In fact, I'm really really excited to share the sequel with everyone. The first chapter is already done and I'm working on the second right now. However, I will only start posting the sequel sometime in late May [after I finish my exams]. After that I'll have more time to devote to writing and I've got a few stories brewing in my head so hopefully they'll materialize in writing soon. =)
Okay enough chatter. This chapter took me forever to write... but it's off for editing at the moment so here's the teaser for it =)
Josephine smiled upon hearing Draven’s thoughts. Never in her life would she have imagined her baby wanting her to stay.
“Everything alright in there?” asked Alaron, trying to peek through the doorway but Josephine blocked him. Amber was naked and she knew the two of them needed their privacy.
“Yes it is. Fiona dear, why don’t you get something for Amber to wear? We’ll meet you three downstairs in a while. Your husband’s coming home isn’t he?”
Fiona flushed guiltily before hurrying towards her own room to get some clothes.
“Guess that just leaves you and me Sweetie,” said Josephine, smiling at Alaron.
Alaron was staring at her suspiciously. “Why do I feel like a trapped rat? I fell for the moldy cheese. Damn.”
“Language,” she said, waving a finger absently.
A while later, Alaron found himself alone in the living room with Josephine. She intimidated him but he was also intrigued by her.
“I can collapse time,” she said softly, watching his eyes widen in surprise.
“Like… stop time?”
“Well, not to that extent. But I have a certain degree of foresight and hindsight. It’s hard to tell sometimes when it doesn’t concern me.”
Alaron frowned. Why was she telling him all this?
“Did you see something about me? Is that why you’ve pulled me aside?”
Josephine shook her head; much to his disappointment.
“I had always assumed that your brother got his abilities from me. It’s always the case with our race; at least one parent needs to have the gene for expressing abilities or the child doesn’t inherit them. But Fiona has them and she’s Sired by you.” Josephine paused to let the words sink.
“But my mother is human…” said Alaron slowly. “Are you saying Father…”
“Yes, and that means you should express something too although you are still considered young. Some Vampires don’t even express any powers until they reach a century old.”
“But Fiona did… although I accidentally pushed her limits.”
This time, Josephine raised her eyebrows in surprise. “What do you mean?”
“Err… Draven and I have been working on this blood pill for the American Council and I sorta fiddled with it...” he flashed her a guilty look. “I managed to isolate a strain of protein to enable her to mate with a Were… but of course it wasn’t tested yet and the side effects was a premature unleashing of her powers.”
“Very impressive. This science thing makes my head spin!” laughed Josephine. Taking Alaron’s palms she patted it and smiled. “I think it is natural for you and your brother to have this obsession with science. It could be related to your individual abilities. He can read minds, Fiona can control minds. Take Fiona’s abilities for example; neurons and what not… don’t you think if she can ‘see’ it, so can you? You did provide her the blood.”
Alaron could see where this is going.
“So you’re saying that I might have something that may heal Amber’s mind?” he was hopeful but he shook his head. “But… that’d take years to perfect. Even if I do have it, it’s still dormant.”
Josephine smiled. “I know baby… but that’s only because you didn’t have the right trainer. Your brother took a long time to discover his own powers and an even longer time to get it under control because your father didn’t help him with it.”
“But he helped Fiona…”
“What?” Josephine was truly shocked. “He helped her control her powers?”
“Umm… yeah. They had some sparing session with it. I’m not quite sure what he taught her but soon after that she managed to gain some control.”
Josephine frowned at his answer. Why didn’t Aramis help Draven? Or was her son just too stubborn to ask for help?
“I’ll help you.”
“Because I want my babies to be happy. And right now I still see that image of Draven crying and I really don’t want that.”
Alaron didn’t want that either. He had seen Draven cry and he wanted to help… with his abilities or not.
“When do you want to teach me?”
“As soon as possible… but not tonight my dear. I can sense the Alpha wolf returning and he is not happy. I need my energies for his welcome.”
“He has a soft spot for women. You’ll be fine,” said Alaron with a smile.
As though on cue, the front door opened and there stood a very virile and territorial man; his eyes more wolf than man.
“Explain.” His voice was calm but leashed with fury.
“Eian?” Fiona’s gentle voice was like a balm to his anger. The soft padded soles of her slippers flapped as she hurried down the stairs into his arms.
“Are you alright? Is the baby…”
“Yes, everything’s fine… more than fine actually,” she said, letting him nuzzle against her neck; no doubt trying to sniff for her and the baby’s heartbeat. “Amber’s upstairs with Draven… and she seems well. She’s safe for now Eian, stop growling!”
