Request 4: Tia’s Pregnancy

Request 4: Tia’s Pregnancy

9 Months

Ordinarily I didn’t have trouble finding something to do during retirement, but now that I was limited, I began to pity the elderly. They had no choice in the matter, as they succumbed to age or depression. Sometimes the youth forcibly took charge of their lives and conditioned them to sit in one place all day. But unlike them, my limitations were on purpose: a consequence of being intimate with one’s partner.

I was nine months pregnant. I was at the stage where I couldn’t use magicks, nor could anyone teleport me anywhere, or else the baby would be at risk for ‘developmental malformities’, as Didra called it. I personally didn’t need magicks, but ever since Satel enforced my house arrest, they would’ve been a nice distraction. Before all this I would go down to the tavern and talk to the visiting pirates, or take a walk through the island to visit Lioa at her home.

Now that a bump was finally showing, it would be hard for me to hide my pregnancy. I wasn’t ashamed of it, but I didn’t want to be teased mercilessly by the drunken bastards. I had to be responsible and not get into fights. And there were many who would take advantage of that, the barnacles. Even those I called ‘friends’ with would try to humiliate me, just because I couldn’t fight back.

Well, not to mention I had no business being near alcohol. I couldn’t risk drinking anything alcoholic because it would damage the fetus. Thanks again to Didra the shrew, for taking yet another pleasure away from me.

On the other hand, there was nothing inherently wrong with visiting Lioa and Cegil, since Satel deemed them trustworthy despite their brood of energetic falcie. The problem was that I couldn’t handle long walks anymore- I would get out of breath too quickly. To fix that, Satel had obtained a steam car for us.

I was entertained for a while learning how to drive it, and I would use it to make the trip to the other side of the island where Cegil stayed. But, once the bump started to show, Satel took it upon himself to drive me when he was home. He said that driving myself might cause me undue stress. I would prove the bastard wrong, but he would take the keys with him so I couldn’t start it.

So that left me confined to the house while he was away, bored out of my mind. There was only so much I could do, other than sit and sleep like the elderly. Satel made sure to bring housekeepers every other day to keep our home clean, thus robbing me of yet another distraction. I went and grabbed a broom and swept anyway. I wasn’t finding much dust, but it was better than doing nothing.

As I slowly went from room to room, I contemplated on my next scheduled visit to Lioa’s house. Maybe she could teach me how to cook. Since I’d already fallen low, I might as well learn all the tricks of a housewife and soon-to-be mother. Surely cooking wasn’t stressful, and I would dirty up some dishes to wash.

I heard a sudden noise behind me and jumped, guilty. I whirled around to see that my jailer returned- and when he glanced up at my movement, I couldn’t help but wince. He’d caught me.

“‘Tia!” Satel yelled, wide-eyed with panic. He acted as though I were dying as he ran towards me in a flash. I barely had time to react when the broom was knocked out of my hands and I was hoisted up into his arms, bridal-style.

“Ye shouldn’t be on yer feet,” he scolded as he began running. Since he couldn’t teleport with me in tow, he had dashed all the way to the master bedroom. We had a two story house, so he had to rapidly climb a set of stairs before reaching our room at the end of the hall.

He was extra paranoid about using his magicks near me, even though his wouldn’t have any effect on our falcie unless used directly on me. So instead of putting me down or using his wind magicks to open the door, he violently kicked it open and it crashed into the wall. Thankfully he was already laying me down on our cushy queen-sized bed before it hit us on the rebound.

I took this all in stride, unable to fight back because I had developed motion sickness in lieu of morning sickness. My hands were over my mouth, hoping to keep my last meal from making a reappearance. Come to think of it, this was probably another reason he’d taken the car keys from me. Knowing me, I would stubbornly drive regardless of my nausea. Thank Elit I wasn’t on a ship anymore.

Satel moved quickly since he knew carrying me like that would make me sick. He’d already grabbed a bucket and was wetting some towels for me while I waited for my stomach to settle down.

