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Blood jewel, p.24

Blood Jewel, page 24

 part  #2 of  Vampire Agápe Series


Blood Jewel

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  I looked at Sol and he said, “I told you that old lady knew something. Do you think Chansey knows?”

  I shook my head. “No way. She would have told me if she did.”

  “Are you going to tell her?” Sol asked.

  “Are you kidding me? Sharing this super bond extraordinaire with her leaves me no choice. I have to tell her.”

  I looked up and saw her standing in the doorway. “He can’t keep anything from me, Solomon. What’s going on?”

  Sol leaned back in his office chair amused and rubbed his hand across his chin. “Wow, that bond thing between the two of you is some kind of wicked.”

  Chansey didn’t take her eyes from mine. “What did you find?”

  “We lucked out. Dr. Knight is a Black Swan.”

  “That’s good news, but we both know that isn’t what I’m feeling from you.”

  “Sol, I think it’s time for us to go,” Avery suggested.

  Sol? Since when did Avery call him that?

  Sol smiled his cocky smile the way only he could do it. “No way, this is just about to get interesting.”

  Chansey turned on him and gave him the look. Sol put his hands up and said, “Okay. we’re going. You didn’t have to do the eyes. Save those for Curry.”

  When they were out the door, I said, “Don’t get upset. You have to think about the babies.”

  “I’m fine, but I won’t be for much longer if you don’t tell me what has happened,” she warned.

  “Come around here and I’ll show you,” I told her. I pulled the chair out and said, “Sit. I don’t want you to fall out when you see this.

  She sat and looked at the profiles in front of her. “Yes, that is Dr. Knight.”

  “Look at the next profile,” I directed.

  “What the heh? That’s Granna,” she whispered as she stared at the screen. “My Granna wasn’t just a Black Swan, she was a Blood Swan. That’s why she was saying those things to us on our wedding night. She knows what you are and she was trying to tell us she knew.”

  “Before we were married, she always had these all knowing little looks and grins for me. I think she knew all along,” I laughed.

  “I don’t know if I should be shocked or thrilled. I never pegged my grandmother for a Black Swan. No, excuse me...make that a Blood Swan. I wonder if Granddaddy is in on it.”

  “I don’t see Grady being a vampire sympathist,” I laughed.

  “No, I don’t think so either. I think this a secret that little Anna Knowles has kept from everyone. Do I say anything to her? She’s still an active Black Swan.”

  I leaned over and kissed the top of her beautiful, dark hair. “That’s up to you, Love.”

  “Incredible! She knows I’m having a vampire’s baby and she hasn’t said a word about it. I don’t even know what to think about that.”

  “This is a good thing. We don’t have to hide our life from her. You have a family member you can share these things with now. Doesn’t that make you happy? It makes me happy.”

  “It does, but I don’t think I can talk to Granna about this over the phone. I need to see her in person to discuss this and I won’t be going to Pascagoula anytime soon because of this unpredictable pregnancy. I guess it will have to wait until after the babies are born, even if I’m dying to know.”

  “Can you believe how we lucked out with Dr. Knight?”

  “I know. How lucky are we? I bet it will make her feel better when she finds out that she didn’t make some kind of medical error. She was more than a little rattled by her discovery this morning. I’m going to call and make an appointment with her for my next checkup so we can discuss a plan for delivering these babies.”

  29 Making A Plan

  It had been a month since we saw Dr. Knight and Chansey had an appointment for a checkup with her this morning. We planned on addressing the Black Swan issue immediately because we didn’t want her to freak out when she saw the growth of the babies from the previous month. An ultrasound wasn’t necessary to confirm how rapidly the babies were growing because anyone could see it from one day to the next.

  I woke before Chansey, as I always did, and decided to give her the extra hour of sleep she needed. The rapid growth of the babies was taxing for her body and caused her to often be tired, but she glowed at the same time because pregnancy agreed with her.

