To Love a Stray Ch. 16byMygypsy©
Sorry about the wait for this chapter. I have to say a big thanks to my friend/editor who I will always think of as TheKittiesMama. Thanks for encouraging me to post this story when I first showed it to you.
Thanks to Cannd for pointing out the huge holes in this chapter.
I wait patiently as Doc checks my pulse and blood pressure before he listens to the baby's heartbeat and I have to smile as Micah eagerly lines up for his chance to listen to the heartbeat as well. I grimace as Doc feels my stomach gently pressing to feel the position of the baby.
"Okay, now the scales." Doc tells me. I stand up and kick my shoes off before stepping onto the scales, we watch as the numbers steady then flash and Doc nods.
"Not bad, you've put on the recommended weight gain but I would have liked for you to have put some weight on yourself," Doc tells me seriously.
"I'm feeling much stronger and I don't tire near as much," I offer.
"That is good but you are going to need every bit of strength when that little fellow decides it is time to arrive and going on his size now, he isn't going to be so little when he's born," Doc warns.
"I plan on being as active as is safely possible," I say, "that helps with the delivery doesn't it?"
"Yes it does," Doc agrees. "A well balanced diet is essential as well even if your weight gain isn't as much as I'd like."
"Diet?" Micah frowns, "Shouldn't Rosy eat as much as she wants?"
"Yes, but she also needs plenty of fresh fruit and veggies to go along with her daily intake of protein," Doc explains. Micah looks at me as he nods to himself before glancing at Doc then back at me.
"Why don't you go check the pantry and freezers and write out a list of anything you want from town? I'll send a couple of the guys in to do some shopping," Micah tells me.
"I take it that's code for you want a cup of coffee?" I say with a smile.
"Uhh, yeah," Micah smiles relieved.
"Doc?" I ask as I pause in the doorway of the room.
"Yes, Rosy?" Doc answers with a smile as he looks my way.
I glance towards Micah for a second before I focus my attention back on Doc, I know the question I intend to ask will not sit well with Micah but I ask anyway.
"Have you heard how Edwin got on after he left here?" I query. Edwin left the morning after Sam beat him up because he was unwilling to stay on clan land any longer than completely necessary.
"He isn't here where he can bother you any longer Rosy, so no need to worry about him," Micah says gently.
"I want to know how he got on with the operation he needed," I insist with a determined frown.
"There's no need for you to worry about him," Micah says firmly.
"There is a good chance he will need further surgery some time in the future to remove the remaining testicle," Doc tells me in an even tone.
I grimace slightly as I give a faint nod before turning away. I'm not sure how I feel or if I even feel anything about Edwin's injuries. It doesn't upset me anymore but neither do I feel any compassion for him.
"Rosy, I will be sending a report to The Board about Wade ordering Edwin to force you while you were on heat. What happened is nothing more than rape. Wade must be held accountable for his actions," Doc says firmly.
"No," I turn to face him. "I don't want others knowing what they done to me!"
I can feel my face burning with shame and look away unable to meet Doc's eyes. I can't stop thinking I should have been able to turn away from Edwin, instead of just scream my refusal at him. My body shouldn't have wanted the release it knew he could provide.
"Rosy, you are in no way to blame for what happened. What Wade and Edwin done is completely unacceptable," Doc says gently.
"I don't want everyone knowing," I protest as I glance towards Micah hoping for his support on this.
"I am sure The Board will treat this in the strictest confidence," Doc says soothingly.
"I don't believe you," I tell him as I retreat to the door. "Everyone will know what happened!"
I move through the door in a hurry and out into the sunroom as I head for the kitchen but pause at the lounge room door and listen intently as I hear Micah's voice.
"Doc, I've wanted to ask you ... how long before Rosy can safely ..." Micah sounds uncertain and I hear a faint laugh from Doc.
"You're wondering when you can do more than just sleep with Rosy?" Doc asks levelly.
"Yes. I haven't tried to do anything with her this last week other than try to make her know she's safe," Micah says sounding slightly pained.
I listen intently, interested in the answer myself. My body is eager for Micah's touch and memories of Kendal rarely surface when I can feel Micah's aroused body against mine of a night.
"Okay, anytime Rosy is inclined to be interested. All I can suggest is follow your instincts with her," Doc explains. He continues to talk but I shake my head with a faint smile and head for the kitchen on silent feet, I put the coffee percolator on and put several mugs on the bench. One benefit of having Jazzy in residence is we now have ceramic mugs with our names on them and they are rinsed after use and washed up properly each night after supper. No longer is the sink filled with dirty used mugs.
