****SPOILER WARNING: If you have not read Amazing Grace, this epilogue contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.****
Copyright 2019, Kimbra Swain, Amazing Grace Epilogue, Crimson Sun Press, LLC
*Any copy or redistribution of this work will be prosecuted to the full extent of the author’s budget for such things.*
AMAZING GRACE – EPILOGUE
Sometimes with the focus on Winter and Summer, I forgot the in-between seasons. But when Fall rolled around and the leaves changed colors, I felt relief. Mainly because I’d blown up to the size of a watermelon. It was a good thing that I didn’t need to haul ass because I would have had to make two trips.
Levi insisted on fulfilling our duties in Winter so I could stay at home, waiting for Killian to arrive. This pregnancy seemed so much easier than with Aydan. Levi’s child rested quietly but occasionally tapped out a rhythm on my ribs. I had no doubt he would be a bard like his father.
I leaned back in my recliner as Rufus laid over my leg staring at me. He knew I had another child in my belly, and his condescension was evident with every blank look.
“Oh, hush! You love my babies,” I hissed at him. He turned his head away from me to study the couch across the room.
Closing my eyes, I reached out to the little life inside of me. Killian always responded to me. Sometimes it felt like a hum or a couple of bars of a song I didn’t know. I’d hum to him the tune Levi played as our song. Sometimes I’d sing a few lines of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star which he liked, but when Winnie joined me, it was almost as if he were purring like a kitten.
Which brought me to the conclusion that Killian would be a love talker like his father. Something that I knew bothered Levi. He responded to female voices more often than male. Levi didn’t want to talk about it. However, my husband was different than his father and other love talkers that I had known. Even Tennyson had made many mistakes in his life regarding Jenny, but in the end, it was all for her.
He had been quiet since he came back. I’d seen Jenny often. The light in her eyes went beyond anything I’d ever seen. The grief washed away in joy. She told me that he was different. He’d lost some of the boldness that had built up in his character over the long, hard years away from her. To me, it sounded like she got herself a Levi. She did miss the tattoos, but he was adamant that they remain gone. He’d said that he had been given a new life, and that the only thing he wanted from his past was his one true love.
Killian kicked hard in my stomach, and I brushed my hand over my belly.
“What is it? You know my stomach isn’t a drum, right?” I asked.
He kicked again.
“That’s not funny. It hurts.” He stopped moving completely. “Killian, are you ready to come into this world?”
His reply featured a drum solo on my insides. Pain shot through the lower half of my body, and I cried out. Rufus jumped out of my lap and began to bark wildly.
Reaching out for Levi, I couldn’t feel him immediately. He was in Winter, and sometimes the connection varied. He would know I was in distress though.
“Bramble!” I screamed.
The tiny brownie flew up to me with Briar right behind him.
“My Queen! The child arrives!” he proclaimed.
“Yes, but I need Wendy and Athena. Can you go find them?” I asked.
He clicked his heels in the air and saluted me. “I will not fail you!” He left a trail of glittering dust as he flew off toward the small slot we made in the back door for them to go in and out. Briar remained with me.
“You can go with him,” I said. “I’m fine.”
The contraction shot through me again while Killian did his best Keith Moon impression in my stomach.
“Levi! You need to come home right now!”
“Shit.” I pushed myself out of the recliner. Before I could take a step, my water broke with a gush of liquid down my legs to the floor. Rufus continued to bark. “Dog! I’m going to wring your neck! Hush!”
“Where is Winnie?” Briar asked. They didn’t follow her as much these days because she’d become an independent teenager who didn’t want two brownies following her everywhere.
“She is at Mark’s farm. Will you go get her?” I asked.
“Are you sure you are okay?” she asked with worried eyes.
“Yeah, I’ve done this before,” I replied.
“You have, but it was rough,” she said, knowing that I was on the brink of death with Aydan. It was only because of Levi that both of us survived it.
“Yes, please go get her. She has me blocked from talking to her,” I said.
“That child,” Briar gruffed.
“Briar, hurry please,” I said, holding myself up by the chair arm.
Briar took off through the house in the same manner as Bramble as another contraction hit me. I sank to my knees on the floor. Rufus continued to bark. I didn’t bother to scream at him. I didn’t remember the pain being this bad with Aydan.
