does the 'manly thing' by knocking her up.  Our baby will be the world’s first half Lokoti and half European Werewolf.”

            I smiled on his dry sense of humor, “I like your little explanations, they’re like little stories in themselves.”

            “Thanks.”  He chuckled back. “So, what does the pregnant woman crave; bacon and eggs, or sausages and eggs, or even pancakes?”

            “Um, how about all of the above?” I shrugged.

            “I love my wife!”  He guffawed. “Man, are we going to have fun over the next nine months.”

            “Man, are we going to have an interesting next ninety years.” I corrected.

            Declan pulled back to give an incredulous look, “Ninety years?!”

            “There’s kids and then there’s grandkids.” I reminded.

            “Oh yeah.” He frowned as he returned to the kitchen to cook.  “By the time we make it to the space time continuum; we really will be like a pair of 70 year old humans, moving to Florida to retire.”

            “Yup.”  I moved to sit up on the bench to talk, while he made breakfast.  “In a couple of years, you could have a daughter sitting here instead of me.”

            He passed a funny look as he passed me the ingredients from the fridge.  “Why? Where will you be?”

            “I don’t know, away lecturing or writing my papers?” I shrugged again.

            “So because I’m the cook, I’m gonna turn into the 'house husband'?”  He raised his eyebrows unimpressed. 

            “Well, you are retired.” I reminded.

            “Hmm.”  He frowned as he paused in his food preparation.  “I guess you're right.  After working at the Garage for over 250 years, I’m in no hurry to return.  Our ‘rug rat’ is going to need money for food.”

            “The way you constantly shove food down my throat, I doubt our kid will ever go hungry."  I said dryly.  "It’s a good thing we’re having Werewolf young.  With their supernatural metabolism, we won’t have to worry about our child becoming obese.”

            Out of the blue, Declan picked me up off the bench and swung me around in his arms! 

            “Damn straight!”  He merrily laughed.  “I’m going to be a father!  Ladies and Gentlemen, I finally knocked up Bianca Sabre!  I knocked up the unknockable woman!  And she WANTS my child!”

            At first I squealed in fright then in laughter, "We’re going to have a baby!”

            “We’re going to have a baby!"  He chanted.  "We’re going to have a baby!”

            “Declan!” I cupped his face.  “Do you know how good it feels when I get to give the man I love, a child?”

            He gently returned me to my feet before leaning in closely. 

            “About as good as it does for me, to know that I’ve finally given you the one thing that you always wanted?”  He tenderly rubbed his nose against mine.

            “I've always wanted you and I have that.” I stroked his cheek.  “And now baby makes three!”

            “Baby makes three.” He hugged me tightly.  “My baby B and I are having a baby girl!”

            “A one-of-a-kind, just like her parents.”  I sighed happily.

            “A beautiful girl, just like her beautiful mother.”  He mumbled as his lips smothered mine.  

            I allowed this kiss although a part of me was still on guard.  There was a tiny part of my brain that was murmuring, ‘careful’.  My instincts didn’t entirely trust his turn around, all because his progeny would be female.


Friday, August 2, 2013

“I've been trained not to think of myself as a father.”

  (Small Fry Chapter 1)


            Declan grinned like an idiot – a tearful idiot – but an idiot nonetheless.

            “Since you said ‘daughters’ and not ‘daughter’, it means I’m let out of the doghouse sometime.” He tried to joke.

            “Lucky me.”  I said flatly, as I turned back towards the window.

            Just then he laughed loudly as he leant on the kitchen sink.  He seemed to be laughing in pure relief!  He was guffawing like a man who had just been granted parole, in the face of a death sentence.

            He wiped his eyes on the back of his hands, “I can almost picture her now.  She’s going to be tall and she’s going to make all of the boys work hard, by beating them in school and in sport.”

            "Why do you say that?"

            Declan continued, “She’s going to be half of you and half of me.  I’m gonna teach her how to repair her hover-car if it breaks down.  You’re gonna teach her soccer and help her with her homework.  When she's not studying with you, she’ll be in the kitchen helping me cook.”

            “Maybe we shouldn’t be placing all these expectations on her yet.” I said warily.  “I mean, your last expectation was that she was going to kill her mother!”

            I thought these words would have wounded him, but they did the exact opposite.  Instead, Declan stood closely to smile down as his large hands moved to sit on my hips.  His bright blue eyes fixated on my dark blue ones, before he lowered his face to gently bump foreheads.  His spiky, dark blonde hair mixed in with my long, black layers.

            “B, ever since I was 14 years old, I've been trained not to think of myself as a father.”  He confessed with his eyes closed.  “It was the age when the Lokoti Werewolves told me that I could never take a human woman for a mate, for risk of harming her or turning her.  I thought if they’re scared of me changing her, then they probably wouldn’t want me to have kids that were like me, either."  

            That gave me pause, as his words and the emotion behind them hurt my heart.  I watched him speak with his eyes closed as I felt his hot breath on my face.  Although I was still furious with him, I didn't pull out of our embrace.

            He continued, "I fell in love with you when I was 17 years old but remember, I had to wait until I was nearly 21 until I could have you, when you changed at the age of 18.  Then you were married off to Grant and I had to wait five years before we were reunited.  This only compounded the idea that the pack thought the risk of me breeding with you was far too great.  Then it came out you were so-called barren and you couldn’t give Grant kids?  I thought, 'she was meant to be mine all along!'  Then for 273 years, I got to enjoy the marriage bed, without worrying the world about what the marriage could produce.  Now a baby makes three?  I’m sorry I didn’t run out and buy a bottle of champagne and a cigar.  For nearly 300 years I was taught and self-taught that I wasn’t father material, because I could plant rotten seed.”

            My eyes widened in further alarm, as I never knew his self-hatred was buried so deep, it was thoroughly rooted in his psyche.