I hear the screen door slam and light footsteps as several of the toms head inside, I turn to face the lounge room and watch as Steven leads the way in followed by Sam, Dwayne, Mitchell and Justin.
"Where's Jazzy got to?" I ask. It is rare to see Mitchell and Jazzy apart.
"She has decided to drag Malcolm, Chris, Mikkarl and Timny to town to go shopping," Mitchell says with a shrug. He hates shopping and is clearly relieved to escape Jazzy's expedition.
"What has she decided she needs this time?" I ask with a grin.
"She is checking to see if the baby sling she ordered for you is in, plus she declared you have no decent clothes to cover 'The Bump'." Sam tells me with a grin. All of the toms find it amusing that Jazzy has changed the baby's name from Jellybean to 'The Bump'.
"I will scream if she brings back a collection of clothes covered in frills and bows." I say as I shake my head.
"Maybe she'll pick out a nice little two piece swimsuit for you," Steven tells me with a leer.
"You and your skimpy swimsuit fantasy. You need to go take some poor unsuspecting girl out for the evening," I tell him with a shake of my head.
"And ruin her for a normal man? How cruel are you?" Steven teases me. I poke my tongue out at him and he laughs as he walks into the kitchen and looks in the percolator. The toms retrieve their cups from the draining rack and line them up along the bench with the three cups I have out.
"Who else is here?" Sam asks idly.
"Doc, he's in chatting with Micah. Micah is probaly trying to find some way to make me eat more," I grumble.
"You had your check up? Everything's fine?" Sam asks anxiously.
"Everything is good but Doc said he would have liked it if I had put on more weight, on me and not just with the baby growing." I say calmly. It is no use trying to hide the fact from my brothers. Doc or Micah will tell them for sure.
"I'm going to have a few words with Doc myself," Sam mutters. I frown at him. He crosses his arms over his chest and gives me his no-nonsense, stern look. I ignore him as I look through the pantry before checking the two different freezers and finding a pen and paper so I can write out a list of food I want bought from the shops in town.
"Whatcha doin'?" Steven asks as he reads the list over my shoulder.
"Shopping list," I tell him.
"But we don't eat spinach or broccoli or mung bean sprouts, sounds nasty." Steven tells me with a shake of his head as he pulls a face as if he has tasted something terrible.
"I notice you're not complaining about the sweet corn on the cob or the baby potatoes, sweet potato or Zucchini." I remark.
"They taste good," Steven points out to me patiently.
"The others are good for you or more importantly good for me and Jellybean," I say levelly.
"Oh, that's all right then. We can get those for you." Steven is quick to agree. I roll my eyes at him and he moves away to pour the freshly brewed coffee into the waiting cups.
"You don't have coffee do you?" He comments as he goes to the fridge for the milk. I grin as I see he has his large bottle of flavoured milk and is about to pour me a cup. I accept the drink gratefully and I am sipping it when Micah and Doc walk into the room.
"Coffee, just what I need," Doc announces as he reaches for a cup.
"Did Rosy check out all right?" Sam asks seriously with a stern glance towards me.
"Everything seems fine and hopefully will continue to be," Doc tells him.
"Rosy said you're not real happy about her weight or something?" Mitchell says with a reproachful look my way.
"You should see what she put on the shopping list. She's trying to poison us," Steven grumbles as he pushes the list towards Micah. Doc picks it up and studies it for a few minutes before nodding his approval and glancing at me with a grin.
"Rosy seems to have it covered. Now if you actually manage to get these guys to eat this stuff, you will have to let me know how you do it?" Doc smiles widely.
"Broccoli? You expect us to eat broccoli?" Micah asks with disbelief.
"It's good for you. It'll put a shine on your coat," I say with a shrug.
"We'd better stock up on tomato sauce then because I intend to use an entire bottle to hide the colour and taste of the broccoli," Micah informs me.
"Well ... if you feel that strongly about it, I suppose we can give it a miss," I say sounding regretful.
"And the spinach? And the sprout thingies?" Steven asks hopefully.
"If we must," I answer with a long-suffering sigh.
"No," Doc protests, "Those foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for you while you're carrying the baby!"
"It's too much hassle to cook up enough for just one person," I say with a shrug and turn away to help myself to an orange.