Killian seemed to be doing cartwheels in my stomach.
“Go easy on me, Mr. Rearden,” I begged my unborn son. He didn’t. “Aydan, can you hear me?”
“Mom? What’s wrong?” he asked. I breathed a sigh because someone was out there.
“Killian is coming. I need some help,” I explained as calmly as possible through our connection. He was down at the diner with Luther and Betty. He’d begun taking regular shifts there. The diner was a popular stop after fairies went through the processing center.
“Let me tell Mrs. Betty, and I’ll be right there,” he replied.
“Tell Callum,” I said.
He didn’t respond. A rift had formed between Callum and Aydan. I hated it, but it was because Callum had found comfort and love with Michael Handley. Sometimes I thought it was jealousy, but Aydan had moved on from a lot of his immature outbursts after he spoke to his father. If it were jealousy, it was that his brother no longer spent as much time with him.
Aydan had been busy himself with Isabella Valerian. Her bright spirit overshadowed the dark parts of her heart which made her a very potent Winter fairy. Aydan spent many of his free hours with her. I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure that my son had lost his virginity, but if he hadn’t already, it wouldn’t be long.
Between contractions, I managed to crawl over to the sofa and hoist myself up to lay on it. I closed my eyes and prayed to the new god of life, Xavier, to bless my son’s birth. Prayer wasn’t my norm, but if I felt alone like I did then, I prayed. It used to be to Lilith which may have served me well in the end.
A knock on the door shattered my prayer.
“Come in!” I called out to the door. I knew exactly who it was. Not that I was excited about the prospect, but at least, he could help me.
Dominick Meyer walked in with a grin on his face which quickly faded.
“Oh, shit!” He rushed over to my side. “Where is Levi?”
“In Winter. Bramble went to get Wendy and Athena,” I said.
He took my hand in his. “I will go get him.”
“No, I’m sure he’s coming. I need to get upstairs, but I’m…” I grabbed the pants I wore showing him the wetness from where my water broke.
Nick didn’t hesitate. He scooped me up, and we were upstairs in my room the moment the next contraction hit. I hugged to him, digging my nails into his skin.
“It’s alright. You are doing fine,” he said softly.
When it passed, he sat me down in the chair beside the bed and began to remove my shoes.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“We will get this stuff off, then get you in the bed,” he replied.
“Um, I think I should do it.”
He chuckled. “Aren’t you little Miss Propriety?”
He continued to laugh at me. “Let me help you. I figure I owe you anyway.”
He ignored me while pulling off my socks which were soaked. I grimaced at him as he helped me take off my t-shirt. I crossed my arms over my bare breasts which had grown two-sizes with the pregnancy.
The next contraction hit so hard that I didn’t care about my boobs anymore as I clutched the arms of the chair. Nick knelt on the floor in front of me, coaxing me through the pain. Unfortunately, that was the moment Aydan came into the room. My son rushed Nick, plowing him to the ground and getting one punch in before Nick rolled away from him.
“Aydan! Stop!” I demanded.
“You don’t touch my mother!” Aydan snarled at Nick who held his hands up in front of him.
“I am just helping her, Aydan. You know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt her,” Nick pleaded.
“Aydan Thaddeus Riggs, look at me!”
My son knew that when his mother used his whole name, she wasn’t playing.
“Ma’am?” he said, turning to me.
“He’s helping me. The contractions are bad,” I said. The next one moved in faster, and I screamed out in pain.
“Fuck!” Aydan exclaimed, rushing over to me. “Mom, what do I do? Where is Uncle Levi?”
“He’s in Winter,” I responded as the pain faded.
“We need to get her out of these clothes,” Nick prompted. I nodded in confirmation to Aydan’s questioning eyes. My son and my husband’s best friend removed the last of my clothes. Aydan wrapped me in a blanket, as they both guided me to the bed. “Move the comforter.”
Aydan moved it quickly, and once again Nick scooped me up, then laid me gently on the bed.
“Where are they?” Aydan asked. “I can fly. I’ll go find them.”
“Please stay with me, Son,” I begged. He crawled up in the bed and laid his head next to mine. He put his hand on my stomach to feel his brother.
“Dang. He’s moving around a lot in there,” he said.
“Yeah, he’s never been this active,” I said. Exhaustion rippled over my body in waves.