“That wasn’t necessary,” I growled when he came over to brush back my hair and rest a rolled towel on my forehead.

“Ah’m sorry ‘Tia-dear, but ye shouldn’t be on yer feet,” he repeated, not sounding remorseful at all. “Wot if yer ankles started swellin’, or ye fall an’ can’t get up?”

He was taking this too far. Yes this was our first child together, but, damn it, couldn’t this have waited until I was in the advanced stages? There was still seventeen months until the falcie was due. I was practically at the human equivalent of the first trimester.

With a huff, I grabbed the hem of my shirt and pulled it up to expose my belly. “Does it look like ah’m ‘bout ta pop!?” I shouted in frustration. “Ah ain’t nowhere big ‘nough ta get swelled ankles, an’ ah can still move ‘round jus’ fine!”

My mate placed his hand over my baby bump and rubbed carefully. “But yer stomach is startin’ ta harden. That means our babe is formin’. An’ ah saw ye havin’ trouble pickin’ up yer scarf the other day, so don’t deny it.”

“Ye saw me tryin’ ta bend an’ ye didn’t help me?” I asked irritably. I wasn’t going to deny that one. When I’d tried to bend down, I found my abdomen wasn’t as flexible as it used to be. To compensate, I had to spread my legs and squat to reach anything on the ground, but doing it took too long and way too much effort.

He chuckled. “So yer upset that ah didn’t pick up yer scarf an’ yet yer yellin’ at me fer savin’ yer ankles?” he questioned in amusement.

“Ah do need help wit’ bendin’ ‘cause ah’m at that stage. But right now ah can still walk wit’ no problems an’ no pains. When ah do get that big to need that kind o’ help, then ah’ll ask fer it,” I replied heatedly. He took off his über hat and ran a hand through his ruffled hair.

“Okay, mebbe ah’m takin’ it a little too far, but ye can’t blame me fer that. Ah don’t want anythin’ bad ta happen ta ye. As yer mate an’ father o’ yer babe, ah have ta keep ye safe an’ cared fer while yer vulnerable,” he said, stopping to give a quick kiss to my belly and one to my lips.

Instead of pulling away, he hovered over me with his forehead pressed against mine, the towel crushed between us. “Ah don’t know wot ah’d do if somethin’ bad happened ta ye, or if somethin’ happened ta the babe that would harm ye. Yer me most precious treasure, an’ ah don’t want ta lose ye,” he confessed.

He still had the ability to be so sweet that I couldn’t stay mad at him. I wasn’t angry with him; I was only frustrated. I reached up to cup his face and returned the short kiss.

“Ah know wot yer worried ‘bout, an’ ah’m followin’ yer rules. But let me keep me remainin’ freedoms while ah still have them. Ah’m gettin’ bored an’ lonely ‘round here, so ah need ta find somethin’ ta do.”

“Ah see yer point,” he admitted sheepishly as he pulled back. “Ah could take me paternity leave early so ah can keep ye company.”

Falucite were probably the only species in the world that actually had a ‘paternity leave’. Women would have their maternity leave first, then the men would be excused from their duties to the clan so they could aid their mates when they reached the later months. But Satel didn’t have elders to answer to anymore, so it was just a matter of pride.

“Nah. Enjoy yer work while it lasts. Ye need ta make sure there’s no loose ends left before disappearin’,” I replied. His taking leave would mean Pappy would have to take up the slack, and he wouldn’t appreciate it happening sooner rather than later. Not that he could really complain, having done it all by himself for thousands of years…

“Ye sure? Ah’d feel better if someone was wit’ ye…” He trailed off as an idea came to him. “Ah could make arrangements wit’ Cegil an’ Lioa. They have permission ta cross our barrier, so she can safely come here ta visit ye. Would that be better?”

