My hands fly to my mouth, covering it in an attempt to hide my shock, but it’s not enough – Cora can
see my every emotion in my eyes and my body, which has gone still with shock. And as she takes me
in, seeing that my own thoughts are trending towards her worst fears
That Roger is, indeed, not going to have an easy time with this that it could very well spell the end of
their very new relationship, especially as he has not yet given her his mark – She bursts into tears,
burying her face in her hands.
“Oh no!” I breathe, dropping my hands from my face and throwing my arms around her again. I’m so
sorry, Cora! I didn’t mean it! It’s not that bad!”
“Yes it is!” she sobs. “He’s the only thing I want I know that now and he’s never going to be able to
accept this –”
“Sure he is!” I assure her, hoping to hell that I’m right, but then I frown towards the door as if Roger is
standing right on the other side of it. And I narrow my eyes, wondering if there’s somehow I can force
him to go easy on her – maybe even to accept the baby as his own
But inwardly, my wolf turns around with anxiety. Not his baby, not for Roger, she says to me, pacing
back and forth, he can’t feel that way about another man’s baby – his wolf will never accept it
And I scowl, knowing that my wolf is right somehow. She knows Roger well and has intuited that Roger
is the kind of wolf who would feel his paternity on a very visceral level, who would need the blood link in
order to feel connected to the child.
I know that it’s different with me – that adoption would be a very real possibility for me in the future,
especially as I was myself an orphan. I understand it and could welcome a child not of my blood as my
own. But Roger…
Passingly, I wonder where Sinclair falls along this line – I know that he treasures his biological
connection to Rafe but would he –
Quickly, I dismiss the thought, turning my attention back to my poor sister, knowing that she needs my
full attention right now. Slowly, I pull away from her and rub her back as she sobs. Then, as her cries
start to lessen, I move my fingers to Cora’s wrists and pull her hands away from her face, making her
look at me.
“Cora,” I whisper, shaking my head back and forth. “No matter what happens, you know I support you.
I’ve got your back. Yes?”
Trembling a little, clearly still devastated, Cora nods. But I hold her gaze, communicating as clearly to
her as I can that we are going to find a way through this. To make this right. And I decide, suddenly,
that I’ve got to get her talking – have to get her out of her grief spiral and onto a plan. It would be best if
I could get her a bit angry, determined – but, well, we’ll see where it goes.
“Cora,” I say again, taking her face in my hands. “How did this happen?”
And she begins to tell me everything, about how Roger stopped calling her after we came back home
and god, I could kill him for that – and then all about the night she spent with Hank after the baptism,
about how good Hank has been to her, and kind, and patient, and how she decided that even though
she felt so intensely about Roger…
“You thought he was never going to love you,” I murmur, and then I drop my head, cursing myself.
Because I was the one who kept hammering that idea in her head – that they should be apart if they
couldn’t agree on children. I’m the one who drove her into Hanks’s arms, resulting in… this.
“Shit, Cora,” I murmur. “This is all my fault.”
“No, Ella!” Cora disagrees, putting her arms on my shoulders. “It’s not. You were just trying to be there
for me. And,” she laughs now, low and ironic. “And seriously, if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine.
What was I thinking, not using contraception? I’m a fertility doctor, for heaven’s sake. If anyone
knows the risks, it’s me.”
I whip my head up at that. “Seriously, Cora,” I say, my eyes wide. “What were you thinking?”
And then we both just stare at each other, and, quite suddenly, burst out laughing. And it carries on,
and on – and even though nothing about this is funny, not really, we can’t seem to hold ourselves
together. As soon as one of us starts to stop, we catch each other’s eyes again and the peels of
laughter start all over – desperate, humorless laughter, as if we’re clutching to the edges of our sanity.
“Oh my god,” Cora says, bent over, clutching her cramping stomach and wiping a tear from her eye.
“It’s so not funny, Ella…” she murmurs.
“I know,” I reply, my giggles still peeling from me. “I feel so horrible. It’s just so ridiculous, Cora – just
the incredibly bad luck of it –”
And then, slowly, we come back to each other.