I had three more contractions before Winnie burst through the door with Mark on her heels.
“Mom!” She rushed up beside me. “Are you okay? Is he coming?”
“Yeah, he is.”
“Where is Levi?” Mark asked.
“In Winter,” I responded. “He’s probably coming.”
“Probably?” Winnie asked. She turned to Mark. “Go get him!”
Mark didn’t hesitate. He ran out of the room on her command. “Winnie, honey. Don’t command him to do things in front of his pack. You undermine his authority because you know he will do anything for you.”
“Mom, you need Levi,” she replied, ignoring the core of my message. It was just like that with her lately. For each day that she matured, she moved away from being my sweet little Wildfire to becoming a stubborn, independent woman. Good for some things. Not so much for others.
The next contraction hit me like a Mack truck. Aydan held my hand on one side and Winnie on the other. Killian settled into a position as if he’d given up the idea of pounding my insides to a pulp. When I opened my eyes, Wendy and Athena rushed into the room.
“All right, people with penises get out,” Wendy demanded.
Nick grabbed his crotch. “Yep, that’s me!” Cocky bastard.
Aydan kissed me on the cheek and followed Nick out of my bedroom. At the last moment, he looked back at me. “Mark found him. He’s coming.” I supposed the new Alpha had connections to his pack the same way his father had.
Only a moment later I heard the voice I needed. “I’m here.”
A rumble of heavy footsteps echoed through the house. Outside the door, we could hear shuffling, then the door flew open.
With a panicked but calm expression, my husband and King stood in the door, panting heavily.
“Hi, honey,” I said as another contraction crept up on me. The guitar on his arm ignited into song, and the contraction eased. Killian also stopped thrashing around in my belly. Levi’s hand reached behind my neck.
“Hey, beautiful,” he said softly. “I’m sorry I didn’t get here faster.”
“I could barely feel you,” I said. Whatever he had been doing in Winter must have been serious.
“We will talk about it after our son arrives,” he said. “Nothing we can’t handle.”
“He’s glad you are here,” I said.
“Oh yeah?” Levi placed his hand on my lower belly as Wendy rushed around the room preparing for Killian’s arrival.
Winnie had backed away, but I motioned for her to come closer. “You still want to help?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied, but I saw the fear in her eyes.
“You don’t have to,” I urged.
“I want to help,” she said with a little more confidence.
“That’s my girl.” A smile crept across her face.
“Your wolf about knocked the doors off the Hall of Knights,” Levi said.
“He is not my wolf.”
“You might not be his girl, but he is most definitely your wolf,” Levi reinforced. She rolled her eyes at him, then returned to helping Wendy.
“Alright, Grace. Next time we are going to push,” Wendy instructed.
I hadn’t even noticed that they had propped my legs up on the bed. She positioned herself at the foot of the bed with Winnie by her side. Winnie’s eyes widened. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t before the next contraction hit.
Levi held my hand as I screamed and pushed. I remembered this feeling. The lower half of my body felt like it had been ripped open and a basketball was trying to push out of my vagina.
“Shit that hurts,” I groaned, looking up to Levi who had turned pale. “What’s wrong? Don’t you pass out on me!”
“I felt it,” he muttered.
“Oh, really! Good. Maybe you will remember that the next time you knock me up!” I responded. Pain ripped through me again. Levi squeezed my hand. His face turned bright red.
“Push!” Wendy demanded.
Levi grunted loudly as I pushed. When the pressure eased for a second, I couldn’t hold back the laughter. Perhaps we’d found the one drawback of our connection. Childbirth pain until now had been a mystery to men. Now my love-talking bard knew what it felt like.
“Shit,” he huffed. “How the hell do you do this?”
Wendy snickered, Winnie stared at my exposed nether regions, and Athena bit her lip.
“Women have been doing this for ages. It’s about damn time one of you felt what it is like!” I screamed into the next contraction.
Levi’s scream met mine, then his son’s joined us both.
The pain evaporated with the sound of a child’s cry.
“Oh, my goodness,” Winnie whispered, as she helped Wendy wrap up Killian in a clean blanket.
Wendy handed him to me as Athena quickly cleaned up any birth material left behind. She promptly covered me up for privacy. We wouldn’t be able to keep Aydan out of the room for much longer.
