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Chapter 34: Freedom

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I wait on the living room couch in Corbin and Kalilah's house where toys and baby gear cover almost every surface. The couch cushion is lumpy behind me, and after repeatedly adjusting, I reach behind it and fish out a baby doll whose head is twisted backward. The doll's eyes close as it lies flat, but one is stuck open. I unjam its eyelid, turn its head the proper way, and sit it beside me.

"I wish the girls were here to meet you," Kalilah says as she enters the living room from a hallway to the right. There's a bundle of blue fabric in her arms, and when she sits next to me, I see the little boy's face nestled in it. "My mom took them to some luncheon with her friends so I can focus on this one, but she loves to show the girls off and spoil them. She's always been a big help."

I lean over to better see him: baby Silas. "He's so tiny," I murmur. "You must be over the moon; he's perfect."

"Here, hold him." She readily hands Silas over, so I quickly sit straight and cradle him with the utmost care.

"What's it like—being pregnant?" I ask as baby Silas sleeps undisturbed in my folded arms, his small, puffy eyes still shut. I assumed I'd bother him somehow, like he would know I'm not his mother and stir in agitation.

Kalilah tucks Silas' wrap under his tiny chin. "Do you think you might be pregnant soon?"

I look up from the baby. "I think so. Maybe."

"How exciting." She settles back in her spot on the couch. "Well, it's different for everyone and can be different from pregnancy to pregnancy. During my first, I was a little sickly, and most foods and smells put me off, but there are things I couldn't stand to eat during that first pregnancy that I couldn't stop eating with Silas."

"Huh. What were they?"

"One big craving—especially towards the end—was raw onion."

"Pieces of onion?" I question.

She shakes her head. "Eating it like an apple."

"There's no way you did that," I say, almost raising my voice high enough to wake Silas, though I quickly correct myself. "Didn't it burn or make your eyes water?"

Kalilah shrugs. "Being with child does strange things to you, but it's always worth it," she gazes contently at her new baby, "always. Even when they tear you apart and the wise woman has to sew you back together."

"What?"

"Speaking of pregnancy's challenges, I might not be the first to warn you about this, but carrying the Alpha's child may be harder on you since you're not Alpha blood."

"I...haven't heard that," I say, forgetting about tearing.

"Everything should and will go fine, I'm sure, but it could mean bed rest or simply taking it easier, especially as your pregnancy develops. I've also heard one Luna say her nausea was horrendous, but who knows if that was because of the Alpha blood or not."

"I guess that makes sense, but, I mean, I won't have trouble becoming pregnant because of his Alpha Blood, right?"

Kalilah laughs lightly. "I can't imagine that—it'd be too easy, if anything."

I smile, wanting to match her sense of ease. "Corbin told me the truth about Alpha Rowan, actually; how he couldn't have children and kept trying with different women thinking they were the problem."

"That's something else entirely, not a cause of Alpha blood. I'm betting you and the Alpha will have no trouble at all, and then you get to sit back and let everyone shower you with gifts and well wishes because you're creating our future Alpha." Her smile widens. "And if you need anything at all, please, I'm here for you. You can practice with Silas, but I can already tell you're a natural."

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