Sophia paced in Sherman's living room waiting to hear any word of Bella. When they had gotten there Sherman had rushed her into the back room followed closely by Luke. Her daughter had looked small and fragile and she was wondering if she had told her she loved her before she went to bed that night. What if something happened? Sophia couldn't see returning to New York without her. Her little girl was the reason she got up in the morning.
There were still screams coming from the back room but they got quieter as the time went by. She had been alone for an hour when Luke came out. "We've almost got her to calm down."
"Is this it? Is she going to flip?"
"We think so." She could see how tired he was. He had taken off his shirt that he was wearing earlier. The sweat from Bella must have chilled him.
"Tell me that she is going to be okay."
"I won't let anything happen to her. I just came out here to tell you this could take a few hours. You might want to get some rest."
She sat down on the couch feeling her energy levels drop. It had been a long emotional day. She had made a connection with Luke this morning then she had caught him kissing Valerie. The day was topped off with her daughter deciding to flip. As much as she wanted to be awake for this she could feel her eyelids drooping.
Luke knelt down in front of her taking her hands in his. "She is going to be fine."
Sophia didn't remember falling asleep but somehow she had ended up on the floor with a pillow and blanket. Luke was beside her rubbing her arm to wake her. The first thought that came to her mind was that he looked worn out. "She did it Sophia."
"She did? Is she okay?"
"She flipped about an hour ago. Poor thing was asleep in seconds. It was a long night for her."
Sophia rolled onto her back letting the tears slip down her cheeks. "I was so scared. I kept thinking, what would I do if she doesn't make it."
He put his arm around her holding her close. "She did great. Even as a wolf she looks like me."
She laughed," that's not a surprise. You would stick me with a child like you just to drive me nuts."
He wrung his hands making an evil laugh," my evil plan has worked."
She got up folding the blanket that was in her hand. "We should get her home. Then maybe in a few days I can take her back to New York."
His face fell," How about we just get her home for now?"
That night after Luke had gotten some sleep he made his way into his office knowing he had work to do. Behind his desk his mother sat looking angry with him. "Good evening mother."
"Luke Cates, you have a lot of explaining to do."
He sat down on the couch across the room. "What for?" He took pleasure in knowing he was making her wait. She was a person who liked instant satisfaction and he wasn't going to give it to her.
"Presley told me Sophia is in town and that she brought a child with her. One that looks an awful lot like you."
He smiled," I heard she was in town too."
His mother got up making her way towards him. "Don't give me that. She is staying here, isn't she? Her scent is all over this place." She took a deep breath, " You don't need this right now. The pack isn't going to like this."
He got up towering over her. "The pack. It's always about the pack with you."
"This is who we are. You chose to become Alpha, nobody forced it on you. Tell me Luke, when you found out Sophia couldn't flip why didn't you step down?" He thought about it but couldn't come up with anything. "You were born to be Alpha of this pack. I know this is hard because she is your mate but you need to send her back to New York."
"I can't do that mother. I let her walk out of my life too many times and this time she would be taking my child with her."
"Presley told me that people are talking about a revolt."
"They are all so afraid of change, worried that a child from Sophia couldn't flip or be one of them."
"They have a right to be concerned."
"No, they don't." He sat back down looking at the picture of his dad. He would have known how to handle this. "She already flipped. We just came home from Sherman's this morning."
His mother looked shock. She must be thinking the same thing he had. That she was too young. She sat down beside him taking his hand. "I think it is time we took this before the pack."
Luke was working at his desk when Sophia walked in. She had a box in her hand and she dropped it on top of what he was working on. "What's this?"
She smiled," open it."
He opened the box and on top was a photo album with the words, it's a girl, on it. He flipped the page to the first picture; which was of Sophia when she was pregnant. Her belly was rounded looking as if she could pop at any moment. Her hand was resting protectively on her middle and she looked beautiful. He wished he could have seen her while his child was resting within her.
The next page was of Sophia at the hospital holding Bella for this first time. She looked tired but joy was radiating from her. The next few photos were of Bella walking and sleeping. "Thank you Sophia."
"That's not all." He looked down in the box and found a DVD. "That's video of her walking for the first time and of her first words. Keep going." He looked down in the box for the third time pulling a hospital bracelet and the smallest shoes he had ever seen. "That is her bracelet from the hospital and her first pair of shoes."
"This is really nice of you Sophia. Thanks."
"I thought you would like it. Especially since we are going to go back to New York in a few days."