As a further precaution, Satel had put up a water barrier around the house so any curious pirates couldn’t come up to visit. They might get suspicious that I was pregnant any month now, but there was no need to let them confirm it. More than likely, some would come up and try to steal from us, and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. For now, only Cegil and his family were allowed to cross over.

“Aye, if Lioa is up ta it,” I agreed. Though the matronly woman never said a word, we were all worried of what might happen if she were ever to cross paths with a pirate. She’d had a rather bad experience with a crew long gone from this world, but I knew how traumatizing it was to inadvertently run across dark shadows of the past.

Because of this, I always made a point to visit her at her home, instead of the other way around. I never knew when I would have ‘visitors’, even if they were nicer than most.

“Then ah’ll make the arrangements. Anythin’ ta make ye happy, me sirsa,” Satel said with a smile.

I smiled back and carefully patted my belly. “Well if ye want ta make me happy, could ye get Lioa ta make me some buttered moaghos while yer o’er there?”

Satel grimaced as he reached for the über hat and put it on. I eyed it enviously – I still loved that hat. “Ah can’t wait fer yer cravins ta end… but ah’ll bring some back fer ye,” he replied.

My cravings began roughly three months into the pregnancy and it mostly involved moaghos mixed with any combination of food that wouldn’t normally be put together. My worse craving yet was seaweed-wrapped moaghos, so the buttered ones weren’t as bad in comparison.

Satel kissed me once. “Rest up fer now an’ ah’ll be back before ye know it.” He leaned down to kiss my belly. “An’ ye be good fer yer Ma, me little princess.”

“Stop callin’ our son a princess!” I scolded jokingly, crossing my arms. Satel just smirked as he left the room. He was hoping that if he kept calling the baby a girl while in the womb, it would turn out to be one. However, he was no match for the body I commanded. I was praying with all my might that it would end up a boy. Hopefully this crap wasn’t true, or else we’d end up with a very confused child.

Since we would love the baby no matter the sex, we didn’t argue about it. We just liked teasing and rubbing our own desires in each other’s faces. Besides, we would learn who the winner was in seventeen months.

I smirked and rubbed at the small bump. “Don’t listen ta yer pappy, he don’t know wot he’s talkin’ ‘bout. Rest well me brave prince.”

Until then, I would just sabotage Satel’s hard work behind his back.

********************

11 months

Surprisingly, we still mated, despite his nearly spastic overprotective streak. I thought for sure Satel wouldn’t touch me until after the baby was born. But, thankfully Didra had said that it wouldn’t hurt anything to continue our intimacy, so long as we didn’t do anything extremely kinky. In fact, it was recommended to keep a regular mating schedule, since I needed Satel’s falucite hormones to maintain my slow aging. We only needed to stop about four months before the due date, when the lack of hormones wouldn’t harm me, and the baby entered its final stages of development.

I wasn’t complaining at all. Having the extra attention was nice, and I still had those urges even though I was pregnant. I suppose the best part of it – and this stunned me – was hearing him state how beautiful I was every time. My appearance never bothered me before, and I didn’t think of myself as fat just because of my prominent belly; but I couldn’t help but feel gross sometimes. It was nice for him make me forget about the… less pleasant symptoms.

My cravings were getting weirder, I had gas that led to embarrassing moments, and I was growing more hair in places I didn’t want. I was reassured that it would all end once the falcie was born, but it wasn’t making the experiences now any less annoying. All Satel saw was how my skin seemed to glow, and how my hair was thicker. In his eyes, I was only growing more beautiful, and my belly was only enhancing it.

However, I was also giving off pheromones that drove Satel insane with desire. I had no doubt that he meant what he said, but I had a feeling my new scent was coloring his opinion somewhat. It didn’t matter to him that I ate disgusting foods with moaghos, or that my dinner didn’t always agree with me after said digestion. He never cared about the hair I had before my pregnancy, so he paid no mind to the new ones. He thought his beard was more freakish.

