Pregnancy agreed with Lenora, and Tyrone was ever mindful of her condition, He didn’t think his love for her could possibly grow stronger than what it already was, but he found he loved her more with the coming of each day. Because of the unique bond they shared, Tyrone anticipated her every need. He showered her with love and never wasted an opportunity to make her feel special. Tyrone loved her from the instant he’d met and Imprinted on her, but there was just something more that drew a wolf to his mate when she was carrying his children.
One afternoon, Tyrone pulled Lenora into his arms and kissed her passionately. “Oh my! What did I do to deserve that?” she asked, her eyes sparkling with love and humor.
“You’re just my Lenora, that’s what. Nothing more is needed,” he said, running his thumb along her cheekbone and then threading his fingers in her hair. “You have the most beautiful golden hair. It makes you look like a goddess…my goddess.”
She smiled and sighed in contentment as Tyrone stroked her hair. It always gentled her, and he knew just how to do it to make her all but purr in bliss. He brought a handful of her very long tresses to his nose and sniffed deeply, making her heart melt. She adored how Tyrone loved her hair. He favored it long and loose, so she always wore it that way to please him unless there was a reason for her to need to tie it back.
She giggled and looked into his eyes. “You have such a fixation with my hair, Wolfman.”
“I can’t help it. I like what I like, and what I like most of all right now is you.” He growled playfully and hauled her against him, pretending to bite her. She laughed and pretended to push him away. “Help! Someone save me!”
“Nothing can save you now, m’dear. I’ve got you forever. There is no escape,” he said, continuing the game.
“Alas, I am defeated!” she said mock dramatically. “Whatever shall you do with me?”
“I shall kiss you until you are breathless. I shall hold you so tight you’ll never get away. I shall ravish you until you scream my name to the sky and beg me not to stop. Then, I’ll whisk you away to my secret fortress where we become immortal and live together forever.”
Lenora gasped and put a hand over her heart. She blinked her eyes in pretend terror and gave a little squeal. “I’m doomed! Doomed eternally! Oh!” She exhaled a long breath and pretended to faint.
Tyrone held her easily and grinned as he touched her face. “I shall wake you with one of my healing, passionate kisses,” he proclaimed. With that, he lowered his lips to hers, kissing her soundly.
Lenora grinned into the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck. She blinked her eyes open and smiled at him when their kiss ended. “I have succumbed to the beast. Do with me whatever you will, great sir, for my will cannot withstand your power.”
Tyrone laughed and set Lenora back on her feet. They loved playing this kind of game together. It made them feel young and carefree, and it was nice to mingle humor and playfulness with the passion and love they felt for each other. “Well, m’dear, since you have submitted your will to my irresistible power, I shall reward you greatly. How about a nice massage?”
“Now you’re speaking my language,” she said, all but groaning from wanting it.
Tyrone’s expression turned from playful to serious as he wrapped his arm around her waist and walked with her toward the stairs. “Your back has been hurting you.” It was a statement and not a question, for he could feel her discomfort through their bond.
“Yep,” she said. “I remember when I was carrying Landon and how badly my back would hurt. Then, I had terrible back labor.”
Tyrone guessed it would be worse this time since she was carrying more than one baby. He stopped for a minute to hold her close. “If I could make it go away, I would, Lenora. I hate seeing you in pain.”
“That’s sweet, love, but believe me, it’s a kind of pain you wouldn’t want. I always said if men had to have the babies, this form of life would be extinct because they couldn’t hack it.”
Tyrone burst out laughing. “That’s what Theresa always said. According to her, men are wimps.”
“Sometimes they are,” Lenora said, grinning. “I swear, when Linc would gat a cold or the stomach flu, you’d have thought he was dying.” She winced inwardly for a split second, feeling her heart squeeze for a brief moment. It didn’t hurt like it did before, but part of her would always miss him.
It wasn’t lost on Tyrone, who held her tighter. “You still miss him at times.”
