To Love a Stray Ch. 15byMygypsy©
Hi lit readers,
Thanks for the many comments you have been leaving on my submissions. Yes I do read ALL of them, I love hearing how readers view my story.
I hope this chapter answers some questions that have been coming up in comments so read, enjoy and hopefully vote.
I lay on my side, propped up on my elbow as I watch Rosy sleeping. She dozed off several times only to wake with a start as she reached out blindly or cried out in fear. Doc gave her an injection to prevent nausea and after she managed to drink nearly an entire litre bottle of sports drink, to help re-hydrate her, she allowed him to give her two tablets to help her sleep.
It is nearly 3am and I have woken to watch Rosy to reassure myself she is really here.
"I bet it feels good to be holding your woman again," Steven says from just behind me.
"I almost can't believe she really is here," I admit quietly.
"I couldn't believe it when she walked into the room after her shower and she was still pregnant. Those strays must have known," Malcolm says whisper soft.
"Do you think she really told Donovan she's going to kill the baby?" Justin asks softly sounding distressed.
"Don't worry. I'll be working on that first," Doc says from the lounge. He declined a mattress on the floor saying his scent close to Rosy may unsettle her.
"Maybe Donovan was confused?" Sam says hopefully.
"Well he was hardly coherent when he started talking about what happened while they were held captive, other than repeating it was horrible and they kept trying to get him away from Rosy so they could kill him," Doc says quietly.
"You can be sure that tom Terry had more on his mind than just killing Donovan. We've had to put a few young strays out of their misery after he'd got hold of them," Steven says.
"What do you mean?" Justin asks uneasily.
"Rape, mauling, even started eating them while he was in cat form and they were still alive," Dwayne says his voice thick with disgust.
"I said Rosy would look after him," Jazzy mutters. "But no one listened to me."
"Shhh," I breathe quietly as Rosy stirs slightly and begins to whimper in her sleep. I rub her upper arm gently for a few minutes and the worried frown I can see on her face in the glow from the kitchen light eases as the soft sounds stop.
Her eyelashes flutter for a few moments before she opens her eyes; she inhales deeply and slowly turns her head to look over her shoulder at me.
"You okay? Do you need anything?" I ask quietly.
"I need to go to the toilet," Rosy murmurs pushing herself up into a sitting position.
I get to my feet and reach down to help her stand. She hesitates a moment before taking my hands and getting to her feet. I take hold of her uninjured arm and guide her towards the door as she wobbles unsteadily on her feet. When we reach the far end of the sunroom she slips through the door of the toilet and shuts it behind her. I move away several steps to give her some semblance of privacy and wait for her to emerge.
When she heads into the bathroom, she shuts that door behind her as well and I watch it for several minutes as only silence comes from the room.
"You okay? Do you want to go back now?" I ask softly.
"I'll be out in a few minutes," Rosy answers.
"That's fine. Just take your time," I call back. I hesitate for a moment; I know Rosy wants some privacy so I head back to the lounge room alone.
* * * * *
I look at the dim reflexion of myself in the mirror and grimace before I wash my face with cold water. I hate that they know what type of stray touched me. I hate they will know, if they don't already know, exactly what happened as soon as they have a proper chance to talk to Donovan. I hate that Donovan saw what happened to me.
I hate that the chances for Micah to experience watching my stomach grow was stolen. I hate he missed feeling the first butterfly like kicks of the baby. Most of all I hate that I am being treated like I am so delicate that I might break at the wrong word or the slightest touch.
I dry my face and head out to the lounge room. I make my way to where I had been when I woke up and got down on my knees before crawling into the spot between Mitchell and Micah.
Micah rearranges the blanket over me and cuddles up to my back as he slips his arm across my lower ribs. His breath brushes against the side of my neck and I am surprised when it gradually gets heavier. His fingers occasionally move against the t-shirt I wear and when I move to get comfortable there is no mistaking the hard ridge that brushes against my hip. I tense not sure what to do. Part of me wants to melt against Micah while part of me isn't ready for him to touch me in that way just yet. Gradually I relax and sleep creeps up on me. I yawn as I move and Micah groans as he eases me away. I hear someone laugh softly as I turn and snuggle into the warmth of his body.