“‘Tia,” he growled passionately against the back of my shoulder. Once again, he caught a whiff of my scent in his sleep.

Now that I was pregnant, our mating was calm and sensual. He would carefully run his hands along my body and gently rub my now sensitive breasts. He worshiped my body, focusing more on my pleasure than his own. He’d done that long before there was a baby in me, but now he wouldn’t let me reciprocate. He would let me lay back and enjoy it rather than allow me to help him along. Not that he needed much help, as my new smell fueled his sexual drive.

He focused a lot on rubbing my belly, but then his hands split up, one going down to pet my thighs and the other up to teasingly tickle my breasts with light touches. I was pulled more out of my sleep as I arched back against him. In some respects this was getting ridiculous. Satel still had work to do in the morning. He needed sleep more than I did.

Instead of protesting, I muttered his name, urging him to continue. It was hard to stop him when he wanted it, and he was very persuasive with his hands.

“Satel!” I moaned louder when the hand at my thighs slid to that area between them.

Encouraged, Satel shifted me so that I was on my back and pressed himself against my side as he resumed his light stroking.

“‘Tia,” he murmured contently in my ear.

I really should make him sleep somewhere else if he was going to keep this up every night. That’s what I wanted to tell him, but I couldn’t say it. It was hard for us to sleep without the other.

And, well, I loved seeing that sleepy, happy smile on his face after our sessions.

********************

18 months

It was funny how fast my belly grew after the twelve month mark. Funny and irritating. I thought I would be at the equivalent of the second trimester, but it looked more like I was only days away from labor. The worst part was that it seemed like I was still getting bigger. I needed Satel around to help me walk to places, and I was getting those swollen ankles he was so worried about months ago.

My mate decided to take his paternity leave and stayed by my side constantly. The only times he left me alone was to get food, or fetch Lioa for extra company. I thought he would be overbearing and annoying, but he remained a thoughtful companion and kept me entertained. He even drove me around the island once my motion sickness went away.

However, I found myself wanting to see less people as my pregnancy progressed. Even Lioa was starting to get on my nerves, and she wasn’t anything but a sweet and caring woman. It wasn’t even her; it was the constant subject of pregnancy that was getting to me, and learning new facts that I didn’t want to know about. It was far more disturbing when I discovered that I didn’t want to see Pappy either. I wasn’t sure if it was because I didn’t want him to see me like this, or that his curiosity over a pregnant female body was yet another irritant I didn’t want to deal with.

This desire for solitude could very well be another symptom of pregnancy. Or perhaps I was merely freaking out over my impending due date and didn’t want to hear anyone remind me of it.

My mood did not improve when Pappy arrived unexpectedly one day. He easily obliterated Satel’s water barrier and strolled in without knocking, as per usual. Ordinarily he would be a welcomed guest in our home, but this was the on first time Lioa happened to be visiting as well. Of all the pirates she could have met, I wasn’t sure if she could handle the crude wisdom of Pappy.

Satel immediately left my side and pulled him into another room to give stern instructions on how to behave in front of Lioa. It sounded as though an argument would erupt, but Satel’s calm voice cut through Pappy’s fury, and it quickly calmed down. When they returned, I was a bit amazed that at his attempt to clean up his language and at the fact that he introduced himself properly. He seemed interested in the woman who gave me the maternal love he couldn’t. Dare I say he even respected her?

Lioa didn’t seem afraid at all, and it took me a moment to realize it was because she had met Rutan when he was younger. Even though he was introduced to her once again as my father, she seemed to cling to the idea that this was just an older, adult Rutan. As for my father, when he had regained his memories, the early childhood ones were a little hazy, so it was likely he didn’t remember meeting her. It was probably better this way.

Based on her encounter with Pappy, it would be difficult to believe that Lioa had a hidden fear of pirates, but I knew better. There was an incident years ago when she had almost encountered a pirate crew. She was visibly shaken from the near exposure, but recovered after a few days. She could probably handle meeting one or two pirates at a time, but an entire crew in their natural element would definitely remind her of her past.

