#Chapter 81 Daddy
By the time the lab has mixed the antidote for Lila, Selene is so exhausted she’s barely able to keep her eyes open. She’s trying so hard to stay awake, but the last few days have been exhausting in more ways than one.
As pleasurable as heat cycles are, non-stop s*x for hours on end takes a lot out of you – as does resisting the hormones in order to function normally when you inevitably must. Running on almost no sleep, my poor little wolf had to cope with heat, her pup being kidnapped, then being taken herself, and now this. If it hadn’t been for her time under the Starlight, I think the stress would have toppled her over hours ago.
I’m not in great shape myself, but I’ve been trained to endure war, to survive under the harshest conditions imaginable and somehow persevere. Besides, just as Selene keeps herself going for Lila, I keep myself going for them both. I’ve stationed myself between their beds, holding my mate’s hand and gazing at my pup in wonder.
I’m a father. Not a surrogate standing in for another man, not a guardian or adoptive parent, but a real father. It still doesn’t seem real. I already thought I was the luckiest b*****d on the planet just for getting to call Selene my own and help raise Lila. Now! think I must be dreaming.
“You should really try to rest a little.” I encourage Selene for the dozenth time, stroking her palm with my thumb. “I promise I’ll wake you the second something changes.”
Selene shakes her head weakly. “No.” She replies hoarsely, “not until I know she’s okay.”
Luckily we don’t have to wait much longer. Selene has been watching Lila’s vital signs like a hawk, and when the doctors finally enter with a syringe full of eerie purple liquid, she practically tries to jump out of her bed. I catch her before she gets very far, not that it’s difficult. Her movements are sluggish and unsteady, like a drunk under water.
“Okay Mr and Mrs Durand, the antidote is ready.” The doctor announces, showing us the drug. “I’m going to inject it straight into her IV so it will get into her system nice and fast.”
“You’re sure it’s going to work?” Selene frets.
“Nothing’s ever one hundred percent.” The doctor hedges, “but I’ve never known this treatment to fail.” She presses the needle into one of the little ports along the clear tubes feeding into Lila’s arms, and depresses the plunger. The purple liquid slowly seeps out of the syringe and into the tubes, then disappears into the toddler’s veins. “It will take a little while to fully revive her.”
“How long?” I press, my agitation spiking now that the moment of truth is imminent.
“Half an hour?” She theorizes. “Give or take.”
“Half an hour.” I repeat to Selene, kissing her hand. “That’s not so bad.”
The waiting is terrible, but after five minutes Lila’s vital signs begin to improve. Her heart beat grows more steady and her blood pressure rises, even her coloring starts to look a little better.
“Bastien.” Selene shakes my hands as vigorously as she’s able – which isn’t very much. “look!”
“I know, baby.” I assure her, “It’s working.”
For a moment I think she’s going to start crying again, only she doesn’t look relieved or happy as I might expect. “What’s wrong?”
“She’s too far away.” Selene complains in a small voice.
My lips compress into a hard line as I study the pup, observing all the wires and machines h****d up to her tiny body. It’s impossible to put them in the same bed, but Selene isn’t nearly as tangled up in equipment. Careful to pull her IV pole with us, i scoop my mate up and settle her in my lap, moving the chair as close to Lila’s bed as possible.
She’s completely limp, her wet cheek pressed against the curve of my neck. Still, she peeps, “Closer.” She needs to sleep. Axel gripes, his concern for our mate overriding his happiness about Lila. She’s delirious.
I’m not going to make her sleep before the pup wakes. I counter, She can make it a little while longer.
#Chapter 81 Daddy
“Hush sweetheart,” I soothe, rubbing her back. “It won’t be long now.”
“Why is this happening ? She whispers, so quietly I almost don’t hear her. “Why is someone always trying to hurt us?” My heart cracks wide open at these words, at the pain in her sweet voice. The worst part is that I don’t have an answer. Selene’s life has been one trauma after another, and it never seems to stop. “I don’t want Lila to live this way.”
