He’d come rushing back to her at odd times throughout the whole afternoon. "You still here?"
She’d laugh and nod. "So far nothing’s going south."
By the time the sun set and she looked the same as she had that morning, Cassandra realized the truth.
It was over.
They both were free.
Her heart sang in relief. Wulf no longer had to hunt her people and she no longer had to live in terror of her birthdays.
It was perfect.
Three years later
It wasn’t perfect.
Cassandra bit her lip as she stood in the middle of the backyard with her hands on her h*ps while Wulf, Chris, and Urian argued over the swing set she was trying to have installed for Erik.
The workers had withdrawn to the front of the house while the three men argued it out in the back.
"No, see the slide’s too high," Wulf was saying. "He could fall and get a concussion."
"Forget that," Chris snapped. "He could rack himself on the teeter-totter."
"Teeter-totter nothing," Urian said. "The swings are a choking hazard. Whose idea was it for him to have this?"
Cassandra rolled her eyes while Erik held on to her hand and wailed because they were taking away his swing set.
Looking at her distended belly, she sighed. "Take my advice, little one. Stay in there as long as you can. These guys are going to make you crazy."
Cassandra picked Erik up and carried him to his father. She forced Wulf to take the crying toddler. "You explain it to the baby while I go inside and add more padding to his nursery walls."
"You know," Chris said, "she’s right. We do need more padding…"
And the men were off on that subject.
Cassandra laughed. Poor Erik, but at least he knew he was loved.
She opened the sliding glass door and returned to the house.
Two seconds later, Wulf was there, scooping her up in his arms. "Are you completely mental yet?"
"No, but I think you are."
He laughed at that. "An ounce of prevention-"
"Is worth ten years of therapy, easy."
Wulf growled low in his throat as he carried her through the house. "Do you really want him to have a swing set?"
"Yes. I want Erik to have the one thing I never had."
"And that is?"
"A normal childhood."
"Okay," he said with a sigh. "I’ll let him have one, if it’s that important to you."
"It is. And don’t worry. If he’s anything like his father, and he is, it’ll take a lot more than that to concuss his thick skull."
Wulf feigned indignation. "Oh, now you insult me?"
Cassandra wrapped her arms around his neck and laid her head against his shoulder. "No, my sweetie. I’m not insulting you. I’m admiring you."
He smiled. "Good, safe comeback. But if you’re serious about admiring me, I can think of a better way to do that."
"Oh, yeah and how’s that?"
"Naked and in my bed."