My feelings of relief vanished when Pappy sat down on the floor in front of me and poked my rounded belly like a child.

“Elit above lass, yer bigger than e’er! Ain’t the brat ready ta come out yet?” he asked incredulously.

“Not fer another eight months,” I muttered in reply. Pappy was well aware how long it was going to take and it bothered me to hear him point out how big I was. I didn’t think I was fat or anything, but it was starting to feel like I was part of some cruel joke. I knew better than to think my own father was picking on me, but my mind turned against him nonetheless. Was this how Satel felt when he entered his final stages of puberty?

I noticed my mate frown slightly at Pappy, but he quickly smoothed his expression. “Please refrain from callin’ yer future granddaughter a ‘brat’,” he requested, inching closer as if he wanted to slap Pappy’s hand away from me.

Pappy continued to poke at me. “Ah don’t know how ta break this ta ye, but ah think it’s goin’ ta be a boy. They say boys are bigger than girls in the womb.”

Who says that?” Satel asked, displeased with the thought.

“Actually he is right. Humans commonly equate belly size to sex, but it’s not a reliable method,” Lioa quipped from behind me. Though she seemed comfortable enough with Pappy in the room, she still kept a reasonable distance from him and chose to sit in a chair close behind me.

“However…” she continued upon seeing Satel’s disappointed face, “this is a baby who is half-falucite and needs twenty-six months to grow. Since the gestation period is longer, the baby will be bigger and more developed than human babies. So we can’t use size to determine sex in this case.”

“…Ye mean ah’m gonna get bigger!?” I shouted when the insinuation clicked. If this was the normal size of a full-term human baby, then a full-term falucite baby must be… Elit, I wouldn’t be able to walk at all in the last few months!

“I’m afraid so, dear, but don’t worry. Your mate will be with you every step of the way,” the brown haired woman reassured me, patting my shoulder. I glared up at Satel, almost damning him for putting this falcie in me. I was well aware it took two to conceive, so I couldn’t completely blame him, but I couldn’t help it. For once the blond man appeared guilty and glanced away.

Pappy blanched at the news while poking three more times. “Ain’t that goin’ ta hurt? Ah would imagine that would cause a lot o’ bleedin’.”

“An’ how would ye know that!? Ye ain’t a lass!” I pointed out shrilly.

He shrugged. “When ye ask Doc a question, he ne’er shuts up. Ah don’t understand how it’ll feel, but ah’m aware where the kid comes out, an’ the risks that might come wit’ it,” he replied.

While Doc – who surprisingly stayed with us even after he earned the right to retire – was not a woman either, he did have access to books that covered human pregnancies in great detail. It wouldn’t be any surprise if Pappy tapped into the man’s knowledge to increase his own comprehension. Knowing that there were going to be complications didn’t make me feel any better. Was I going to have a greater chance to hemorrhage? Would passing the baby split me apart?

The panic must have shown on my face because Satel immediately knelt down and placed a hand at my knee.

“Ah won’t let ye die, there will be no risks as long as ah’m wit’ ye,” he reassured me, his eyes unwavering.

I couldn’t stop the tiny bit of doubt from getting through. He said he wouldn’t let me die, but he didn’t promise that I wouldn’t be hurt. Since when did I fear pain anyway? These sudden feelings of doubt and irritation had to be some kind of symptom.

“He’s right. The worst you have to watch out for is too much bleeding, but your mate will be there, ready to stop it,” Lioa told me soothingly.

That didn’t completely reassure me, since I had an idea of how Satel was going to heal me. I certainly didn’t think it was going to be pleasant having him between my legs right after giving birth, not that he was going to do it for sexual reasons. And I didn’t want to go near the idea of any damage inside… I shuddered at the thought.