Soft muted voices and the smell of cooking food wakes me. I yawn and stretch before sitting up and looking around. The spot where Micah was is empty while on the other side of me Mitchell is cuddling Jazzy and they both are asleep. I look around the room and see Dwayne, Malcolm and Chris stirring. Deciding I want the bathroom first I get to my feet and make my way to the bathroom, shut the door and quickly strip off before turning on the water. A knock on the door just as I am about to step into the shower cubicle startles me and I pause as I look at the door uncertainly.
"Rosy, You in there?" Sam calls.
"Yeah I just want a shower," I answer. Even after the shower when I got back last night I feel so dirty, like I'll never get clean.
"I'm just checking you're okay. Anything you need?" Sam asks.
"I know where everything is kept," I answer just wanting to be left alone.
"Ok, enjoy your shower," Sam tells me before I hear him move away and I step into the shower careful to keep my hair from getting wet.
I know the smell of stray is in my mind and not on my body but I still have a scalding hot shower. I wrap a towel around myself and I head to Micah's room and his closet to look through his shirts before turning to my own clothing. I settle on a pair of comfortable old track pants and a well-worn t-shirt, but when I put them on the t-shirt is firm around the swell of my belly and starts to ride up leaving a patch of skin visible. I tug it down several times but by the time I've walked to the lounge room door my belly is showing again. I make my way to the kitchen, ignoring Mitchell and Jazzy who are deeply involved in some heavy kissing, and I sit down on the first chair I reach self-consciously pulling my shirt down to cover the bare strip of skin once again.
"Good morning Rosy," Doc says from the other end of the table where he is sitting with a large mug of coffee.
"Morning Doc," I say quietly.
"I notice you slept fairly well. Feel better this morning?' he asks.
I glance at Micah where he is at the stove cooking what smells like pancakes while Steven is cooking sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs. Sam is making several loaves of bread into toast.
I give a shrug, "I feel okay."
"Pancakes with honey? Or we have maple syrup, the real kind not the imitation stuff," Micah offers.
"Pancakes with honey would be good," I agree. "Donovan said your Dad was born in America?"
"Yeah he moved over here to Australia after meeting Marissa," Micah tells me with a smile, obviously happy I am taking an interest in his family.
"You and Donny talked a lot did you?" Doc inquires evenly and I glance his way as something in his tone catches my attention.
"It was either talk about this, that and the other or go crazy wondering when the door would be opened next and who it would be," I say dully before looking away.
"Do you want a big plate full of pancakes or start with a few at first?" Micah asks me.
"Six or so?" I ask.
Micah quickly dishes up my pancakes and places them in front of me along with a squeeze bottle containing honey. He puts a knife and fork down beside the plate before turning around and retrieving his own breakfast from the stove side bench.
I hear a strange sound from the lounge room and turn my head to look that way with a frown. Suddenly I catch a good whiff of the scent from the lounge room and turn my face back towards the table hastily as I realise exactly what Mitchell and Jazzy are doing.
I am uncomfortably aware of the fact that Doc, Micah, Steven and Sam are watching Mitchell and Jazzy without any pretence of not doing so. I pick up my fork and use the side of it to cut up the pancakes before drizzling generous amounts of honey on them. I pick up a piece on the fork and pop it into my mouth experimentally before chewing slowly.
"Your elbow still sore?" Doc asks.
"Yeah, it only happened three days before we got rescued," I say around a mouthful of food.
"No wonder it is still swollen. It should be in a sling." Doc says curtly as he gets to his feet.
The rest of the toms start to descend on the kitchen and there are a lot of greetings directed my way. I don't answer as I busy myself eating but I do look at each tom when they talk to me and I am on the receiving end of a lot of grins.
Mitchell and Jazzy come straggling in a few minutes after the last tom, and when I glance their way, I can't help but notice how happy both of them are.
"Did you make enough pancakes for me too, Micah?" Jazzy asks with a grin. She glances at me with a huge smile.
"Last night Micah was saying how he was cooking this morning because he wanted to be sure there were pancakes for you," She tells me with a triumphant look at her brother.
"Just looking after Rosy and our baby," Micah tells her.
"You got a name picked out for the baby yet?" Jazzy asks with interest. "Now you know what it is that should make it easier."
"I got several in mind," I admit quietly.
"What are they?' Jazzy demands eagerly.
"You'll have to wait until I have the baby," I tell her.
"That's not fair," Jazzy complains dramatically.
