Reborn - alternate ending (The Born Trilogy Book 4)(8)By: AE Watson
I feel a sickening worry inside of me but I push it away. I’m not ready to face life without him.
I get on my horse and look down at Leo. He pants with his sloppy wolf face and licks me. He paws me a little and whines when he looks towards the village. I smile and nod, “Let’s go home.”
He jumps up, playful and ready to run again. He whines and then starts towards home.
We ride slower for Leo, taking a little longer than normal. When we exit the forest, I smile. The village has grown in the two years we have been here. The log houses have taken over the old, dusty grass field and the forest has been cleared to make room for more houses. The white farmhouse is dirty, but it's home to the cook pit ladies, Anna, and Nick. Stella, Sarah, and Jake live in one of the cabins. Will and I decided to make our own log house, we live there.
Sarah comes running up. She and Leo have their usual reunion . He lies down, looking tired. She gives me a look. "You have to make him stay. He can't do those big runs anymore."
I smile at the angry little face. "Try telling him that."
She makes a noise and walks off with him. Jake laughs. "I think the teen years are about to hit."
I scowl at him. "She's twelve."
He shrugs. "Anna got evil at twelve."
Will scoffs, “I’m glad I missed a lot of the ‘bad Anna’ years.”
I roll my eyes. "She was probably just tired of taking care of you two idiots."
Will hops off his horse and drags me off of mine. "Oh really?" He throws me over his shoulder and carries me into the huge animal pen we've built for the cows, sheep, goats, and pigs. He tosses me into the haystack and jumps into the hay with me.
"Wanna roll in the hay?"
I shake my head. "No. It's prickly."
He pokes me in the arm. "You are getting softer. The Emma I met two years ago would have rolled in the hay until it was soft as silk."
I snort. The hay pokes into my back, but I ignore it and glance over at him. "You ready to hike up?"
He laughs and gets up. I take his hand when he offers it and stand up. We walk over to where Sarah is giving Leo water.
She smiles. "I can't wait. First swim of the season."
Anna comes out of the farmhouse with her belly sticking out by a mile. I shake my head. "You look fatter than you did three days ago."
She flips me the bird. Nick comes out after her. His eyes are filled with worry. He's looked like that since she stopped getting her period again.
"The summer heat better wait for me to give birth, not even kidding,” she snarls.
Nick points. "We're heading over to the river for her to soak her feet again. The swelling is getting bad."
I look down and snicker at the tree stumps she has for ankles. She points, "You just wait. You'll have a baby one day, and I'll make fun of your tree trunks too."
My face burns, but I shake my head. "I don’t think so." I don’t bring up the fact I never get my period and that the thing they did to me made me sick inside. I don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to see the pity in their eyes. I already see my own, that’s enough.
Her eyes dart at Will. "We'll see."
Sarah runs and gets Stella so we can leave. She comes looking so much better than she used to, not so soft and yet shifty eyed. She doesn’t look like townsfolk anymore.
We walk as a group to the river. The flow is higher with the snowmelt so Anna and Nick stay in the area that is roped off with logs.
"Have fun swimming," she says with a sad face.
Nick growls at her. "We aren’t talking about this again. When the baby is born and healthy, we can talk about going to the retreat."
Anna sticks her tongue out at him. He's not like Bernie. He's like Will—a lot. He doesn’t take any shit off of her, which isn’t a bad thing. Jake loves him and the way he tells Anna like it is. He and Will are like best friends—Nick saving his life must have helped that.
No one but Anna was happy she got pregnant again, least of all, Nick. He and I both worry about what the baby will be. Things like us, Star, and Will have never reproduced before.
I wave to her. "Be safe, rest, and listen to Nick."
Nick winks at me. "You can say it all you want. She hears what she wants to."