  I looked at her and did that thing I loved to do-watch her sleep. During her sleep, her gown had shifted above her swollen belly and I propped my head on palm with my elbow pressed into the mattress and watched the bumping game the babies were playing inside her tummy.

  I lightly laid my ear against her bump and listened in on the wrestling match going on inside of Chansey while she unknowingly slept. I placed my hand on her belly, only to have it tag teamed by the two I couldn’t wait to meet...the two I prayed to meet.

  I had spent a lot of time over the last month on my knees praying for our babies to anyone willing to hear me. I pleaded for their health and safe delivery, but I also asked that they wouldn’t be like me. I pleaded for them to be completely like Chansey and all of her goodness.

  “Hey, you,” I heard and it stole my attention from the babies to their mother. Chansey stretched and said, “What are you doing?”

  “I’ve been watching these wrestlers try to fight their way out of you for the last hour. I don’t know how you sleep through all of that commotion.”

  “It’s not difficult when you’re stay as tired as I do and I hope they’re not looking for the exit because it’s too early. The eclipse is eight weeks away and that will still be three months before their original due date. I’m ready for Dr. Knight to look today and see how much they’ve grown.”

  I rubbed my palm over her tummy above her low riding black panties. “I don’t need to look with the ultrasound to tell you that they are a lot bigger than they were the last time we looked.”

  I leaned over and gave her kiss. “I’m getting my shower. You lay here a little longer and if you fall asleep, I’ll get you up in time for your appointment.”

  Chansey was up when I came out of the bathroom and while she got ready, I went into the nursery to look at the decor she had chosen with my sisters’ help. Everything was done in black and white patterns and gender specific hot pink and/or turquoise would be added after the babies arrived.

  I sat on the twin bed that now replaced the big fluffy couch and looked around the room. There was two of everything. I didn’t agree with Chansey on doing that, but it was the way she wanted it and I wasn’t known for my ability to deny her anything that she wanted.

  “What are you doing in here?” she asked as she stood in the doorway.

  “I’m admiring your work. It’s a really beautiful nursery,” I complimented.

  “I know you don’t think it was a good idea to do two of everything, but we should be prepared. We don’t know that we won’t bring home two babies.”

  I simply nodded because I didn’t want to talk about it. “Are you ready to go?”

  “I am, now let’s go look at these babies so we can admire your work,” she laughed.

  ≈ ≈ ≈

  Chansey was sitting on the exam table when Dr. Knight walked into the room. She appeared a little surprised to see us back after her referral to the specialists. “Mr. and Mrs. Brennan? I wasn’t expecting to see you again.”

  “Yes, we understand you intended for us to see the specialist, but we chose to not keep that appointment,” Chansey informed her.

  “Why would you do that? Don’t you want what is in the best interest of your children?” she asked.

  “Of course, we do and we think you are in the best interest of our babies,” Chansey explained.

  “Why would you think that? I don’t have an explanation for what is going on with your pregnancy and that’s why I referred you to the maternal-fetal specialists,” Dr. Knight argued.

  Chansey leaned forward and whispered, “Because you are a Black Swan.”

  Dr. Knight sat up
a little straighter and her eyes grew large. “Excuse me?”

  “We know that you are a Black Swan and we need your help,” I pleaded. “These babies aren’t completely human and we can’t risk that being discovered. With you, we know you already know about the existence of vampires and you are a supporter. We need you. Our babies need you.”

  She stared at us for a few seconds and then said, “Well, It’s clear that you know what I am so tell me everything from the beginning so I can have a clear understanding of what these babies are.”

  Dr. Knight laid Chansey’s chart on the table in the exam room and leaned forward on the stool where she sat, eagerly waiting to hear what we had to say. When we finished our complicated Agápe tale and what we suspected about our babies, she said, “Amazing. Absolutely amazing.”

  “Will you help us, Dr. Knight? Will you help our babies?” Chansey softly asked.

