Of Flame and Light(3)

By: Cecy Robson

Emme’s always been so sweet and angelic. Me? Not at all. “Hey, do you suppose Celia’s more flexible now, given how Aric knocked her up? As in ankles behind the head kind of flexible―”

Emme lifts a muffin with her force and sends it soaring. I catch it just before it rams me in the mouth. “Eat,” she insists. “Just eat.”

In other words, for once in your life, shut your inappropriate trap.

Shayna takes a seat beside me, laughing her skinny ass off. Emme sits, too, in time for Celia to stagger down the back steps.

Good God. Celia’s long curly hair is tousled from lack of sleep and the insane amount of sex she’s had. And her eyes are glazed with a hunger that warns me not to get too close. “Is there bacon? Please tell me there’s bacon,” she growls as if crazed.

Her entire face beams when Emme levitates a plateful of bacon and lowers it in front of an empty seat. Like a woman possessed, Celia sits and rams about four pieces in her mouth at once. The rest of us watch her in stunned silence as she chomps them down and reaches for another few slices. She freezes when she realizes we’re all gaping at her. “Sorry. Would you like some?”

Her tigress eyes replace her human ones, making it clear she’s only trying to be polite. And that only an idiot would get between her and her breakfast.

“No, nope, uh-uh,” the three of us answer at once.

This seems to settle her inner beast enough so Celia’s human eyes once more blink back at us. I pour her a glass of juice, while Emme and Shayna carefully place plates stacked with food closer to her reach. What can I say, we don’t want to be eaten.

“Are you all right?” Emme asks her quietly.

Celia slows her frantic munching. “I don’t know,” she admits, her husky voice trickling with concern. She lifts her T-shirt and shows us her tiny belly. “The baby’s not growing.”

We’ve noticed that, too. Her pregnancy had been unexpected given she was incapable of bearing children. But within two weeks of finding out she and Aric had conceived, her baby bump had appeared and was visible through her wedding gown.

That was two months ago. And now, despite how this baby has been prophesized to rid the world of evil, we’re all pretty much freaking out that he or she isn’t growing.

“But your body’s changing,” I insist. I don’t exactly ooze optimism. In fact, I’m a the sky is falling and the earth is swallowing us whole kind of gal. But Celia doesn’t need to hear what’s wrong. My girl needs hope and that’s what I give her. I point to her chest. “If your hooters don’t scream you’re knocked up, I don’t know what does.”

She glances at her girls and then back at me, the tension in her shoulders lifting slightly. “They are a lot bigger,” she agrees quietly. She gathers her thoughts, appearing to want to say more despite her obvious hesitation. “And my body does feel like it’s becoming something more. Maybe not outwardly, but I can feel the difference inside of me.”

“What are you feeling, Ceel?” Shayna asks. “Is your magic changing?”

Celia nods. “The magic that helped me get pregnant seems to compliment mine. But my hormones are out of control.” Her cheeks flush and she lowers her voice. “Poor Aric. I can’t stop having sex with him. It’s like every time I see him, I pounce.”

Aric bounds down the steps as if called, his eyes glassy from lack of sleep and his five o’clock shadow now a full-out beard thanks to his preference to satisfy Celia’s needs rather than shave. His face lights up when he sees Celia, kind of like she did at the sight of bacon.

“Yeah, poor bastard,” I mutter.

“Hey, beautiful,” he says to Celia, bending to kiss her lips.

She smiles against his mouth. “Hey, wolf,” she answers, stroking his beard lightly.

Emme inches away when Celia’s stare suggests the need for something more than breakfast. Aric, being Aric, returns that look with equal force. I start to laugh, not because of Celia and Aric, but because of Emme’s response. She’s glancing around at the food like she knows it’s going to end up splattered across Celia’s and Aric’s soon-to-be naked bodies.

My laugh lodges in my throat when my right arm jerks as if shocked. Shayna lowers her fork. “You okay, T?” she asks.

I shove my arm under the table. “Fine,” I say. I reach for glass of juice with my opposite hand, trying to stay calm. Celia and Emme didn’t notice my twitch, and I don’t think Aric did either, but something about me lures his attention away from Celia.

He cocks his head, his nose flaring as if his alpha wolf has latched onto something. “Taran, what’s wrong?” he asks.