He rocked back in his chair wanting to shake her. How could she do this to him? They belonged together. His daughter belonged here. "She belongs here Sophia. With her own kind."
"I know but I don't belong here. She's coming with me when I leave."
He moved around the desk taking her hand. "That's it? You walk out on me again?"
"What, do you want me to stay and watch you marry Valerie?"
He pulled her to him running his fingers through her hair. "Is that what you want? For me to marry Valerie?"
"No," she put her lips on his. He could feel all the years they had been apart slip away. It was if no time had passed. They knew each other, feeding off of each other's passion. He pushed her back against the wall letting his hands slide down her body.
He picked her up cradling her in his arms. His feet carried him swiftly up the stairs and towards his bedroom. It had been too long. If she was going to leave he was going to have tonight.
Sophia woke the next morning with an arm slung over her. The night before had been wonderful but this morning it was just another problem. How was she going to leave him again? The first time had almost killed her; this time might finish her off.
She moved his arm getting up to put her clothes on. "What are you doing," he asked her.
"My dad will be over soon to drop Bella off. I thought I would get started packing our things."
He rose from the bed putting on the pants he had been wearing the night before. "So we're back to that? Sophia, stay with me."
"You are engaged. What do you want me to do? Live down the hall? When she's out I could sneak in your bedroom?"
"I don't love her Sophia, I love you. Valerie and I are together because my mother wanted it."
"Nothing has changed. You still have obligations. Your mother is just trying to help you make the right decisions."
He walked up to her grabbing her chin and turning her head to look at him. "You are my mate Sophia. No matter where you are I am with you." He took her hand and put it against his chest. "Do you feel that? My heart has been with you in New York but now I can feel again. Since you have been back I feel like I am really living not just going through the motions. If you want me to be the Alpha I am supposed to be; then I need you."
She felt tears streaking down her face. "I can't be your downfall. This is just not going to work." She went back to collecting her clothes. When she looked up she saw something that took her breath away. There was a painting on the wall of her. She could remember sitting for it many years ago. It had been just after Bella was born. "How did you get this?"
"Melody sent it to me. I just couldn't seem to take it down."
"I bet Valerie loved that."
"She has never been in here." He sat down on the bed looking defeated. "There is a pack meeting tomorrow night. Bella is part of the pack and so are you. Will you stay for it? I promise that if you want to leave after that, I won't stop you."
Luke walked in the church that the pack used for meetings. He didn't stop to talk to anyone or say hello to friends. Tonight he had business to take care of. When he got to the front of the church he turned around to look into the faces of the people in the pews. He knew everyone of them. He was responsible for them and they were responsible for Sophia leaving. Most times he was proud to be Alpha of the pack but he had to do what was right.
"I'm guessing by now you have all heard that I have a daughter and contrary to what my mother may have told you I have not come to beg you to let her stay. I'm Alpha of this pack and I decide who stays. If anyone has anything to say about it they can talk to me. There is no reason for rumors to be going around about a revolt. If you were going to do it, you would have done it already. I would like to see any of you take over and do a better job." He took a breath finding Sophia in the crowd. She was in the back next to her father holding their daughter in her arms. "Six years ago the love of my life walked out on me and I let her go. I would give up a lot of things for you and I already have but I won't give up my daughter. This is where I draw the line. My father always said that the key to being a good Alpha is to follow your heart. My heart says if I let my daughter go I wouldn't be a good Alpha. My duty is to take care of the pack and she is part of it. If I don't stick up for those close to me, how could I stick up for any of you? I know change is rough but there are going to be changes. I want a better future for my child and for all of yours."
No one in the crowd said a thing as he walked out the side door.
Sophia stood beside her car putting Bella in her car seat when Luke showed up. He held up Bitsy," I thought she would miss her if she left her here."
"It would be hard to get her to sleep at night without her. Thanks."
He put his hand on his forehead trying to keep the sun out of his eyes. "The change I was talking about wasn't just about Bella."
"I know." Once she was done getting Bella strapped in she stopped to look at him. "It's never been easy for us, has it?"
He shook his head," this time you are making it hard on yourself."
"Well, I figure someone has to pack my stuff in New York. It's not fair to have Melody do it all." She smiled at him.
"You're staying?" She shook her head jumping into his arms.
"I guess I have to. Bella needs her father."
He whispered in her ear," marry me."
She pulled back," I suppose. If I have to." She smirked at him. He chased her around the yard while Bella sat in her car seat cheering him on.