“But that’s only if ye rush through it. If ye listen ta Didra an’ only push when she says so, ye shouldn’t have the problem,” Satel said, rubbing my leg. Oh great. Even he knew more about pregnancy than me.

“Aye, yer a strong lass, so ye’ll survive havin’ a babe. Ye should focus more on wot ye’ll do after he’s born,” Pappy muttered while eyeing my chest region, “Yer boobs ain’t gettin’ bigger, so ah worry that ye’ll have ‘nough ta feed the little one.”

Satel swiftly slapped the back of his head, the same way he used to when Rutan was a teenager and did something stupid. It was an act he rarely did, thankfully. Seeing him slap my father was very odd.

“Ah didn’t mean it in a perverted way!” Pappy snarled.

“They have gotten a little bigger,” my mate muttered in my defense, glowering at my father. “She’s only startin’ ta grow since she still has a few months yet before she needs ta be feedin’ the falcie.”

I wasn’t sure if he was defending my ability to nourish our future child, or protecting his belief that I was nothing less than perfect. He didn’t care about the size of my rack, but he did care when others pointed it out. The only reason Pappy was still alive was because he was my father, and even lewd comments from him were never taken seriously. Yes, my father loved me, but certainly not in that way.

“It is quite odd. They start off so sensitive early on, but you do not lactate until you’re almost twenty-two months,” Lioa commented, speaking from experience. She’d had three falcie with Cegil, and I could take comfort in knowing she remained in one piece after each birth.

At that revelation, I relaxed and enjoyed the silence that followed. We seemed to have run out of pregnancy-related stories to share, and I hoped that someone was thinking of another topic to discuss so I could forget about it for a while. Unfortunately there was a smirk on Pappy’s face – indicating that he wasn’t yet finished with his torment.

“By the way, Doc had some books regardin’ falucite pregnancies. Did ye know that if there are any complications, they could cut up a mother’s stomach, take out the babe, then sew the woman back up?”

Lioa glanced at Pappy with a chagrined expression. “W-well, yes, but only during known complications discovered early on, or if there is more than one baby in the womb. It’s a very rare occurrence though.”

I didn’t hear Lioa’s response because all I could see in my mind was Didra with a wicked glint in her eye and a scalpel in her hand. She was my appointed midwife, and I had no doubt she would revel in the idea of having to cut me open in the name of science.

“That’s it!” Satel growled as he wrapped his arms around my now trembling form. “Yer stressin’ her out an’ it ain’t good fer either o’ ‘em. Either change the subject, or,” he glared menacingly at Pappy, “leave.”

“Tch! Don’t yell at me, ah was only statin’ a fact. Me daughter used ta love scary stories…” Pappy grumbled, appearing a little remorseful. He could have been honestly sorry for sending me to this state, or he was missing the days when I was his baby girl.

“There be a difference between stories an’ reality. Do ye not remember Didra?” Satel asked in frustration.

“The pink haired lady that once threatened ta castrate ye?” the pirate clarified before he smirked, “Ah liked her. She’s a fun one.”

Satel and I rolled our eyes. We were not too surprised with his declaration; Pappy seemed to like violent and scary women. He even considered himself good friends with Cyirlie.

Pappy copied our eye roll and then grabbed my hand. “Fine. Let’s talk ‘bout gifts. Wot should ah procure fer the babe when I get back from me next trip? Ah know a place that’s hordin’ a lovely short sword.”

“Absolutely not!” Lioa screeched before Satel or I could say anything. “A sword might be a good gift for when the child enters its teen years, but as a baby all it needs is its mother’s milk and comfort from the people around it. A warm, soft blanket would suffice.”

There was a pause.

“Aye. Ah could get one o’ those,” Pappy replied with a grin, stroking his beard. Knowing him, he was probably going to rob the cradle of the first noble family’s newborn. Since he wasn’t a monster, I knew he would be gentle with the vulnerable soon-to-be theft victim, but it still seemed wrong to steal from a baby.