“A piece of me always will. He was my first love, and we had a child together. He was a huge part of my life for a long time.” However, she smiled tenderly at him after the words were out. “He’s gone now and my life is with you. I loved him in a different way than I love you, but that doesn’t make my love for you any less than how I loved Linc. I want you to always remember that. If there are ever any doubts, just look to our bond and you’ll now I’m telling the truth.”
“Oh, Lenora, you don’t have to explain,” Tyrone said, leaning his cheek atop her head. “I understand. Truly, I do.”
“That is one reason I love ye so,” Lenora said softly, her Irish lilt very noticable. “You always understand and you’re always there…always my constant.”
“That is how it always will be. Our love will never die,” he said, kissing her forehead. “Now, how about that massage?”
“Yum,” she said.
Tyrone kept a protective hold on her to make sure she didn’t stumble on the stairs. Nothing was as beautiful as Lenora pregnant, and Lenora pregnant quickened his Alpha Wolf protectiveness toward her.
Tyrone planned to give Lenora the works. After oiling up his hands, he got right down to it, starting at the soles of her feet. His thumbs made firm circles, and Lenora groaned in ecstasy. “Mother of Ariadne, but ye have the hands of an angel,” she said on a deep, contented sigh.
“I aim to please, milady,” Tyrone said, smiling at her praise. He worked his way up her legs, spreading her thighs so he could get to all her leg muscles. Said muscles relaxed in submission to Tyrone’s magic fingers. As he worked his way up, he gave special attention to her lower back, wanting to ease her discomfort. By the time he was done, Lenora was fast asleep, which was what Tyrone planned for. She’d been working hard on the current book she was writing, and the theater had been working her ragged. To Tyrone’s thinking, Lenora needed to rest, and he was going to see that she did. As he massaged her, he concentrated on the bond, willing her into deeper sleep with both his hands and mental messages. With extreme tenderness, he lifted Lenora into his arms and carried her to their bed where he tucked her under the covers. He stroked the hair away from her face and kissed her softly. //Dream sweetly, my Lenora. I love you.// He was rewarded by Lenora smiling in her sleep.
Tyrone had a hunch Lenora might be a bit pissed at him for putting her to sleep, so he figured he’d better bring her a peace offering. It was a nice evening to go hunting, and he even got the Weather Stone to cooperate. He grinned to himself at the great loot he collected. Tyrone loved hunting things for Lenora to use in her Alchemy work.
When he got home, Lenora still wasn’t up. He transformed back to his human form, grabbed a shower, and then made a cup of tea to bring to Lenora. When he got to their bedroom, she was beginning to stir. He set the tea on her nightstand and then sat on the bed beside her to take her hand. “Look who’s up,” he said, leaning over to kiss her.
“Good heavens! I certainly knocked out. Did you put me to bed?” she asked. “Last thing I remember was being on the massage table.”
“You conked and yes, I put you to bed. You needed the sleep,” he said, taking her hand and drawing little circles on her palm with a forefinger.
She glanced at the clock and then frowned. “How long was I out?”
Her frown deepened. “You let me sleep for three hours?”
“As I said, you needed it, so don’t get mad,” he said firmly. “You’ve been working too hard.”
“I can’t argue with that,” she said resignedly. “I’ll admit I feel much more refreshed, but now, I’m behind with the book.”
“It’ll keep till tomorrow, love. Just relax for once. I even brought you some tea and found you some great stuff for your elixirs.”
Lenora relaxed against the pillows after Tyrone propped them so she could sit up. “Peace offering, eh?” she said, knowing his way of thinking.
He laughed and handed her the tea. “I had to find some way to get back in your good graces to keep you from turning me into a toad or worse, like making me sleep on the couch for a week.”
She giggled. “Well, both are tempting, but then, I’d be suffering along with you. You wouldn’t look right as a toad, and if you slept on the couch, I wouldn’t be able to have my way with you every night. You see, a deprived pregnant woman can change into her own kind of beast, and she doesn’t need a full moon to do it.”
Tyrone snorted with laugher and leaned his forehead against Lenora’s. “Am I forgiven?”