“Your son, my Queen,” Wendy said, backing away. “He’s gorgeous like his daddy.”
I moved the blanket from his face. His deep blue eyes looked up at me. His pouty lips were partially purple and dark from being inside my womb.
“No,” Levi gasped, moving the blanket off his face completely revealing a mark down his left cheek. “How is that possible? A birthmark that matches my scar?”
Levi’s scar started above his right eye, then stretched down his right cheek to his chin. The mark on Killian’s cheek stretched from just under his left eye to his mid-cheek.
“It’s not a birthmark. It’s a curse mark,” I sighed looking at my child. “It happens sometimes when a heavy curse is laid on someone. The curse passes to the child. Brockton didn’t just cut you. He cursed you.”
“I’m not cursed,” he said.
“Not that we knew,” I replied. My son was gorgeous. Mark or not.
“He can glamour it?” Winnie asked as she approached us. I waved her closer to see.
“Yes, he can if he wants. He’s not cursed though. It’s an echo. Kind of a reminder of a past curse. Whatever Brockton did isn’t over you anymore,” I said. He looked down at his son with pain in his eyes as if he’d done something to him to hurt him. “Levi.”
He lifted his gaze to meet mine. “I didn’t know.”
“Neither did I, but he’s healthy. He’s the spitting image of his father,” I said proudly. “Here.” I offered up the baby to Levi who took him from me holding him close to his chest. I’d never seen anything more wonderful in all of my life. I watched the tear slip down Levi’s cheek as he looked at his son.
“I will do right by you,” Levi promised.
“We both will,” I echoed. “Winnie, help me sit up.”
I pushed up to sit up on the bed and pulled the sheets up to my armpits. Levi moved to sit beside me. Our son looked up to us with bright, happy eyes. Anxious knocks came from the bedroom door.
“Do you want to let them in?” Wendy asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
Wendy opened the door. Callum and Aydan stepped into the room.
“Come meet our brother,” Winnie said to them.
“Sorry I was late,” Callum said as he leaned over Levi. “Oh, wow! He’s a mini-Levi!”
“He really is!” Aydan added.
“I think he looks like mom,” Winnie said. I winked at her because it was a lie. I appreciated her standing firmly in my corner. Interesting that she could so boldly lie with the fairy blood in her.
“May I come in?” a deep voice asked at the door.
“Nestor!” I exclaimed.
“Xavier informed me of a new life, and I had to come to see for myself,” he said.
Things were different in Shady Grove because he spent most of his time in the tree with Xavier and Katherine, but I got to see him as much as I wanted at the tree.
“Please come in and see your new great-grandson,” Levi said.
“He really is fine, Levi. The mark is not anything to worry about. I have one,” I said.
Nestor took Killian from Levi’s arms. “Where?”
I lifted the hair on the right side of my head, brushing my fingers over the mark that no one could see.
“When Mordred struck down my father, he hit him in the skull with his sword. The black blade seared a mark on my father’s head. I was born with the mark. As was Finley. They say it is why our hair is white,” I said.
Levi reached up to touch the mark. “I’ve never noticed it.”
“I don’t even realize it’s there. I didn’t put it all together until I saw our son. There is no pain from it. In time, he will learn to glamour it as you do yours. You may find that he treasures the mark that connects him to his father. I know that I value mine, not just because of the connection to Oberon, but to Finley, too,” I said.
“I hear my name!” Finley said at the door.
“Well, by the Tree, is everyone here?” I asked.
“Pretty much. Mark interrupted a meeting of the knights. We are all here waiting for word about the heir to the throne,” Finley said, looking down at Killian in Nestor’s arms.
“Go show him off,” I said to Levi.
“What about you?” he asked.
“I need to rest,” I replied. “Just don’t stay away with my child for long. I want to bond with him while he is still small.”
Levi took Killian from Nestor and proudly walked out of the room with him. I saw him pause at the top of the stairs. Winnie crawled up in the bed beside me. I wrapped my arm around her.
“I never want to have a baby,” she said.
Perhaps the evil, protective mother in me smiled. “You forget the pain when you see that sweet face.”
“If you say so,” she replied.
Levi’s voice resounded through the house. I could see him at the top of the stairs looking down at our knights and friends. “My son, Killian Hart Rearden, is born!”
Cheers and shouts of congratulations filled the house and my heart.