The Millennium Wolves Series Book Three Chapter: 10
“Mom, this is exactly the kind of thing I asked you not to do.”
“I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re referring to, Addy. I’m simply organizing a nice lunch for your mate and a few of her friends and family.”
She had always done this, reframing things to suit her view, her version of reality. She’d done it when Aaron died, and she was doing it again now.
Sometimes I thought she really believed it, but there was always a part of me that remained skeptical. She was too cunning to fall victim to such willful delusions.
The lunch had come as a complete surprise to me.
After Sienna and I had our moment in the council chamber, I talked with my parents, and they agreed to relocate to a place in the city. It certainly eased the tension at home, but it also meant I couldn’t keep tabs on them.
Now I was watching as the Pack House dining hall was transformed with extravagant place settings and spreads that would make you think the Alpha of the Millennium was coming to visit.
“That goes over here, dear.” called my mother, motioning to one of the staff. “Who put this spoon out? Can’t you see it’s smudged?”
She was up to something. I was sure of it.
“Addy, shoo shoo. This luncheon is just for us gals. Go take care of your Pack.”
I gave her one last glance, hoping to derive any trickery that might be lurking in her eyes. Sienna had seemed oddly receptive when she told me about the lunch, so maybe they were both willing to turn over a new leaf.
If that was the case. I wasn’t about to get in the way.
I ran my hands over my skirt, smoothing it out before I went down the hallway toward the dining hall
I had wanted to wear pants, but Michelle convinced me it would be too casual, so I threw on some tights and found the heaviest winter dress I owned.
It helped that Aiden kept the Pack House toasty during the winter months, but I was still salty knowing that I had changed for Charlotte’s sake.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Norwood,” said the eager page who was posted outside the door. She was a wide-eyed young girl with dirty blonde hair French braided into a neat bun and two beauty marks on her left cheek.
“Is there a password?” I asked after she failed to move.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I’m such a hatrack. I was distracted by your dress. It’s so pretty. Oh my God, am I allowed to talk to you this much? I’m so sorry. I never know when to shut up.”
“It’s okay. You`re fine,” I replied, smiling. Thank you for the compliment. I love how you’ve done your hair.
“Really?” she said, beaming. “Thank you. Mrs. Norwood. It’s such an honor to meet you. You’re my biggest role model.”
What do you mean?”
“Everything you’re doing for young she-wolves. Letting us know that we get to make our own decisions. It’s empowering to see our lady alpha take the stance you did at the festival.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. The whole idea of me being a role model took me by surprise. Selene had joked with me about it, but I’d never thought anything of it
What’s more, this girl couldn’t have been more than a few years younger than I was. How could she look up to me?
“Thank you for the kind words,” I said, “but I don’t want to keep them waiting in there.
“Of course, I’m sorry I held you up. Mrs. Norwood,” she replied, opening the door.
I had expected to see only Aiden and his parents, but instead I was greeted by a table full of all my closest female friends and family members.
My mom, Selene, Jocelyn, Michelle, Mia…even
Erica was there
“Well, don’t just stand there like a deer in the headlights, darling. Come take your seat as our guest of honor.”
“What are you all doing here?” I asked, walking toward the table.
“Now that we’re family, I thought it would be good for all of us gals to get acquainted. After all, we all know who really runs things in the Pack House.” said Charlotte with a playful smile. “Here, take your seat,” she said, pulling out my chair.
I made a face at Michelle as if to ask “what the hell is going on,” but she just shrugged.
“Now, I’d like to make a toast to my daughter-in-law,” said Charlotte, raising her glass.
Sienna, dear, you’ve been through so much this past week, and I admit that the arrival of Daniel and me was…a bit jarring
“I would like to apologize for that. I think we all could have comported ourselves better, which is why I organized this get-together. I think it’s time we start off on a new foot, Sienna. To new beginnings and the future of this family.”
Everyone cheered and clinked glasses. I guess Aiden had been right; maybe Charlotte did have a sincere side after all.
“Selene, honey, when are you due?” continued Charlotte. “You have that expectant-mother glow about you.”
“Oh, thank you, Charlotte, ” Selene replied, blushing. “I’m due in three weeks. Then we’ll have one more little lady to join us at the table.”
“I’m sure you’re eager as well, Melissa.”
“That’s an understatement,” said Selene,
“Hey now, I’ve been very good about not sticking my nose in things.