And honestly, like rain, the laughter brought a little peace. I can see it in her face now, that she believes
me, that she knows that whatever happens she still has her sister on her side. And even at the worst,
we’ll still find something to laugh at.
“God, Cora,” I murmur, shaking my head at her and taking her hand and giving her a sad little smile.
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know, Ella,” she sighs, holding my gaze steadily, her eyes a little lost.
“Are you going to…keep it?” I ask, and I watch as her hand drifts to her stomach.
“I don’t know,” she repeats, shrugging and looking away from me now. “Honestly, I never thought much
about being a mom. It was never on the table. And since Roger and I got together…it was even more
of a non–issue.”
“Okay,” I say, not wanting to push her on it. “Have you told Hank?”
Slowly, looking at the floor, she shakes her head. “I can’t be with him, Ella. We – we broke up. I did it,
the day I went back to the clinic, after spending all that time at your house with Roger.” She looks up at
me then, her expression grieved anew. “It was horrible. You know how stoic Hank is – he was so upset,
but he was trying to hold it together…. I mean, I don’t know how I go back to him now and tell him I’m
having his kid.‘
“I get it,” I say, squeezing her hand, We’re silent for a moment before I breech the topic I know that she
really doesn’t want to address. But I know that it’s time. “Cora,” I start, hesitating, “Roger has been…
completely flipping out since you’ve been gone.”
“I know,” she groans, putting her face in her hand. “He has been blowing up my phone. But once I
found out I was pregnant – honestly, I just took a test on a whim because I didn’t get my period after
one day I just…I couldn’t…”
I squeeze her hand. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been my choice – I would have run to Sinclair, needing
his comfort, wanting his help, even if I’d done something that I knew was going to feel like a knife in his
chest. After all, Cora didn’t mean for this to happen – and it happened before she and Roger were
together. So it’s not a betrayal…
But still. I try to imagine Sinclair’s face if I had to tell him I was pregnant with someone else’s child,
even if it was a mistake…
And the pain I feel, just imagining it… I reach out and put a hand on Cora’s shoulder, understanding
Rafe lets out a little chirping cry as I stare at my sister he’s not unhappy, just suddenly aware
And the door to the room opens. Cora and I both spin to look at it, our eyes wide –
Shit, shit I think as I look to see –
But I let out my breath when I see that it’s just Sinclair, carrying a tray of food for me.
He smiles when he sees Cora, crossing the room to greet her, but after he takes a few steps he stops
as if he hits a wall.
Sinclair’s face falls, his eyes going wide, as he focuses on her, staring at her, his gaze flicking fast over
her form. And suddenly, I realize that he knows that he can smell her –
“Oh my god,” he says, his voice shaking.
“The door!” I shout, knowing that if Sinclair is here, Roger isn’t far behind
Sinclair goes pale, spinning to slam the door shut – and he almost gets there, almost gets it closed –
But Roger shoves his shoulder against it before the door can click.
“Hey!” he shouts, cheerful, not yet realizing that Cora is here, clearly thinking that Sinclair is just
playing some kind of game and pretending to keep him out.
Tense, staring at the door, Cora grabs my hand.
Sinclair works frantically to shut the door, but Roger realizes something is wrong and growls, slamming
his entire weight against the door so that Sinclair stumbles back into the room.
Roger storms in, worried, intuiting that we’re keeping something from him, but his face brightens
immediately when he sees Cora on the bed next to me.
“Cora!” he cries, relief and delight chasing each other across his expression as he takes three steps
into the room.
And then her scent hits him.
And he falls immediately into a crouch, his face confused and worried and defensive –
“Roger!” Sinclair snaps. “Calm down! Stop!”
But Roger ignores him, slowly prowling towards Cora, who jumps to her feet next to me, going pale. I
stand too, placing myself between them, but Roger continues to slink towards us.
“How…” he growls, his eyes sweeping over her – and I realize suddenly that he’s not…he’s not mad
“How?” he asks again. “How Cora? How did you get my pup?”
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