“Now that ah know wot ta get, ah better get goin’,” my father announced as he stood. He proceeded to kiss me on the cheek, and with Lioa, on the back of her hand. When Satel pulled away to give a proper farewell, Pappy tried to deck him across the face – probably revenge for the earlier hit – but my mate smoothly dodged. He huffed, but let it go.

It was then I realized why I’d started to loathe company as my father walked out of the room and out of the house. I used to follow him to the docks to see him and The Cruel Whore off, but I couldn’t do that anymore. I couldn’t do anything that I used to, now that I was pregnant. Seeing my guests come and go as they pleased reminded me of my loss. That wasn’t to say that I hated my child, but I was definitely longing to be me again.

I made a resolution that once the baby was old enough to be left with his father, I was going to walk to the tavern on my own two legs and deck the first pirate I saw. Hard.

********************

21 months

I was warned that my first pregnancy would be my most volatile in regards to symptoms. I would feel the effects harder the first time, but they wouldn’t be so bad should I decide to have another falcie. I would still have symptoms the second time around, but in comparison, they would be mild and barely noticeable.

The one symptom I had to watch out for were the emotional mood swings that were guaranteed to happen for at least four months around the end of gestation. I recalled Didra went into a violent rage when she was pregnant with Aared. When it happened Satel and I gave her a very wide berth and at one point we remained in our chambers for an entire day to hide from her.

The only one who was able to get close to her was Garroe, her mate. To be honest, I thought the pink-haired shrew would lash out at him for helping to put her in that mess. Then again, I suspected that pregnancy only amplified her feelings, and she was naturally angry with everyone (save for her mate).

Since I’ve been spending my time with only Satel, I haven’t been able to get angry, no matter how aggravating he’d deliberately act. Instead I felt depressed, and it probably stemmed from my realization a few months back that I couldn’t have fun anymore. If I was lucky, my depression at the realization was the start of these mood swings, and they would soon disappear.

It was highly annoying when I started to cry for no reason, unprovoked. I could be sitting with Satel, doing nothing, and the waterworks would start, leaving him to scramble to find something to cheer me up. He hated to see me cry.

Other times my tears had causes, like when I’d told Satel how I missed being a pirate. Those were easier to deal with, because he would just smile and promise that I would be out decking other pirates in no time. He’d even swore to make it possible by seeking out potential wet nurses to borrow if need be. It wasn’t a new concept – since we had no way of feeding Rutan when he was a baby, we’d used wet nurses. It seemed like a good enough plan, even though some prideful side of me wanted to be the sole provider of milk for our baby.

Now that I was in my advanced stages, Satel wouldn’t allow anyone to visit me anymore, save for Lioa for ideas or advice. I suspected it was a primal instinct to make sure I was warm- he’d even built ‘nests’ in every room, made of blankets and pillows.

We were sitting in one of the nests in the den. It was located in his favorite armchair, and he managed to sit in it sideways so that I could comfortably sit on his lap and still face him. It was during this time that an alarming thought suddenly arose: Satel’s attention wasn’t on me anymore.

Though he’d been doing it for months, ever since the bump appeared, he spent a great deal of time massaging my belly and talking to the baby within. I couldn’t justify this feeling, but it seemed he was far more interested in the child than in me. And since my ability to think it through was shot, my emotions clung to the despair and I felt my eyes start to water once again.

“Wot’s the matter, ‘Tia-dear?” Satel muttered in concern as he reached up to wipe my tears away with his thumb.

“Ye don’t love me anymore.” I hiccuped. “All ye care ‘bout is the falcie. That’s all ye e’er talk ‘bout. Ye said that’s all ye wanted since ye mated wit’ me.”

Satel’s rust and grey eyes widened at the accusations as more tears escaped me. Sadly what I said was technically true, though deep down I knew I was blowing it out of proportion. It was hard for me to see past the truth: Satel was baby-crazy from the moment we met. He always talked about a future where we had children and they would be ‘productive members of the clan’. When I became Lord of the Sea, he would get excited when I’d hinted about starting a family once Rutan reached adulthood.