“I have strangers in my home,” he growled. “I don’t mean you Alaron although sometimes…”
A slap on his chest stopped him midsentence. “Don’t be rude. Eian sweetheart, this is…” Fiona paused, unsure for a minute then, “My grandmother.”
“Dame Josephine Draefend,” she introduced, lowering herself into a curtsey, “Your Grace…”
Eian stopped growling; his eyes returning to the striking green that was his own.
“You look different now Josephine,” he replied, bowing his head slightly to acknowledge her.
Everything in the room fell silent then Fiona exploded.
“What! You two know each other? And yet you act so uncivilized?” she snarled at Eian. “That is so rude!” she continued, punctuating every word with a playful slap on his chest.
“I was young and pregnant then. Of course I looked different,” said Josephine. “Time changes people.” She meant him of course. When Eian first came to Culzean’s castle, he had been a young warrior; cold and without mercy. She didn’t blame him for war was a constant during the medieval times. Now look at him –older, wiser, mated and a father to be. The last bit certainly put a damper on his cold, unyielding personality. Josephine could almost see him going all soft and pliable to the woman in his arms.
“Since my mate has accepted you into the family, then I shall extend a welcome for you,” he said –although he didn’t trust her yet. “But you saved one of my pack and brought her here safely, so the debt on your life is paid.”
“Eian,” hissed Fiona. “Don’t threaten her like that!”
Josephine merely laughed. “It’s the way of the pack sweetheart. I entered pack lands without permission. I ought to be dead by now. But he’s right. I brought Amber here, with some help of course, and so I’m spared.”
A shuffling sound at the top of the stairs took their attention. Draven was coming down with Amber in his arms but his eyes solely on Eian. However his Alpha held no contempt in his gaze; only a quiet understanding as he watched the way Amber curled herself around Draven. They were mates and he should never have separated them.
Eian drew his gaze from Draven to his mother and was surprised to find love in her eyes. He had always thought of Josephine as someone cruel and heartless but the woman in front of him was clearly misunderstood. He’ll find out the truth later.
Right now, she had returned Amber safely to the pack and clearly had no objection to her son mating with a Werewolf. That earned her a few more respect points.
“I’ll have a segment of the compound set aside for you to build a home.” It wasn’t an order but an acceptance of this Vampire into the pack.
“Yes. Thank you,” whispered Draven. “I apologize for intruding on your private space for tonight.”
“No, don’t say that,” said Fiona. “You’re family… and now you’re Pack too.”
Alaron let out a mock cough. “I feel so left out. Guess that’s our cue to leave,” he winked at Josephine and made her laugh.
“Yes, everything seems to be in order. Keiran, I will try and find a way to help you heal her but for now, keep her safe… for my baby.”
“On one condition…”
Everyone became silent; all eyes on Eian alone. “Will you… keep an eye out for Fiona as well?”
Josephine nodded. She didn’t need to have a strong sense of smell to scent the young brewing inside Fiona’s body.
“She’s mine as much as she is yours,” she said kindly then laughed. “Alright now, I have to return to fix things up with the old bat. I hope you’ve drawn enough blood for him not to scowl at me.”
“Oh!” Eian totally had forgotten about that. “I should recall my wolves back then… We were intending to merely pay a call.”
“I’m sure of that,” said Josephine with a knowing smile. “Come Alaron. We’d best leave.”
The drive back to Culzean Castle was long mostly because Alaron was tired.
“I don’t really need you to drive me all the way up Sweetie… plus I think the castle’s not going to be a conducive place to rest tonight. I am almost positive that your father and I will go at each others’ throats the second we see each other.”
“You make it sound like you’re going for war,” he mused, feeling the tiredness seeping in more and more.
“Well, it is… I’m not the young woman anymore who was bullied into abandoning her baby. I’m not leaving Draven ever and I’ll go to war with your father even if I have to.”
Alaron laughed. “I like you.”
Josephine smiled. “Thank you. I like you too.”
Alaron flashed her a boyish grin. “I do have a place in mind… but I think I should drive you home first.”
“No. You’re tired. You might end up killing us both. I’ll drive up on my own.”
“You can drive?”
She laughed. “Of course. Now scoot over and tell me where to go.”
An hour later, they were outside Erika’s loft.
“A human?” Josephine raised her eyebrows. Alaron grinned; too tired to reply. “Okay my baby, we’ll talk about this later if you want. Have a good rest.”
Alaron stood outside the car, looking at Josephine with calm, unguarded eyes. Then he leaned down and kissed her cheeks.
“Thank you…” he whispered then he was gone.
Josephine touched her cheek gently and felt the first measure of control breaking away. Life was funny, she thought. She lost a child so many years ago because of her fear and stupidity… and now, fate not only returned her her baby but gave her two more…
That was worth fighting for isn’t it?