  “Yes, of course, I will help you, but we need to discuss a plan for the delivery because twins can present all kinds of problems. Your odds of having a cesarean section are very high. We should make an appointment outside of the clinic to decide what we should do,” she explained.

  “That would be great. What works for your schedule?” I asked.

  “What about tonight, after clinic hours?” she suggested.

  “Would you feel comfortable coming to our home? I would like for our family members to know the details of the plan,” Chansey said.

  Dr. Knight lifted one of her eyebrows. “Your family members?”

  “I don’t come from your typical coven,” I assured her. “I am a member of The Coven of Landra and we have recently built a compound in Savannah. Are you familiar with us?”

  “I certainly am,” she answered in amazement. The Coven of Landra in New Orleans saved my sister after she was turned 25 years ago. She is the reason I became acquainted with the vampire community and why I am a Black Swan.”

  “I’ve been with Landra for 22 years, so I wouldn’t know your sister. Does she still live in New Orleans?”

  “No, she lives here in Savannah. She never found a coven she felt comfortable with, so she’s a loner. Would you mind if I brought Celia to our meeting?”

  “Absolutely. I’m certain Sebastian and Solomon would love to see her again.”

  “Perfect. Now, how about we take a look at these babies and see what they have been up to since we saw them last?”

  She lowered the head of the exam table and measured Chansey’s abdomen from top to bottom. “A normal singleton pregnancy will grow one centimeter each week. Looks like you’ve grown eight centimeters in four weeks. That’s significant, even for twins, so it looks like they’re growth isn’t becoming more rapid, but it hasn’t slowed either.” She reached for the wand on the ultrasound machine. “Let’s peek inside and see if these little guys will let us get some measurements so we can estimate how big they are.”

  Dr. Knight did her usual routine of plopping a glop of gel of Chansey’s belly and then swirling the wand until she recognized something. “Okay, this one is number one because he’s coming first.”

  “He?” I asked, hopeful because that would rule out our Agápe and Fylgia theory.

  “I haven’t looked to see what your babies are, but I always refer to them as a ‘he.’ It’s a good rule of thumb to have so I don’t slip up and tell the parents what they’re having when they don’t want to know.

  “Looks like number one is breech right now, but his position will change a dozen times or better before they are born. He’s being reasonably still so I’m going to get his measurements before he wakes up and starts moving all over the place.”

  When she finished the measurements on the first baby, she moved on to the second one. “Number two is transverse, which means he’s lying sideways.”

  She scanned for several minutes and then asked, “Do you want to know the sex of your babies?”

  I looked at Chansey for her thoughts. We hadn’t talked about finding out what they were because we had been so consumed with the worry of survival for both of them. It would be such a relief to hear that they were both boys or a boy/girl combination, but I wasn’t ready to hear that they were both girls because that would multiply my fear for my daughters.

  I reached for her hand. “I don’t want to know, Chansey. I’m sorry,” I apologized.

  “Don’t apologize. I don’t want to know either,” she reassured me.

  Dr. Knight finished entering the measurements into the ultrasound machine while we finished our discussion and then said, “Since neither of you wants to know the sex, let’s talk about their size. It looks like baby number one’s estimated weight is four pounds and 10 ounces. Baby number two’s is four pounds and 2 ounces. At 18 weeks, they shouldn’t even be a pound yet. I guess you realize that you won’t make it until April?”

  “That’s what we were thinking. Curry thinks that they will come during the eclipse in early January.”

  “Based on their growth, I’m not sure you’ll go that long. I wouldn’t be shocked if they came next month,” Dr. Knight informed us.

  “Next month?” Chansey almost yelled. “I will have only been pregnant for five months. What am I going to tell my family when I give birth to seven or eight pound babies? They aren’t stupid. They’re going to know that math doesn’t add up.”

  “You don’t have to tell them anything. Let them believe what they want to believe, which will be that you were pregnant when we got married,” I laughed.

  Chansey reached up from from where she laid on the exam table and punched me in the gut.“That’s is not funny, James Curry Brennan.”

