A/N: All cannon characters and settings belong to the brilliant mind of Patricia Briggs. The rest comes solely from my imagination. This is written merely for my own pleasure and the pleasure of others. Also, I tend to get long-winded, so some of my chapters may be long, no, not may be, will be. You have been warned. Now, without further ado, on with the story!
Her parents and brother stayed for two days then headed back home. As the days passed Chloe focused on their wedding plans, which she'd started before Amaris was born but had had to briefly put on hold. She was still clueless about what her engagement ring looked like because Samuel decided to have the wedding and engagement ring entwined so she had to wait until their wedding day to get it. Anytime she started to feel overwhelmed with all she had to do, along with taking care of a newborn, Anna, Sage, Aria, or Thea would step in to help. They were her best friends and she wasn't so sure she could have gotten it all done without them.
When the day finally arrived she found herself feeling anxious. She wasn't surprised when Grandpa Liam showed up that morning, because of course he had to be there for their wedding, but she still worried he'd get in trouble with the Gray Lords. Not that she tried to argue with him. She'd learned a long time ago that it was useless to argue with the fey.
"You are absolutely breathtaking," Sylvia Bishop said as she approached her daughter. "I have a special gift for you," she added and slipped a necklace around her throat. "This was your grandmother's. She asked me to give it to you on your wedding day." It was a filigree locket that Chloe knew once held her grandfather's picture in it. "I hope you don't mind but I got Samuel to give me a photo of him and Amaris to put in it."
"I don't, not at all," Chloe replied and touched the locket. "Thank you mom," she said and wiped her eyes. The music started and she took a deep breath to calm her nerves. Her wedding party consisted of her best friends; Thea, Sage, Anna, and Aria, as well as Juliana and Lexia. Most brides only had one flower girl, Chloe had two. She barely registered her father escorting her down the aisle because she was focused on the man waiting for her at the end.
Samuel watched as his mate glided down the aisle. She was the most breath-taking thing he'd ever seen. How had he gotten so lucky as to win her heart? With all he'd done in his very long life, he wasn't sure he really deserved her but he was grateful she was in his life. She was the best thing to happen to him in a very long time.
When it came time to say their vows Samuel took Chloe's hands in his. "You came into my life at a time when everything was going wrong. From the moment we met I couldn't stop thinking about you. I would see you at work and have to stop and stare because your beauty, your compassion, demanded it. I have never loved anyone the way I love you. You complete me in every way and you have given this old wolf a reason to face each new day with a smile. You are my love, my life, my soulmate."
Chloe had to wipe a stray tear from her cheek before she could respond. "The first thing I remember from when I opened my eyes in the safe room at Adam's and Mercy's is a pair of pale blue eyes watching me and thinking 'Wow, he has such beautiful eyes'. I still think that way, but you have an even more beautiful soul. You have opened my life to a joy and happiness I never imagined I could experience. I fell in love so fast and so hard that it scared me, it still does sometimes, but I know with you at my side I can face that fear and stare it down. You are my strength, my love, my everything."
When her wedding ring was finally revealed to her Chloe gasped softly. The entwined yellow and white gold bands formed a butterfly with stones of garnet and diamonds adorning the wings. On the inside of the band there was an inscription that read 'Your love makes my spirit soar'. "It's beautiful," she breathed as Samuel slipped it on her hand.
"I'd hoped you would like it. I know it's a bit... unconventional, but so much about us is unconventional I felt it was fitting."
They kissed and Chloe melted against him. "True, we are a bit unconventional but I wouldn't have it any other way," she confessed.
They headed to the reception and Anna moved to Chloe's side. "So, how's it feel to finally be Mrs. Samuel Cornick?" she asked.
"Amazing," Chloe replied. "When we met, I never imagined getting to be in this position. I knew he was involved with someone at the time, and we went through so much hell, but I wouldn't change any of it. All we've gone through, it just showed us how much we belonged together." She smiled at her friend. "I never really thanked you and Charles for all you did for me when I first came here."
"You don't need to thank us, Chloe. You were hurting and you needed a safe place to be. We were happy to give you that. But we're also really happy things worked out. From what I understand, Samuel hasn't been this happy in a really long time."
"I'm glad I can give him that," Chloe said softly. When Amaris got hungry she slipped away from the crowd of people to feed her. Part of it was so she didn't make anyone uncomfortable but it was also just to give herself a moment of peace.
Chloe had invited Luna, Ben, Mercy and Adam to the wedding. She'd wanted to invite Warren and Kyle as well but Kyle wasn't quite up to dealing with a crowd yet. She'd been stunned when she'd learned Kyle had chosen to try the change and fully understood his inability to be there.
Luna, who'd been on her way to Chloe and Anna, watched the new bride slip away before she stopped next to her friend. "It's hard to believe she's almost a month old," she said to Anna.
"I know. It doesn't seem that long ago. I know both Chloe and Samuel are tense about the coming full moon. I mean, in just a few days they'll find out Amaris is moon called or not."
"I can only imagine how tense this is for them." Luna shook her head slightly. "I don't think I'd be able to keep calm if I was in their situation."
"Me either," Anna admitted. "There was a time when I thought I'd want to have a baby but now I'm glad I can't. Just the stress of pregnancy alone would drive me bonkers. Besides, I wouldn't trade Jules for anything."