"We all can eat them. It won't hurt us." Sam says firmly, "If Rosy has to eat food she's not fond of, it won't hurt us to eat it as well."
"Well that's settled then. They stay on the shopping list." Micah announces. I remain silent as the toms grumble. It is just another example of me outsmarting them. I move to a chair and sit down as I rub my stomach with one hand.
"You okay?" Doc asks and I realise I have moved from rubbing my swollen stomach to rubbing my back.
"Just a backache," I dismiss it but Doc moves to where he can place a hand on my stomach. He leaves it there for a while before moving away.
"Nothing to worry about just Braxton-Hicks. At six and a half months, they're normal," Doc tells me.
"Braxton-Hicks, what are they?" Micah demands in concern.
"Practice pains," Doc says.
"Is Rosy having the baby early?" Mitchell demands in a panic. "I thought you said things can be done to stop that kind of thing these days!"
"Mitchell! Stop! You got it wrong," I try to calm him but Mitchell grabs one of my hands in a hard grip and squeezes as he pats it roughly.
"It'll be all right Rosy. You won't lose this baby like the others." Mitchell tries to reassure me in a panicked voice. I instinctively lash out with my free hand hitting his wrists hard with one slam down of my fist causing Mitchell to give a startled yell and look at me accusingly.
"Let her go. You're hurting her," Micah growls as he pushes Mitchell backwards stopping him recapturing my hand.
"I'm fine Mitchell. The baby is fine. They're practice pains. So my body knows what it has to do when the time comes," I tell him earnestly.
"You were in pain," Mitchell worries as he looks down at my stomach before looking me in the face, distress clear on his features.
"Mitchell, back off," Micah warns with a hiss of fury.
"Not even Mitchell! It just feels weird like the muscles in my belly and back go tense," I tell him with a frown as I turn away from the others.
"They are similar to a very mild muscle cramp. The muscles just go tight," Doc explains.
"They really don't hurt?" Micah asks with concern.
"No, they do not," I snap as I start to become annoyed with the over protective behaviour of the toms. I glance from one face to another and see the concern on all of their faces. Irritation rises within me and I turn to face all of the toms.
"I promise that if it hurts, I shall scream long and loud so you lot know. Is that a deal?" I demand angrily at the end of my patience.
"I suppose," Mitchell says sounding uncertain. His recently developed composure and calm steadiness obviously does not extend to matters concerning my impending motherhood.
"Would a backrub help?" Micah offers.
"Well it wouldn't hurt. It should help Rosy to relax," Doc answers before I can say a word. "With a couple of pillows to help make her comfortable, there is no reason why Rosy can't lay on her stomach,"
Micah eyes me doubtfully and gives his head a shake.
"Maybe Rosy can use one of the new beanbags," Doc offers. "Some human women use them when they are having their baby,"
"And maybe if Rosy can't be trusted to know what hurts and what doesn't, she can miss out on the backrub." I snap as I get to my feet and turn to leave the room. Micah catches me by the wrist and pulls me around to face him very gently. He smiles at me apologetically.
"It's just that we care about you," Micah says with a rueful smile.
"Well credit me with some commonsense," I mutter as I look away uncomfortable with the turn in the conversation.
"Our every instinct is to protect you and the baby. We can't help it if we go overboard." Sam tells me with a good-natured smile.
"So it's okay if I follow my instincts to give whoever a good swift kick in the shins when they annoy me?" I ask with a raised eyebrow. I hear Doc laugh but I don't pull my gaze away from Sam as he looks uncomfortable with my question. Finally, he gives a shrug.
"That wouldn't be too much fun," he informs me.
"True. I'd end up with a very sore foot because it seems like every time one of you open your mouth you annoy me," I say levelly.
"You never say anything," Dwayne tells me.
"Yeah, I know you have the best of intentions so why bash you over the head with the little unimportant things?" I ask with a shrug.
"Maybe you all need to find a happy middle ground," Doc offers.
"We're getting there," I admit. "They're getting better at listening to me and I'm learning new stuff all the time. It's not as if I grew up in a clan so everything is very different for me," I tell Doc.
"We try to explain things to her so she understands things better," Sam admits and I send him a grin.
"Sounds like you have things under control. Have you worked out what made you lose control when you were wearing the collar? What upset you so badly you couldn't force your cat back under control?" Doc asks curiously.
I look away uncomfortably. I don't want to hear Micah is only with me because the kitt I carry has a Williamson sperm donor. I don't think of Edwin as the biological father. He is nothing to my baby or me. It is just a twist of fate that it was Edwin who provided the genetic material.
