#Chapter 10 Arabella Falls Down the Stairs
The steady beeping of a heart monitor greets me when I wake, along with the uncomfortable sensation of needles embedded in my arms. My eyes flutter open, and slowly the sterile white walls of a hospital room take shape around me.
Bastien is already by my side.
“What happened?” I mutter drowsily.
“You had a very high fever.” He tells me, brushing a lock of hair away from my face. “I told you we needed to go to the ER but you were very determined to stay on the floor.” if I imagined a hint of a smile on his lips, it was long gone by his next words. “You fought me like a hellcat and managed to smash your head into the bathroom mirror.”
The beeping next to me speeds up as my anxiety surges. I might not remember it, but I know exactly why I fought him so hard Bastien glances at the machine, mistaking the cause of my worry, “It’s alright.” He promises gently. “There wasn’t any serious injury, just a concussion and a few scrapes.”
“What else did the doctor say?” Please tell me he doesn’t know. Please, please, please.
“Whatever stomach bug you had dehydrated you so much that fever set in. They’re going to pump you full of liquids and send you home.” Bastien explains. My pulse was just starting to slow when he caught me with a look I know only too well. “And when we get there you and I are going to have a little talk about trying to treat your own illnesses,” His voice lowers a full octave,” and biting,”
“Biting?” I squeak.
He nods ominously, “you were very naughty.”
I shrink instinctively beneath his scrutiny. Whatever else has happened between us, at the end of the day he is still my Alpha, and I disobeyed him – attacked him. “How much trouble am I in?”
To my surprise Bastien smiles and raises my hand to his lips, pressing soft kisses to my knuckles. “You aren’t. You scared the s**t out of me.” He admits, “I’m too relieved you’re all right to be angry.”
I open my mouth to protest his teasing, but relief dissolves the words from my tongue. I feel a rush of affection for this man, the father of my child. If I was as sick as he makes it sound, he may have saved our lives.
“Thank you for taking care of me, Bastien.” He looks as if he’s about to wave the words away, but I latch onto the hand still holding mine. “Not just for today. For every day over the last three years, I never would have survived without you and I,” I have to pause so I don’t get choked up, I will be eternally grateful that you were in my life.”
“You never have to thank me for taking care of you, Selene.” He answers, his earlier warmth receding as he releases me. “It’s my
His words send ice through my veins, erasing the warmth of a moment before. Of course, that’s always what this was to him. I’ve never been anything but an obligation, a duty. An Alpha couldn’t throw a helpless young wolf to the elements, not after a pack member took them captive. His guilt and responsibility forced him into this marriage, and if I’m not careful the same qualities could force him to stay for the baby.
I have to find out what the doctors found, what they told him. A spike of terror seizes me, have I lost it? Is that why he doesn’t know? The heart monitor speeds up again and I do the only thing I can: pray to the Goddess I’m wrong.
Bastien has gone to find us some food when I see a doctor approach the nurse’s station outside my room. I rise from bed as quickly as I can, hurrying out of my room and pulling my IV behind me. “Excuse me, are you my physician?”
The man turns to face me, looking mildly surprised. “Mrs. Durand, you really shouldn’t be out of bed.”
“Please, I feel fine, and I need to speak with you alone.” I beseech him.
Bright blue eyes survey me thoughtfully. “As you wish,” he gestures toward the corridor, moving us away from the main desk. “Is
everything alright?” He asks.
“I don’t know.” I admit nervously. “My husband said I hit my head and was dehydrated, but I know you must have run tests and things.” I trip over my words, “That is to say – I mean, I wanted to ask you…”
Sensing the direction of my thoughts, he raises a pacifying hand. “Do not worry, your baby is in perfect health.”
A weight I didn’t realize existed lifts from my shoulders. “Thank you,” I breathe, “But that’s only half of it. From what my husband said… well, it didn’t sound like you told him.”
“No, I didn’t.” He answers with an easy smile.
I blink, confused. “Why not?”
“Mr. Durand brought you in talking about a stomach virus.” The young physician’s dark brow furrows. “It was very clear he did not know about the pregnancy.” He explains, “I did not tell him for two reasons. First, because you are my patient, not him. You may be married and he may be the future Alpha, but we still have doctor patient confidentiality. The only exception is a medical emergency in which you are not able to speak for yourself. That was not the case here. It wasn’t medically necessary, so I did not feel it was my place. You should be the one to tell him when you’re ready.”