"She is such a sweet girl. She's lucky to have you and Charles for parents," Luna said after a moment. Her gaze traveled the room and she laughed a little. "Ben looks like he's feeling cornered, I better go rescue him," she added and headed his way. It seemed a number of the women in town liked his accent and wanted him to talk just so they could hear it. "Sorry ladies, I need to steal my fiance away," Luna said as she looped arms with Ben. She emphasized 'fiance' to make it clear he wasn't on the market.
"Thanks for the rescue, luv," Ben murmured to her once they were out of earshot. "Bloody hell, they're like vultures," he added.
"It's that nifty accent of yours," Sage who'd heard him, said. "They just can't help themselves." She turned her attention to Luna. "So, when is your wedding planned?"
Luna blushed a little. "We're shooting for August. That way it won't be too hot or too cold and it'll give us time for a honeymoon before the new semester starts."
"I can't wait. You're going to be such a beautiful bride," Sage told her.
"Thanks. So... how are things with you and Cyrus?"
"They're good. He's... so overwhelmingly protective of me, but it makes me feel good to know he'd never let anyone hurt me again. And yeah, I love him, but we're not to that stage in our relationship, yet. Who knows, maybe one day it'll be my turn," Sage replied.
Luna gave her friend a hug. "I'm sure it will be."
After feeding her daughter Chloe returned to the reception where she and Samuel shared their first dance as husband and wife. Chloe leaned into her mate as he guided them around the floor and she relished the feel of his arms around her. They hadn't planned a honeymoon because of the pregnancy but they did have a suite at the plushest hotel in Missoula waiting for them. Suddenly though, Chloe didn't care about that. "Why don't we wait until Amaris is a little older and take a real honeymoon," she hushed.
Samuel looked down at his mate. "Is that what you really want to do?" At her nod he dipped his head and kissed her. "Alright, my love. Wherever you want to go, we'll go, when you're ready."
As soon as they could slip away, Samuel took his mate and daughter home. Once Amaris was tucked into her crib they made slow, passionate love. "I love you, Mrs. Cornick," he murmured in her ear some time later when they lay curled up together in the warm afterglow of their lovemaking.
"I love you too," Chloe murmured before she drifted off to sleep.
Three days later Chloe stood on her back porch and watched as the sun faded from the sky. It was the first night of the full moon and soon they would know if their little angel was moon called, like her parents, or if she was free from the moon's song. Marianne Taggart was there to watch Amaris in the even she wasn't a wolf.
As the sun faded completely and the moon began to rise Samuel moved to his mate. He nuzzled her then leaned down to the cradle she stood beside and kissed his daughter's forehead before he undressed. His gaze moved to his mate doing the same and he was once again overcome with love and awe of her. Soon though his thoughts were pulled away. The moon sang to him and his wolf answered.
Marianne undressed Amaris and laid her back down in the cradle. If she was a werewolf, and her warmer than normal body temperature suggested she might be, the clothing and diaper would make shifting painful for the little one.
Seconds ticked by. Chloe shifted effortlessly then moved to gaze down at her daughter. As the moon rose in the sky there was a moment when Chloe was certain their babe was human and then it happened. Almost as effortlessly as Chloe's change stole over her, so too did it come to Amaris. Fur flowed and in seconds a wolf pup lay where a human infant had been only moments ago.
By this point Samuel had completed his shift as well and when he saw his pup a howl tore from his throat. It was a mixture of joy and fear. Joy that their daughter would not die of old age and fear that something else might happen to her.
Very gently, Chloe picked Amaris up by the scruff of her neck and set her on her feet. As a human infant she was bound to helplessness for months yet, but in her wolf form she could stand on wobbly legs just as any other month old wolf pup could.
Bran and Aria, who'd left their daughter Lexia in the care of another member of the Tasggart family, heard Samuel's howl and headed for his home. The Marrok approached slowly. Yes, he was Alpha and Amaris' grandfather, but he would not unsettle his son and daughter-in-law, both of whom would feel a fierce protectiveness for their pup, by being aggressive. Their instincts would be to protect their daughter from any perceived threat, including him.
Samuel watched his Da with cautious eyes. Samuel, the man, knew Amaris was safe, but Samuel, the wolf, only saw a potential threat to his pup. After a moment he stepped aside so Bran could get a look at the tiny bundle of fur at Chloe's feet.
Bran gazed down at his granddaughter. Her white fur was dusted with black and silver, a perfect mixture of her parents' coloring, and her eyes were the same pale blue as Samuel's. He nuzzled the pup and licked her head before he howled his joy for the pack to hear. A chorus of howls rose into the air before they were joined by Charles, Anna, and Jules. With the Cornick family together they headed out into the mountains to enjoy the call of the moon and introduce tiny Amaris to this part of her world.
Hours later, as the moon began to set and the sun began to rise, the trio returned home. After shifting back to human form they tucked Amaris into her crib then crawled into bed themselves.
As he lay there watching his mate sleep, Samuel's mind drifted to all that had happened to him over the hundreds of years he'd been alive. He'd loved and lost three wives and eighteen children. He'd seen wars destroy entire villages and cities. He'd used song to bring his own Da back from the brink of madness. He'd lost his way in the world, lost his will to go on living. And then, like the answer to an unspoken prayer, Chloe had come into his life. In her he found a new purpose, a new hope, and a reason to go on living. She may never know it, but she was his salvation.
A/N: Samuel's and Chloe's story does not end here. This is but the closing of a chapter in their book. To those who have read, even if you've never commented on the story, thank you. To my faithful reviewer, Imaginationqueen87, thank you so much because, as you know yourself, reviews help encourage the muse to continue the story. My muse has more mischief in store, in the future, for the entire Cornick clan, once she gets a few other things completed first!