“Derek and I left our treehouse and took a leisurely stroll through the forest to the Port. On reaching the jetty, we glanced to our right along the beach to see some early arrivals. Xavier and Vivienne were setting up chairs and tables along with Corrine, Shayla and Arwen, who wore a light pink dress (which I suspected meant she was to be one of Vicky’s bridesmaids).
My father and Kailyn were here too. They stood near the water, their feet submerged in the waves. My father was holding their newly adopted wolf baby—my new brother (that was an odd thought)—in his arms, while Kailyn cooed over the baby. As they sensed our approach and turned to face us, my father’s and Kailyn’s eyes shone with happiness. I was witnessing the baby in his humanoid form for the first time. His features made my heart melt. A perfect button nose; large, sparkling brown eyes. He was more hairy than a human baby—the mop of brown hair on his head was thick and lush, and his eyebrows were already pretty distinct. I knew that my father would never want to have another biological child—he was past that stage of his life—and Kailyn had accepted that. Though as I saw how joyful she looked now with this baby, I sensed that she’d still harbored a desire for a baby. It was a good thing that we had visited that orphanage. Kailyn would make a wonderful mother, and I knew that my father would make a wonderful dad.
“Have you named him yet?” I asked.
“Uh, we’re still mulling it over,” my father replied, exchanging a grin with Kailyn.
“Yeah,” Kailyn said. “Naming a baby is a lot harder than I thought.”
I lowered to plant two kisses against the infant’s soft round cheeks. He reached out a small hand as I drew away. I placed my finger in his palm. His fingers closed around it with strength that surprised me… Though I shouldn’t have been surprised. He was a supernatural. I just didn’t have a lot of experience with werewolf cubs. Derek and I moved away from the trio and headed to where the wedding was being set up. We approached Vivienne and Xavier, who were aligning instruments off in one corner.
They stopped working and looked up at us. I could instantly detect the nervousness in their eyes. Because I had been through all of this before with Derek. We knew what it was like to give a daughter away, even if it was to a man you trusted. “How’s everything going?” Derek asked, kissing his sister’s cheek. “Fine,” she said, flashing a quick smile. “Where’s Vicky? How’s she doing?” I asked.
“She’s prepared already, and is waiting back in our penthouse. She wanted some time alone.”
I caught a gleam of tears in my sister-in-law’s eyes. She averted her attention to the grand piano. Derek gripped Xavier’s shoulder and squeezed hard. “Now you know how it feels to give your baby girl away,” he said. “Yeah,” Xavier said hoarsely, gulping.
Derek patted him on the back. “You’ll get used to it. Even though it may seem like you never, ever will… You will.”
Derek’s words brought a smile to my lips. I remembered how cute he had been over that—when it came time to officially give our daughter away to Caleb. How melancholic he had been in the lead-up to the wedding. That had been a hard time for my husband. On the subject of Rose, I spotted her walking toward us from the direction of the Port. She was with Caleb and my two grandchildren, Benedict and Hazel. Hazel wore the same colored dress as Arwen—bridesmaid number two, apparently. Claudia and Yuri followed closely behind with their eighteen-year-old daughter Ruby, also in a pink bridesmaid dress.
As they approached, I kissed my daughter and son-in-law on the cheek before turning my attention to my beautiful granddaughter. Hazel wore a ring of daisies around her head, which had become slightly askew. I adjusted it and withdrew two pins from my own hair to keep it in place. It was hard to believe that Hazel would be sixteen soon. I still remembered the day she was born.”