"Calm down Jazz, it's not like it'll be years before we know," Mitchell tells her fondly with an apologetic smile for me.
"Doc, if someone drove Rosy and Donny out to the beef pen, is there any reason why they can't change and have a good feed of fresh meat when we make a kill?" Micah asks.
"No reason they can't but it is possible Rosy is finding it hard to change now. It gets harder as pregnancy progresses." Doc tells them.
"Rosy?" Micah asks with surprise.
"I haven't changed since before ... I haven't felt the need. Well not badly enough to change," I say quietly.
"You didn't feel the need to change when the strays..." Doc let his voice trail off sounding as if he wasn't sure how to frame his question.
"Being naked before or after a change around the strays did not seem like a smart move to me, nor did changing while wearing my only clothes seem like a good idea either," I say levelly.
"Sounds like you put a lot of thought into it," Doc tells me.
"Well Doc, all I can say is that with strays you learn real fast or you end up in a world of hurt," I tell him as I look down at what's left of my pancakes and suddenly I'm not hungry. I push my plate away and reach for the glass of juice someone has placed in front of me.
"Back to the fresh food question : if nothing else the drive in the fresh air would be good for Rosy as long as the drive is steady, not fast over rough ground." Doc directs the conversation away from the uncomfortable subject.
"You've got a real thing about not getting naked around anyone haven't you?" Malcolm comments.
"I was raised to respect myself and treat myself with respect," I say flatly.
"Come on, we're getting off subject here. So Doc, there's no reason Rosy shouldn't change if she can, and feels comfortable doing it?" Micah asks.
"That's correct," Doc agrees. "But I would like to check everything is still fine with Rosy and the baby. I plan on keeping a close eye on how things progress to make sure no problems have been caused."
"I'd appreciate that," Micah tells him seriously.
"I feel as fine as it's possible to feel, and having someone else with medical experience to double check everything is a big relief," I tell Doc with a sincere smile.
"I'm glad I can help put your mind at ease," Doc smiles back and spares a glance for my plate. I barely managed to eat two and a half pancakes.
"Your stomach has probaly shrunk with constant small meals. Just eat a comfortable amount and you'll soon return to what's normal for a pregnant she," Doc tells me gently.
"With the baby squashing my stomach and all?" I ask with a hint of sarcasm. I don't know where it came from but I do know my pregnancy should be more obvious than it is.
"Did you enjoy your pancakes?" Micah asks and I look his way. He is trying so hard to please me.
"Yes I did thank you," I say softly. I long to tell him how good they tasted, how safe I felt with him hovering close by, but the words somehow got lost between my thoughts and my speaking them.
"Are we going hunting today?" Steven asks.
"We can if Doc says Rosy is up to going," Micah supplies.
"I just want to lie around and relax and eat and sleep. I'm so tired and exhausted," I say. "I know it's not like we did much other than sat around and waited in the room we were locked in."
"My orders exactly : eat, sleep and relax." Doc states. "You need to build your strength back up and then we'll worry about getting some weight back on those bones of yours."
"And I can go outside and sunbake for a little while? Soak up some vitamin D?" I ask eagerly.
"That's a good idea actually as long as you don't get yourself sunburnt," Doc agrees.
"Doc, today when you check Rosy and the baby, do you uncover her belly again like last night?" Jazzy asks with real interest.
Suddenly I am overwhelmed with relief that I don't have to fear the attention being shown for the slight swell where my child lays hidden, and I burst into tears. I feel Micah lift me onto his lap and wrap his arms around me, cuddling me securely to his chest as he nuzzles against the side of my face.
"It's alright, you're safe. It's alright, no one is going to hurt you," Micah murmurs to me and I shake my head wanting to explain to him but more tears come and he begins rocking me back and forth gently.
When I am finally cried out, I am cuddled against Micah with my face buried in the crook of his neck and my hands clasped behind his neck. I sniffle loudly and rub my cheek against the top of his shoulder. I feel him rub my back and squeeze me very gently as he nuzzles against the hair that covers the side of my face.
"What's wrong with Rosy and how do we make her stop crying?" I hear Mitchell whisper urgently.
"I think she's stopped crying," Steven whispers back.
"Rosy? Can you tell us what was said that upset you so badly?" Doc asks gently.