  “I have other patients waiting on me so I’m going to let the two of you hash this out. What time would you like me to be at the compound?”

  “Is nine o’clock good for you?” I asked as she handed a notepad and pen to me.

  “That works for me. Jot your address down for me and Celia and we will see you tonight at nine.”

  ≈ ≈ ≈

  Once the introductions and reminiscing was done, Dr. Knight sat down with us and our family in the living room to discuss the plan for Chansey’s labor and delivery. “Please, let me start by saying that it is an honor to assist these babies into the world and I will do everything in my power to make that happen safely for them and Chansey. With that being said, we must make a plan in order for that to happen. Everything about this birth is unpredictable and we must be prepared for the unexpected because there is a lot that can happen with a twin delivery.

  I need her to come to the hospital if her waters breaks, if she has contractions every five minutes or less, if the babies aren’t moving well or if she has vaginal bleeding. If she thinks something just doesn’t feel right, I want her to be brought in immediately for evaluation. I will adjust her records to reflect a normal twin pregnancy and if you’ll call me before you go to the hospital, I will tell you what to say to the nurses so you won’t cause them to suspect anything is going on.

  Since you’ve never had a baby, we’ll plan a vaginal delivery if the first baby is head down. If he isn’t coming head first, it will be too dangerous to attempt, so we’ll opt for an elective cesarean section. If anything looks or feels wrong, we’re cutting you. I’m not taking any risks.”

  “Curry will get to be with her the whole time, even if she has a c-section?” Lairah asked.

  “Absolutely. I need him to stay because his persuasion skills could be needed, depending on what we find when these babies arrive. It could be obvious at birth that these are not normal human babies and we can’t let that information leave the delivery room.”

  Chansey sighed as she rubbed her belly. “I haven’t really been nervous about this until now. It hasn’t really felt real, but this is very surreal and it’s going to happen soon.”

  I saw by the look on her face how frightened she was and inside I felt the same, but I was obligated to carry enough strength for both of us. No, make that the four of us. I smiled as I pulled her close and kis
sed her forehead, but I knew she felt my fear because the bond between us never faltered.

  30 The Long Night

  With another six weeks behind us, the eclipse drew closer and it became more certain that Chansey would inevitably deliver during the eclipse in three weeks. Everyone living at our Savannah compound was on edge as the birth approached and Sebastian suggested we have a party to celebrate The Winter Solstice, in hopes of briefly calming everyone’s nerves.

  The Winter Solstice was an event celebrated among vampires everywhere and most held grand balls to commemorate it, but we opted to keep our guest list small. In addition to our household of eight vampires and two humans, we invited Dr. Knight, Celia and a handful of vampires in the area that The Coven of Landra had helped.

  It was customary to dress formally for a Winter Solstice celebration and Chansey was quite unhappy about her limited choices of apparel for the celebration. “You know, pregnant women don’t hide out like hermits. They should make cute formal dresses for us, too. She sighed as she looked in the mirror, “I look like a huge sparkling snowball. No, a snowball is small...make that a huge sparkling glacier.”

  She had no idea how wrong she was. She was breathtaking in her white dress covered in clear crystal sparkles. I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her expanded waist. “You look like a beautiful Winter princess.”

  She huffed and said, “Thank you. I really needed to hear that.”

  I watched her eyes in the mirror as she watched me kiss her neck. “And don’t you be forgetting any time soon how beautiful you are, Mrs. Brennan.” I moved to the spot between her neck and shoulder that always sent chills down her body.

  “Maybe I should show you how beautiful you are after the celebration,” I proposed.

  “You keep on and you’ll be showing me before the celebration,” she threatened.

  I moved around to the other side of her neck and kissed it slowly. “Hmm...I believe that is the best idea I’ve heard all day.”

  “I think it’s rather brilliant myself, but we have guests waiting. It would be rude to keep them waiting any longer.”

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