My mate shifted so that he was sitting up and pulled me against his chest. “That is utter rubbish me sirsa,” he declared firmly. “If ah only wanted falcie, then any woman would do. Ah love ye wit’ e’ery fiber o’ me bein’. If ye recall, ah fought ta remain by yer side fer all eternity, an’ that was when ah thought we couldn’t have falcie together.” He gently poked at my belly, “This babe in ye is proof o’ our love, not some desire fer a progeny.”

He’d brought on some points my irrational emotions forgot to consider. He always loved me and it was stupid of me to think otherwise. He chose to stay with me, knowing what I was. He gave up his dreams to live a life with me.

Before I could respond, his eyes glazed over and he cupped my jaw to give me a kiss. He had gotten too close and was captured by my pheromones again. His lips smoothed over my wet cheek and trailed down to my neck where he proceeded to plant light kisses and delicate nips.

“Yer me e’erythin’,” he purred, continuing his speech, “Yer powerful, strong, beautiful, an’ yer always by me side. Ah jus’ want ta… want… ah jus’ want ye.”

He growled as his grip on me tightened. He probably would have ripped my maternity dress to shreds had I not let out a loud wail. Immediately he stiffened, the flames of lust doused instantly.

“Are ye alright!? Did ah hurt ye?” he asked frantically, looking me in the eye.

“Ah’m jus’ so happy ta hear ye say that!” I cried, burying my head against his chest. I even had happy tears.

Satel relaxed and let out a resigned sigh. Mood ruined, he gently stroked my back until my sobs subsided. It was probably for the best anyway; we shouldn’t be mating anymore until the baby was born.

Months later, when that symptom finally disappeared, I felt so embarrassed that I wanted someone to shoot me. Thank Elit this only happened once…

********************

10 months after the birth

 It took me a little while to lose the baby weight, maybe two months. It took one month more for me to regain my original strength, since I was rather inactive the last year of my pregnancy. And then I had to wait until the baby needed less frequent feeding times before I was finally able to show my face in public again.

Just as I promised myself, I left our baby in Satel’s care and took a quick excursion down to the tavern by the beach. I was greeted by cheers and jeers by those who still remembered me, and those who were new and thought I was some slut. I promptly strode over to the latter, and carried out my mission by decking the first ugly mug I saw. And then the riot began.

I wasn’t going to lie. It felt good to get into a brawl, even if it meant that I had to make it up to the barkeep later. It didn’t matter that I owned the place – that was no excuse to damage property and ruin sales. Not that a pirate-damaged bar would keep the barnacle brains away.

I slipped out before anyone could get the situation under control and hurried back to the house. It was the first time I’d left Satel alone with the baby, and he seemed a little worried to be handling it on his own. Also, it was about time to feed the little one again.

When I got home, I quietly entered and tiptoed my way to the room I last saw them in. It was silent throughout the house, so I assumed it was still nap time. I found my two favorite blonds in the den, both sound asleep in Satel’s reclining armchair. The baby was resting on its stomach, perched on Satel’s lower belly. Its mid-tone grey eyes were closed and its thumb was in its mouth as it slumbered.

One of Satel’s hands was supporting the baby’s bottom, while the other was behind his own head. His über hat was pushed down to cover his eyes. I couldn’t stop the smile on my face at seeing such an adorable sight. I knew he could handle it; he was a natural at being a father.

My presence must have disturbed my mate from his slumber because he drew in a deep breath and moved his hat enough to expose his rust-colored eye. He mirrored my smile and gestured for me to join them.

It had been a hectic twenty-six months, full of frustration, humiliation, and pain, but seeing our falcie here, happy and healthy, made it all worth it. We really were parents now, raising a child that we created together.

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