“She’s not going to.” I vow, not having the faintest idea how to fix any of this, but certain that I will find a way. I will not let this be my daughter’s story – or my mate’s, not anymore. “I promise Selene, if it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to make her safe.”
Unfortunately Axel is right, and Selene has fallen beyond logic or understanding. She’s spiraling deeper, delving into dark thoughts and buried fears. “What did we do to deserve this?” She continues wearily, “Is life always this hard?”
“You didn’t deserve anything that’s happened to you, Selene. Do you hear me?” I demand, squeezing her more tightly.
“Hmph.” She grunts sleepily, not truly answering me. “Life isn’t always going to be this way.” I soberly claim, “We’re going to make it better, we’re going to be happy – all three of us.”
Selene nuzzles her face into my neck, “I’m so tired, Bastien.”
Before I can respond, a tiny voice sounds on my right,”Mommy?”
We both jolt, our attention snapping to the bed. Lila’s two-toned eyes are blinking blearily, and she’s squirming with discomfort, no doubt riddled with confusing aches from the machinery.
As disoriented as she was a moment ago, the sound of her pup’s voice rouses Selene like a blaring alarm. “I’m here, angel.” She immediately answers, reaching for the child. Standing, I balance Selene on the edge of the bed, keeping her weight braced against me so she doesn’t topple over. Her gentle hands flutter over the pup. “It’s okay, my darling. You’re safe.”
Lila’s little face twists up, and she begins pulling at the various tubes connected to her body. “Mommy, owie.”
“No Lila, you have to leave those alone.” Selene tells her. “I know they hurt but they’re helping you.”
Her cheeks flush bright red, and I can’t help but admire the color given how pale she was a little while ago, even though I recognize what’s coming. Lila begins to cry, overwhelmed by the aches, strange surroundings, and Goddess knows whatever else the Starlight did to her system.
Selene tries to soothe her, but unable to hold the pup or fix her hurts, she soon becomes distressed. Within minutes I have two crying she-wolves on my hands, one whom I can’t calm, and another who won’t allow me to try.
The nurses come to give Lila a sleeping draught, and Selene shakily croons to her until she goes under. The moment Lila’s eyes fall shut once more, Selene collapses, passing out in my arms.
It feels as though I’ve been asleep for days. My body is so heavy and leadened I can’t lift a finger. I think I must be drugged. I feel so calm and restful, like I’m floating on a warm breeze.
I can hear Lila’s precious voice somewhere to my left, and I can feel Bastien nearby. “Mommy’s really sleepy.” She’s saying.
“She is.” Bastien agrees, “She had a very rough few days. You both did.”
“What happened to bad man?” Lila asks in return, undoubtedly thinking of Martin.
“He’s gone away.” Bastien informs her, “And he’s never coming back.”
“Tha’s good.” Lila chirps, prompting a chuckle from her father. She giggles right back, pausing to linger in their shared amusement before speaking again. “Bashun, I’s hungry.”
“Well we can certainly get you some food.” He quips, an odd note in his low voice. When he speaks again, I understand why. “But instead of Bastien, how would you like to call me Daddy?”
“Daddy?” Lila mimics thoughtfully. My heart flutters in my chest, he’s offering my daughter the one thing I’ve never been able to give her, the thing I never thought she’d have.
“That’s right.” He remarks solemnly, “Because that’s who I am. I’m your daddy.”
#Chapter 81 Daddy
“I’ve never had Daddy before.” Lila muses.
“Well you do now.” He replies adoringly.
My heart has been broken in so many ways over the years that I’ve lost track of all the fissures and cracks; all the fractures. Often I don’t realize a piece was broken until it’s mended, and this is no different. I never realized how badly I needed to hear Lila call Bastien Daddy, to see my pup and my mate together. It’s such a small word, a simple gesture, and yet it carries all the weight in the world. Now that the truth is out, we can finally be a family.
We are a family – at last.