"Nothing, nothing that was said," I say and sniff loudly before easing away from Micah to look at Doc.
I want to tell all my fears to them, to Micah, but Vaygar's words about land belonging to me play in my mind. Was he right? Am I just a means to an end for Micah? I cover my face with my hands and I turn to Micah feeling sure he'd want nothing to do with me if I wasn't a clan bred she-kitt.
I can hear the others talking but I can't understand them over my own noise. My tears end quicker this time and I am left lying against Micah's shoulder feeling totally exhausted, drained and unable to stop shaking. I close my eyes, slip a thumb into my mouth and start sucking it as I turn my face towards his shoulder more.
"Take her into the lounge room and get her to try to calm down and relax," Doc orders and I am relieved when Micah seems in a hurry to do as he is told.
I am placed on a mattress and when Micah can't easily pull my arms from around his neck, he stretches out beside me and holds me close as he strokes my back. I keep my face buried against his neck where each breath carries his scent, and slowly I begin to stop shaking so hard. I become aware that time is passing but I don't know how fast or slowly it is passing, only that Micah is holding me and talking about all the things we will do together when the baby is born. I feel Micah gently pull at my arm and I allow him to ease my arm down and my thumb comes out of my mouth with a little pop.
"See, it's alright," Micah tells me softly. I feel him brush the hair back off my cheek and I turn my head slightly so that I can see him.
"Ah, there you are. It's alright sweetheart," he murmurs softly.
The screen door bangs noisily and I jump as I attempt to turn my head towards the lounge room doorway but Micah has a firm hold on my chin.
"Shhh, it's okay. We'll protect you if necessary," Micah tells me gently.
"Micah! Guys," Donovan pants as he runs into the room.
"Donny! Calm down, you are upsetting Rosy," Sam orders.
"Dad sent me! Edwin just turned up and he's demanding to see Rosy to make sure she's all right. He thinks she's in the house for the moment," Donovan explains with a worried glance my way.
"I'll kill the bastard," Micah growls angrily and goes to get up but I grab hold of his arm and he remains sitting when I refuse to let go.
The fear of loosing Micah that rises in me is irrational. I know it is irrational but it consumes me until I am sure something will happen to him and I will have no one to keep me safe anymore.
"Please don't! Please no fighting! I'll go talk to him so he knows I'm okay but please no fighting," I beg.
Micah is growling deep in his chest and I can feel the waves of anger coming off him but all I want is him safe and uninjured.
"That might be the smartest thing to do," Doc says and I can hear him walking closer from the kitchen but I don't take my eyes off Micah's face. "Neither Rosy or Donny need the stress a fight would cause."
"He does not touch you," Micah growls possessively. "And you will not be alone with him!"
"Just as long as there's no fighting, I don't like fighting," I tell him earnestly as I stroke the side of his face with a hand that won't stop shaking.
"I won't go looking for a fight but if he starts something I won't back down," Micah growls in warning. I whimper in fear and bury my face against his chest. I am relieved when his arms close around me and he holds me close.
"You aren't going over to the house alone," Steven states.
I turn my head to look past the lounge where all of the warriors are standing watching us along with Donovan, Jazzy and Doc. I nod and rest my head against Micah's chest so that my ear is over his heart and I can hear it beating in his chest.
"You need to go change your shirt to one that doesn't show the baby off every time you move," Micah tells me softly.
"This is my roomiest t-shirt. Nothing else is going to come close to fitting," I tell him.
"Rosy can wear one of her new maternity shirts," Jazzy says brightly. "All those maternity clothes are in bags in her old room."
"You got any problems wearing one of my t-shirts? You didn't seem to last night," Micah says as he stands up and helps me to my feet. "But you will smell like me if you do."
Donovan laughs and Micah glances his way. "Rosy often said she wished she smelt like you, not stray, when we were locked in the room."
"You little tattletale," I say to Donovan but I can't hide my embarrassed smile or the warmth that flows into my cheeks. I dart a swift glance at Micah to find he has a huge smile on his face and I hear the good-natured laughter from most of the others.
"I know just the t-shirt you should wear," Jazzy announces and rushes off.
She returns shortly with Micah's high school jumper. It is thick, warm and so long it will reach mid thigh on me. Across the front of the jumper in large letters is 'Property of Micah Williamson'. There is a devilish smile on her face as Jazzy holds it up for me to see.