“There’s nothing to forgive, darling. You were only thinking of my wellbeing, and I love you for it. Even so, that alleged loot you brought back had better be worth it.” Her eyes twinkled with humor.
Tyrone showed her his acquisitions when she finished her tea. She was pleased at the quality of the gems and metals he’d found for her and was very impressed at the rare insects he’d caught. “Was I a good boy, Mama?” he teased.
“You were a very good boy,” she said, patting his cheek and grinning. “Later tonight, you can show me just how good you really are.”
Tyrone smiled wolfishly at her. “That’s a promise I intend to keep, lady.”
The day of Landon and Crystal’s wedding arrived, and Lenora made the wedding cake. Crystal had been afraid to ask her because of Lenora’s growing discomfort as the pregnancy advanced, but Lenora insisted it was no problem. Lenora and Mathilda got it set up at Willow Abbey early on before the wedding was to start.
Crystal and Landon’s wedding wasn’t the very large one that Lenora and Tyrone had, but there would still be a lot of guests in attendance. Both Crystal and Landon were becoming very well known singers and because of the family connection to the Landgraabs, it was still a publicized event.
Landon took a leaf out of Tyrone’s book and had a bouquet of red roses and a romantic card delivered to Crystal before the ceremony began. The note read:
How my heart races with anticipation as I realize that by the end of the day, we will be married. You are my Thumbelina, my beautiful fairy princess, and I can’t wait to be your husband. I’ll cherish every moment we have together and will spend my life adoring and loving you.
I’ll love you always,
Crystal started to cry as she read the card. “Aww man! Somebody had better not pinch me. I don’t want to wake up from this dream.”
“It’s not a dream, and you and Landon are going to be so happy,” Lenora said, hugging her soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
Crystal laughed through her tears when she felt Lenora’s tummy move due to the baby kicking. “I guess we’d better get this done before the baby decides to make an appearance.”
A knock sounded at the door, and Claire, the wedding coordinator yelled, “Time!”
Crystal sailed down the aisle, her feet barely touching the ground. This was partially due to her wings, but she later said she was so happy, her feet refused to touch the ground. Landon’s breath caught as he saw his bride in her wedding gown. Then, a slow smile spread over his face.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in matrimony. Marriage is an honorable estate that should be entered into with much care and thought. If anyone should show just cause as to why they should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace,” the officiant said.
“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” the officiant continued after a brief silence.
“I do,” Tyrone said, placing Crystal’s hand in Landon’s. Crystal’s father had died before she was born, so Tyrone offered to give the bride away.
Landon and Crystal chose to write their own vows.
Landon smiled into Crystal’s eyes as he began to speak his vows. “The first time I saw you, I thought I was looking at a slice of Heaven. I’d been to Heaven before, but as I look back on it, Heaven wasn’t complete because you weren’t there. You were hurt, and I just wanted to hold you close and take away the pain. When you awoke and asked me to stay with you, I knew I was given a rare gift. You let me in even after you’d been hurt so badly before. You gave me your trust and later your love, which is something I will always treasure.”
Landon slipped the ring on Crystal’s finger and held her hand firmly. “I, Landon Liam Atherton, take you, Crystal Emmaline Light, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I give you this ring as a sign of my love, faithfulness, and devotion. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you in sickness and in health, in the good times and the bad for all eternity. I promise to cherish and protect you all the days of my life.” He then placed his right hand over Crystal’s heart and his left over his own to begin the Druid Binding Vows. “If aught must be lost, it will be my honor for yours. If one must be forsaken, it will be my soul for yours. Should death come anon, it will be my life for yours.” He looked steadily into her eyes and spoke the last three words emphatically. “I am Given.” Emotion rushed over him, and he felt his love for Crystal ballooning in every direction imaginable. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and just hold her forever, but he settled on squeezing her hands repeatedly until the universe righted itself.