11:44 AM 5.0KB/S
“Mom, you get lunch with my obstetrician three times a week.”
“We’re doctor pals, Selene. Not everything is about you,” she replied with a guilty smile. “But to answer your question, Charlotte, I can’t wait for my first grandchild to arrive.”
“The first of many, I’m sure,” answered Charlotte
As the servers came out with the first course, Charlotte continued her conversation.
“And, Mia, you already have a little pup, don’t
“Yes, twins actually. They are four months old now.”
“You should have brought them,” piped Michelle. “They are literally the cutest damn babies I’ve ever seen.”
“They’re with their father for the afternoon, so if you see me checking my phone a lot, that’s why.”
“That’s a bold move, leaving Kyler and Emmett alone with Harry.”
“I know, that’s why I’m heading back in two hours. Baby steps.”
“And what about you, Michelle?” said Charlotte.” Are children on your horizon?”
“We’ll see. Josh and I definitely want them, and now that the Haze is here, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had an announcement to make before the new year.
“My goodness, it sounds like there might be a whole pack of little ones scampering around here soon. Erica, what are your plans?”
“I’m not mated,” replied Erica, a bit defensive.
“I see,” answered Charlotte. “Well, the Season is upon us, my dear. Perhaps this is your lucky year. Jocelyn, sweetheart, what was it you were telling me the other day about how the health of a pack is
predicated on the stock of its posterity?”
I shot Jocelyn a quizzical look.
Had she been talking to Charlotte behind my back? Why hadn’t she mentioned anything when I went to see her the other day?
“I think you’re taking my words a little out of context, Charlotte,” answered Jocelyn calmly. -What I said was the collective conscious of a pack is improved when they know that the future is stable, and part of that stability involves rearing a healthy stock of pups.”
“Yes, yes, but if you boil it all down, having babies is good for the Pack. That much I think everyone at this table can agree on. Don’t you think, Sienna?”
Now I was starting to become uneasy. This whole lunch felt less about getting to know each other and more about how everyone around me in my life was having babies.
“Sure.” I replied cautiously. “I’m happy that my friends and sister have chosen to have children. It’s not something to take lightly.
“I couldn’t agree more,” replied Charlotte. “A lot can change when you decide to have children, or not have them.”
She paused to make sure she had my full attention, and I suddenly felt like we were the only two people in the room.
**Other areas of your life that you might not even think are related can be impacted. Your job. your hobbies…your mate. No, starting a family is not something to be taken lightly at all.”
This was the final straw. I could see through her sheep’s clothing and spot the wolf underneath.
There would never be a world where she and I were reconciled. Even if I got pregnant tomorrow, she wouldn’t give a damn about me. She just wanted to hold a grandchild, a Norwood
“Charlotte, you don’t have to pretend to like me.”
What do you mean, dear?”
“This act isn’t going to work. You’re not going to pressure me into having a baby by surrounding me with women who want them. I love each of these ladies with all my heart, and respect their choices, but they would never peer pressure me into starting a family like you’re attempting to do right now
“When are you going to stop seeing me as a villain, Sienna?
“When you stop acting like one and start respecting me
“It’s hard to respect someone when they only think about themselves, darling.”
That’s rich.” I shot back. The only reason you came back here was to make sure your family’s legacy wasn’t tarnished by some outspoken upstart.”
“Sienna, Charlotte, please stop this,” pleaded Melissa, getting to her feet.
“Fine, you can think that I’m horrid, but I will always be Aiden’s mother, and I will always put
always be Aiden’s mother, and I will always py him first
*That’s what being mated means, missy. You make sacrifices. Aiden’s bent over backwards to accommodate your finicky sensibilities, and what have you done in return? Embarrassed him in front of the entire pack and deprived him of the greatest joy a wolf can have. You don’t deserve my son, and you never will.”
Charlotte’s words ate through me like acid as my heart sank into my stomach. I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of seeing me cry.
“Excuse me, ladies, but I don’t think I can stay.”
As soon as I left the dining hall. I rushed to my office and locked the door.
The tears poured out, and I slid to the floor, unable to control the grief that overtook me. I couldn’t help but feel like there was a shred of truth in Charlotte’s words.
At that moment, I didn’t want to see anyone except Aiden. I wanted to feel him and hear him tell me that I was enough, that I was his mate and he would love me forever.