And, I refuse to think about the clan lands Vaygar mentioned. If that was the real reason behind... I allow my mind to go blank. In this case, ignorance is bliss because there is a tiny suspicion at the back of my mind telling me - if you don't like the answer -- don't ask the question.
"I'm still willing to chat with you about it if you want to, if you need to," Doc tells me gently. I can almost feel the waves of tension coming off Sam and Steven as I shrug uneasily.
"Not really Doc," I say as I shake my head.
"It's not good for you to keep something that upset you so much bottled up inside," Doc insists. I remain silent and Micah brushes his thumb gently over my wrist. I twist my arm free and cross my arms over my lower ribs defensively as I avoid his gaze.
"Whatever is upsetting you Rosy, we can work it out. I promise I'll find a way to help you fix it," Micah tells me.
"Don't push her Micah; Rosy will talk when she's ready." Sam tells him. Micah takes a deep breath and I glance his way. He is watching me with a frustrated look on his face and I look away quickly.
"Do you want to have lunch before you head off Doc?" Micah asks.
"Might as well," Doc agrees.
"Well I'm going to be lazy and sit in the lounge room while you lot make lunch," I declare with a grin and head for the lounge room. I know that if I remained in the kitchen that one of the toms would end up carrying me into the lounge room out of harms way while they goofed around. I sit in the middle of the lounge before giving a shrug and moving to put my legs up and lay down knowing that Micah will sit me up so he can sit down and have me lean against him.
I close my eyes tiredly. I'll just rest them for a few moments since lunch won't be long. I yawn and stretch as I make myself comfortable on the lounge. Just a few moments of peace and quiet before everyone comes in here to eat their lunch.
"Rosy, Rosy come on you got to wake up." Micah's voice disturbs me and I open my eyes reluctantly. "Doc said you can't afford to miss meals and we have to wake you up so you can try to eat."
"Jus' a minu'e," I murmur sleepily and rub my eyes.
"Take your time," Micah says gently before easing me into a sitting position. He sits on the lounge then lifts me backwards onto his lap securing me with an arm around behind my waist while his hand rests on my hip.
"What's to eat?" I ask as I rest my head against his chest. The sound of his heart beating is directly beneath my ear and I listen to the soothing sound.
"I heated up some left over roast and made you warm meat and gravy buns," Micah tells me.
"Hmmm," I murmur with approval as I reach eagerly for the plate Sam passes to me. I hesitate as I go to pick up one of the buns that are overflowing with warm aromatic meat and gravy.
"What do you want?" I ask suddenly suspicious as I glance at Micah before lifting the lid of the bun off and beginning to eat my lunch one juicy gravy moist chunk at a time.
"Nothing, I just want you to eat your food," Micah growls sounding annoyed. "Why does every kind gesture have to mean we want something?" he asks with a frown.
"You just said you want me to eat my food," I point out before I lick gravy off my fingers and Micah growls in annoyance.
"You okay with Micah wanting to take care of you?" Doc asks calmly. I glance at Doc where he is looking very relaxed in a chair while he eats his lunch. One good sniff has already informed me I am the only one who has warm filling in the buns.
"I'm eating aren't I? And more importantly Micah isn't wearing my lunch," I say with a shrug.
"Rosy you're just being nasty," Mitchell tells me with disapproval.
"No Mitchell. My instincts have kept me alive for years, and if I'm not sure about something with you lot I ask outright because right from the start something told me I'd get straight answers. Most of the time," I say and glance at Micah. He's watching me as if not sure what to make of me and I return to eating the chunks of roast.
"So who stole my crackling?" I ask with a wide grin. Several of the toms laugh and Steven slaps one of my feet gently.
"It's roast lamb. Only pork has crackling," Steven says with a laugh. I poke my tongue out at him before resting my head against Micah's shoulder for a few moments.
"Don't you want that second bun?" Micah asks gently when he sees I have finished half of my lunch. I rub my stomach gently and glance up at him.
"I want it but I don't think there's enough room for all of it," I tell him.
"Just eat what you can manage," Micah says and rubs my back gently. I begin to pull the bun apart eating the meat with some small pieces of the bun. This bun is a mix of wholemeal and whole grains and tastes delicious with the gravy on it. I listen to the conversation of the toms as I eat and when I am full there is only the base of the bun and a scattering of meat left.