Crystal gave a watery smile, knowing it was her turn to speak. She cleared her throat, willing her voice to come out strong. “When I made the decision to fly to Lenora’s house that night, I never dreamed I would wake up and find a handsome man at my side looking at me with such wonderment. All my life, I’d hoped to put that kind of expression on my true love’s face. As time went on, I began to lose that dream, thinking true love would never come to me. I’d had relationships before, but that was all they were; relationships that never worked out and always hurt someone in the end, usually me. When I awoke and our eyes met, I knew I’d found what I was looking for my entire life. Then, when you returned those feelings, I became complete.”
She slipped the ring on his finger and spoke her vows. “I, Crystal Emmaline Light, take you, Landon Liam Atherton, to be my lawfully wedded husband. I give you this ring as a sign of my love, faithfulness, and devotion. I promise to love, honor and cherish you in sickness and in health, in the good times and the bad for all eternity. I promise to cherish and protect you all the days of my life.”
Crystal then placed her right hand over Landon’s heart and her left over her own heart. “If aught must be lost, it will be my honor for yours. If one must be forsaken, it will be my soul for yours. Should death come anon, it will be my life for yours.” She squeezed his hand tightly and gazed into his eyes as she finished the Binding Vows. “I am Given.”
Emotion seared its way through her entire being, and she fell into Landon’s strong arms to wait it out. It was a miraculous, heady feeling, but the intensity almost doubled them both over. The lights flickered, and even the heavens seemed to sigh as the irrevocable vows took hold.
“Whatsoever the deities have joined, let no man or being put asunder. Landon, you may now kiss your bride,” the officiant smiled.
Landon stacked his hands with Crystal’s, making her grin. Then, he gave her a loving, lingering kiss.
“I now present Mr. and Mrs. Landon Atherton!” the officiant proclaimed.
Tyrone had to hold Lenora as she cried through the whole ceremony. She kept repeating, “My baby’s getting married,” before it started, which would bring an onslaught of tears and sobbing. Naturally, she was elated for Landon and Crystal, but it was hard to see her little boy grown, especially since she’d lost some of his childhood and all of his teen years due to his death. He’d come back as a young man, so it was an adjustment for both him and Lenora. The pregnancy hormones made Lenora even more emotional. All Tyrone could do was hold her and murmur soothing things to her.
Landon and Crystal cut the wedding cake, which everyone loved. It was becoming a tradition for Lenora to bake the wedding cake for friends and family who were getting married, and she was all too happy to do it.
The reception went well into the wee hours of the morning. The bride and groom’s first dance was done, and it was Mathilda who caught Crystal’s bouquet, much to Mathilda’s chagrin. “Now, who is going to want to marry an old witch like me?” she said, trying to make light of it. Little did anyone know that life was soon going to change for this wizened witch and goddess.
Landon and Crystal decided to wait on their honeymoon because Landon didn’t want to leave his mother while she was heavily pregnant. Lenora argued with him about it, saying that if anything came up, Tyrone could handle the situation. However, this was something Landon was very firm about. He didn’t doubt Tyrone’s ability to take care of his mother, but he knew he couldn’t put his whole heart into a trip while he was concerned for Lenora. He and Crystal discussed it, to which Crystal said she understood. “I’d feel like a heel for leaving her too. It’s no problem. We can go later.”
They went home and enjoyed a romantic wedding night. They relaxed in bed, drinking wine and snacking on delectable fancy cheeses.
“Did I tell you how beautiful you looked today, Thumbelina?” Landon said as he cuddled his wife to his side.
“You did, but I never get tired of hearing it,” Crystal replied. “Oh, Landon, wasn’t it wonderful?”
“It was, and now, I’m married to the most beautiful fairy in the world,” Landon said, kissing her.
Crystal leaned her head on Landon’s chest, thoughtful for a moment. Then, she chuckled.
“What?” Landon asked.
“Your mother. Oh gosh! Between her crying and my blubbering, I thought we were going to need snorkels to get us out of there.”
Landon laughed. “I know. We won’t ever have a drought with the two of you around,” he teased.
When the talking ceased, Landon got right to work showing his wife how much he loved her. Their night of love was tender and romantic, but yet, there was fire. it was the most beautiful night of Crystal’s life, and Landon felt as though he’d once again entered paradise.