Relief courses through me and my cheeks split with a wide grin. “Thank you.”
“That said,” The doctor raises a cautioning finger, “You have to be very careful not to let yourself get dehydrated like this again. What you’re experiencing is not simple morning sickness, but a serious condition causing extreme, persistent illness throughout pregnancy. It can result in dehydration, weight loss, nutrition deficiencies – you’ll need to keep a very close eye on it.”
My heart sinks. “You mean this isn’t going to go away until I have the baby?”
“Unfortunately not. You will need to take extreme care to maintain your strength. You may very well need to be hospitalized again before you reach full term.”
“I understand.” I nod shakily,. “Thank you.”
“There is one other thing.” The doctor says, slightly circumspect.
*I don’t mean to presume.” He hedges, “But I just thought you might want to know. It will only be your decision to share the news of your pregnancy with your husband until you reach your second trimester.”
I pause, “I don’t understand, I thought you said it wasn’t your place.”
“That isn’t what I meant,” He smiles gently, “It won’t be up to anyone at that point. Pregnancy changes your body’s pheromones. It alters your scent. Once you hit 12 weeks your husband and every other male in scenting distance will know you’re with pup.”
Of all the shortcomings in my education resulting from Garrick’s imprisonment, I have often found these basic facts of life to be the most frustrating. I had no idea.
Unable to find the right words, I simply nod my thanks and begin to turn back towards my room.
I only make it part way, as I pivot toward the desk a flash of blonde hair appears in my periphery. I freeze and turn back.
She is frozen in place halfway down the hall, and the look on her face makes it clear: She heard every word of my conversation.
Trembling slightly, I approach the other woman, coming to stand before her at the top of the main staircase. She is staring at me with those wide doe-eyes, her pretty features drawn and cold.
“You’re pregnant?” The shock is plain in her voice.
“Yes.” I answer soberly, “But Bastien doesn’t know, and I’m not going to tell him.” I promise. “You have my word that I will be leaving Elysium after the rejection ceremony. As long as you keep my secret, we will be out of your life for good.”
“I don’t understand,” Arabella shakes her head. “Why aren’t you telling him? He would never leave you if he knew.”
“That’s exactly why I’m not.” I can’t keep all the bite from my voice. “I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want me.”
Chapter 18 Arabella Falls Down the Stairs
*That hasn’t stopped you before.”
I’m so surprised by her direct words that I take a step back, *Excuse me?”
“You’ve taken him for three years even though he didn’t want you, why do you suddenly care now? Why should I believe a word you say?*
Ishift uncomfortably. “The marriage wasn’t my idea either.” I remind her. “I didn’t exactly have a choice.”
Arabella purses her thin lips. “There is always a choice. She says, narrowing her eyes. And this is one too. You do realize if you have this child, it will always be Bastien’s heit – no matter where you go. Any children I might have will lose their claim to the Nova Pack by default
*That’s not a certainty ” i reason
“You have Volana blood * Arabella hisses, “No normal child will stand a chance.”
“So what?” I counter fiercely. “You want me to get rid of it?”
“If you really care about Bastien you would. She proclaims.
I scoff in outrage. “Forgive me, but it sounds like you’re more concerned with yourself than Bastien.”
Her pupils turn to slits. “Is that your answer?”
tym not harming my child.” I snap.
Her bony fingers dig into my arm like claws. “Then you leave me no choice.” Arabella jerks me toward the stairs, propelling me to the edge of the top step. Just in time, I realize she is trying to push me down the winding flight.
1 throw all my weight in the opposite direction, suddenly and forcefully enough that Arabella stumbles, losing her grip on my arm. I land hardon my backside, the IV bag toppling with me, and watch her teeter on the precipice of the staircase. It happens in slow motion: Arabella’s arms propel wildly as she tries to gain her balance, a riot of emotions flitting across her face. Finally she tumbles over the edge, her body crashing loudly down the steep steps.
scramble to my feet, frantically looking for help, only to hear Arabella’s weedling voice rising from the bottom of the stairs. She pushed mer